|Credit: Red push pin image via Shutterstock|
You’ve probably heard a lot about what Pinterest can do for your business. If you still haven’t had time to dive in and figure it all out, it’s time to get started.
Karen Leland, a marketing, branding, and content expert and author of the new book “Ultimate Guide to Pinterest for Business” (Entrepreneur Press, 2013), answered our questions about why Pinterest is an especially important part of a small business marketing plan and what advice she has on how to get started.
BusinessNewsDaily: How is Pinterest different as a marketing tool than Facebook or Twitter?
Karen Leland: Unlike Twitter and Facebook, Pinterest is part of the trend of the visual web and is focused on images, not text. While pins do have short descriptions, the driving force of the site are pictures and images, including video.
BND: Does it bring you a different kind of customer?
K.L.: Yes. According to a Pew 2012 report, 70 percent of users on the site are women, ages 25-44, and 25 percent of women who are on the Internet use Pinterest. So, if your business caters to that demographic, it's a smart social media site for you to use.
BND: How should a business that is not using Pinterest get started?
K.L.: The first thing I recommend to all my marketing and branding clients when it comes to any social media site is that they step back and consider their overall goals and strategy for the site. Are they looking to drive more traffic to their website, drive sales, build their brand, create more customer engagement? The answers to these questions are what drive the types of boards a business creates, and the content they pin.
BND: Is it important to pin things that are not from your own company?
K.L.: What's important is the ratio. You want 40 percent of your pins to be educational, 40 percent to be inspirational, 10 percent about your services and product including promotions or specials and 10 percent about your business or brand. So it's fine to pin images from your company, but not all images and not all promotional.
BND: How does one accumulate followers on Pinterest?
K.L.: The acquisition of followers on Pinterest is similar to Twitter or Facebook. Once an individual or brand creates boards and pins, they need to do an outreach to their core audience by letting them know they are now on Pinterest by placing a Follow me on Pinterest button on your website, placing a Pin It button on your blogs, so people can instantly pin from you blog to their Pinterest.
BND: Can you actually sell on Pinterest?
K.L.: In a manner of speaking. While Pinterest does not currently support an in-site selling option, pinners can place a dollar sign followed by a price in a pin's description. This will generate a bubble showing the price of the item in the upper right-hand corner of the pin. The item will then be placed in the "Gifts" section and as people search for gifts at certain dollar amounts, those pins will be included.
BND: How does Pinterest drive customers to your business?
K.L.: In addition, Pinterest is a great way to drive traffic to your website . It's always a good idea to use keywords in pin descriptions and provide a URL where the visitor can click through for more information, or to purchase.