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5 Ways To Grow Your Business with Pinterest’s Flashlight

 

Discover 5 ways to use the new visual discovery tool within Pinterest to grow your business. Back in February of 2015, Pinterest announced ata conference that they were working on a tool called “Flashlight.” A tool that I labeled as “visual discovery on steroids. ” This feature will revolutionize the way that visual search is conducted online.

Flashlight is a feature on Pinterest that allows you to highlight a particular part of a pin, and Pinterest will then show you pins that are visually similar. It’s not exactly perfect right now, but it’s definitely an exciting work in progress.

As a side note, Pinterest never called the new visual discovery feature as Flashlight when it officially launched, but that was the name it was given when it was in the testing phases.

Visual Search Tool - GIF

Flashlight is being rolled out globally to the public starting November 9th to users of the desktop, Android and IOS versions of Pinterest.

Why This is a Game Changer for Online Retailers

This is a big deal because it will save people time in discovering where to buy a product that they accidentally discovered on Pinterest.

Here’s a scenario that happens a lot. Someone sees a pin that takes place in a living room. She clicks on it and it leads to a blog post about how to save space in an apartment, but she wasn’t interested in the topic, instead she was interested in the speakers that were featured in the pin.

Since she doesn’t know what the brand the speakers is, nor does she have the patience to try to search through the results on Google, she gives up on trying to find those speakers.

With the new visual discovery feature on Pinterest, she can go back to the pin, highlight the speakers and find visually similar results with the hopes that one of the results will lead to a retail site that sells the product (or something similar to it.)Orb Audio Recommendations 2

Even if she doesn’t buy now, chances are she’s going to save a pin from the side, as a reminder to take a closer look at the product later.

Pinterest also tries to help you narrow down your search by providing words that are related to your visual search. As you can see on the right-hand side, there are suggested word tiles such as speakers, audio, audio engine, and front load washer (the last one made me laugh because I could never imagine those as front end washers). You can tap on those word tiles to help provide more relevant and personal results.

Now before you get all excited, you also have to realize that it’s not a perfect system. When I highlighted the speakers in the background, these are the results I got.  As you can tell for the word tiles,  Pinterest didn’t recognize that they were Orb Audio speakers. The visual recognition engine believes that they’re door knobs.

Orb Recommendations

Which Businesses Will Benefit Most from Flashlight for Pinterest

Here are some fun stats about Pinterest users.

  •  52% out of 1,500 active pinners surveyed agreed that Pinterest helps them find items they want to buy.
  • 79% said that Pinterest helped them with purchases involving food and ingredients.
  • 60% said that Pinterest them with purchases involving home decor.
  • 53% for clothing and accessories.

Most likely, Flashlight won’t increase the food and ingredients category, but it most likely will increase the numbers for home decor and clothing and accessories.

With 100 million active users on Pinterest, if even just 2% of people use the feature on a daily basis, you can imagine how much more potential business can flow to online retailers.

Here’s the Downside of Flashlight for Business

For businesses, this can also be bad news because people may actually discover your competitors. The goal of Flashlight isn’t to show you the exact same image up close, it’s to be able to show you visually similar results.

If you happen to be the owner of an e-commerce space, and you source your products from the same wholesaler as someone else, then this can provide some pretty stiff competition.

A potential customer may click through to your product pin and go to the page, find out what the price of your product is and then go back to Pinterest and then select the another pin to see what your competitors are charging.

If you’re not the exclusive retailer of a product, you could be at the losing end of Flashlight.

How to Make the Most of Flashlight for Pinterest

1. Load Up On Close-up Shots

Load up on pins with product close-ups. That’s my advice if you haven’t done so yet. The reason for this is because if your product is featured on a variety of different pins but you don’t own those pins, then when someone highlights your product, he is more likely to see visually similar results of a competitor.

If Pinterest can only recommend pins that are in their system, and your pins are not in the system, then they can’t recommend them. It’s that simple.

The goal is to have your pins show up in the “visually similar results” as much as possible, not someone else who’s potentially taking your business away.

2. Load up on Environmental Product Shots

You’ve also got to do the opposite. If you have a product that fits naturally into a specific type of environment, ensure that your products stand out in the picture but make them fit naturally into the environment.

A lamp standing in the middle of a white background isn’t very sexy, but if you have the lamp placed next to a nice comfy couch, it makes the lamp sexier. People can now imagine how that lamp fits into their own home.

As more people become familiar with using Flashlight with Pinterest, they will start highlighting products featured inside your pins.

The one thing I learned is that if your products are in an environmental shot, they should clearly be recognizable visible on a mobile device. In the first picture featuring Orb Speakers, you can see them clearly. However, the speakers are hard to identify on a smartphone screen, making it hard for Flashlight to recognize the object.

Objects that are too small in your environmental shots are bad. 

Ensure that your products are nice and visible on a mobile screen.

3. Take Photos of Your Products in Different Colors and Angles

Pinterest needs your help to identify products with Flashlight. In order to do this, it needs visual data points that will tell them what an object most likely is. And if there aren’t a lot of your products on Pinterest, you need to help Pinterest out and provide those visual data points.

This means that if you have a variety of products that come in different colors, make sure you upload those photos onto Pinterest and write good descriptions about what those products are.

Upload photos of your products taken from different angles to help Pinterest identify your products from different angles. Again, provide great keyword descriptions that will help Pinterest what the product is.

If your product comes in a variety of colors, then you need to upload dozens of pins featuring your product with that color. If you don’t, Pinterest may mistaken your product as something else (similar to the bronze Orb Speakers being misinterpreted as door knobs).

4. Exchange Product Placements

If you have a unique product, you should consider doing joint product placement partnership with another vendor who also sells a unique product but is not in your competitive space.

Feature each others’ products in a pin and then share them with each others’ Pinterest audience.

Partnerships

 

5. Showroom Multiple Products in One Pin

IKEA is the leader when it comes to showrooming their products within the same space. They never try to sell you a bed, they try to sell you a closet, a table, a chair, a knick knack that nobody ever seems to be able to pronounce except someone Sweedish.

IKEA

You can do the same thing with your pins. Place several different products that you sell in your pins, but make sure that they are visible enough to see on a mobile device. This way someone can select the products within the pin.

Conclusion:

The new visual discovery tool by Pinterest is a game changer in the world of search. Flashlight is relatively new and will continue to improve over time as billions of more visual data points are added to their system. 

As a business, I highly encourage you to start uploading your product photos on Pinterest. Too many people discover products by accident, and you will never know who’s going to discover yours.

For more tips on Pinterest, make sure you sign up for my newsletter.

7 Ways to Increase Your Website Traffic With Pinterest

7 Ways to Drive More Website Traffic with Pinterest by Vincent Ng MCNGmarketing.com

1. Add Your Website to Your Pinterest Profile

One of the first things that every business should do once they start their Pinterest account is to add their website to their profile. To add your website, all you need to do is go to “Settings” and click on “Edit Profile.” At the bottom you’ll be able to add any website.

