November 6, 2012: This is the second part of a two-part series from Erica Bell on B2B best practices for photo-driven sites. You can find the first part here.
While B2B marketers tend to focus on trade shows, advertisements, and other methods to convert leads, photo driven sites can be valuable marketing tools. In the last post, we talked about how B2B businesses can leverage Instagram to foster engagement and connect with other companies and this week we’re going to talk about Pinterest.
As with a company blog or other social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, marketers can leverage Pinterest to become thought leaders and share relevant information with followers and prospects. From the online marketing and SEO opportunities to the increase in engagement, B2B companies can benefit from spending some time on this photo-sharing site.
Creating an account is easy. Visit Pinterest.com and sign up using an email address or your Facebook or Twitter account. After you’ve set up the account, make sure you adjust your settings to allow search engines to find your business. Also be sure to include your location on your Pinterest account to connect with local businesses. Cross-promotion across various social media channels is a great way to bring traffic from one channel’s audience to another.
Boards and Pins
The boards you create and what you pin should indicate what your business does, why you do what you do, and what you want people to know about you. But be sure not to overload your boards with articles and images from your site and company. Pinterest marketing is similar to content marketing in that the content must be informational, not just promotional. Here are some suggestions of what to include on your board:
- Include boards and pins with the location in the description or title, especially if you’re looking to connect with other locally-based businesses
- Create a board specifically for hosting or participating in an event. Encourage others who will be there to pin to it before and after to create a buzz.
- Create boards that showcase your company culture. This can include inspirational quotes, others you admire, offices, community service, etc. As with Instagram, it’s about who is behind the business. Take a look at the FedEx Community Involvement board for an example.
- Pin e-books, whitepapers, videos, and guides. Attractive cover images on helpful documents will encourage your followers to repin and share the content with their followers. Always make sure your pin description includes the topic of what you’re pinning as well as a relevant hashtag.
Take a cue from Constant Contact. Each board, such as “Life at Constant Contact,” clearly represents the company’s brand and culture. They are also able to provide relevant, fun information. Just take a look at the “Humor” board!
B2B businesses can’t expect to pin their own content and retain followers. Whether this means liking, repinning, or contributing to other boards, make sure you’re being social and including valuable information from other sources.
- Use the search function to find businesses and boards that are relevant to your industry. Follow the people who are active in areas that interest you or are related to your business.
- Host a contest. Many businesses have seen success from holding a Pinterest contest. Offer prizes to those who post pictures of your business and products to their boards. GE held a contest using their #GEInspiredMe board and Instagram.
- Comment on, like, and repin your favorite pins from others. Create a conversation as often as possible and you may see reciprocal actions.
Take a cue from The Wall Street Journal. By pinning to other boards, they foster conversation; in fact, many of their boards have multiple contributors. Even if it’s from someone on staff, sharing and pins can influence others who may not be following your business (check out the “High tech – always on the edge” for an example of a non-WSJ board the publication contributes to).
Beyond engagement and the ability to showcase your business and product, Pinterest can contribute to your company’s SEO efforts, branding, and competitive and real-time analysis. A few points to consider:
- Make sure to include strong images with all your own content. High-quality, compelling pins are more likely to be shared and clicked. Visually stunning, inbound links are one way you can benefit from being on Pinterest.
- Use infographics to break down data. These types of images are both visually appealing and informative and can be used to get shares and drive visitors back to your site.
- Develop your niche. B2B companies are able to better hone in on the industries and people most important to them by analyzing who is sharing their content and what that content is. Show off your expertise and experience in your industry.
- Gain customer insight. An event board will engage people you meet at a conference or trade show before and after the event and at the same time crowdsource the look and feel of the event for future events.
Pinterest offers B2B companies the opportunity to become thought leaders, demonstrate expertise, and connect with other businesses and individuals. By showcasing company experts, culture, and products or services with interesting images, Pinterest offers B2B marketers the opportunity to generate a deeper engagement with their social media prospects. Doing so can create inbound links while sharing content a business already uses on another platform, placing the business in front of more Pinterest users.
About Erica Bell