This week’s On Track Tips HOA (Hangouts On Air) guest is Cynthia Sanchez, from Oh So Pinteresting. Here’s our discussion about how a small business can profit from Pinterest.
Should I Use Pinterest Marketing?
On Track Tips: I want to start by addressing the critics because there are some who are rather critical of Pinterest as a marketing channel. They say Pinterest has a very limited appeal. Moreover, some Pinterest users resent the influence from marketers.
One user said, Pinterest is for visual imagery – crafts, clothing, and design ideas. The marketing community is ruining this network with pins about “The top 10 things [about this and that].” I wish they would leave and go back to Twitter and Facebook.
So Cynthia, tell us, what do you advise a business owner who is launching an internet product or whose business is built around social and content marketing?
Cynthia Sanchez: I would definitely say there’s a place for them on Pinterest. The idea that Pinterest is just for topics like crafts and fashion is a big, big mistake. Pinterest is about people using it for their interests – if you have a business, hopefully it is a business somebody is interested in … something somebody wants to buy. We need to think about Pinterest in a different way, to get out of the fog, and think about how to position content in a way that will be appealing visually to Pinterest users. For some business types (accountants, for instance) that can be difficult, so you need to get creative.
How can I be more Social on Pinterest?
On Track Tips: The general consensus is that Pinterest has the least social layer of all the social networks, in terms of discussions and engagement. Well at least until recently with the inclusion of messaging. Even still, it’s not really a place to have discussions. It’s more of a post-and-run network. Beyond pinning other’s Pins and following Boards, how can we hope to get more social with Pinterest? Or should this even be the goal?
Cynthia Sanchez: Getting social should not be your main objective. That is not the way Pinterest was established. You can try to force it into something else, if you want … but don’t be disappointed when you don’t get the results you seek. And yes, they have added messaging, and that can be one way to make it more social or you can also use Pin comments. But the network was designed to be a bookmarking platform first and foremost.Pinterest is about people using it for their interests – if you have a business, hopefully it is a business somebody is interested inClick To Tweet
Why is Pinterest consistently the top referrer of the Social Networks?
On Track Tips: Dustin Stout recently wrote, “I’m shocked, Pinterest is now my leading referrer!” This really surprised me because Dustin built his name on Google+, and that’s where his audience is. I have a theory about why this happened and I want to know if you agree with me, Cynthia. When you create a G+ post to share a blog article for example, you format the post, add a little commentary about the article you’re sharing, maybe ask a question, then throw in the link and some hashtags. Then the conversation starts to happen … but many times people say they never read the linked-to post. The are commenting on your post rather than the original article. On Pinterest, because the social layer doesn’t exist, you really have to click the button and go to the article, and have your discussion there in the blog comments. What do you think, is Pinterest – by nature – a stronger referrer? I like something you wrote:
“Unlike networks such as Facebook and Twitter that are intended to connect people with other people, Pinterest is designed to connect people with the things that they are interested in online.”
Cynthia Sanchez: I think that’s a great theory. With Pinterest you have to click through. And, as people share and re-share, the impact grows exponentially. Many business owners don’t even realize people are out there sharing about their companies on Pinterest.
How do I Break out of the SoMe Echo Chamber?
On Track Tips: Pinterest helps you break out of the echo chamber. Many users on Google+ spend most of their time in specifically curated circles. Only those people who have you in a tight circle are likely to see your post and respond. But the way Pinterest is designed, specifically with “Related Pins”, it is really easy to be found by people outside your usual group, community, or bubble. What are some things a small business owner should consider?
Cynthia Sanchez: The Related Pin feature (you can turn it off, if you want) keeps track of where you go and what you Pin. It then presents related content suggestions, based on your actions. You tweak what is presented by voting thumbs up or down on those suggestions. As a business owner your hope is to get your posts to appear as related pins. So consider this when you are creating your boards. Pinterest search is another excellent tool, probably one of the best. It allows users to access your content over and over again. Pinterest has greater longevity than any other network.Related Pins and Pinterest Search help you break out of the echo chamber like no where else in Social MediaClick To Tweet
What about hiring a VA or someone to manage your boards?
