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Marketing businesses using Facebook and Twitter has become a growing tactic in marketing plans across all industries. Social media platforms serve as an effective tool for circulating branded messaging, but Internet usage and trends continue to change every day.

In a recent article, Bulldog Reporter found that 90% of all Internet traffic and 50% of mobile traffic is now made up of photos and video. For growing visual media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, this means an opportunity for continued expansion. Instagram’s more than 200 million users make up an attractive market of young people for PR and marketers. Digital media reporting site Mashable has also found that 1 in 5 U.S. adults are now using Pinterest. These large groups of users of both platforms are at the ready to receive visual content that could ultimately lead to better connecting and capitalizing on consumer and brand relationships.

With the expanding use of visual media, it is more important than ever to control your brand’s messaging. People make decisions based on trust and brand promise. Using photos and visuals helps create another tangible connection to brands. As we can see from these recent statistics, it is becoming a greater means of communication – that old adage “a picture’s worth a thousand words.” Having a strategic presence in visual media can serve as a key tool to further brand development as part of an integrated marketing approach. Everything you do or say influences what people think about your brand, so providing them with a visual example of what your brand promises also helps demonstrate that your brand delivers on this promise.

No matter the medium, the ability to connect users with your brand is crucial to developing brand loyalty, and will ultimately lead to a better consumer experience. It’s important to assess your own brand strategy as it compares to trends, as not all trends serve brands equally. With the expanding use of visual media, now is an opportune time to analyze your own brand and consider the most strategic uses of visual media and how it can potentially become part of your integrated marketing approach.

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When Pinterest first hit the social media scene the A. Bright Idea team learned about what it means for businesses and how it can be used from a strategic standpoint to further market the business, products or services on a new social media platform. At that point, much of Pinterest’s data was based off of projections and other social media case studies.

Now, with a few years in the social media mix – and making real headway for that matter – Pinterest has transformed as a tried and true social media platform serving as a strong marketing tool and connection to target audiences.

During a recent Vocus webinar related to utilizing Pinterest for marketing purposes, the host shared a few successful business case studies – companies who have used and continue to utilize Pinterest – Chobani, Today Show, Martha Stewart, just to name a few.

The Chobani study exemplified how the company uses the social media platform as another form of marketing in this highly competitive industry. Chobani focused efforts on Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/chobani/), generating 26 Pinterest boards and nearly 60,000 followers, making it the leader in Pinterest presence against competitors, Dannon and Yoplait.

Most of the businesses using Pinterest offer services and/or products focused on:

  • Recipes (restaurants)
  • Hair and make up (salon and spa)
  • Fitness (gym or personal trainer)
  • Clothing (boutique or even department store)
  • Tourism (Chamber of Commerce offices, hotels, tourism websites)
  • Home improvement (tips and tricks for painting, hanging, repairs, etc.)
  • Furniture and interior design (sample room layouts and color palettes)
  • Weddings (bridal boutiques, venues, caterers, etc.)
  • Babies (clothes, toys, resources, food, etc.)

So what makes these companies a success story for Pinterest? Well, there are a few significant things to consider for determining if Pinterest marketing makes sense for your business.

  • Is your product/service visual?
  • Do you have a website to lead viewers back to the source for more information or to purchase?
  • Do you have the proper analytics set up to track your Pinterest efforts?
  • Will your pins be brand supportive?
  • Will your pins be informative? (Will they encourage others to re-pin?)
  • Are your pins thought provoking?
  • Do your pins provide inspiration?

In addition to these questions, you also need to consider your goals for marketing your products or services and if/how Pinterest can be part of your overall plan. Pinterest offers another medium with the purpose of the following:

  • Driving web traffic
  • Generating brand loyalty
  • Serving as a resource for product/service demonstrations
  • Establishing brand personality
  • Growing e-commerce

Although there are a lot of options with Pinterest, be sure to be strategic about your goal setting and consider objectives that are reasonable and measurable. Also consider how you can tie Pinterest to your overall social media strategy, for example, using Facebook and Twitter to leverage your Pinterest boards and draw attention to new pins and boards.

One helpful tip to consider when posting to Pinterest for your brand – make your pins the standard width (192 pixels) but longer than normal (up to 800 pixels high), because it will allow the pin to span more of the users page, keeping their attention longer.

As you consider your social media strategy, take a moment to catch up on the latest Pinterest statistics. You might be surprised by what you see!

