Hubspot says, Dump Pinterest

In a free eBook, Hubspot says,

If the social networks you’re using aren’t working — 2013 is the year to stop using them. For example, if you gave Pinterest the old college try, and it simply is not driving any meaningful business results for you, cut the cord. Just make sure you’re making your decision based on analytics, not gut feelings.

Then, to make sure you didn’t miss it, they repeated the book in a blog post.

OK–so it’s “an example,” not a directive.  Not so fast.

I’ll have more to say about this in a different article.

Not clear why they singled out Pinterest as the target. Seems that Instagram might have been a better example of a social site not designed to drive traffic.  For that matter, Twitter has been around long enough so that it’s possible to know it doesn’t work for you and your business. I don’t think the same is true in ANY way for Pinterest.

The people who are “not seeing any meaningful business traffic” from Pinterest are the ones who gave their Pinterest account to the receptionist at the front desk, who has no marketing guidance or oversight, who pins images from the company website with captions like, “cool kitchen!”  (Face it, if trained marketing department employees are writing those captions, the business has an entirely different problem…)

Or what about the images that are all “uploaded by user?” They CAN’T drive traffic–no link!

Sigh. So let Hubspot run your marketing and decide that Pinterest (which has only offered business accounts for a month when this post was written) won’t work for your business.  My clients would rather you weren’t using Pinterest anyway.  All the more traffic for us…

From the comments on that post, added after I wrote this one:

Pinterest is a complete waste of time for most B2B companies, unless you’re a company like Procter and Gamble that can promote through multiple channels.

Interesting.  P&G is not a B2B company. SAP, which IS exclusively a B2B company, is testing Pinterest.  CSC is even more active.
Pinterest is definitely a hit or miss for some businesses. But, if you know exactly how to market it to your audience, then it is sure to succeed. One must think outside the box 🙂
I would say, NOBODY knows “exactly how to market it to your audience,” because Pinterest is far too new and much too fluid and metamorphic right now for “exactly” to apply in any way.

OTOH, if you have even a glimmer that Pinterest may be a game changer that we haven’t figured out how to use reliably yet, give me a call or come to a class and let’s see what we can figure out together.

Follow Your Customers

If your business is closely aligned with the kinds of items your clients will pin, consider putting a form on your website or a sign-up sheet at the front desk:

May We Follow You?

May We Follow You? Sign up sheet for a brick-and-mortar business

For some businesses, this is a non-starter.  If you sell children’s music lessons, you may see more crafts and recipes than you can stand.

However, for a business selling home decor items from a brick-and-mortar store, it’s an instant winner.  The owner can keep an eye on what her customers are wanting, pinning, and sometimes buying.  Because “following” is often reciprocal, individual users she follows will generally follow her store account back.

Notice that you must include a note about what you are using the email address for and that you will not (or do, if you do) share the email address. Use text that works for your business about why they may not want to be subscribed to your list.

“Following” Etiquette

If most of the people you will follow this way have personal accounts, consider following them at the account level (follow all), and then unfollowing any individual boards that are outside your  business interest.  This way, Pinterest will tell your customers that you followed their account, and they won’t know you unfollowed individual boards.

If you only follow the boards that fall under your business category, Pinterest will tell those clients that you “followed their ‘living rooms!’ board,” and some of them may feel a bit hurt that you didn’t like their “brunch recipes” collection. Better they don’t find out…

Website “Follow You on Pinterest” Experiment

I’m testing this on my Rugs site now using one of the Fast Secure Contact forms.

DIY Follow You form

DIY “Follow You on Pinterest” sign up form for a website.

If my programming skills were better, I’d create a button that performed the same function. It would look better.

I may have to go back and add a captcha. Will post here when I have results.

Better Before and After Pins

I created a before-and-after pin to illustrate photo cropping for my Improve Pinterest Images post. In order to manage the way text flows in a WordPress post, I created a one side-by-side image image with both the before and after versions in Photoshop Elements. That way, I didn’t have to worry about how WordPress would align the images and the surrounding text.

Horizontal Before and After Pin

Horizontal Before and After images in pin format.

I pinned the image to the Pinterest Photography board so it would point back to the blog post. The pin looked pretty insignificant on the board, because it was wider than it was tall and Pinterest formats all pins to be the same width.

