Pin This! How to Use Pinterest to Market Your b2c Business

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How to Use Pinterest to Market Your b2c Business

Here are some Pinterest stats to consider:

  • Pinterest topped 70 million users back in July.Pinterest
  • According to Media Bistro, “69% of online consumers who visit Pinterest have found an item they’ve bought or wanted to buy.”
  • AllFacebook cites a Monetate report, noting that while Facebook delivers more social commerce conversions, Pinterest users spend more.

There’s no doubt about it, Pinterest has a passionate, loyal audience (made up of women, primarily)—an audience that loves discovering new things and is willing to spend money on the things they discover. So it makes sense that b2c businesses, large and small, would be interested in having a strong Pinterest presence. But how, exactly, does a business owner accomplish this? That’s what we’re going to discuss here.

For the purpose of this post, we’re going to use a hypothetical wedding photographer as our b2c business so that we can illustrate some of our suggestions and you can best understand them. (Note: if you have a b2b business, some of the items below will still apply to you, but your overall approach and strategy will need to be different. Here’s a great resource to get started.)

Firm Up Your Pinterest Marketing Strategy

Mind the essentials. We’re not going to harp on this, but you should have the following set up before you continue reading any further:

  • Have a solid profile image (165 x 165 pixels) that reflects the spirit of your business. Most likely, this will be your logo, but remember that creativity is rewarded on Pinterest.
  • Include a strong bio line (500-character limit) that’s clear, compelling, and incorporates keywords.
  • Verify your Pinterest account. Seriously, do this.
  • Install a Pinterest button on your website.
  • You should also familiarize yourself with Pinterest’s guidelines for businesses.

Brainstorm boards. For this exercise, don’t censor yourself, simply brainstorm every sort of idea you can think of. Include ideas directly related to your business, indirectly related, and not related at all. Just get a list going.

So for our hypothetical wedding photographer, our boards might include sunset wedding shots, winter weddings, summer weddings, creative poses, bridal hair trends, wedding flowers, wedding cakes, creative wedding reception ideas, wedding venues, first dances, love quotes, things that are red (to signify love), and dogs. As you can see, this little brainstorm covers everything, including ideas directly related, indirectly related, and not related at all (dogs!).

Look at your brainstorm list and sort it according to the boards you’re most excited about putting together. (And here’s the thing about brainstorming: you should never stop for too long. You should update this list regularly.)

Need some inspiration to get the creative juices going? Entrepreneur has an article on eight boards that are worth creating.

Create a board strategy. Let’s say you brainstormed 60 ideas. Start with creating five boards off the top—you need to “prime the pump” and look like you have built a presence, and five boards will do just that. So that leaves you with 55 ideas. You could create a new board every week for a year. Or you could create one board a day for 55 days. How often you create boards is totally up to you. The key is consistency. Remember, Pinterest is all about eye candy. The more eye candy you can offer followers and potential followers, the better. That said, you need to be realistic. One board a week is probably doable for most businesses, but if you find you love the platform, enjoy engaging people through it, AND you’re seeing the results (e.g. traffic back to your site and more leads and sales coming in), then have at it and spend more time on it. Some recommend pinning to your boards an average of five times a day. You have to find what works for you and then stick to it.

But back to the strategy. Essentially what you’re going to do is create an editorial calendar for your boards. So, going back to our wedding photographer example, our first five boards might be the following: sunset weddings, winter weddings, summer weddings, wedding cakes, and wedding flowers. From there, we’d schedule the rest.

Understand the anatomy of a great board and pin. A great Pinterest board should have…

