Still in Beta itself, Pinterest is a virtual pin board where you can “pin” pictures of things that interest you and see those of others. It’s members are mostly women and I estimate that the majority of these are in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. Unlike other social networks which are generally populated by status updates, links to articles and other heavily text-based interaction, Pinterest networking and user interaction is mainly visual.
After just a few minutes checking out the site, you’ll see a variety of photos representing user’s interests in fields such as: handcrafted decorations and décor, home decorating styles, personal fashion styles, wedding ideas, party ideas, recipes and food presentation, kids crafts and rooms, quotes, graphics, DIY (do-it-yourself) how-to and other inspirations. Users share pictures of their own creations and ideas as well as those of fashion and decorating magazines, bloggers, Etsy (the marketplace where people sell handcrafted wares) and other sites.
A few businesses have ventured on to the site but it’s really not a site for doing business (unless you sell handcrafted wares or party supplies); however, since it is so visually oriented, salon and spa owners and independent beauty professionals should consider adding social media marketing on Pinterest to their tactics and overall marketing plan.
Here are my dos and don’ts for beauty industry professionals as far as using Pinterest to grow salon and spa business:
- Take a look around on Pinterest.com. You can take a look at my pin boards (including my ‘beauty’ pinboard) to see how other professionals are utilizing Pinterest to post tutorials, examples of great hair and makeup or even examples of their own work.
- Create an account for yourself if you enjoy spending time on social media or using the computer for inspiration, recipes, decorating how-to, etc.
- Create original content online (on your website or blog) that includes quality imagery which can be ‘pinned’ to your boards on Pinterest. And ‘sign’ your work; if you are posting original content and imagery, put the name of your website, salon or yourself as part of a date/timestamp on the photos themselves.
- Use Pinterest for inspiration for hair, makeup or nail ideas, and even to get photos that you can use to suggest new looks or makeovers for your clients.
- Identify influential ‘pinners’ in your industry or field and see what they are doing (and take note of what they are not doing). Follow the Pinterest boards of users who seem to share your interests and taste in décor or fashion.
- Create an online catalog for your business as one board among your overall pin boards; this type of pinboard should feature your work in outcomes, tutorials or DIY (do it yourself) at home how-to, etc.
- Share photos of your own work or other pictures that inspire you, especially for categories like wedding or party hair, makeup or nails, celebrity looks, natural beauty, fashion and style trends, etc.
This is precisely why you should pin photos directly from your own blog and website – so that when a Pinterest user clicks on the pin photo and follows the external link, they arrive on your website or blog where you have the opportunity to engage them further and make a call to action.
If you are looking to connect with people on social media in your vicinity, Facebook is still probably the network where you want to invest the majority of your social media marketing.
- Simply post pictures of your products from manufacturers websites. Pinterest users share things that they connect with emotionally and personally.
- Pinterest is not meant as a forum for free advertising. Go light on ‘business’ and heavy on human interest, emotional and visual stimulation.
- Think that your Pinterest account can be built in a day. Come back at least 2-3x per week for 10-20 minutes at a time. Be prepared to pin photos from outside sources and your own original content, and repin items of other users that you find appealing.
- Try to do marketing on Pinterest (or any other social networking site) outside of (or instead of) a bona fide marketing plan for your salon or spa. You'll spend a lot of time for little return and may even damage the brand of your business or dilute your real initiatives. Without a plan, how can you know whether you've succeeded?
If you are looking for a shortcut to creating original content for your salon or spa or yourself as a professional, this isn’t it. You can’t upload imagery directly to Pinterest, nor can you pin items from Facebook. You can pin from other websites, though, including your favorite online fashion magazines and blogs.
No social media network should be a substitute for your having internet ‘real estate’ of your own: a website with your own domain name and a blog. Either or both your website or your blog can become a platform wherein you can place your own original content in the form of celebrity or fashion photos, tutorials for creating hairstyles, makeup looks or nails or other do-it-yourself hair, skin or makeup how-to and advice.
Pinterest is still in Beta; users get accounts by way of invitation only (at present). But all you need do is put a note out on Facebook and ask a friend or fan to 'invite' you. Happy pinning!
Elizabeth Kraus is the author of Make Over Your Marketing: 12 Months of Marketing for Salon and Spa as well as the 2012 Salon and Spa Marketing Calendar - your salon and spa marketing blueprint for 2012!