photo credit: VintageAmanda
Connection + engagement.
That’s the magic combination small business owners are trying to achieve with social media.
It’s not enough to have a lot of followers—we know the importance of cultivating a relationship with our potential clients. We want to show them that we “get” them, that we’re one of them, and that we have a solution to their problem.
Creating this sense of connection and belonging is where Pinterest can really shine (AND drive ideal customers back to your website) – if you shift your approach.
Just pinning your own products isn’t enough.
Your Pinterest boards let you expand your brand beyond your products and show your client that you really understand her life. (I say “her” because women are 4 times more likely to use Pinterest as men. If your ideal client is female, you want to consider Pinterest as part of your social media strategy!)
Pinterest is my largest social media traffic source. It might surprise you that it’s not just about having a lot of followers. It’s about creating a connection and sharing great content that resonates with your ideal client.
If you do what most people do and simply pin your own content and products, you won’t see much engagement. But if you take the approach I’ll show you below—sprinkling in your own content and products in context—you’ll see re-pins, comments, and click-throughs back to your website!
And to be honest, it’s a lot more fun to use Pinterest the right way. You might even discover some other facets to your ideal customer that you didn’t know existed!
Here are my top 5 Pinterest strategies to connect with your ideal client:
1. Be Holistic.
How well do you know your ideal client? Not just “women aged 25-55″… but who is she really? How does she spend her free time? What does she want her life to look like? What problems does she have?
Figure that out – and then create boards relating to ALL aspects of her life (not just about the specific problems you solve.) Creating a variety of boards that reflect your ideal client’s lifestyle + aspirations shows her that you “get” her life. (If you want to go further, you might enjoy my free blog challenge which uncovers the content your ideal client will love and share.)
2. Think problems + aspirations.
Create specific boards relating to problems and aspirations of your ideal client. Let’s say you’re a personal trainer; one problem for your client might be that she’s too busy to exercise. So you would create boards about “quick exercise routines”, “fast, healthy recipes” + “getting more done”. You might also create aspirational boards about filled with inspiring quotes, or even “the most amazing places to run.”
3. Put your spin on the pin.
As often as possible, change the description when you re-pin. Give your own short take on why it’s relevant. So for a personal trainer, if you re-pin a recipe for a green smoothie, you might change the description to “my favorite quick post-workout snack.” This puts your own spin on the re-pinned content and again shows your client that you understand!
4. Engage in the comments.
Here’s where you can really go above and beyond most Pinners. When someone re-pins your content, head to their board and leave a relevant comment. Ask a question. Make a connection that lasts longer than a single mouse-click!
5. Sprinkle in your content.
Strike a balance between pinning relevant content from other people (75% of of the time) and pinning your own content and products (about 25%) If you have a board filled with relevant content, then sprinkling in a few of your pinned products or blog posts (which fit the board topic) feels natural and helpful to your ideal client. Filling the board (or their home feed) with nothing but your own products is the fastest route to being unfollowed, while filling boards with nothing but other people’s content is probably just a distraction.
Now that you know what to pin – it’s time to take action. The good news is that you don’t have to pin everything at once. I suggest brainstorming a list of boards that reflect your ideal client’s problems and aspirations. Then each week, create one new board from your list, add at least 5 pins, and also pin a couple of things on some of your existing boards.
Do this gradually over a few weeks. This maximizes the chance of new people seeing your boards and pins when they are online. It’s much more effective to regularly pin one thing to a variety of boards than it is to completely fill a board at one time and just leave it inactive!
You can use the Pinterest app or the Pin-It browser extension to make it easier to pin content gradually while you’re online.
Remember: Pinterest is a chance to show your ideal client that you understand her life. Don’t just pin your own stuff. Curate boards that reflect different aspects of your ideal client’s lifestyle, and sprinkle in your own content where it’s relevant.