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    Are You Pinterested?

    By Monez Mener

    If you are going to embrace social media for promoting your business, consider including Pinterest as part of your marketing strategy.

    Assess the Pinterest Option

    Here are questions to ask yourself to help determine whether marketing with Pinterest might be of value to your business:

    • Is your business B2B or B2C?
    • Will you use Pinterest to get more traffic?
    • Is your target customer mostly men or women?
    • How do you think you will benefit from using Pinterest?
    • Is your business, product or service-based?
    • Are your products or services mostly related to fashion, weddings, cooking or crafts? ?
    • Do your products have strong visual appeal? (Do you have the time to improve the content and visual quality of your web and other social media sites, especially any photos?)
    • Are you already using social media for business?
    • Why are you interested in using Pinterest
    • Will you pin items that aren't totally about your business (news, trends, others' ideas, etc.)?

    If you have clear answers to all of these questions, you might find value in developing a Pinterest-based social media presence. However, if you are overwhelmed, annoyed, or burnt out on "yet another social media site", you might set Pinterest aside for a while.

    What do you know about Pinterest?

    Pinterest serves a slightly different function in social media. It is not the place where you converse to the same degree as with Facebook or Twitter and it is not another blog site. Pinterest is a social/visual "virtual pinboard" that allows users to post (pin) images or videos from the web to their own (and others' boards) and browse Pinterest.

    Once a Pinterest account is created, virtual boards created within the account can be categorized and the user can add descriptions as reminders of why a picture or video was saved. Many (but not all) images/pins link the Pinterest user back to the website source for easy access at a later time. The account owner-user can invite others to pin content of related interest to the board, or can restrict it to personal use, only.

    One media writer describes Pinterest as a "database ? of intentions". An individual often uses his or her Pinterest board to collect ideas, specifically visual images, of something desired. For instance, you may want to see pictures of wedding gowns (a popular subject on Pinterest). Pictures of interest can be "pinned" to the board.

    Many website images now include a Pin It widget on their pages enabling the visitor to pin content from that web page. And users can upload pins of their own content - the amazing dessert, an image of a newly-completed oil painting, or images of a new line of winter fashion accessories.

    How Does Marketing Come Into This?

    As a business promoter, your goal is to increase viewer traffic to your social media site. Once there, it is up to your web content to influence visitors to make purchases. Pinterest is now seen as an extension of an individual's or a company's website and it is credited with increasing page views by as much as 29 percent.

    The increasingly popular Etsy online marketplace is considered to be one of the best performing brands on Pinterest, increasing Etsy's revenue by 9.4 percent in 2013. Why the interest? It's the pictures!

    People love pictures in advertising for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects, and posted with crafts, how-to's and recipes. Viewers want pictures in all platforms. Brands need to incorporate pictures into Pinterest and all social media sites used for marketing.

    Where to Start

    • Knowledge - Start by building your knowledge base about the types of interests and prospective clients might use Pinterest.

    • Pinterest has more than 70 million ? sers. That's a large potential customer/consumer base.

    • Women users repin (pinning images found on the web and in Pinterest searches) to their own boards more often than men but have fewer followers.

    • The top three most popular Pinterest categories are DIY and crafts, hair and beauty, and design.

    • The most popular categories on Pinterest are babies, beauty, crafts, fashion, fitness, food, home d?cor, kids, pets, and travel. Seasonal subjects are very popular, too - holidays, seasonal changes, current events.

    • Category usage differs vastly from men to women: women focus on fewer categories whereas men spread out their pins. Also, women's top five categories account for more than 56 percent of all their Pinterest activity; men's top five categories are under 40 percent.

    • Men users favor photography, art, design, and home d?cor categories.

    • Time of day for pinning can be important. In the United States, the best time of day to pin is between 2 PM and 4 PM (Eastern time); the best time at night is between 8 PM and 1 AM (Eastern time).

    Do extensive online research. Look at some of the popular retail sites and notice their use of PinIt widgets. Search the Internet for subjects from one of the more popular categories. Your search will probably bring up Pinterest links. Click and view the subject on the Pinterest site and study the content, layout, and appearance.

    Create a Pinterest account and get verified through the site's business section. You can set up your Pinterest boards privately, adjusting them until you believe you have them ready for show. Then, ? change the viewing status and start monitoring your PinIt results.

    You will have access to some interesting business development tools, including analytics. Use the analytics tool to see pin activity data on your website and Pinterest boards. The analytics can help you better understand what pinners like ("Most Repinned and Most Clicked). Customize and fine-tune your pins for more conversions.

    Your clients are exploring your site for items to pin and repin to other Pinterest boards. You should be focused on creating content that reflects your customer's passions. Pinterest users typically share content that has educational value and practicality to them. How can you align your content to the customers' interests?

    Preparing Your Pinterest Content

    • Website evaluation - Is your website Pin-friendly, up-to-date, and current content rich, especially with quality pictures? Get your website in good order.

    • Content organization - Organize all your Pinterest boards by themes to make it easier for other users to find and browse specific content.

