Pinterest describes itself as “the world’s catalogue of ideas”. But can it be used successfully for B2B marketing? The answer is a resounding yes, and with a community of over 100 million ‘Pinners’, and a long shelf-life for content, the effort will be well worth your while. Here’s why

Pinners are looking for ideas, and businesses are ideally placed to provide them – In most retail categories, research from Ahalogy showed that Pinners were keen to follow brands, not individuals. This makes sense once you realise that people use Pinterest to get ideas. B2B users are also likely to be looking for ideas, and for solutions to problems, and will be similarly ready to engage with content from B2B suppliers.

Pinterest steers people towards buying decisions – People use Pinterest to decide what to buy. It’s not just part of their overall research, it is key. In total, 87% of Pinners had purchased something because of Pinterest, and 93% had used Pinterest to plan a future purchase. Behaviour in a B2C context is likely to be mirrored in a B2B context.

Pinterest content is long-lasting – The average half-life of a Tweet is apparently 24 minutes. For Facebook posts, it’s 90 minutes. But Pinterest posts can last an average of three and a half months. It’s the difference between the stone that you throw into the water, and the ripples that come afterwards. This is because the way Pinterest works encourages users to find content and ‘pin’ it for future use. It is much less ephemeral.

Pinterest can be used to drive web traffic and ‘inbound marketing’  – Partly because the content on Pinterest is so long-lasting, it is a good way to drive traffic to your website. Pinterest provides a ‘hover’ button, which leads Pinners direct to your website. Inbound traffic is, at the very least, good awareness-raising for B2B brands.

Pinterest uses keywords, which improves your chances of being found in searches – If you are already using social media, or relying on being found by search engines, you should already have identified keywords or hashtags. Pinterest also uses keywords, which means that you can boost your chances of being found in searches by careful selection of the right headings.

You can categorise your own content using inboards – Pinterest gives you very good control over your content. You can use pinboards to group together related images and content. This is particularly useful if your business involves different types of products or services. You can even produce a pinboard of your blog posts or email newsletters, using images of the headers and titles.

You can use Pinterest to showcase your customers’ content – This is particularly helpful for companies providing services: instead of showcasing your own products, you can show potential customers how your customers have used your services. MailChimp does this particularly effectively, by pinning images of particularly good email campaigns run by its customers. Customers like it, because it raises awareness of their campaigns, and MailChimp wins because it shows how its service can be used effectively.

Pinterest is particularly good for infographics – If you have produced your own infographics about your industry, or particular trends, you can put together a board that shares them. If you haven’t, you can curate other people’s infographics to tell a story, or just to show some really good infographics for particular areas or topics.

Sharing photos or pinboards about working at your company can humanise it – Humanising yourselves is a very good start to making connections. People are far more likely to buy, even in a B2B context, from a company with which they already feel a connection. Pinboards of your employees ‘then and now’, or of what it is like to work at your company, can help potential customers to feel that they know you better, and to strengthen the connection.

Pinterest can be used to identify emerging trends – Pinterest search will show you what keywords and searches are trending in real time, giving you a really good idea of what appeals to customers, and allowing you to refine your content. Using Promoted Pins, Pinterest’s paid-for advertising option, can tell you which products and pictures are popular. In other words, you can start to identify pain points as your customers start to search for ideas to address them, and also showcase ideas in ways that are more likely to appeal.

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