How to use Pinterest for the Not-So-Visual Brand

by Allie Snelius on September 13, 2012

We have already learned that Pinterest is a great tool for marketing your business. But using Pinterest for marketing is not always easy, especially when trying to build a following organically. And if you’re a B2B marketer or your brand doesn’t have an obvious “visual” appeal, like Spiral16, it might be even more difficult. After using Pinterest for the last month or so, we found that Pinterest can still be useful for non-visual brands and is a great way to make connections!

How to get followers! When we started our Pinterest profile, since we are a business and we use a Facebook page rather than just a normal account, we weren’t able to link in all of our Facebook fans to Pinterest automatically. That sucks because when I joined Pinterest, it was easy to alert all my Facebook friends that they could follow me there. Also, Twitter doesn’t sync followers to Pinterest.

This meant we get all our followers organically. To do this, we created a follower strategy from scratch.

How B2B Companies Gain Followers On Pinterest

Step 1: Find your clients on Pinterest -By following past clients, it might be easy to gain pins/repins or comments by others who have found your product or service useful! This a great way for a B2B company to keep old connections and snag a few new ones!

Step 2: Search for pins from your website. – People who have pinned stuff from your website already know you have useful content and should be thanked (via comment function) and followed! Go to pinterest.com/source/yourcompany. For us, that link is pinterest.com/source/spiral16. And: Don’t forget the basics. Adding a Pinterest button to your website is important — it makes it easier for others to pin your content!

Step 3: Promote your new account. – Your Twitter followers and Facebook fans might have an interest in connecting on Pinterest. This step should be done regularly especially when you pin something interesting — share it!

Step 4: Add your employees and business connections. (Duh!) You know these people have an interest in your brand — having them repin or play a role in your Pinterest conversation could be very helpful.

Step 5: Gain followers by being a board contributor to other Pinterest users’ boards. Networking with other brands on Pinterest and being a board contributor is a great way to expand your followers. We learned this when we were asked by The Pivot Conference to contribute to their Pivot 2012 board. This board was featured on both Pivotcon’s Pinterest page as well as ours. In addition, you should ask others you trust to be a contributor to your board.

Sidenote: Don’t just “follow all”, it will clutter your daily feed. When following others back, remember to follow only relevant boards. We noticed if we followed all boards from one user, we often got content that we didn’t care to review.

Another Tip for Building Your Pinterest Profile

Build creative boards that show off your brand personality. — This one was a little difficult for us as well. We don’t sell shoes, push make-up or shopping tips, document DIY home projects, and we are DEFINITELY not cooks. But we know the importance of social media monitoring, working in an office, air guitar (believe it or not), and some of us are quite the critics when it comes to music and movies. And that’s how we created our boards.

Instead of focusing on only our product, our boards showed our personality by providing our followers with fun infographics on social media, events we participate in, screenshots of our tool, presentations and a fun employee board. When coming up with creative boards and pins for our brand, here’s what we learned works:

1. Pin your own stuff in a variety of boards! (If you have photos to share of your service, pin them but not just in an “What We Do” board). We created a variety of boards and though creatively about how different facets of our brand would fit into those boards.

2. Creating boards on upcoming events in your niche market helps! We have made boards for conferences we have attended (Pivotcon) — and ones we haven’t (BlogHer) but we think are cool.

3. Find clever ways to relate your brand, products, or services in your board titles! By now, Spiral16 has already learned and blogged about who is using Pinterest and how visual brands use Pinterest for business. We have found ways to tie our service (social media monitoring and research) into the titles of our not so relevant boards. For example, we wanted to have a recipe board, so we titled it “Calorie Monitoring” and put it next to “Social Media Monitoring.” Clever, right?

We also wanted to have a board themed around party planning, but needed to tie it into what we do. This is how our “Getting Social” blog came about.  Its this concept that leads us to our next step…

Brainstorm new board ideas and always be researching new ways to optimize your Pinterest strategy. You should always be researching new ways to update your boards and pins. This is good for many reasons!

1. You will be producing new content to lure others to your Pinterest account and share with others.

2. You will seem HUMAN – which is key! People like brands with a human personality.

3. Marketing is always changing, so you should always be monitoring new trends and learning from other successful marketers.

What have we missed? What have you found that works on Pinterest for B2B marketers?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Joyce McKee September 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Have you seen any shows or exhibitors who have used Pinterest successfully?

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Michelle Lamar September 16, 2012 at 9:05 pm

We’ll look at some examples and post them next week!

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Susan Baird September 17, 2012 at 2:04 pm

This is such a great list of tips and tricks. We’re a software company, and I’ve been struggling to figure out how to use Pinterest given that, like you guys, we’re not especially visual. Infographics are a great way to get visual, but they’re really time-consuming and difficult to plan well.

This post gives me hope, because if you can get excited about Pinterest, then maybe we can, too. We’ve also got a pretty traditional culture, so I’m hoping to convince a few folks that letting our personalities out of the bag won’t compromise our professionalism, but instead make us even more accessible.

I’m excited to see your examples of events and tradeshows using Pinterest well. Thanks again!

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