10 Things you didn't know you could do with Pinterest

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Pinterest may no longer be the “new kid on the block” when it comes to social media - it turned four this year - but many of us are still not quite as comfortable with it as we are with, say, Twitter. Most of us have the hang of pinning outfit ideas and cupcake recipes onto our personal Pinterest boards, but we’re missing a trick when it comes to real marketing opportunities.

Here are ten things you didn’t know you could do with Pinterest...

1. MARKET TO MEN

Still think Pinterest is just for imaginary wedding planning, red velvet doughnuts and cute animals? Not anymore. While back in 2012 only 20 per cent of Pinterest users were men, today that number is closer to 30 per cent, and with brands such as Men’s Health and the US Army now using the platform, that number is likely to rise.

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How to do it: Consider Pinterest as a unisex platform, just like any other social network you’re using for your brand. If you’re keen to attract more men to your brand, be sure to examine the boards and accounts of brands that are targeted to men to get an idea of what kind of content might encourage them to follow your boards. However, don’t abandon your female audience completely - they do make up the other 70 per cent.

2. PROMOTE YOUR B2B BUSINESS

Of course, Pinterest is a dream if you work in B2C - it’s easy to create boards of images of your products, with prices and a simple click-through to purchase - but there are a lot of B2B companies that are killing it on Twitter with their creativity, success and following. Some of our favourites include General Electric and Hubspot.

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How to do it: While you might not have something tangible to sell or market, Pinterest can be used to show off your success stories, testimonials, clients or even the lifestyle, ideas and values that your business represents or promotes.

3. ANALYSE THE SUCCESS OF YOUR PINS

Using Pinterest every day - pinning, repinning and engaging is brilliant, but doing it blindly and mindlessly is like getting in the cockpit without knowing how to fly a plane - you don’t know what works or how to get it right (however, mindlessly pinning on Pinterest is less likely to result in disaster).

Now, like Twitter and Facebook, Pinterest has business accounts which come with analytics - giving you precise stats on what is, and isn’t, working for you on Pinterest, from your daily impressions to your audience. You can also quickly see all the images that have been pinned from your site by typing inpinterest.com/source/yourwebsiteurl. It’s a great ego boost to see all the images people have found useful or enjoyable in one place!

How to do it: Don’t just check your stats - use them. Find out which pins are producing the most engagement and create similar content around these successful pins. Also, take risks. Trial new things and use analytics to test them.

4. SHOW OFF YOUR FAVOURITE CLIENTS

Like all social networks, Pinterest is all about building and maintaining relationships, so why not show your clients a little love? Don’t just show off the work you have done for them - show them off too.

How to do it: Create boards for each of your clients, and pin content that shows off their products or their people, or represents their values. If they have Pinterest themselves, be sure to repin their pins.

5. SHOW OFF WHAT YOU CAN DO

If you work in B2B, chances are you appreciate the importance of a great case study or testimonial, and potential clients know that these are the best way of finding out if your claims really are accurate. Pinterest is all about the visuals, so it’s not the place for a gushing essay, but a few choice quotes can really stand out.

How to do it: Ask your clients to provide a picture and a testimonial, and get your digitally-savvy friends to create a nice quote-image, and add them to a board of testimonials.

6. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF RICH PINS

Ever clicked a recipe pin on Pinterest and found it already had the ingredients and serving size included, even before you clicked over to the link? Pinterest has introduced four kinds of rich pin, which means they have information actually embedded into the pin, making them much more useful to the pinner. Most excitingly for content marketers is the introduction of “article pins” which show the headline, author and a short description of a pinned article within the pin itself. Pinterest is also encouraging people to create reading boards with the premise of “pin now, read later”, competing with apps such as Pocket.

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How to do it: Ensure your Pinterest account is set up as a business account and check out the guide to rich pins here. Create a board of your favourite articles and ensure you post all your own content using article pins to encourage people to “pin now, read later.”

7. USE IT FOR CONTENT INSPIRATION

We use Pinterest for inspiration for our DIY, dinners and workouts so why not for content inspiration? There are millions of infographics, quotes and ideas on Pinterest - ideal for getting your creative juices flowing. Pinterest is also a great place to spy on your competition - what are they pinning from their own sites? What boards do they have? What can you learn from them?

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How to do it: Of course, follow boards in your sector and marketing-related pins, but think outside the box too. Follow brands in different sectors who are great at Pinterest, but don’t forget to follow inspirational individuals too. You never know what will inspire you - a Scotch egg recipe or a DIY for cat treats. You can also use “secret boards” that only you can see if you want to keep your inspiration hidden.

8. TEACH PEOPLE

You’ve probably seen picture tutorials on Pinterest - they are incredibly popular - but did you know you can now pin Slideshares and videos into Pinterest?

Many people on Pinterest are there to learn something, and usually something they didn’t realise they wanted to know (how many times have you accidentally found out how to get chocolate stains out of your carpet when you were actually looking for a pasta recipe?). You can also create boards of your ebooks and downloads on a board of your “favourite business reads”

How to do it: Create image-based tutorials and videos purposely for Pinterest, but also pin content you already have, such as Slideshares, infographics and ebooks. Don’t forget to also share and pin articles and videos that have helped you too.

9. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS, JUST LIKE ANY OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM

On Twitter, you know to reply to comments and join in with web chats about your sector. So why not on Pinterest? Comment on pins, thank people for repins and ensure you reply to any comments. Additionally, get involved with businesses in your sector. Many businesses will have open boards that you can contribute to and not only build relationships but also establish your business as a leader.

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How to do it: Check your notifications regularly for any comments and see who is repinning your pins and thank them. Find open boards in your sector and contribute, or create your own open board for people to get involved in.

10. BOOST YOUR EMAIL NEWSLETTERS

Adding a “pin of the week” to your weekly newsletters is a great way to add new visual content to your emails, give people an idea of the kind of content you post on Pinterest and encourage them to follow you. This shouldn’t be a pin that you have pinned from your own site, but perhaps a great tutorial or quote to inspire or make people think.

How to do it: Simple - add the image of your favourite pin into your email and link to your “pin of the week” board to encourage people to engage with you on Pinterest.

More social media advice in our search paper, Beyond Cat Videos: Social Media for Business

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