How to Drive More Web Traffic to Your Website with Pinterest by Vincent Ng mcngmarketing.com

However, if you are running a business then I highly suggest that you validate your Pinterest account as a business account.

When you validate your business account, your website will receive a check mark next to it to indicate that the website does belong to you. This is great for brand protection. It’s very easy for any user on Pinterest to put in your website and pretend to be you. The only thing that gives other users confidence that you do own that website is the check mark.

2. Have Your Website Mentioned in the Alt Tags of Your Pictures

As Pinterest has now become the second largest social referrer for online publishers, one of the best ways to maximize the traffic to your website is to actually have the website in your alt tags. This is because Pinterest’s official pin it buttons will scrape alt tags for their descriptions.

Donna Moritz of Socially Sorted does a wonderful job of putting her website in the alt tag of her photos.

How to Drive More Web Traffic to Your Website with Pinterest by Vincent Ng mcngmarketing.com

This way anybody that does pin from your website with any official pin it button will now have the website mentioned in the pin’s description (unless they choose to change the Pinterest description). People can technically change the description, but most users generally don’t.

3. Add Your Website to Your Pin’s Description

If you’ve created a pin, and you want to drive traffic back to your site, then putting your website, or a specific url you want people to visit, in your pin’s description can help drive more traffic to your site. This way when people read the description they’re able to click on it.

The website is only clickable on desktop versions of Pinterest, and the url does get cut short, but will be bolded when shown on the news feed.

This can be extremely helpful in attracting more web traffic from people who are using Pinterest for the first time and may not know that they need to click twice on a pin to visit your website. (The first click enlarges the pin, the second click goes to the website.)

How to Drive More Web Traffic to Your Website with Pinterest by Vincent Ng mcngmarketing.com

Even though people aren’t able to click on the website in the description on mobile versions, the actual website will be highlighted to help it stand out.

4. Put Your Website Address Inside Your Pins

Putting your website is a great way to put your website in front of tens of thousands to millions of people. As more and more people see your website from your pins, the more they’re going to be curious to visit it and offers your brand more credibility.

I encourage all Pinterest users to make sure that their website is, at the very least, visible on the mobile versions of Pinterest when their pin is clicked on. If your website is too tiny to see then it doesn’t help grow your brand.

Another reason to put your website on your own pins is to protect your brand and visuals.

I’ve seen many of my pins hijacked by other users and have them redirected to a different site that’s not mine. The only way that Pinterest that see that pin know where to find the pin’s content is through the website.

Mitt Ray from Social Marketing Writing always makes his websites very clear in his pins’ visual.

How to Drive More Traffic to Your Website with Pinterest by Vincent Ng mcngmarketing.com

5. Add Rich Pins to Your Pinterest Account

In terms of maintaining a great online reputation on Pinterest, nothing beats rich pins.

Rich pins are additional pieces of information that are added to a pin. Right now rich pins are available for recipes, products, movies and online articles. This additional information can include such things as ingredients for the recipe, the price of the product, or the official title of the online article.

How to Drive More Traffic to Your Website with Pinterest by Vincent Ng mcngmarketing.com

What’s great about rich pins is that it adds that extra call to action within your pins. Depending on what type of rich pin you’re looking to have you may need a webmaster, or if you run a WordPress site then you can consider using Yoast SEO for your blog, and there’s APG plugin for the other 3.

Here’s a rich pin for a blog, notice the call to action. This is automatically put there by Pinterest and it leads back to the site where the pin originates from.

How to Drive More Traffic to Your Website with Pinterest by Vincent Ng mcngmarketing.com

6. Link Uploaded Photos Back to Your Site

One of the great things about Pinterest is that you can actually create photos that are related to your industry and have them relayed back to your site. Sony Electronic’s Pinterest board, “I Can haz Gadgets” does this.

Here’s a picture of a cute dog with a speaker made by Sony. When this pin is clicked on, it leads directly back to an e-store operated by Sony Electronics that sells the speaker that’s seen in the pin.

How to Drive Traffic to Your Website with Pinterest by Vincent Ng MCNGMarketing.com

This way you don’t always have to use the pictures that are on your website. You can use those other photos, or create graphics that lure your customers in with curiosity.

To redirect the photo to a site that you want, all you need to do is edit the pin, and change the source of it.

Here’s a pin created by Kelly Liebermann of #PinChat about Hello Society. Notice at the bottom that you can edit the web address of the pin. You can technically change the web address of any pin that you’ve uploaded or repinned, but I don’t advise that you change another pinner’s source unless you are trying to redirect it to the original source of the pin.

How to Drive Traffic to Your Website with Pinterest by Vincent Ng MCNGmarketing.com

Add Your Website to Comments on Pinterest

Another place to add your website is in the comments section of Pinterest. However, this tactic should be used with the utmost care and caution. If you randomly place your website in comments then Pinterest will mark your efforts as spam, and you won’t be able to comment on pins for about 24 hours.

You should only leave a web address in the comments when you are trying to provide extra value to a customer, an influencer. Let’s say you noticed that an influencer pinned a blue bracelet from your website, you can respond to suggest that another great item would be this wonderful blue night gown and then provide a link.

My suggestion is that if you are trying to comment on people’s pins, that if there is one particular customer or influencer that you want to leave a url with in the comments, that you leave that as the very last comment of the day.

Keep the pin opened in a new tab as a way to remind yourself that that is the last pin to comment on for the day.

Now let’s hear from you, what are some fantastic ways to drive more web traffic from Pinterest? Leave a note in the comments section and share with the rest of the Pinteresting community.




Marketing is About Emotion – Make it Dramatic

#Marketing is about theatre and drama. Have a great story to tell your customers, and give them a reason to be emotionally engaged with your brand. Customers don't mind advertisements, they hate boring advertisements.

My favourite podcast to listen to is Terry O’ Reiley’s Under the Influence. A Canadian produced podcast that’s dedicated to the advertising and marketing industry. If you’ve never heard his podcast and you’re in the advertising and marketing industry then you’re missing out on nuggets of golden information.

Terry is an excellent story teller. He lures you with a thought provoking introduction, the use of his deep voice, timely humour, and a podcast that is professionally produced. Which is expected since he co owns advertising agency Pirate Radio.

In his episode, “This I know,” Terry tells his listeners that “One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that marketing is theatre.”

While I don’t think that all marketing is theatre, I do believe that the beginning stages of any good marketing campaign do involve a deep sense of emotion. One of the two essential elements of any massive marketing campaign, and the second element of marketing is distribution of the message.

Create Strong Emotional Connections in Your Marketing

One of the metrics that is used in the world of advertising is the recall rate. What percentage of people are able to recall an advertisement that they saw or listened to after a certain period of time has past, a favourite metric of Superbowl ads. If people can’t recall the ad, there’s a good chance that the advertisement hasn’t done enough job of emotionally reaching their target audience.

Why is a strong emotional bond so necessary in marketing? With all the different advertising messages out there, with people being exposed between 2000-3000 thousand advertisements a day, you know it’s going to be hard to get the attention of others. This is why emotional advertising is what will grab people’s attention.

