Can Pinterest become a Small Businesses new Best Friend?

Guest poster Ed Beardsell talks to us about his thoughts on Pinterest

English: Red Pinterest logo

Image via Wikipedia

What is Pinterest?

The latest rising star on the social networking scene is the site Pinterest. While it doesn’t yet touch on anywhere near the number of users that can be found on sites such as Facebook or Twitter, an increasing number of businesses are starting to consider what benefits it could provide for them. Pinterest is basically an online pinboard where users share images of items they find beautiful, stylish or interesting. People utilise it in various different and exciting ways whether it be planning how to decorate their home, save recipe inspirations, plan weddings, or share products. Images can either be uploaded from websites or from users’ computers and they can also re-pin images they find and appreciate enough to highlight it for the community whilst browsing the Pinterest site. The site has been growing rapidly and was reportedly the social site which reached ten million users more quickly than any other site in history and, here’s where it gets interesting; the majority of its users are women.

How can Pinterest help my Business?

Whilst it is still a relatively small site, Pinterest is averaging over three million unique visitors per month all of whom could potentially be looking at your business’s products. The site may be especially beneficial for businesses focused around creative or design services, or those businesses that appeal specifically to women, as it gives you a great opportunity to present your products to this specific segment of the market.

While Pinterest currently does not support online sales, you can add prices to your items and redirect browsers to your online shop. In fact, some early reports hint that Pinterest is better at generating traffic to your website than Facebook. If you do add a price to any of your products, then the image will automatically be listed in the gifts section of the website, as well as on your board, for browsers who are interested in shopping. By including links from your board back to your business’s website you will also of course be boosting the number of inbound link to your website as well as social interaction, a increasingly powerful metric taken in to account by search engines.

How to Use Pinterest Succesfully

To have a successful Pinterest account requires more than just posting images of what products you have for sale. Including a space where you can interact with users or provide additional content can increase your popularity on the site. For example, if you sell interior design products you could include a section on design inspirations that you have found, or you can create a space allowing customers to pin pictures of themselves with their favourite product of yours.

Another popular way of boosting interest in your products is running contests which encourage users to repin images of your products. This increases the overall total exposure that your products gather and can have the added bonus of collecting feedback from your customers about your collection. An additional way you can try to engage with your customers is to include images from your shop or office which can help customers feel the brand is much more personal helping to build a sense of brand loyalty and community.

Will Pinterest Last?

Pinterest has already been snapped up for use by some major brands including Kodak, Gap, The Wall Street Journal and Betty Crocker amongst others suggesting that Pinterest is going to be providing a platform even big business to monetise their pinning efforts in the foreseeable future. This popularity has also been galvanised by software developments allowing users to display their pins on their Facebook wall once again boosting the reach of such interaction.

Pinterest may not be and ideal tool for every business to try and utilise but for a sizeable number it holds the potential for brands to increase awareness as well as sales whether directly or indirectly. However as with the vast majority of social media sites, if a business wants to benefit from utilising it as a platform to talk and engage with its potential customers it must spend time cultivating its presence in this community through interacting and creating relevant and unique content.

Bio –
Hi I’m Ed, and I work in the exciting, fast paced and ever-changing world of business equipment and services. I’ll be trying my best to keep you abreast give you a wide smorgasbord of handy hints, tips and advice to get the squeeze the best out of your business.

Like this post? Don’t forget to check out the 30 Day Pinterest Challenge, and kickstart your Pinterest use in just 30 days!

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Recent Facebook Page Changes – what do they mean?

fbpageA Guest Blog By Angie Stewart of Maginus

Last week Facebook announced an upgrade to managed pages. According to Facebook, these improvements provide “Better Communication”, “More Opportunities for Expression” and “Improved Relevancy”. So what does this all mean and how can it help you as a Facebook page owner? And what new opportunities does it open up?

Below I’ve outlined what it really means for your business and how it can help your brand.

Interact as your page

Previously, Facebook did not have the functionality to comment on other facebook pages as your page. Any comment you made on other pages would be from you personally as opposed to your page. There was a work around for this, but it was not ideal and not suitable for all situations. This new functionality allows you to increase exposure of your page by commenting on and liking other
industry relevant Facebook pages.

Notification about Fan activity

This is very useful as many find it unproductive and often unachievable to keep checking Facebook pages for activity at regular intervals. This new functionality provides you with e-mail notification of comments and activity meaning you can respond immediately to customers. You don’t need to do anything to get these notifications, as default, all administrators of your Facebook page will receive
them.

Photos and Images at the top of the page

This is another nice option for many brands. Perhaps you want to showcase your some of products, encourage people to events with enticing images of the last ones or encourage client interaction with images of them at your store/branche/venue. There are many ways you can creatively use this space to enhance your brand.

Feature Favourite Pages

This is very useful if you are a large company with different pages for separate products or niche offerings, as you can feature one on the other. It can also be used for mutually beneficial relationships with other companies operating within a similar field. I.e. if you sell outdoor clothing, you may wish to pair up with camping sites and outdoor activity clubs for reciprocal features.

Identify Admin Users

In many situations, it’s beneficial to have a personal face to the brand. People like talking to people not logos, so the ability to show page administrators will increase interaction and trust for a lot of brands.

All in all there are some great changes that, in my mind, will really help you to grow your brand and increase your exposure.

Angie Stewart, Online Marketing Consultant at Maginus. Maginus are a Manchester based online marketing services provider. Angie is a keen contributor to many industry blogs as well as recognised as SEOAngie on Twitter.

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Buying Facebook 'likes', Twitter 'followers' and 'fans'?

Get 10,000 fans / likes for just $100

5,000 unique Twitter followers for just $50

Buy your way to the top!

Just some of the headlines of email we’ve received in the past week.

Then there are the potential clients that approach us asking if we can ‘buy fans or followers’.

Well the answer is a resounding:

NO!

We can see why it seems a great idea. 10,000 people listening to your message, all added to your account within a week or so – before you know it you’ll have sales coming out of your ears, right?

WRONG!

See, think about it. How many of those 10,000 will be REAL people, waiting to read your message and interested in what you sell? The chances are, not many.

And how many alerts will you be triggering with your super fast growth? Probably lots – Twitter is renowned for closing down accounts that grow so rapidly, as it’s the classic hallmark of a spam account (which, incidentally, yours pretty much is once you start buying fans and followers instead of building your fanbase organically).

We know, it seems like a great idea – hardly any money gets you a huge potential audience.

But we’ll put it to you that if you think this is a great idea then you’ve not quite ‘got’ the idea of Social Media Marketing – it’s not about broadcasting to a huge audience, it’s about attracting the right kind of fans and followers, building your audience gradually, interacting with them and developing credibility.

Having 10,000 fans or followers is great (our own @nikkipilkington has 11,000+, built organically) but it’s not a short cut to untold riches, and it doesn’t mean you’re going to sell loads – it just means you bought a list that’s probably as useless as the $50 link campaign you considered buying last summer – and probably just as dangerous, in terms of the likelihood of being banned from Facebook or Twitter.

Have you bought followers or fans? Would you? We’d love to hear your opinion of this practice in our comments section below.

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