As a small business owner, how would you respond if I said I know of a social media platform that generates more referrals than Twitter, and actively develops more leads than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined? What if you could turn the average browser into a paying customer that will avidly share your information with all of their friends? Thought so.
If you don’t already have a Pinterest account, you should get one. To understand why it’s essential to your business’s social media marketing plan, let’s begin with how it works. Pinterest allows you to collect, share and store links to things on the internet you find interesting onto “Pin Boards”. Pinterest users are in it for the ideas, not to be sold something; it’s full of users looking for lifestyle advice and DIY projects. Because of this, it isn’t entirely obvious that this a prime market for a commercial business. In reality there is no other social media platform that is better designed for viral sharing.
A Pin is backlink with a pretty picture attached to it. Say you Pin something from your website onto one of your Pin Boards. Your Pin will show up on the feeds of your followers who may Repin, and their friends may Repin. By the end of the week, your Pin could’ve been Repinned 50 times, and you have 50 new backlinks to both your Pinterest page AND your website. In this blog, I’ll discuss the techniques I use to build a huge Pinterest following and generate tons of leads for my business.
How “Follow”ing Gets you a Following
When you Follow a user on Pinterest, that user gets a message. Some people will ignore that message. Others will click on your name to see why they showed up on your radar; do they know you? are you posting similar content? That will bring them to your Pinterest page. That is your time to make an impression. That initial “who is this person” phase is likely the only time anyone will visit your page. The goal is to make sure that the content on your page is organized and appealing so that they Follow you. Once they follow you, your Pins will show up on their feed and increase your company’s exposure. Getting people to Follow your account is a two-step process:
- Creating interesting content that people want to follow.
- Automating the “Follow” process for maximum exposure.
The Secret Sauce of Good Content
A mistake a lot of businesses make when setting up their Pinterest account is that they only post content created by their company. Pinterest is a platform for ideas; chances are that you’re not the only one with a good idea. It’s okay to share content from another Board that you find relevant and interesting. The more interesting and creative you can make your Boards, the more likely you will gain a following, so your endgame should be to get good stuff up on your page, whether or not it’s yours.
I’m not saying that you should forgo your own content entirely or Repin something that links back to another business’s Etsy page. Pinterest is a high-volume social media sharing engine. That means the more you post, the more likely you will get seen, and the more likely your business’s social media marketing will gain traction in that arena. For optimum results, you should be posting 5-10 Pins per day. That’s a lot of content to come up with on your own. If you keep the content on your Boards 25-50% your original stuff, then you can ensure that your company is an established presence on your page while still keeping your Boards fresh with relevant outside inspiration.
Once you make sure that the content is compelling, you need to set up your page to make your content accessible. Go into your Boards, choose your most Liked/ Pinned image and make it the cover photo for that Board. From there, arrange your Boards on your page so that the first two rows are the boards with the most traffic. If you do both of those things, the most popular posts will be the ones users see first when they visit your page, and the more likely they’ll feel compelled to Follow you.
Once your page looks good and your content appeals to your target audience, then you’re ready to start building a following. As mentioned earlier, this strategy involves Following users on the chance that they’ll Follow you in return. The method that we talk about in this blog post involves the employment of an automated Following tool. This is possible to do on your own, of course, but by having a bot do it for you, you potentially save yourself an hour or two of Following and liking per day so you can focus on updating your content.
I use Ninja Pinner*. This bot has a $30 buy-in and allows you to customize your usage. “Auto Comment” and “Auto Repin” are offered, but I never use them. Auto-comment is a way of putting spam on another person’s Pin. Nobody likes spam, and if you’re spamming hundreds of Pins, then soon no one will Like you. Auto-Repin dilutes the content that I’ve carefully curated with anything that’s relevant, whether it’s good or not. Stick with “Auto-Like and “Auto-Follow”; they’re less invasive. You will type in your niche and the bot will “Like” all the posts that are related to your niche and “Follow” the users that have Pinned them. Always use these two together.
Another important tool you want to pay attention to on your bot is the speed at which it will perform its tasks. If you Like too many post or Follow too many people in a short amount of time, this will raise a red flag. There’s a good chance that your Pinterest account will be suspended. Make sure that you set your bot speed to a couple of tasks per minute to avoid detection. Keep the bot running in the background throughout the day, and you’ll slowly gain momentum.
A side note about the “Auto Follow” function: this will Follow a person’s page, not specific Boards. That means your feed will be flooded with irrelevant stuff. For example, say I type “wedding signs” in as my niche; User B has a Pin related to weddings signs, so the bot starts to Follow B’s page. There is a difference between Following a page and Following a Board. A Board is a collection of Pins that are all related to one thing. B may have a wedding style Board that could be useful to Follow. B may also have Boards for vintage high-heeled shoes, chunky sweaters and food that has been dyed purple. Following User B’s page is a de facto Follow for all of B’s boards, and those irrelevant posts will show up on my feed. That means you can no longer depend on your feed to generate new content.
At this point, you have two options: you can click on prolific users and manually unFollow the irrelevant Boards (which will waste the time you just saved by using the bot to begin with), or you can start pulling from your Likes. This is why I say you should always use the auto-Like and auto-Follow functions together. You can find all of the relevant posts that the bot has Liked on your page. This could get repetitive; if a Pin has been Repinned 248 times, the bot will Like the Pin on 248 Boards, showing up on your “Likes” feed 248 times in a row.
Be aware that if you use a bot, you may have to search a little harder for new stuff. It’s up to you whether the use of a bot will be a bigger hindrance than benefit. We’ve had success, but experiment with it and let us know what you think.
*I am not affiliated with this engine in any way. I do not get any money or kickbacks for mentioning them.
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