Pinning Your Way to Influence
As a virtual pinboard, Pinterest offers the ability to upload, share, and “pin” images to your bulletin boards, also known as pinboards. From the very first day of using the site, users have found an immediate obsession with the site due to the various uses and images they can save. There are benefits to Pinterest for both general users looking for some inspiration, as well as business owners who want to further their influence.
Using Pinterest offers you a unique opportunity to influence your audience. Pinterest is free to use and since it gets over 10 million unique visitors each month, you have a large audience to reach out to. This is also an audience that has money to spend. With over 25 percent of the majority female audience having household incomes of over 100K per year and a bigger buying mindset than any other social media, it would be crazy to miss out.
Pinterest is different from a lot of social media because of its visual nature, you get to use your creative side. Creating graphics and infographics that appeal to your audience is a creative endeavor that has a big payoff. Learning what type of pins your niche market is looking for and delivering them can produce great success. If you do it right you can use Pinterest to build influence within your niche. What’s more, Pinterest is incredibly easy to use. The ease of use makes it appealing to a broad range of people and you’re sure to find an audience within your niche.
The Benefits of Pinterest
Becoming a major influence on Pinterest is more than being an everyday user; you will be taking advantage of every tool and benefit Pinterest has to offer. During which you will discover that Pinterest may be the best opportunity yet to help you build influence with your target audience. Consider these facts: Pinterest users, who are almost 70 percent women, spend more than 15 minutes a day on the site and is growing by leaps and bounds every single day. If you want to influence this audience, then you need to be there too.
- Gain Consumer Insights — Using Pinterest to test marketability of new product or service ideas is an excellent way to gain consumer insights. Using Pinterest analytics will help you know how many people pinned your information from your site, and what pins are most popular right now among all pins being pinned. If you have insight into what your audience wants and needs you’ll be that much more likely to become an influence to your market.
- Get More Traffic — There is no doubt that Pinterest, when used right is a dynamo at helping improve traffic to your online real estate. Most businesses report getting more traffic from Pinterest than any other social media.
- Make Valuable Connections — By creating a group board you can invite others to contribute to your board, creating a valuable way to connect with other movers and shakers. Even with regular boards, if you are creative enough and promote it well enough you can connect with others and become the influencer.
- Get New Product Ideas — Surfing around Pinterest looking at other people’s boards and pins will enable you to spark ideas for new products. People who are on Pinterest are product and service-minded, therefore you will find a lot of wish lists and vision boards that can give you terrific ideas.
- Showcase Your Work — Boards are a great way to demonstrate what you do. If you have a visual business it will be easier but there is no reason you can’t create visual elements to any number of bits of data-focused toward your audience.
- Develop Authority — By demonstrating your knowledge about a certain topic through your boards, and through the boards and pins that you share from others you can become a thought leader in your industry.
There are so many benefits to using Pinterest that it’s hard to list them all, but I think you get the idea. Using Pinterest can help you build the authority you need to become an influential voice in your niche.
Pinterest Best Practices
Pinterest is providing amazing results for small business owners who have jumped on the bandwagon. If you want to use Pinterest to gain influence then you need to be strategic in your actions. As you get started with Pinterest understand what you’re doing and do it with purpose. Pinterest can drive traffic to your website, products, services and more, but you need to go about it the right way.
Know Your Audience
It’s not enough to simply know how to use Pinterest. You also need to learn how to conduct market research. It’s imperative if you want to understand your audience. If you don’t know who you want to influence, it’s hard to know how to proceed. Take the time to research your market so that you know who they are, what they like, and what they like to do on Pinterest.
Your market is the group of people who are interested in the products or services that you want to promote. The products and services that you want to promote should be solutions to your niche market. If you can provide solutions to a group of people that work you are bound to become influential.
Set Realistic and Specific Goals
Before you get started with creating even your first board, it’s important to understand what you hope to accomplish with the board. Do you want to get more followers, get more traffic, cause some other action? Know what it is so that you can create relevant boards.
Once you know what your goal is, write it down in a very specific way.
Remember that a goal should be possible and specific. Your goal, in this case, is to become an authority, or influential person to your niche using Pinterest as the catalyst. Write down what you are going to do on Pinterest to achieve those goals. How many boards are you going to create per week or month? What will the topics of the boards be? How will you create the boards? Will you hire someone, or will you do it yourself? What data will you use to create the boards? Be specific, and you will succeed.
