What is Pinterest and How to Use it
Pinterest has become the third largest , as well as one of the fastest growing, social media websites. After launching in March 2010, Pinterest was slow to gain traction. But, after summer 2011, traffic grew rapidly from approximately 5 million visitors a week at the beginning of October 2011 to over 21 .5 million weekly visitors by the end of January 2012. Not only has total traffic on Pinterest increased, but it has also become a excellent referral source, as Inc.com saw last year when Pinterest drove as much or more traffic to their site than Facebook.
What and How to Pin
At its core, Pinterest is a visual social network that brands can use to promote their visual content. Most brands already have great visual content they can use to build their Pinterest boards, such as the images on their website, or from advertisements and brochures.
When pinning images to your Pinterest boards, there are several tricks you can use to increase both the possibility of your image appearing in search results, and the number of re-pins and link clicks back to your website:
- Use Hashtags - Similar to Twitter, Pinterest uses hashtags to identify and categorize images.
- Gift Labeling – For users using Pinterest as a shopping guide, one of the most popular sections is the Gift section. By adding a $ before the price in the image description, your pin will appear within this section.
- Linking - While a pinned image will automatically link back to its source, don’t forget to also add a link back to the specific page of your website within the pin description.
- Create Pinboards Based on Customer Personas - By separating images that are relevant to each type of customer, it will be easier for followers to find the images that interest them.
- Pin Strong Images – Use enticing colorful images in blog articles that can be pinned and direct traffic back to your blog.
- Infographics and Data Charts - Infographics are often very visually appealing and offer a lot of information to followers as well, increasing the possibility of being repined. (When pinning infographics don’t forget to include a brief description of what the data in the graphic represents.)
No matter what, it is important to post relevant images for your niche that will increase brand identity and credibility. Focus on trying to be a resource for customers and avoid over-the-top self-promotion.
Growing a Following on Pinterest
Follow other pinners that are interested in the same topics or pin topics related to your industry. As with all forms of social media, consistency is key; by pinning everyday (or on a regular schedule) follower numbers are more likely to increase. In addition, by pinning on a regular basis you will be able to maintain your following, because followers know that they can trust you to frequently provide new pins on topics that interest them. Other ways to grow your following includes:
- Repinning images that are relevant to your brand from your followers
- Integrating Pinterest into your comprehensive social media strategy-by linking your Pinterest account to your other social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn)
- Addition of a Pin It Button or Pinterest Widget to your website
User-Generated Pinboards and Pinterest Contests
An interactive way to grow an engaged following on Pinterest is to use user-generated Pinboards. User-generated pinboards are boards on your brand page that other users can pin images to, allowing select customers and fans to contribute to your page and share their ideas. A great way to utilize user-generated pinboards is to launch a contest in which followers pin something that they either like or is related to your brand. For example, a camera company running a contest in which fans pin a favorite picture taken with the company’s camera, and then the picture with the most re-pins wins a prize.
Pinterest Business Profiles
Last week, Pinterest announced the launching of official business profiles, which look the same as personal Pinterest profiles but require website authentication. In addition, Pinterest now allows businesses and individual users to embed pins and boards on third-party sites to help grow their following. While the features on business profiles do not differ from individual pages, the company stated in an interview, with AdAge, that they do anticipate adding more tools and features to help business grow, measure, and engage with their followers.
For more information of Pinterest check out my other posts:
- What’s Their Worth? Facebook Vs. Pinterest Visitors
- Should my Brand be on Pinterest?
- How the 10 Most-Followed Brands are Leveraging Pinterest