How to Attract Customers With Pinterest : Social Media Examiner

social media book reviewsImagine your ideal clients.

Now think about what kind of pictures or visual images they would enjoy.

If you can create (or curate) visually compelling content, then Pinterest could be a great social platform for you.

When used the right way, Pinterest can drive massive traffic to your website, build loyal communities around your brand and convert fans into buyers.

Beyond the Pin

In February 2012, Pinterest bypassed Twitter in terms of referral traffic. But that’s not all.

A survey from PriceGrabber indicated that 21% of Pinterest users purchased something they saw on a pinboard! Suddenly the sound of ringing cash registers could be heard by marketers around the world.

Unlike Facebook where images of products are annoying or intrusive, Pinterest offers a beautiful and exciting new interface (much like a mall) where users actually expect and look forward to shopping!

In her new book, Pinfluence: The Complete Guide to Marketing Your Business with Pinterest, Beth Hayden gives business owners a lesson in visual marketing techniques that are bound to attract new customers and generate more revenue for their brands.

Here’s what you should know about the book.

Author’s Purpose

author beth hayden

Beth Hayden, author, Pinfluence: The Complete Guide to Marketing Your Business with Pinterest.

For Beth Hayden and many others, Pinterest has proven to be an incredibly powerful and addictive space.

Beth has seen firsthand the golden opportunity that this social platform offers businesses—an opportunity to connect with customers, make more money and build loyal online communities.

Her book Pinfluence shows business owners, marketers, PR professionals and bloggers how to take advantage of these opportunities by using the most visually compelling tactics to market themselves online.

What to Expect

pinfluence book cover

Pinfluence is a fun and easy read with great tips and surprisingly smart business ideas. At 178 pages, Pinfluence tells you everything you need to know to:

  • Set up your Pinterest profile
  • Develop a Pinterest strategy
  • Know what to pin (and even mobile pinning)
  • Convert followers into buyers
  • Pinterest for B2B and non-profits
  • The ethics of Pinterest
  • And so much more!

Finally businesses of all types (B2C, B2B and non-profit) can use Pinterest to increase visibility, develop revenue-producing ideas and stay ahead of their competitors.

Book Highlights

One of the smartest things that Beth says in her book is this:

“If your Pinterest efforts are not helping you bring people to your business door, then you need to change the way you’re using the site.”

For any business using Pinterest, the goal is simple—drive traffic back to your site, add people to your mailing list and convert those visitors into buyers.

Here are some of the ways you can do that.

#1: Create Your Ideal Client Profile

The best way to create a detailed and useful buyer persona profile on Pinterest is to connect directly with the source. If you have access to some of your favorite clients, why not interview them and find out what problems keep them up at night?

Oreck, a maker of vacuum cleaners, air purifiers and other small appliances, focuses on women as their ideal clients. They created a profile called ‘Suzy Homemaker’ and filled it in with details about where Suzy lives, whether she has kids or pets and what her hobbies are.


Understand the mindset of your ideal client and develop a matching profile that fits his or her needs. Image source: iStockPhoto.

This exercise may seem silly, but don’t underestimate it. The more you know about the customers you’re trying to reach on Pinterest, the more successful you’ll be at connecting with them using images that will interest them.

#2: Name Your Boards (There’s a right and wrong way to do this!)

It’s likely that your instinct when you first get started with Pinterest (like so many other beginners) will be to create broadly themed boards that allow you to pin lots of images under a single topic; e.g., “Cruises.”

However, you must resist the urge to do this. You want your boards to be very specific yet memorable, so opt for a name such as “Fun Family Caribbean Cruises.”

The difference may seem subtle, but as many marketers in that category know, it’s a critical one. Also be sure that your board names are short, snappy and to the point.

#3: Add Compelling Descriptions

It’s easy to pin interesting pictures on your pinboards, but descriptions are just as important. Even though Pinterest gives you 500 characters to use in your description field, use only what you need to properly describe your image and give your followers some context.

key words

Use keyword-rich descriptions to help customers find the content they're looking for. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Also remember to use keyword-rich descriptions so that people can easily find the images they’re looking for when they search. For example, instead of saying, “Our lovely spring bouquet,” use specific words such as “Our lovely spring bouquet of white hydrangea and pink roses.”

#4: Get More Pinterest Followers

The quality of your Pinterest audience matters a great deal more than the quantity. However, you have to start somewhere and the way to build your list of followers is to:

  • Follow other pinners
  • Pin consistently
  • Actively seek out (and pin) new and interesting content
  • Link your Pinterest profile with your other social networks (Facebook and Twitter)
  • Run contests

Another very unique idea that Beth introduces in the book is to host a pin chat. Career coach Sean Cook hosted a unique online event that merged his Pinterest and Twitter worlds; he called it a “pin chat.” It was part of a regular Twitter chat for his higher-education job seekers.

Participants tweeted links and pins that features quotes, videos and other inspirational material for people seeking positions in higher ed (using a preassigned hashtag).

Sean then repinned those items to one of his Pinterest boards. The pin chat drew attention to the cool stuff he was doing to inspire his clients using Pinterest and provided a unique avenue for community-building that got people talking about him!

#5: Use Pinterest as Part of Your Sales Cycle

Business coach Tommi Wolfe, president of The Startup Expert, recommends that you keep a list of current professional contacts as well as potential clients with whom you would like to connect. Why not keep this list on Pinterest?

You could call it “People I’d love to know” and have those pins link to either that person’s Pinterest account or to his or her main website.

Another idea is to pin pictures of your clients and then paste their testimonials in the pin’s description. People love seeing faces with testimonials because it seems more credible and friendly. This is also an effective technique for sharing social proof about how awesome your brand is.

#6: For Non-Visual Brands

If you’re a B2B brand or in the service industry, Pinterest still holds enormous potential for you because you’re not limited to showcasing product pictures only.

Consider Mashable, a leading source of news, information and resources for the connected generation.

Currently they have 35 boards on Pinterest, 1,077 pins and almost 419,000 followers. Their most popular boards include:

  • Tech and Gadgets—obviously these are not Mashable products. They are cleverly curated images of interesting gadgets that are used in the tech industry (e.g., washable keyboards, tablets and typewriters, interesting apps and even imaginary futuristic gadgets).
    tech gadget bord

    Mashable's Tech & Gadgets board curates original and other users' images of cool devices.

  • Mashable photo challenge—each week they ask their readers to submit photos based on a particular prompt and these are then pinned on Pinterest. This is an easy idea that you too could piggyback off of.

Remember that all companies (whether B2C or B2B) are based on the same idea: people selling to other people.

So even if you’re selling to other companies, you can still have a successful presence on Pinterest as long as you’re creative and are able to offer a visually interesting experience.

Personal Impression

Pinfluence is an excellent book that covers a lot of ground and offers the kind of advice that you would pay good money for.

One of the most powerful ideas in the book is that Pinterest can (and should) be used by all types of brands, regardless of whether they’re traditionally regarded as visual brands.

Beth also has the advantage of writing the first book ever on Pinterest marketing, which means that many of her ideas are original and insightful.

All brands, whether they have little or much experience on Pinterest, will find Pinfluence to be very educational and enlightening.

The one minor weakness that I found in the book is the impression it creates that Pinterest marketing is tedious and filled with numerous tasks. I fear that someone who has never used Pinterest might read this book and think, “Forget it, this is too much work!”

Having said that, Beth has done a fantastic job in giving business owners both the strategic and tactical details of Pinterest marketing.

Social Media Examiner gives this book a 4-star rating.

What do you think?  Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Images from iStockPhoto.
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