Leverage The Power of Pinterest For Businesses or Brands: Pinner Outreach & The Unicorn Effect

Holy social overload! It used to be (back in the good old days) that you might have enough time to play around with a social media platform long enough to figure out the best way to use it for your business or brand. These days, with Google relentlessly pushing +, Facebook updating features daily, and Twitter flirting with the idea of widespread brand pages, you might be one share, post, check-in, update, or upload away from packing up your pooch and moving to a remote part of Canada where the only things that tweet are the birds.

In all seriousness though, businesses do not have the time nor resources to waste dabbling in every emerging social platform. Want to know if Pinterest is an ideal fit for your business? With more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined, it would seem the jury is in. If you’re marketing online, you can’t really pass up the opportunity to get in front of an audience as large as Pinterest’s. Whether or not it will continue to grow or plateau is yet to be seen, but a couple things are evident at this point: the link-building potential and referral traffic are reason enough to use Pinterest to promote online content. Whether or not you create a branded page will depend on if you can commit to updating another social outlet. Regardless, you can at the very least use a personal Pinterest page to push products, services, or content as needed. Here are 5 tips on how to leverage the power of Pinterest for your business:

1. Pinner Outreach

Pinterest is an awesome forum in which to interact with users pinning or repinning your content. Much like you’d reach out to individuals RTing your content or reply to people commenting on your wall, Pinterest offers the opportunity to interact with users taking the time to pin your content to their boards.

Need a tutorial on how to identify these individuals? Here’s a quick rundown on how to find them quickly and easily:

Step 1. To see the individuals that have previously pinned your content, go to http://pinterest.com/source/yourdomainname.com/. Much of the content you see may be pinned by your branded page or personal pinterest account so you might need to scroll to the bottom of the page to see where other users orginally pinned your content. You can also access this page by click the “Also from Your Domain Name” button as seen below.

Step 2. Once you locate users that have pinned things from your domain, click on their boards and leave them a comment thanking them for pinning your content. A simple, “Thanks for pinning our ____! Happy Pinning! :)” should suffice. It might also be worth following their board if it is relevant to your product or service.

Step 3. Just like you’d thank someone for RTing a Tweet, thanking the individuals that have repinned your content is another way to engage Pinterest users. To find your repinners, simply go to Pins and click on a pin that shows a number of re-pins. From there, you can see a complete list of the boards and users that have repinned your content as seen below. Click on the users’ boards and comment with another, “Thanks for sharing our ____! Keep on Pinning!” You can also suggest that they check out some of your related boards for similar content.

Step 4. While you’re on their boards, help out the user if they haven’t selected a category for their board. Select something that makes the most sense by taking a look around first. This not only engages the user since they will get a notification telling them you’ve helped out, but it also allows for your pin to show up across multiple (and relevant) feeds.

2. Pin From The Web

Obviously for SEO benefits as well as just general online marketing purposes, it is always best to pin directly from your own domain (Yes, Pinterest Links for the time-being are DoFollow and individual Pinterest pages do have Google Page Ranks). Evidence of the impact Pinterest can have on traffic (Pinterest Drives More Traffic than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined) is well documented at this point and I can personally attest to the claims that it can significantly increase website traffic in a short period of time when used correctly. However, in order to diversify your Pinterest page, you might need to reach outward for content at some point. Before you scavenge your Pinterest feed for content, try hitting up the web. Pinning straight from the web has several benefits including:

  • Avoid copyright infringement. Pinning directly from the web assures that you are crediting the correct source.
  • Increase your visibility. Being the original pinner of a product or content increases your visibility as you will always be listed when the “Originally Pinned By” tag shows up to users.

While you’re at it, do yourself a favor and grab the “Pin It” button. It makes pinning from the web quick and easy.

3. The Unicorn Effect

Pinterest is crawling with generic board names like “Dream Home”, “Things I Love”, and “Places I Want To Go” . While these boards are just fine for personal use, when it comes to using Pinterest for your business, the more creative and/or niche you can be, the better.

About 3 weeks ago, I created a board entitled “I Like Unicorns” on my personal Pinterest account after I searched for unicorns and was disheartened to find there wasn’t any fun or pretty things to look at. So I said, “Ah-ha. I will create a unicorn Pinterest board…because I am bored. And I like unicorns.”