Define Your Boards by Subject, Topic or Category
Each board should have it’s topic or subject. That’s how you keep them organized and relevant to different segments of your audience. Every board should be relevant to your overall audience. Just like you have different categories on your blog or pages on your website, so you should also have different boards on Pinterest.
Start with four or five different boards covering the different categories that you have determined are important to your audience. Most people will not follow every board. They will choose a specific board to follow. Once you create a board, ensure that you keep it updated regularly. Starting with more than four or five boards will be too much work because you want to keep boards updated so choose your categories and topics carefully.
Be Visually Creative with Your Boards
Depending on what type of business you have it can sometimes be hard to come up with creative ideas. To be super creative use mind maps and other brainstorming ideas to come up with ways to present your information graphically. The more original pins you can create the better. If your pins are created by you then it will show as you being the originator so when it’s shared people have the opportunity to find you.
Your creativity will matter when it comes to creating boards. Pinterest, as you know, is a very visual medium. You’ll have to think outside the box to create images that represent the message you want to send to your audience. If you want people to pin your blog posts, ensure that you’ve added a creative visual element to encourage pinning.
Engage and Be Engaging with Your Followers
Pinterest is social media, and the idea of social media is to be, guess what? Social. Therefore, interaction is key getting people to re-pin your Pinterest content and to follow you. When you think about social media realize that it’s a conversation you’re having with your audience regularly. You wouldn’t just ignore comments made to your face, don’t ignore them made on Pinterest.
Don’t just communicate on your boards either. Engage with others on their boards, and mention people by name when relevant. It’s a great way to keep the conversation going and bring other people in. Sharing, commenting, and being social is what social media is all about so ensure that you are engaging, in more ways than one.
To Be Super Influential Seek To Be The Hub
Being seen as an information nucleus of information that’s interesting to your audience should be one of your goals when seeking to influence others. To succeed, you need to study what they need to know and want to know. That may mean creating new boards, but it might also mean curating other boards of interest for your audience.
You can not only curate other people’s information but your own too. People are very visual and this lets you curate the information differently. If you are super organized, and only allow the best quality information to be on your boards, you are creating an image for yourself too. The image of a someone who can influence others.
Give Credit Where Credit is Due
When you use an image or idea from someone else, always be kind and credit the information. If they have a “pin it” button on their site you can assume they want you to pin it, but it’s nice to give credit where credit is due. When Pinterest started there was a lot of buzz about plagiarism and copyright infringement. You can avoid any problems with this by following a few simple rules.
Only re-pin other people’s stuff, don’t download it to your computer, then upload it back as an original board or pin. Try taking your pictures, or using only legal images in the boards and pins that you create. Be sure to credit properly all the images that you use. Don’t separate an image from the creator without express permission to do so. Even when given permission it’s a good idea to credit the source.
(Note: Watermark your creations with your name and website information to avoid being copied.)
Nothing’s Done until the Numbers are Evaluated
It’s kind of like the saying that “Nothing is complete until the paperwork is done.” Well, paperwork always involves numbers. As such, nothing can be deemed successful (or a failure) without studying the metrics. Look at how many followers you get for different actions. How many people re-pin something you’ve pinned. Can you figure out why they re-pin one thing over another? How many people pin a blog post with no images compared to an infographic? How many click-throughs you receive and any other factor that can help you determine the effectiveness of your boards is an important metric to understand.
Pinterest has its analytics tools today that are quite good at giving you the information you need. That combined with Google Analytics and there isn’t much you can’t determine by looking at the numbers. If you want to be a real influencer and an authority in your niche, it’s important to know what is working and what is not working.
Getting started with a goal in mind, and developing your Pinterest presence over time will reap many more benefits than going in without a clue as to the direction you want to go. Having goals and understanding your topic and your audience will go far in helping you pin your way to influence. One way to become more influential is to build your following.
12 Ways to Get More Followers
The more relevant followers you get on Pinterest the more you’ll rack up likes, comments, click-throughs and re-pins. The more interaction you get, the more influential you’ll become. Therefore, learning how to get more followers is an essential element to becoming a major source of influence on Pinterest.
1) Promote Your Boards
Most people follow certain boards over following an entire profile, so if you heavily promote each board that you create you’ll get more followers. When one board starts showing more promise than the others, promote it even more. As you get more followers for a specific board, you’ll have an opportunity to get them to follow your entire profile.
