How Pinterest Helps Growers
Eberly & Collard’s marketing gurus explain the latest social media phenomenon and give tips on how to reach your customers effectively.
February 1, 2013
Over the last year, Pinterest has blossomed into a worldwide social network. Establishing itself as a popular niche among social media channels, this photo-sharing forum has caught the attention of millions of users. So, what is Pinterest and how can it help you as a grower establish brand awareness among current and potential customers?
For starters, your product is visually appealing — this social networking site is designed to allow users to share photos in an infinite number of categories from across the Web. Topics range from gardening ideas and favorite home furnishing accessories to fashion trends and delicious recipes. Photo categories can be easily customized per industry and product type, and the possibilities are endless.
Each Pinterest user has the ability to create personalized or tailored boards, which can be named based on specific products or plant varieties and genera. Once the boards have been created, related photos from around the Web or through upload can be “pinned” to them. But the keys are to know which photos to post to achieve the most impact and interest and how to write descriptive captions for effective brand-building.
Here are five practical tips to manage and maintain your company’s Pinterest account as part of a successful social media marketing platform.
1. Choose Meaningful, Pinnable Content
As you use Pinterest for business purposes, create meaningful boards that reflect your company as well as other industry-related and appealing products, services and information. “Pin” different types of images including photos, videos, infographics and text that will keep your followers engaged. Attractive photos picturing your plants in different angles and lighting can serve to generate interest from customers. Pinterest also allows users to re-pin (or re-post) photos from other users, and the ultimate goal is to make Pinterest users or “pinners” want to click on your photos and re-pin them on their own Pinterest boards.
This being said, many marketers believe that humanizing your company and brand is important and gives you an edge over the competition. Customers are attracted to the driving forces behind companies, so also create boards that showcase your personnel, leadership team, product specialists, breeders and others working at your operation. This will give followers an inside look at the team. By sharing this kind of information, you have the ability to relate to prospective customers on a deeper and more personal level.
2. Write Clear, Concise Captions
You are using Pinterest for marketing, so it is important to include clear, concise photo captions for each pinned photo. This will help your company’s Pinterest followers understand a message being portrayed in the image. Do not make the mistake of posting photos without captions or with captions that are drab and boring. Keep in mind Pinterest has a 500-character limit for each photo caption. To ensure your followers stay engaged and interactive, use the minimum amount needed to properly and interestingly describe your image within context.
If one of your Pinterest followers re-pins an image you posted, the original image caption will likely be edited to their liking. To help prevent losing the meaning of a particular image, consider using Photoshop to include a text box directly on the photo. This way, no matter how many times the photo is re-pinned, the caption on the photo will always stay the same. As with everything you pin, remember to maintain a high level of design.
3. Tap Into The Community With Contributor Boards
A common struggle for business owners and managers is investing the time and energy it takes to maintain a social media presence. By creating contributor boards, businesses gain followers, increase interaction and boost company exposure, all while doing half the work.
The concept is simple. Invite someone to be a contributor to one or more boards. Once they accept, their pins will transfer onto the boards, thus, providing a wider range of pins to keep audiences consistently engaged.
The fundamental exercise regarding contributor boards is adding pinners with audiences similar to your own. Competing businesses will have access to customers and users who are interested in similar services and products, which means they might have interest in yours, too. Pinterest users who follow your competitors’ boards will most likely follow yours in return. By working together as contributors, both companies’ chances for exposure doubles and growth rates are expedited. If interfacing with competitors on Pinterest sounds like a bad idea to you, keep one thing in mind: social media is only truly social if you maximize all possible connections — including interactions with others working in your field or area of expertise.
4. Be Consistently Social
Be sure to stay active and continuously connect with followers to make certain your business name, brands and products stay relevant.
To keep boards updated with dynamic and attention-drawing content, sign up for eNewsletters from trade and consumer-based publications. These eNewsletters are visual and deliver up-to-date information and photos. Their content can provide pin-worthy material or spark ideas for creative posts. That’s right, not all photos should be pinned from your own website. Pins should be derived from many online sources.
Create open lines of communication between you and your Pinterest fans. When pinning, make sure to encourage users to comment or share your photos by adding captions like, “Re-pin this photo if you think this heuchera will become a top-seller,” “Which variety would you add to this trial garden?” or “Who would like a tour of this greenhouse facility, and why?”
When fans comment on your boards, you will want to acknowledge the interaction and thank them. The same rule applies when fans re-pin a photo or board. Either post a comment or return the favor by re-pinning one of their photos or boards. It all comes down to practicing respectful social media etiquette.
5. Benefit From Some Serious SEO
On Pinterest, it is important to keep search engine optimization (SEO) in mind when creating a pin. Set up your pins to be noticed by using eye-catching captions, keywords, hashtags and URLs. If you want to increase the traffic to your website, blog or other social media sites, try pinning original images and content from these sites. Think in terms of incoming and outgoing traffic when creating a pin. Choose pins that will entice people, thereby causing them to click on the link that takes them to your websites.
It is also a good idea to add the “Pin It” button to your website or blog so when people are on these sites, they can easily pin your content and photos to their own boards, which helps increase SEO for your company.
Studies conducted by social media experts have confirmed that Pinterest is one of the fastest-growing social networking sites available. According to Mitt Ray, founder of Social Marketing Writing and periodic guest writer for Social Media Examiner, Pinterest’s recent growth has been unstoppable. And, a study administered by comScore stated Pinterest has grown by a remarkable 4,377 percent since May 2011. With this in mind, Pinterest is increasingly important for brand building and marketing, so start pinning today.
Dominique de Bruin, Lauren Calhoun and Katherine Merkel are with Eberly & Collard Public Relations, a national public/media relations and social media firm specializing in the home, garden and design industries. They can be reached through the firm’s website at EberlyCollardPR.com