Friday, January 4, 2013

Pinterest for Business


With Pinterest rapidly growing in users (over 10 million worldwide), business owners beg to know, “How can I join this huge party and use my membership to further my business?” Some industries are better-suited than others to make the most of Pinterest. Lucky for you, the lodging industry is one that can fare well by utilizing this online marketing tool.

 What is Pinterest

Pinterest is a social media website where users “pin” photos of things they find interesting on the web. These pins are organized by category onto virtual “pinboards.” According to Pinterest, “People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.” Viewers can browse other people’s boards and “repin” ideas they want to stock away for a future event.

 I have a board titled, “Recipes” where I pin pictures of recipes I want to try. When one clicks on the image of the pin, the visitor is directed to the website of origin for the photo (unless the photo was uploaded from the Pinterest user’s computer). This means it is a referral website because it refers you to the source of the photos.

What is the big deal?

An infographic published by Buzz Referrals (featured in this article) shows Pinterest is one of the top three referral sites on the internet (trailing behind Facebook and Twitter). As a business owner in the lodging industry, two things are relevant to this statistic: 1) Your product or service can easily be displayed visually and 2) Pinterest is becoming a huge social marketing tool--referrals from this site can increase your website traffic.

That same infographic states that the top 5 categories include:

·         Crafts
·         Gifts
·         Hobbies and leisure
·         Interior Design
·         Fashion Collections

How can you benefit from Pinterest?

Inspiration: Thinking about updating the look of a room or the exterior of your property. Gain ideas from your friends or follow your favorite designers to get tips on decorating and landscaping.  Bed and Breakfast owners will profit from the vast number of recipes they can find on Pinterest. With the holiday season rapidly approaching, this is a great place to find holiday decorating and recipe ideas.

Promotion: The number of ways you can promote your business on Pinterest depends largely on the complexity of your inn. As a lodging owner, you’ll want to browse the various categories on the site to see what you could fall under. A few obvious ones include travel, weddings, food & drink, recipes, and design. Think of ways you can convey your business through photos. A good place to start is to set up a corresponding board to each page on your website (Rooms, Food, Weddings, etc).

Recipe photos may be pinned and repined. If a user is interested in getting the actual recipe, the photo, when clicked, will refer them directly to your website.

Post photos of your property to serve as an inspiration to others. Design is a very popular category on Pinterest. Others may love your design and want to copy it. If you have a guest who loves a particular room design at your property, let them know you’ve got photos of each room on Pinterest for them to repin for future use. Same goes for your recipes.

With travel being a large category on Pinterest, others might pint photos of your property as places they’ve visited or want to visit in the future. I have a board titled, “Travel.” I post photos of places I want to visit. One of my pins is of  treehouse accommodations. Friends of mine might repin this photo. Their friends who like it will also pin the photo.

Wedding planning is absolutely huge on Pinterest. What a great opportunity for you! Upload photos of weddings you’ve helped plan or host on your property. Display photos of the grounds or decorations. If you provided a wedding cake, snap a photo of that for future pinning. Not only do people get ideas for what they want for their wedding and reception, they may also like your property enough to want to host their special occasion there.

General Principles

A good idea sells itself. If you have a recipe, photo or other idea that is top-notch, it will naturally spread. You never know where a pin will end up, who will see it, and what action it may prompt.  Someone may book a reservation at your property because they came across one of your pinned recipe photos.

Pinterest is visual. Attention-getting photographs are the key. Most people using Pinterest scan through several photo thumbnails at once and only the most eye-catching thumbnails get clicked. Since Pinterest is a website with photos that link to other websites, consider how you can visually represent aspects of your business. Descriptions are limited to 500 characters. If there is an idea you want to display on PInterest, a photo is required.

The idea is for people to be driven to pins you’ve posted, which will drive them to your website and for your pins to be pinned and repined over and over and over.  

For additional ideas on business Pinterest promotion, view this article written by our friends at Suite Exchange.

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