Voice of the Restaurant Industry
If the idea of ANOTHER social media network makes you just feel exhausted, join the crew.
But the truth of the matter is that marketing is not getting easier; it’s getting harder. And along with your Twitter, Facebook, website, Instagram, Google+, you need to consider social media’s Next Big Thing: Pinterest. It’s the fastest-growing social media company in the world, with more than 18 million unique monthly users. It’s now the third most popular social media site, following only social media megastars Facebook and Twitter. And not only that, but the people who use Pinterest are influencers – influencers who like to eat and drink and share. A lot.
So what is Pinterest? It’s a virtual pinboard that allows you to collect, organize, and share your favorite things from the Web and your brand. It’s like a clean, organized electronic version of an inspiration board or family refrigerator or college dorm bulletin board. Users can share, organize and “pin” images, videos, blogs, and text to their boards. Boards can be organized by topic or category, given different names, and you can easily link those boards to your company’s website, blog, menu or images. And then you can add other users’ images to your own or share them by “repinning”.
Now that you know what Pinterest is (at least in theory), there are two undeniable reasons you should join:
1.) It’s incredibly easy to use.
2.) It’s an excellent marketing tool.
Image source: www.digitaltrends.com
To get started, you’ll need to have a Facebook or Twitter account, and request an invitation at Pinterest.com or from someone already using Pinterest. You can usually get an invitation within two days, and then simply log in via your Facebook or Twitter account.
But before you start, try browsing the site and get an idea of what content is being shared and what other brands and people are pinning to their boards and repining from others. The scope of Pinterest is huge, so try to define a specific plan for how you want to position and share your brand. Create your profile page to showcase the personality of your brand. Choose fun over formal. Also, review the Pinning 101 section as well as other topics in the Getting Started tab.
Download the Pin It button to your desktop, so that when you’ve discovered something you like online, simply click the Pin It button, and add it to your board of choice.
Now that you’re “in”, you can start pinning. Pinterest is driven by imagery far more than text, so it is absolutely ideal for posting food and beverage photos, videos, and visuals related to food, such as menus and catering.
Your goal on Pinterest is to get “repinnned” to other users’ boards, so the more visually delicious or mouth-watering the photo, the more you will get shared. Here’s a chance to market your food in a very powerful way: visually. It’s the closest you’ll get to your customers’ senses without them being in your restaurant.
Pinterest provides five prenamed template pinboards to begin, but it’s simple (and recommended) to rename them. Be creative, with names like “Divinely Devilish Desserts” or “Food Challenges 2012”. Be Pinteresting!
Image Source: blogs.kqued.org
Make sure you utilize the description box available when you post or pin an image . For example, when you pin a photo of one of your menu items, include a mouth-watering description that explains its taste and why it’s your most popular appetizer. The key to effectively leveraging this social media tool is to entice customers and followers to share your Pintrest boards. Add content daily and weekly, on a schedule, as you would with any of your social media networks to keep people and search engines following you.
Add your Pinterest user name wherever you include your Twitter handle and Facebook URL. Your Pinterest will drive traffic to your Twitter, website, and Facebook, and vice versa. Interact with users by asking them to post their favorite menu items or photos from their birthday celebration at your restaurant, and encourage sharing, collaboration, and repinning.
While another social media site might make you cringe, you must go where your customers are. And Pinterest is booming. Plus, you may find that it’s the most fun to use, and can do wonders for your marketing plan.