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Thursday, 30 May 2013

It’s Time to Jump On the Pinterest Bandwagon

Social media marketing. It’s the marketing of the future. It’s the true sign of human interaction that Google and Bing are missing in their rankings. It’s going to prevail beyond the downfall of SEO.
Like me, you may be critical of these assertions. You may hesitate to drop your traditional optimization strategies for social signals, and that’s just fine. But there’s no denying that Pinterest has been the poster child of social success in the past few years, and there’s no better time than right now to make it a part of your marketing strategy.

You heard a lot about the crazy exponential growth of Pinterest back toward the end of 2011. But what you may not know is that even though it hasn’t been so dramatic, Pinterest is still growing, largely due to their increasing presence on the mobile Web during the second half of last year. People just love to pin it.

Even more interesting is the unique demographic split. Unlike other social networks, such as Tumblr and Instagram, which are primarily made up of a 30-and-under audience, Pinterest is split almost perfectly between the age ranges of 18-29, 30-49, and 50-64, with an audience just above or below 15 percent of the Internet-using population of each. This has led to great results for big department stores or retailers like Starbucks, who are able to “sell without selling” (by reinforcing their brand, and keeping their products at the front of their customers’ minds). And it can lead to great results for your business, too.

Time to Get Started!
If you don’t have a Pinterest account yet, it’s time to make one. You can’t change your username once you’ve signed up, so use your business name or the username you’ve used across other social sites. Setting up your profile is easy, but if you need a refresher, read these Pinterest for business tips.
One of the most important parts of configuring your account is verifying your website. Doing so will give you access to Pinterest’s Web Analytics, powerful free tools for tracking the success of your pins.

When it comes to pinning, you might need to take one of two slightly different approaches, depending on if you already have great product photos on your business site. Read on for the two options:

If You Have Great Product Photos
If you have an eCommerce store with beautiful shots of your products, you’ve already won half the battle. (You’ve really got it made if you sell jewelry, dresses, crafts, wedding garb or accessories, quirky gift objects, or anything related to cooking/baking.) Retailers naturally fit into Pinterest’s image bookmarking model.
Who is your ideal customer? You might have one perfect type of customer, but most likely, you have several. Don’t just think in terms of hard and fast demographics, but instead in terms of personality types. Though Pinterest is still composed of primarily women, communities already exist around a number of hobbies, interests, and personality traits. Are your target customers eco-conscious consumers and animal activists? Are they planning their wedding or homeschooling a child or planting a garden? Are they doing DIY renovations to their home? Do they love to cook? There are a number of target demographics that have huge influence on Pinterest. Find the ones that suit your business and latch on.
If you’ve got great product photos on your site, be sure to add “Pin It” buttons to your eCommerce pages; that way, your visitors can more easily share your content themselves. When doing your own pinning, be sure to strike a balance between repinning others’ images and pinning your own. Obviously this doesn’t mean that you should repin your competitors’ products, but try to find compelling imagery to accompany your own images.

If You’re Lacking Compelling Photos, Don’t Lose Hope
If your business is not hinged on your beautiful product photography, don’t lose hope. Think about your ideal customer, and what they are most likely pinning. You can probably find one or two areas that overlap with your business or service.
You might need to get a little creative about what you pin, but there is still room for your business to contribute original content to Pinterest. Use a free image editing tool like Pinstamatic or Pixlr to create tutorials, industry memes, or quotes/sayings that would appeal to your audience. If you are a little more ambitious, do some research and hire a designer to create an infographic for your blog; infographics do well on Pinterest, and you might even get some links from other sites. You can also pin videos; if you’ve got an industry expert at your disposal, put him on camera and share the knowledge!
Pinterest is a small network compared to Twitter and Facebook, but it is still growing much more quickly than most other networks. Your business has the opportunity to make a big splash there. What other ways are you using Pinterest to promote your business? Share in the comments!


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