A few days ago, while working on some marketing research, I found a company on Pinterest that I most certainly did not expect to find there. The company in question manufactures equipment that helps to clean out sewers and dig ditches. This situation reminded me of the days when Pinterest was just about the hottest thing in the marketing world. There were many blog posts saying that if your company was not getting a Pinterest account started, you were already behind the 8-ball. It seems, unfortunately, that a lot of companies took that advice to heart.
As with so many tools, Pinterest *can* be useful for marketing a company. If thought isn’t put into that effort, however, you can end up trying to hammer a nail with the blunt end of a screwdriver. It looks like you’re doing something productive, but in the end, well, you end up just looking a little silly. How can you make sure you are using Pinterest effectively? Here are some tips.
1. Think about whether Pinterest is truly a good match for your company
Who uses Pinterest? This post from ExpandedRamblings.com answers this question in thorough detail. The Reader’s Digest version is that most Pinterest users (as in 80%) are women. Most of those women are in the United States. Most Pinterest users are young (Generations X-Z) and the majority are upper middle class or higher in terms of household income. This means that if your company makes products that cater to municipalities, that target male users, or that don’t fall typically into female interests, you are probably not going to get a great response on Pinterest. There are better platforms for you. On the other hand, if your company makes products that do cater specifically to women, especially women who might be thinking about getting married and starting a family, Pinterest could be a gold mine.
2. Don’t autofeed your Pinterest pins into Twitter or Facebook
If you haven’t checked it out yet, you might want to explore the recently released slideshare summarizing 2014 internet trends from Mary Meeker of KPCB. One of the many interesting details in the report is the comparison between popular news sources on Facebook versus popular news sources on Twitter. Spoiler alert – the lists are quite different. Extrapolating from that fact, one can guess overall that your followers on Twitter may desire different kinds of content than your “fans” on Facebook, and your followers on Pinterest are probably unique in their own ways too. Auto-feeding Pinterest into another platform can also really clutter up your feed since it’s so easy to pin dozens of pins in one sitting.
3. Make sure your pins would be interesting to other people, not just you
If you are using Pinterest to try to build your brand or grow your business, posting pictures of the company picnic is probably not going to move you towards your goal. Pinterest is all about the attention-grabbing image. Unless your company gatherings are pretty spectacular, most people will probably pass you by.
4. Make your description work for you
Ideally, if all goes well, people will end up seeing and pinning your pin and that will be their very first clue that your company exists. What will they learn about your company at that first glance? If your description does not include your company name or details about what your interesting image is showing, they might just assume you just are interested in creating pins for Pinterest and nothing more. It’s probably not a bad idea to have everyone who will be pinning for your company decide on a convention of how to incorporate your company into every description. Perhaps you could hashtag your brand name or maybe you could simply include a URL back to your corporate website. Leave bread crumbs so a person who sees your pin can actually learn more about you.
5. Make sure to interact with other accounts
In many ways, Pinterest is like all other social media platforms – you won’t get far unless you show a willingness to interact with other people’s accounts. That means leaving the occasional comment, “liking” pins, and of course repinning. It does not matter if pins don’t fit your company profile 100%. Again, as with all social media platforms, Pinterest gives you an opportunity to “humanize” your brand. As long as you don’t solely focus on rainbows and unicorns, things should work out well for you.
There is no question that Pinterest can be a powerful brand-building and link referral tool for any company, B2B or B2c. However, as with all marketing tools, one needs to approach the platform with a plan, clear objectives, and an understanding at least on a basic level of the platform’s demographics.
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mkhmarketing/8540213301 via Creative Commons