Pinterest is one of the most underrated social networks for lead generation and customer acquisition. But, in fact, Pinterest is one of the largest social media networks in the world. Used by 175 million people, it’s growing at a rate that’s doubling and tripling in some international markets.
Since Pinterest is also a platform that grows from organic search discovery via user-generated content, it can increase brand awareness among its users, and even non-users who stumble across a Pinterest page during a search.
Business owners who invest the time in optimizing their Pinterest exposure to reach prospective customers can create a reliable lead-generation machine without needing to invest large sums of money. Here’s how to leverage Pinterest to develop your own marketing channel to yield reliable results.
Think like a search-engine marketer.
In many ways, Pinterest functions like a visual search engine. The platform combs through board titles, pin titles, pin descriptions and pin tags to surface relevant content for users. The platform also relies on users to collect and compile this content, which ultimately makes the discovery process fun and rewarding.
Given this reality, those interested in using Pinterest as a lead-generation machine should think like a search-engine marketer. The first thing marketers must do is identify a series of target keywords. Tools like Moz Keyword Explorer, Uber Suggest and Keywordtool.io can help you to identify keywords your target audience is already searching.
Once you’ve selected those keywords, it’s time to create a search-optimized Pinterest profile. Make sure that your username and profile URL include a target keyword, if that’s possible. Once your profile is created, you should begin creating boards that include topically relevant information that prospects may be searching for.
It’s also important to optimize each individual pin within a board. The name of the pin and the pin description should use a target keyword to ensure that the content you upload surfaces when a user searches either on the Pinterest platform or a search engine.
Consider advertising on Pinterest.
About 30 percent of American internet users use Pinterest and nearly 80 percent of active Pinterest users say they use the platform to help make purchasing decisions. While Pinterest may not be the first platform you think of when it comes to digital advertising, given those numbers, the platfrom could be a highly effective digital advertising channel for you.
With that in mind, Pinterest recently announced a new option for organizations with smaller ad budgets. Now, advertisers have access to a self-service option that connects potential Pinterest advertisers with a host of creative professionals who are capable of producing compelling visual Pinterest ad content. While advertisers do need to pay for creating such ad content, Pinterest doesn’t take a cut.
This referral option can be a cost-effective means for marketers to test Pinterest without having to invest the time to organically optimize a profile and create or curate content in-house.
Create a pinning workflow.
For those interested in committing to Pinterest long term, it’s important to create a pinning workflow so that you and your team regularly update your profile with relevant content. By enriching your Pinterest profile, you’ll be expanding the reach of your account. In time, increased reach will mean more leads produced from this social media channel.
Consider adding Pinterest as part of your content-production workflow. Each new blog post, ebook or infographic your team creates should be added to Pinterest as a form of content syndication.
Optimize the off-site experience.
ComScore found that social media users access their platforms via a mobile device 79 percent of the time. Marketers interested in driving Pinterest users back to a company website, therefore, should ensure that the website is mobile optimized.
Otherwise, you may be creating a poor experience for the visitor that will not result in a conversion. Alternatively, if you are able to create a pleasant mobile experience, website visitors will be more likely to convert into a lead.
Measure performance with tracking links.
In 1966, Peter Drucker wrote his famous book, The Effective Executive. In it he coined the phrase “What gets measured gets managed.” This was true over 50 years ago, and it’s still true today. A simple way to measure, and therefore manage, Pinterest performance is by using a simple tracking link. Platforms as straightforward as Bit.ly and as advanced as Marketo offer tracking links that can help marketers determine if Pinterest is working effectively, and which specific boards or pins are working better than others.
While most marketers are focused on optimizing social networks like Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest offers businesses an interesting collection of highly engaged users who are using Pinterest to find new products and companies. By thinking like a search engine marketer, or trying out some of Pinterest’s advertiser tools, you just might discover a uniquely powerful new marketing channel that could become your very own lead-generation machine.
This story originally appeared on Entrepreneur. Image courtesy of Denys Prykhodov/Shutterstock.