Episode 9

How Building Materials Manufacturers Can Create a Powerhouse Pinterest Presence

by Smarter Building Materials Marketing

Pinterest is an widely underutilized resource for manufacturers. Especially considering that Pinterest is widely used by those who are researching for projects they are planning for.

Whether your company targets Architects, Designers, Industry professionals or DIY-ing homeowners, Zach and Beth teach you how to create a successful presence on Pinterest.

More About This Show

The Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast helps industry professionals find better ways to grow leads, sales, and outperform the competition. It’s designed to give insights on how to create results-driven digital marketing strategy for companies of any size.

In this episode, Zach and Beth discuss the power of Pinterest and how any type of building product company can use this social media platform to find and convert leads.

Download the podcast to hear the whole conversation, or keep reading for all the main highlights.


With 200 million users and more joining every day, Pinterest is a marketing titan you don’t want to miss out on. This may surprise you if you haven’t looked at the website in a couple of years.

Soon after its launch, Pinterest just didn’t quite feel relevant and wasn’t working how everyone thought it would. In fact, our own research in 2015 showed that Pinterest ranked just fourth or fifth for homeowners and DIYers looking for inspiration.

But times have changed and Pinterest has finally reached its potential. After conducting a follow-up study this year, our research indicates that this social media platform has jumped to the number one spot when it comes to design inspiration.

What does this mean for building product companies?

Pinterest is no longer something that’s “nice to have.” It’s officially a necessity for your brand.

If you think about your audience and who you’re trying to target online, whether it’s a builder, architect, contractor, or homeowner — Pinterest is it. It’s the place where people go to provoke their creativity and inspiration because they want to take action.

If someone is looking for an idea or sourcing a product for an upcoming project, they go to Pinterest because it’s a great tool.

As a result, manufacturers have a great opportunity to grow awareness, traffic, and leads. If you get even one influencer to repin a piece of your content, it can be a game changer for your company.

If you’re ready to take the leap, we’ll show you exactly how Pinterest works. You’ll learn:

  • How to evaluate whether or not you should be on Pinterest
  • What your audience wants from your building product company
  • How to establish your presence to drive awareness and leads.

We’ll also give you examples of other manufacturers that are doing these things well.

Let’s jump right in.

How Does Pinterest Work?

[4:05]

Pinterest refers to its pins as ideas. It’s like a visual search engine. You’re immediately given visual representation of ideas for anything from travel trips to building material products, Ikea hacks, food recipes, and plenty more.

These ideas all lead to somewhere on the Internet. On Google, everything is written in text, whereas on Pinterest there’s an image that you click on to go somewhere else.

For example, if a designer is working on an office design project, they’d create a board for that project, then pin ideas and products they’ve found — just like a corkboard.

That’s Pinterest.

On your Pinterest profile, you want your company to have tons of boards with tons of ideas. Some will be linked directly to product pages on your website but some might also directly link to complementary brands on other non-competing brand websites

The idea is to give your target audience tons of inspiration on how to create an entire look, like a home or office space and have your product as part of that project.

Pinterest is about inspiration, but it’s also fundamentally how-to oriented. People want to know how they can actually get that look.

For building manufacturing companies, this is incredible because even if your product isn’t the focal point of a project, you can showcase how your product helped achieve the final result.

Pinterest is also a huge resource for architects and designers. They look at the image of a space and pick out exactly what they want, whether it’s wallpaper, a stool, or a particular window framing.

Just because the main focal point isn’t your product doesn't mean they can’t interact with your brand throughout the design process.

Should Your Building Product Company Be On Pinterest?

[7:28]

In a word, yes.

Pinterest is really great for building product companies that sell to architects, designers, builders, contractors, homeowners and DIYers. That’s almost everybody you could be targeting.

Our research shows that a majority of these audiences are using Pinterest either for their job or for home DIY projects.

Bottom line: If you're not on Pinterest, you're probably missing out with your audience.

Here’s an anecdotal example of just how big Pinterest is with industry professionals. Zach recently talked to an architect and asked how the firm organizes and plans their projects. He found that team members actually collect ideas on Pinterest because they can quickly share, comment, and link ideas for both other architects in the firm and for their clients.

Pinterest is essentially serving as both a social media tool and a project management tool.

Also compelling is research showing that people go to Pinterest to find a product before they go anywhere else online.

The reason is that in the early stages of inspiration, Pinterest can give them visual ideas. For example, if someone is planning out an office space but doesn’t have a firm grasp on a concept, they typically start on Pinterest for ideas.

If your company has the right pin and content, that person can base their whole project on one thing you've shared online.

Another huge point about Pinterest is that users stay with the platform throughout the course of their project. Research shows that some search engine tools work for the preliminary phase and then once a user has honed in on a look, they’ll switch to a different search engine. YouTube, for example, gets better traffic once people reach the execution stage.

But Pinterest stays with them. It may drop down to the second or third resource, but they’re still consistently using it for research. That means if your pins are frequently coming up in their feed, they’re going to stay with your brand throughout their project.

