The monumental rise of Pinterest in it’s first few years of existence has caught the attention of many small business owners and marketers. For businesses with large product catalogs and large numbers of devoted fans, the image-based social media platform is a match made in heaven. However, making Pinterest work for smaller businesses can be a little trickier. Pinterest has yet to establish paid content options so marketers needs to be aggressive and think outside of the box if they want their Pinterest efforts to bear fruit. Here are four Pinterest strategies and tips that businesses can use to make the most of the platform.
Use Hashtags and Keywords in Descriptions
At present, there is no way to use promoted content on Pinterest as there is on most other established social media platforms. Undoubtedly, this will change in the future, but in the meantime, it means that optimizing descriptions for Pinterest searches is essential for spreading content to new audiences (SEO says “Hi.”). Use the keywords that draw people to the brand’s website in the Pinterest descriptions. Additionally, Pinterest has support for hashtags, so including the most popular ones is also beneficial.
Board Organization is Key
It’s important to organize pins into boards and to use boards liberally. This make it easier for visitors to find what they are looking for and helps keep Pinterest pages from becoming jumbles of images. If a business is pinning one to four images per day, there would be between 350 to 1000 images by the end of a year. Without properly organizing these pins into boards, it would be difficult for visitor to find what they were looking for. Martha Stewart Living has more than 13,000 pins split into more than 126 different boards. It makes it possible for her half a million fans to find the help they’re looking for. Remember that people will choose the path of least resistance. If it’s easier to search for something on a website than trying to use the Pinterest page, they will use the website (or a competitor). This means that the marketer has missed a chance to have the reader share the information with their friends on Pinterest, which would have exponentially increased the reach of the information.
Integrate Pinterest Into Your Website
For businesses that already have significant amounts of web traffic, a better way to increase their Pinterest audience is to convert website visitors into Pinterest followers. By integrating Pinterest into a website, marketers make it easier for visitors to share the brand with their friends on Pinterest and to follow the brand themselves.
The beauty retail site Sephora is a prime example of the benefit of integrating Pinterest into a website. On the Sephora e-commerce website, they have made it easy for visitors to share products with their friends on Pinterest. This strategy has helped Sephora gain more than 200,000 followers on Pinterest. To be fair, this is one of the Pinterest success stories, so business owners should remember the saying “your mileage may vary”. Even if the results are as amazing as Sephora’s, there will certainly be some benefit of integrating Pinterest and it’s free to do so.
While the stock integration tools are effective, Pinterest also makes it simple for business owners to create their own custom widgets that can be used on websites and mobile apps. Using the Widget Builder, marketers can create buttons for websites, iOS, and Android. The buttons can be used to direct people to specific boards, allow them to follow the brand on Pinterest, or allow users to Pin items directly from a site or app. Whatever internet or mobile marketing strategy a company is using, they can integrate Pinterest to encourage social sharing.
Integrate Pinterest into Facebook
As the size of Pinterest continues to grows, marketers have good reason to want their Facebook fans to visit their Pinterest page. Pins and Boards are a better way to share large product catalogs over social media than albums and photos are on Facebook. When setting up a Pinterest account, it’s possible to alert Twitter and Facebook fans that a new pin available. However, there is no official way to link Facebook and Pinterest that doesn’t require the visitor to leave Facebook (and as direct competitors via Instagram, there’s no reason to expect that to change anytime soon). But there are a few apps that social media marketers can use to include Pinterest on their Facebook.
There are several third-party apps like WooBox, Pinvolve, and TabFusion, that create a miniature Pinterest site that shows in the Tab of a Facebook. Lowe’s uses TabFusion on their Facebook page as part of an aggressive Facebook/Pinterest strategy that includes Facebook cover art that is a collage of Pinterest images, reposting the top pins on Facebook, and including multiple calls to action for Facebook users to follow the brand on Pinterest.
Though it may take some efforts, there are many ways that small businesses can use Pinterest to improve the reach of their internet marketing efforts. The key is to make it easier for people to find the content, whether by effectively using keywords, hashtags, taxonomies, or integration. Strategies for small businesses using Pinterest will continue to change as the platform matures. Even now, Pinterest is experimenting with promoted content, which will certainly be a game changer. The platform has a lot to offer marketers so it’s worth making the effort to find a way to make Pinterest work.