The interesting thing about people is that they don’t hate advertisements. People generally hate bad advertisements. We hate advertisements that don’t make us feel. We hate advertisements that are more boring than a mashed potato sculpture of a snowball. And we just hate it when people waste our time. In this day and age, we are demanding consumers, we demand something of value in exchange for time.

Here’s one of my favourite advertisements of all times.It’s not necessarily award winning, but it has the elements of drama, truth, and tugs at my heart strings about finding “the girl.” And reminds me of the days of high school when I used to have crushes on girls that I never had the courage to ask. The “Susan Glenn” video advertisement is very different from most Axe commercials that were produced.

Emotions Help our Short Term Memory

What’s particularly interesting about human brain is that our short term memory works better when there is a strong emotional attachment to an event or advertisement. Think about the last webinar that you attended that probably lasted for half an hour, now think about the last movie that you watched for half an hour. Which one do you feel you recalled more information about?

Chances are that you probably remembered more about the movie than the webinar. Emotion grips people. Whether it’s shock, it’s humour, it’s excitement, it’s wonder, it’s sadness or that longing for the one true love. Emotions have made us who we are, and it’s what starts wars and creates lasting marriages.

And while there is a lot of talk about educating our customers with the proper decisions there is no doubt that adding theatre, adding that sense of drama in your marketing can be extremely helpful. What do you think most of politics is about? It’s about providing an entertaining and educational show.

How does Your Marketing Emotionally Reach people?

With the attention span of most consumer shrinking by the year, how do you grip consumers into buying your product or service. Think about what your brand stands for, and what that brand represents in humanity. If part of your brand is not rooted in some form of humanity, then you need to rethink your brand.

Often times big brands and companies fail at their marketing techniques because they no longer think of big and bold ideas that grip the human soul. They play small, and in a world dominated by social media, many are afraid that one bad advertisement can lead to a public relations nightmare, and that the risks are too great.

To help reduce the risks, think of how your next advertisement can evoke an emotion. How can it tell a story, and most of all how does all of this fit into the brand. Watch the following commercial by Proctor and Gamble for the 2012 London Olympics.

This is a perfect example of theatre that’s executed with a brand strategy in mind. But what makes it even more intriguing is the amount of emotions that are put into that small 2 minute video. I went from a sense of curiousity, to intrigue, to feeling proud and even a bit of tear was welling up in both my eyes. What’s also interesting is that one study has suggested that longer advertisements create more emotional connection.

This can often be lacking in many social media campaigns that are being handled now. We talk about engagement, and starting conversations, but I personally believe we are striving to be a “feeling society” again. A place where we can truly feel connected to our human spirit, and strangely enough, I feel that the advertising and marketing industry can do that.

More and more marketers talk about how to emotionally engage people with their brand. Many, like Lululemon have been doing it for years, by creating a values based marketing, assisting people in living better and feeling better about themselves. In a society that’s put a lot of emphasis onto providing education, what happened to the rule of creating an emotional experience for our customers?

Emotional Experiences Create Soaring Brands

I have been tremendously guilty of this too. I have often focused on providing education and not about the emotion behind what I’m marketing. But true emotion is what will separate good brands, and good marketing from others. Coke always consistently makes great advertising, while Pepsi has been a hit and miss.

I’ve always admired Coke, because I’ve always believed they’ve strived to create advertisements that are based on creating a sense of theatre. While Pepsi, in most cases has relied on social proofing (celebrity endorsements) instead of sharing a grand story about what Pepsi is about. This is why I still love showing the 1971 Hilltop Coke commercial to young marketers.

While it’s important to educate your customers and consumers with your marketing, humanity is starving to connect with their brands. They’re tired of seeing boring advertisement that is as bland as water soup. Give them something to remember, something to talk about, give them something they can feel.

Why Businesses Need to use Rich Pins for Pinterest Immediately

Nordstroms Pinterest Pinterest has recently been working with some companies that provide online e-commerce sales. What’s fantastic about this is that it provides information about the product without actually requiring them to be typed into the description and therefore you never have to worry about another pinner changing the description without listing the vital information (a concern for major brands).

This availability of information is vital and is known as rich pins (most likely taken from the term rich snippets, a common term used when marketers talk about search engine optimization.)

Pinterest has allowed for three different categories of rich pins, and they are, movies, recipes, and products, and will definitely be a great add on to the Pintalysis, a Pinterest marketing blueprint for businesses.

Rich Pins for Products Will Change E-commerce

Probably the one that will interest most readers is the rich pins for product because it affects many e-commerce sites. Rich pins has already been used on Pinterest pages like Sephora and Etsy’s.

Rich pins will be able to tell a viewer on Pinterest real time pricing, whether it’s available in stock, and which website to buy it from (or that it’s available in stores). The other nice feature is that a businesses logo is now added to the side. But you do have to apply to Pinterest to be able to offer rich pins for your account, so whether you run a store that’s dedicated to shoes like Zappos, or run an online store dedicated to aprons, rich pins are vital.

No More Price Tags in the Top Right Corner

Another change for pins is that pricing used to be tagged automatically on the top right hand side of a pin when a dollar amount was listed in the description. This is no longer the case. A user can still post pricing in the description but no more price tags will show. In the case of rich pins, the pricing will show at the bottom of the pin at the left hand side, but only after the product pin has been clicked on.

Why this is of particular help to businesses is because it used to be difficult to provide all that data in the description of the pin without worrying that the information would change after being repinned a few dozen times.

Now if an item is listed as out of stock, then users will most likely know not to click on it, because there’s the potential that it’s going to lead to a broken link, but at least the user has been “warned” in some fashion so it doesn’t disrupt the user’s expectation.

Since this rich pin data can’t be changed by users, that means that when any Pinterest user pins from a Pinterest approved e-commerce site, that specific rich pin data can only be changed by webmasters or developers.

The problem for businesses before was that when pins were taken off a site or repinned their descriptions could be changed, and tampered with. So people could purposely put the wrong price if they wanted to in the description and then go to the site, and realize that it was much more expensive. Now with rich pins, a user can trust that the price listed is most likely the right price.

Another great feature is that it also allows users to know that this pin is officially from the site, and that it doesn’t lead to copycat retailer that’s making fakes of a brand. If you haven’t verified your e-commerce or business site on Pinterest yet, then I highly suggest that you do.

The good news is that when you do put a price for your product in the description of the pin, it will still automatically go into the Gifts section of the Pinterest search.

If you want to implement rich pins, then scroll down to near the end of the article.

Rich Pins are Available for Movies

Rich pins are also available for movies, and is able to offer details such as the appropriate viewing age for the movie, as well as information such as who the director is, and who is starring in it, and rating for the movie. For Netflix’s Pinterest account it gives you some great details before you click to visit their site.

Now Pinterest allows Rich Pins for movies. This is an example of one used by <a href=Netflix. It has information about the director, actor, as well as the rating for the movie by users that have seen the movie.

