You’re familiar with Pinterest, right? The visual pinboard where you place items that interest, intrigue, and fascinate you? If not, you’re missing out. We’ve all heard how useful social media can be to advancing and promoting our careers, but it’s no longer the exclusive domain of just Facebook and Twitter. You need to utilize the best platform for your specific needs and talents. Pinterest just may be your ticket to getting noticed by the people and clients that can help you most.
A few stats: Pinterest has well over 70 MILLION users, and roughly 80-85% of them are women. The average time spent on Pinterest per visit is nearly 15 minutes, one of the highest amongst all social media platforms. Nearly 60% of users are from the US, and nearly 20% have an annual income over $75,000. Almost 65% of users try an activity or new product found on Pinterest each month.
Pinterest should be on your radar, especially if you’re in an industry that targets female customers, or if your business is primarily visual. Used well, Pinterest can help to advance your career. Like any social media platform, it’s all about engagement and selective promotion.
Don’t think of it as a strictly professional means to an end. Your pinboards should be personal, too. They should reveal something about you, the person, and not just your career, business, or product. People are much more prone to buy from or spend money on someone they feel they know...even if only a little bit. Pin things that interest you, things that make you laugh, books you’re reading, places you’ve been to, places you want to visit, activities and products you enjoy. Make it real and personable, and people will notice.
Be Professional, Too
Of course, if you’re using Pinterest to advance your career and to do some networking, you’ll want some boards to reflect that. Create a visual resume, and pin things connected to your career...a picture of your degree or alma mater, a new training certificate or program you just completed, something you wrote for work, a product you made. Anything. If your career is visual, your job here is pretty easy. Pin your latest artwork or design. Give people some insight into your professional side, and what it is exactly that you do.
Link to Your Website or Blog
Whenever you pin something using the “Pin It” button (available as an extension for most browsers), it automatically links back to the source. So, when you pin something you wrote, created, designed, painted, or drew, it links back to your site. The potential for new visitors is exceptional. Remember the cardinal rule, though - self-promotion should be selective and fairly infrequent. Don’t make your Pinterest board all about you. You want to engage. You want to entice.
Make Your Content Pinable
On your website, add a “Pin It” button. You likely already have a share and like it on Facebook button, and a tweet it button, and maybe +1 on Google+, and add to Reddit or StumbleUpon. You definitely should add Pinterest to that mix. Let people share and spread your content for you (remembering that a pinned image automatically links back to your site). What makes for shareable Pinterest content? Well, for starters, it needs a strong image. The picture you use for a blog post, for example, shouldn’t be an after-thought. Think ahead. Ask yourself whether a particular image is striking or memorable or remarkable enough to catch someone’s attention. If not, keep looking. Second, remember the audience that uses Pinterest. Primarily women, mostly American, and often looking for activities and products to try. Include that kind of stuff on your own website, and the likelihood it will be shared for you on Pinterest goes up. Become the person with the great board with free website design tips, and when someone needs to find a website designer for a big project at work, guess who they immediately think of (even though they’ve never met you “in real life”)? Bigger. Network.
Engage in the Pinterest Community
Creating some personal and professional boards isn’t the end of it. To truly utilize Pinterest for networking, you need to engage (the same is true of all social media). Find people in your industry and follow them. Like and comment on their pins. Join groups that are either connected to your industry, or made up of your target market. Like, comment, and contribute to their pins. Making yourself known and visible...and you’ll become known and visible (feel free to tweet that...it’s pretty deep). People in the groups and industries you follow and comment on will likely reciprocate and check out your boards. If you’ve done your job and made them personal, professional, and engaging, they will click through and share them. Your network just got bigger.
Mix It Up
What you share is important. You want a fantastic mix of photos, activities, products, and miscellaneous hodgepodge. Remember that 65% of active users try a new activity or product they found on Pinterest each month. That’s millions and millions of people. So, promote the activities and products that would appeal to your target market...the people you want to meet, or work for, or sell to. Put some time, effort, and thought into what you pin and share. And yes, you can pin your own products and creations, but not all the time. Be selective. Be choosy. Build up for presence and then start introducing - slowly - the things you want from your market (to buy, to share, to introduce, to meet, etc.). Above all else, be sincere. If you try and “fake” enthusiasm, or interest, or concern as a means of making a sale or connection, you won’t get far. The best way to avoid that? Only share, and like, and comment on the things that ACTUALLY excite, interest and intrigue you. Problem solved.
Pinterest is a great place to get known, connect with others, and share your ideas and/or products. A recent study by BloomReach found that Pinterest has a higher percentage of users in a “buy state of mind” than Facebook. Use that to your advantage. Users are actively looking for new products and services to spend their money on. Pin to you board, link to your site, make the connection or sale.
Photo by Gustavo da Cunha Pimenta
Creative Commons License