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How Anyone Can Benefit from Pinterest

March 26, 2012 · 18 comments

in Internet Marketing, Social Media

Using PinterestPinterest has officially caught on.

With more than 10 million unique visitors each week and millions of active users, the photo sharing website has established itself as more than a flavor of the month.

Whether users are drawn to its unique user interface or just the utility of the site, Pinterest has developed a strong following.

But Really, Can ANYONE Benefit?

Just as with other social websites that gain a foothold in the social media spectrum, marketers and business owners are likely wanting to know whether Pinterest can be used to their advantage. And the answer is, yes!

There are a number of websites and blogs out there that can certainly benefit from using Pinterest. At the same time, there is also a large group of companies out there who will have a higher mountain to climb if they intend to benefit from the service. But with creativity and perseverance, anyone can benefit.

So, how do webmasters and bloggers know whether they can benefit from the new photo sharing service? To determine that, it’s important to know the criteria of businesses that can use the site. Pinterest is obviously a very visual service. As such, companies that sell products that aren’t attractive or provide services that are hard to visually convey might struggle to find an audience on Pinterest.

Sure, a company with a well-known logo like Nike could certainly benefit from a few repins of its popular “swoosh” symbol, but this would only apply to a small percentage of companies. However, with the right ingenuity, virtually any company or blog can find a way to benefit from the service. Let’s take a look at a few specific ways that companies and blogs can leverage Pinterest in their favor.

Pinterest – The Modern Art Exhibit

Showcasing work is a great use for the Pinterest service. This is true for established ad agencies and photographers, but it’s also true – and especially more noteworthy – for those who are just getting their foot in the door. Blossoming designers and photographers can make the leap from hobbyist to paid contractor or even employee by sharing their work and gaining repins.

There are a number of connected individuals and businesses using the service, so it functions as something of a perpetual exhibit for anyone who wants to get paid for their work. Follow and repin leaders in your industry to foster a relationship with them. At some point, one of your projects might end up in their pin stream and they’ll recognize your name as “that follower who repins and likes the things I share.”

Products – Turn Pins into Sales

The site can also be used to sell a product, although that’s very contingent on how visually appealing the product is. A company like Apple that makes attractive and well-recognized products would have a better chance of launching a viral marketing campaign than, say, a pork producer.

Businesses in the latter category must be more creative in their approach to Pinterest. Think through related industries or products that might be more visually appealing, and create boards centered around those topics. Become the authority on niches in your industry and people will keep coming back to your boards, and eventually, to your site to buy your product.

However, any company that makes appealing products shouldn’t be shy about using the photo sharing site to their advantage. If your product is eye candy or can look like eye candy if it’s photographed right, get it on Pinterest.

Social Link-Building

There’s another interesting aspect of Pinterest that nearly any business can capitalize on. Pages on the site are indexed, meaning the service can be used for SEO purposes. Posting images and using keywords relative to the website being promoted can be an effective strategy because the repins function as inbound links.

In this regard, Pinterest is something of a social link-building tool. While it’s true that the links are no-followed, there’s been recent debate over whether the search engines are starting to count value from even no-followed links.

One thing to keep in mind when taking this approach is that the picture being posted needs to be worthy of being repinned. Posting an image with a keyword won’t be worth the time if it’s not a picture that will earn some repins.

Pinterest for the Graphically Challenged

There are ways that companies who otherwise might not gain links from the service may still benefit. Take, for example, the aforementioned pork processing plant. Posting their logo might not be a great idea, because few people are interested in it.

But an enterprising marketing manager might post an eye-catching image of the plant itself – perhaps at sunset or from a unique angle. Or maybe start a campaign featuring unique ways to cook and serve bacon (who doesn’t love bacon? I’d definitely repin that!). Suddenly, those images gain repins and inbound links are generated.

To sum things up, Pinterest can definitely be a boost to a company’s marketing efforts. The trick is to brainstorm a creative angle to take and then execute a strategy. A company that sells refurbished electrical supplies will have a harder time getting value out of the service than a company selling stained glass, but both can find a way to utilize the site.

Find something beautiful about what you do or that your industry does, take beautiful pictures of it, pin those pictures, and watch the traffic role in.

