Is Pinterest a waste of time for B2B companies?

John is Brightfire founder and CEO. A graduate of Strathclyde University Business School, he has worked in a variety of senior management roles in digital media since 1997, re-launching Brightfire as an inbound marketing company in 2010, joining forces with HubSpot. Beyond work, John’s passion is skiing, and he has been fortunate to travel the globe on numerous occasions in search of that perfect powder day. These days that includes dragging his family along, too!

Find John on LinkedIn and follow Brightfire on Twitter.

It is a well-known fact in the business world that visual content is the shortcut to people’s hearts and minds. The need for marketers to engage online users on an emotional level through images was one of the leitmotifs of Internet World, an industry event our team attended last month.

This would explain why Pinterest, the image-based virtual pinboard, recently hit 10 million unique visitors (and counting) and reached the landmark 1 billion monthly page views. Reports that the new cool kid on the social media block drives more referral traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined have spurred a flurry of activity in the social media sphere, with companies large and small jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon.

We have seen B2C product companies reap impressive results from their Pinterest engagement as users ‘like’, comment and ‘repin’ their images but is the effort justified in a B2B environment? Is it worth investing time and resources when you already have a handful of social channel to manage? What is the impact on the bottom line?

The answer is not an easy one. Pinterest is a lifestyle network that is naturally dominated by B2C product companies whose offerings are easier to showcase in a visual way. It is therefore a tricky undertaking to present a B2B company in a visually friendly way, especially when the existing content is not necessarily that visual. Not if you think outside the box.

After all, as HubSpot has found, Pinterest can be a major driver of inbound links, referral traffic and better conversion rates, even in a B2B context. As an added bonus, Pinterest helps brand your company in a visual way by adding personality and increasing your brand’s exposure.

One important thing to keep in mind when creating Pinterest boards is that you should identify the topics relevant to your personas and source visual content that is shareworthy. Pinterest is essentially a curation platform so you can ‘pin’ thought-leadership content that you would recommend, such as blog visuals, infographics, favourite books, well-designed home pages, to name a few. Of course, you should not forget to credit your sources accordingly.

B2B companies can also create boards around their value proposition and company values, ‘pinning’ content that reflects the ethos of their business. Our Team Brightfire board, for instance, has attracted quite a few ‘repins’ and ‘likes’. Remember, Pinterest is not about overtly promoting your products or services; it is about the lifestyle of your company. Be relevant and useful to your audience, showcase the personality of your brand, while keeping the time spent on Pinterest in check, and your efforts will eventually pay off.

John Hornell

John is founder and CEO at Brightfire a content marketing agency specialising in working with funded tech companies and ambitious start ups in UK, Europe and U.S. He also advises companies on go to market strategies, inbound marketing, content marketing, revenue acceleration and business change.

A graduate of Strathclyde University Business School, he has worked in a variety of senior management roles in digital media since 1997, re-launching Brightfire as an inbound marketing company in 2010 and joining forces with HubSpot. Beyond work, John’s passion is skiing, and he has been fortunate to travel the globe on numerous occasions in search of that perfect powder day.

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