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Trend: Increase referral traffic: Get your customers “Pinterested”

Pinterest, a highly visual social media tool that focuses on creating virtual bulletin boards, has been making waves lately as it now drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. Initially used to share creative ideas for home decorating, art, DIY, cooking, fashion etc, it has now expanded to include classifications like history, sports, geek, and technology. Always eager to benefit from the newest advertising platform, marketers are taking notice.

Takeaway: Build a visual presence

We have written in the past of marketing being most successful when it creates a strong visual presence: this visualization is most likely why Pinterest has developed such a cult following. It is simple, logically oriented in “post it” style and very easy to use. The visual experience is astounding. A simple click allows users to “re-pin” another users content, or “pin” something visual they have encountered online, a feature that helps create a strong culture of sharing. So what will make a successful Pinterest account for your brand? Find a way to effectively visualize your products and/or culture.

How to: Turn pins into leads with custom landing pages

For brands who sell physical products, for example a clothing retailer, Pinterest as a marketing tool is a natural extension of current marketing practices. The key is to create a “virtual store catalog” by posting images of current merchandise and even special coupons just for followers. For companies like this, the application is simple: post about your products, link back to your site and hope other Pinterest users will share your content. For those who wish to get craftier, the sky is the limit when it comes to linking. Even marketers struggling to sell a complex product will benefit from a presence on Pinterest. Products that are difficult to sell because they require more understanding than a simple picture, can also help aid lead generation. Instead of linking directly back to the product, get creative and link to a custom landing page. Prompt visitors to enter their information in exchange for a more in depth look at the complex product you are offering.

However, none of this is possible if your pins are not being seen. This is where the most important “how to” comes in. In order to benefit, marketers will need to develop a significant following. The easiest way to start this is to follow as many other pinners as possible. Because Pinterest has cultivated such a strong community of sharing, it is common for those you follow to follow you back. Frequently pinning new and interesting content will surely increase brand recognition and referral traffic.

The same can be said for companies who don’t necessarily sell a physical product, however for them the application will be a bit more complicated. Simply Zesty, an online PR and social media firm, is an excellent example of this. They use Pinterest as a way to share their company’s culture, so their message is not necessarily “this is what we sell or what we do” but more “this is who we are”. Simply Zesty has boards about social media, gadgets, and infographics as well as a board devoted to sharing moments from their day to day lives at the office. Even though Pinterest doesn’t function the same for them as it would for a brick and mortar business, they are still growing their brand by giving their follows an inside look into what makes their company tick. Similar to how Facebooks new timeline is increasing a brands ability to tell a story and improve the emotional experience of the customer, Pinterest allows brands to share information about themselves in visual form AND link back to their website. It’s still in its early stages, but I can see Pinterest being one of the next necessary ingredients to successful social media marketing.

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