Have you seen any effective marketing campaigns on Pinterest? What do they do that you enjoy?

Image Credit: Carlos Porto

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My name's Scott and I believe in fairness. I love the way the internet is making shopping fair - for consumers and vendors. I work at HireAHelper where we're working hard to bring fairness to the moving industry. Giving customers a fair look at the movers in their area with upfront pricing and reviews while giving moving companies a fair place to compete for customer attention based on quality and customer satisfaction.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori J. Highby March 27, 2012 at 12:07 am

Foodies have been a big hit on Pinterest. One of my clients has done an excellent job of posting recipes with a great picture that is quickly getting repinned. They sell an ingredient, but share tons of recipes and pictures. Really has added momentum to their marketing strategy – and they are having fun doing it. Nice post Scott.
Lori J. Highby recently posted..9 reasons why I should have a CMS (content management system) for my website.My Profile

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Scott Daniels March 27, 2012 at 12:23 am

Thanks Lori! I can’t go longer than 5 minutes on Pinterest without repinning something tasty (even from our business account). I had to create a “Lunch Break” board as an excuse to save all the recipes I’ve found. You make a great point – you don’t necessarily have to pin what you sell. Your product is usually in some way related to a popular subject on Pinterest. Bottom line: creativity will win every time.

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techne March 27, 2012 at 9:18 am

Huge number of visitors every week. Great achievement by photo sharing site. This site is very useful for promoting your site. Thanks for sharing Scott.
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Clint Butler March 28, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Pinterest is proving to be a hit with my site as well. What I do is find a a great photo that will draw some interest. Often times, with the proper photo selection I can count on at least thirty shares of my photo’s and a bunch of traffic to my site as well.
Clint Butler recently posted..Wakeupnow Scam ReviewMy Profile

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Scott Daniels March 29, 2012 at 1:38 am

Thanks Techne and Clint. I was wondering, Clint, do you pin those directly from your site using your business Pinterest account? If so, do you mix in pins from elsewhere around the web to keep followers interested & engaged?

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Steve-Personal Success Factors March 29, 2012 at 5:59 am

Another recommended practice is to credit the person you are reposting a pin from. In doing so, they will often return the favor by posting one of your pins or adding you as a follower. Also, be sure to post truly informative and beautiful pictures that add value to your target audience, consistent with your own personal brand. Great article!
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Scott Daniels March 29, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Very true Steve. Generating relationships with the people you repin, or even with the people that pin your content can lead to more interaction & pins later on.

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Donna Merrill March 29, 2012 at 8:22 am

Hi Clint, I am at week number 3 on Pinterest. There are many ways to skin a cat here. What I am noticing is that I have my “stuff” pinned, but also fluff. There are 2 boards – one about shoes and one about my style which is retro clothing. I cannot tell you how many followers per day I get from my fluff. They Like, comment, repin and also come on to my blog or Facebook friend me.
To me it’s like walking into a party and someone says “I love your shoes” then we talk and relate to one another and bingo they are interested in my business.
I think at this point blindly working my way around, is to type in things I’m interested in, like, comment and repin it to my board and then they friend me.
I know there is a strategy, but I’m playing it by ear and its working so far.
Thanks for the Pinterest talk
donna
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Scott Daniels March 29, 2012 at 10:00 pm

So far the best interaction I’ve seen is when I pin something new from a blog or website. Donna’s right though, pinning & repinning things other than what you sell will help generate interest in you as a user. You’ll see your followers increase as you pin things that truly interest them, which might (and usually does) lead to them finding your product-related pins. The strategies will differ from product to product and even person to person in how to generate a following and interest in your boards. I’d say the best strategy is to spend a lot of time using and even enjoying Pinterest for what it’s designed to do: collect boards of things you like pinned together. Do that, and people will see the authenticity and follow you.

