You know how important social media is for promoting your business and developing your professional image. You’re probably already using Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and you’re wondering if there’s anything else you should be doing. And, maybe, just maybe, you're on the fence about Pinterest.
If you’ve been thinking Pinterest is just a place to post pictures of cupcakes and DIY crafts, think again. Pinterest is a place to curate and present just about anything visual. Users find images they like and "pin" them to categorized boards to save and share them. In many ways it’s an aspirational medium – people pin images of things they want to get, see, or do in the future. When done right, your boards can speak volumes about your business. Here are some ideas to help you make the most of one of social media’s fastest-growing and most versatile platforms.
Tell Your Story
Try creating a board to serve as an “about us” guide. Include pictures of employees, past projects, your office, your logos, or any images that represent your company. Or create boards to show off your products, like an online catalog (with zero printing costs). Link images to corresponding parts of your web site. Make sure your images have good detailed captions that are rich in keywords and offer a compelling reason to click through. Include hashtags if the content is trending on twitter.
Pop in a "Pin It" Button
By including the Pin It button on your own site, you can allow people to do some of your work for you, by pinning your content to their boards. Just be sure all the images on your website have alt tags so they can be pinned more easily. When your images are pinned by others, the alt tag text will auto-populate the description field for the pin.
Spread the Knowledge
Pin links to content your customers might like or find useful. For example, a small design firm may pin an article about the most popular colors for the coming year. A caterer may pin recipes or links to event planning information. A dance studio may pin videos of famous ballerinas. Even an accounting firm can pin an interesting tax-related infographic.
Brainstorm with Boards
Pinterest can be wonderful as an inexpensive platform for private collaboration, among team members or with clients. If a client is having trouble expressing exactly what they want for a project, create a private board and ask them to pin examples of things they like (or things they hate) to give you a better idea of what they are looking for. Or pin things for them to show a direction you are considering for their project.
Give + Engage
Pinterest is also a great place to present coupons and promotions. Or create a contest that encourages fans to pin their own images. For example, a fashion designer may encourage customers to pin pictures of themselves in the clothes to be entered into a contest.
Share the Pin-spiration
Check out who pins (or re-pins) your stuff and you may find some things on their boards that are inspiring enough to re-pin as well. It’s all about sharing. And be sure to promote your Pinterest presence on all of your marketing materials.
You can even pin text, just make sure it’s pretty. Your pithy quotes will move people more when presented in typographic form, or with an appropriate image. And don’t forget data – a well-done infographic that conveys information in a cool way will be read and shared far more than a dry article or white paper.
It may seem like a lot of work to add another channel to your social media To Do list, but with Pinterest, what you create will last. Instead of being ephemeral like Twitter, or chronological like Facebook, your Pinterest boards stay up and can be added to, viewed, and re-pinned long after they've created.
If you start with a plan and some clear goals, you will find the hard work you put in will last. Pinterest even offers business accounts, giving you access to analytic tools to help you measure your success. Used right, it can be an excellent form of market research, as well as a tool for communicating with your clients and potential clients. Good luck and happy pinning.
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