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How To Successfully Use Pinterest For B2B

Social curation is being touted as 2012’s hot new thing online, and Pinterest is currently leading the pack. For the week ending 17th March 2012, it was the 4th most visited social site behind Facebook, YouTube and Twitter – beating out both Google+ and LinkedIn.

For those unfamiliar with it, Pinterest is a visual social network;

  • A pinboard-style social sharing site that allows users to create and manage theme-based image boards on topics that interest them, such as fashion, food, travel, home design etc. Founded by Ben Silbermann in Iowa in March 2010,
  • Pinterest’s user base growth was initially slow, but has jumped in popularity in recent months with a 429% growth between September and December 2011, leading to 18 million visitors in the US alone in February 2012 – a jump of 50% on January – and it’s still growing.
  • It is also fast becoming an important source of referral traffic for websites, with some businesses reporting it surpassing Facebook for referrals in their analytics.

With that level of usership, and the potential referral rewards, it is definitely a social platform businesses should be looking to getting involved in. However, while it might be easy enough to understand how B2C could use Pinterest to showcase their products, the manufacturing process, the ingredients, the lifestyle around the products etc., figuring out how to use it for B2B requires a little more thought….

Using Pinterest For B2B

Creating Your Account

Pinterest is invitation only – but it seems that anyone who applies for an invite, does in fact receive one. If you know someone with an account, ask them to send you an invite for immediate access. Or alternatively request an invite directly from Pinterest and you should have access within 2 days.

You should sign up via your business Twitter account, not Facebook; currently Pinterest doesn’t offer a connection to Facebook business pages and you don’t want your business Pinterest account connected to your personal Facebook account.

Once your account is created, as with everything else, you should optimise your profile by entering your company name, a description, logo and link to your website – you can do this via settings. You should also ensure that ‘hide your Pinterest profile from search engines’ is ticked to ‘off’ so that your profile will be indexed.

Related:  How Pinterest Can Increase Your Website Traffic

Creating Pinboards

You should create some pinboards before trying to build a following. As with most social networks, you want to try and avoid over-the-top self-promotion. The occasional self-promotion dropped into the mix is acceptable, but do try to avoid the ‘me, me, me’ approach.

As mentioned it’s easy enough to think of boards for B2C, however it is not impossible to create image boards for a B2B business, even when you don’t have a tangible product…

8 ideas for B2B boards:

  1. Office locations: Pick great images of the cities your offices are located in, and show off the buildings your people work in.
  2. Staff: Have a management board to showcase all those headshots, and add a brief description on each person and their role.
  3. Blog images: Every blog post you publish should have an image, so why not create a board with your latest images linking back to each post.
  4. Whitepapers: If you produce whitepapers or ebooks, pin the cover image; you might even find this encourages you to become a little more creative with your cover art.
  5. Infographics or data charts: Infographics are a great way to represent data and a lot of businesses are now producing them – why not create a board curating the best ones out there, and maybe even start creating some of your own.
  6. Webinars: Videos can be pinned too, so why not create a board of your archived webinars.
  7. Business books: Know a lot of great books about your industry? Why not create a board highlighting them, such as Legal Compliance Across the Globe – it won’t attract millions of followers, but it will attract your target market.
  8. Corporate Culture: Post images of company social events or even the cupcakes and cookies you made for the last charity coffee morning.

Once you start thinking outside the box, the possibilities for boards are endless.  The most important thing to remember however is to link each pin back to a landing page on your website which has a solid call-to-action.

Related: Facebook And Pinterest Helping To Grow The Secret Garden Centre

Building A Following

Once you have some boards in place you can start to build your following. You can currently find friends by connecting to a Facebook (personal) profile or a Gmail account. This won’t be very helpful in promoting a company Pinterest account, so you should instead:

  1. Add the Pinterest follow button to your website;
  2. Promote your Pinterest account on your other social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ etc.; and
  3. Promote it in your blog, newsletter, or any other communications your subscribers receive from you.

Being a B2B company is not an excuse to not engage. So get pinning!

Image: “Mindcomet.com


Sarah Ryan is an Online Marketing & Communications manager with 7 years experience. After being located in San Francisco for 2 years, Sarah returned to Dublin in early 2012. http://www.sarahryanblog.com

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Comments
  • Great post Sarah and if I’m honest I didn’t see the B2B connection with Pinterest before reading this post.  That said, I had a similar impression of Facebook a few years ago so goes to show what I know! I really like the infographics angle you mentioned, I can see how that could be very productive. 

  • This is a great post Sarah. Helps explain it all very simply. I will be adding it to my Pinterest Help Board 🙂

  • Thanks for this detailed review and thoughts!