Plus, being active on Pinterest helps your organic traffic through Google as well. Google views Pinterest higher than almost any other resource for inspiration. So if someone searches for office design ideas, then the first couple of organic search results will be from Pinterest.

Even if users don’t start on Pinterest, Google is pushing them there because it’s the most authoritative place for project ideas.

The question isn’t should you be on Pinterest; it’s, “Is there opportunity to inspire people to take action?”

If the answer to that is yes, then you should be on Pinterest.

What Does Your Audience Want From You on Pinterest?

[12:09]

Remember that unlike other social networks, Pinterest’s audience comes to serve a purpose. They have a project or product they’re looking for. They might not come to Pinterest to look for your product specifically, especially if your product isn’t aesthetically focused.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t inspire them to think about your product in a way they haven’t before, even if it’s something structural like insulation or wall framing.

So if a homeowner is about to build a house and comes to Pinterest for house construction or framing ideas, you as a manufacturer can provide a lot of value. For example, you could link to content pieces like, 3 Things to Remember About Your Insulation, or New Advanced Ways of Framing that No One Knows About. The key is to make sure that you have really great content for search terms that people are looking for on Pinterest.

If your product, for instance, is frequently used in hotels or office spaces, your content should be based on related keywords. If you focus on homes, your content should provide individuals with information based on where they are in the buying process. Pinterest is a search engine, so it’s important that you think about search terms.

One of the great things about this is that you don’t need a visual product to be successful on Pinterest. People are still looking for actual information, which you can give them through educational support on your product and category.

If you’re just getting started, think about how you can answer your audience's questions. You should have boards and pins that are titled the way people would search for product, ideas, or answers to related questions.

Organize your boards by different markets where your product can be used; for example, healthcare, education, and office space design. Those three boards alone are broad enough to allow for tons of different ideas. They’re not super specific or even limited to your company, so you can pin other applicable ideas along with your own products.

Creating the Most Effective Pins

There are a few strategies to implement to make sure your pins perfor the way you want them to. Make sure that when you add a pin, you're linking to it directly from your website, rather than uploading the image directly. When you link to your page and someone clicks on the pin, then they’ll go straight to your website.

When pinning from other sources on Pinterest, double check that each one goes to an authoritative website. Pinterest isn’t flawless and some of the pins on there either redirect to dead pages or are mislabeled. Your boards should offer high integrity pins and be valuable in order to be successful.

Here’s a great example from Valspar Paint. They use Pinterest to post examples of their paints being used in interior design, with tons of helpful boards like “Interiors: Bedrooms” and “Interiors: Dining Rooms.”

Valspar

They know people are searching for ideas and they’re not just showing their product. Instead, they provide beautiful inspiration photos along with the swatch or paint name used in the design. The result is that if you search Pinterest for dining room paint ideas, there’s a high likelihood that Valspar will come up.

Similarly, if you’re a flooring company, you should supply great boards for commercial flooring ideas, basement flooring ideas, kitchen flooring ideas, and more. People want to collect ideas for their specific segment.

But that doesn’t mean you have to feel limited to strictly using imagery or only pinning your company’s products. You can also pin your blog content, case studies, white papers, and ebooks. What’s important is having the right imagery to make it enticing to click on your pin, even if it’s not a photo.

How to Establish Your Presence to Drive Leads

[14:50]

Start by strategically thinking about your target audience and their goals. Why are they on Pinterest and how can you help them? When you do that, you’ll get them to notice you and (more importantly) take action.

Inspiration pins and content are a great way to grow awareness of your brand, but you also need content in the middle of the sales funnel. Specifically, you need educational content that gets into the weeds of your product category.

This drives people to your website and gives them an incentive to read the full article. And it can make Pinterest extremely helpful for companies with non-visual products.

Giving your audience content is a great way to answer questions they may have. You can serve them with a pop-up or small form to download a complete guide that goes even more in-depth; for example, “How to Choose the Right Insulation.”

When trying to get a return from Pinterest, there are two potential outcomes: handing off leads to your sales team or converting website visitors to buy online.

There’s a great pin from Home Depot that promotes treated lumber for fencing. It shows you exactly how to create a fence step by step. When you click on it, you’re immediately taken to a page for those fencing materials.

Pasted-image-0

Even if you don’t sell online, you want to convert your audience to buy because of content from Pinterest and your website. A tile company, for example, needs tons of bathroom content. It gets people to the company website where you can encourage them to take the next step.You can link out to the appropriate sample request page for that tile or whatever other call to action you want take.

Staying Ahead of the Curve with Video

Video is becoming really important across all social media platforms and Pinterest is no different. You want people to break the scroll. There’s lots of competition and small tidbits of video can grab their attention. More compelling is that not a lot of people are doing this yet, so if you get started now, you can really capture some market share before video becomes a bigger tool.

Recap

Should you be on Pinterest? Yes! You can be successful by offering inspiration and education for your target audience. Create boards that have a wide enough category that you can include tons of interesting ideas from multiple sources. Pin products and link to your own website, but don’t forget to include products from complementary brands. You can also pin content like blog articles, which can be a great resource for Pinterest users.

Need some help jumpstarting your Pinterest presence? Let us know by emailing [email protected].

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