Online marketing and social media tips for business from Shannon Belew, best-selling author of "Starting an Online Business For Dummies, All-in-One"
It’s just a bunch of pictures, right? Wrong. Pinterest has become the fastest growing web property ever, having just crossed the telling mark of 10 million visitors, monthly. Actually, they are already at more than 11.2 million monthly visitors. So what are all these people doing on Pinterest? In the first of this three-part series, we take a closer look at the newest web sensation and the ways your business can benefit from it.
If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, the best way to describe it is this: Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board system where you can “pin” pictures and share them with others. Because it is virtual, you can have unlimited number of “boards,” giving a title to each and associating it with a category based on type or interest (home decor, gardening, tech, etc.). Then, others can either “like” your pin or “re-pin” it. In both cases, this simply puts your picture in circulation with a wider audience. Other Pinterest users can also choose to “follow” one or more of your boards.
Now, consider two facts. The vast majority – 80 percent – of Pinterest users are women. And, the image-intense site now creates more referrals to retail websites than YouTube, Google+ and Reddit combined. The sum total of this information is that there is a tremendous pool – ‘er, make that an ocean – of potential customers to see and share images that represent your company. Of course, you’re also competing with lots of incredible images that are all vying for attention.
Let’s start by looking at five simple ways you can stand out from the crowd:
1. Strong, timely images: The obvious way to be seen is to pin pictures that are striking, beautiful, or interesting in some way. Keep in mind that Pinterest also functions as a social search engine, of sorts. That means you can also see what’s trending as “popular.” Add pins of your own, along with strong captions (see next step) that reflect the trending topics or pictures. The idea being that your pins also get pulled into the “popular” category. Another way to impact the likability of your boards is to take time to arrange both your boards and all the pictures within each board, so that they are as visually pleasing as possible.
2. Clever captions: Don’t forget about adding an equally catchy description to the picture. While some users find the caption prompt that Pinterest gives under each image a hassle (who wants to describe every picture?), this is an important tool if you’re using Pinterest to boost business. First, Pinterest uses the caption to help with search. As mentioned, previously, this is a social search engine and keywords matter – just as it does when optimizing content for Google. If you have a killer Superbowl snack recipe, say so. Because Pinterest will scan and see that to aid in searches for just that. Second, clever captions also entice users to “follow” your boards. Witty, funny, or insightful short captions add to the interest of a board worthy of following.
3. Share often: Afterall, Pinterest is a social community, just like Facebook and Twitter. In this case, sharing means adding new pins (daily, at least), re-pinning and following others, sending invites to people in your other social networks, and commenting on others’ pins – especially those that are trending as popular.
4. Yes, add video: These days, there’s hardly a time when it isn’t helpful to post video content and Pinterest is no exception. But adding video here is especially appealing as video is still relatively new and not as pervasive, yet. That means you have an even better chance of standing out in the crowd.
5. Add a RSS feed: Similar to your blog content, you can use an RSS feed for your Pinterest boards to give your followers an easy way to stay updated with your new pins. Keep in mind that the RSS feed is for all the boards in your Pinterest account, and cannot be set up for specific boards. It’s easy to then add this to your website or other social media pages. To set up your feed, use this URL: feed://pinterest.com/yourpinterestnamehere/feed.rss
For more information, check out this infographic (below) from Monetate. It’s a closer look at the web’s pinning fixation.