Let’s go over the basics of Pinterest, and establish a winning strategy for marketing your property on one of the world’s most popular image-based social networks.
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Let’s go over the basics of Pinterest, and establish a winning strategy for marketing your property on one of the world’s most popular image-based social networks.
Brandon: Welcome ladies and gentlemen to yet another webinar in our Cloudbeds series of webinars for hospitality brands. Today’s webinar is on Pinterest and how hotel, bed & breakfast, and hospitality brands can win on Pinterest.
Pinterest is an extremely popular social network. It’s been around for quite a few years now. It’s gained a lot of momentum. And I thought we would take the lid off of it and dive on in and explore some of the things that we can do.
I’m joined today by Alex Gaggioli, our Marketing Coordinator here at Cloudbeds.com. He did a lot of the content creation and research for this piece and put it together. And special thanks to him and then also to Rich Sanderson for going through and making the deck look pretty.
So after this webinar, we’re going to have a Q&A session. I scheduled an hour for the webinar. And it will probably go a bit shorter than that. But we’re going to have a nice Q&A session afterwards. And if you have any questions about Pinterest, field them our way, and Alex will be good enough to ask them on your behalf.
So without further ado, thank you very much for coming, and let’s dive on in.
Welcome! I think I said that already. Let’s move on to the next one. One of the interesting things about Pinterest is the behavior that your guests use while on Pinterest.
Now, we often think about social media and email and all of these other marketing tactics as ways to directly reach out to our customers, to reach out to our guests and say, “Hey, book a room at our hotel. Hey, stay at my bed & breakfast and inn.”
But Pinterest is very different. People don’t go on Pinterest to do a lot of shopping. Now, I take that back. Many people do go on Pinterest to do a little bit of shopping when it comes to apparel and clothing and stuff like that, but not when it comes to travel. People don’t typically think, “Oh, I need to go on a trip, so I’m going to go to Pinterest and book a room.” They don’t do that. That’s not really what it’s for.
However, they do go to Pinterest to get spot-inspired. One of the wonderful things about Pinterest is they have a great way of showing photos and sharing photos and organizing photos that users have grown to really love and enjoy to where it’s become a bit of hobby for them to curate their own photos and share their own photos. And they go to Pinterest to become inspired, whether it’s to be inspired about some new art project that they want to work on or whether they happen to stumble upon some nice travel photography and get inspired for a trip. Pinterest is really popular with do-it-yourself projects, inspirational quotes, and, of course, travel photos, as you can see in this last example.
Your property can use Pinterest to capitalize on this escapism. But we got to make sure that we do it in the right way. And so that’s why we’re going to lay down some tips in this webinar.
But first, let’s just lay the foundation with a little bit of data. Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social networks in the world. It grew by 97% between 2014 and 2015. That’s an incredible amount. Now, if you compare the raw numbers, Pinterest with all of the other social networks, it is fairly small compared to the others. For example, Facebook has 1.55 billion people on it. That’s like one in seven people on earth, I think the numbers are on Facebook. So Pinterest is definitely not anywhere near Facebook. Instead, Pinterest has about 100 million people on their social network, which is still a lot.
Another benefit to Pinterest is that Pinterest pins and boards tend to rank really well on Google. So even if Pinterest doesn’t have a lot of subscribers, they have great online visibility. People doing research, especially when it comes to photo-centric research, like I’d love to see a photo of the Grand Canyon or best hiking trails near the Grand Canyon, photos of the best trailheads near the Gran Canyon, a lot of Pinterest pins tend to rank really well on Google for those terms. And people who are not Pinterest users can still click on those results on Google and see a photograph of your property and, hence, become inspired.
So even though it’s not the largest social network on the block, it’s still a good one to consider using as part of your marketing strategy, if it fits your property’s brand.
So let’s get down to a little bit of the anatomy of Pinterest, just so that we’re all on the same page and we understand what this social network is and how it works. First, what is a pin? There are a lot of words that are thrown around when talking about Pinterest, pins and boards and repin and all of that. And it’s actually fairly simple. A pin is just basically a bookmark.
