Pinterest for B2B Marketing - What Are You Waiting For?

If you're waiting for the dust to clear from the recent furore over Pinterest's copyright infringement issues, before jumping in, think again. Your competitors are moving in. In a previous post, 'What's The Point of Pinterest,' I blogged about the opportunity for brands to use this social networking site as one massive canvas to study consumer behaviour. What a treat to be able to listen to users saying, 'This is how I want to decorate my home' or 'these are the places I want to go'. This time, I'd like to address the B2B marketing sceptics. Here's why you should be 'Pinterested'(I know, I know, I had to use that word!):

1. It's cleared the 'another social media fad' test. You've heard the stats - today, Pinterest is driving more traffic to websites than Linkedin, YouTube and Google+ combined. Yes, the audience was primarily female when it started and the boards were mainly about home interiors and fashion, but take a look at this infographic (via Kerrmunications - thank you Claire) that shows the difference between Pinterest users in the US and UK and see the potential from a B2B perspective.

Key takeaways are:

• The UK user base is skewed to a higher male population, with higher net worth and a broader interest base.

• Based on its current track record and growing unique visitors, we can expect this demographic to expand further based on content made available.

Can your brand really take the risk of being left out? It's not about having a presence, it's about giving your audience an option to reach you on their turf, where they like to hang out, similar to the idea of using Facebook pages or a YouTube channel.

2. The cost of entry is low, you need to move fast to create brand thought leadership. Ask yourself what are the major transformational themes impacting your industry today. For e.g. if you are in IT, chances are Cloud Computing and Big Data are two themes dominating your mind space. Go to Pinterest, put these words in the search bar and see what you come up with. It's likely you'll find images and videos from challenger enterprise IT brands attempting to own this space, act as the voice of the industry and offering audiences a more 'human side' to their company with visuals of their workspaces, their people, their culture and values - the things that define who they are as a brand. Click here to see how IT firm, VMware, is creating a space for itself around themes like virtualisation and cloud computing as part of its bid to compete for industry market share.

3. Drive traffic and generate leads. In an era of big data where we're constantly 'interrupted' with brands' push-marketing campaigns, Pinterest extends Seth Godin's concept of 'permission marketing' where we can allows customers to interact with our brands in their own time and at their own pace. Like other visual marketing friendly platforms like Flickr, brands can use Pinterest to share highly visual content (e.g. an infographic with results from a survey or a research study), offer sneak previews of their presence at major industry events (by sharing images of the stands and specifying when and where they can be accessed at the stands), show-off high impact events and share customer testimonials and drive referral traffic. Unlike Flickr and other visual platforms, you can build inbound links to drive people to websites, blogs and microsites and reap SEO related benefits.

However, here are two things you need to keep in mind before building a business case to use Pinterest:

1) Don't be a drive by pinner. Like any other content platform, you'll need a steady flow of content - whether fresh or existing visual material, that needs to be built into a content calendar. Chances are you've already got a great social media content calendar and can extend your reach by using Pinterest as another platform to place the more image friendly material created. Once you've started pinning, you'll need to monitor comments and respond to queries on an ongoing basis, similar to other content platforms. Moreover, you'll need to study trends in pinning to understand how you can add value to conversations or to the community, rather than just promoting yourself.

2) Don't treat your engagement with Pinterest as an experiment. If you do, chances are you're not going to resource it appropriately and will end up handicapping yourself from the start. Understand the resources you need and have them in place from the start. I'm sharing a tip from a book by Kipp Bodnar and Jeffrey L.Cohen, 'The B2B Social Media Book', "you'll always need more time and money than you expect for executing your social media tactics"(you can buy the book by clicking on the link!). But done properly, and integrated with a well thought out piece of inbound marketing strategy linked to your business objectives, Pinterest has the potential to deliver annuities on your marketing spend.

What questions do you have? What are your barriers to entry? Do leave a comment, would love to hear your views.

12 comments
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Anonymous help

Great article! No doubt the

Great article! No doubt the popularity of Interest has grown leaps and bounds. It's no wonder many businesses have started to take advantage of its popularity.

Nice post Girish. It

Nice post Girish. It certainly is interesting to see that b2b subjects are playing a greater role in the UK. Is this perhaps due to fact that marketers are usually the early adoptors of new social trends/platforms? I'm keen to see how this evolves.

Thanks Beverly and David. One

Thanks Beverly and David. One would hope marketers are early adopters themselves so they're able to understand the dynamics of what drives successful community building before they sign off budgets for their agencies to spend company dollars.

I would love to see some B2B

I would love to see some B2B examples on pinterest.. Can I have one at least?

Just asked our twitter

Just asked our twitter followers for you. Here's three they recommended... http://pinterest.com/maketheswitch/ -http://pinterest.com/mckayflooring/ - http://pinterest.com/biworldwide/ -

Thanks Alex. I seem to have

Thanks Alex. I seem to have stopped getting the email notifications about additional comments on the post so apologies for the late response Umair. In addition to the examples Alex has cited do click on the example of VMware in the article. In addition you could also check out Cisco - big focus on women in technology that could benefit their ability to attract talent. My personal favorite is GE's Badass Machines showcasing their technologies.

We are using Pinterest for

We are using Pinterest for B2B - it's a great way to collate SM content. http://pinterest.com/tppnotforprofit/

Today everyone is moving to

Today everyone is moving to this business, because of it's rapidly increasing business and demand all over the world.

rug runner

Great article! I had never

Great article! I had never thought of being able to use Pinterest in B2B marketing, but the UK stats demonstrate there is a real opportunity for our target base to engage with our company. Thanks for sharing!

Really i am impressed from

Really i am impressed from this post....the person who created this post is a genius and knows how to keep the readers connected. Thanks for sharing this with us. I found it informative and interesting. Looking forward for more updates.
http://www.getsocialmediafollowers.com/

The world saw a variety of

The world saw a variety of social medias like the Orkut, the Facebook, Twitter, etc. And now it is the Pinterest. True to the saying, pictures can speak volumes that words cannot. That is why it has become an instant hit. It can also be effectively used for marketing also. here

I still haven't gotten into

I still haven't gotten into pinterest, although I'm aware that so many people have. When it first arrived on the scene, it was by invitation only, I guess that sort of put me off it. Though, if it's able to drive traffic to my internet property, then it's definitely something I want to check out.

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