Pinterest is one of the most exciting and fastest growing social networks out there today. Pinners are enthusiastic and highly active. Perhaps you’ve started a Pinterest profile and are working on using Pinterest for business marketing, but now you need to find out how to grow your audience. Here are a few tips to help you find the best content and grow your reach.
The first thing you have to understand about Pinterest is that, even compared to other social networks, it is a visual medium first and foremost. Any Pin you create has to have an image and that image, not any accompanying text, is what grabs people’s attention. That isn’t to say you can’t link a mostly text blog post or a video, just that you have to come up with a good attention-grabbing image. The image doesn’t even have to be from the linked page – stock images are perfectly fine – just be sure you have the rights to whichever image you use. You may also want to do some simple photo editing to put text on the image, so as to make it clearer what sort of content people can find attached to the Pin. But again, it all comes back to that image.
When it comes to getting Pinterest followers, one of the best and most direct ways is simply to follow others. Find brands and pinners in relevant fields and follow them. Like Twitter and Facebook in the early days, most people are eager to “follow back” when followed. Who should you follow? Look for brands with similar target audiences. If you sell running shoes, look for athletes, gyms, running stores, and specialty sock makers. “Repin” and comment on their content and they’ll often reciprocate.
Another essential part of a successful Pinterest profile is creating a consistent visual brand. By which I mean, you should avoid scattershot Pinning and Repinning of whatever strikes your fancy at the moment. Settle on five or six categories – delineated into “Boards” – and stick to those. This will help you engage customers on social media.
Going back to the hypothetical running shoe maker, you might divide your boards up into “Running,” “Foot Health,” “Wellness,” and “Causes.” The last would be devoted to your charity projects and causes (always popular) and things that don’t fit into any category. All of the others are devoted to themes and activities that are tied directly into your product.
You should also look for common emotions and themes that your images should evoke – if you’re marketing to runners, bright, active colors and images full of lively action will fare better than drab or static pictures. There are plenty of free visual marketing tools to use to create a visual brand for your business. Personally, we love using Canva for creating graphics.
On Pinterest, just like other social media, you should not be “sales-y.” Pinners aren’t looking for someone to thrust a pair of shoes at them – they’re looking for new ideas, cool events, and things that make them feel good. Talk about anything other than your product directly – celebrate your fans’ and clients’ success stories, share relevant news, and other stuff that your audience would find cool. You can still direct visitors to your website or to a call to action, but you should be indirect about it. Don’t shove them through the door.
Similarly, you should frame your product and company in a manner that isn’t overtly a sales pitch. A picture of a shoe on a white background, just like they’d find on your e-commerce site? Boring. A picture of a fan wearing your shoes, running a marathon? Exciting and engaging.
Finally, keep an eye on your notifications. They appear in the upper right of the Pinterest page. Social media is an iterative process – experiment, check for results, then use that information to inform future posts. Keep track of which of your Pins get the most likes, Repins, and comments, and use those as a model for future content. Pay special attention when you see a specific Pin get a sudden spike of activity—this usually means that a popular user has pinned your image. Check to see who Repinned it first – it’s possible one of those early Pinners had a lot of influence, causing your post to go viral. Once you’ve identified those key influencers, follow them and try to interact with them and post content you’ve identified as interesting to them. Finally, of course, you should try to reply to comments and questions (and complaints!) promptly and professionally.
Pinterest is an exciting and valuable way to reach out to your customers and get them excited about your company. As long as you keep both their needs and Pinterest’s visual focus in mind, it can be a fantastic way to grow your audience and create a rapport with customers. So get out there and start Pinning with confidence!