How Should B2B Companies Approach Pinterest?

Chris CrumBusiness

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Are there benefits to spending time and resources on Pinterest when you're a B2B company? Sure, people love it for finding recipes, crafts, and other consumer-facing ideas, and there's plenty of hype about how great of a marketing tool it has become, but does this apply to you?

Are you a B2B business using Pinterest? Has it been worth your effort? Tell us about your approach.

A recent study found that most pinners have bought something because of Pinterest. That's good to know first off. People are taking action and buying. First you have to get in front of people. That means gaining a following by contributing visual content that people find interesting. One of the best ways to get in front of Pinterest users is to appear in their home feed and catch their eye from there.

Another important path to visibility is through search. We talk about how to optimize for Pinterest search here, and more with noted Pinterest marketing veteran Vincent Ng here.

Optimizing for Pinterest's search feature (which is only getting better and better as time goes on) is one thing, but don't discount the fact that Pinterest content can easily surface in Google results as well. On top of the regular organic search results, both Google and Bing have features that further highlight Pinterest content. As recently as last week, Google added a Pinterest carousel to results.

According to Pam Neely at Act-on.com, there are at least 17 "smart ways" B2B marketers can use Pinterest. These include: a board for company infographics; boards featuring products/services; a board for blog posts; a board for email newsletters; boards for keywords you want to rank for; boards for employees; boards for case studies; boards for webinars/Slideshares; boards for white papers; boards for videos; boards highlighting customers of the month; boards for inspirational/entertaining quotes; boards for events; boards about life at the company; boards for humorous things; boards for direct mail pieces; and boards for portfolio items.

Hubspot recommends "mastering" Pinterest for B2B marketing by utilizing visual content you already have, such as as strong visuals from your blog articles, infographics, data charts, ebook/book covers, and photos of your customers, and trying to send traffic with specific links in each pin.

"In the B2B world, using Pinterest as a tool solely to 'enhance your brand' isn't going to cut it," writes Hubspot's Rebecca Corliss in a blog post. "When leads and customers are your bottom line, it's really important that you're driving quality traffic to your website with the goal of conversion."

She also recommends including landing pages in your pins' descriptions and adding more calls to action around the visual content on your site.

"Some B2B brands have complex products and services that take a long time to explain," suggests Julia Borgini at B2BNN. "Use a board on Pinterest to explain how those complex products and services work."

Personally, I'd recommend finding people on Pinterest who are following and engaging with accounts, boards, and pins related to whatever it is that your business offers, and trying to form new connections from there.

Oh So Pinteresting has an interesting conversation with Organic Salon Systems, a B2B company who has seen success using Pinterest. It shares these five tips from them:

1. How to videos, subject matter guides and trend-related articles are all great ways to engage audiences and keep them coming back for more.

2. Create great pinnable content, use calls to action and high value search terms. Make your pins friendly to both Pinterest search and overall SEO.

3. Outsourcing graphics and using resources such as Pixlr and Canva.

4. Use an authentic, organic approach to pinning. Pinterest, when used effectively, can eventually go on auto-pilot generating traffic and follows from content new and old.

5. Check pins from your site using pinterest.com/source/yoururl to see who is pinning your content, how they are interacting, engage with your readers and seek out trends.

Pinterest has been growing in importance in the ecommerce world, and while that may be mainly at the B2C level, there's no reason to think that there isn't great potential for B2B commerce as well, particularly as Pinterest's user base itself grows as does the number of eligible merchants for the new Buyable Pins.

Here's a look at what businesses should know about Buyable Pins for now.

Businesses will also likely find value in the relatively new Marketing Developer Partners program, which will enable them to make better use of data with the help of third-party services.

Is it worth it to dedicate time and resources to Pinterest as a B2B company in your opinion? Tell us what you think.

Related Reading: Does Instagram Have Any Value to B2B Marketers?

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.