What is Pinterest and how can I use it for my business? Launched in 2010, Pinterest is one of the world’s fastest growing social networking sites. Its concept is simple – users create collections of images based on themes of their choosing, and other users can view, “like” or “repin” these images to their own boards.
As you might imagine, the site’s ease of use and quick growth have made it a powerful tool for marketers. Here are five ways that you can harness the power of Pinterest for your business.
1. Show off your products. Pinterest is well suited to products that look good, such as food, clothing and home furnishings. If your business offers such products, simply posting photos of them can work. Less visually appealing products can also be showcased; it just takes a little more thought. Perhaps you could show your product in action, or show before and after pictures to illustrate its effects.
2. Take them behind the scenes. Whether you’re a service provider or a producer of tangible goods, you can use Pinterest to connect with your audience by offering them a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes in your business. You don’t have to give away trade secrets – just show them enough to make them feel like an insider.
3. Make them laugh. Funny pictures have a tendency to go viral, so why not use that to your advantage? Try posting funny photos that include your products, and link to the product page in the caption. Or just post up something funny that’s tangentially related to your business and link to an appropriate page on your site. People will appreciate the fact that you’re doing something other than blatant promotion, and they will thank you by following your brand.
4. Be quotable. Pretty pictures with interesting or inspirational quotes also do well on Pinterest, and they’re simple to create with photo editing software or online meme generators. Find a famous quote that relates well to your business philosophy, and make sure that you credit the source. Or make up a quote of your own.
5. Don’t forget to repin. If you want users to share your pins, you’ll need to share some of theirs as well. Look for pins that include your products or relate to your business in some way, and create a board on which to share them. Users will be notified when you repin their pins, and they may decide to visit and/or follow your boards.
Pinterest is free to use, and it’s a powerful way to get your products and message in front of your audience. Why not sign up and see what it can do for your business?
Simple Ways to Create Stunning Pins
When you first venture onto Pinterest and see all the pretty things that people have pinned, it can be rather intimidating. How can you compete with that as a small business owner? Will you have to hire a team of photographers and graphic designers to create images worth pinning?
Don’t panic. It’s much easier than it looks. Here are some tips that will have you creating stunning pins in no time.
* Take great photos. You don’t have to have a lot of fancy equipment to take Pinterest-worthy pictures, but it helps to have a reasonably good camera. Pay attention to the lighting when you’re shooting, and keep the background free of distractions. For product photos, a solid white background is usually best. If you’re taking pictures of small objects, consider using a lightbox.
* Edit your great photos. Photo editing programs such as Photoshop can do everything from cropping photos and brightening them up to giving them an entirely different look. A little bit of editing can make a big difference.
* Add special effects and text. You can also add special effects and text with Photoshop and most other photo editing programs. If you don’t have any suitable programs on your computer, there are free online photo editors that you can use such as Pixlr.
* Pin your Instagram photos. Instagram makes it easy to spruce up photos from your mobile phone with filters. You can use a program such as Pictacular to easily share your Instagram photos as pins on Pinterest.
* Make use of Pinstamatic. Pinstamatic is a set of Pinterest tools that are free for anyone to use. It makes it easy to create pins in a variety of ways, including taking screenshots of websites, pinning tweets from Twitter and more. You can also quickly create pins featuring favorite quotes and add captions to photos.
* Generate a meme. You know those funny pictures with even funnier captions that are so popular on sites like Pinterest? They’re a snap to create! Just visit a site like Imgflip or Memecrunch, choose a picture, add a caption and post it. If you want to create something more original, Imgflip also allows you to upload your own images.
You don’t have to have an unlimited social marketing budget to create great pins for Pinterest. In fact, photography skill isn’t even a necessity. With a little software and ingenuity, anyone can create pins that are worth sharing.
How to SEO Your Pinterest Pins, Boards and Profile
Pinterest is great for building your business’s online visibility. Not only does it get you noticed by those who are active on Pinterest, it can also increase your presence in search engine results. Here are some tips for getting the most out of Pinterest with regard to SEO.
* Use your profile to your advantage. Be sure to add your site’s URL, and pay special attention to the “About” section. Craft an interesting description that includes your best keywords without sounding overly optimized. It’s also a good idea to fill in your location, especially if you cater to a local market. Make sure that search privacy is turned off so that your profile will show up in search results.
* Choose optimized names for your boards. Make them catchy and descriptive while using relevant keywords, and fill them with on-topic pins. A properly optimized board has lots of potential for high search rankings.
* Pay attention to file names when uploading pins. When uploading content from your hard drive, you have control over the file name. Use this to your advantage. Rename the file using relevant keywords before you upload it. Search engines take file names into consideration, so it will be worth your while.
* Use keywords in your pin descriptions. Whether you create an original pin or repin something from another user, you can write your own description. There is a 500 character limit, so you won’t be able to work in too many keywords without sounding spammy. But choosing one or two good ones is enough, because the description will work in conjunction with the name of the board to get the attention of the search engines.
* Pin items from your website. When you pin from a web page, a link to the site it comes from appears along with the pin. That means a new link to your site every time you or someone else pins from it, and every time someone else repins that pin. These links are not followed by search engines, but they might be followed by Pinterest users. You can also add a link to the description. Description links are followed by search engines.
Keeping SEO in mind will help you get the most out of your Pinterest marketing efforts. By utilizing keywords in the right places, you can get better search engine placement for your Pinterest profile, boards and pins. And by linking to your site where appropriate, you can improve its search rankings as well.
Creating and Using Boards for Business
When you open a Pinterest account, you’ll notice that you’re given several boards to help you get started. Each board has a theme, such as “Products I Love” and “Books Worth Reading.” But if you’re using Pinterest for business, you’ll want to create boards that are relevant to your offerings and message.
Creating boards is simple. On your home screen, just click “Add” and then click “Create a Board.” From there you can name your board, select a category and dictate who can pin to the board.
Here are some tips for using Pinterest boards for business.
* Put some thought into your board names. An interesting name will entice visitors to look at your board, and targeted keywords will help with SEO. Combine these two elements to come up with the most effective board names.
* Choose an appropriate category. The categories are pretty straightforward, so this shouldn’t be too difficult. The important thing is to remember to choose one. If you create a new board as you’re making a pin, you are not asked to choose a category, and you may not remember to go back and do it later. Then your board will not show up for users when they browse the site by category, and you could miss out on visitors.
* Add a description. The board description is often neglected, but it’s a great opportunity to create interest and work in keywords.
* Rearrange your boards as needed. You can put your boards in any order you like, so place those that you want to feature first. If you have lots of boards, remember that those that are above the fold will get more visits than those that visitors must scroll to see.
* Choose board covers wisely. Each board has one photo that is featured as its cover. You can change the cover at any time by hovering over the board and clicking “Edit Board Cover.” From there you can choose any photo from the board. Select one that will make visitors want to see more.
* Create boards that will draw attention. Think about what you can do for Pinterest users, not what they can do for you. Themes that are useful or entertaining will bring in the most visitors. Instead of just creating a glorified catalog or advertisement, create boards that feature information or advice that is relevant to your market. Make them smile, laugh, and think.
You can’t have a great Pinterest presence without great boards. Concentrate on coming up with fun, attractive or helpful themes, and your audience will eagerly await your pins.