Within the past year, Pinterest has seen its popularity skyrocket from relative obscurity to rival the likes of Facebook and Twitter, becoming one of the largest social media networks on the Web. As of April, the network was estimated to have approximately 8.3 million users. And with such a large number of users, businesses large and small are looking for ways to cash in on the craze in any way possible. But because Pinterest is so heavily reliant on visual elements, marketing on the site is quite different than Facebook or Twitter.
To help you get started, we dug into the service and spoke to social experts to compile a comprehensive list of best practices for establishing a business presence on the hottest social media network around.
The first and most obvious step to getting on Pinterest is to make a dedicated brand page for your business. Before creating a page, though, you’ll have to create an account. You’ll be asked to authorize the setup using either your Facebook or Twitter account. Because Pinterest doesn’t currently support Facebook brand page linking, you’ll want to authenticate the account using your brand’s Twitter page.
Once you’ve created a Pinterest account, you’ll want to customize your page with branding specific to your business. For instance, under the Settings menu, you can add a brief description of your business, as well as its location and website. You should also upload an image to your page that’s relevant to your company. You may consider using the same profile image as the one you use on Facebook or Twitter to ensure continuity across the social networks.
Above all, we highly suggest turning off the “Hide your Pinterest profile from search engines” setting. This will help ensure that users can search for your Pinterest page using such search engines as Google and Bing.
Building a strong following on Pinterest requires that you provide your audience with material they find interesting. Part of that process includes knowing exactly who your audience is so you can tailor shared material to their interests. Maggie Georgieva, inbound marketing manager at HubSpot, suggests getting to know your audience by visiting the Pinterest pages of some of your fans. The goal: to see what interests they may have in common so you can work boards and pins on similar topics into your page. But don’t start throwing random boards onto your page. The content still needs to be relevant to your brand.
If you hope to keep followers coming back to your page and re-pinning your posts, you have to pin material that holds their interest. If you run a small athletics retailer, for instance, you may want to create boards relating to various sports. You could then pin images of local sports teams under the appropriate board to draw in area residents and fans. You want to create boards and pins that will truly resonate with your audience. In addition to photos, we also suggest pinning interesting videos to your page. Unfortunately, Pinterest only supports embedded videos from YouTube and Vimeo at this time, although the company says it’s working on increasing video sources.
There is a wrong way to post material on Pinterest. The social network discourages its users, even marketers and businesses, from engaging in blatant self-promotion. So adding pins about your company alone won’t cut it. Georgieva, however, says businesses can use this restriction as an opportunity to get creative by pinning topics that showcase the lifestyle their brand represents. Try working pins about your business into these lifestyle boards as a reminder to followers that that board’s particular topic is exactly what your business is all about.