Recipe Pins Will Do Wonders for Food Brands and Bloggers

With a little creativity, you can get your food brand to be on Pinterest as well. Here’s an example of a recipe for oven fried chicken from Chobani (a yogurt company.) As you can see the rich pin for recipes offers a lot of great information that ranges from how many people it serves, what type of ingredients you need, and how long it takes to cook.

What’s really smart about this for food brands is that rich pins don’t tell you step by step on how to cook the food, so viewers that are interested in executing the recipe have to click on the pin, which will lead back to the main website.

Looking to add your recipes to Pinterest and create rich pins. Click on the pin to find out how to do this.

How To Implement Rich Pins for Your Site

Most of Pinterest has been fairly non technical I would say, and now with the options of rich pins, you’re most likely going to need your developer to help you out if you’re not technically savvy.

I want to make it clear that I’m personally not a developer, so I won’t be able to offer technical advice. They are scraping data from sites that use oEmbed, Shchema.org tags, as well as Open Graph tags.

But if you would like to get all the details of how to implement the technical work, Pinterest has a post dedicated to developers regarding rich pins. And you still need to go through the approval process with Pinterest before you can do what the other brands like Nordstroms and Sephora have done. Pinterest has provided a rich pin tester to test out your code to see if it works.

Also if you find yourself wanting to listen about the changes that have recently happened, Cynthia Sanchez from Oh So Pinteresting, created a podcast about the changes.

Market the Benefits, Not the Features of Your Product

Find out how marketing benefits, not features is one of the most important aspects of marketing.  One of the early lessons that you learn from sales, marketing, and advertising is that there should be a focus on the benefits of a product instead of the features.

Benefits Compared to Features

Features are characteristics that a product possesses, while a benefit is a positive result that occurs because of the features. Let’s take the example of the book I’m currently writing: Pintalysis, the Ultimate Marketing Blueprint for Pinterest. I can say that the book has the following:

It has over 200 pages of information.
It will show you what type of pictures to put onto your Pinterest board.
The book will also show you how to rank higher in Pinterest’s search engine.

These are all features of the book, but the benefits of purchasing a book are much different.

The information that the book provides will generate more targeted leads for a business site, as well as help e-commerce owners earn more money from a new customer base.

A good example of highlighting benefits compared to features is a car commercial done for Volkswagen Jetta. The commercial doesn’t talk about the horsepower it possesses, it doesn’t talk about the variety of safety features that are offered (though these may be factors in a purchase decision), instead they focused on the main benefit of driving a VW Jetta. Driving one can save your life during the most vital moment – during a car crash.

As a side note, it was reported that sales of the VW Jetta jumped up by 17% after the commercial aired.

On any given day you might hear people talk about a patented technology or material that makes their car safer, or they talk about the safety rating that they received from a 3rd party consumer organization, but the Jetta commercial doesn’t talk about the technology, or the materials, or even use a crash test dummy, they show safety first hand in graphic and real detail. They focus on the main benefit, the potential to save your life, and walk away unhurt.

A mistake that can happen quite often is to list out features in marketing material, this is especially common for the product industry. But it’s really the benefits of the product that will sell.

A Benefit Solves A Customer’s Pain Point

Another way of looking at a benefit, is that a benefit is a solution to a pain problem that a customer has. If the benefit can solve a tremendous pain problem that the customer is experiencing, than this is a major benefit to the consumer.

It’s also important to ask why a feature is important. A feature of Pinterest is its visual content. When a picture on Pinterest is clicked on it can redirect back to the page that the image is hosted on. So what’s the big deal about that particular feature? Why is that important? Well, when planned out correctly, it can drive potential buyers to an e-commerce site, and that means that it can help a business earn more money from a whole new customer base. That’s the benefit of Pinterest.

Sometimes it can be hard for consumers to piece together a feature associated with a specific benefit for a product. This is a common problem that people who work in their industry too long. They associate a feature to a benefit right away without a second thought. But new users of a product don’t see this, and a marketer needs to be able to lead them through the process of connecting a feature to an actual benefit.

Infomercials are extremely good at this process. If you notice carefully infomercials discuss quite a bit about features, especially ones that focus on cosmetics. An infomercial may tell you that they have a secret substance that they found in a plant that’s from a tropical area of the world. This is a feature. They then go on and say that the product will help you get rid of wrinkles. This is what I would call a light benefit, but the customer starts to connect the dots of how the feature is helpful. And then an infomercial shows two pictures of how much younger a woman may look after using that product that contains special mineral and vitamins. The benefit is then solidified. The cosmetic product will help you look younger, longer. It will make you feel happier, more confident and self assured in your daily life.

For most infomercials they will link the emotional benefits of using their product. And the power of highlighting emotional benefits is powerful.

Benefits Can Be Emotions

While a benefit can focus on solving an actual problem, the benefit of a particular product may be to elevate a person’s mood or to lesson a negative feeling. If someone feels that they are being overwhelmed by stress, then a new bubble bath product can be used to help a person relax after a long and stressful day of dealing with dozens of customer complaints.

Or owning a new big screen offers the benefits of hours of entertainment, excitement and happiness. It takes away the pain of being bored at home with nothing to do.

If a customer can feel a strong emotional benefit with your product then this will definitely help drive sales of your product. Always think of what the emotional benefits a customer may have when he decides to use your product.

You may be able to hype up a product through creative marketing, but at the end of the day if the product doesn’t truly provide a real benefit to your customers, there isn’t going to be a sustainable business model.

When It’s Useful to Highlight Features

I don’t want to give the impression that features aren’t important, as a matter of fact one of the key ways that features can be helpful in marketing is when it a feature clearly allows it to differentiate it from other competitors, and how that feature allows it to be better than its competitors.

Informercials that focus on cosmetics know that they need to compete with a lot of different cosmetics out there. But if they talk about how they extract a specific vitamin from a type of fruit and the process is secretive and only known by the company, then the feature they’ve highlighted has given them a differentiation factor compared to their competition. And this can help them stand out, but at the end of the day, features and benefits need to work together like a great peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

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Pintalysis: The Ultimate Marketing Blueprint for Pinterest Marketing

Pintalysis, The Ultimate Marketing Blueprint for Marketing After browsing through a few different brands on Pinterest I’ve noticed that many of them are making some basic mistakes on Pinterest.

This is why I came up with the Pintalysis Marketing Blueprint, a framework that helps guide marketers on what to consider and how to use Pinterest to maximize their brand exposure, and monetization.

The Pintalysis Marketing Blueprint consists of five different pillars for a comprehensive Pinterest marketing and business strategy. This blog article offers an introduction to Pintalysis.

All five pillars work together in harmony to provide an integrated approach to marketing. The first four pillars are listed in priority order, with the fifth pillar focusing on website development.

The First Pillar of Pintalysis: Business and Marketing Goals

Before jumping into Pinterest, a business needs to be clear about the types of business and marketing objectives they would like to achieve. This will depend on the nature of the business. For an e-commerce site it will be about driving traffic to the site and converting them into being online customers.

For a service business, a great business and marketing objective is to drive more web visitors to the website, and generate leads from Pinterest.

