I know what you're thinking. Pinterest, as a way to market my business? No, I don't think so.
Think again my friend! I would consider myself fairly new to Pinterest, but already I've gathered a solid following, and I use it to find ideas to decorate my home, to plan my seasonal wardrobe, and to find ideas on what to cook for dinner.
Which, to you, probably sounds fun and great - but what does it have to do with marketing your business? A lot, actually.
What Is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a visual social media outlet. It allows users to upload photos into various categories, and also 'pin' other user's photos and organize them. The idea is to create a virtual bulletin board. For example, if you recently got engaged and wanted to look for ideas for your wedding, you could create a board called 'wedding ideas' and pin different pictures onto that board. (Below is a screenshot of some of the boards I have. I keep boards on fashion, food, travel, and things I'd like to have one day)
The trick is to follow, and be followed (like Twitter, and Facebook, and every other social media outlet). The more followers you have, and the more people you follow - the more photos you are exposed to. Depending on your purpose for using Pinterest, you'll have more opportunity to find great ideas and photos for your project, store, business, wedding, dinner, house... (I could keep going)
This being said - if you own a business or company, you can also use the boards and tactics on Pinterest to market your products / services. Photos are a great place to start when trying to draw attention to something specific.
Is My Business a Good Fit?
Your business will need to be visual. I.e. an aspect of your business you can share in a photo that will prompt consumers to dig deeper into your business. Retail businesses are prime candidates for marketing on Pinterest. However, you can be the judge of that! Maybe your business is not a good fit, but you have a special project you are working on that will allow you to share photos with users that may drive traffic to your website.
I'm a Good Fit. Now What?
Below I will outline how to use Pinterest as a social marketing tool using a specific example.
Example: Clothing Retail Store
You sell clothes. You sell to a specific demographic. You have access to a camera. You want to generate brand awareness, and more consumers (online / offline Pinterest can work for both)
1.Create an account under your business name. If you use your business name, consumers will start to recognize you both offline and online.
2.Play nice and pin other user's photos that are related to your business. Social media's purpose is to be social, and if you're constantly boasting about your own products-your following will fade, and you're less likely to attract other Pinners to pin (that's a mouthful!).
3.Post some of your own photos that are related to your business. Such as new styles that have arrived and are in store. Add your website's URL to your photo so users can link back to your website.
4.If you uploaded a photo that relates to your business, it's a good idea to add your business / company logo to your photo. That way, no matter how many times your photo has been pinned users know where it's from. (From a user's point of view - I find it frustrating when I see a photo of something I love, but I don't know where I can buy it) Adding your logo will make it easy for consumers to find you.
5.Create boards that are appealing to your demographic and business, and also neatly organized. This will make it simple for users to take a look various photos of exactly what they are looking for.
6.Use other user's photos to show ideas of what consumers can expect to see in the coming season (examples), or what's hot now. Maybe you don't have that exact item available but you're helping your consumer.
There are plenty of other ways you can use Pinterest as a marketing tool. People who pariticpate in social media are drawn to photos, it's very easy to draw attention to your business using photos, which is why Pinterest is so great.
I don't think my business is a good fit to market my products on Pinterest, but I still want to use it for my company
No problem. Not every business sells clothing, or home decor. If your products or services are not a good fit for marketing on Pinterest your company certainly is. Use Pinterest to show your clients, fans, users, or consumers what goes on at your company. Upload photos of your office environment, special events your company participated in, and so on. You still may draw some people to your website, and create some awareness. Wouldn't you love to see some behind the scene photos of a day-at-the-office at Facebook, or Google? I'd Pin that. (Did I just create a viral slogan?)
Take advantage of the mass amounts of social media users out there, and apply some simple marketing skills to create brand awareness and traffic to your website.
Social media is often understood as a way to create brand awareness - not capital. And that's true. It generally does not provide direct income. But, if you can literally show a user (on Pinterest) that you have what they want-you might just get yourself a sale!