Using Pinterest for marketing is a powerful yet fairly underutilized tool. While many businesses — especially retailers — know how to use it for B2C marketing, the platform offers opportunities for B2B marketing as well. The question, then, is how to make it work best for your company.

Once you get a feel for the platform, you’ll see some of the benefits. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Visual content is valuable
    We’ve seen this with the Google carousel and the popularity of infographics. In fact, Google started featuring Pinterest pinson its search engine results pages (SERPs) this year.
  • It encourages sharing
    Most of the pins on Pinterest are repins, proving the importance of word-of-mouth recommendations. For most Pinterest users, repinning is an essential part of using the platform.
  • It drives traffic to your website
    You can put a link to your website under every pin you publish, which drives targeted traffic to your website.
  • Content is targeted and segmented
    Most social media websites don’t offer much in the way of organizing content. Pinterest makes it easy for users to follow certain boards, topics, and content. You know they’re interested in your content and that you’re not spamming your audience with content that doesn’t apply to them. The site essentially segments your audience for you.
  • Competition is light
    Pinterest is competitive, but at 100 million monthly active users, it has far fewer users than other, busier networks: Facebook boasts 1.55 billion, Instagram has over 400 million, and Twitter comes in with 320 million. With these numbers, it’s easier to compete with other businesses because Pinterest is structured in such an organized and targeted way.

In addition to these benefits, there are two additional reasons Pinterest can be a great platform for B2B companies:

  • Connect with audiences over a longer period of time
    According to a PR NewsWire article, the half-life of a single Pinterest pin is three and a half months — more than 1,600 times longer than a Facebook post.
  • Pinterest can help you utilize your older content
    While Google may give more weight to newer content, Pinterest keeps it all the same in search results, based on relevancy and popularity.

Whether you have a B2C or a B2B audience, you can take fundamental steps on Pinterest that will help you succeed. How you use some of these features may differ based on your type of company, but all of the following tips can help you reach your goals:

1. Use rich pins.

A rich pin works similarly to rich snippet data. It allows you to add extra information to your post so your pin can jump off the page. There are six types of rich pins: app, place, article, product, recipe, and movie.
B2C companies will likely use more types of rich pins, but both B2B and B2C can benefit from the product pins. These give you the ability to add pricing options on the pin and let users know if an item is in stock. These will help drive traffic to your website and help you earn leads who are likely to convert.

Pinterest also recently announced Buyable pins, which are available for users using the mobile app. This feature allows customers to make purchases from their mobile devices.
 

2. Focus on your captions.

Captions are important. With every image you upload, include an engaging and informative caption with keywords and a link to where viewers can learn more. The link should go to a specific landing page on your website.
Also, remember that the content you include in your captions will help the bots classify your content correctly, which will then help users find your content. According to Ripen eCommerce, a call to action (CTA) within a pin description can increase engagement by 80%.
 

3. Have a plan for your board organization.

You need a plan for the boards you create for your brand. This helps you stay organized and helps those who are on your dashboard stay organized. It’s also important because users follow individual boards. Split up your boards based on your targeted audiences, what may interest them, or based on category. Ideally, you’ll be able to organize the data you have from other sources — your blog, other social accounts, and market research, for example — so you can pin based on both category and audience.
Tiffany & Co. does this well, clearly organizing its boards by category. This is a particularly great option for B2C companies. Some of the keywords they focus on are “wedding,” “Valentine,” and “jewelry” for each of the seasons.

In another example from Salesforce, there are separate boards used for infographics, quotes, San Francisco lifestyle, and humor and fun. This is a great way to organize boards if you’re a B2B company that doesn’t offer tangible products.
 

4. Connect with your audience through repins.

Repin relevant content onto your boards. This sends a notification to the user or brand that you repinned their content, which can lead to a domino effect of sharing. The benefit is the same as it is with most social networks: You want to retweet, reshare, comment on other blogs, and interact with other users to get your name out there and create connections. On the B2B side, it’s a good idea to avoid repinning direct competitors, but repin complementary companies or a company that offers something — like a product or service — you do not. To repin, browse Pinterest and click images that interest you. Once you click, you will see a thumbtack button. Then you choose which board to repin that item to.
 

5. Utilize group boards.

Create a group or collaborative board, then invite others on Pinterest to add their own pins to your group board. This is a great way to form connections while still promoting your brand as the owner of the board. Those you invite and who then contribute can bring their followers, which can help you get more eyes on your own pins. This works well for both B2C and B2B companies.
According to a Social Media Examiner article, Target saw success with these types of boards. The company partnered with a popular lifestyle blog called Poppytalk to help it bring engaging, creative, and high-quality images to its boards. As the article explains, “By establishing a collaborative board, Target was able to leverage the sizable following of the Poppytalk Pinterest account to promote the new collection.”
 

6. Use analytics to find top topics.

Pinning about topics that are frequently searched for and that see the most traffic is an excellent way to help build your community. You can use Pinterest Analytics to see which boards and pins are getting the most engagement, as well as audience data and repin data, all of which can help you learn which topics you should focus on.

Many companies use third-party applications to help conduct this research and get a deeper look at not only Pinterest, but also how Pinterest Analytics might be related to other sources of traffic. This is called social media listening. Salesforce Marketing Cloud offers marketers the ability to compose, preview, and publish pins across Pinterest accounts, as well as add tracking tags for Web analytics, marketing automation, and CRM to pins. These features make it easy to track how Pinterest content drives web visits and conversions.
 

7. Use promoted pins.

Another way to use your budget to improve your Pinterest strategy is through promoted pins. Promoted pins work similarly to the promoted posts you see on other social media sites. But according to ReadWrite, they receive almost the same level of engagement as regular posts — which means that incorporating some advertising budget on Pinterest can really pay off. A promoted pin lets viewers know that a company paid to have that pin show up for a specific search. It allows you to jump-start a new topic or category by making sure your pin is seen. In other words, it is a native ad.

To get promoted pins for your small business, you have to be put on the waitlist. Currently only large brands have access, but you can sign up here to join the waitlist. Pinterest won’t say how long it takes to gain access, but the feature is expected to roll out to all accounts eventually. Once you can use promoted pins, you will also be able to set targeted audiences, which is recommended.
With promoted pins, you want to make sure you continually adjust your campaigns by testing out different images, captions, descriptions, keyword options, and bid strategies. This will take some trial and error, but both B2B and B2C companies can benefit.
 

8. Don’t forget the social organic use of Pinterest.

The term “social organic” means your social media posts can show up in organic search results, thus improving your visibility. Google announced in June of 2015 that Pinterest pins would be incorporated into Google search results on mobile devices: All you have to do is swipe through links within Google’s carousel.
As a business, you want your pins to show up in the carousel. The only way to get there is to remain active on Pinterest and follow all of the tips above. Do your research on what your audience is searching for, use keywords in your captions and descriptions, get involved in group boards, and publish engaging images that will bring a lot of repins to your company.

When measuring your progress on Pinterest, look at your click-through rate and follow trends. Check out your Pinterest Analytics and use third-party software to further analyze your data. Pinterest is a valuable marketing tool for B2B and B2C companies. Use these tips to jump-start your strategy on the site and see more success with your pinning efforts.

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