Social Media

pinterest for business

Inspire a Lifestyle: When to Use Pinterest for Your Business

by Melanie Wolske June 2nd, 2017

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 38 seconds.

Social media has become a major part of digital marketing, with each social media network offering distinct avenues for organic storytelling. For small businesses, social media can be a very accessible form of marketing as it may drive traffic to their website and reach audiences relatively effortlessly, especially since people spend 28% of their time online on social media. 1 Furthermore, social media platforms like Pinterest increasingly integrate features for direct social sales.

Pinterest is a web and mobile application that allows users to create a “catalog of ideas,” CEO Ben Silbermann explains. 2 As the name implies, Pinterest serves as a virtual pinboard that businesses can use to showcase their products, services and interests using visually interesting campaigns. So, how can Pinterest be part of the conversation with your target audience?

What Is Pinterest?

The image-centric platform was created in 2010, and is now one of the most popular social media networks:

  • As of September 2015, the site had reached 100 million users. 3
  • Pinterest is especially popular among women, with 44% of female Internet users active on the network.
  • Almost one third of adult pinners have an annual household income of at least $75,000. 4
  • The platform made news in the 2012 presidential election when the wives of both candidates, Michelle Obama and Ann Romney, created accounts.
  • The company is currently valued at $11 billion. 5

How to Use Pinterest

Users can add, save, sort, and manage online content, such as images, videos or links. These “pins” can be sourced through various channels: users upload original content, share content from other “pinners” or post content from around the web.

For sharing content internally within the platform, pinners simply click on the “Save It” button and pin it directly to a board of their choice. If users wish to share external content from all over the web to a pinboard, they can install the “Pinterest Save Button” extension for their browser. Pinboards can be organized according to different themes (like “Fashion Ideas” or “Pinterest Recipes”) and may also serve as a collaboration platform for multiple users.

People can like, share (“re-pin”), or comment on pins. They can also send each other pins or boards via Pinterest direct message or email. Pins can be shared directly to Facebook and Twitter. All these activities affect a pinner’s “pin feed,” which consists of unique, personalized results. Pinterest actually updated its algorithm in April 2016 to attract more visitors and keep them on the platform longer.

Is Pinterest Right for Your Business?

Does your brand enhance your audience’s lifestyle?

On any social media network, it is crucial for marketers to figure out if their product/service is compatible with the site in question. The main thing to know about Pinterest is that it serves as a platform for inspiration—users aspire to an elevated lifestyle, whether that concerns travel, fashion, or interior design. Even if your brand might not be considered a “lifestyle brand,” you can still frame your content in a way that invites pinners to enhance their lives. Be creative! A local home repair business, for example, could create boards with seasonal tips for safeguarding and decorating customers’ homes, such as “How to Winter-Proof Your House” or “Safety Tips for Installing Holiday Decor.”

Can you stay engaged with users?

Despite a plethora of networks, social media marketing is still confounding to many because effective ways to measure ROI remain somewhat elusive—especially for small businesses. Do a large number of followers or likes translate into more sales? Tracking success on social media is a bit more complicated than that. Most importantly, you want to strike up a conversation with your customers rather than just boost your follower counts. Quality trumps quantity when it comes to digital marketing, including social media. Fortunately, Pinterest makes it easy to monitor user engagement. User engagement can help you identify popular content, improve your SEO, and indirectly produce conversions. On Pinterest, businesses can see how often your post was repinned, who the pinners are and who they follow, or if pins lead to a website or purchases.

Do you have the time and energy to devote to Pinterest marketing?

A lot of the frustration with ineffective social media campaigns comes from brands’ failure to evaluate whether a platform suits their marketing needs and goals. Don’t just jump on board because a particular platform is trendy. Also, don’t treat social media as an afterthought in your marketing efforts; social media marketing requires as much planning and effort as any other marketing strategy. So, ask yourself the following questions in order to find out if your business should join Pinterest:

  • Can you market your product/service as a lifestyle choice?
  • Can you create inspiring, appealing visual content?
  • Is your target audience using Pinterest?
  • Do you have the time and resources to stay active on Pinterest?
  • Do your Pinterest posts offer information that is distinct from your other online content?

If you have answered these questions with yes, then Pinterest may very well be a highly effective social media channel for your brand. If this sounds like too much of a challenge, particularly if you are a small business, then consider redirecting your energy towards more traditional approaches and/or biding your time until you are ready to dive into Pinterest.

