Schmarder: ‘Pinterest’ – Social Media Marketing Platform
Evanne Schmarder is a columnist for Woodall’s Campground Management. She is the creator of the RV industry’s first Digital Marketing Workshop – www.DigitalMarketingWorkshop.info. She’s also the owner of Roadabode Productions – outdoor hospitality communication consultants specializing in digital marketing strategy, social media program development, seminar facilitation, educational presentations, business writing services and the producer and host of the RV Cooking Show. Her new book – “Unconventional Wisdom Works: 25 Marketing Strategies to Build Your Outdoor Recreation Business Today” – was co-authored with Peter Pelland. Contact Evanne at firstname.lastname@example.org or (702) 460-9863 or visit her online at her B2B site, www.roadabode.com, or her B2C site, www.RVCookingShow.com.
Up until 2011, when the fledgling tech upstart was successful in securing significant venture capital funding twice to the tune of $37 million, Pinterest (www.Pinterest.com) was just another interesting social photo sharing platform used by a band of early adopters. Today it’s one of the fastest rising marketing platforms, reportedly delivering more referral traffic than LinkedIn, Google + and YouTube combined. Take notice, that’s big.
In fact, according to ComScore.com, Pinterest reached 17.8 million unique users in February 2012 and has seen a gain of 237 percent in its U.S. user base in 2012 alone. We also know that the majority of users are women (over 85 percent), 80 percent of users are equally distributed between 25 and 54 years of age, and in January 2012 users spent a hefty average 89 minutes per month on the site (compared to social platform king Facebook coming in at 405 minutes per month). Pinterest is often described by its users as “addictive.” Adding this digital marketing tool to your social media strategy can deliver buzz, bring about brand awareness and perhaps even convert leads.
Pinterest bills itself as “a virtual pinboard… (that) lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web.” Ideal for the outdoor recreation industry, pinboards allow consumers and companies to share the beauty, thrill and impact of the great outdoors.
Exclusivity may be an interesting twist fueling the buzz. At the time of this writing, Pinterest is an invitation-only platform. Invitations can be obtained by requesting one directly from Pinterest and waiting in the queue or by being invited by a Pinterest user.
Begin with the Basics
Whether or not you choose to participate in Pinterest, make sharing what you have to offer easy with these two tips:
1. Think visual content: Pinterest is a collection of beautiful, alluring images that are viewed, commented on and linked to a web property. Begin integrating Pinterest into your social media strategy by reviewing your online content with an eye toward visuals. Does your website, blog, sales page, etc., contain enticing images reflecting your product, service or industry that spark imagination? Add your images (remember the rules of copyright) where necessary and, moving forward, think visuals that encourage pinners to click, pin and share your business’s offerings.
2. Add a social sharing button: Visit Pinterest’s “Goodies” page to create Pin-It buttons that can be used on webpages and blogs to encourage readers to pin your images. You do not need a Pinterest account to use this tool.
Cultivate Interest and Relevance
If you want to utilize Pinterest and you’ve secured an invitation, you are welcome to create an account using your business name, link it to your Twitter business account and begin to build your boards. Not sure what your pinboard would look like? Here are three ideas to get you and your customers’ pinterested.
1. Develop interesting, relevant pinboards: Construct your Pinterest account with interesting topical pinboards that tell your business’ story. Brainstorm with these ideas and see where they take you: what to bring, what to see, what to do, what to look for when buying an RV, the latest RV features or layouts, all about the pdi (pre-delivery inspection), history of your brand or business and how to (fill in the blank). What else can you think of that may capture your customer’s attention? See how the company Rentzio does it at www.pinterest.com/rentzio.
2. Develop a pin and win contest: Rally your fans and followers by creating a pin and win contest and awarding great prizes. For example, you might host a contest called “(your state) sights to see in your RV.” The goal is to encourage consumers to pin images from around the Internet using a predetermined hashtag (#) and get them excited about traveling in your state. You might also consider photo, comment/repin or board creation contests.
3. Promote a fundraiser or cause: Is there a cause your business supports, a fundraiser you are hosting or a program you are trying to promote? Create a pinboard for it, encourage others to participate, run a contest around it and cross-promote the cause on all your social networks. Create a splash, make a difference and position your business as a strong community partner.
Let’s not forget, it’s social photo sharing. The same rules apply to Pinterest as apply to any of your other social media tactics: Like. Repin. Comment. Repeat.
Will Pinterest remain a hot property or will it lose its sizzle and fade away? While that remains to be seen, one thing we do know for sure is that right now Pinterest is a huge traffic driver and has the ability to expose your brand and build your business. Take some time to compare the benefits and the effort of using this digital marketing tool and, if it’s a fit, get pinning.
Need an invite? Email me at email@example.com with ‘Pinterest Invite Request’ in the subject line and I’ll get you connected.