Let's face it. Pinterest is a slam dunk for companies who sell jewelry, fabrics, bags, and other cool "visual" items -- but it's pretty tricky for B2B. However, with the rapid growth of the Pinterest user base , many companies are seeing that referral traffic from Pinterest is lapping the traffic they're generating from Google+ and YouTube.
It may be time for B2B to step into the game, take advantage of Pinterest's popularity, and use it as a new traffic and lead generator. But how can you come up with a Pinterest strategy that fits B2B? Let's take a look ...
Identify Your Most Visual Content
The biggest challenge for many B2B companies that want to use Pinterest as a marketing channel is a lack of visual content. By nature, many B2B companies are selling a product or service in an industry that most likely isn't visual. The first step is to think outside the box to find images that align with your company's image, fit nicely on Pinterest, and are fun to share.
Here are some ideas of content you can post:
1. Visual Content You Already Have: For example, someone at your last company mixer must have grabbed a few photos, right? If so, create a board to showcase your company's culture, and pin those photos. Only have executive headshots? Create an "executive management" board, and include a bio for each person.
2. Strong Visuals From Your Blog Articles: Pin visuals that best highlight your written content. Don't have any yet? Start using clear, beautiful images in your blog articles with the point of pinning them to your pinboards moving forward. You should be using images in your blog articles anyway!
3. Infographics: Infographics are all the rage right now, and they are doing very well on Pinterest. Have any company or industry data that you can visualize? It'd be a hit!
4. Data Charts. Similar to the above suggestion, you can also pin simple yet compelling data charts that you can build in Excel. Whether you're highlighting industry data in a visual way or own original research, just make sure you have a clear headline in the image so people know what they're looking at!
5. Ebook and Book Covers: Have you created a whitepaper or ebook recently? Take a screenshot of the cover and add it to a board that's a collection of ebooks for people to read. If the covers of your ebooks aren't normally very visual, make a point of giving them a better design from now on to make them pin-friendly.
6. Photos of Your Customers. Promoting your happy customers and clients is a great way to get more happy customers. Encourage your customers to send you photos (or take photos of them at your next event). Create a board of their smiling faces – perhaps while using your product or service!
Send Traffic With Specific Links in Each Pin
In the B2B world, using Pinterest as a tool solely to "enhance your brand" isn't going to cut it. When leads and customers are your bottom line, it's really important that you're driving quality traffic to your website with the goal of conversion .
To increase the likelihood of driving more traffic to your website, be sure to add a link back to the page on your website where that image lives for every pin. If you are uploading a photo instead of pinning something live on your website, choose a link that makes sense, and include that in the pin's description.
With this strategy, each link becomes a micro traffic source. Once in a while, one of your pins might be wildly successful. More often, your pins may only receive a modest number of re-pins each. However, the combined impact from each pin's clicks and re-pins will give you the biggest advantage.
For example, when reviewing two weeks of HubSpot's traffic data, we found a single pin only sent a handful of visitors to HubSpot.com. However, all pins combined sent a substantial number of visitors to HubSpot.com in that same time period. This phenomenon gives you good reason to have boards with many pins. Also consider adding more and more pins to your boards over time as you promote new visual content from your company.
Optimize Pinterest for Lead Generation
Now that you're starting to send traffic to your website, it's important to make sure you are converting a percentage of that traffic into leads. There are two ways you can make sure your Pinterest traffic is converting for your business to support your lead generation efforts.
1. Include landing pages in your pins' descriptions. Brainstorm images you could pin that represent something that is normally gated behind a form, like an ebook cover perhaps. In the description of the ebook, include a link to the landing page to download it. You could also do this with slides from webinar decks or other presentations that have landing pages.
2. Add more calls-to-action (CTAs) around the visual content on your website. Sometimes it might not make sense to include a landing page link in a pin's description (for example, if you're pinning an image from a blog post). In cases like that, add more calls-to-action to your blog to increase the likelihood of conversion from there. And remember, it's always a best practice to give visitors a next step to further engage with your business on all pages of your website -- visual or not!
Build Your Pinterest Follower Base to Grow Company Reach
Just like any social network, building reach via a follower base is key to long-term sustainability for that network as a traffic and lead source. However, Pinterest functions a little differently than the typical "follow process" we know from Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
For example, on Pinterest, there are two "follower options" users can take when they like a piece of content they find. A person can follow either an individual board from a Pinterest user or the user's account as a whole. What's the difference? When following a specific board, you only will be notified (via the Pinterest homepage/stream) when a user pins a new piece of content to that board. When following a user, you will be notified every time that user pins content to any of his or her boards.
Because of these differences in follow methods, it's possible for a Pinterest user's board to have more followers than the user himself! So how can you create a strategy to increase followers at both the account and board levels?
1. Commit to creating the BEST boards on a specific topic. With this vision in mind, you will add the best content to your board, as well as start imagining new content you can create that fits that board's need.
2. Be ready to promote other people's content to enhance your collection. Committing to having the best board also means being ready to promote other users' pins too. Who cares if you didn't make the piece of content that convinced a new user to follow you? The next time you post something that is yours, that new follower may see it and click it!
3. Like and comment on other people's pins. Sharing is caring. When someone sees you interacting with his or her content, that person might check out yours and choose to follow you, too!
4. Promote your account in your other channels. Maybe a handful of your Twitter followers are using Pinterest. Give them a chance to follow you by sharing your account via Twitter, too! One great way to do that is to connect your company Twitter account with your Pinterest account so you automatically tweet all your new pins (you can turn on this integration in your Pinterest settings). To connect with the right Twitter account, the email address you used to sign up for Pinterest will need to match the email address associated with your corporate Twitter account.
Measure Your Traffic and Leads
Show me the money! At the end of the day, what's going to matter most is how much traffic, leads, and customers you generate via a specific source.
As you start pinning images to Pinterest and adding more images over time, how is your traffic changing? Is there a specific image type or topic that sends more traffic than others? Use your analytics tools to understand what images work and what don't.
Through these steps, you will begin generating Pinterest reach, traffic, leads, and customers. Monitor your growth, and tweak your strategy over time! As you pin more and more content to Pinterest, your metrics should improve.
What challenges have you had for using Pinterest for B2B marketing ? What has been most successful for you?