I crafted a concise description (The description reads “Unicorns!” Creative, I know) and filed my board under the category “Geek” with little thought of strategy. I pinned a few silly things and let it sit.

Fast forward 3 weeks. My silly little board has 339 followers; I, myself, only have 246 followers. Essentially everything I pin to the board gets repinned more than 10 times. Did the unicorns harness their magical powers and gather their unicorn fairy friends to attract followers and repins? Most likely, no. This is the beauty of Pinterest: There is no such thing as an off-the-wall Pinterest board. The weirder or more niche, the better. This is what I shall call The Unicorn Effect (I’m elated that I finally get to mention them in a blog post without being ridiculed by my co-workers.).

How to Duplicate the Unicorn Effect (And just some general best practices for creating boards):

  • Do your keyword research. Much like you do before writing an article on a topic, search Pinterest for relevant keywords to identify if similar boards have been created. You should identify areas that have yet to be covered (The Unicorn Effect) and areas that have been, but are widely searched and pinned.
  • Create a mix of specific, unique boards and more broad, all encompassing boards.
  • Use descriptive and relevant keywords in your board title and description. Instead of “Cool picture”, opt for adjectives that describe the content in detail. Think about including a general description and then a more detailed explanation like in the following example. Description for a pin of a picture of our new office building covered in snow: “Snowy landscape. Winter photograph of the new Netvantage Office covered in snow on Grand River Ave in downtown East Lansing, Michigan.”
  • If you’re pinning an article, include the title of the article, Author and the topic to help users find it. It might also be useful to include the date.
  • If you’re pinning a product, be sure to include make, model, color, style, and/or design.
  • Avoid creating descriptions that list keywords. Make sure that your descriptions are both relevant and readable.
  • Do make use of hashtags when it makes sense. My advice would only be to implement hashtags into descriptions when they make sense. Example: We created a board for local businesses, the Twitter hashtag used in our area is #lovelansing so we added it to the description to make it easier to find. Using broad hashtags like #homedecor don’t have any added benefit. In this instance, it would make more sense to simply use the keyword “Home Decor”.

4. Content Aggregation

Just because your product or service may not be extremely visual doesn’t mean that Pinterest isn’t a good fit for your business. Although it is obviously advantageous to have compelling photographs to show off to consumers, there are whole host of ways that you can get creative with Pinterest boards that don’t revolve around products or elaborate pictures. The method I’ve had the most success with thus far is pinning articles, blogs, videos, and tutorials on niche topics. Here are some great ideas for coming up with more outside the box Pinterest Boards:

  • Create boards focused around specific topics in which to include videos, articles, and/or blog posts. Example: “Social Media Tutorials”, “Articles On How to Leverage LinkedIn”, or “DIY Woodworking Tutorials”. It helps if the blog post or article has one engaging photo related to the topic.
  • Generate content with Pinterest in mind. Infographs, photographs, and other visuals make it easier to pin blog posts.
  • Create a gallery. Traditionally, businesses have used to upload business event photos, lectures, and other business related pictures. If you have photos you’d like to showcase on a Pinterest board, move them over to your domain so that you can keep the link juice. If you have a WordPress blog, it is extremely easy to put together a gallery in which you can pin from. It won’t be easily accessible to the public unless you want it to be and even if individuals do stumble upon it, it looks professional and clean.
  • Showcase your videos. Have client testimonials, product information, or tutorials in video form? Videos make compelling pins such as much as photos.

5. Get Others On Board (Pun Intended)

Use the Contributors feature to allow multiple team members to pin content to a board. This works best for small businesses rather than brands. Be sure that the individual you want to add as a contributor follows you and that you follow them. Multiple contributors allow for links to appear across several different boards and feeds.

Do you have ideas or tips for using Pinterest for business? Perhaps you don’t know the best way to market those Bulwark Fire Resistant Sweatshirts or Red Kap Women’s Tops.  Share below.

Photo Credit: Angry Birds, Unicorn, and a big shout-out to Town & Country Cedar Products for allowing me to use their Pinterest page for my example.

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