As a board gets more popular it’s kind of like a snowball rolling downhill. The momentum gets faster, and the ball gets heavier so it collects more snow and grows faster. Your boards are like that. If one is getting a lot of attention, share and promote it even more than you did before. Plus, add to it more than you do the other less popular boards. Any board that is getting a lot of attention, if you’ve defined the subject of the board well, will give you more ideas for creating even more popular boards.
2) Put Pin it Buttons On Your Videos, Website, and Blog
This is a no-brainer when it comes to getting more followers on Pinterest. The easier you make it for people to pin your stuff, the easier it is for people to follow you. It’s easy to do too. You simply use a plugin for WordPress or grab the code from Pinterest to create pins and widgets to add to your website.
Don’t just put the “pin it” buttons and follow widgets in one spot on your website or blog. Put them in multiple prominent places so that your visitors will have no reason not to pin it. Ask your audience to pin your blog posts and information within as your call to action. People will do it if you ask them to.
3) Add the Profile Widget to Your Website
Most people like to just follow boards and pins, but adding the profile widget to your website gives people the option to follow everything you do. They may click on it to see what else you have to offer if you’ve done a good job with your blog post and website to attract them to it. You can add these buttons and widgets to all of your online real-estate for the best results.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a product, a service, or an infographic, adding the buttons and widgets will encourage more sharing and more following. You want to make it as simple as possible for your audience to find you and engage with you in the manner they want to. The follow widget gets people to look at your Pinterest page rather than just one of your boards.
4) Share and Share Some More
Sharing your boards, pins, and others’ relevant pins is a great way to get attention. Don’t be ridiculous and share everything, but do share anything that your audience would have an interest along with a smart comment. By sharing regularly what other people are doing as well as what you are creating, you’ll get known in the Pinterest community for someone who can be trusted for good information.
Do be picky about what you share though. You don’t want to go off your target and attract the wrong audience. Always keep in mind the question of whether or not what you’re about to share has any relevance or interest to the audience you want to influence. If not, don’t share it. If so, share and comment freely.
5) Be a Prolific, Yet Calculated Pinner
When you first open your account you probably have a lot of ideas, but take your time. You want to hold some things back and time your pins to go out regularly. You don’t want to overwhelm your followers. But, you want to keep putting things in front of your audience too. Therefore, take the time to plan out how you are going to infiltrate the Pinterest community with your creative and informative boards and pins.
If you have it planned out before you start, it will be easier to stick to a plan of action. Slow and steady wins the race. You don’t want to just pin in bursts of energy every month or two, you want to do a little every single day. Plus, you want what you do to be highly focused and relevant to your audience. That will take some work.
6) Follow Others Strategically
You want to ensure that the people you follow also have access to the same audience that you are trying to attract. You can get a lot of insight into your audience by following others who share your audience. You might not want to follow direct competitors, but you might decide that you can differentiate yourself enough that it doesn’t matter. A lot of competitors collaborate on Pinterest with group boards, and it works out lovely for them.
To start with, you can simply follow people, and invite people who already follow you on other social media accounts. You can also announce your new Pinterest account to your blog readers and invite them to follow you right away, and you follow them back. You have to get started someplace, but you don’t want to follow a traditional bakery if your audience can’t eat wheat. Be thoughtful with all interactions.
7) Be a Smart Commenter
Speaking of being thoughtful with all interactions, remember to think about your comments before you hit enter. We all love it when people comment on our work, but it can get lame and old to see so many “great jobs”, “beautiful” and other “at-a-boys (or girls)”. It’s so much better to give each comment a lot of thought. Say something that matters. People will appreciate your intelligence and start seeking you out for information.
Creating effective comments that draw attention to you without being obnoxious takes some practice. Try this method: Complement, critique or add to, and back it up. So if someone posts something about Sugar-Free Bran Muffins, you might say something like: “Those look delicious, I’m going to try them, but I think I’m going to add pureed dates and Stevia in place of the NutraSweet.” For a nice touch, you could tag someone who will find that interesting who is an influential person in that niche.
8) Call Out Others
As mentioned above, it’s nice to tag others who are relevant in the niche when you comment. It’s a great way to get more attention to a comment. When you comment, call out others by name because when you mention people on Pinterest you’ll attract their attention and they may follow you. When you tag others using the “@” symbol your comments stand out, get attention, and attract more followers.