    • Brand the photos - Brand (add your logo) to a corner of each picture you pin to your board. Researchers have noted that large watermarks over images are Pinner turnoffs.

    • Shopper-friendly content - More than most social media sites, Pinterest is about shopping. Each board should

    Shopper-friendly content - More than most social media sites, Pinterest is about shopping. Each board should be designed and content-filled with "shopper friendly" in mind. Describe the product or service and use only clear, quality images.

    • Join the community - while you spend time each day updating and checking your social media, engage with the people of the communities: post and answer questions, and comment on others' content.

    • Repin - When it comes directly to Pinterest, invite others to repin content to your board. Repinning to your account brings your account to the attention of the person from whom you repined (that person receives a notification and/or email). The person from whom you repined may also return the repin favor.

    • No broken backlinks - make sure your links in Pinterest correctly backlink to your web, Facebook or Twitter sites. Fix any broken backlinks!

    Picture Clear

    Let's get clear on pictures. There are some key points to know about posting pictures and videos on Pinterest:

    • Brand images (on Pinterest) are more likely to receive a repin if the image does not contain a face - 23 percent more likely. BTW, one study showed that Pinterest has 4.25 times more images without faces.

    • Color - images with lots of color are preferred. Red, orange and brown images are twice as likely to be repined; blue images are less likely. Images with medium lightness will be repinned 20 times more often than mostly black images, eight times more likely than white images.

    • Background and texture - influence repinning choices. Pinsters favour images with less than 30 percent background; the drop-? off rate was two-to-four times for images that contain 40 percent or more background content. Smooth textures are preferred to rough textures - garnering up to 17 times more repins.

    • Image size - taller images and vertical images are more repinable according to studies. Smaller images and infographics receive more click-throughs because they are harder to read from the Pinterest site. An infographic headline is key to getting more click throughs.

    • Traffic response - you can control traffic response by including a specific call to action on your pin's landing page

    Maintaining Your Presence

    A large business with its own marketing group or consultants can spend a considerable amount of time studying the analytics on ROI, placing the most professionally done photographs and text and updating content nearly every day.

    The smaller business person should plan to spend at least two hours daily, monitoring feedback, replying to comments (when appropriate), and refreshing content. This is a fairly small investment of time and effort for potentially good results.

    Over time, the comments and number of visitors will begin to show what areas of your content are effective - like what products are being ignored and which are being purchased. Conversely, they may reveal lack of interest and a limited number of purchases.

    If your traffic remains sluggish, evaluate every aspect - text, layout, images, links - everything. You may want or need to consult with an online marketing specialist or web/media designer for assistance in refreshing your content.

    It's easy to overwhelm viewers with information and oversaturation is as ineffective in marketing as is too little valuable content. Again, feedback will let you know what's working and what isn't.

    One more thing about those numbers - marketers can buy "likes" and "tweets" to inflate the numbers of legitimate viewer likes and tweets. Those high numbers you envy may not necessarily be an accurate representation of who is really following a brand. More importantly, they don't accurately represent the purchases related to that brand.


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    How to Integrate Pinterest With Facebook Page

    How to Integrate Pinterest With Facebook Page

    How to Integrate Pinterest With Facebook Page
    By Tamara Baranova

    If you have a Facebook business page and Pinterest business account - why not integrate both in a mutually beneficial strategy? If you have a following or one or both of the platforms, you can build up on that on other social media tools. There's no need to start from scratch, but it does need some careful planning to avoid just spamming your followers with similar messages on all social networks. And that's what I'm going to talk about in this post.

    In June 2013, Pinterest had 70 million users, according to Paris-based social media research firm Semiocast. Businesses have a lot to gain from Pinterest (and social media in general): new customers, more engaged customers, sales. According to a June 2013 report by market intelligence firm Visioncritical, 4 in 10 social media users have purchased an item online or in store after "favoriting" or sharing it on Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook. Nearly half - 47 percent - of Pinterest purchasers say they pinned and purchased something after simply stumbling across it on the site, not because of a focused search for the item.

    So how can you get help from your Facebook fans to build a following on Pinterest? And how to integrate Pinterest with Facebook page? Here are some tips to get you started.

    Get a Pinterest tab on you Facebook business page

    1. Install an app on your Facebook page Pinterest tab, or use Woobox is the app that allows you to create your Pinterest page tab on your Facebook Page. You're allowed one free Pinterest tab, after that it's $29/month per Page for all the apps you want to use.

    2. Create a tab for your Facebook page so when people come to read your posts, or find out about you they will also see that you are on Pinterest. The tab allows followers to view all your boards that are on Pinterest while remaining on the Facebook platform (woobox only), they are only taken to Pinterest when they repin or comment.

    Additionally, with woobox you can require users to like your Facebook page before viewing your Pinterest tab, show all of your boards and pins styled just like they are on Pinterest, and get complete stats for page views, visits, and likes, segmented by fans and non-fans who view your tab.

    Post Pinterest links as updates on Facebook Page

    Share the direct link to your Pinterest page as a status update, let people know why they should follow you on both platforms. Be specific about the type of value you are creating on Pinterest for your followers.

