Social media is nothing new to most natural product entrepreneurs. Facebook and Twitter have been going strong since 2006, but the social network that feels like it was built for business owners, Pinterest, is still new to so many who could benefit from it.
Pinterest is a particularly versatile tool for natural product entrepreneurs because it is visually driven and offers business users the opportunity to showcase their eco-products, engage customers, gather testimonials and expose their brand to thousands of users with a single pin.
Here’s how it works: Think of Pinterest as a giant corkboard. Each user can create thematic pinboards on which to share favorite images. For example, a board called “Eco-Friendly Home” might contain images of personal care, home cleaning products and items crafted with the environment in mind. The user can share images (or pins) of her favorite eco-friendly products from the companies’ websites or share her own photos, and link each pin to a web page on which other users can learn more about the product.
This weblink, connecting the pinned image to its original location on a website, is what puts Pinterest’s power firmly in the hands of natural product entrepreneurs. A great image has the power to go viral, literally earning you the attention of thousands of new customers.
To help you get started, here are some tips to step up your Pinterest account in just a few simple steps, build your first pinboards and Pinterest-proof your website. If you already have a Pinterest profile, don’t skip this article because I’ve got plenty of tips even early adopters can use.
Building your Pinterest profile
In October, Pinterest added new features to improve business users’ social experience. To ensure that your profile is a business account, set up your account at Business.Pinterest.com, or visit the page and click the button to convert your existing personal profile to a business profile.
Pinterest will walk you through setting up up your profile, but here are three tips to make your profile pop:
Use keywords throughout your Pinterest experience, including your profile description. If you sell organic popcorn, for example, make sure that the keywords “organic popcorn” are a part of your profile description. Pinterest is the most sociable social network, so many business owners add a more personal touch to their profile description by naming themselves as the profile’s pinner. This will help followers get to know the person behind your brand.
Choose your profile image carefully. Ensure your image is easily connected to your brand (logos are best) and looks good in a variety of sizes from the thumbnail image that will appear next to your comments to the large profile image.
Verify your website to add a layer of credibility to your profile. Verifying your profile lets users know this is the official Pinterest profile of your brand. Visit your settings page by clicking on your name in the top right corner of any Pinterest page. The verify button is halfway down the page, next to your website address. Follow the directions and a red checkmark will appear next to your website when users view your profile.
Inspiring board ideas
Your goal in Pinterest should be two fold: To introduce your brand to potential customers and, once they’re interested, to tell them your story.
While some of your boards should be dedicated to your products, team and announcements, your other boards should strive to engage, entertain, share knowledge and impart your company’s values.
Here are three board ideas to get you started:
Lifestyle: It’s highly likely that your customers are interested in living an eco-friendly lifestyle, so make sure to include boards that reflect this eco lifestyle. This can include anything from websites that promote this lifestyle to eco-friendly travel destinations. Whole Foods and Stonyfield Farms do a great job of promoting their customers’ lifestyles through their boards.
Fan-made boards: Welcome your Twitter and Facebook fans to be your first Pinterest followers by inviting them to share their favorite images of your products from your website or their home. Remind them to link the image to the product’s web page. You can check out Happy Family’s Happy Mamas and Papas to see how they are getting their customers involved.
Your products: One of the best ways to drive traffic to your site from Pinterest is to create boards with your products and link back to your website. Pinterest has a policy against excessive self-promotion, so make sure that no more than 20% of your boards and pins are about your brand. Take a look at Eminence Organic Skincare’s Holiday Gift Guide board for a great example.
With every board you create, look for ways to link at least a portion of those pins back to your website or blog.
Pinterest-prep your website
Before starting a Pinterest profile for your business, you need to ensure your website is Pinterest friendly. Your first step is to visit business.pinterest.com. Here you’ll find the widgets you need to set your website up so it’s easy to pin your products. Create a Pin It button for each product that will help users pin your images quickly and ensure they link back to the product on your site. The Follow Button is perfect for your side bar, contact us page or any space you use to invite fan to follow you on social media, and Profile or Board widgets which allow you to either share your 30 most recent pin or the 30 most recent pins from a specific board in a graphic you can share on your website.
Setting up your Pinterest profile can take as much or as little time as you want to invest. As with any endeavor, the more time you dedicate to it, the more pay off you’ll see. By encouraging your website visitors and fans to share your products on Pinterest, you’re increasing your products reach and, therefore, sales.