Keeping up with the latest developments in marketing for your small business means staying up-to-date on the world of social media. Aside from the challenge of simply staying informed about new platforms and changes to existing platforms, figuring out how to maneuver within the sometimes overwhelming sea of actual socializing to make your company's presence felt – and not ignored or resented – presents a serious challenge to small business owners and marketing professionals.
Not to add to that challenge (but we're about to), the time has come for all small businesses to take a look at the new kid on the social media block, Pinterest . Realizing that you could be using Pinterest to engage with your online audience is a far different thing from knowing how. And even knowing how is sometimes a far cry from knowing how to best engage with them. So to start sorting all that out, and to build a plan for your small business to start "pinning", here are some tips to follow:
Think visually. Across all social media avenues, posts with strong images attached to them get on average three times as much user engagement as those with no images. This is especially true on Pinterest. The more immediately captivating your pin is, the more likely it is to be repinned. No matter what your content, find a stunning image to accompany it. Or better yet, translate your data into charts and infographics. Infographics are insanely popular. Not only will it appeal to your audience based on the content, but it will reach a whole new audience just for its sleek design.
Pin book covers. If you, or someone in your company, has a book or e-book, pin that cover! This is a visual medium, but people do dig deeper into posts. So if you want people to download your book, or read a specific excerpt, post that cover. They'll know what to do.
Have a guest pinner board. Getting your followers involved in your boards (collections of pins) is a great idea for small businesses. It increases your user engagement, makes your followers feel more personally invested in your brand, and gives you automatic feedback and insight into the interests and opinions of your audience. Similarly, creating a board specifically to share stories and feedback from customers is a great idea to represent how deeply your small business wants to connect and service its clients.
Introduce yourself. As is true on all social media, your small business will have a stronger brand if it's built on the actual people running the social media outlets. Introduce yourselves! Pin a photo of an employee's face, attached to a profile or fun interview with them. Post one per week, and collect them all on a board that serves as a truly personal, vibrant company profile. It's the Pinterest version of an "About Us" page.
Pin videos. You're surely getting the idea by now that Pinterest is a hyper visual environment, and the extends beyond just 2D images. Post videos either produced in-house, or from relevant industry sources. This can either be content that directly communicates something from your business to your customers, or something you think would interest them. Remember: social media for small business is almost entirely about becoming a hub for information that's of interest to your clients and customers, not just about selling your particular business. Online users want to see brands that are about their needs and wants, instead of just about your business agenda.
Promote deals with graphics. Translating any deals, sales, or special offers into smart-looking graphic coupons is a powerful way to boost their circulation and further develop your company's brand as one that doesn't just offer great deals, but looks chic while doing so.
Special to The Globe and Mail