    It took me a while to figure out what all the fuss and hype was about Pinterest. But I had the same with Twitter – and am hooked on that. By playing around and trying out Pinterest, I can better understand what the fuss is about. I think the key is also to tap into interests and hobbies where applicable for your brand/ company – as these seem to be the areas that generate a lot of comment and re-pins.

  • Pinterest has great potential and this post is actually quite inspiring. Great stuff Sarah…best keep back to some pinn – I mean work ; 0 )

  • Warren Rutherford

    Sarah – thank you. I have seen comments regarding Pinterest and gave them scant attention due to my naivete on the site (yes, honest I am). Your piece was very informative, and helpful. I shall venture into pinning carefully by following your recommendations.  Thanks again.

  • Thanks Niall. Glad I helped you see the B2B benefits!

  • Thanks Sian – I’m following you on Pinterest now!

  • Exactly right Gary. Glad you enjoyed the post. It is yet ‘another’ social platform for us all to become familiar with, but as mentioned above it is definitely one worth getting involved in.

  • Thanks Christina – glad to be able to provide you with some inspiration! Am following you now on Pinterest 🙂

  • Thanks Lorna. Communicating your personality is definitely key. Glad to have given you some ideas for B2B content. Am following you on Pinterest now!

  • Hi Warren. Glad you enjoyed the piece and it helped you see some of the benefits of Pinterest. I look forward to seeing your pins in the near future!

  • The same impact I had of Myspace and a few times ago goes to demonstrate what I know. I really like the infographics position you mentioned.

  • Sarah-
    You are absolutely spot on. I created two boards, one with infographics, and the other with books. And I have started getting some interesting traffic. And it’s only been a couple of weeks

  • Thanks for reading Prakash – glad to hear you’re already seeing results in your referral traffic.

  • Thanks for reading – glad you liked the infographics tip.

  • Cosmin Gliga

    Is struggled to see how I could integrate pinterest in my social marketing strategy, but this post definitely helped me rethink that.
    Thanks for the tips.

  • Thanks Cosmin. Glad I was able to give you some food for thought.

  • Excellent sound advice – i put all my events and some key names on Google alert the moment I start a new venture. No harm in Googling yoursefl from time to time too – you could also discover information re your company – brand or personnell that you prefer to be confidential

  • Thanks for the warm welcome and comments Sian. Firing someone at 18 does sound traumatizing! Unfortunately I do not think firing anyone will ever be a nice experience, but hopefully by being prepared things can run a little smoother.

  • Its not often I come across such a frank and practically useful post that spells out the stuff some of us consider the White elephant in the room – Thank You . Here’s a question: What advice do you have for employees in a dismissal situation – have you a list of questions they should be asking and follow up ideas?

  • Thanks for your comments Julie and Elish, I definitely agree that the employees need to be the focal point – after all they are the ones whose world just got turned outside down.

    For the employee who is being dismissed I think it is equally important to understand the reason why and (if willing) gain some insight into how alterations to their work performance could have made a difference (to help them avoid any of the same mistakes in their next job). For referential reasons its best not to burn any bridges; no matter bad you may want to save your rant for your friends or an anonymous online discussion forum – you never know when professional paths might cross again in the future. Above all, as a terminated employee know your rights – i.e last paycheck, remaining health benefits. In my article Ive advised employers to have these things prepared- but not everyone will. Protect what you have coming to you by asking questions and, at the very least, leave with the contact info of the person who is going to help you wrap things up.

    Hope this helps, thanks for both of your input!

    Kindest Regards, Kelly

  • Great post and as someone who has had to give people this news, it’s surely one of the worst things you might have to do. That said, sometimes it’s untimately good news for the employee. Not every business is right for every employee, and sometimes going to work for another works out much better in the long-term for the individual.

  • Artur Brugeman

    Totally agree, Gail!

    And when they say this was a vanity metric anyway, why don’t they provide a better one instead? Like number of likes for sharing tweets, number of replies in conversations around them… Conversations cannot even be accessed over their API, a feature being requested and ignored for several years! At least we could see number of clicks in analytics if Twitter cards are properly set up.

    They’re not making our lives easier, that’s for sure!

  • Artur Brugeman

    We have your share counts: http://public.newsharecounts.com/count.json?url=http://growmap.com/get-more-backlinks-and-exposure/

    I’m not quite sure why Warfare does not show the number here http://growmap.com/get-more-backlinks-and-exposure/, maybe you have caching plugin and need to reset the cache? If that does not help, then it might make sense to request support from Warfare team.




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