How Pinteresting is this?
Pinterest has popped into the news again yesterday with their announcement of a new feature – business pages! They've been playing with another business oriented feature recently, the addition of secret boards. Together with the launch of the new business page feature, this confirms that Pinterest is a serious social media platform, and one with huge legitimacy and MARKETING VALUE for the savvy entrepreneur.
How do business and personal accounts differ? Not much, according to Pinterest. In their frequently asked questions, they answer this question as follows. "Currently, business accounts and personal accounts have access to the same features. If you sign up for or convert to a business account, you'll also receive updates on future products and services that will provide more powerful ways of reaching and understanding your audience on Pinterest."
While there isn't a huge difference in features for business and personal users of Pinterest, this signals a shift in their focus as a platform. Together with the development of secret boards announced last week, Pinterest is putting out signals that suggest a desire to be seen as more than the playground of 35-44 year old women who are into crafts, cooking, and fashion. Interestingly enough, this development might also have some relationship to the curious reality that Mashable reported earlier this year. In the UK, Pinterest users are primarily male, 25-34, wealthier, and have top interest categories of venture capital, blogging resources and services, and SEO and marketing!
Clearly Pinterest can be used quite successfully by entrepreneurs! And in fact, reflecting a new commitment to developing business relationships, Pinterest has included case studies of several successful Pinterest marketing campaigns on its business page. Pinterest clearly has the power to help brands and companies of all sizes connect on a more personal level with their customers and followers. It can help you highlight a new perspective about your brand that might not always be apparent to your customers at first glance. And it is a great tool to engage with your audience that if you use it well, can help you listen in to your audience/customers to see what they really want and like.
So what are the kinds of strategies that YOU can use TODAY to build your brand with Pinterest?
1. SEO for Link Building: While you should pin a variety of content to Pinterest from a variety of sources, pinning from your website to Pinterest provides a rich source of inbound links to your website, increasing your chance of ranking higher in a Google search. And speaking of Google…
2. SEO Keyword Strategy: Google indexes Pinterest profiles and personal boards. By using some well chosen keywords in your board descriptions and profiles (without keyword stuffing!), you are taking advantage of a huge opportunity to boost your ranking via search from this rapidly growing, high-authority site.
3. Pin-It Button: Just like the "Tweet this" button and the Facebook's "Like" or "Share" buttons, putting a button on your site to allow visitors to pin content is a natural way of fostering conversation with your audience and "listening in" to see what generates the most quality engagement. This is a great way to boost the visibility of your business (not to mention the SEO benefit every time your graphics are repinned on Pinterest).
4. Analytics: It's a simple form of analytics, but sometimes there's beauty in simplicity, right? By looking over your content and seeing which images get liked and repinned the most, you are getting valuable feedback from your customers regarding what kind of content is most valuable to them. Produce content and products that are valuable, and you've created a win-win for your business and your customers.
5. SEO. Again. Have you noticed that I keep referring to different ways that engagement on Pinterest boosts your SEO and the visibility of your business? Here's yet another one. Pinterest recently released a feature for website verification on users' accounts. Once verified, your website appears in your profile information, on top of your boards. Without getting too far into it, the kind of HTML tag that Pinterest appears to be using to display this appears to be what's called a "Do Follow" link. What this means is that it specifically tells Google to follow that link in a different way than regular links without that code do. This in itself is a huge SEO boost to your website – and a way to boost your presence online NOW that might not be around forever.
6. Collaborate: One of the ways social media has improved marketing is by creating a simple channel for communication between brands and their customers. Marketing used to be about broadcasting your message and hoping it was heard; social marketing is about attracting your ideal customer, providing value, and fostering 2-way communication and community with your audience. Pinterest's collaborative boards allow for that kind of communication. A realtor might use collaborative boards to allow new homeowners to post pictures of move-in day. A housecleaning business might create a collaborative board to allow customers to post pictures of what they've done with their free time, now that they're not cleaning their homes. The possibilities are endless.
7. Behind the Scenes: Everyone loves a secret and the feeling that they're privy to some secret knowledge. A behind the scenes look at your organization – boards featuring individual employees, employee hobbies, and other forms of company culture give your customers a way to connect with the human side of your brand.
8. How To Boards: Does your business offer products or services that might take some explanation to use? Use the power of pictures to demonstrate how-to do something that provides value for your customers. A craft store might use Pinterest to showcase steps in a featured project. A natural foods company might post not only the ever popular recipes, but pictures of various cooking techniques for their customers to try.
9. Inspirational Boards: Everyone needs a pick-me-up from time to time. Help your customer’s associate your business with positive feelings, and you'll be their business of choice. Inspirational graphics and sayings are some of the most repinned content on Pinterest.
10. Show Your Customers: Lots of people want to feel famous – what better way to showcase your brand than to have a board featuring pictures of people using your product. Are you an author? Ask for pictures of people reading your book in a variety of locations. Do you have a cottage industry making handmade crayon rolls and selling crafty things? Show pictures of families spending time coloring together with your crayon rolls.
When it comes to using Pinterest to brand your business, the only limit is your imagination. With the promise of new tools to come, it's clear this platform is going to get even better as a tool to help you build your brand online.
What is your favorite way to use Pinterest to brand your business? Did you see an idea here you'd love to try? I'd love to hear – leave me a comment below!
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