    Do it more than once - use different board visuals and different messages, to test what works. With only a fraction of your fans online at each moment in time, you can't expect all of them to notice this from just a single update and take action - follow you on Pinterest!

    Promote specific boards on Facebook

    On Pinterest followers can chose whether to follow all of your boards or just a few, and with this in mind - you may be more successful promoting specific boards to your Facebook followers. You might have board related to a specific product or service, business and non-business related boards, boards related to your other businesses or passions - not everything might be of interest or relevant to your fans. So test a few and see what works.

    Update your status by uploading an image of a pin to Facebook, add description and add a link to the relevant board. A compelling image is given more space on Facebook newsfeed than just a link - so your update is more likely to get seen by your fans.

    Post a link to your Pinterest board as a status update with an image of one of your pins. This will automatically generate an image. A full board preview can be generated by posting the board's direct URL, this will also include the text in your board description (you can set and change it in board's settings on Pinterest).

    Don't forget to write a full description when setting up your boards and make use of the space beneath the board title. If you haven't done this when setting up your boards, it's easy to edit them now.

    Promoting a particular pin

    In the same way as promoting a particular board, a specific pin can be used, chose one which highlights the value you are providing.

    Posting a direct link to a pin will automatically produce an image of the pin, the name of the board and the caption given. Optimise title and caption for impact - to grab attention, convey value and use the right keywords.

    Promote Pinterest contests on Facebook

    Contests and promotions are very popular on Pinterest, just as they are on Facebook. They are an effective way to drive traffic to your site and increase your followers. There are very few restrictions regarding the way contests and promotions are hosted on Pinterest, so get leverage from both platforms by promoting your Pinterest contest or promotion on Facebook and encourage your fans to take part. This could be that "carrot" they need to finally take action and follow your boards on Pinterest.

    You can check out the latest brand guidelines for running a content on Pinterest here.

    Another benefit of a Pinterest content - it creates a lot of engagement between your followers and this will usually translate to increased engagement on your Facebook page. Higher engagement on your Facebook page would result in Facebook treating your other updates more favourably in the newsfeed battle for space and reach. So a possible side effect - your Facebook engagement and reach will grow too.

    What kind of content can you run on Pinterest?

    Check these examples on pin-boards here and here. And this Hubspot's review of 8 Pinterest contests that worked (and why!).

    And there is an app for that too... use woobox, shortstack or wishpond to manage your contest. Alternatively, you can create a minisite/landing page on your website to explain the details of your contest, how to enter, T&Cs and keep everyone updated on the progress.

    Key elements of a successful Pinterest contest

    • Offer a reasonable prize that will motivate your followers to take action, the more you offer - the more action you could ask them to take to enter;
    • Your services could be used a prize too - design services, personal styling, SEO review etc.;
    • Ask entrants to follow you on Pinterest in order to build your following;
    • Ask them to create a board of a specific name and description, this will promote your contest to followers of the person who entered;
    • Ask them to pin at least ten items to that board to create a particular theme, several items must be from your website - this will share your content with a wide audience and create backlinks to your content;
    • Entrants must submit the board's URL on a form or by email (like the example above) and ask them to opt in to newsletter sign up - and build your email list at the same time.
    • If you put your contest information and entry form behind the "like-gate" on Facebook you could build your Facebook fanbase too - but beware of creating too many "hoops" for your entrants to jump through, or you won't get enough entries!
    • Ensure that your contest is mobile-friendly - most users of Facebook and Pinterest are on mobile phones, so they need to be able to access your "submission" tab or form in order to enter;
    • Ensure that your rules are clear in your Terms and Conditions, including the judging criteria, especially if you promote or run the contest as a Facebook app;
    • By spreading the word via social media, blog and your newsletter, you will also be encouraging your existing followers to engage with you on another social network.
    • Don't let it go on too long - 2 weeks is sufficient time for a contest to gain momentum and enough entries to make a decision;
    • Consider your target market - what would encourage them to spend time playing around with pins and creating a new board. If you are a fashion boutique, asking them to create a board that symbolizes the Autumn 2013 look best could work well and your judging criteria would reward interpretation of the latest fashions and creativity.

    Your action this week:

    • if you have a Pinterest account, install a Pinterest tab on Facebook;
    • use status updates to promote boards and pins;
    • ensure descriptions, titles, and captions are optimised on your boards - and images from your website have links back to the site;
    • plan your Pinterest/Facebook marketing strategy - what updates you will post and how you will add value.

    Extra brownie points - plan and run a Pinterest contest. Share your progress in comments below - I'd love to enter your contests and WIN:)


    About The Author

    My name is Tamara Baranova. I run TJConsulting and I help small business owners grow their business by delivering effective online marketing mentoring, support and training. My clients see their business succeed, grow fast, and generate healthy profits through online marketing strategy that works.

    Want to know more? Go to my website to grab my free eCourse 7 Steps to Online Marketing Mastery and learn how to plan your unique social media strategy. Use our step-by-step jargon-free guides to master all popular online marketing tools: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email, blogging, and more!

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