Pinterest is hot, and on every entrepreneur’s radar. But how do you use it? I spend an embarrassing amount of time on the site (both for work and pleasure), but it wasn’t always this way. When I first got a Pinterest invite, I didn’t understand why this type of social media hodgepodge would be of any use to me. Mainly, I just didn’t understand how to use it for, exploreB2B. (“Why do I need ‘Boards’ and how do I even find things I actually like?”) Now that we understand each other, Pinterest works to promote the ideology of my company, satisfying me on personal and professional levels. Here are five tips on how to reap it’s business potential.
1. Link Pinterest to the Facebook account of the person with the most friends in your office. Does this sound petty? It’s not. People who are your ‘friends’ on Facebook (usually) have more of a connection to you than your company. They will check you out because they are interested in expanding their own Pinterest network. Plus, you are easier to find than the name your company they may or may not be able to recall. Once friends find your artful curation, it will not matter whose name it represents.
2. Build your Boards before you go on a follower rampage. Whether you are an individual or a company, people will not be interested in your account until you have something to show them. Even if you acquire a few loyal followers (your CTO and best friend from college) with no content, to gain an engaging set of viewers you must produce something of value. Invest in finding images that mean something you. Humor is always a plus, but do not underestimate the power of a beautifully composed photograph. Every now and then, choose an image you feel will attract the most viral attention and Tweet the Pin. Be wary of how often you flood your Twitter with Pins.
3. Tell a story. Let the Pinterest audience know who you are before you throw at them what you sell or provide. The point of Pinterest is not to gather an immediate, lucrative following that will tote your name like Abercrombie & Fitch in the late 1990’s. You want the people, yes people, on Pinterest to get to know you (as a representative of your company). Images, in general, have the power to evoke powerful emotions; just look at all of the Boards titled ‘Motivation,’ ‘Imagination,’ ‘Love.’ Using images to evoke true feeling is not exploitation. It is an opportunity to connect with individuals who are looking to be touched in a way they are not yet aware. Repin often, but also share images and news that resonates with you from other sites. Surprise users with how thoughtful, tasteful, creative, intelligent and witty you are – not how many products or info graphics you have.
4. Use good judgement and don’t over do it. There is nothing more agitating on a social media site than someone who thinks they are a world-class hoot. If you set out to impress, you are sure to disappoint – both your viewers and yourself. Be genuine in your approach, with image selection/captions, and stick to it. People will see through your obvious innuendos, over-eager “wit,” and obnoxious company pitches. Take the advice of every self-help seminar and be your (cough, polished) self. The is an effective way to balance creativity and self-restraint.
5. Interact with people who share similar interests. Does this sound obvious? It should. However, many companies are eager to follow anyone and everyone in the hopes they will return the favor. Besides flooding your homepage with images you are unimpressed with, it will take longer to sort through to find those with whom you actually share a visual bond. Connecting with people whose pins relate to yours inspires an actual “Pinterest” relationship of mutual (and frequent) repinning. It also leads you to other pins, and people, who are more likely to be interested in the images you have chosen to represent your company ethos.
Get to it… and see you there.