  • 3rd most prominent social media network in the U.S.
  • Fastest growing social media site ever
  • One of the top 50 sites worldwide
  • 10-20% growth per month
  • Revenue per pin is up 50% in the past four months
  • $180 is the average online order that originated from a pin (higher than Facebook and Twitter)
  • Fastest social media for concept digestion by the target audience because of its high visual orientation
  • Low barrier to entry (easy to sign up and set up)
  • Average time on site per month = 90 minutes

Want more? Review the complete Chobani case study and overall social media strategy in the recent article from Fast Company where Emily Schildt, Chobani’s digital communications manager, shares insight on the company’s strategy and success. http://www.fastcompany.com/1808071/chobani-yogurt-tickles-tastes-pinterest-addicts-and-so-can-your-brand

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By now, we’re sure you have heard of Pinterest, the website allowing users to ‘pin’ their interests from all over the web into one place and profile. Users create boards representing different categories, like ‘favorite food,’ ‘wedding ideas,’ ‘ideas for my home,’ ‘cool decorations’ or ‘places I want to travel.’ It’s as easy as placing the provided bookmark ‘Pin It’ on your toolbar, and whenever you see a photo you like, you pin it to one of your boards. Each board you create could have ideas and images from a hundred different websites, all in one space. Pinterest users are posting content related to your industry every day, and you can take advantage of this growing audience.

 

A few weeks ago, while looking at website analytics for A. Bright Idea’s website SomethingAboutSonoma.com, I saw a few incoming traffic sources from Pinterest. This meant that people came to our website from Pinterest. SomethingAboutSonoma.com is a travel website dedicated to Sonoma County to promote tourism. Wanting to find out more about this new traffic, I discovered a photo that we posted on our website was on someone’s ‘Favorite Places’ board. That’s when the wheels started spinning and I finally knew what the other social media experts were talking about; telling us that brands and businesses can use Pinterest to increase their reach, audience and traffic.

 

To use Pinterest, you must be ‘invited’, but chances are, at least one of your friends uses the site and can send you an invite. I quickly invited my work email to join Pinterest and created an account for SomethingAboutSonoma.com. I then created boards including Sonoma Style, Food, Wine, Favorite Places & Spaces, Sonoma Weddings and more, and started pinning. Our strategy was to start with our own website photographs, providing e a link back to where the photo lives on our site—our chance to get people from Pinterest to our website. We then moved onto sharing other websites beautiful photography on our boards for things we love. This allows us to build our community and share inspiration on our boards to become a ‘resource’ for finding great things. We quickly got followers and people interested in wine, Sonoma and other topics re-pinning our photos on their own boards, spreading a link back to our website like wildfire.

 

Like magic, I saw our incoming traffic increase significantly with Pinterest as the referral website. So, how do you use Pinterest effectively for your own business?

 

Know your market

What would your target audience be interested in? Whether it’s the latest and greatest technology features and gadgets, beautiful hairstyles for weddings, unique cupcake recipes, ideas for the office, general inspiration, event and tradeshow booth ideas or more, pin the right products and services. Business profiles also have the ability to ‘follow’ other boards and users—so build your audience by following others in hopes they will follow you.

 

Break up your content

Use specific titles for board categories. This allows users to follow specific boards they are interested in and not be bombarded with all of your ideas and content. It also helps keep your ideas organized.

 

Use hashtags and keywords with your content

Those searching in Pinterest and in Google can find your content through the keywords and tags you use. For example: #travel #style #technology #Apple #food #design. Use multiple hashtags, but beware of using too many or it will look like spam.

 

Provide links

Providing links to your website about a specific pin will help users find out more information by visiting your website.

 

Reciprocate your action

Use Pinterest to upload your own pins, but also reciprocate interaction with those you follow by commenting, ‘re-pinning’, and liking others posts. This will encourage others to comment, re-pin and like your posts building your audience.

 

Use Pinterest Internally

Businesses can use Pinterest for internal inspiration and discussion. Create a board with multiple contributors (your employees) and allow them to pin their ideas and thoughts about a product, event, campaign, book, seminar and more to get ideas flowing.

 

Pinterest has become an effective tool to drive traffic to your website, build SEO, build your brand and community and has seen skyrocketing popularity over the last few months.

 

To discuss more Pinterest strategy and what we can do for your business, contact A. Bright Idea at info@abrightideaonline.com or call 410-836-7180.