Social media marketing. It’s the marketing of the future. It’s the true sign of human interaction that Google and Bing are missing in their rankings. It’s going to prevail beyond the downfall of SEO.
Like me, you may be critical of these assertions. You may hesitate to drop your traditional optimization strategies for social signals, and that’s just fine. But there’s no denying that Pinterest has been the poster child of social success in the past few years, and there’s no better time than right now to make it a part of your marketing strategy.
You heard a lot about the crazy exponential growth of Pinterest back toward the end of 2011. But what you may not know is that even though it hasn’t been so dramatic, Pinterest is still growing, largely due to their increasing presence on the mobile Web during the second half of last year. People just love to pin it.
Even more interesting is the unique demographic split. Unlike other social networks, such as Tumblr and Instagram, which are primarily made up of a 30-and-under audience, Pinterest is split almost perfectly between the age ranges of 18-29, 30-49, and 50-64, with an audience just above or below 15 percent of the Internet-using population of each. This has led to great results for big department stores or retailers like Starbucks, who are able to “sell without selling” (by reinforcing their brand, and keeping their products at the front of their customers’ minds). And it can lead to great results for your business, too.
Time to Get Started!
If you don’t have a Pinterest account yet, it’s time to make one. You can’t change your username once you’ve signed up, so use your business name or the username you’ve used across other social sites. Setting up your profile is easy, but if you need a refresher, read these Pinterest for business tips.
One of the most important parts of configuring your account is verifying your website. Doing so will give you access to Pinterest’s Web Analytics, powerful free tools for tracking the success of your pins.
When it comes to pinning, you might need to take one of two slightly different approaches, depending on if you already have great product photos on your business site. Read on for the two options:
If You Have Great Product Photos
If you have an eCommerce store with beautiful shots of your products, you’ve already won half the battle. (You’ve really got it made if you sell jewelry, dresses, crafts, wedding garb or accessories, quirky gift objects, or anything related to cooking/baking.) Retailers naturally fit into Pinterest’s image bookmarking model.
Who is your ideal customer? You might have one perfect type of customer, but most likely, you have several. Don’t just think in terms of hard and fast demographics, but instead in terms of personality types. Though Pinterest is still composed of primarily women, communities already exist around a number of hobbies, interests, and personality traits. Are your target customers eco-conscious consumers and animal activists? Are they planning their wedding or homeschooling a child or planting a garden? Are they doing DIY renovations to their home? Do they love to cook? There are a number of target demographics that have huge influence on Pinterest. Find the ones that suit your business and latch on.
If you’ve got great product photos on your site, be sure to add “Pin It” buttons to your eCommerce pages; that way, your visitors can more easily share your content themselves. When doing your own pinning, be sure to strike a balance between repinning others’ images and pinning your own. Obviously this doesn’t mean that you should repin your competitors’ products, but try to find compelling imagery to accompany your own images.
If You’re Lacking Compelling Photos, Don’t Lose Hope
If your business is not hinged on your beautiful product photography, don’t lose hope. Think about your ideal customer, and what they are most likely pinning. You can probably find one or two areas that overlap with your business or service.
You might need to get a little creative about what you pin, but there is still room for your business to contribute original content to Pinterest. Use a free image editing tool like Pinstamatic or Pixlr to create tutorials, industry memes, or quotes/sayings that would appeal to your audience. If you are a little more ambitious, do some research and hire a designer to create an infographic for your blog; infographics do well on Pinterest, and you might even get some links from other sites. You can also pin videos; if you’ve got an industry expert at your disposal, put him on camera and share the knowledge!
Pinterest is a small network compared to Twitter and Facebook, but it is still growing much more quickly than most other networks. Your business has the opportunity to make a big splash there. What other ways are you using Pinterest to promote your business? Share in the comments!
Here are some ideas for using Twitter as a marketing channel:
Promote your brand by optimizing your Twitter profile.
Be sure to:
Use your logo as your profile picture.
- Use your brand name as your Twitter handle and your Twitter username.
- Use your brand name in your Twitter bio, and add a link to a white paper in your bio.
- Add your website's URL to your profile.
- Use your brand name as your hashtag and include it in all Tweets.
Generate leads by offering white papers, instructional videos, e-books and product samples if appropriate.
Write a compelling Tweet with a link to the lead generation asset. Always send visitors to a separate landing page with an opt-in form for each asset you Tweeted about. After visitors opt in to receive the asset, follow up with a series of emails that introduce them to your products and to additional white papers, videos and e-books. Track your results so you know which assets are most popular and which Tweets generate the best response. Tweets are like subject lines in your emails, so track your Tweets in a spreadsheet so you know which work best.
Promote webinars, conferences, training classes, and other events sponsored by your company.
Write Tweets that promote the events, and include a link to a landing page where customers can sign up for the events. Again, use a separate landing page for each event and track your results.
Display the Twitter logo prominently on your website and encourage people to follow you on Twitter.
Also add links to your Twitter page in your email footer, on your blogs and in your email newsletters. Constantly ask people to follow you in all your marketing materials.
If appropriate, offer discount codes in your Tweets.
Twitter has also become a very effective sales tool for both B2B and B2C businesses. In B2B sales, Twitter helps you keep your name in front of prospects when you have a long sales cycle. In B2C sales, you can Tweet promotions and coupon codes and create contests to generate sales. Here are some ideas for using Twitter for sales:
Monitor your competitors' brand names and hashtags to see what people are saying about them on Twitter. When you see negative Tweets about their products or service, use it as a competitive selling point. Listen for positive and negative comments about your products and services as well. Engage unsatisfied customers or prospects immediately to defuse the situation. The key is to address their concerns quickly so you can turn the negative sentiment into positive sentiment publicly.
Use Twitter Search to find people using your target keywords in their Twitter profiles, hashtags, and Tweets.
They may be dissatisfied with your competitor's product and are looking for a solution to their problem. These people are potential prospects, so you should check out their profiles and follow them. After you follow them, see who they're following and keep following more potential prospects as you find them. Add your prospects to a Twitter list so it's easier for you to monitor and communicate with them.
When you have a prospect in your sales funnel, engage them in conversation publicly on Twitter.
Send them links to new white papers or videos to introduce them to new features in your products.
Hold contests to generate sales.
You could have people Tweet a picture of themselves using your product, with the winner receiving a discount on their next purchase.
Tweet coupon codes.
One of the most popular searches on Twitter Search is for "coupon codes" for specific brands or products.