Pinterest 101: How to Use the Site for Your Business

Today’s guest post is from Bev Sninchak, a veteran freelance writer with 16 years of experience producing content for both print and online publications. She is interested in business-related podcasts, and writes about many business-related subjects, from online marketing tips to social media strategies. She lives with her husband, kids, and a menagerie of pets in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
Social reciprocation - Aleweb Social Marketing

Multiply your client base by social reciprocation

If you thought Pinterest was a leisure site used primarily for pinning cute decorating photos or images of crafts and hobbies, think again. Pinterest can be a powerful site to get exposure for your brand or to gain new clients.

Not sure how to employ this new online promotion strategy? Read further to discover creative ways to use this unique site to revolutionize how you promote your business online.

Keep It Visual

When using Pinterest, keep in mind you are aiming to interact with others on a visual level. While you’ll still need to use text to include product descriptions and prices, be sure to mix things up by using your boards for company-related videos, charts, graphics, and product photographs.

Remember, pins don’t always have to be static, boring photographs. Upload dynamic videos that show your personal brand in an innovative light, using everything from demonstrations of your latest products to a series of micro-interviews with your CEO. If you use case studies as part of your business’s sales strategy, present those case studies as video presentations to demonstrate how using your services can be beneficial and necessary.

Be Creative

Check out how other businesspeople are using Pinterest, and employ some of their successful strategies. Offer snapshots of your personal brand’s culture, mission statement, and philosophy. Create stunning infographs that not only provide integral information about your products and/or services to customers, but do it in a way that pops with color, style, and creativity.

The key is to get your potential customers excited about the merchandise you bring to the global marketplace. The attention span of the average consumer on the internet is mere seconds, so you’ll need to grab would-be clients and hook them quickly if you plan to capture them for future sales.

Get Social

Not only is Pinterest a visual site, it is a social venue as well. Most pins on Pinterest—an estimated 80 percent—are repins of others’ content, so be sure to produce a variety of visual content from which others can choose. If someone repins content from one of your boards, make sure to extend your appreciation to them.

In addition, build connections and open dialogue with possible customers by following their boards, repinning their pins, commenting on their posts, and liking their content as well. To personalize your interactions, employ hashtags as well. Whenever possible, also incorporate SEO keywords.

Stay Connected

If your business is already on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn (and if it’s not, it should be), your next step is to connect all of those social media platforms back to your new Pinterest account. Integration is key; you want to be sure you have connection and a seamless, organic flow between all your promotional resources.

Link your other social media to Pinterest and install the “Pin” button and “Follow Me” buttons to all your other profiles. Add the “Pin” button to your company’s website and blog, also. If you have an online product catalog, make it easy for shoppers to use the “Pin” button to snag images and information about individual products or collections. The rule of thumb should be this: If you want to promote it, make sure visitors can easily Pin it.

To keep abreast of the latest developments on how to effectively use Pinterest for your business, bookmark the Pinterest for Business page and visit it often. Once you get familiar with Pinterest and how you can use it as a resource for your personal brand, you will never look at online marketing and sales promotion the same way again.

How are you using Pinterest for your brand?

The Oft-Forgotten Tool in our Marketing Toolkit: SlideShare

Are you an author? A speaker? A trainer? A marketer? All of the above? You know there’s a very powerful tool that’s often overlooked that we could be taking out and using more often; or at least I know I could. So, today’s post is going to cover some interesting examples of how you can use SlideShare to increase your visibility.

  1. Start first with the increased exposure that posting presentations to the SlideShare site itself gives to you. Developing a strong presence on the site, with a complete profile, suitable keyword tags for each presentation, etc. will allow others to find, appreciate and share your material and samples that much more easily. It also provides a great place to send event planners, training coordinators, etc. who want to see a bit more of what your work looks like. According to the SlideShare website:

    SlideShare is the world’s largest community for sharing presentations. With 60 million monthly visitors and 130 million pageviews, it is amongst the most visited 200 websites in the world. Besides presentations, SlideShare also supports documents, PDFs, videos and webinars.

