Aug 15, 2013 • Jessica Jones
In our discussion about how inbound marketing affects SEO we talked about the benefits of delivering quality content to your customers. We also touched on the concept that social media can be an effective way to accomplish this.
Now let’s dig a little deeper and individually discuss some of the most popular forms of social media and how you can use each to your advantage. We’ll start off with Pinterest.
If you’re not already a Pinterest user, Pinterest may seem like a bit of a mystery to you. It’s very different from much of the other commonly used social media. At first glance it may seem like a jumbled stream of unrelated images. Pinterest users, however, tend to keep their accounts very highly organized. A user creates “boards” to collect and group categories of pins. She may, for example, have individual boards for recipes, animals and art. A frequent pinner is likely to have multiple boards for each category - instead of simply recipes, she may have individual boards for dinner recipes, breakfast recipes, dessert recipes and crock pot recipes.
Pinterest users enjoy finding things that catch their attention and storing them on boards to be referred to later. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, which are streams of information constantly moving forward, Pinterest is more collection-centered; pins are circulated around, plucked out, classified, and revisited when the user has a reason or desire to view a particular one of her boards, such as when she wants to choose a recipe to cook or to remind herself of the home decor ideas that inspired her. (You may notice my consistent usage of the pronoun “she”; that is because women are significantly more likely to use Pinterest than men.)
One of the most important things to understand about Pinterest is that it is extremely visual. All pins must include pictures, and if your picture isn’t appealing then your pin is likely to be overlooked. Given its unique format, Pinterest is more naturally suited to some businesses than others. If you are a plumber, for example, or an accountant, generating traffic to your site through Pinterest may be more challenging. This doesn’t mean it can’t be done effectively, but it will require a bit more creativity on your part, and if the time you have to spend on social media is limited you may choose to channel that effort into other areas.
If, however, you are an artist of any kind, a personal trainer, a restaurant owner or a retailer whose merchandise is visually appealing, you will likely be able to make Pinterest work for you with ease.
So how do you get started using Pinterest as an inbound marketing tool? First off, set up your Pinterest account as a Pinterest for business. Make sure that your account information is detailed and accurate; not only could it be viewed by your audience but it will be indexed by Google, another way that having an active Pinterest account can improve your SEO.
Then start pinning! You’ll want to pin original content as much as possible in order to lead users back to your website. A pin consists of three main elements: a picture, a brief description and a source web address - this is where the user will be led if she clicks on your pin once it’s expanded. If you pin directly from a website then that website will be the default source address, so pin from your own site as often as possible! If you have a recipe to pin, include an attractive picture of the completed dish on the actual page or post on your site that contains the recipe. Pin directly from that page or post, using the picture, and include a brief description of the recipe. If the user clicks on your pin they will be led back to your site to get the full recipe.
This same process will work for just about any kind of pin you’d like to make. Even the aforementioned plumbers and accountants could use this method to generate web traffic. For example: write an informative blog post with tips on keeping your faucet clean and in working order. Include an image (there’s nothing wrong with stock photography!) of an attractive, shiny faucet. Pin the post, using a catchy description like “Five handy tips for cleaning your faucet!” A user may pin this to a board of household tips so that she can refer to it later, which will result in her visiting your website and, if she finds a lot of useful information there, potentially bookmarking it.
Unless your business generates a high volume of content, you will probably not have material for enough original pins to generate many followers, at least not at first. You should supplement your Pinterest activity by also repinning - pinning other user’s pins to boards of your own. The more you pin, the more followers you will gather. As users repin your pins and realize that you are pinning content that interests them they will begin to follow your boards. The more followers you have the more people see your pins and the higher the likelihood that someone will repin your original content, thus spreading its reach.
What sorts of content should you repin? It’s always good to try to focus on pins that you think your potential customers would be interested in, but you should also be creative - be yourself, look for pins that catch your attention. Keep your boards well organized - keeping your original pins separate from your repinned content is generally a good idea - but have fun! Pinterest is fast moving and engaging; the more you genuinely engage with it the easier it will be to connect with your audience.
If all of this sounds a little too time consuming, it is possible to reap some of the benefits of Pinterest without even having to have a Pinterest account of your own. If you think that the content on your site is of the type that would interest Pinterest users, consider installing a “Pin It” button on your blog or whichever pages contain your articles, recipes, photographs, etc.
Of course, using both of these methods is going to be more effective than one or the other, but if you don’t have time to maintain a Pinterest account don’t let that stop you from making use of “Pin It” buttons so that your viewers can easily pin your content to their boards! Anything pinned directly from your site could potentially lead Pinterest users back to your site, even if it was originally pinned by someone else!
When used consistently, Pinterest can be an effective - and fun! - method of inbound marketing. Consider taking advantage of its benefits and using it to increase your traffic and improve your SEO.