If you are going to use social media to promote your business, consider including Pinterest as part of your marketing strategy.

Evaluate the Pinterest option

Here are questions to ask yourself to help determine if marketing with Pinterest could be of value to your business:

• Is your company B2B or B2C?
• Will you use Pinterest to drive more traffic?
• Is your target customer primarily male or female?
• How do you think you will benefit from using Pinterest?
• Is your business, product or service based?
• Are your products or services mainly related to fashion, weddings, cooking or crafts? ”
• Do your products have strong visual appeal? (Do you have time to improve the content and visual quality of your website and other social media sites, especially photos?)
• Do you already use social media for business?
• Why are you interested in using Pinterest?
• Will you place items that are not totally related to your business (news, trends, ideas from others, etc.)?

If you have clear answers to all of these questions, it can help to develop a Pinterest-based social media presence. However, if you’re overwhelmed, upset, or exhausted on “yet another social media site,” you can put Pinterest aside for a while.

What do you know about Pinterest?

Pinterest has a slightly different role on social media. It is not where you chat to the same extent as with Facebook or Twitter and it is not just another blogging site. Pinterest is a social / visual “virtual bulletin board” that allows users to post (pin) images or videos from the web to their own (and others) boards and navigate Pinterest.

Once a Pinterest account is created, the virtual boards created within the account can be categorized and the user can add descriptions as reminders of why an image or video was saved. Many (but not all) images / pins link the Pinterest user to the website source for easy access at a later time. The user-owner of the account can invite others to post content of interest related to the board, or can restrict it to personal use only.

One media writer describes Pinterest as a “database” of intentions. “An individual often uses their Pinterest board to collect ideas, specifically visual images, of something they want. For example, they may want to see photos of dresses. Wedding (a popular topic on Pinterest) Images of interest can be “pinned” to the board.

Many website images now include a Pin It widget on their pages that allows the visitor to pin content from that web page. And users can upload pins of their own content: the amazing dessert, a picture of a freshly finished oil painting, or pictures of a new line of winter fashion accessories.

How does marketing get into this?

As a business promoter, your goal is to increase viewer traffic to your social media site. Once there, it is up to your web content to influence visitors to make purchases. Pinterest is now seen as an extension of an individual or a business’s website and is credited with increasing page views by up to 29 percent.

Etsy’s increasingly popular online marketplace is considered one of the top-performing brands on Pinterest, increasing Etsy’s revenue by 9.4% in 2013. Why the interest? It’s the photos!

People love pictures advertised for DIY projects and posted with crafts, instructions, and recipes. Viewers want images on all platforms. Brands must incorporate images on Pinterest and on all social media sites used for marketing.

Where to start

• Knowledge: Start by building your knowledge base on the types of interests and potential customers who might use Pinterest.

• Pinterest has more than 70 million “sers. That’s a great potential customer / consumer base.

• Female repin users (pinning images found on the web and in Pinterest searches) on their own boards more often than men, but have fewer followers.

• The three most popular categories on Pinterest are DIY & Crafts, Hair & Beauty & Design.

• The most popular categories on Pinterest are Babies, Beauty, Crafts, Fashion, Fitness, Food, Home Decor, Kids, Pets, and Travel. Seasonal themes are also very popular: holidays, seasonal changes, current events.

• The use of categories differs enormously from men to women: women focus on fewer categories while men extend their pins. Additionally, the top five categories of women account for more than 56 percent of all your Pinterest activity; the top five male categories are below 40 percent.

• Male users prefer photography, art, design and home decor categories.

• The time of day for pinning can be important. In the United States, the best time of day to set is between 2 pm and 4 pm (Eastern Time); the best time of night is between 8:00 pm and 1:00 am (Eastern Time).

Do a thorough research online. Take a look at some of the most popular retail sites and observe the use of PinIt widgets. Search the Internet for topics in one of the most popular categories. Your search will likely show links from Pinterest. Click and view the topic on the Pinterest site and study the content, layout, and appearance.

