How Constant Contact Uses Pinterest to Reach a B2B Market

social media case studies“You can use any social media channel for B2B,” said Erica Ayotte, social media marketing manager at Constant Contact.

“Anyone who says you can’t is not being creative enough.”

She should know. Her team has grown their Pinterest following to over 18,000 in less than two years.

How does a company that is not retail and not inherently visual use Pinterest to reach a B2B target audience?

The keys are to expand your idea of what your brand is, think visually and have a curating mindset. Here’s how Constant Contact appeals to their small-business market on Pinterest.

constant contact boards

Constant Contact has 92 Pinterest boards with over 4,000 pins.

Organization: Constant Contact

Social Media Handles and Stats:

Highlights:

  • Added 15,000 Pinterest followers from January to September, 2013
  • Pinterest is in the top five traffic referral sources for their website
  • Quotes for Small Businesses Owners” board ranks second on Google search results for “small business quotes”
  • Pinterest page ranks higher than LinkedIn company page in Google search results for Constant Contact
  • Recipient of 2013 BtoB Magazine Social Media Marketing Award for Pinterest

Expand Your Idea of What Your Brand Is

Ayotte urges B2B companies to take a wider view of what their business is really about when thinking about Pinterest.

Constant Contact is a software company serving mostly small- and medium-sized businesses and nonprofits. Over half of their customers have fewer than five employees, and 70 percent of them have fewer than 10 employees.

In taking in a wider perspective of what they do, Ayotte said that they are really about helping small businesses achieve their goals.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about software,” she said. Taking this expanded view helped her team identify other things their customers would be interested in that could be pinned.

Quotes and tips are very successful for them on Pinterest. The Quotes for Small Business Owners board currently ranks second in Google Search for “small business quotes.”

constant contacts quotes

Constant Contact's quotes board ranks second in Google search.

Marketing humor is another popular board. Since most of their customers are small businesses for whom marketing resources are stretched thin, it’s not surprising that quotes, tips and humor do well.

marketing humor

Marketing humor is popular with Constant Contact's followers.

Pinterest is more suited to evergreen content than Facebook or Twitter. Ayotte suggests that businesses starting out begin with a few boards with evergreen topics and slowly add content as they get a feel for what their audience is interested in. If you’re getting repins, it’s resonating with the audience. If not, try something else.

“If you find topics related to your business, more often than not your audience will be interested in them as well,” she said. “You don’t have to be so on-brand that it hurts.”

Think Visually

Once you’ve identified topics your audience is interested in, how do you make them visually appealing?

If you’re a B2B company, particularly in service or software, you may think that your business does not have visual content to use on Pinterest.

You really have to be very creative,” said Ayotte. Constant Contact is a master at creating visually appealing content from quotes, tips and statistics.

Corporate community manager Danielle Cormier will often use PicMonkey to create word images for quotes, statistics, etc., and link the image to the source.

The quote below came from the Brian Tracy Quote of the Day newsletter that Constant Contact made into a visually appealing pin.

brian tracy quote

Creating illustrated quotes is one way to create visual content for pinning.

You can even pin inherently non-visual content such as press releases by pulling out a key statistic and using a stock image to create a striking visual.

press release pin

Constant Contact created this visual to link to a press release on their blog.

Another technique is to create and/or link to infographics, but split them up into multiple pins. This increases readability and helps populate your boards, which also helps with SEO.

split infographic

Splitting an infographic into different pins is a way to populate a board.

Constant Contact has found that Pinterest boards are indexed quickly and rank high in search results. More content per board creates more traffic, which helps in search results.

For businesses getting started on Pinterest, Ayotte urges them to focus on quality over quantity.

“If you pin things that don’t look good, then you’re defeating the purpose,” she said. “First and foremost, Pinterest is a visual platform.”

Have a Curating Mindset

A fundamental principle for social media success is to avoid talking about yourself all the time. The same applies to pinning on Pinterest.