On Track Tips: Many small business owners don’t have time to manage their own social media, how easy is it to have a VA (virtual assistant) manage your Pin Board, yet still maintain the voice of your brand?
Cynthia Sanchez: Of course your VA will need some training on identifying the business voice and how to use Pinterest, but mishaps don’t happen as often on Pinterest as on other social networks. The reason is that there are not long-threaded discussions where the VA needs to be able to represent the brand in conversations like on Google+ or Facebook. They can more easily post according to your brand guidelines, and leave the communication part to the business owner. Moreover, the response time expectation is longer and more forgiving on Pinterest than elsewhere, so if you don’t get back to your comments right away, it is not the end of the world.
Profile your audience with Pinterest. Who does your brand resonate with?
On Track Tips: What are some ways that I can use Pinterest to profile my audience? How can I find out who is following and engaging with me there?
Cynthia Sanchez: There are a number of ways. Look at your Follower number and click on it. That will show you everyone who is following you. Go look at their Boards to see what they are pinning. That will show you what your followers are interested in. You may find related topics of interest to them, or you may notice that certain types of Pins get numerous shares by them. You can get ideas for your next post – or maybe even your next product – by observing what piques the interest of your followers. You should definitely use Pinterest for research.What's the difference between a Pinterest personal and a business page?Click To Tweet
What’s the difference between Personal and Business Pages?
On Track Tips: What do I need to know about the difference between a personal account and a business account?
Cynthia Sanchez: Pinterest policy mandates you must declare your account as “Business,” if you are using Pinterest for business purposes. You can even get your account suspended for not doing so. To convert a personal account to business, just go to business.pinterest.com and use the “Convert now” link. Once you complete the process, you will have access to analytics. You will also be able to participate in Promoted Pins (advertising on Pinterest). Otherwise, everything stays the same. You keep all your followers. To tell which account you have, just look at your profile name.
Rich Pins, and why you need them!
On Track Tips: What are some things I need to know about Rich Pins?
Cynthia Sanchez: There are several kinds of Rich Pins. Article Pins, for instance, are a huge help for SEO value. Product Pins give you the advantage of having a sort of indirect email connection to people. If someone Pins your product and it goes on sale, they get an email notification. This is an extremely powerful tool for marketing especially for the Etsy types. Rich Pins allow you to share additional information, but you must go through an approval process to use them. There are plugins that can help if you are using WordPress and Shopify sites already have them built in. It takes a little extra work to set them up, but once it’s done, you never have to edit them. And the payoff never expires.
— Jason T. Wiser (@OnTrackTips) September 30, 2014
On Track Tips: Are there third-party apps that can help with Pinterest? (personally we recommend Social Warfare Plugin).
Cynthia Sanchez: Pinterest has been very guarded with their API (Application Programming Interface). There are a few select apps, but primarily for analytics and enterprise-level pursuits.
On Track Tips: How can I arrange my Pin Boards? People generally click on the top list item first, so is there a way to sort my pins to bring an article back up to the top?
Cynthia Sanchez: Yes. Just click and drag to move Boards, but you cannot arrange Pins inside the Board.
Audience question: I’m not a visual person, I don’t have very good looking blog banners, and I can’t afford a graphic designer at this time. Should I even bother with Pinterest?
Cynthia Sanchez: Use Canva.com. It makes it easy and inexpensive.
Audience question: What is the perfect image size for Pins?
Cynthia Sanchez: There is no perfect size. They just need to be big enough to show the detail of what you are promoting – and remember, things look differently on mobile.
About Cynthia Sanchez:
She began using Pinterest in 2011, and a year later she left her full-time profession as a radiation oncology nurse to focus on building Oh So Pinteresting and her business.
Today, Cynthia is a leading authority on how to use Pinterest for business. She is a popular presenter at all the most popular social media conferences and summits, including Social Media Marketing World, Podcast Movement, and New Media Expo.