The phase, “let’s put a pin in this” means that something may be a good idea or suggestion, but that you are going to pin it to a bulletin board (really or symbolically) for further study. But since early adopters generally get the most ROI from being among the first to really understand and utilize new communications, you might not want to “stick a pin” in Pinterest, which landed among the top 10 social media sites with nearly as much traffic as Google+ according to dreamgrow.com.
Instead, you might want to start pinning on Pinterest on behalf of your business sooner, rather than later. Now that I’ve spent a few weeks sleuthing through the site pinning interests of my own at http://www.pinterest.com/beinpulse; here are my current suggestions for Pinterest as far as business use goes:
Is Pinterest even meant for business?
Strictly speaking, no. No one who has set up an account and taken time to check the site out for any length of time would think that Pinterest is a social media site meant for business. And since it is still in Beta mode, and open to users by invitation only (to get an invitation, check with your friends or contacts on Facebook, it’s likely that someone will be able to send you an invitation), it will be interesting to see where its developers take the site.
That said, you can use it to build brand awareness and even to feature products and services, but my advice would be to use it sparingly and judiciously for those purposes, and participate on it as an individual if it is something that interests you, first and foremost.
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To know whether Pinterest is right for you or your business, you need to know what it’s being used for and who is using it.
Who is using Pinterest?
Again, a short foray into Pinterest itself will quickly reveal to you that it’s users are mainly (overwhelmingly) female. The site is used by individuals who share their own or other people’s handcrafted decorations and décor, home decorating styles, personal fashion styles, wedding ideas, party ideas, recipes and food presentation, kids crafts and rooms, quotes, graphics, DIY (do-it-yourself) how-to and other inspirations.
If you don’t see your business’s target markets or your own interests represented in those categories, then it’s unlikely that Pinterest is right for you, at least not right now.
If you do find members of your ideal client types represented by those types of interests, though, here are some guidelines to help you get started with this social media site:
- Get your own account (as a person) first. Put in at least 10-12 hours of personal research (believe me, this will happen more quickly than you might think). Learn how to find and follow other users. See if you can identify some of the influential ‘pinners’ relative to your business type.
- Begin using your account to highlight a few aspects of your business that you believe would be of greatest interest to other individuals on Pinterest. Don’t post pictures of products or copies of your advertisements. Do post how-to tutorials for achieving looks, style, fashion, décor or decorating that would interest the individuals participating most on Pinterest.
- Revisit Pinterest at least three times per week. Make your activity a combination of pinning your own interests, your own how-to or tutorials and re-pinning things others have pinned that you also appreciate.
- Create one or two boards committed to your business. These might be boards which feature your work, how-to, tutorials, etc., blogs or books which inspire you (personally as well as professionally), a board which features quality head shots of your key staff along with interesting personal information or quotes about each – in other words; go light on business content and heavy on human interest content.
- Pinterest allows you to cross-post pins simultaneously to Facebook and Twitter; do so, but be aware that every time you cross post you are putting another post from your Facebook page onto the stream of your friends and fans. One, they will see what you are posting so the same rules that govern your Facebook posting should apply (no profanity, no religious or political controversy, etc.) as well as frequency of posting. If you pin or repin 20+ items to Facebook, you could quickly lose followers there, so be judicious and cross post only those items which would be of interest or inspiration to your Facebook or Twitter fans and followers.
- To use Pinterest for business, you need original content and images by way of your own website, blog, or multimedia sites. Particularly when it comes to featuring your own work or how-to tutorials in pictures, utilize your own blog or website to post your text and images, then ‘pin’ to Pinterest. Sorry — Pinterest doesn’t allow you to post from Facebook (another reminder that Facebook is not a replacement for having your own website or blog!)
- Watch as this social media site evolves for more opportunities.
Want more? Likeable.com’s article on how to curate your brand on Pinterest [here] suggests that you ‘pin’ contests and giveaways (great idea!), create an online catalog by way of its pin boards and pin relevant how-to and special interest content.