By now, you’ve heard Pinterest is the latest big deal in social media. You’ve heard the numbers, too:
- Pinterest has more than 10 million unique visitors per month, the fastest site to ever reach that goal
- Pinterest drives more referral traffic to blogs than YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+ combined
You’ve also seen the inevitable articles about using Pinterest for marketing and other ways to use Pinterest for business. Here are some good ones:
- Three Ways to Use Pinterest for Business, by Gini Dietrich
- 56 Ways to Market Your Business on Pinterest, by Beth Hayden on Copyblogger
- 3 Ways to Use Pinterest for Marketing Research, by Adam Helweh on Social Media Explorer
Pinterest can absolutely fit into your marketing. First, though, you need a plan.
Let Business Goals Determine Your Pinterest Strategy
I was inspired to write this post by JackB, a former Pinterest skeptic and now convert. Jack’s sees Pinterest referral traffic as a way to raise his blog’s profile and help achieve his goal of writing for a living.
Kudos for starting with a goal. And I like Jack’s instincts about Pinterest driving traffic. But my first question was “Is it the right traffic?” And what happens after all that traffic gets to my site?
Marketers need to ask these questions, too. “Pinterest drives tons of traffic” isn’t a strategy. And what if “tons of traffic” isn’t one of your goals? First, ask yourself a few questions:
- What are my business objectives (think beyond just marketing/sales)? What are my marketing goals?
- Who are the audiences I need to connect with (not just on Pinterest)? Who are the Pinterest users I want to connect with?
- What do I hope to accomplish with Pinterest (ex., blog traffic, brand awareness/visibility, sales)?
- How are my customers using Pinterest? Are they Pinning? Are they following other Pinterest users? Are they looking for inspiration or ideas?
- What outcome do I want to achieve from my interactions with Pinterest users?
Pinterest for Brands: What to consider
Your Pinterest strategy will vary depending on how you answer those questions. Here are some things to consider as you lay out a Pinterest plan:
Pinning vs. Following. Which is a better use of your time: Pinning photos or following other Pinterest users? Nothing says you have to Pin things to use Pinterest. Consider whether sharing content is a necessary part of your strategy.
Pinterest Referral Traffic. Marketers and bloggers are giddy over the amount of traffic Pinterest drives to their websites. Traffic is good…qualified traffic is better. Pinterest referrals are valuable because those visitors who are visually attracted to your brand. Still, watch your analytics to see whether the surge in traffic leads to a similar uptick in conversions and sales.
Your Website Images. Is getting visitors to share your images on Pinterest one of your goals? This is an important strategic question. If so, does your website have enough images? Are they share-worthy? Nobody shares boring images. Do you include the “Pin It” button on your page to encourage Pinterest users to share your images?
Engagement Strategy. What do you do if a Pinterest user pins an image of your product? Will you follow them? Like their Pin? Repin it? Comment? Will you connect with Pinterest users on other social platforms like Twitter and Facebook?
Branded Pinterest Board. Should you create a branded Pinterest board? How well known is your brand? Why would someone want to follow your brand’s Pinterest board? How will you promote your Pinterest boards? Will you re-allocate marketing resources to promote your Pinterest board instead of your other social media pages?
Pinterest has tons of potential for brands. A little planning will let you focus on using Pinterest in ways that best align with your business goals.