You now have a full understanding of how Pinterest works and you’re set up with an account that looks the part and that should help more people to start finding the content you’re creating.
Now all that’s left is to actually begin marketing.
We’ve looked over most of the advantages of marketing on Pinterest already and we’ve seen how it lends itself well to promoting a website, blog or business. But now it’s time to move away from the hypothetical and to start creating a business model that works.
Let’s start with the basics. By looking at what makes any type of marketing strategy and any type of business successful. And the single answer here is value. If you want to engage your audience, if you want to build customers and fans and if you want to engender loyalty, then you need to be offering high quality value to achieve all those things.
That means in other words, that you need to give people a concrete reason to want to spend time engaging with your brand. The mistake that a lot of companies and marketers make on social media is simply to try and use it as a platform for promoting a product. They want to get direct sales, immediately and they’re trying to reach a broader audience by doing this through social media.
You’ll see this when you follow a company on Twitter that does nothing but talk about its products or services:
“Try out our latest products today!”
“Want to save time in the office? Our productivity tools are just for you!”
“Hurry while stocks last!”
The equivalent on Pinterest is simply to post images from articles with no rhyme or reason, or to just post images of the same product over and over hoping someone will notice it. This is unfortunately an entirely incorrect approach and social media just doesn’t lend itself to that kind of promotion. Why? Because you need people to want to follow you on social media.
And if all you’re doing is posting about your company then you’re really not going to give anyone a chance to do that. Would you follow a social media profile that only ever tried to sell its products to you? Or would you quickly get bored and unsubscribe? Instead, you need to think like the top brands on Pinterest and offer the kind of service that people are looking for on the platform: inspiration, ideas and lifehacks.
The ideal type of company for Pinterest is a company that sells wedding decorations, or perhaps that prints wedding invitations. You can then create a Pinterest board that will share images of wedding decorations – both involving your own products and using other products.
Make sure that the ideas are unique and interesting, that they provide style and elegance on a budget and that they offer the kinds of ideas that your followers might not have come up with themselves. This way, you give them an actual reason to follow you – because they’re learning!
Likewise, you might create a Pinterest board about ‘battlestations’ if you sell computer parts. Battlestations are essentially PC set-ups for gamers that are designed to look cool with lots of glowing parts and large dual monitor set-ups. Sell cupboards? Then you could create a board about organizational life hacks. Sell cooking ingredients? Then share pins of great meals and desserts and discuss the ingredients and the procedure in the comments underneath.
In any of these cases, you’re giving people a reason to follow you on Pinterest because you’re offering value in the form of ideas, inspiration or just aesthetic beauty. If you’re selling a physical product and especially something that looks beautiful or that has a ‘chic’ appeal, then you’ll find that Pinterest is the perfect fit for your business.
But what if you sell insurance? What if you sell eBooks about making money through day trading?
What if your niche isn’t something that appeals to hipsters? How do you make this work on Pinterest? The answer is that you need to go a little bit deeper and think about ‘lifestyle’ and about ‘value proposition’. In terms of lifestyle, it’s pertinent to consider that every product or service that you sell, will ultimately support some kind of lifestyle and will appeal to a certain type of person.
Fitness eBooks for instance appeal to people who like working out and who want to be in better shape. The ‘fitness lifestyle’ is an inspiring and visual concept that you can portray with pictures of people jogging on the beach listening to an MP3 player, or with pictures of people working out outdoors. Likewise, if you sell holiday insurance, then the lifestyle is the ‘travelling’ lifestyle.
You can post images of beautiful foreign destinations, or you can have boards outlining things to do in particular places. ‘Value proposition’ meanwhile refers to the value that your product or service really offers beyond the sum of its parts. The old saying goes that you ‘don’t sell hats, you sell warm heads’. What this means, is that the true value of the hat is in its ability to keep your head warm.
So if you can’t post pictures of your ‘hat’ then you can always post pictures of your ‘warm head’. What is the value proposition of life insurance? Simple: it’s keeping your family happy and safe after you’re gone and it’s looking after finances. As such then, your board doesn’t need to include images of life insurance policies (the hat) but instead should include pictures of happy families enjoying days out together and doing fun things (the warm head).
Your board could just be designed to give people that ‘warm fuzzy feeling’ by showing people having a great time, or it could be used to provide tips and ideas: how about ideas for things for people to do together as a family on a budget. Maybe it could be filled with pictures that humorously satirize the nature of the modern family?
Likewise, if your blog is about SEO and digital marketing, then your value proposition is business success, wealth and the feeling of accomplishment that comes from making it big online. Perhaps it’s also the freedom that you gain when you work for yourself and aren’t restrained to work in an office with a boss leaning over your shoulder. To demonstrate this in a Pinterest board, you could show images of people working in exciting locations like huge libraries, or on the beach in a hammock.
Likewise, you could show people in suits looking successful and well-dressed thanks to the money they managed to earn online. The key either way here, is to come up with themes for your boards that deliver real value and purpose for Pinterest users while remaining ‘on topic’.
Don’t just randomly repin pictures that vaguely relate, don’t just promote your products and don’t just post your articles randomly. If you do that you won’t be providing value and you won’t grow your viewership. Think of your Pinterest profile almost like a service or a product in itself.
The ideal scenario is that people will end up looking forward to checking out your pins or that they may even become reliant on your boards. They should be disappointed if ever your board gets taken down and the board should almost be able to exist on its own, as a separate entity from your business.