Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Pointers for Using Pinterest

I recently had the opportunity to interview Eric Schulz, Huntsman lecturer and co-director of marketing and brand management, for a holiday marketing story that was included in this month's Huntsman Post. We discussed ways that businesses could utilize the holidays to their advantage. One of those ways was social media, specifically Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. While Facebook and Twitter are relatively easy sites for companies to use, Pinterest can be a bit more of a mystery because the strategy is much more subtle. As a woman who spends a lot of time on Pinterest, here are my ideas on how companies can use Pinterest as a basic form of marketing. 

1. Have a unique product or idea

When using Pinterest, users generally see the product before they know what company is selling it, so the idea is to catch their eye with a good product, something unique. Whether it be a sale, an idea, or product they've never seen before, you, the company, want to make the customer click on your image. This is the first step in getting a user interested in your product and company so come up with something new and creative that will catch the consumer's eye. 

2. Keep your audience in mind

As with any marketing strategy, your target audience is a big factor. While Pinterest users are mostly women, this is not your only audience. There are many different types of women who use Pinterest and each is looking for something different. Pinterest will be a more successful form of marketing for your company if you know what type of woman would be most likely to look at your product. (I say "look at your product" instead of "buy your product" because Pinterest is a place to get ideas, not necessarily to shop. However, if you can get users familiar with your company by consistently pinning unique products or ideas, they will be more likely to buy from you.) For example, if you're a company that specializes in technology products, then you'd perhaps want to target a working woman who could use your product in her professional life. Of course, there are many exceptions and specific circumstances, so just be sure to put some thought into your pins before actually pinning them.  

3. Have a description on your "pin" that is searchable 

Sometimes people using Pinterest go to the site to look for something specifically. This is what the search bar is for. Your pins will be more searchable if they have a searchable description. (The description is the writing you insert yourself before you pin an image.) Some pins have no description and some have very lengthy descriptions, but I've found that when I search for "gifts for men" I find that the majority of results that come up are the pins that have those words "gifts for men" somewhere in their description. So keep it simple and searchable so your product can easily be found when someone is looking for it. 

While Pinterest may not be quite as common as Facebook or Twitter, it is growing in its number of users. Though the site has a simple concept, using it as a marketing strategy does take some genuine thought, but the effort can be well worth it. 

—Allie Jeppson

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