Pinterest is a social network that allows users to visually share, curate, and discover new interests by posting, also known as 'pinning,' images or videos to their own or others' pinboards (i.e. a collection of 'pins,' usually with a common theme). Users can either upload images from their computer or pin things they find on the web using the Pinterest bookmarklet, Pin It button, or just a URL.
Using a visual emphasis, the social network is very much focused on the concept of a person's lifestyle, enabling you to share your interests and preferences with others and discover those of like-minded people. As Pinterest puts it, this is a social network meant to "connect everyone in the world through the 'things' they find interesting."
As with other social networks, Pinterest provides many activities you an initiate to market your company to a new audience. The goal is to gain brand recognition, drive traffic to your website and be successful at converting these website visitors into leads. Pinterest is a visual social network, so you will need to create a pinboard that highlights some of your best visual content.
The challenge for many B2B companies who want to start using Pinterest as a marketing channel, is a lack of visual content. By their nature, many B2B companies sell a product or service in an industry that is not visual. Here are some ideas for visual content your can post on Pinterest:
Visual content you already have
Someone at your last company mixer must have grabbed a few photos, right? If so, make a board to showcase your company’s culture and pin them. Have executive headshots? Create an “executive management” board and include a bio for each person.
Strong visuals from blog articles
Start using clear, beautiful images in your blog articles with the point of pinning them to your pinboards moving forward. You should be using images in your blog articles anyway! Pin images that best highlight your written content.
Infographics & Data Charts
Infographics are all the rage right now, and they are doing very well on Pinterest. If you have any industry data that you can illustrate using an infographic, do so before someone beats you to it.
You can also pin simple data charts that you build in excel. Make sure to have a clear headline in the image so people know what they are looking at!
Book and eBook Covers
Has your company released an ebook or a white paper recently? Take a screenshot of it and add it to a board that’s a collection of papers. Do the same if someone from your team has authored an industry publication. This will help you establish your thought leadership on Pinterest.
Photos of your customers
Promoting your happy customers is a great way to create a positive sentiment around your brand. Encourage your customers to send you photos (or take photos of them at your next event.) create a board of their smiling faces – perhaps using your product or service!
As more and more businesses flock to Pinterest to promote their brands, it is worthwhile to discuss the Pinterest culture. As with any site that is built around content curation, ‘pinners’ (Pinterest users) must be especially cognizant of citing the sources of their individual pins. And while Pinterest makes no direct statement that marketers cannot use the social network for promotional purposes, the site does discourage blatant self-promotion:
Avoid Self Promotion
"Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion."
Coupled with Pinterest’s lifestyle vision, this should encourage marketers to find creative ways to promote their brand on the network and align with its vision and user base. The trick to succeeding on Pinterest isn’t necessarily about showing off your products or services directly. It’s about finding creative ways to show how those products and services fit into the lifestyles of your target audience.