Create a Pinterest account and get verified through the commercial section of the site. You can set up your Pinterest boards privately, adjusting them until you think you have them ready to display. Then “change the display state and start monitoring your PinIt results.”

You’ll have access to some cool business development tools, including analytics. Use the analytics tool to view pin activity data on your website and on Pinterest boards. Analytics can help you better understand what pins like (“More Reps and More Clicks”). Customize and fine tune your pins for more conversions.

Your customers are browsing your site for items to pin and repaint on other Pinterest boards. You should focus on creating content that reflects the passions of your customers. Pinterest users often share content that has educational value and practicality to them. How can you align your content with customer interests?

Preparing Your Pinterest Content

• Website evaluation: is your website Pin compliant, up to date and has rich current content, especially with quality images? Get your website in good shape.

• Content organization: Organize all of your Pinterest boards by topic to make it easier for other users to find and explore specific content.

• Mark photos: mark (add your logo) in one corner of each image you place on your board. Researchers have noted that large watermarks on images are deviations from Pinner.

• Shopper-friendly content: More than most social media sites, interest is about shopping. Each board must

Shopper-friendly content: More than most social media sites, interest is about buying. Each dashboard should be designed and packed with content with the “buyer friendly” in mind. Describe the product or service and use only clear, quality images.

• Join the community – as you spend time each day updating and reviewing your social networks, interact with people in the communities: post and answer questions and comment on the content of others.

• Repin: When it comes directly to Pinterest, invite others to repin content on your board. Upon returning to your account, your account is made known to the person you replied to (that person receives a notification and / or email). The person you complained about can also return the repin’s favor.

• No broken backlinks – Make sure your links on Pinterest correctly go back to your websites, Facebook, or Twitter. Fix broken backlinks!

Clear picture

Let’s clarify the images. There are a few key points to know about posting images and videos to Pinterest:

• Branded images (on Pinterest) are more likely to receive a repin if the image does not contain a face, 23 percent more likely. By the way, a study showed that Pinterest has 4.25 times more images without faces.

• Color: images with a lot of color are preferred. Red, orange, and brown images are twice as likely to complain; blue images are less likely. Medium brightness images will repaint 20 times more often than mostly black images, eight times more likely than white images.

• Background and texture: influence repainting options. Pinsters prefer images with less than 30 percent background; the abandonment rate was two to four times for images containing 40 percent or more background content. Smooth textures are preferred to rough textures, obtaining up to 17 times more repins.

• Image size: taller and vertical images are more repeatable based on studies. Smaller images and infographics get more clicks because they’re harder to read on the Pinterest site. An infographic headline is key to getting more clicks.

• Traffic response: You can control the response to traffic by including a specific call to action on your bookmark landing page.

Maintaining your presence

A large company with its own marketing group or consultants can spend a considerable amount of time studying ROI analyzes, posting the most professionally made photos and text, and updating content almost every day.

The smaller business person should plan to spend at least two hours a day, monitoring comments, responding to comments (when appropriate), and updating content. This is a fairly small investment of time and effort to get potentially good results.

Over time, comments and the number of visitors will start to show which areas of your content are effective, such as which products are ignored and which ones are bought. On the contrary, they can reveal a lack of interest and a limited number of purchases.

If your traffic is still slow, evaluate all aspects: text, design, images, links, everything. You may want or need to consult with an online marketer or web / multimedia designer for help updating your content.

It’s easy to overwhelm viewers with information, and oversaturation is just as marketing ineffective as very little valuable content. Again, the feedback will let you know what works and what doesn’t.

One more thing about those numbers: marketers can buy “likes” and “tweets” to inflate the number of legitimate viewers’ likes and tweets. Those high numbers you envy may not necessarily be an accurate representation of who really follows a brand. More importantly, they do not accurately represent purchases related to that brand.

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