I know what you’re thinking! No sooner do you wrap your head around Facebook, Twitter, Google+, FourSquare, LinkedIn etc ……and another bloody social media network comes along to suck all the life out of you! Thankfully, Pinterest is quite possibly the easiest to understand!
The best way to think of Pinterest is as a “social scrapbooking” network, with the added bonus that you don’t have to spend all your weekends at Joann Fabrics!
I joined in October 2011, pinned a few things, didn’t quite understand the relevance/value, quickly got bored, and didn’t touch it again until early January of this year. It just so happened that November of 2011 was actually when the “Pinterest boom” started.
It’s worth noting that Pinterest is currently my 5-6th highest referrer of traffic, behind Google, direct traffic, Facebook, and Twitter (in that order). The other thing worth pointing out, is that the average user who reaches my website through Pinterest spends less than 30 seconds on my site. Out of my top 15 sources of website traffic, Pinterest referrals spend the shortest amount of time looking at my content. That’s definitely something worth considering before deciding how much time you want to devote to developing your presence on the network; however my hope is that I will connect with users that otherwise wouldn’t have found my page, and hopefully bookmark it for later.
So, since I recently started exploring the possible applications of Pinterest, these are my 5 tips for Pinterest for business:
I consider this the most relevant point, and can actually be applied to any social media channel.
You need to ask yourself the question: “What am I hoping the reader will get out of viewing this pin/post?”
Here’s a perfect example, I’m not by-any-means that saying that I’m doing this the best, but my aim with my Pinterest board Wine Facts, Tips, and Fun, is to post an image (normally from my website) with a short fact, tip, or piece of information attached. This pin in-turn usually links to my website for the full post.
Now I know this isn’t exactly social media rocket-science, but if you look at the vast majority of other food and wine pins, they usually feature a cool image, but give you very little other information. My hope is that I will actually give the reader a useful piece of “take-away” information, and will start to grow my following based on that content.
Make it Share-worthy and Relevant.
If you’re a winery for example, don’t overwhelm your followers with photos of haircuts, cute shoes and cats. (NB: Or at least keep the cat photos to a minimum)
My advice is for a business to develop its own account and keep it separate from personal posts unrelated posts.
You also should be asking yourself: “Are other people likely to share this?”
The pins with the most “repins” tend to be either (or a combination of): humor, fashion, DIY, or general inspiration, so bear that in mind. Of course, it also goes without saying that the quality of photography is usually very high.
Check out Williams Sonoma on Pinterest for an example of a major brand posting content that is relevant to their business.
Be as Original as Possible and Be Careful of Over-Pinning.
With Pinterest being so new, there is a lot of new content that doesn’t necessarily appear in mass on other networks. I don’t know about you, but I seem to be finding a lot of the same posts appearing on Facebook, posted by multiple users…..and it’s getting a little tedious.
If a pin is going to “go viral”, it’s quite helpful if that pin is fairly original, and hasn’t already been excessively over-posted.
The other point is to be careful of “over-pinning”. The main page of Pinterest isn’t like the news feed on Facebook which carefully selects (via an algorithm) the posts it displays. If you pin 100 pictures or videos in a row on Pinterest, all of those pins will appear in your follower’s feed in bulk.
Jane Wang (profile pictured above) can be defined as a “super-user” on Pinterest, with currently 114 different boards, and over 2 million followers.
Use the Browser Extension
I added the “Pin it on Pinterest” button to all my blog posts about 2 weeks ago, removing the Google+ button altogether. My main reason was that the G+ button was slowing down my website load-time, but also that I consider my site very well suited to Pinterest as it relies heavily on its visual element. However, not all websites have been as quick to adopt the Pin It button, so it’s worth-while installing a Pinterest extension. This tab will just sit at the top of your browser, so that when you’re randomly “surfing the web” (NB: do people still call it that?) and come across an image or video you like, you can “pin it” within a matter of seconds. It certainly helps with multi-tasking!
The Congenital Heart Awareness Week board (pictured above) is an excellent example of how charities can leverage Pinterest to increase awareness for their cause.
Organization is king, so if you have a board named “Food I Want To Eat”, don’t post a photo of a squirrel on water-skis!
Users on Pinterest can choose to follow every single board and pin you post, or they can choose to follow one of your specific boards. Don’t make them regret their decision to follow you!
Make sure the pins on your board stay true to the title of the board itself.
A great example of over pinning is one guy that I had to stop following yesterday. He posted back-to-back posted 30 photos of cats. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a cute cat photo as much as the next guy/girl, but it was a bit much! Since there’s no way to “turn down the volume” of certain users pins, and since he wasn’t pinning them to a specific board, I had to bid him farewell.