Yes, it’s just pictures and comments. But its extensive reach and word-of-mouth recommendations could make it a rich sales resource for you.
Didn’t it seem like Pinterest came out of nowhere, and suddenly everyone was there? Though some have dismissed it as being a lightweight, a site for posting pictures of furniture and craft projects, a recent report from Experian claims that it’s now the third-largest social network, behind Facebook and Twitter.
But can it help your customers and prospects find you? Can you reveal your company’s persona and information about its products there in a way that might sway a potential buyer? Are your competitors there?
The answer to all three question is Yes – as long as you follow the same studied path you took to develop a presence on other social networks: Develop a strategy (why go there? do the site’s tools support the company’s overall mission?) that translates into goals (promote our brand, showcase our products, further develop our human side online) that translate into action items (develop two off-topic pages, host an employee page, create a unifying brand-based theme for all pages), etc.
An Enjoyable Process
Hosting a presence on Pinterest can be fun. And the concept of social selling meshes well with it: You can use it to show prospects and customers who you are using pictures rather than words. And you can develop relationships with these people and businesses by learning who they are and interacting with them.
Isn’t that why we’re all involved in social media, anyway? To meet people, to share our professional and personal sides, to solve problems and get them solved for ourselves? To see if something we can offer matches the needs of others?
So here, in no particular order, are some tips on how to build an engaging Pinterest site – and get people there.
- Identify your target following. Who are you trying to reach? What will they want from you?
- Determine what product lines, company events and people you want to highlight. You don’t have to launch in a big way: Pick five content areas and do them exceptionally well to start.
- Set up multiple boards. That’s what Pinterest calls them. Boards are simply pages with themes that fit into one of Pinterest’s categories. If you have an architecturally-interesting building, start a board with pictures of highlights. Post how-to videos breaking down a process one of your products facilitates. Set up a board with pictures from the company’s summer picnic. Here’s an excerpt from the Pinterest presence of our partner, Hubspot. The company has created 32 boards in all – so far.
- Repin content that you like on your own boards to give people more clues about your interests and passions. Repinning a post is a compliment to the original poster; it can build goodwill subtly.
- Like and Comment on content that genuinely speaks to you in some way.
- Follow people and companies that interest you. Some of them will be curious, explore and follow you back.
- Let your customers share the limelight. Feature success stories from customers who are willing to share.
- Post “before” and “after” pictures. If you sell hair care products, for example, or car-detailing supplies, this is a no-brainer. Show prospects how your products can improve their lives in some way.
- Don’t forget about the lighter side: Share your sense of humor.
- Make sure that you understand Pinterest’s copyright and trademark policies, so that you don’t violate someone’s rights — and so you can take action if someone is infringing on yours.
Above all, put a link to your Pinterest site on your website. It’s easy, as are other tasks on the site. Look here for a brief primer if you’re not familiar with it yet.
Some of the informal guidelines that apply to social selling, like don’t overpromote, are a little looser on Pinterest. You still want your primary goal to be relationship-building, but visitors will be free to skip over product-based boards if they want and go for the softer stuff.
Pictures can be more powerful than words in the sales process. They can be persuasive in a way that a few paragraphs of text can’t – and they’re less likely to seem pushy. So use your company and product images wisely and let them tell your story on Pinterest.