How To Be Interesting on Pinterest: A Guide for B2B Marketers
Just when us B2B marketers were getting comfortable with social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Linkedin, out comes a new contender for our time - Pinterest. Now if Pinterest were insignificant, and it was about as popular as Google's Buzz (sorry Google!), we'd probably leave it be until we were sure it was worth investing time in. But alas, as of February 2012, Pinterest reported 10.4 million users, with each visitor averaging 97.8 minutes on the site, 83% of which are 18-34 year old females.
This is when we sat up and took notice.
First things first: What is Pinterest?
You might be wondering what exactly this Pinterest thingy is, and why it relentlessly appears on your Facebook friends' status updates. Pinterest is what Facebook's Photo Album feature would be if you were able to add photos and videos that you don't own - from your other Facebook friends or anywhere else on the web - without stealing their intellectual property. It lets users share images taken from all over the web, which are then aggregated on 'boards' which users can group under common themes. At its core, Pinterest is an image-driven site. Its highly visual nature makes it harder for non-B2C or product-oriented businesses, but it still helps you build awareness and disseminate content.
What tips the scales in Pinterest's favour?
It's not so different to other social networks in that you can use it to position yourself as a thought leader - and, on a technical level, increase your search engine rankings. Our inbound Pinterest links rate at 75 out of 100 in Hubspot's Link Grader tool:
Any SMB marketing department with a tight budget knows how hard it is to get a good inbound link, so this is an important consideration for your distribution strategy.
But directing traffic at the top of the funnel is about as far as Pinterest goes in terms of lead generation. In our opinion, Pinterest's power lies more in its ability to visually reflect the human side of your business.
Some Ideas for B2B Pinterest Boards
If you want to showcase your business' personality on Pinterest, delve into it! We created our very own Pinterest page, drawing from how other B2B brands used theirs.
Here are the best practices we gleaned from our findings:
#1 Be Local
Have a board that is both interesting and answers the "where in the world are you based?" question. Take SproutSocial's excellent example:
Not only does it get you hungry, but prospective clients located in the area may feel a closer tie to the company because of it. Even if you're halfway around the world, you can easily picture their staff grabbing a bite to eat at one of these places after work.
This is where you're going to get your precious link juice from, so make sure you do it right!
We found that B2B companies usually have two kinds of self-promotional boards; one that highlights their customer testimonials, and one that contains links to all their blog posts. Here are great examples from Hubspot:
We advise you to mix your blog post promotion board with other content curated from the web, with a ratio of 75% your posts and 25% awesome reads you found somewhere. Though the brands we took a look at didn't do this, we did because we think it's the way to go. Sharing helpful knowledge, no matter where it comes from, is ethically sound and good for credibility.
#3 Be Fun
You sell to businesses run by people who want to do business with people they can relate to. Out of all the social media networks out there, Pinterest is probably the best place to showcase your brand's personality. Most B2B companies feel the urge to be utterly professional, which is fine, but it doesn't mean that you have to trade your human side for it.
Showcase your human side by having a behind-the-scenes board, like SproutSocial does here:
Also, consider highlighting your sense of humour. People love sharing the funny! Our board dedicated solely to making marketers laugh receives a ton of repins whenever it's updated.
#4 Demonstrate Expertise
By creating educational boards, Pinterest shows the world that not only do you know what you're talking about, you actively immerse yourself in it.
There's no limit to how many you can create. Try separating them by content type (webinar, infographic, book, blog post, or video). These boards then become a destination for people in your industry. Start with infographics - we found that they do the best by far in terms of generating repins.
Check out our Pinterest page to see what we did with it. Or if you're interested in learning more about social media, get your hands on our free article about social media's link to revenue:
What do you think about Pinterest? Can it be useful for B2B marketers?