Monday, 10 September 2012
What Is Pinterest and How It Is Different from Other Social Networks?
Pinterest defines itself as “an online pinboard”. It's a place where you pin (mostly) images and other stuff you find interesting and share them with the world. Similarly to the other social networks, you follow people and have followers. Also, other users can repin your pins, thus spreading the word.
While there are no limits on the type of stuff you can pin, Pinterest is not suitable for all kinds of brands. It works best if your product/service can be presented in a visual way (i.e. clothes, furniture, etc.) and in this case the publicity you and your products get on Pinterest could do miracles for you.
In order to make the most out of Pinterest rather than waste your time or even worse - do damage to your brand, you need to know how to use it. Here are some tips to help you with this.
As any social network, Pinterest is a huge thief of time. You need to spend time on it daily in order to be able to follow what others are pinning, to comment on it, etc. You can't expect benefits from Pinterest, if you are not active on it on a daily basis.
Pinterest is about visual appeal. This is why you can't go with crappy images taken with your 10 year old mobile. You need images with professional quality because otherwise you will be doing your brand more harm than good. This doesn't necessarily mean you need to hire a professional photographer - with the right equipment and some skills you can create the images on your own.
When you keep your followers interested, they develop the habit of visiting your board every now and then. One trick to keep your users interested is to post in series. In other words, if you have 10 images you want to post, don't post them all at once but post them one a day in the course of 10 days, stating that this is image 1 of 10, 2 of 10, etc.
If you want to get repins, you need to make it easier for users to do it. One way of doing it is by adding a Pin-It button to your site. Check what Pin-It buttons are available for your platform (i.e. WordPress, Joomla, etc.), pick one of them, put it on a visible place on your site and begin counting your pins/repins.
People are hardly coming to your board to see your products, so post other interesting pictures that will attract users (or keep them, if you already managed to attract them). This helps to attract new users to your account because when they see a cool pic somewhere on Pinterest, chances are they will visit your profile and have a look at your products there. If you post only images of your products, you won't be able to attract random visitors that much.
Photos are the bait but even the most unambiguous photo will benefit from a good description. Additionally, a good description will help your images rank better with search engines, which means more traffic for you. Be concise and precise in your descriptions and your users will certainly appreciate it.
When you use hashtags and when you categorize your pins, this makes them look more organized and they will be easier to find. On the other hand, don't use hashtags at large - i.e. add a hashtag only if you really need it because otherwise your pins will look spammy and users will skip them.
When you pick whom to follow, consider not only if their pins are interesting but also if they have a large group of followers. When you follow such users, and especially if they decide to follow you back, their huge follower base is an undisputed advantage when they decide to repin something you have posted. With such power users one repin can bring crowds to your board!
Like any social network, interaction with other users is key on Pinterest. Because of this, it makes a lot of sense to like and comment on other people's pins. These give you more visibility, not to mention that in return you can get some repins, likes, and comments from other users. However, as with hashtags, you do need to have measure - i.e. don't repin, comment, or like every single pin you see on your screen, because this devaluates your contribution.
Pinterest is not only about static stuff, there is a video section as well. Of course, this is not YouTube but if you can create a cool video about your business, don't be shy to post it. Also, in addition to images, you can use various charts and infographics - these are especially popular among users.
Pinterest is an interesting place and you will hardly have to force yourself to use it. Of course, its main advantage for you is the publicity you get. You might not be able to make a sale on Pinterest but the exposure and the traffic to your site are valuable prerequisites for making more sales, so if your products are suitable for the Pinterest format and audience, don't hesitate but promote them there.