You’re ready to take the plunge, and get started on the most winning “visual” social media platform! Just as you should with everything else in social media, align your Pinterest strategy at the very get-go with your online marketing goals, to produce maximum benefit for your business.
What exactly do you want to achieve? Driving traffic to your website? Increase your brand awareness and create a buzz? Do you want to expand customer engagement and increase sales, or is your objective to engage with brand fans, advocates and influencers?
Getting started is easy:
Start by creating 9 pinboards in areas that interest you or those designed to create engagement with your clients or customers. Focus on these 9 boards, making each board a showcase for your subject or category; selecting pins you want to be known for and or associated with. Aimlessly mixed boards of pins will lose your audience focus very quickly.
Once you find which boards inspire engagement, create more of similar interest. And as you create additional boards, remember that people are most inclined to look at the top two rows of 9 boards, so change the order frequently, and when you find a board that really resonates with your audience, you know what to do create more of the same!
Select your strategic networking focus:
Here are four networking strategies used successfully by big brands and small business.
1.Create boards to showcase expertise & tell a story
Showcasing your expertise does not mean creating pinboards which are only focused on you, what you do, or only focused on the products and services you sell. Create boards that interest your customers. What you feature on your Pinterest boards, and how you organize the boards engages your audience and promotes you in their eyes.
Select Pinterest board topics that have the greatest interest to your target audience; name and describe the boards with targeted words and phrases, and consider SEO. Categorize your board with care in one of the Pinterest categories. Note, ‘other’ is not a category!
Some examples of boards you might create are: sharing history, sparking ideas, Inspiration, aspiration, product use ideas, behind the scenes, aligning your brand with your customers lives, showcasing your web or blog
2.Create a contest to engage customers
Contests are great promotional tools to engage with customers and Pinterest does this visually like no other platform. Everyone loves contests, and the “pin it to win it” contest strategy is quite easy to implement, even if you are a small business on a low budget.
An example of a “pin it to win it” contest asks people to pin a particular image for a chance to win a drawing, or it can be a photo competition on any compelling subject, where your followers choose the winner by re-pinning. A contest can ask people to pin an image of themselves using your product, or offer a prize for the best board on a chosen topic. Two of the many apps that you can use to run a contest are Woobox and Votigo.
If you’re just starting out on Pinterest and you want to get some likes and followers quickly, then running a contest might be the perfect strategy for you!
3. Create collaborative boards to promote your customers or products.
When you create a collaborative board of guest-pinners on Pinterest, it puts you in front a wider audience; as you not only reach your own followers, but the followers of all your guest collaborators. This is especially beneficial when your guest-pinners already have a large following on Pinterest, and promote the collaboration focus on other social networks such as Facebook, twitter and G+.
A collaborative board amplifies brand loyalty and drives more traffic to your website or blog.
When you focus on a collaborative board strategy it ignites engagement. Several ways to do this are: request pins for a specific purpose and seek out the experts to pin, create a blitz campaign, pin-populate a pin-board in a given time frame with a focused purpose (this might have a charitable orientation), hold a pin-party, share ideas, resources and opinions; this includes discussion boards, testimonials and profiling customers.
Remember to create guidelines for the collaboration boards so everyone knows what is expected, and so your expectations are met. Guidelines for collaborative Pinterest boards include; who is your core audience, what is the objective for the board, why the guest-pinners were asked to pin, what types of pins you are looking for (ideas, feelings, images), and don’t forget promotional dos and don’ts.
Create collaborative boards which customers and fans will be passionate about; it might be anything; an interest, hobby, product, social good, or even pet design
Be strategic, and pick the best collaboration partners or team to enhance your brand and drive the traffic you need to grow your business.
4. Create boards to showcase a community or non-profit.
Pinterest is about starting a conversation; communities grow around conversations, which are sparked by shared vision and interests. On Pinterest the shared interests of the community are shown visually on pinboards.
- A pin community board can be a pin-party, which is a scheduled get together, often using a hashtag similar to a twitter chat where a group of people might pin and comment with a subject matter expert guest. Some Brands have a pin-party for a product introduction. HGTV does this well!
- A blogging platform board showcasing the posts and/or bloggers themselves, drives more traffic to the blogging community.
- Event boards can attract participants to sign up and start the conversation; pinning before, during and after the event!
- A non-profit organization board can curate inspiration for your donors. The National WildLife Federation (NWF) does this well.
Pinteresting ways to implement your strategy:
When designing your strategy, don’t confuse it with the tactics. The tactics are what you do to implement your strategy Any of the following tactics can be used effectively to implement your strategy to produce results, enhance your personal or business brand, and grow your business.
- Re-pinning Pinning attractive, suitable, focused content for your audience will increase the likelihood of having it re-pinned. Re-pinning is the sharing focus on Pinterest that goes viral from time to time. It is an effective way to grow your followers and the people you follow. Descriptions allow you to use keywords for SEO and be found online via search more often.
- Like Liking a pin shows appreciation; I like the pin, or even I’d like to connect and be noticed. Liking a pin adds the pin to your profile’s “likes” section rather than a specific board for likes, and you’ll see the person who ‘liked’ it. This gives you an opportunity to profile members of your audience by researching their social footprint. Pinterest is an excellent way to gather demographic information.
- Tag Tagging people with the @ sign is a convention made popular on twitter. When you tag someone it draws their attention to your action; do you want them to notice your pin, your description of the pin or even a board description if you tag them there.
- Hash-tagging Hash-tagged content makes it easier to find and to search. It was first used on twitter but now is mainstream on other social networks including Pinterest.
- Comment Commenting on pins is often under-utilized for networking and engagement on Pinterest. It’s as easy to comment on a pin as it is on a blog post. Spend some of your engaging time on Pinterest, adding to the conversation by commenting.
- Follow You can follow a person, and this action automatically follows all their pinboards, or you can follow only the individual pinboard that interests you. The action of following can get you noticed, but more important it gives you access to more content to re-pin, like, and comment on. When we follow someone’s pinboards, we learn about their likes and dislikes and much more. It helps in defining our audience and how to engage with them.
Remember to pin consistently, and remember an effective social media mindset applies here as well
These are some the best tools to get started managing and monitoring your Pinterest online social presence; I sourced them from the experts but please feel free to add yours. Don’t forget to visit the weekly #pinchat twitter chat on Wednesday at 9PM ET where you can learn about strategies, tactics and tools to start “Winning at Pinning.
Follow me on Pinterest and feel free to ping me if you need any help getting started.