Monday, April 2, 2012

Pinterest for profit

For the uninitiated, Pinterest—at first glance—can seem like a simple place for pretty things. It's definitely a good resource for a new recipe or kitchen renovation idea, but if used strategically, it can also be part of a business's strategic social media marketing plan to raise brand awareness.

Pinterest is a free, visual bookmarking service that allows its users to create online bulletin boards. Each pinned item must include an image. You can also add a description, link, and price to each individual pinned item, making it ideal for companies to use Pinterest to promote their products. For example, Kate Spade's team does a "colorful" job promoting their brand messaging through pins that reinforce their line's aesthetic.

Your company may already be on Pinterest, but you don't even know it. Here's how you can check to see if content from your website is already being pinned on Pinterest.

PR Daily recently published a story detailing how big name companies, including Nordstrom, West Elm, Bergdorf Goodman, Whole Foods, Real Simple Magazine, and more, are reaching customers through Pinterest. Consistency to their other branding efforts is one of the keys to their success using Pinterest.

Just as you incorporate sharing buttons on your website content, consider making it easier for idea hunters to pin your products to Pinterest. The "Pin It" button can be added to pages featuring products, articles, tutorials, and more. If it has sharing relevance, consider adding a "Pin It" button to drive more visitors back to your website.

Not all companies have physical products to sell. If your business is based on services and your brand is all about your company's position as experts in the field, Pinterest can be a useful tool in your online marketing strategy. Create a board acts as an authority board. Fill it with pins so that the board showcases your work and what your company does well. Think of the board as an online portfolio of your successes. The board will act as a great way to drive traffic to your website based on your company's specializations.

If you want to understand what customers want next from your company, you can create a board to do informal market research. Pin ideas to the board based on what products or services you are thinking about adding to your company's portfolio. Ideas that might be worth pursuing may be the ones that get the most comments and repins.

In the same way that you should be careful when writing content for your main website, concentrate on SEO when choosing your username and writing your company's description. Use keyword rich descriptions and make sure to include your website URL to make it easier for customers to find your Pinterest account. Also be sure to add links to your other social networking accounts, too.

Pinterest is still invitation-only. You must request an invitation from the Pinterest website. The best way to get in promptly is to ask a friend who uses the website to invite you.

For a case study on Pinterest, read our blog entry about how one company, Kitchens.com, uses the popular social bookmarking service to extend their online marketing efforts.


Joy

About the author | J.O. Miller

Joy is the creative director at TBH Creative and helps companies use their online communications to build, design, and manage their brands. She likes to blog about latest trends, social media, conferences, and share tools.

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