August 28, 2012
Pinterest is practically a newcomer in the social media landscape but it has so caught the fancy of millions of netizens since its launch in 2010 that it is now officially the third largest social network in the United States, behind only Facebook and Twitter (Experian Hitwise, March 2012). According to Comscore.com, “Pinterest buyers spend more money, more often, and on more items than any of the other Top 5 social media sites,” and according to Hitwise data, “Pinterest drove more referral traffic to retailers than LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google+.”
(More Pinterest facts and figures)
Consumer brands have been taking advantage of Pinterest’s fast-growing user base and getting good results with their efforts. B2B marketers as well can integrate Pinterest in their marketing campaigns, as many B2B experts and social media analysts agree that it is an effective marketing tool.
According to marketer Jim Ewel, Pinterest is a great way to “humanize” your company. A lot of B2B marketers today advertise customized or personalized services to retailers, business owners, and second-level wholesalers they are targeting. People want to interact with people, instead of faceless brands.
Before we proceed, remember that Pinterest is a highly visual sharing site. Its popularity shows how something as simple as a picture can drive people to your website and turn this traffic into conversions. The challenge lies in carefully building a B2B marketing strategy for Pinterest that works well with your business and fits the type of products and services that you offer.
Just this month, Pinterest dropped its invitation-only approach and is now open to everyone. Here are some useful tips and tricks on how you can use Pinterest to gain B2B marketing success:
Optimize your Pinterest profile. Upon signing up, this is the first thing that needs your attention. In the profile settings, fill in the “About” field with a concise and optimized description of your company. This description is important because it appears in the SERPs when someone searches for your page. You would need to choose a company image to use for your profile. Make sure it is consistent with what you use in your company’s other social media profiles. The profile settings also allow you to link Pinterest with other social media. You can choose to automatically share your pins on Facebook and Twitter.
“Pin” photos of corporate events you participate in. While B2C (business to consumer) companies can just easily pin their products, put a price, and gain new customers in an instant, it is a bit different for B2B companies. One thing that you can do is to start a pinboard of trade fairs and other important events your company participates in. You may also start a board for each major event if you’ve got lots of material to share. Post photos of you engaging with delegates, photos of exhibitions, banners, and anything related to the event to pique users’ interest.
Feature photos of your company officials. You can feature the movers and shakers of your company by posting photos (you got to make sure they all look their best for this!) in one Pinterest board. Add a brief description or perhaps a testimonial from a colleague or a customer as a caption, and then link the photos to each employee’s LinkedIn profile. You may even create a separate board dedicated to company culture.
Start a “nostalgia trip” pinboard. I used to be very active in Pinterest and as a personal user, one of my most favorite things to “re-pin” are photos that evoke in me a feeling of nostalgia. If your company starts from way, way back, this strategy might work to your advantage. So perhaps now is the best time to dig up pictures of old products, old office buildings, and maybe even old photos taken in the workplace and channel that vintage vibe. Make sure to link each pin to a landing page that you want people to visit.
Generate and post your own visual content. Even as social networks are becoming increasingly visual, fresh content will always be king. That charming photo of your old company building may win you new followers but you definitely need to keep those followers interested and even prompt them to initiate a new business relationship with your company.
You would need to invest in creativity this time because how else would you compete for attention in a sea of beautiful, interesting, and appealing material such that is found on Pinterest? Posting e-books, infographics, and videos is highly recommended for enhancing your B2B profile. If you are inclined to, you may even start a pinboard for posting humorous material (and trust me, there is no lack of those on the Internet) that is related to your industry.
Use Pinterest to support your blog. Pinterest would by no means take attention away from the company blog you have been diligently maintaining for the past couple of years. As a matter of fact, you can use Pinterest to spike up your dwindling readership. For every new company announcement or news you are posting on your blog, put up a pin on Pinterest where you include the title of the post, the link to the blog post, and a related photo (make sure it is attractive). Include some “call-to-action” text to prompt your targeted customers to take the next step in further engaging with your business.
Monitor traffic and evaluate leads. To become a master “pinner,” find out which types of Pinterest content brings the most traffic to your website and/or leads to conversions. By analyzing your traffic stats, you get an idea on what you can further improve on and what your customers are looking for.
There is definitely a place for Pinterest in B2B marketing and if you are brave and creative enough to tap this potential, there are many benefits that await your company. Still hesitant? Check out the Pinterest profile of GE Electronics and be inspired by the creative ways the company is using the platform. If you are already using Pinterest in your B2B marketing campaign, leave a comment and do tell us how it’s going for you.