September 27, 2016
When someone says Pinterest, a digital array of crafts, clothes, and cooking comes to mind. But while Pinterest has certainly carved a significant niche in the eCommerce world, its personal branding capabilities are not to be outshined.
Your personal brand exists whether you realize it or not. The way you present yourself, your previous work experiences and the content you post in the digital world all contribute to the way others view and interact with you. Oftentimes people allow their brand to construct itself because they haven’t given it any conscious thought. Good news: it’s never too late to change your blueprint.
Cultivating a personal brand is all about telling the You story. It’s how people perceive you, interact with you. Through experiencing your personal brand, people determine what place you have in their social circles.
In a world where most everyone stays tuned in to the ‘What’s In it For Me?’ radio station, Pinterest offers users a way to take control of their brand in a way no other social network offers: it’s a marketing platform, pure and simple, and that’s exactly what its audience expects.
More than 100 million Pinterest users flock to the site each month. Of those, more than half use the platform specifically to discover new products and ideas. For this reason alone, if you’re not using Pinterest in your social media mix to market yourself, you’re doing it wrong.
Despite the heavy visuals, you don’t have to be a retailer, designer, or fashion extraordinaire to establish a strong personal brand on Pinterest. Social media in its truest form is all about communicating experiences, and Pinterest makes it simple to share products and ideas across a multitude of industries. The best part? Pinterest gives you access to a whole marketsphere of users who are actively seeking to interact with the types of products or services you offer. You won’t find a more tuned-in audience anywhere else.
Craft Your Blueprint
Before you click the sign up button, ask yourself: What specific goals are you trying to achieve with Pinterest? Land a better job? Drive blog traffic? Establish yourself as an industry leader? Showcase your talents? These goals may look similar to goals you’ve set with other social media platforms. But keep in mind, Pinterest bears its own set of unique opportunities, so tailor your goals to those advantages. Write them down, be as specific as possible, and refer back to those goals often to stay on point.
Once you’ve set your goals, draft a blueprint on how to achieve them. How do you want others to view your personal brand? What types of items will you pin? How often will you pin? Where will you find the art work for your thumbnail images? You might not have all of these answers right away but, at some point, you will need to satisfy these questions.
Consider your target audience and the things they’re most likely to be interested in. Remember, your pins should parallel your viewer’s interest, not act as a megaphone for bragging rights. Make sure you pin things of true value.
Also check out some best practices, FAQs, and Getting Started guides so you’ll know how to proceed once you create your account. Read up on the available tools and decide which ones make sense for your business.
Start the Ball…
To put your plan in motion, you’ll need to create a Pinterest business account. Even if you’re not selling tangible products, a business account helps you track activity and see how you’re thriving in the Pinterest-sphere. Just like their personal counter partners, business accounts are free to set up, although you can pay for additional features later. It takes a whopping 15 seconds to officially register, so no excuses.
Your account is live as soon as you complete the virtual paperwork, so start building your Pinterest brand right away. (This is where that pre-crafted plan comes in handy.) Start by creating boards and adding pins that make sense to those boards. Some level of organization is key here, as Pinners who discover your pins are likely to explore the rest of your boards in search of related products. And make sure you choose a professional profile image (unless a selfie of you with your tongue sticking out is the image you want to project).
You can apply SEO best practices to your pins to make them more searchable. Creativity might happen, but put your focus on searchability first — your creative muse can make an appearance later.
And Keep It Rolling
As with any social media marketing effort, your Pinterest presence will never be finished. Once you’ve developed your persona, you’ll need to decide how to maintain it. Keep your content fresh by adding new pins regularly. Ensure your links are working correctly, especially for older pins. Of course, getting started is typically the most time consuming part, so your time investment will taper off at some point.
Don’t forget to track, track, track! Pinterest Analytics makes tracking engagement easy, and can also help you stay in line with your goals. Your analytics dashboard will show you impressions, repins and clicks, with additional information on each. You can start tracking as early as Day 1, but give your efforts ample time before you start making adjustments.
Be sure you’re tracking interactions over time and measuring against your goals. If you don’t get the response you expect, try making small adjustments like using a different thumbnail image or headline. Continue to test, track, and tweak as needed while keeping your goals at the forefront.
Through all your Pinterest efforts, it’s most important to maintain rigid flexibility. That is, you set rigid goals you want to achieve, but you must remain flexible in how you achieve those goals. You might not get the response you want in the ways you imagined, so don’t be afraid to adjust the way you reach those goals. With enough practice, you’ll find your center and become more effective at building your Pinterest brand story, one chapter at a time.
Ben Shepardson is the founder of NoStop Content, a boutique content agency that provides fantastic content to webmasters worldwide.