You can do this in comments and on your boards and pins. You can do it in the pin description or in the comment area. They even offer a drop-down of friends when you start typing. This is a great way to get more interest and “name drop”. You can also use #hashtags on Pinterest. By mentioning popular people, words, events, places, and names you’ll attract more followers.
9) Connect Your Social Media
You can connect other social media accounts directly to Pinterest, which is a great way to attract your followers from those social media sites. There are a lot of ways to do this with plugins and social media management apps.
A few to consider:
By connecting everything together you can cross-promote with ease. However, this can become tiring to those followers who follow you everywhere. So, don’t forget to also do some promoting specific to each social media network. You don’t want the same thing on all of them or you’re missing the point.
10) Contribute Freely to Other Boards
When you are invited to a group or collaborative board that is relevant to your niche, try to contribute something meaningful to it as soon as possible. By contributing regularly to other boards you’ll up your influence quotient exponentially. Be very particular about what you contribute so that it fits their audience and yours. Think of it kind of like guest blog posting. You want to attract your audience, but you need to fit in with their style.
Create your collaborative boards and invite influential people who follow you to contribute. Only invite people you trust to collaborate on a board with you. You don’t want someone who is going to post overtly advertorial content or inappropriate content. You can set up guidelines for pinning, and you can also create an open board where people can request to pin to it. All of the above are great ideas.
11) Have Contests Regularly
Contests allow you to collect followers, you can run a combined contest through Facebook requiring entries to follow you on Pinterest. As long as you follow the contest rules, you will reap the rewards. But, it’s important to have contests on a regular and ongoing basis if you’re going to do it. It’s also important to have a goal in mind for the contest.
If you want more followers, more interaction, etc… make that clear in your contest guidelines and requirements for participation. You can have contests for entire boards, as well as individual pins. People have comment contests, re-pinning contests, photo submission contests, and even customer appreciation contests. It’s up to you how you do it, just follow the rules and do it regularly.
12) Be Interesting and Informed
There is no point putting up boring pins that no one cares about. Make sure that every board you create, and every pin you add to a board has a purpose and is interesting to your audience. If you keep your audience in mind with every creation you make, you’ll become very influential among your audience.
While you’re being interesting it’s also important to be informed about your niche. If you don’t understand your niche well enough, it will be hard for you to go from zero to influential on Pinterest. Take the time to learn your subject matter, check the veracity of information before you share, and don’t be afraid to disagree with popular people based on that research. If you’re informed and interesting, you’re bound to become influential too.
You now have enough information to get started on your road to pinning your way to influence. It won’t be long before you are taking advantage of Pinterest’s free service for both personal and professional reasons. Pinterest has provided a user-friendly website with appealing graphics and helpful plug-ins that can be used on your website and blog, as well as a useful and creative way to interact with your audience.
Pinterest began as a beta site just a few short years ago as a way for others to share what they love and create virtual bulletin boards for all their favorite things. Now users are amazed at the potential of the site and can’t wait to share with their friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and acquaintances. As a smart person with information to share that will be of interest to your niche audience, you stand to benefit from the millions of members that visit the site each month.
To pin your way to influence keep these takeaways in mind:
Don’t Advertise — Be more than just a company advertising a business. Think beyond advertising to create interesting and entertaining infographics and visual elements to share with your audience that they will enjoy sharing too. Create information that will pull heartstrings, entice a giggle, or make people think of the data you provide in a new way.
Be Social — Social media, is, after all, supposed to be social. Become involved in Pinterest and with the users of Pinterest. Communicate with the other users and all the creators of amazing and awe-inspiring pinboards. Share other people’s pinboards, and make useful and smart comments. It will only enhance your experience and increase your influence.
Be Creative — Use the virtual pinboard site as a way to express your creative side both as a business owner and as a lover of beautiful things. Even if you’re an accountant, there are ways to express numerical data in new and visual ways that will make people take notice. Let your imagination flow.
Remember your Audience — When using Pinterest for marketing and advertising a product, service, website, blog, or build influence among a group — always keep the viewers and consumers in mind. Put yourself in their place every step of the way, and imagine what you would want to learn from your time on Pinterest. Remember to think in terms of solving problems and answering questions and your influence will grow.
Check Your Metrics — By knowing what works (and what doesn’t work) you’ll be better able to determine where to spend your time. If you check the numbers, you won’t be mistaken and waste your time on creating pinboards that no one pays attention to. Being aware of metrics will help you to increase your potential and become a truly influential leader in your niche on Pinterest.