For business to business, the marketing goal may be to increase the brand’s awareness among the target demographic. General Electric does an amazing job of using their Pinterest board to bring awareness to their company with hilarious content, like the “Hey Girl” board featuring Thomas Edison.

These different types of goals will require metrics. If you are a large enterprise, analytic tools such as Curalate and Piquora are able to help track metrics such as repins, the most popular pins from your website, and so forth. Other tools such as Pinterest’s very own analytics tool can tell you who has been pinning and give you an idea of how many users are pinning from your site. While Google Analytics will offer insight into how long people are staying on the directed site that came from Pinterest.

The Second Pillar of Pintalysis: Visually Optimizing Your Pins

The second pillar of the Pintalysis is to ensure visual optimization of your pins. This means choosing images that are absolutely eye catching that will make people stop and take a look. Remember that your pins are competing with dozens of others every given second.

Ensure your pins are from 300-540 pixels wide, and no longer than 1900 pixels. Recently Pinterest added a “Expand Pin” at the bottom of pins that are longer than that, and that “Expand Pin” happens on both desktops and mobile.

When appropriate consider adding captioning in the picture to draw people in. This is your chance to be a print advertising specialist. Create big fonts that clearly state what the pin is about when clicked on such as, “Top Ten Ways to Protect Leather Shoes.” Sephora recently created a Mother’s Day board in which pins highlight gifts that are excellent to give away. As you can tell they created some text at the bottom of the pin to grab your attention.

Notice in the picture below – on the left Sephora uses an intriguing and customized pin to promote an item on their Mother’s Day board. On the right hand side is a picture of the actual product after the pin has been clicked on. This can be done by uploading your customized image and then selecting the specific url you want the pin to redirect to.

Notice how Sephora optimizes their Pinterest photos, but it redirects to to their site image after. This is a smart Pinterest marketing technique.

The Third Pillar of Pintalysis: Create Virality through Community

Creating virality takes work, especially for brands that are just starting off. But virality begins by increasing the number of followers. After all, you can have a great pin, but if nobody sees it, then nobody is going to share it. Virality can also be increased by participating in community boards on Pinterst.

Virality is about developing relationships with influencers in your industry. When you’re able to create relationships with those in your industry, consider a way of working with each other to cross promote each other’s pins. This is the same concept of guest blogging. If you’ve developed a really great relationship with an influencer consider creating a board together to make the most of each other’s followers.

Social sharing is one of the aspects of going viral. Ensure that you are letting your followers know about your Pinterest account. Share with your followers the most repinned content from Pinterest on Twitter. Have a Facebook tab/app for Pinterest on your Facebook page, Woobox offers one for free. Share your best pins from Pinterest onto Instagram. Ensure that you have a “Follow Us on Pinterest” button on your website.

The Fourth Pillar: Search Optimization

When I discuss about search optimization, I’m not just referring to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which is very important, but I’m also referring how to optimize pins and boards within Pinterest’s search engine.

For example one of the aspects of getting pins to show up in search is through the use of keywords in the descriptions of pins and in boards. This holds true to for SEO of your Pinterst page. But the domain name that a pin originates from also plays a role in search within Pinterest’s search engine, this is why there are some pins that have no keywords in their description in the pin or board, and yet show up high for search terms in Pinterest.

Ensuring that all your pins, boards, and the page itself is search optimized for both engines will help maximize the online exposure of your page and drive more traffic to your website.

The Fifth Pillar: Optimize Your Pinterest Page for Sharing

The Fifth and last pillar is vitally important for e-commerce sites or sites that require visual content. Ensure that your website has been optimized to allow for Pinterest sharing. This means that your blog has a pin it button so that people can share articles on Pinterest (my biggest pet peeve are social media blogs that talk about Pinterest, and yet they don’t have a Pin It button available).

This also means having wonderful photos that are going to be visually optimized for your website. E-commerce sites are often able to show multiple photos of a product. Bottica.com, the online jewellery site, does an amazing job of showing their products being worn by people. And it goes through a gallery showing their jewellery from different perspectives. This not only increases purchase intent, it also increase the pinning intent.

Bottica does a great job of adding Pin It buttons to all their photos for social sharing. This is a simple Pinterest tactic that all e-commerce sites should focus on.

Traditionally many blogs added photos in a way that was more of a psychological tactic to stand out, but rarely did the photos have any real visual appeal to the reader. Now it’s all changed, the feature image on a blog or any website needs to be Pinterest worthy so that that pin can get repinned again and again. You have to treat the feature photos on blog posts as if you are creating a magazine ad.

Those are the five pillars of Pintalysis. Look back at your own Pinterest marketing strategy and see if there’s anything that’s missing. Sometimes it can be the most simple things such as not SEOing your Pinterest Board descriptions. Over the next few months, I will be sharing more details of the Pintalysis Marketing Blueprint in an upcoming e-book. Please note that Pintalysis is not officially associated with Pinterest.

Pintalysis, the Ultimate Marketing Blueprint for Pinterest Marketing. This Pinterest marketing framework will offer brands and companies a solid guideline on how to maximize their marketing efforts.

Use Bonus Offers to Help Close Sales

Use Bonus Offers to Close Sales
Brand perception can be everything in the world of marketing. Excellent branding can persuade customers to buy your product or service and have them become a lifetime customer. When you’re starting off your business, it can be very hard to increase your brand value.

But one of the ways to increase brand awareness and sales of your products is to be able to offer your customers a type of bonus. It seems simple enough, but many marketers neglect this simple fact. Providing your customers with bonuses is vitally important to brands that don’t believe in discounting.

If you create a brand that discounts too often, then what will happen is that your brand will soon be known as the cheap brand. This is why luxury fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton and Hermes never have their goods on sale.

It Starts From our Childhood

Giving a bonus in your products and services is nothing new. It can be the difference between having someone buying your product and someone that decides to try your competitor.

Let’s take an example from my younger days. I used to love eating Honeycomb as a teenager. I would consume it for breakfast, eat it as a snack, and even eat at nighttime. One of my most fond moments of eating the cereal was slurping the milk after it was loaded with sugar.

However, it wasn’t the only cereal brand that I ate, there were others like Cheerios, Corn Pops and Frosted Flakes. I remember that Honeycomb offered some NHL hockey cards when you purchased the cereal. I was an avid hockey card collector back then and when I saw the offer I grabbed the box and put into the family shopping cart without even hesitating for a second.

That little bonus got me to buy, without a single consideration for the other brands at the point of purchase.

Cosmetics Industry is Famous for This

I remember when I encountered how well bonus marketing worked in the cosmetic industry. A woman I dated was very excited about purchasing a cosmetic package because it included samples of products that retailed for $75, and that the deal would end that day.

I didn’t think it was a big whoop, but to her it was a matter of urgency to claim the bonus gift.

What was strange at first, and more understandable now, is that she got a sense of pleasure from being able to shop and get the bonuses. It wasn’t just about fear based marketing, it was the fact that she truly felt she got extra value by receiving the bonus gift.

The point is that bonuses work on both genders, it works on children, it works on seniors and it works across all cultures.

