Is Pinterest a part of your social media marketing strategy? If it's not, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to increase brand awareness and sales. While product-based businesses are a natural fit for this visual social network, Pinterest has proved to be a low-cost, effective way for small businesses in a variety of industries to engage with and learn about their customers.
"At the heart of Pinterest is relevance," said Danny Maloney, CEO and co-founder of Pinterest analytics and management firm Tailwind. "Unlike Facebook and Twitter, which connect users based on who they know, Pinterest connects people based on their common passions. This means that users see content which is more likely to be of interest to them, and also more likely to lead to purchases downstream. Marketers are seeing the value in highly targeted, relevant content distribution, leading more and more businesses to adopt Pinterest each day."
Pinterest's recently released Gifts feed, which only features "Product Pins" with pricing information and buy links, is proof of the selling power the social network has. Marketing experts offered these smart strategies to help small businesses drive sales through Pinterest. [How Photo-Sharing Can Boost Social Marketing]
Learn from your followers. Focusing on the interests of your target customers can help you create a more engaging experience, and Pinterest can provide a small business with a lot of insight into this. Maloney advised looking at who's following you, who's repinning your content, and who's pinning from your domain. You can then see what else those individuals are pinning to identify trends across your fans.
Encourage wish lists. Pinterest users have begun creating "wish list" boards for holidays, birthdays and even special occasions like bridal and baby showers to help their friends and family with gift ideas. Kirsten Knipp, vice president of product marketing and brand at e-commerce platform Bigcommerce, noted that encouraging your audience to add your products to their wish lists can bring new business to your website.
"Pinning can work really well as a secondary call to action for someone who is browsing and not ready to hit buy just yet," Knipp told Business News Daily. "The customer gets to share what they really want, and when [a family member or friend] goes to buy it, one click brings them right back to you."
- Tell stories with your boards. A softer sell can sometimes work just as well as a Product Pin. Entrepreneur and business consultant Nate Ginsburg said that crafting stories around your product with your Pinterest boards can inspire your audience, and get them to engage with and promote your product in a way that isn't pushy.
If you're new to Pinterest, one of the best things you can do to increase your brand visibility is add the "Pin It" button to your website.The majority of brand engagement on Pinterest is user-generated, so you want to make it as easy as possible for your website visitors to share your content there, Ginsburg said.
It's also important to make sure all your images are high-quality. Since Pinterest is image-based, having great photos of your product should be top priority, Knipp said. The more enticing and interesting a picture is, the more likely people on Pinterest are to look at and engage with it.
Maloney reminded business owners that Pinterest marketing is an investment, and seeing results may take some time.
"Many businesses think they're going to start a Pinterest profile and see profit roll in overnight," he said. "That's rarely the case. Investing in Pinterest is like investing in SEO or building word of mouth in your local community. Think of it as a year-round initiative that's important for the long-term. It isn't about the next three months; it's about getting in early on a platform that can fuel growth for years to come."
Originally published on Business News Daily.