  • A cool name. Yes, it should suggest what the board is about, but you can have fun doing it. For example, instead of calling a board “Orange” (and showcasing orange things, like wedding sashes, flowers, and reception décor), you could get cute and say “Orange You Happy?” (See what we did there?) It just makes it a little more memorable and fun, both huge parts of Pinterest.
  • An engaging board description. Too many brands overlook this section! Don’t be like them. Take the time to describe what people can find on this particular board and be sure to use keyword phrases since all boards and pins are searchable.
  • Lot and lots of pins (images, primarily, but you can use videos as well). No one wants to follow a board that hardly has any pins. So what’s the right number of pins? There’s no magic number, but shoot for something north of 15 for most boards, and take the time to create some “meatier” boards with has many as 50 pins.
  • Plenty of HIGH QUALITY pins. Remember, EYE CANDY. People WANT to look at images—images that surprise, delight, and intrigue. Use high resolution, vertical images for best results. Pins in the feed display at 238 pixels for the width and are adjusted to the height. When you click on a pin, the width will expand to 735 pixels and the height will be adjusted accordingly. Here’s a great Pinterest sizing cheat sheet to keep handy. And don’t forget that you have control over the cover photo—choose your best one.
  • A wide VARIETY of pins. Now here’s the most important thing to keep in mind: NOT ALL OF THE PINS ON THE BOARD NEED TO BE FROM YOUR BUSINESS. In fact, they shouldn’t all be from your business (with a few exceptions, which we’ll get to in a moment). So, for example, going back to our wedding photographer. The board on bridal hair trends should definitely feature some of the photographer’s own shots, but also pins from other people and brands (like Brides magazine). If you decide to do a board that features only images from or related to your business, you should label it clearly. So if our photographer only features her own winter wedding shots, she might label the board “Winter Weddings That I’ve Shot.”
  • Relevant info on each pin, especially a source. If you upload pics from your computer, make sure you provide a source URL where people can find relevant info (in other words, a relevant page on your website). ALL pins should include a description that includes keywords (take the extra minute to do this).

Understand and respect the power of timing. The Pinterest newsfeed displays things in real time in the order in which people post their pins. This means certain times of day, and certain days in general, are better for pinning than others. According to SteamFeed, “The worst day you can pin on is Monday with the best being Saturday morning.” Now, we realize Saturday morning might not be the best time for YOU to pin (especially for our hypothetical wedding photographer). No worries. SteamFeed recommends a tool called ViralTag, which allows you to schedule your pins.

If you build it, they will come (that is, if you tell them!). So you’ve done everything we’ve suggested above and you’re on the prowl for more followers. Here are some ideas:

  • Don’t forget to add the Pinterest icon to your website, email signature, email newsletter templates, and any other communications that go out to customers.
  • In your blog and/or newsletter, consider running a feature called “Favorite Pin of the Month” and highlight an unusual pin (or, likewise, you could call it “Favorite Pinner of the Month” and highlight a person or brand with cool boards).
  • Engage with the Pinterest community. Seems simple and straightforward, and that’s because it is. Social media is all about being social, remember? Follow people and other brands (ones that are relevant, but ones that are different as well to extend your reach) and take the time to re-pin and comment on people’s pins. This does not need to be a huge time investment (although beware: you can start in on Pinterest and look up and realize hours have passed). The same time you’re creating your weekly board, spend 15 minutes checking out other people’s pins. Whenever you have some down time—you’re waiting for your next appointment or you’re at your kid’s soccer game, pop on and check out what’s going on. Remember, consistency is key. Important note: when you leave a comment (and this applies to all social media and blogs as well), you should NOT be promoting yourself or your business. You shouldn’t necessarily leave “empty” comments like “nice pin.” Instead, offer a valuable comment. What is it about the image that you liked or that struck your fancy?
  • Don’t underestimate the power of search. You know how we recommended above that you use detailed descriptions with keyword phrases? This is why: people often search for specific items on Pinterest. Let’s consider our wedding photographer. Brides-to-be might be checking out bridal hair fashion and searching on that phrase (and similar ones). If you optimize your pins and boards, they have a better chance of showing up in search. Now, we realize not every bride who searches on that phrase and who finds your board is going to be in your target audience (you might be in Boston, and the bride might be in LA). But at some point, if you’ve optimized well, there will be a match.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of hyper-specific boards. Going back to our wedding photographer example, she might want to create a board called “Elegant Wedding Reception Venues in Boston.” Sure, that board won’t appeal to everyone, but brides in the Boston area searching on wedding reception venues might find great ideas from this board…and a possible wedding photographer to boot. Again, think about keyword phrases, but get creative in your approach. Does adding a location to a phrase make it a niche board? Or maybe some other descriptor or adjective? Get creative!
  • Use Contributor Boards. This is a cool feature where you invite other people, or “contributors,” to pin to a board you’ve created. So, going back to our example, a wedding photographer could create a board called “Cool Wedding Ideas” and then she could invite florists, bridal shops, limo companies, and even other wedding photographers (in non-competing areas) to contribute. What’s cool is that the board gets added to each contributor’s Pinterest page as well. Just like that, you’ve increased your reach AND you’ve provided value to your followers. Learn more about Contributor Boards here, including how to set them up. You could also invite one contributor to a board and call it a “Guest Pinner”—more on this cool idea here.

Later this week, we’re going to feature examples of some brands rocking Pinterest.

So how about you? Are you on Pinterest? How do you market your business? Share in the comments!

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One thought on “Pin This! How to Use Pinterest to Market Your b2c Business

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