Sometimes It’s the Bonus is the Main Catch of the Day

Sometimes customers only purchase the main product because the bonus itself is more important to them than the actual product being sold.

Liquor is notoriously good for that. I recently went to a liquor store and saw that Corona was offering free straw hats with a purchase of a 12 pack. I’ve probably only bought beer to drink about twice in my lire, but the hat itself was very tempting and increased my interest dramatically in purchasing the Corona beer, even though I probably would have taken over over two months to finish the 12 pack.

This is why infomercials are infamous for offering bonuses. They know that you may not be interested in the main product that’s being sold, even if they are giving you a product that’s two for the price of one. But they will sometimes throw in a product that will just tip you over the edge in making the purchase. It’s that second product that gets your wallet to open up.

Charge More to Make Your Bonuses Better

In order to grow a profitable and strong brand you should consider offering bonus products for your customers or clients. If you’re in the service business, provide an e-book for your customers that helps solve one of their pain points. If you’re selling a food and retail product, such as liquor, then consider manufacturing a shot glass to go with your liquor.

Of course some of these bonuses will take time and money, and that’s why it’s important to charge a premium for your products or services so that you can focus on delivering the extra value offers that your customers and clients will enjoy. And by giving that little extra to your customers, you’ll find you’ll be able to close more sales develop stronger business relationships.

Your Community is More Important than Your Content

Community versus Content
I’ve been a big fan of Rand Fiskin, and how he’s operated SEO Moz as the CEO.

Recently I read his blog post titled, 11 Tips I Gave Marketers this Morning.

Tip # 6 on his blog post was this:

“Crappy content often outperforms amazing content when the publisher/brand/site has a powerful community.

Community is one of the most ignored/under-appreciated channels of an inbound marketing strategy, yet it makes every other channel – social, search, email, content, viral, etc. – more effective.”

Community Is Vital to Success

Veronica Mars Kickstarter One good example of a loyal community is the fans of the now cancelled TV show Veronica Mars, which starred actress Kristen Bell.

The show was cancelled back in 2007, but the creator of the TV show, Rob Thomas, wanted to create a Veronica Mars movie in 2013. He went to Kickstarter (a crowdfunding platform) and asked for $2 million from fans to help raise the funds for the movie. He was able to reach that goal within an unprecedented 12 hours, and on April 12th, 2013 the movie raised $5.7 million with about 91 thousand people financially backing the movie.

Veronica Mars was Good, but Not Great

I used to watch Veronica Mars when it was on T.V. and was a fan of Kristen Bell on the show. But I have to admit, I thought the show was good, but it wasn’t great. But what Veronica Mars did have was a community that was loyal to the show to the point that fans were willing to donate their own cash to see a movie be built, five years after the show had been cancelled. That’s quite a bit of time that’s past.

And yet, people are still wanting a movie to be made. Now, obviously, Veronica Mars had a lot of exposure. It was aired nationally for close to three years, so it was bound to find a few fans that are going to be loyal. But that doesn’t negate the point that their community came to help out when they needed the money and support of fans.

How To Create Such a Loyal Fanbase Online

It can be hard for any business to build their community the beginning, especially if you’re a small business with a small team, and other well known communities around your industry have already started but there are a few things that can you can to grow your online community.

1) Create or Join Online Groups on LinkedIn

If your business wants to be well known, then it should be a part of a community. Or better yet, if no one has started one, then you should form your own. There are a variety of online social networks that will allow you to create groups.

LinkedIn is a great place to start groups and start a community. It does require some patience and cross promoting on your other networks, but if you’re able to be one of the first to start a meaningful group, then you can reach hundreds and even thousands of people who share the same interest as you.

This is what the founders of the website Pinnable Business did. To build their online community they created their own Linkedin group called Pinterest for Business.

It helped them establish credibility and also help promote their website and service Pin Alerts, which sends you automatic e-mail when a person pins a visual from your website.

2) Create a Group on Google Plus

My friend KC Claveria created an online community about Vancouver on Google Plus. He was very smart. The day that groups could be created on G+, he sent out invites to locals in Vancouver and asked them to join. His group is close to 500 members since he started, and people are continuously joining it and posting and sharing new comment. And he’s the moderator.

I found a Pinterest group on G+ with over 800 members, but quite frankly I was not happy with how many unrelated topics there were, and how moderators didn’t seem to care, as many of them were responsible for posting those unrelated topics, so I decided to create my own.

I called it Pinterest Marketing, and though the group isn’t big, there’s about 25 members and I find new people joining each week. But I know for a fact, a little patience, the group will continue to grow, and I will continue to be a moderator for the group.

Pinterest Google Plus Group

3) Create a Community Board On Pinterest

Pinterest is also a great way to create a community around your brand and business. One of the best ways to build a community board. This can be done by inviting other pinners who you follow to pin on your board. Ensure that you put up the rules about your board in the description, and also a way for people who land on your Pinterest board to contact you.

Pinterest Community Board

Daily Inspiration is a wonderful website, and they have a Pinterest account. I recently joined one of their boards, Creative Ads, and was able to indirectly gain an additional 1,1000 followers to help grow MCNG’s community and am grateful to Daily Inspiration.

Feel free to read more about my article about how to grow your Pinterest community board.

4)Be a Guest Blogger

Often businesses talk about competitors. While you should be aware of what other businesses are out there, there’s no need to feel that everybody is your enemy. One of the best ways to build a community is to guest post on other blogs that are related to your industry, or on prominent websites.

You’ll often see that Social Media Examiner has guests blog posts from a variety of writers from other blogs, such as Cynthia Sanchez from Oh So Pinteresting, and Beth Hayden from Copyblogger, who write about Pinterest.

Content is Still Vital

While you should be focusing on efforts to create a large community for your services, product, or website, don’t think that this gives you the excuse to slack off and not create good content for your blog or for your website. I think it’s vitally even more important that the larger your community gets, the more responsibility you have to provide great content for them.

And when you’re able to provide great content to a wide community, this is how your make posts go viral even more across all different mediums like e-mail, social, search and more.

Go out there and start building your community. Even Bruce Wayne has a community known as Batman Inc.

4 Pinterest Tips to Make Your Pins More Searchable on Pinterest

Pinterest Marketing Tip: Can't find your pins on Pinterest? Here's 4 tips to help your pins be more searchable within Pinterest.

Note: This post was updated to include more findings on how to use the Pinterest Search Engine to your business advantage. There will be some more tips added on to the original four that were posted.

Pinterest is amazing, I can honestly spend hours at a time looking at different infographics, advertising boards, and pins. Now with more than 70 million users of the social media, it’s a great social media marketing tool. But with 70 million users pinning dozens of pins to amass more than 30 billion pins, trying to get your pins to show up on Pinterest search results are much harder.

Old school tactics such as constantly pinning again and again for a category used to help drive traffic.  And the Pinterest feed used to be in chronological order but this is no longer the case with the Pinterest smart feed, which “recommends” pins based on what Pinterest believes a user is interested in.