Let Your Brand Inspire

These days, Pinterest offers plenty of features designed to help business accounts improve their social media outreach. Once you have determined how you want to tell your brand’s story on the virtual pinboard network, you can begin to familiarize yourself with the best practices for Pinterest business accounts to formulate a strategy and maximize your efforts.

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Innovation at Work: 5 Successful Pinterest Campaigns

by Melanie Wolske May 31st, 2017

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes, 6 seconds.

Pinterest has become immensely popular among businesses because it’s relatively easy to engage audiences and increase brand presence. The platform has an inspirational theme, a user-friendly interface, a multitude of tracking tools, and a comparatively wealthy user base. We’ve highlighted some of the most creative and innovative branding strategies in recent years from the following companies, perhaps that can inspire your own campaigns.

1. Uniqlo’s DIY Fashion Tutorials

The Campaign: Fashion is without a doubt one of the most popular topics on Pinterest—more than 24 million fashion ideas are saved on the platform each day. The Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo launched a Pinterest campaign to promote their fall/winter 2014 collection and to advertise its new LifeWear line. DIY hair tutorials are a popular area of interest on Pinterest, and Uniqlo posted 16 step-by-step DIY hairstyle tutorials on their website and their pinboard. The images show models styling their hair and wearing Uniqlo’s new line of clothes. They are standing in front of a mirror, thus displaying both the hairstyle and the clothes from each side.

The Key to Success: Find Where You Fit in the Conversation

Even though Uniqlo does not specialize in hairstyles or hair products (they’re a fashion label), they managed to combine their products with the popular Pinterest subject of beauty tutorials in an interesting and unique way. True to form, the Uniqlo HairDo board has almost 15,000 followers—more than any of the company’s other boards.

 Savvy Tip: This strategy can be applied to your campaigns: even if you don’t specialize in one lifestyle trend, is there potential to add to the conversation from your unique angle? This method of following Pinterest trends and curating content to what users want can help engage existing customers, and also potentially attract new ones.

2. Crème de la Mer’s Exclusive Pinterest Products

The Campaign: In recent years, the cosmetics market has flourished online with consumers turning to digital platforms like Pinterest for peer reviews and beauty tutorials. Estée Lauder’s Crème de La Mer is a line of skincare products that have become a cult favorite, highlighted on many personal pinboards, which demonstrates pinners’ “advocacy and aspiration towards the brand,” according to Kelly McDonnell, director, global social & digital marketing for La Mer. Building off that online popularity, the skincare label developed “Made for Pinterest,” three curated sets exclusively available through Pinterest.

The Key to Success: Listen to Your Loyal Customers

Each set highlights one skincare trend and is pinned to the board “La Mer Loves Pinterest,” where pinners can learn more about the products, view tutorials, and find links to La Mer’s website for purchasing. Interestingly, the sets are based on what skincare topics were searched and pinned the most on Pinterest. The campaign is meant to introduce the brand to younger, beauty-savvy consumers who explore beauty trends through a social media platform driven by inspiration and aspiration. Pinterest has proven to be the ideal social media marketing channel for La Mer, as it represents the brand’s target demographic and offers opportunities for streamlining customers’ purchasing journey.

 Savvy Tip: Estée Lauder noticed what products were popular, and listened to their users’ needs and interests. This allowed them to tailor products specifically to their Pinterest user base, which shows genuine engagement and appreciation for the company’s customers—a quality you can take into your own campaigns.

3. MasterCard’s Bold, Positive Social Messages

The Campaign: The credit card company launched a branding campaign about acceptance during the New York City Pride Weekend. On one hand, the campaign was about MasterCard being accepted around the world. On the other, it was also about spreading awareness about the acceptance of people. Since Pinterest is primarily a forum for positive messages, MasterCard introduced the hashtag #AcceptanceMatters and collaborated with a number of Pinfluencers.

The Key to Success: Engage Users in Social Issues They Care About

Pins about #AcceptanceMatters would link back to a Facebook contest that asked users to submit photos demonstrating what acceptance meant. While MasterCard’s pinboard had no followers at the beginning, it gained 171 followers during the time of the campaign. 1 Moreover, 24.5 million media impressions and 13,000 repins were won in 9 weeks. Inspiring followers to make the world a better place and working with well-known Pinfluencers allowed Mastercard to reach out to a vast audience within a matter of weeks.

 Savvy Tip: As Steve Jobs once said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” In today’s interconnected world, more and more consumers are concerned with whether a brand stands for what they believe in. A growing number of consumers are hyper-aware of social issues and want to support companies that share their values. Building positive campaigns around social issues you truly support can foster brand loyalty in the audiences you want to serve.