“Part of the reason that Pinterest has grown so much for us is because we share generously and are a great curator,” said Ayotte.

Since Pinterest is used for bookmarking, repinning great evergreen content is a good strategy. It helps populate your own boards, as well as attract followers who trust you will bring them relevant content.

curating example

Constant Contact repins from a variety of other sources.

Constant Contact also has shared regional boards where local offices pin content.

shared regional office boards

Shared regional office boards are a way to bring in more pinnable content.

Another strategy is to get your customers involved as guest pinners. During the holidays, Constant Contact put out a call that they were looking for customers to contribute holiday tips pins and included them as guest pinners on a shared board. Involving your customers helps you fill out your boards and shows you care about what is important to them.

customers holiday tips

Constant contact solicited customers as guest pinners to a shared board.

Pinterest’s Shopping Mindset Is Good for B2B

VentureBeat reported that Pinterest drives more revenue per click than Facebook or Twitter. Ayotte said people come to Pinterest with a shopping mindset, using it as a pre-shopping cart.

revenue per click

VentureBeat reports Pinterest creates more revenue per click than Facebook and Twitter.

Ayotte believes people are more likely to engage with brands on Pinterest, which is why B2B companies should consider using the platform for branding and education. Pinterest is currently one of the top five referral sources for their website.

pinterest metrics

Constant Contact's Pinterest metrics from a two-week period in September 2013.

“Is it our primary network? No. But as a secondary network goes, it’s a pretty darn good one,” she said. “It’s driving a lot of traffic, it’s creating awareness and it’s supporting our brand.”

Over to You

What do you think? Can you think of ways your B2B brand can connect with customers on Pinterest? Include your comments and questions below.

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About the Author, Louise Julig

Louise is Social Media Examiner’s case study writer. A freelance writer and former engineer, she has a passion for telling compelling true stories. Follow Louise on Twitter @LouiseJulig. Other posts by »




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  • Pashito

    This is so useful!!! Thanks, I am changing/enhancing my Pinterest strategy right away.

  • http://www.magentaemedia.com Tracy Stonard

    Louise, interesting insights on how Pinterest has worked for Constant Contact. This is a great example that shows that it is possible for B2B’s to use Pinterest successfully. Great post, thanks!

  • Louise Julig

    I’m glad you found it helpful, @Pashito:disqus! I always learn new things when I do these pieces too.

  • Benjamin Beck

    This is so helpful! Thanks for taking us through your thought process. I’m definitely going to strive to use Pinterest more in my strategies.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Interesting post about Constant Contact and their use of Pinterest.

    Originality is important as is not being too clever. If you’re too clever with a quote, headline or image, your audience may not understand your message.

  • http://www.ACFilters4Less.com/ Mark Platt

    Thanks for the great info, I love Pinterest, it’s fun and entertaining.

  • http://www.sociallyaligned.com/ Julie Lowe

    Really great overview! I love Pinterest strategy. I have yet to come across a business that I couldn’t think of a creative way to use Pinterest in the mix. It’s obviously is going to be more useful for some businesses than others & not everyone needs to be on Pinterest – but the point is that if you are creative enough & Pinterest is a good fit for your market, then you absolutely can figure out content for pretty much any company whether it is B2B, B2C, in a “boring” industry or something more exciting and visual.

  • http://jacksonandwilson.com/ Mitch Jackson

    “Think Visually” Enough said. BAZINGA!

  • Diana

    Great post about Pinterest – visual creativity is key.

  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    Great post, Louise. I love how Constant Contact reached out to customers for holiday tips to build a board. Your audience loves their moment in the spotlight and the topic was perfectly appropriate!

    I agree that Pinterest can be effective in B2B marketing, and on the same token, any brand can market on any channel. It really just does take some creativity!

  • Louise Julig

    I’m glad you found the article helpful, @benjaminbeck:disqus!