Learning to search optimize your pins for keywords on Pinterest’s search engine will be very vital. And I will try to answer the age old question “Why don’t my pins show up on Pinterest search?”

As marketers, we need to think about how Pinterest works as a search engine, not just a social network.

While this blog post doesn’t have all the answers, it will shed some light as to how to increase your chances of getting them found at the top of search results for specific search terms.

This specific post only discuss about optimizing your pins. I will write another article about search optimizing your board names, and your user profile in the future.

Optimizing your pins will be more important, since this is the default search setting for Pinterest and since it’s blatantly in the middle of the desktop version of Pinterest.

Here are four ways to make your pins more searchable on Pinterest.

How to Get Your Pins to Show Up in Pinterest Search Results

1) Keywords Should be in the Description of Pins

Please don’t be mistaken, I’m not talking about search optimization for Google or Bing, this is just for Pinterest’s search engine when looking for pins with the keyword.

The first thing you need to do to optimize your pins for search is to ensure that you put keywords into your pin’s description. For example, let’s say you want to create pins that are more locally targeted, then you may put in keyword, “Fashion trends in L.A. or fashion trends in New York.”

Pinterest-Tips-for-Search-Optimization-1

It’s important for localized businesses that they put their city in pin’s descriptions. The huge majority of pins that were searched based on a keyword, I believe, are found using this particular method.

What really bugged me was that some of the pins that were searched by keywords never even had one single keyword in the actual description itself, yet it was showing up. This is when I clicked on them and was able to determine that the second factor played a role in which pins showed up in search feeds.

Pinterest Tip for Search Optimization 2 2)The Pin Should Come From a URL with the Keyword In It

What I also noticed when searching for pins was there was a good chunk of pins that didn’t have any of the keywords that I was searching for but still popped up in the searches. For example, when I typed in Pinterest infographic, I would sometimes get social media marketing in the description. Though the number of pins that did show up without the keywords in the description were much lower than those that did.

I know for a fact that Pinterest can’t read text on pictures (but they are able to identify colours and shapes), so I decided to click on where the pictures were hosted. And what I noticed was that the many of the pictures that didn’t have the keywords in the descriptions had keywords in the urls that they were from.

When I clicked on it the pin that had social media marketing as the description, it led to a site that had the key words “Pinterest Infographic” in the url such as. www.examplesite.com/social-media/five-pinterest-infographics-for-CEOS

My speculation is that Pinterest scrapes the url, or the webpage and takes that into consideration into its search algorithm.

Pinterest Tips for Search Optimization 3 3) Keywords Should be in the Name of the Picture/Photo File

What also helped, but I couldn’t find as a strong correlation, was the name of the file contained keywords as well. Based on closer inspection I believe why it helps is because some people will pin the actual url where the file is hosted.

For example if the name of your infographic or pin is whateveryouwant.jpg and it’s hosted on the site www.examplesite.com/uploads/whateveryouwant.jpg then Pinterest probably won’t pay too much attention to it. However, if you if the file name is pinterest-infographic.jpg and your pin is directly taken from www.examplesite.com/uploads/pinterest-infographic.jpg then this will help in the search results of the actual Pinterest search feed.

This is really just an extension of the second point that was made.

4)The Number of Recent Re Pinterst Tips for Search Optimization 4 pins and Repins Matter

I typed in a bunch of random keywords and noticed that many of the pins that showed up for heavy used keywords such as, red velvet cupcake and cotton candy were quite interesting. It was hard to find pins that showed up on search that had not been repinned at least once.

For strongly competitive words, the number of recent repins that a pin gets can help shoot it straight to the top, but once the number of repins has cooled down, it’s mostly likely going to move much lower in the search results or completely disappear.

One of the clients I worked with operated a hair styling blog.I was able to help them rank for a specific keyword that received 92,000 monthly searches. The pin hovers at spot number 1 and 2, and has received over 3300 repins within 2 and half months, and it’s still going, and it seems to be staying at the top, however I believe it’s not just the number of repins, it’s also who is repinning that content.

As an experiment I bought repins for some of my pins to see if they would help in the search results, while they do impact search, it wasn’t as strong as I expected. I believe that the reason is because Pinterest can detect whether these repins are coming from genuine active users, after all they are processing trillions of data sets.

More Tips On Getting Your Pins Found

Use Exact Word Matching:

I’ve also noticed that the exact keyword match plays a role in how your pins show up. If you want to be found for the words, Christmas tree skirts, it’s best to make sure that those words are together, instead of using the description, skirts for Christmas trees.

This doesn’t eliminate your pin from the original search term, Christmas tree skirts, it just makes it less likely that it’s going to be one of the pins showing up for that particular search term if you don’t use exact phrasing.

What I was also able to find based on a small sample of searches was that keywords that contained plural words showed the same search results for the singular version on search. For example if you go and type in the word Pinterest Strategy, you will see the same results as Pinterest Strategies. This is quite different from Google search engines, that take in such small nuances.

I would suggest that you mix up your description keywords to have words that are plural as well as singular to maximize your potential of being found in Pinterest’s search engine.

If you use a # in between the words, I believe it doesn’t interfere with how it’s read by the internal search engine.

Short Descriptions Are More Likely to Show Up:

This is going to be a tough call, pins with descriptions of about 300 characters long tend to be repinned more often according a to an infographic by Dan Zarella.

However, based on my research, there seems to be a correlation between pins that had less than 100 characters that tended to dominate popular search words. A good example is the search word recipe, one of the most used words in pin descriptions, and yet when the word is searched on Pinterest, the descriptions remain relatively short for almost all the pins. Considering how many popular pins that have the word recipe in in it, you would think that more pins with longer descriptions would show, but that’s not the case.

Google has an algorithm that calculates keyword density, which is the number of times a word is found in a post divided by the number of words written in total. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a ranking measure for Pinterest, where they take keyword density as a measurement. However, keyword stuffing doesn’t work, so repeating the word recipe three times in your description isn’t going to help you rank better for those specific words, it will only help you rank better if a person purposely types in the word recipe three times in the search box.

I’m speculating this is to make it easier for mobile users when they are searching for pins, since long descriptions can be an eyestrain on a smart phone.

What about Alt Tags and Titles of the Pins?

Based on my research and clicking on dozens of pins, it didn’t seem that the alt, or the title played a dominant role in showing up in the search results, but this would need more research and bigger sample size. I would imagine this isn’t of much interest because Pinterest isn’t interested in being a search engine like Google or Bing.

I still highly encourage you to properly label these pictures with a correct and detailed tag for your images. The reason for this is because when someone does use Pinterest’s official pin bookmarklet then the description automatically becomes what the alt tag is, however if you use a pin it button like the one I have on my site that’s from Addthis, they take the title tag from that particular page or blog post.

And it’s good for SEO on the Google and Bing search engines. This is why it’s important to ensure that you have an integrated optimization strategy.

Colours and Shapes Play a Role

In the last half year of 2013 I started finding more and more results that had less and less to do with texts. Instead I will see the EXACT same keyword search but from a different user. What’s interesting to note is that the description will not have any of the keywords, nor will it have a url with a keyword in it.