  2. Jazz up your LinkedIn profile by incorporating the SlideShare app into it. To do so, in LinkedIn, select the More menu, followed by Get More Applications…, and then select the SlideShare Presentations app to add to your profile. Configure the app to connect to your SlideShare account, and then visitors to your profile will be able to see the most recent presentation you shared. If they click on the app logo, it will take them to an expanded version of the SlideShare app where they can explore other presentations as well.
  3. Embed a presentation on your website. If you have a presentation or two that you want to highlight for your website visitors, SlideShare provides you with the necessary embed code to be able to do that. Here’s one that I just uploaded from a talk I gave last March.
  4. Pin presentations from SlideShare to Pinterest boards. I recently got into a debate with someone about Pinterest and its ideal uses. They saw it as a place where women share recipes and post inspirational quotations. The thing is, Pinterest is such a powerful site and has an incredible level of engagement. So, why wouldn’t you incorporate it into your business strategies, marketing tactics or even your job search? Here’s a great SlideShare presentation on creating Pinterest resumes. The same concept can apply for various speaking topics, book subjects, training courses, etc. Be imaginative!
  5. Periodically share your presentations in your status updates on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Create a few pre-crafted posts that you can add to your editorial calendar and keep continuing traffic coming to the presentations you want to have the most visibility. Schedule these posts in your post planner (I use Hootsuite), so that they run on auto-pilot.
  6. Remember to craft your presentations well! A well-crafted presentation will catch people’s attention, prompting them to share it with their networks as well. Consider adding video to your presentation or an audio track, wherever appropriate, to bring the presentation to life.
  7. Generate leads using SlideShare. If you upgrade your free account to the PRO version, you can use LeadShare to enable viewers to contact you directly, right from your presentations! With a LeadShare campaign running, a lead capture box is displayed after the first 10 slides, at the end of the deck, or by a permanent display button on the player. To learn more about Leadshare, click here.

What are some of your favorite ways to use SlideShare?

Why Pinterest Should Interest You

We’ve all heard the saying that a picture’s worth a thousand words, right? Why is that? There’s just something visually engaging about an image that makes people want to interact with it. Bloggers know to add an image or video to their posts to increase engagement. Facebookers know that posts with images of some kind (previews, photos, etc.) receive more likes and comments.

Well, the new social network, Pinterest (still in beta release), takes that concept and blows it out of the water. Image a network that’s driven by imagery. Engagement explodes. People virally share, or “pin,” the images so that their own network sees them too. They can be embedded on blogs, like the one in this post. Or they can be shared on Facebook, tweeted on Twitter and even e-mailed!

What is Pinterest

But Pinterest is so much more than the image may lead you to believe. Each pinned item has a link leading back to the source, whether that’s a spot on your blog, a photo album, etc. Suddenly, Pinterest becomes a ready-made vehicle for broadcasting your message to a completely different audience than the one you already have. And since the “repinning” that takes place is focused around categorized topics, it’s easy to find others who share your same interests and are willing to spread the word to their followers!

Every user in Pinterest creates their own bulletin boards that they post images to. These are usually focused around categories like cars, kids, nature, pets, food, inspirational messages, books, music, travel, etc.

Whether you’re an author, photographer, realtor, chef, landscape architect, home organizer, interior decorator, builder, website designer, artist, social media maven or what-have-you, you should be using Pinterest. Create boards that are relevant to the audience you want to attract. Then start filling your boards with visual content (in this case, pictures and video).

Do you have a portfolio? Show it off on Pinterest. Are you an author? Share your book cover image, as well as photos, sketches or other drawings related to the setting of your book. Or take brief, inspiring excerpts and create an image from them to share (like the one above). Have video you want to get out there? Create a board of your videos as well. Have products you want to sell? Pin an image of your product with a link back to the site where they can purchase it, whether that’s on Etsy, your website, Amazon, eBay, or elsewhere. Are you a realtor? Create a board for each town you sell in, and post images and video from your listings. The options are only limited by your imagination.

Looking for new content or something to blog about? Find and follow other “Pinners” who inspire you. Join in the discussions taking place about each image. Share your thoughts and ideas, and engage authentically.

Oh! And did I mention that by default, your Pinterest activity is visible to the search engines? So, it’s yet another source of SEO for the sites that are being linked to…

But be warned! Pinterest is addictive! And keep in mind that Pinterest is not about self-promotion so much as it is another social network. As with any social platform, etiquette requires that you keep self-promotion to a minimum. Consider the audience you’re looking to attract and share the content that’s going to interest them. Not every pin should go back to your website. Share what others are pinning, and what you find elsewhere on the internet.

If you aren’t using the site yet and want an invitation to join (since it’s still in beta release), let me know and I’ll send one out to you. If you are using Pinterest already, be sure to follow me and say “hello!”

What do you think of Pinterest? Post your thoughts below, and feel free to share your favorite pin if you have one!