Social Media Spotlight: Pinterest
What is it?
Pinterest, a relatively new social network for image-sharing, has skyrocketed in popularity over the past couple of years. It is basically a digital repository where users discover, collect, and share several kinds of visual content, which are known as “pins.” They are either directly uploaded to Pinterest or linked from an outside website. Users add pins to “boards,” collections that are usually organized around specific themes. Once a user has created a board, other users can “repin” from it, meaning they can pin the user’s images to their own boards. Both individual boards and the entirety of a user’s boards can be followed, building up a “Pin Feed” of personally tailored content. Pins can be also be browsed from the main page, and they can receive likes and comments.
Who can benefit?
Pinterest is one of the most highly visual social media sites on the web, with images and videos being the major types of pinned content. Pins cover a diverse range of topics, but some of the most popular are fashion, food, home design, hairstyles, cosmetics, and arts and crafts. Therefore, businesses who offer related products or services stand to gain the most from a Pinterest presence, although any business could find ways to creatively utilize the site for their social media marketing.
How can businesses use it?
The underlying concept behind Pinterest is that users will create boards to save ideas and products that they might want for later reference. Thus, the site is a powerful tool for content marketing and product promotion. By giving followers relevant content, businesses experience a two-fold benefit: an enhancement of brand image coupled with an increase in referral traffic from certain featured products.
A business, however, should only devote a few of its boards specifically to its products or services, centering the rest on themes and topics that followers would find interesting or helpful. Pinterest should be used sparingly as a virtual window display; businesses should instead focus more on pinning other content which appeals to their followers’ demographic.
Restaurants, for example, could maintain a board for their own cuisine while pinning recipes of different takes on their most popular dishes or images of kitchen utensils and gadgets their followers might use. Boutiques could curate boards of items sold in-store, and they could create others dedicated to designers who inspire them or to “how-to-wear” infographics. Salons might pin hair and make-up tips or preferred beauty products in addition to having a board for some of their best client looks.
Boards can also be made for entertaining and useful content that is not industry-specific. A business might want to showcase its employees at work, pinning photos that are accompanied by text which resembles a bio or small interview. It may choose to create a board where it pins coupons, not only for its own products, but also for other businesses at which followers might shop.
On a similar note, it is an excellent idea to pin from local businesses with admirable products or services that would be of value to followers. This sort of pinning improves B2B relations by giving other businesses a much-appreciated shout-out, showing a business’s followers that it is familiar with their wants and needs, and expressing brand personality. The same effect can be achieved on a smaller level just by following other relevant businesses on Pinterest.
Remember that the key to successful social media marketing is reciprocity. Businesses should ensure that they are following all of their followers, and they should respond to any comments and questions in a timely manner. A great way to further engage followers is with the group board. The creator, who maintains control of the board, invites whomever they want to collectively pin to the board. Businesses can utilize group boards as platforms for various types of pinning contests or for customers to share their stories and feedback.
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