OK enough, but not really eye-catching enough to drive traffic to the blog post, which was the point of creating the pin in the first place.

The next morning, I thought about the problem while I was writing my Daily Pages.

Because you can edit the link in an “uploaded by user” image to point anywhere you want, you don’t HAVE to use exactly the same images on both sides of a Pinterest board-blog post pairing.  I could create a vertical before and after pin, load it to the board, and edit the link to point to the blog post.

The new pin is shown below.  It stands out much better on the Pinterest board.

Vertical Before and After Images

Vertical Before and After Images in Pin Format

Here’s a picture of the board before I deleted the horizontal image:

Pinterest Photography Board

Pinterest Photography board, showing both versions of the before-and-after cropping pin.

Understood, this exercise took way too much time for the potential value. I’ll know better next time. Stack images vertically for pins; horizontally for WordPress. Edit the link. Repeat.

How To Showcase Clients’ Work on Pinterest

Last month’s newsletter from the NextGen photo gallery plugin for WordPress contained an invitation to showcase a gallery on the NextGen Pinterest account. I use NextGen on two sites to manage large numbers of photographs, and Pinterest sends lots of traffic to one of those sites, so I jumped at the opportunity to create additional pins.

Their system could be used by anyone who makes a product / app / system used by other creators to further their work.  First, create a board named for the most common name of your product (the name your users call your product = better SEO value).  Use the description of the board to spell out the steps your users need to follow to be invited to guest pin.

Then, add a logo pin to that board.  In this case, anyone who comments on the logo pin will receive an invitation to be a guest pinner on the board.

Because NextGen is a live photo display system, they are asking users to pin screen shots of the software in action, rather than any actual live gallery display.  Anyone who uses the NextGen plugin will know how to do this; it’s possible that people who make other apps may have to provide more detailed instructions.

Because the screenshot images will, most likely, be uploaded from the users’ PCs, the instructions include a reminder to edit the pin so that it points back to the original website.  Again, NextGen users who play in Pinterest will probably know to do this already; other users who are uploading images may need a few more instructions.

The board is fairly new and I expect it will grow quickly.

NextGen Gallery Board

Board showing screenshots of image galleries created with the NextGen plugin for WordPress.

Pinterest Business Accounts!

ass=” wp-image-259″ title=”Pinterest widgets” src=” news, we don’t have to pretend anymore! Pinterest released a Business category of accounts today, and you can either create a new account under the Business type or convert an existing one to the business category. Add a snippet of code to your business website (root directory) and get verified, and you’re set.

Mostly, nothing else changes, but putting yourself in the business category means you will receive different education material (short term) and business marketing opportunities (longer term) in the future.

Rather than rewriting what a lot of more well funded bloggers have already written, I’ll simply refer you to Hubspot’s article about the change. I expect they will keep it up to date as / if anything changes in the near future.

Two nifty new widgets are available from the Business Pinterest pages:

Pinterest business widgets

New widgets for Pinterest Business Account users

Those last two are fun: you can embed either a board, or your 30 most recent pins, in any page of your website. You can embed each board on a related page of your website, if some of your boards relate specifically to work you create.

For Karen Tiede Art Rugs, I’ll be linking each color board to the appropriate page showing rugs in those colors. See the Purple Rugs page for an example of how it will work.

Pinterest Marketing for B2B Companies

I gave a basic Pinterest Marketing introduction at the Capital City Club in Raleigh this week.  New-to-me group of people, all men, in a variety of positions.  CPA opening a new satellite office in Raleigh for a larger firm, Equifax Commercial, Time Warner Cable, PC maintenance services, web site management software developer (large catalog sites), two non-profits, others.  Mix of solopreneurs, small business, and big business people.

A few of the attendees had Pinterest accounts for their business; most of their wives and/or girlfriends used it.

One man said, “The car pictures there are SO GOOD!  not like the junk you find in Google images.” (We do reveal ourselves…)

Everyone was surprised to see how much Pinterest activity CSC and SAP had.