4. Peugeot’s Interactive Puzzle Game

The Campaign: The French car company introduced a particularly original Pinterest campaign for their newest models the Boxer, the 107, and the 3008. Pinners were challenged to complete a “Pinterest puzzle.” Peugeot’s Pinterest page featured several images of cars running over two or more boards. Each board was missing images and followers had to find them on Peugeot’s Facebook page or website. Once all images were found, pinned, and pieced together, they revealed one of the new car models. The first five people to piece the puzzle together were awarded prizes.

The Key to Success: Surprise Users with Interactive Games, Puzzles & Contests

The contest was a clever social media marketing idea in that it increased traffic to Peugeot’s website, Facebook, and Pinterest pages. 2 Who doesn’t love a good challenge? Anyone who has ever found themselves engrossed in a game or puzzle, be it tabletop or virtual, knows the eager feeling of wanting to play to the end. This sort of fun activity falls outside the lines of normal Pinterest campaigns and Peugeot was successful in stirring up user curiosity while highlighting their new products.

 Savvy Tip: What are some creative ways you could engage your users outside the normal realms of conversation? Think about what might delight your target audience – appeal to that childlike part of every person’s psyche, the one that wants to keep putting the pieces together until they reach that feeling of accomplishment. If you can be clever in piquing your customers’ sense of intrigue while promoting your brand’s mission, by all means, put the puzzle into play.

5. Ben and Jerry’s Authentic Invitation into their Brand Story

The Campaign: From the owners’ childhood friendship to the company’s modest beginnings in Vermont to the humorous names of its ice cream flavors, frozen desert behemoth Ben and Jerry’s is well-known and well-loved for its zany yet endearing image. In that vein, they use Pinterest not to market their products but to introduce their company and give customers a more intimate glimpse into the company’s likeable inner chambers.

The Key to Success: Let Your Customers Love You Even More Intimately

Ben and Jerry’s Pinterest page includes boards about the company’s employees, its factory, and its customers. Other boards are “On a Mission,” “History,” “Vermont,” and “Flavor Graveyard,” further establishing the brand through highlighting the company’s unique attributes. Moreover, the boards help foster the customers’ relationship with the brand by making the company accessible and involving its audience.

 Savvy Tip: Your brand story is an important part of your overall ability to connect with your audience. Consumers want more and more to feel close to the brands they like, and social media outlets allow companies to establish meaningful relationships with their user base. Be real, be authentic, highlight what makes you unique, tell your story with your own flavor of personality—and allow your customers to fall in love with who you are as a company.

Endless Ways to Engage People on Pinterest – with Creativity and Intention

As you can see from the five campaigns above, each one is unique and specific to the company, the topic, and the audience. From crafting relevant tutorials to telling a remarkable brand story, there are so many ways to make the most of Pinterest’s visual, inspirational platform.

Not long after its inception, Pinterest was already attracting brands that saw great potential to connect with existing customers while reaching out to new ones—in vital and creative ways. Pinterest has since caught up to its tremendous marketing potential and quickly introduced multiple tools to facilitate businesses’ customer engagement efforts. The network allows for creative marketing strategies that get people talking and sharing—a vital element in the world of social media marketing. What dynamic campaigns can you dream up?

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instagram tips

8 Best Practices for Businesses on Instagram

by Melanie Wolske May 29th, 2017

Each social media network has specific features that can propel a digital marketing campaign to success. Instagram especially has many business-friendly features and offers various opportunities to showcase your creativity. Yet, small businesses often find social platforms that aren’t Facebook too intimidating and shy away from niche networks like Instagram. The latter, however, can actually result in a higher ROI—if done right. Make sure to familiarize yourself deeply with the do’s and don’t’s of Instagram in order to make the best use of your resources.

1. Create a Business Profile

Among Instagram’s new 2016 features is the ability to create profiles specifically for businesses. Organizations that have business profiles on Facebook can easily set up corresponding accounts on Instagram. Otherwise, organizations must meet certain criteria to qualify for a Business profile on Instagram.

These specialized profiles offer a Contact button that allows customers to call, email, or get directions to the business, with the latter displaying a map. Furthermore, businesses can add categories such as “Clothing” or “Home Decor” in their profile bio. Make sure to take advantage of these new options as they can help customers access your goods or services in a faster and easier fashion.

2. Share Captivating Images

Instagram is a visual platform. Successful accounts stand out by featuring alluring visual content. Whether you feature your company’s product, team, or customers, you should do so in a compelling, creative, and distinct manner. The app offers several filters and other editing tools that can be applied to both pictures and videos.

