Would you like to benefit from a flood of new traffic as millions of new users join the social media site and search for familiar brands?
Could your business benefit from 482,000 followers?
That’s what happened to author Sherry Petersik, on Pinterest at Sherry @ Young House Love. Talk about an early lead.
#1: Tap Into the Wisdom of Your Crowd
Look in your Google Analytics. You might have a surprise if you check the traffic referral section and discover that Pinterest is already driving traffic your way.
If so, then your customers are already indicating this is a platform for you to consider investing your time on. They say the customer is always right, and in this case, you might have a very easy decision to make about joining Pinterest.
As a side note, in October 2011, we went through this process. We had no clue about Pinterest until we saw it pop up as a strong source of referral traffic.
#2: Audit Your Eye Candy
Do you have any high-quality pictures, video or related visual content developed?
Think creatively about this. It doesn’t have to be a product shot or video. It could be an infographic you’ve had made, a book cover from one of your published works or even an original quote placed onto an image using Photoshop Elements.
The trick here is quality over quantity. To spark a pinning frenzy, you must identify your highest-quality visual content, and then put it within easy reach of Pinterest users.
Put Your Best Content Within Easy Reach
Make your best content pinnable. First add the Pinterest Pin It button to your bookmarks bar, and use it to see how your homepage is currently being treated. (This Pin It button bookmark is how your customers started pinning things for you before you even knew about Pinterest.)
If you’re happy with the results of your Pin It button experiment, great. If not, tweak your site as needed. You want your high-quality content to be as many pixels tall and wide as possible, and have good resolution. I call this process pinnable image optimization (PIO).
The bottom line is that your best stuff needs to be easy to pin from your homepage. It needs to be branded well, visually impressive, and valuable as stand-alone items. This is your first order of business.
Create a unique Pinterest account. When you create your Pinterest account, you’ll want to set up unique pinboards to feature your best visual content. As you pin them into Pinterest, they will be repinned over and over.
#3: Test Your Creative Tensile Strength
Do you already have an ongoing method for creating high-quality visual content? Does the idea of needing to generate this type of content stretch you to your breaking point? Let’s call that a question of your creative tensile strength.
Some small businesses will have it, some won’t.
You’ll need to decide if you can produce a steady stream of really good content. It needs to be niche-specific, and rather than just purely promotional, it needs to help your customers express themselves.
You benefit when you help them display their enthusiasm to their friends.
5 Ideas for Getting High-Quality Content
Re-imagine your product photography from an artistic perspective.
Take your standard product shots, but then take pictures that are more creative. Zoom way in, or find a way to (gasp) set a puppy down next to your product and take a nice shot of the dog. Don’t laugh; you’ve entered the new world of visual-trumps-practical. And as Trump himself would say, “Boring pictures. You’re fired.”
Don’t have physical products? Learn to either create or commission niche-specific infographics. They are all the rage, and if someone on your team cannot make one in Photoshop Elements, then consider shopping around on Fiverr or Elance. You just provide your expertise and let a designer lay it out.
Write a post. Start blogging about your niche, and then pin those articles. Make sure you create or find a unique image to accompany each post.
Dig into your archives. Do you have interesting historical content, images, blueprints or artwork that could be photographed? Do you have fantastic blog posts that never had a unique picture embedded? Pinterest is for visual collectors, and if you are the original source of interesting collectible items that can be shared on Pinterest, you could have a goldmine of content on your hands.
#4: Run a Bandwidth Check
Let’s be frank—Facebook and Twitter are labor-intensive. For a one-person shop, the thought of adding another social media burden might be enough to send you over the edge. But don’t worry. There is good news here.
Pinterest is more passively managed than either Facebook or Twitter. Pinterest content has a long shelf life, more like YouTube content. So your contributions are much more valuable, and will provide a longer-term stream of referral traffic. And again, as identified in factor #1, you might already have a fan base building your Pinterest referral links for you.
But even still, someone has got to do the work. So let’s just make this simple. Be honest, do you have the mental and emotional energy or not?
#5: Get a Free Pass if You’re Simply Passionate about Pinterest
Regardless of whether you have any customers pinning, have any initial content to use, have any ongoing source of content or have any personal or organizational bandwidth, you might still be really passionate about what you can do on Pinterest. Maybe you’re an artist stuck in an accounting practice…
In this case, if Pinterest is something you’re passionate about, there is a 100% chance that you can turn that passion into a successful traffic-generating strategy for your small business. It might sound silly, but a passion for visual curation is all you need. You’ll figure everything else out.
The inverse is true as well. You might have customers pinning your content, a nice set of professional items to use as a starting point, a steady supply of high-quality content and the mental and emotional wherewithal to do Pinterest right, but if you’re not passionate about it, then you should stop. Don’t even bother, just agree from here on out that it’s not for you. Pick your best communication platforms and get super-good at using them.
What do you think? I’m interested in what you think about Pinterest, and whether it’s right for your business. Leave your questions and comments in the box below.