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Doreen Munoz March 29, 2012 at 10:58 am

I’m a new user of Pinterest and love it! I like the layout and it’s so eye catching. I agree that it’s definitely a very visual social site and having eye catching photos is a must. I’ve found that people are very social on Pinterest in the sense that they comment more on your pins than on Facebook. Sometimes you could post on Facebook and feel like you’re talking to yourself because you don’t see any comments. What I’ve found on Pinterest is that people are looking for products of all types that they’re interested in rather than finding out what their friends did last weekend! Although, there are many marketers on Facebook that swear by their sales they’ve attracted on Facebook. Frankly, I’ve had better results in building relationships and sales from Twitter and now Pinterest. I get more emails from people that met me on Twitter & Pinterest than I ever have from my “friends” on Facebook.
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Scott Daniels March 29, 2012 at 10:03 pm

I agree Doreen, even in just the few weeks of starting to get involved on Pinterest we’ve seen more positive interaction than we’ve been able generate on Facebook in the months we’ve been there. People seem to be more open to engaging, commenting, liking, & repinning – but only IF your content is good/interesting/funny.

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Christi Johnson March 29, 2012 at 5:57 pm

I got onto Pinterest when the hype behind it was just starting…and then I heard that there were some concerns about image ownership, so I stopped pinning. Has that issue been resolved, or do you know?

That question aside, I think it’s a great marketing tool if you can use it with ease. I just could not navigate it as easily as I wanted to. Do you also use Instagram? I need to incorporate and image site to my work…just know yet how to do it well. Thanks for this!
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Scott Daniels March 29, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Christi, I know they just updated their privacy policy to reflect their growth. When they launched they were using a very generalized policy that included terms that authorized Pinterest to sell copies of the boards users were pinning to. In the update email Pinterest states that they stripped that out of their new privacy policy as they never intended to sell anything from what users pinned.

I’ve read some critical articles from authors saying Pinterest will be gone as soon as big enough copyright holders start filing their lawsuits. But I disagree. Pinterest’s reaction has been to build some easy to use tools to block content from being pinned and to file copyright disputes. There are definitely some big copyright questions to ask, especially in regard to accurately citing the original producer of the content. But as long as Pinterest stays flexible and willing to conform to existing laws, I’d argue that those big copyright holders would be wise to allow their content to be pinned if it’s recognizable to the company. It will only help to build brand awareness, right?

It’s starting to seem like the Pinterest copyright issue debate will join arguments like the one surrounding the content that gets posted to video sharing sites like Youtube and Vimeo. Illegal music videos and songs get shared there all the time, but many of the artists realize that as the views of those videos rises, so do the concert ticket and potentially album sales.

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Rosemary O'Shaughnessy March 29, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Hi Scott,

You have made some excellent points in this article it will be interesting to see if more men join Pinterest. I agree it is very good for businesses that have visual graphics to share. Thank you for your tips. take care Rosemary
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Scott Daniels March 29, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Thanks Rosemary! I think more guys will get around to it when they realize it’s a great way to discover new techie toys or manly how-to-build tutorials. I’ve seen similar sentiment around the web, like on the Appiest web app blog review of Pinterest – http://appiest.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/pintrest-app-review-not-just-for-artsie-ladies/ – it seems Pinterest isn’t necessarily built with one gender in mind, but we’ll see if men are willing to try it out.

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Suzy Weiss March 29, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Great Scott! (I’ve always wanted to say that),
I haven’t taken the ‘pinterest plunge’. Are people honestly coming up with their own original photos, or sharing with proper credit or just stealing them? Heard recently that Flickr has clamped down on ‘unauthorized borrowing’. Comments?
Suzy Weiss
Dating Coach for Women
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Scott Daniels March 30, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Thanks for the laugh, Suzy. I actually haven’t heard that one in a while. 🙂 I’d recommend Pinterest to just about anyone. It’s so nice to have a place to quickly save stuff as I fly around the Internet, so I can go back over it later.

It’s definitely a mix as far as the copyright crediting goes. People are constantly pinning original content from their own sites and from around the web – recipes, gardening how-to’s, fashion styles, etc. The sharing process itself (pinning) attributes credit for each image or video to the site each user was on while pinning. So, as long as each photo gets originally pinned from the correct source, copyright holders need not worry.

Pinterest offers a line of code that blocks their pin button from working on whichever pages have the code. Flickr added that code to all users’ photo pages who have marked their photo private.

I’d say a majority of users are just reprinning things they see in their stream, unaware of who might be credited.

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