These creative features have given Instagram an edge over other image-sharing platforms, as they lend posts a unique visual magnetism that draws the viewer in immediately. Each picture should stand out but also be part of the entire feed experience—it’s all about that signature look on Instagram. There are also a number of external apps that let you edit your photos and videos even further. Tell your brand story by sharing an engaging mix of stylish visuals, meaningful moments, and informative posts. Make sure your posts are pertinent to both your brand and your customer.

3. Use Smart Hashtags

Hashtags on Instagram function similarly to hashtags on Twitter, in that they allow users to categorize content and drive traffic. There are a number of universally popular hashtags, including “#tbt” or “#ThrowbackThursday,” where users upload nostalgic pictures from the past on Thursdays. Other widespread hashtags include references to holidays or other major events. Using these established hashtags—if relevant to your audience, of course—could help you expand your reach.

You may also use hashtags relevant to your industry, such as “#SS2016” for fashion retailers. In addition, you should consider creating your own, brand-specific hashtag. Overall, ensure that your hashtags support your content rather than distract from it.

4. Engage Your Audience

Instagram offers a variety of ways to engage your audience other than simply following others or liking their posts. For example, you can launch photo contests by asking users to add a specific hashtag to their picture. You can then easily search all posts using this hashtag and pick a winner. Contests are a great way to connect your audience to the brand and to remind them why they are following your account.

Another option is to reward followers for looking at your pictures and reading your descriptions with promo codes that offer discounts. That way, you can gauge what your audience desires and keep them excited about your product. You may also opt to feature users and/or their content to make their connection to your brand more meaningful. After all, customers are a brand’s greatest advocates. Lastly, ask users in a fun and creative manner to turn on notifications for your account, so they won’t miss out on any of your posts.

5. Reach Out to Influencers

Nowadays, tastemakers thrive on the social web, defining trends, promoting styles, and inspiring consumers through platforms like Instagram. In fact, Instagram just hired fashion maven and social media pioneer Eva Chen, formerly Lucky magazine’s editor in chief, as their head of fashion partnerships.

Influencers can amplify your reach by sharing your brand to their numerous followers. They aid your overall content creation and bring a highly engaged following. External apps like Repost for Instagram allow you to easily repost other users’ posts, for example if they feature your product or service, which is a great way to establish relationships with Instagram influencers.

6. Track and Analyze Your Performance

In August 2016, Instagram introduced account analytics that are similar to Facebook insights. They report information like post engagement or follower demographics, so that businesses can improve their Instagram marketing strategy. This function, for example, allows marketers to track location, gender, and age.

As a result, you may want to post during peak times, depending on where your audience is located, or share content that is particularly relevant to your most active audience segments. Another insight is impression per posts, which allows businesses to see which posts are the most popular and engaging over a seven- and 30-day period, as well as specific numbers for individual posts. This can help you create high-performing posts that in turn get pushed to the top of your followers’ feed.

7. Use Instagram Ads

Alternatively, you can create posts specifically for ads or quickly convert successful posts into ads. You can choose a desired audience based on demographic data and the length of the ad run. Instagram will also give you audience suggestions if you are unsure about your target demographic. In addition, you may save audience profiles and use them as a template for future ads. In order to advertise on Instagram, however, you must have a business page on Facebook. This will let you create ads in Facebook Power Editor.

8. Promote Across All Channels

For maximum exposure, share your Instagram content across all your other web channels. Since Facebook purchased Instagram, you can easily share your Instagram posts to your Facebook profile. These posts will appear in the Facebook newsfeed, thus revealing them to the world’s largest social network.

The Instagram app also allows you to directly share your posts to Twitter, Tumblr, and Flicker. You may also want to consider to feature a selection of you Instagram content on your company’s website or additional image-centric platforms like Pinterest.

Great Potential for Small Business

Instagram’s accessibility and popularity make it easy for small companies to reach wide audiences. The social platform emphasizes authenticity—a concept that is particularly important to millennial consumers and that gives small businesses a competitive edge. To get an idea of how to use Instagram’s features for maximum effect, familiarize yourself with the most original Instagram campaigns that brands have developed in recent years.

instagram campaigns

Innovative Instagram Campaigns: 5 Brands to Watch

by Melanie Wolske May 26th, 2017

Lots of brands are implementing Instagram best practices and finding success on the platform, in fact, there’s great potential for social media success here. Instagram users interact with brands at a rate more than 4% higher than Facebook or Twitter users, which translates into 58 times more user engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter. 1 Here’s a selection of brands that have proven to be particularly creative and effective in their Instagram marketing efforts.

