By Susan Finch, Director, Sales Lead Management Association, Susan Finch Solutions.
Perhaps you've noticed this icon at the top of our site, perhaps not. Perhaps you did and wondered why would the SLMA bother with Pinterest. For several of our sponsors, they understand the importance of sharing images and having them indexed immediately in the search engines. Pinterest is a highly-effective microblog, as Twitter is a mircroblog. The difference is that people are visual by nature. Pinterest is all about sharing an image that grabs the attention of your existing or potential audience and driving them to want to learn more.
We have just started, so we don't have many followers, nor do we have many pins. We want to build our following both ways. If you have a Pinterest account related to Sales Lead Management and all of its branches, and would like us to follow you, please comment with your link at the end of this post.
While building the SLMA boards I was actually surprised at how few of our sponsors are participating. Perhaps I was unable to ferret out their accounts, but when you search for a company name, you would hope it would come up in the search results on the Pinterest site.
Hubspot has a terrific profile on Pinterest. They have fantastic, engaging images that drive the viewer to want to click and read more. They have also recognized the "puppies and kittens" phenomenon that can also backfire. Less... reputable... businesses have also latched on to the fact that people share photos of puppies and kittens and use that to get you to their cookie-dripping, porn sites. Not pretty. Have to be careful of your sources. Read before you click.
As a microblog, Pinterest still follows the same rule of 70 | 20 | 10:
- 70% should be linking to others otherwise people will stop following you if you are constantly clogging up their Pinterest experience with "buy my stuff, buy my stuff."
- 20% should be personal, of no significance, or community driven to help others.
- 10% should be BUY MY STUFF, I'M THE EXPERT.
As you float through and explore Pinterest you'll find that very few Sales Lead Management companies follow this rule, Hubspot included. But, I will say, knowing nearly all clicks on their boards lead to their sites is OK by me because they have truly engaging, relative and helpful content. There's the difference. Their content is accessible 80% of the time without signing up, without being contacted. It almost can be viewed as public service content. I'll let the 70|20|10 rule slide.
If you get involved in Pinterest, Twitter and the like and every link you post requires someone to fill out a form to read, they'll stop clicking on your links quickly and will stop following you shortly after that. All efforts will have been for naught because even though your pins, posts and tweets will come up in the search engine results, you will have irritated enough people that if they see the source of the link has YOUR company name it it, they will skip it.
Let's talk about the value of humor as a tool to engage. If you are a regular on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, you've become acquainted with George Takei. Yes, Mr. Sulu is a HUGE social media force. He has a tremendous following because of this relatability. Professionals share his images and use them to inspire blog posts, thought provoking articles, and starting conversations in real-life networking situations. Humor binds us and opens doors for conversation; uh, TASTEFUL humor. Have to be careful how many lines you want to cross. Note on Pinterest his number of followers and how many he follows. Interesting, yet he is shared across the social media world 24/7.
Pinterest is another way to trigger search engines to index your content and links. Try it out, get yourself an "invitation to join" Pinterest and create some boards. If you are using Google Alerts, you'll see them come in with your first pins as you mention your own company. We have a board for our 50 Most Influential in Sales Lead Management. We've pinned those with bios and photos on their own sites. No bio, no photo, nothing to pin so we pinned our own tiny image of those winners and drove people back to the SLMA website.
This is another reminder, as you post content, get in the habit of including an engaging image. This will inspire people to PIN your image and drive traffic back to you. No image, nothing to pin and share. What about your ABOUT US pages and TEAM profiles. Do you have them? If so, do they have images? If you need images, don't forget to use images you actually own or purchase from Royalty Free sites. Don't swipe them from others, you may end up paying for that shortcut in the end.
If you are already on Pinterest, which is your favorite account to follow? It's not just for recipes, home decor, crafts and clothing. It's about engaging people through IMAGES. Think of it as your customized billboards you can post to the world.