Over the last few weeks I have heard (and read) alot about Pinterest which is making headlines for a variety of reasons. Pinterest can be described as a social bulletin board and image-sharing site that allows users to ‘pin’ images and videos onto their own, or other people’s, pinboards. Considering that it is still an invite only platform, it has seen tremendous growth over the last two months.
According to research company Shareaholic, Pinterest already has over 4.9 million users and drove more referral traffic in the last two months than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined and generates over 15 billion page views a month.
The big question many of you are asking is whether this platform has any business use, especially for product manufacturers within the construction industry. My initial answer to this would be that it has great potential. Since our industry is very visual, especially when marketing to architects, who want to see the aesthetics of your products and see them in situ. What better way of doing this than sharing lots of images of how it has been used in recent building projects? There are also other business reasons to use this image based network, some of which I have listed below:
5 ways Pinterest can be used for business
- Case studies – the best way to demonstrate your expertise is by showing previous work and how you solved a specific problem. Since Pinterest is a visual site, this is perfect for uploading pictures of recently completed projects, projects that you are working on now and also any customer testimonial videos that you might have.
- Sell products – not only can you create pinboards with images of your products or upload product demonstration videos, you can also generate a price banner for your photo by simply adding the £ or $ in your pin description. Don’t forget to add a link back to your website landing page where they can read more information about the product or submit an enquiry.
- Build brand personality- why not use Pinterest to give an insight into your company culture, the type of people who work for you, what your brand stands for and simply put a friendly face to your brand.
- Competitions - run a contest to encourage visitors to create pins of your projects/products/designs that they like and then choose the finalists and get others to vote for what they like. User generated content is a powerful way to get your audience and involved, encourages them to talk about you and your company and even link to them on other social sites like Twitter.
- Events/trade shows – if you take part in lots of events and trade shows why not entice your audience with sneak previews of your stand, let them know where you will be and when. Include videos of previous events you have exhibited at and show interviews with visitors or client testimonials to demonstrate why your stand is worth visiting.
McKay Flooring Case study
To better illustrate the reasons why I think Pinterest has great potential, I am going to show you how UK floor company, McKay Flooring is using the platform.
As you can see from the image above, that is the Pinterest profile layout. On the left you fill out your profile description (including keywords), contact details such as email and then links back to your website and other social media accounts. On the right are your personalised pinboards which are full of images and videos that you have either uploaded yourself or ‘repinned’ from somebody else. Users can then choose to follow all of your pinboards or just specific ones that they might be interested in. For example, some architects might only want to follow the ‘case studies’ and ‘architecture & interiors’ board whilst others could also be interested in different types of flooring and will therefore follow the ‘reclaimed flooring’, ‘parquet flooring’ and ‘solid flooring’ ones too. Make sure you give your boards descriptive titles as these will all be indexed and can be found in search engines by people searching for that keyword.
I spoke to Margaret from the McKay Flooring marketing team to ask what her thoughts were on the network, what they are using it for and whether they have seen any results. This is what she had to say:
“We have found Pinterest has driven a high amount of traffic to our website and blog. Pinterest is like a large catalogue of our products, creative ideas and DIY tips (these do not all have to be about flooring, but finding a common ground with your audience is a must). The great thing about Pinterest is that people can store their interests into different categories and go back and forward to them when needed. Through links on Pinterest we have come across other websites and blogs (which we probably would never have come across before) giving us great content to blog about and generate interest in our company.
We try to make each of our boards interesting to our audience without boring them with all our own products. With the recent economic downturn people are turning to DIY tips and advice to save money – so we have created a board especially for this, sharing and re-pinning our own and other pinners tips and advice. Currently Pinterest is still in beta and is invite only which I’m sure will be changed soon enough!
Our next step is to start competitions, we hope this will bring some fun to our profile and will also largely increase our followers on Pinterest and other social networking sites. We have successfully completed a Twitter and Facebook competition where over 800 people entered. Overall we feel Pinterest is easier to use than many other social networking sites as it’s fun, attractive to the eye and gets your point across very quickly.”
Thanks to Margaret and Richard at McKay Flooring for giving us a little insight into how companies within the construction sector can use the platform. If you’re still not fully convinced, I will be writing a further blog post in the next few days identifying the SEO benefits of Pinterest, so watch this space.
But for now it’s over to you… What do you think about Pinterest, does it have potential? Have you seen any more great examples of companies using it? I am already slightly addicted to it so do let me know if there’s anyone else I should be following.