Have you been thinking of using Pinterest to grow your business? You’ll need to know a bit about the medium, first–because there are some differences between how people are engaging with Pinterest versus how they’re using other forms of social media.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a fast-growing, visually-focused social network that’s what I consider to be one of the more low maintenance social sites (more on that later). It’s a place where people create and share collections of visual bookmarks (images and videos that link back to the websites where they were originally posted).
Each user organizes their collection of images and videos on virtual pin boards around different themes. It’s considered a “visual discovery tool” because people can easily run searches on the site to discover visual representations of new ideas and topics of interest, and then collect them online.
Why use Pinterest?
Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media sites, with a user base that is primarily women (one third of US women now use Pinterest). It drives more traffic to websites than Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined (it’s the number 5 source of traffic to my own site). Pinterest can generate 4 times more revenue per click than Twitter and 27% more than Facebook (meaning that people who click on your Pinterest links tend to spend more money with you than if they were to click via Twitter or Facebook).
Sold? If your ideal clients are women, and if they tend to be visual people, then Pinterest might be the ideal social site for you. Always do your research before investing time in setting up new social media profiles, though: you need to be sure that the people you want to connect with online (your ideal clients and joint venture partners) are actually hanging out on Pinterest.
How to get started
As with any other social site, start out by listening. Take a look at other businesses like yours: coaches in general and specifically coaches within your niche. Look at how they’re using Pinterest, and make note of how they organize their pins into different boards. This will give you ideas for setting up your own boards.
Create a business account. Go to Pinterest Business to create a new business account, or to convert your existing personal account to a business one. Set up your profile as you would for any other social site: use a quality photo, a keyword-rich description, and link to your website.
Next, set up a series of blank boards around topics that are relevant to your business, such as: your blog posts, your books (if you’ve written any), your products, services, programs, and any projects that you’re working on. You can also pin images from your clients, things you find inspiring, tips for your niche audience, quotes, and anything else that you feel is a good representation of you and your interests. Refer to the notes you made when observing other coaches on Pinterest for more ideas.
There are three main ways to start filling your boards with images: you can upload your own images from your computer, you can pin existing images from your website or from other sites, or you can re-pin others’ images. Re-pinning is a lot like retweeting: you’re simply adding images to your own boards that others have uploaded. If you’re uploading your own images, it’s important to remember to edit the pin once it’s uploaded to add the link back to your own website, so people know where to find you.
As with other social sites, you want to have a balance between your own stuff and other people’s stuff. I try to keep it at 80% content from other people and 20% my own content. This is really easy on Pinterest, as there’s so much juicy information and gorgeous images out there to re-pin.
Lost for ideas?
You can pin images from your blog posts, articles that you want to bookmark, books you recommend, infographics that you found interesting, photos that you’ve taken, links to your podcast or radio show, testimonials from clients, and videos you’ve created.
As a general guideline: pin things that interest you, and pin things that interest your ideal clients. It doesn’t have to be all about business. Pinterest is a fantastic site for sharing your personal side. For example, I have boards related to business, marketing, and social media, but I also have boards that feature holistic spas, eco hotels, and photos from my country walks…three big personal interests.
Why is Pinterest low maintenance?
There are some social sites where you really need to be active on a regular basis in order to have a good presence there (think Twitter and Facebook). Of course, the more time you spend on a site, and the more regularly you visit it, the more likely you are to get better results. But Pinterest is one of those sites where I truly believe you can spend little time on it and still get great results.
Why? Because 80% of all pins on Pinterest are re-pins. Once you upload your images (with links back to your site), your pins will actually start to work for you. Pinterest is very searchable, and if you’ve used keyword-rich descriptions in all of your pins, that will make them more likely to show up in search results. I regularly see people re-pinning my images to their own boards, including old images that I uploaded months or even years ago.
A word of caution
Pinterest can be highly addictive, especially if you’re naturally a visual person. I went through a period shortly after I joined the site in 2011 when I just couldn’t get enough…and at the time I was just using it for personal reasons, not for business.
If you find yourself hopelessly addicted to Pinterest, you might try limiting your time on the site by setting an alarm so you don’t get lost online. This is something that I recommend for social media use in general.
Take action today.
Think that Pinterest might be right for your business? Check it out further to see if it’s worth investing your time in, then follow the guidelines here to get started. Enjoy!
Holly Worton helps coaches, holistic practitioners, and women in heart-centered businesses go from confusion to confidence with social media, so they can use it to build relationships online and get more clients. Why? Because as a heart-centered business owner, you do amazing work, and she wants to help you help more people. The way to do that is through Connection, and social media is one of the best ways to connect with others and to build your tribe. Sign up for her free 90-minute social media training to get started building connections online. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+.