The Pin Crowd
Pinterest (www.pinterest.com) is the hottest new social media tool. Its ease of use for visually bookmarking, organizing, and sharing the things people love has made it a hit among individuals and businesses alike. Millions of people use Pinterest to keep track of objects they love, places they enjoy, foods they want to eat, and things that inspire them. So how can you use Pinterest to promote your spa?
Pinterest is valuable for marketing, because it gives companies the ability to showcase their culture. It’s great for clients, because Pinterest users are actively looking for great visuals, which means there is an opportunity to be discovered by consumers interested in your spa’s brand. The Washington Post reports, “although Pinterest is a valuable tool for many different types of brands, because of its demographics, it is most useful to brands that offer a tangible product for women.” Hello, spa industry!
Pinterest is staggering in its growth. Since October 2011, visits to Pinterest grew by 4,000 percent, and the site received 11 million hits in just one week. According to Techcrunch, Pinterest recently hit 10 million U.S. monthly unique visitors, which is faster than any stand-alone site ever. More than 9 million Facebook users connect their Pinterest accounts to their Facebook accounts monthly, and more than 2 million users connect every day. In January 2012, Pinterest drove more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined. When this article went to press, more than 90 percent of Pinterest users were women.
Aside from the stellar traffic Pinterest receives and generates, its users are far from passive. Pinterest’s audience is highly engaged and can easily help your spa’s social media campaign go viral. Furthermore, Pinterest brings with it great SEO value, as Search Engine Land pointed out, because you can link back to your own site. It has the ultimate viral potential, because of the nature of the site’s user interaction.
Pinterest Best Practices
As with all social media, providing and engaging with quality, relevant, and timely content is the key to success. Here are some best practices you can implement for your Pinterest account.
Follow Proper Etiquette
Be mindful of pin etiquette: Be nice, credit your sources, and report objectionable content. Self-promotion is sternly looked down upon. Therefore, mix relevant non-branded imagery into your pins, and engage with other pins that make sense to your brand. Do not pin your logo or other imagery that is purely marketing.
Create a Strategy
Like any social media network, it takes time to build relationships. Set aside some dedicated time to create a Pinterest strategy. Start with research. What other spas are on Pinterest? What are they pinning? Who is engaging with these spas? What kinds of images tend to get the most likes,
comments, and repins? Who are the top influencers in your community? Once movers and shakers get to know you and your business, they will be more likely to post about your products and services.
One idea to use in your Pinterest strategic plan is to offer exclusive discounts. Make your Pinterest followers feel special by offering an exclusive discount or coupon available only to them. You can share it on the site as a QR code or a printable voucher. Doing this on a weekly or regular basis is a great way to make sure that your followers keep coming back to your boards.
Pin Quality Photos
Images and videos are at the heart of the Pinterest experience. Because it emphasizes pictures over text, it’s important to have high-quality photos that look good. Make sure photos on your website can be pinned—sites in Flash do not allow for this. Also, make sure photos are tagged correctly on your site so that they index properly within Pinterest.
Stay Organized and Simple
Pinterest is made up of boards and pins. Think of the board as your general category, such as Spa Gifts. Each pin on the board is more specific. So in this example, gifts could be images of items in your retail area or photos of a delightful massage. In the caption area for each pin, clearly and succinctly convey the message that corresponds to the image. Remember to use relevant keywords, such as “spa treatment,” so your spa shows up in search results. It’s also helpful to include some hashtags. Examples: #spa, #boston, #wellness, and #massage would all be tags for helping your spa turn up when users search in your area.
A creative example is to create a Pinterest board with your staff members. You can personalize your brand and give your customers an inside look into your company by creating a board featuring photos of your management team, estheticians, and massage therapists.
One of the main appeals of Pinterest is its ease of use. Try to mimic the brands that do extremely well. You’ll find that their boards and pins are straightforward, elegant, and clean. The more you stay organized and consistent, the better and clearer understanding your followers will have of your spa’s brand.
Engage with Other Pinners
Popular pins on Pinterest have three things going for them: likes, comments, and repins. Rather than leaving it to users to take the time to comment on a pin, you can help create interest by asking a question: “Guess where this photo was taken?” or “Tell us what you think of our new massage oil.” Use your new pins and boards as opportunities to converse with users on Pinterest. By sharing images and videos from other industry-related user’s boards, you will keep your profile community-based and not just a promotion center for your spa’s products and services. Repin and like other content that suits your community.
Don’t forget to interact with your current spa clientele. Pinterest provides an amazing array of ways in which you can truly listen to your customers and show them that you’re listening by sharing their images on your account. Remember, much like Facebook, everyone on Pinterest receives a notification in their newsfeed if someone interacts with their content. In other words, by engaging, you can maximize the opportunity to keep your spa top of mind and your brand perception positive. Remember to tag followers in this description by using the “@” symbol followed by their name so they get notified.
Pinterest provides a very focused audience. If you’re coming out with a new spa product or service, you can ask your followers what they think, giving them several options to choose from, by having them repin or like your images. The image that gets the most repins and likes will let you know what your customers really want. Mashable’s associate editor of content Lauren Drell shares a great tip about how crowdsourcing can be very effective for brands. She suggests you ask fans of your brand to pin pictures of themselves with their favorite product (or service) of yours and tag you. Then, you can repin those photos onto a VIP board. “It’ll give a shout-out to these fans and show potential customers that your current users really like using your product,” says Drell.
Follow the Big Hitters
One of the best ways to raise awareness about your spa is to follow the big names on Pinterest. This is the proven method on Twitter. When you follow popular figures, and they follow you back, other Twitter users get the message and follow the leader. It is important to find out who is “pinning” your products, follow them, and see if they return the favor. With some time and effort, your Pinterest account can be both an effective and authentic marketing tool for your spa. And, it’s kind of fun to boot.—Stacy Conlon
@bio: Stacy Conlon is the chief strategy officer with Contento Marketing Group, a certified wellness inventory coach, and the in-house wellness coach at SenSpa (San Francisco). Conlon is also a professional blogger and speaker. Visit her website at www.thezengirl.com, and follow her on Twitter @TheZenGirl.