I’m speculating that Pinterest is using the data of certain keywords to be associated with certain shapes, colours and even specific photos. Like my friend Jack, from Call2Pin stated, Pinterest has been very good at detecting pins of porn. (Jack works in the lingerie wholesale business and has done extensive testing with Pinterest about visual recognition.)

To further support this statement,Pinterest acquired VisualGraph, further supporting that they may be moving towards being a visual search engine.

Keep in mind that this is all speculation based on observation. It would be interesting to see what other marketers and search engine optimizers think. I highly encourage you to do your own tests and see if you notice any patterns.

So if you’ve been asking the question, “Why are my pins not showing up in Pinterest search results?”

Now remember, the Pinterest search engine is always changing, but learning how it works can be the difference from a pin receiving 10 repins and a dozen visitors to 1000 repins and receiving hundreds of visits to the website, for more tips on how you can improve your Pinterest marketing, make sure you sign up for my newsletter.

Wonderful News:

Jeff Sieh of the Manly Pinterest Show, Alisa Meredith of the Superheroes of Marketing Podcast and I will be hosting the  Visual Social Media Conference, a live online summit featuring Peg Fitzpatrick, Rebekah Radice, Donna Moritz, Jenn Herman and more. Grab your tickets for the first ever Visual Social Media Conference. 

Visual Social Media Conference

 

8 Steps to Grow Your Pinterest Community Board

How to Grow a Pinterest Community Board
If you’re a regular of the blog you know I’ve been writing a lot about how to use Pinterest to market your business recently, and the reason is because it’s not only another social network, it’s one where people, mostly women, are spending a lot of time and money.

The social network is quite different from Twitter, and Facebook. It’s not a network trying to engage users with typing, instead they are encourage users to tell parts of their lives through visual sharing. These parts of their lives may include fashion, comics, recipes, and places they want to travel.

What’s powerful about this social network is that brands and businesses can create community boards to help increase their own brand awareness, and be part of other community boards. If you’re a local sports bar, you may want to join a community board that’s dedicated to the local sports team, or better yet start one.

What are Community Boards?

Community boards are boards where there are multiple contributors to one board, where members of that community are given the right to invite others. For example on my community board about creative advertising, The majority of the pins are by me, but if you look at some other pins, other members have posted some amazing advertising examples as well.

One of the main objectives of a community board is to have different people contribute to the Pinterest board.

Pinterest Community Board You’ll recognize a community board because there will be a silhouette of a crowd in the corner. Not all community boards are designed to be invitation to the general public. You can actually invite only people who are only part of your company to contribute, similar to having multiple users for the social media dashboard, Hootsuite.

Benefits of Joining, Creating and Growing a Community Board

There are quite a few established community boards around Pinterest for a variety of topics ranging from health care to social media. One of the boards I was invited to join was created by the good people at Agenda Digital Marketing, about digital blogs.

What’s great for those starting off is that they give you exposure to a number to more followers that you normally don’t reach. The Agenda Marketing blog board already has 438 followers as of this writing. Some boards will have close to tens of thousands of followers depending on the niche. But joining one that’s well established will help raise your Pinterest’s profile much more quickly.

Joining and creating a community board also allows you to increase the number of followers. Many pinners have repeatedly reported in the blogosphere how the number of followers have increased, sometimes dramatically, after joining communities.

How to Build Your Community Board on Pinterest

I couldn’t find a community board for advertising, or one that had a lot of activity (the search function doesn’t allow to search boards that are just community groups). Here’s a step by step guide to getting people to join your group.

1) Create Your Board as if it was an Individual Board to Start.

Create your own board, and then post content that is relevant to that board to make it look filled out so that it doesn’t look an inactive board if users look at the board. This will let other users know that you’re more serious about creating a community instead of just spamming them.

2) Invite Pinners and Influencers to Join the Community Board.

Look for people who would be interested in contributing content to that particular board. And when you’re able to locate influencers in your particular industry don’t be afraid to ask them to join.

Please, don’t just invite random people, it’s really annoying to pinners. I got a community invite regarding baby pictures, I thought that was weird and kind of spammy. And yes, Pinterest has been known to delete millions of spam accounts.

I sent out invites to people who already had boards on advertising. Not everybody will join, but some will. Those that already have community boards on their account are more likely to join because they generally understand what community boards are about.

How to Add People to Group Boards on Pinterest

3) Engage with Your Community.

As the person responsible for the community, ensure that you actually engage with those that pin on your community board. Like their pin, or better yet, add a comment. This way they know you’re paying attention when they see the board, and it will also encourage people to keep pinning.

It’s all about caring about the contribution by your community, and is especially important to new members who join.

4) Properly Name Your Community Board.

I realized there’s a fine line between making your board search friendly on Pinterest and Google and also making it friendly in terms of the pinning menu. Let’s say that you decide to repin someone else’s photo, notice that it will list the boards that you’ve created. The photo on the bottom will give a better visual description.

I recently joined a board about the Vancouver Canucks, it’s not optimized for that search word, but notice how it’s the second board that pops up every time, and that means that all the contributors of that board will also being seeing it pretty high up every time they pin. This keeps the board top of mind.

If she had named it Vancouver Canucks, chances are people are going to contribute less.

PinterestCommunityBoard2

5) Make it Easy for People to Contact You.

This hasn’t caught on fully yet, but it should be standard practice for people that are looking to grow their board, it’s by listing how pinners can contact you and join the community. One of my biggest frustrations as a pinner is seeing this amazing community and wanting to join, but there’s no way for me to join. The description is blank.

Just make sure that when people do ask for an invite, that they have boards that match what your board is about. Make sure you do your due diligence. The last thing you need is a spammer.

How to Join a Pinterest Community

6) You can Only Invite Pinterest Users you Follow.

To prevent spam, Pinterest doesn’t allow you to invite another pinner unless you follow him or her. Unfortunately, even if someone does follow your boards, you invite them. This may make it hard for brands that are trying to keep their follower counts down that are looking to build community boards.

7) Hang in there, and Keep Looking for like Minded People.

Like any other community it’s a lot of work to build. But don’t despair, keep at it. Especially if no one else has built a community about your topic. Judy Belmont posts a lot of pins about mental health, and you can see that she has a rather big following. Regardless of stereotypes of it being just about DIY, recipes and fashion, you can create a lively and enthusiastic community.

8) Promote on Other Social Media.

The last advice I can give is to cross promote your social media. If you’ve created a group board, let your followers on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn know. Making sure it’s relevant, you’ll find that some people will want to join your boards.

And as more people start pinning (I don’t doubt that the social media network will reach 100 million in a few months) then more and more will want to be a part of your community.

That’s 8 steps to Grow your Pinterest Community Board. For more information on how to use Pinterest for marketing and lead generation, I’ll be holding an informative and information packed one hour Pinterest seminar on Thursday, April 11th, between 6:30-8:30 pm at the HiVE in Vancouver. For all the details visit our event page, or feel free to call Vincent at 604 782 0801.