Image-Based Marketing with Pinterest

by Cathy Zimmermann

Pinterest isn't just for finding recipes and crafts. Businesses everywhere are learning that image-based marketing through Pinterest is an excellent way to reach customers.

If your product or service can be marketed with images, consider adding Pinterest to your social media strategy to help drive traffic to your website. When you pin an image from your website to your Pinterest board, a link takes viewers back to your website. Pinterest members can "like", comment on, or "repin" your image to their boards. When you follow other Pinterest boards, and like, share or comment on their pins, you'll expand your own network. Landscape Plus is a good example.

Who Uses Pinterest?

Pinterest's early adopters are women, but the men will follow. (Remember when Facebook was just for college students?) There are similar sites specifically for men, but none of them packs the same punch as Pinterest. Not only does it have 23 million unique visitors according to ComScore; Pinterest drives more traffic than Yahoo search, Google referrals, Bing, StumbleUpon, and Twitter, putting it right behind Facebook, according to Shareaholics Traffic Sources Report (August 2012.) As digital strategist Adam Schweigert says in his blog post titled "Guys: Nothing About Pinterest Is Gender Specific. Get Over It", when there are more men on Pinterest, there will be more content of interest to men.

Why Should I Use Pinterest?

Pinterest is a great way for your business to interact with customers and build an online community with them. You can create Pinterest contributor boards, like this one from Landscape Plus, that allow pins from your followers. Add a free Pinterest tab to your Facebook Page and fans can browse your boards within Facebook. If you add "Pin It" buttons to your website photos, visitors can share what they like with their followers on Pinterest.



In addition to images, Pinterest allows pinning of videos from YouTube, Vimeo or Kickstarter. Sephora posts videos demonstrating makeup techniques. Oberlin College shows its Oberenthusiasm with videos by its Admissions officers and students. Blendtec has one board of its "Will It Blend?" series, and another full of tasty blender recipe videos.

How Can Non-Visual Brands Use Pinterest ?

Don't worry if your product or service is not something that would show up on the cover of a magazine. Look at the big picture – how does it fit into your customer's lifestyle? When you're choosing images to pin, make sure they are interesting enough for others to want to share.

Here's an example:

Oreck, manufacturer of vacuum cleaners, air purifiers, steam mops, and cleaning products, has 26 Pinterest pinboards. Most boards relate in some way to cleaning and beautiful homes or an Oreck product; the rest are things people like to share:

11 boards of Oreck products, many featuring cute little kids (very shareable)
4 boards of things you'll need to clean up after (pets, crafts, parties and cooking)
2 boards of household tips (very shareable)
1 board for "style and inspiration"
1 board "behind the scenes" of photo shoots in beautiful (clean) homes
1 board of beautiful (clean) floors
1 board of balloons, swings, ballerinas, etc. in the air (Oreck makes air purifiers)
1 board of Nashville photos (home of Oreck's corporate headquarters)
1 board of beautiful blue things (something unexpected)
1 board of quotes (very shareable)
1 board of comics (very shareable)

You can also use Pinterest to post photos from events, projects, your office, or case studies of clients.

How Do I Get Started?

Register for Pinterest using your business Twitter account or email address and follow Pinterest's Brand Best Practices. Make sure your "About" page includes the keywords that drive traffic to your web page and add a Pinterest follow button and "Pin It" buttons to your web site with the instructions here: http://pinterest.com/about/goodies/#pinmarklet. Check out Hubspot's free e-book: "How to Use Pinterest for Business."

Copyright 2012 Attard Communications, Inc.

Cathy is a staff writer and digital media producer at Business Know-How and a graduate student in the Stony Brook Southampton MFA program for writing and digital media.
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