Go to Pinterest’s homepage, and you’ll see examples of recipes, crafts, home improvement DIY, and outfit ideas among other things. For most B2B marketers, fitting your brand in among this type of content feels like you’re a giraffe trying to blend with a flock of flamingos.
What on earth could a B2B Saas business (for example) have to gain by getting in on this world?
Well, Pinterest advertises itself as the place to “Get discovered by millions of people looking for things to plan, buy and do.” Ok, that’s sounding closer to what might work for B2B. Here’s an even bigger indication Pinterest could be and underutilized platform for B2B marketers: the big guys like IBM and Marketo have already built out their Pinterest presence. Only one in four B2Bs are on Pinterest, making it much easier to get your message in front of customers.
You can also include your website on every pin you publish, pushing traffic directly to your site. And, Pinterest allows you to use older content to bring in new customers (much more on this later). If you’re still feeling skeptical, consider Facebook. Most people peruse it to stay current on family and friends, but millions of businesses look to the platform as their most successful marketing channel. You can get anyone’s attention with a compelling ad, regardless of where they come across it.
Pinterest is underutilized by B2B marketers, but it’s not because it’s difficult to understand. However, before you whip up a digital plan for advertising on Pinterest, know that businesses must apply for an account and get approved. Pinterest wants to keep quality on the platform high, and this is their way of maintaining that for now. But, you can set up your company’s page and start posting organic pins immediately.
Now let’s dive into best practices for organic posts, utilizing content you’ve already created, and getting started with paid ads.
Best Practices For Organic Posts
Pinterest has a detailed, downloadable guide on How To Make Great Pins, which is a must-read if you’re serious about getting your boards going. The guide includes invaluable advice on choosing the best creative, ways to freshen it up to make it stand out more, and ideas for new creative. Pinterest is a visuals-forward platform, but the images aren’t the only powerful components of a pin. Rich Pins provide more information in certain categories, on the pin itself. There are six types of rich pins: app, movie, recipe, article, product, and place. Some pins, like the article pin, let customers save something for later (in this case, a story). Other pins, like the product pin, encourage immediate action, like a purchase. Some rich pins will probably be more relevant than others, depending on your products.
In June 2015, Google announced pins would show up in search results on mobile devices, making the keywords you use in your pin descriptions even more important. Use traditional SEO practices (check out our post on using long-tail keywords to convert), or Pinterest Analytics to find common searches and top topics relevant to your pin.
Where To Get Content
You don’t have to hire a content agency to get your Pinterest boards up and running. Take a look at your existing content. What do you have an abundance of? Blog posts, infographics, photos, videos? Figure out how you could organize the assets into different categories with which to create boards. Think beyond just “Blog Posts” or “Infographics” and look for more concrete themes like “Ways To Improve Customer Insights,” for example, then collect all the materials you have and post them to the board. Boards that have a narrower focus will make it easier for customers to find them using keywords and will help give context to the pins on that board. Hint: Summer is coming and this is a great project for any summer interns you're taking on in your marketing department!
An easy way to build out your boards’ inventory without creating new content all the time is with re-pins. It’s exactly what it sounds like - finding and sharing other pins your customers would find useful and adding them to your boards. Just be sure you’re not sharing anything from competitors. Instead, look for content that supports your unique product offering, or themes your customers are interested in. For example, Adstage might share a helpful SEO infographic from Moz because we know our followers are most likely interested in SEO, but Moz is not our competitor. Also think about other engaging visuals you could find in your company or market. Your design team may have innovative designs they’re working on that may be worth sharing. Or, if your product offering falls into a visual field like paid advertising, for example, re-pin favorite ads from companies you admire. It’s a great way to show thought leadership and get a customer’s attention.
Getting the Most Out Of Pinterest Ads
Pinterest doesn’t have nearly as many ad type choices as say, Facebook. In fact, it currently offers just one type of ad. But, that makes advertising on the platform much simpler. Pinterest's paid ad unit is called a Promoted Pin. It’s just like a regular pin, but you pay to ensure more people see it, and specifically people within your customer segments. When setting up a promoted pin, you choose your target, then decide if you want to pay for engagement or visits to your site. As a result, promoted pins are most useful when you want to support goals that tie to awareness, engagement, or traffic.
Promoted pins must come from a pin that you’ve already created and published to one of your boards, so while this feels very different from what you can do on Facebook or Twitter, this limit actually gives you a great starting place in setting up your first promoted pins. Log into your Pinterest analytics dashboard to identify your highest performing pins. Positive organic engagement is a strong indicator of how the ad will do when pushed to a new audience. Experimenting with promoted pins is the same as playing around with ads on any platform, so don’t forget your best practices; namely testing. Think about the funnel and the audience you're targeting and think about that top-of-funnel content. Most of all, don't be afraid of this new medium. You don't have to make a sale with your Pinterest ad (and you probably won't), so don't stress.
Pinterest’s current ad offering is limited, but they’re working hard to expand. As of the end of March, customers can download your app directly from Pinterest, which, depending on what you’re selling, could be a very effective way to get people using your company’s products immediately.
Now is as good a time as any to play around with your B2B company on Pinterest. Simple ad products, straight-forward platform functionality, and limited competition will make it easy for you to practice setting up pins and get them in front of customers. Pinterest is announcing new capabilities all the time, too. For instance, they recently released Buyable Pins, which will let people buy from you without ever leaving Pinterest (currently only available to a few major brands as testing continues). So, even if Pinterest doesn’t fit your needs perfectly right now, getting familiar with the platform will set you up for quick success when new capabilities become available.