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