There’s been a lot of talk in the last year or so about Pinterest, the hottest social media site going. And though marketers have been quick to catch on, many are still not using Pinterest effectively. This post will discuss how businesses can use Pinterest to drive traffic and inspire brand loyalty.
Just in case you’ve never dipped your toe in the pool that is Pinterest, here is a primer: Pinterest is a social media site wherein users create pinboards around certain topics or themes. Like Twitter and Facebook, users can follow brands or “pinners” that they like. They can also “like” individual pins and follow individual pinboards.
Probably the best thing about Pinterest, for businesses, is that pins can be “repinned,” or repurposed, for other pinboards – creating an opportunity for an image to be widely shared across the site.
While an audience might come to Twitter for information, they’re coming to Pinterest for inspiration. Your task as a marketer is to inspire the image-hungry Pinterest audience to “like” and share your images. You can do this by creating clean, aesthetically pleasing, pins and pinboards.
But be careful: Pinterest is about fun, not shopping. By joining in on the fun, you can encourage interest in your brand, drive traffic to your site, generate leads, and inspire brand loyalty.
The first instinct companies have regarding Pinterest is to create 100% product-centric pinboards. This will likely backfire. If your pinboards look too much like your website, users have little reason to follow; if they want to see your images, they can just go to your website.
Your task instead is to be creative and to diversify.
Look, for example, at the pinboards created by the clothing company Madewell.
While some of Madewell’s pinboards are product-heavy, others celebrate things they love, like fun prints (on the pinboard Print, Pattern, Repeat) cool designs (on the pinboard Visual Happiness) and even books (on the pinboard What We’re Reading). Here, Madewell isn’t just creating sales tools, they’re creating inspiring pinboards that identify their brand with specific ideas.
You can do the same for your brand by being creative, and considering the many visual spinoffs or offshoots from your central product. Consider, for example, the colors, seasons, locations, events, people, and ideas you want associated with your brand.
Like all social media platforms, Pinterest is not a one-way conversation. To use Pinterest effectively, businesses should allocate the resources to use Pinterest as an open channel of communication – repinning others’ images and following other brands and users when appropriate. The idea here is to align your brand with brands and users that are similar in mood and aesthetics – creating connections in users’ minds between your brand and brands they know and love.
Why else would Madewell tell the world they’re reading Jane Austen?
Businesses that are B2B marketers should consider the value of LinkedIn as a growing professional network for its potential to generate leads. A recent infographic published by LinkedIn marketing, shows that LinkedIn generated 212 million business leads in the U.S. for 2011. They found that 46% of the audience follows industry discussions and 43% use LinkedIn to learn about companies. It’s easy to make a case for participating in the network, when you consider that 60+ million U.S. members use LinkedIn as a professional resource. If you already have a LinkedIn company page, the next step is optimizing it.
You can optimize your LinkedIn Company page with the following features:
These tips can be used to improve your LinkedIn Company Page, in order to make it more effective in generating traffic to your website and capturing leads. If you are interested in pursuing this type of optimization, but don’t have the internal resources to accomplish the outlined tasks, you should contact us for information about our LinkedIn Optimizer program.
Since the launch of Google Plus, we have covered what to expect with a Google+ Business Page and what has happened to Places Listings that merged into Google+ Local. Recently, Google released the ability to merge the Google+ Local listings with a single Google+ Business Page. This functionality is very important, since there are features available on a Google+ Business Page that were not accessible on a Google+ Local listing. The advantages to merging your listings into a single Google+ Business Page include the ability to share updates with photos or videos and links, create Circles (segmented networks of fans), set up Events, host Hangouts that can be linked to your YouTube account and recorded, and include you customer reviews on an SEO optimized About section for your business. We will continue to share more ideas about the social media marketing strategies for a Google+ Business Page in another follow up article. Below are the steps to the verification procedure for merging one Google+ Local Listings into a new, more robust +Business Page.
Step One: Create a profile with a gmail address, this will be the owner of the page, make sure it is unique to the business and not a personal account. Create a Google+ Business Page, if you do not already have one. Populate the “About Info” with keyword rich text and hyperlinks to your website. Upload a profile photo and cover image that will enhance your brand’s exposure. Start adding People, and Pages to circles that are in your scope of interests, to expand your Pages reach in the network.
Step Two: Select the “Verify Now” button next to your Google+ Page name. You will be able to add managers to the Page, and they can perform this action as well. You can add a personal gmail account to be a Page manager, but they will need to have a Google+ Profile activated.
Step Three: Verify your business address. Select the “View Page” to see what your current +Local listing contains. You will be able to compare what information has merged with your existing +Business Page, by keeping a copy of this screen shot in your records.
Step Four: Complete the verification process by requesting a postcard with a pin. Once you receive the postcard in the mail, go to the link provided and validate that you are the business owner. You’ll need to accept the terms and conditions before selecting the “request post card” button.
Once your Google+ Business Page is verified, your Page will be shown to anyone searching in Google Maps, Google Search, and Google Plus. Your business’s reviews will migrate with the about information you have populated on your Page, and have the potential to also appear in search results. It will be important to share updates frequently, so visitors to the Page have a resource for learning about specials, your company, or industry news and trends you provide to your fan base. Google+ users will be able to leave reviews and give your business a rating directly on your page. You might want to consider a way to reward customer reviews, so there is a good representation of positive feedback about your business.
We specialize in social media strategy and search engine optimization for Google+ Business Pages. This network, has the ability to drive traffic to your location as well as enhance your website’s position in natural search results. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of Google Plus for your business, call us at 800.787.0497 for a free consultation.