Tweet, Post, and Pin: A Beginner’s Guide to Social Media (Part 3 of 3)

 In Be Locally Relevant, Build Awareness, Drive Traffic, Social Media

As we discussed in Part 1 of this blog series, social media has become an integral part of marketing plans for businesses, small and large. Our best advice is to choose the social media channel that is best for you, your business and your customers. While it’s exciting to think about taking over the world, one social media channel at a time, it’s better to master one or two social media channels to connect with your customers.

We discussed Twitter yesterday, but today, we’re talking about Pinterest.

Pinterest

Pinterest is the “youngest” of the social media channels we’re exploring in this series – it just launched in 2010. To put it simply, Pinterest is a “virtual pinboard.” It helps users organize and share all the beautiful and interesting things that they find online. Members use their pinboards to plan weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

Pin, Re-Pin, Repeat

A pin is an imaged added to Pinterest. Your various Pinterest boards are made up of pins. A board can be created on any topic, like, “Recipes to Try,” “Places I Want To Go” or “Wishlist.” A pin can be added from a website using the “Pin It” button, or you can upload photos from your computer. Your followers will see your photo and caption, and if they want to know the original source of the photo, they’ll click on the photo. Tip: by using the “Pin It” button, the photo will automatically link to the original source / website of the image – pretty neat!

You can pin any photo that you find online, or photo that you upload to your computer. You can also re-pin a photo that’s already on Pinterest – moving it to your board of choice. By re-pinning something, you’re collecting that photo for storage on your board. Your followers, in turn, can re-pin the photos that you share for their own “collection” or board.

Putting It To Use

Many businesses use Pinterest as a way to extend their brand beyond what they sell or do. For instance, a retail store may share their Spring 2013 line on a “What’s New” board, and then also shares party planning tips and decorating ideas on their “Party Planning” board. While the second board may not feature one item for sale by the company, it shares that brand’s lifestyle and inspires their customers.
As we mentioned above, users can pin directly from websites, or they can repin from other users – another virtual (and visual) word of mouth marketing tactic.

Pinterest is the most visual social media channel we’re discussing in this 3-part blog series – it is, quite literally, all pictures. That being said, captions need to be limited to a few short words. By clicking on the photo, the user will be directed to the original source (your website, your blog, etc.) where they can learn more.

Here are some ideas on how to effectively use Pinterest:

  • Create inspiring boards: travel, recipes, “products we love,” etc.
  • Highlight what your business cares about – philanthropy, volunteering, gardening, etc.
  • Link to weekly specials or seasonal sales on your website.
  • Celebrate the seasons with holiday idea boards.
  • Make it personal – show what inspires YOU, not just what you sell.

Examples

Restaurant

Let’s use an example to demonstrate how to communicate with your followers on Pinterest. Say you own a restaurant, and you want to tell everyone that you got in a new shipment of Virginia red wine from ABC Vineyard. You think it pairs perfectly with the cheese plate on your menu, and customers should come in and try it.

Here’s how to “say” that on Pinterest: Find a photo of the new wine you’re carrying (possibly from the vineyard’s website) and pin it to your “Now Serving” board on Pinterest. Caption could include brief tasting notes for the wine, and a link to the Vineyards Pinterest username (if they have one). The photo will link back to the source (in this case, the vineyard’s website).

Another idea is to feature information and a photo of the new wine on your blog, and then pin the photo from your blog to your “Now Serving” board on Pinterest. This will drive traffic to your blog!

Retail

Here’s an example for how to advertise a retail store that’s having a President’s Day Sale.

Feature a photo of one of your most popular winter items, and link it back to your website so that customers can find information on the sale. Pinterest has an option for businesses to feature the price of an item in the upper left-hand corner of the pin. Simply type the $ or £ symbol, followed by the number amount in the caption. When you are finished, click “Pin It.”

Our Top Tips for Pinterest:

  • Use high-quality, dynamic photographs that users would want to feature on their own boards.
  • Organize your pins onto different boards.
  • Follow your favorite companies (and possibly, some of your followers) to gain inspiration for your boards.
  • Feature a “Pin It” button on your website – that way, customers can pin any image they see on your website to their boards – thus driving their followers back to your website!

For more information on how to make Pinterest work for your business, visit: http://pinterest.com/about/help/ and http://business.pinterest.com/what-works/

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