Afterwards, a tiny bit of business heresy floated across my mind.  I’ve had this battle before, and lost more than once, but I believe:  Businesses don’t buy from businesses.  People buy from people.  “Business” may be the wrapping, and the logo on the sales order and invoice, and I fully understand that no-one ever got fired for buying IBM.  That said, the direct marketing people have been teaching businesses that sell to other businesses to use the same techniques that move merchandise on the Home Shopping Network, and they can’t be all wrong.

If there is any chance, any chance at all that the person you want to reach in a B2B setting MIGHT be a Pinterest user, or her admin or her sister or her brother the designer might, you owe it to your BUSINESS to have a marketing presence in Pinterest.

I understand that it can be hard to think of some businesses in terms of pinnable images.  But here’s a question:  is your business MORE B2B than CSC (Computer Services Corporation)?  They run NC Medicare claims processing, among other LARGE. IMPERSONAL. HIGHLY TECHNICAL systems.

Pinterest is (currently, briefly, temporarily) full of midwestern Morman mothers (in other words, that will shift).  Fine.  Many of them have day jobs.  Some are purchasing agents.  Some are electrical engineers.  Most of them are married, to men who have day jobs (and if they’re not married now, they may well be planning a wedding…).  Anyone whose partner uses Pinterest has heard the phrase, “I saw this pin that ____.”

Make sure the next time someone says that about a business in your industry, it’s your pin they’re talking about.


An article on MarketingProfs discussed “How to Evolve Your B2B Customer Experience Using Images” The article is over a year old, and Pinterest was too small in 2011 to be a player in the B2B space.  If the article were written today, the research would be conducted with Pinterest contests–design a board that reflects your understanding of our brand.

Want to talk about how your B2B can be marketing through Pinterest?  Call me.

Pitch Anything and Pinterest

Pitch Anything is a new book about presenting-to-sell by Oren Klaff. One of my marketing teachers, Glenn Livingston, said it was the best marketing book he’d read in the past five years. I’m not so sure I’d go that far, but I just finished the book and it is engaging.

Pitch Anything, by Oren Klaff

Pitch Anything, the new marketing book about using framing and hot cognition to influence your audience.

Klaff’s recommendation is, IMO, not quite as revolutionary and innovative as he’d like to think: Guy Kawasaki has been saying the same thing for a few years already. Tell the story. Don’t let them get you into the weeds. Give people something to believe in. They don’t care about your pedigree, resume and backstory. Use your business’ version of puppy porn…(that link is safe for just about anyone). (In his case, the big sale involved airplane porn. I hope you already understand the use of the word in the internet context…)

If you’re someone who reads marketing books, you’ll enjoy Pitch Anything. I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it because it’s difficult to apply. Klaff uses examples from his own investment fund raising past, and they don’t directly translate to the kind of selling most of my clients do.

One point, however, struck me powerfully. Klaff talks about the importance of Hot Cognition–the instant, primal brain response that says, “I want it.” When buyers / clients are in hot cognition, they want what you have.

Reader, Pinterest is nothing BUT hot cognition.

I see it I want it I click it’s mine.

There is no sales letter than can compete with puppy porn, if what you sell can be represented by your market’s equivalent of this pin (also safe on a public PC).

As I write this post, I also realize that Pinterest is, in Klaff’s terms, a way to “stack frames.” The board and surrounding pins provide context you control, setting the scene for the item and how it will fit into your client’s life. Providing more detailed examples of boards and frames is more than I have time for in this post. More later.

Pinterest and LinkedIn

Connecting Pinterest and Linkedin

Apart from your profile picture, LinkedIn doesn’t offer a lot of support for images, but all is not lost.  Linkedin has a LOT of activity, and because most of the people on that platform are employed, they tend to have a bit more money than the average visitor.  Even if Pinterest is driving the bulk of your traffic, take an minute and make sure Linkedin knows about your Pinterest account.

Add a Website link to your Pinterest account

Pinterest displayed as one of three websites on your profile.

Your Pinterest account can be one of the three website links displayed on your Linkedin profile.

Use one of the website link options to point visitors to your business account, and one of the others to point to your Pinterest account.

Select the “other” option on the first drop down (rather than any of the fixed options) and Linkedin allows you to create your own label for the URL.

Linkedin's Website listing

Select the “other” category to create your own label for the URL, and then enter the full link to your Pinterest account.