1. Guerlain

Guerlain instagram campaign

The French luxury cosmetics brand, known for manufacturing the first lipstick in the late 19th century, sought to market their iconic bronzing powder “Terracotta de Guerlain” to a younger audience through social media. Together with digital marketers Mazarine and Performics, the company developed a 4-week Instagram photo campaign targeting women in France by emphasizing the connection between the “Terracotta” and Paris—both representing French elegance, glamour, and sophistication.

Why It Worked: According to a Nielsen Brand Effect study, Guerlain’s Instagram campaign was quite a success: it reached 965,000 women, increased ad recall by 23 points, and grew campaign awareness by 15 points. The campaign worked because it spoke directly to their customers’ desires and aesthetic, and was presented on the major platform for fashion and beauty brands.

2. Marc by Marc Jacobs

marc jacobs instagram campaign

This fashion brand used Instagram for a particularly bold marketing move: Jacobs called for aspiring models to post photos with the hashtag “#CastMeMarc” to be selected for the label’s Fall 2014 campaign. Seemingly aware of Instagram users’ desire to promote themselves, Jacobs stated that “[i]t seemed like a great idea to me, as casting through Instagram seemed cool, current and strong.”

Why It Worked: The brand cleverly appealed to Instagram’s user base of aspiring models—who broadly use the platform as a basis for self-promotion—and provided exciting opportunities for that audience. Out of the 70,000 submissions, 30 were flown in from around the world to be photographed, while two were chosen to be featured in the Fall 2014 campaign and in Teen Vogue. Marc by Marc Jacobs is the designer’s younger, more affordable brand, which makes it the perfect fit for such a highly engaging Instagram marketing strategy.

3. Air Canada

air canada instagram campaign

The Canadian airline added several new destinations, such as Panama and Rio de Janeiro, in 2015. To advertise these new routes, Air Canada turned to Instagram for a campaign that took maximum advantage of some of the app’s largest appeals—social media influencers and travel photography. The carrier sent Instagram “celebrities” like photographers and bloggers to their newly added destinations to post pictures of the local scenery and culture.

Why It Worked: Air Canada indeed managed to capture the distinct aesthetic of Instagram: compelling subjects, interesting angles, and artsy filters. As a result, the campaign reached a 29-point lift in ad recall and a 4-point lift in message association.

4. Forever 21

forever 21 instagram campaign

Boasting one of the largest followings on Instagram, the fast fashion giant devised an especially original and artful marketing maneuver in 2015. Brooklyn-based hardware production team Breakfast built a 2,000 pound, 11-foot-tall “thread screen” that turned Instagram posts tagged with #Forever21ThreadScreen” into a mosaic consisting of different colored spools. While initially created for a public space for everyone to see, the thread screen is located at the Breakfast office due to logistical reasons.

Why It Worked: Forever 21 inspired its audience by cleverly combing social media and textiles. This was a surprising foray into the liminal space where virtual social identities meet the physical real world. The hashtag successfully streamlined the company’s broad user base with this specific, unique project. How cool it must have been for users to see their posts projected in such impressive array—a great incentive to connect to the brand.

5. West Elm

west elm instagram campaign

The trend-conscious and image-driven community of Instagram poses the perfect platform for upscale modern furniture retailer West Elm. Aside from West Elm’s own carefully curated posts showcasing their products, the brand also asks its 500,000 followers to share their West Elm purchases by tagging their pictures with “#mywestelm” in order to be featured on the store’s official Instagram feed—many of these user-generated posts are from interior design tastemakers.

Why It Worked: Rather than just broadcasting content, West Elm engages users to connect with its products through Instagram. The resharing feature of Instagram supports users’ desires for social validation while extending the company’s reach. What’s more, West Elm demonstrates its Instagram savviness by providing value to their readers on their blog, with tips such as “12 Instagrammers to Follow in 2015” or “How To Take Great Instagram Photos,”—establishing the brand as an Instagram influencer.

Instagram: Your Daily “Pick-Me-Up”

Instagram offers plenty of avenues to engage your customers personally with your brand. You need to find out which methods work best for you based on what appealing content you can curate to get people interested in posting, sharing, and following. If you use Instagram strategically, you can enhance brand exposure significantly and effectively direct users’ attention towards your product. Some of the above tactics are more involved than others, but the key is to post, comment, like, and follow regularly in order to offer users a unique social experience—whether you are a retail giant like Target or a local maker like DVRA. Remember, Instagram users love the app because it provides them with daily doses of artistry and enticement—give that to them and increase your chances at success.

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