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How to Promote Your Business on Pinterest.

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How to Promote Your Business on Pinterest

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Founded in March, 2010, Pinterest has grown to become a major social network around the world with around 70 million users and an Alexa ranking of 26, meaning that it is the 26th most visited website in the world. Unlike the other major social networks, Pinterest is almost entirely visually orientated, making it a particularly suitable marketing resource for businesses which rely heavily on visual content for their promotional campaigns. Both individual users and businesses use the platform to create and share collections of images and infographics, and these are known in the Pinterest world as 'boards.' Each board consists of one or more images, individually referred to as 'Pins'.

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How to Promote Your Business on Pinterest:
Pinterest also provides tools specifically designed with businesses in mind. Businesses can create special pages for promoting their products and services, and these pages serve as a virtual storefront in a similar way to business pages for Facebook, Twitter and various other social networks. In 2013, Pinterest introduced another useful tool for business users known as 'Rich Pins'. Companies can use this feature to enhance their viewers' experience by attaching certain useful information to their Pins such as product information, prices, ratings and other contextually relevant content.

Important Facts about Pinterest:
While Pinterest doesn't even come close to the social media giant that is Facebook in terms of user numbers and traffic, it tends to cater to a more specific demographic, and this makes it particularly effective as a marketing tool for businesses of certain types. However, before we take a look at the types of businesses which are most likely to profit from including Pinterest in their digital marketing strategies, let's consider some of the most important facts and figures about this rapidly growing social media platform:

According to the Internet analytics company comScore, Pinterest was the fastest ever website to reach the 10 million visitor landmark in January, 2012.

According to a study carried out by French Internet analytics firm Semiocast in July, 2013, Pinterest had 70 million users with 70% being in the US.

In February, 2013, the data visualization community platform stated that the vast majority of Pinterest users in the US were women at about 83%. However, in the UK, male users make up majority of users, though not by far.

The market research firm Bizarre Insights determined in a study conducted in October, 2012, that Pinterest is considerably more effective at driving sales than Facebook with a brand engagement rate of 48% and 55% respectively.

Pinterest is all about visual discovery, and this makes its focus considerably more specific than many other social networks. Its main competitor is Instagram, a social networking site which is also focussed on image sharing. However, while Instagram has twice the number of users, Pinterest focusses more on content curation, and studies have shown that it is also far more effective at generating revenue in B2C marketing than Instagram.

Should Your Business Use Pinterest for Promotion?
As is the case with almost any other social media platform, Pinterest is not the perfect fit for every business. While almost any business can profit from using Facebook or Twitter, largely due to their huge user bases and lack of a specific focus, Pinterest is more tailored towards a certain demographic and style of content marketing. Being as visually orientated as it is, Pinterest is ultimately the best choice for businesses which heavily rely on visual content to promote their wares. Pinterest is also best suited to B2C markets rather than B2B markets which generally fare better with more professionally orientated networks such as LinkedIn. Following are a few other important considerations to help you determine whether or not Pinterest is a suitable fit for your business:

In the US, if your target audience primarily consists of women, Pinterest will likely fit your business perfectly. In many cases, potential customers spend more time browsing through a company's pinboard when looking for products than they do on the company's website itself.

Industries for which Pinterest has proven most suitable as a promotional tool include those in fashion, collectibles, music, arts, food, drink, travel, graphic design and marketing. Pinterest is also a popular platform for publishing and sharing infographics, greatly expanding its focus as a result.

Research suggests that Pinterest users tend to have significantly higher-than-average incomes, making it a particularly valuable resource for businesses dealing with luxury goods.

Pinterest users typically spend more time on the page than they do on other social networking company pages, and this is one of the reasons why Pinterest users are statistically more likely to become paying customers.

Although Pinterest might not seem like the best fit for your business, any B2C business which plans to integrate visual media into their digital marketing campaigns, whether this consists of photos, illustrations or infographics, should be able to profit by using the platform.

