Can you pin cash to your bottom line?

Yellow pin on green wall, Pinterest business strategy

By DAVID BOYES

PINTEREST is attracting increasing interest in the United Kingdom in the wake of its barn-storming success in the United States, where it is fast becoming a “must-have” component in social media marketing strategies.

So should all businesses pin their hopes on this photograph-sharing platform that has the ability to visually showcase your brand and communicate messages about your company?

The answer to this Pinterest business strategy question is yes and no.

Organisations selling products that are eye-catching or who operate in niche or special-interest markets are the ones that stand to gain the most from this new medium, it would appear.

However, companies selling services, such as consultancies, will, in my opinion, struggle to reap any major rewards, since the tangible, visible aspect of what they do can sometimes be difficult (though not impossible) to portray.

Another interesting aspect of Pinterest is its demographic profile. More than 80 per cent of people using it are women. So if your business sells to a primarily female market, now is probably the time to start pinning.

The received wisdom from across the Atlantic is that décor, food, design, fashion and beauty companies should check out Pinterest. But this list is not exhaustive. If you sell something that can be captured graphically and shared, Pinterest will probably give your business a benficial jab.

Furthermore, now that Pinterest has launched business pages, surely it’s a simple case of pinning pound notes or dollar bills to your bottom line. Well, not quite.

 

Beginners’ guide

Here is my beginner’s guide to what Pinterest is and how it works. But remember, as with all social media endeavours in the corporate sector, the trick is to herd traffic to your website – where the serious business of selling, or engagement, can commence – not to bewilder potential customers by driving them into a digital no-man’s land, which is all too easy with Pinterest.

 

The Pinterest principle

pinterest badge logo redPinterest started out as a photo-sharing platform for hobbyists. Its mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the things they find interesting via a global platform of inspiration and idea sharing”. The basic idea is that you “pin” a picture of the thing you find interesting to one of a number of themed “pinboards” that you set up, which can be discovered by other users.

You can pin your own material or pin content originated by others, either from inside or outside the social medium. When someone clicks on the image – and this is they key point – they will be directed to the website where the image originates.

Pinterest pinboards

Here’s what a Pinterest pinboard arrangement can look like

The approach for businesses is generally the same. But while non-professional users usually feel free to pin whatever they want, from wherever they choose, to whatever board takes their fancy, businesses need a more focused strategy.

They must use Pinterest to get engagement going their target audience. Therefore, they should host striking, ORIGINAL photographs on their websites and pin them to their own boards. If someone clicks on the picture, they will be directed to the corporate website. Always append a description that accurately describes the image with key words.

The inclusion of a “PinIt” button on your website is a must. This will allow people visiting it to post your images to their boards, and share them with their friends, thereby becoming “brand advocates”.

 

Let’s pin this down a little more

pinterest badge logo whiteCurate your images on to boards which each cover a different subject, product line or theme. For example, if you have a sports goods company, you could target your audience through the use of pins about golf courses, football stadiums or other sporting images in one board. Another board could display testimonials, examples of your work, quotes that praise you. Staff interest: so people can get to know your employees. What about a board where customers can pin?

One powerful technique is to set up a board for images from your company blog posts. In all cases, when you’re repinned, you’re increasing your reach.

 

Copyright issues

pinterest badge logo redSo what about copyright? Suffice to say, that’s a subject worthy of detailed coverage in a future blog post. But there is some food for thought to be found here. For the moment, though, it remains a bit of a grey area, probably because of the newness of Pinterest. But it’s worth keeping a weather eye out for legal developments. The company stated this year that no major lawsuits have emerged but that situation could change.

And to alleviate any concerns of those not wishing to participate in “pin mania”, a “no-pin” html tag was released at the start of this year to allow websites to opt out of having their images pinned.

However, if you have original material on your website and you are encouraging others to spread it – which is what businesses should do – where’s the problem? Just watch out for competitors trying to use your images to boost their business and let Pinterest know if this happens– they have an online complaints process that should stop chicanery such as this.

Meanwhile, pin away.

Pinterest business strategy Pinterest logo in red on white background

 

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co