  • Louise Julig

    Thank you for the kind words, @sarahmordis:disqus! I’m glad you liked the article.

  • Jacob Sapochnick

    love it, so much good information.

  • Jacob Sapochnick

    now let’s apply this to the legal world:))

  • http://blog.wishpond.com/ Adella @ Wishpond

    Hi Louise. Great article! The best way I’ve found to increase engagement on PInterest is with contests. ModCloth’s “Something ModCloth, Something You.” As you slightly mentioned about the importance of guest pins, ModCloth invited pinners who were inspired its 2012 wedding campaign. To be eligible to win a $100 gift card, they pinned one image that matched with one of 20 categories and added the hashtags #modcloth and #wedding.

  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    It’s so interesting to see how Constant Contact uses Pinterest in their
    business. We can really utilize the power of Pinterest if we exercise
    our creativity – even if our company isn’t inherently visual. 70-80% of
    your post’s impact is in the image, and every post is chance to engage
    and connect with your Pinners; that is why it is so important for us to
    be more creative. Thanks Louise!

  • Louise Julig

    You are welcome! I learned a lot from interviewing Constant Contact for this piece about creatively turning non-visual content into great, shareable pins.

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  • Kelly Steinbach

    Awesome example of how any industry really can succeed at using social media. It just takes some creativity and a willingness to leave the traditional ‘all about me’ marketing mindset behind. There’s such a common misconception that social networks serve as alternate vehicles for promoting a business’s products and services; however what we really have with social media is an endless opportunity to engage with audience members as everyday people instead of as prospects and customers. Great case study!

  • Sophie F.

    Wonderful piece! Many thanks, can’t wait to try out some suggestions!

  • Louise Julig

    I would love to do a case study on a law firm using social media! I would think that could be quite a challenge. LMK if you have a good one :)

  • Lowell

    Great article. Some very good points for business owners and really demonstrates the power and opportunities available via Pinterest.

  • Tyler Byrd

    Good suggestions but my question would be how affective is it? I’m not talking about the # of followers, I’m talking about actual conversions. You have an inherit “Opportunity Cost” with your time and budget.

    To put it simply: You may be able to get the occasional B2B customer via Pinterest, but if you spent that money and time someplace else, would you get more customers?

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  • http://www.referralcandy.com/ Zach @ ReferralCandy

    Great job by Constant Contact to come up with content that suits the platform (Pinterest). I haven’t seen many examples of B2B focused providers doing this successfully. I’ve see more companies using Pinterest just to repost content from their blogs, so this was pretty insightful to me.

    But correct me if I’m wrong, Pinterest seems to be more a place where consumers go to pin items they want to buy or like. It’s does not seem like a place where business buyers will go to look for tools they can use for their companies.

    We know that Pinterest works well for B2C businesses. But I’m wondering how does it translate to conversions for a B2B company. Conversion statistics from Constant Contact will be a really awesome follow up post @louisejulig:disqus!

  • http://www.agencyplatform.com/ Dave Thompson

    This article really changes the way we look at Social Media for B2B companies. It inspires us to think more creatively & make optimum use of a particular Social network. I wouldn’t have considered suggesting Pinterest for a B2B company except LinkedIn. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  • http://www.garyhyman.com/ Gary Hyman

    This is a great article Louise. Love the fact that Constant Contact asked customers to be part of their PInterest Strategy. It makes sense, which now has me thinking about how something similar can be used for other social media platforms. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • http://www.sovainfotech.com/ Sova Infotech

    The way Pinterest worked for Constant Contact is an eye-opener for me. From now on I will definitely use Pinterest way more effectively than I have been using it so far. Since it works remarkably on B2B companies it can be used in making more winning strategies. Thanks a lot for sharing the knowledge. It has been a great learning experience.

  • http://informlocal.com/ Michael Kern

    I just started my first board this week. I seen that my favorite link builder: Eric Ward had a board, and decided to follow his lead. This article has helped me to think more creatively. Thanks!

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