Planning Your Pinterest Marketing Strategy:
If you have determined that Pinterest should become a part of your digital marketing strategy, the next thing to do is to sign up for a business account and Alternatively, if you already have a standard user account, you can convert it to one for business use. Once you have set up your business account, you will need to verify your website so that Pinterest and its users will know that your business page is genuine. Once you have been verified as the owner of your website, you will also gain access to the Pinterest analytics tools. When setting up your profile, you should also provide a profile image (typically your business's logo) of about 160x160 pixels and write a short description about your brand and its mission. With your Pinterest account set up, you'll be ready to start building your promotional campaign.

Making Pinterest a Part of Your Social Media Marketing Strategy:
As is the case with any form of social media marketing, Pinterest should work together with your other digital marketing strategies. Once you have set up your account, you'll need to prepare your other online resources, such as you blog and/or website by integrating Pinterest sharing buttons. You can integrate the 'Pin it' and 'Follow me on Pinterest' buttons to your blog so that people can share your content on the social network or find your company's Pinterest page easily. While planning for success, be sure to do some research into your target audience to find out what sort of content they are sharing and thus what sort of content is most likely to interest them.

Strategically Pinning Your Way to Success:
You should pin across a range of boards to keep your content organized and easy to find. It is also important to follow others and re-pin content which you like and which is relevant to your audience. Social media is all about engagement, and Pinterest is no exception - be sure to comment on other people's posts when you have something to say and follow others, and they will likely return the favour. Be sure to accompany your pins with short descriptions, and where relevant, add links in your descriptions as well. Finally, time your pins so that you provide a regular stream of content to keep your visitors coming back for more rather than dumping a whole load of images at once.

Choosing the Right Content:
Pinterest is not just for sharing different types of images - it is also great for promoting video content. If you use the world's most popular video sharing website YouTube, you can use Pinterest to help promote your efforts as well. Be sure to share clear and engaging visual content, accompanied by a few words for your descriptions and for search engine optimization. Where suitable, you should also create your own infographics, since these tend to do very well on websites such as Pinterest.

Don't Forget to Curate Content:
Pinterest is just as much about curating content as it is about creating and publishing your own. Don't use the platform solely for self-promotion - you should use it to showcase the style and image behind your brand as well, and this means pinning and sharing content about your business and other businesses and individuals involved in your niche. On the other hand, be sure to create plenty of your own content so that you can more effectively stand out among the competition and become an important informational resource for your target audience. Again, don't be afraid to look to other successful brands for some inspiration.

Promoting Your Business:
When it comes to actual promotion, remember, that in many ways, Pinterest is a form of social and content marketing just like any other - it is a platform for engagement rather than outright promotion. However, there are certain promotional factors to consider, particularly when creating your own visual content. Be sure to use a call to action when appropriate, and raise brand awareness by promoting competitions and encouraging audience engagement.

Don't Neglect Search Engine Optimization:
As we stated previously, your Pinterest marketing strategy should be fully integrated with your greater digital marketing plan, and this also means taking the search engines into account. To start with, make sure that your Pinterest profile is visible to the search engines by disabling the search privacy feature in the account settings page. When setting up your account, be sure to include your full business name, and try to claim your business name in your Pinterest URL as well. When it comes to targeting keywords, be sure to use relevant keywords in the About section and in the names and descriptions of your pinboards and individual pins. Finally, you should also make use of hashtags to help increase visibility in search results.

Measuring Your Success:
No digital marketing strategy is complete without research and analytics. To ensure that your efforts are moving in the right direction, be sure to track the recent activity of your followers, likes, re-pins and comments. Likewise, always make use of analytics tools such as Google Analytics to determine how much of your website traffic is coming from Pinterest as well as the conversion rate of these visitors. Pinterest itself provides some useful analytics tools of its own to business users, and you should make full use of these so that you can better adapt and improve your promotional strategy. Pinterest's analytics tools allow you to track your activity and find out what your visitors like most.

Just like any other social network, Pinterest functions based on the fact that people love to share content that they like. Success revolves around showcasing the things that people are most likely to find interesting and share themselves, and using this opportunity to showcase your brand's personality, image and creative side can greatly help to drive valuable traffic to your website.

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