Think of Pinterest as a great big bucket where you store all of your most favorite things that you’ve ever found on the internet. You can use Pinterest in a number of different ways. You can manually add content that you found on the internet to your Pinterest account. Or you can install a little add-on in your browser. And as you’re browsing the internet, you could just push the Pinterest button, and it saves it to your Pinterest account. It’s a very photo-heavy social bookmarking website is basically what it does.
Anyway, the way it works is when you find something that’s really interesting on the internet and you pin it to your Pinterest account, Pinterest will find an image on that page that you’re sharing and post that to Pinterest. That image that was on the page becomes the visual representation of that piece of content on Pinterest, which incidentally is why it’s really important to make sure that your website is optimized with really good images for social networks like Pinterest, because if somebody shares one of your content pages on Pinterest, you want to make sure that the image that all of the people on Pinterest sees when your page is represented is a really, really good one.
Anyway, so a pin is just a link back to your website represented as an image.
Now let’s talk a little bit about boards. Boards are just collections of pins. It’s like a folder on your desktop computer. Within that folder you can put a bunch of files and images and all sorts of stuff. One folder can have any number of files. Similarly, a Pinterest board can have any number of pins. Now, all of the pins are images on web pages. They’re not other strange files. They’re all images. But a board can have any number of pins within them. And people use boards to organize all of their pins.
So for example, let’s say that I’m a Pinterest user, and I love all sorts of stuff. I just have a never-ending appetite for everything that I find on the internet. I love art, and I love culture. I love do-it-yourself crafts. I love travel. And so what I’m going to do is I’m going to create a board for each of these interests that I have, style, architecture, food. And within each of those boards, I’m going to post pins that are pertinent to that particular topic. So for example, somebody who’s really interested in travel, in particular, travel near your property, let’s say you have a property near Jackson Hole in Wyoming, someone might have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. And that would be a great board to get some pins, to get some of your images and web pages pinned to.
So here’s an example. I’ll just talk through some examples. Now, let’s take a look visually of some examples of what other properties are doing on Pinterest. The thing that makes this a social network instead of just a bookmarking site is people can follow each other.
So let’s say that I’m a very active Pinterest user, and I use it every single day, and I’m pinning coffee cups because I love espresso art on my coffee. I just love coffee, so I’ve got a board about coffee. And I’ve got thousands of images in there. And then I love sports. And I love the Seattle Seahawks. And so I’ve got a Seattle Seahawks board that’s got thousands of images in it.
Pretty soon, I start to gain a reputation on Pinterest, the social network, as a very active user who posts a lot of really interesting content. And so people on Pinterest can actually subscribe to my entire account, which is going to notify them whenever I post in a pin or whenever update a board.
Or let’s say that they’re really not interested in me as a person. They’re just interested in some of the content that I’ve shared in the past. Other users on Pinterest can subscribe to very specific boards. So somebody who’s really interested in knitting, for example, and making sock puppets and hoodies and little ragdoll toys or whatever probably isn’t going to be subscribing to a bunch of various different boards about making your own homemade beer, for example, right? That person is probably going to subscribe to a lot of boards about knitting and arts & crafts and stuff like that. So if I’m a super user and I’ve got a wide array of boards, someone who’s really only interested in one thing is probably only going to subscribe to my one board that they’re interested in.
But the reason that this is really interesting is because let’s say that a Pinterest super user stumbles upon your website and sees a beautiful, inspiring piece of photography of the landscape right outside your window and they publish it to one of their boards, and that board happens to be subscribed to by 10,000 people, 20,000 people, 30,000 people. Strangers things have happened. You’re suddenly going to be getting a lot of traffic to your website. Now, that, of course, is like a bolt of lightning. Not every website out there is going to get a Pinterest super user who happens to stumble upon their website and posts your content to their Pinterest board.
So what you can do instead is you can start to become a Pinterest curator yourself, and you can establish a reputation on Pinterest and grow a following and grow subscribers to both your account and to your pins so that you can take advantage of all of that wonderful interest that’s on Pinterest waiting to be inspired and drive them to your website.
Part 2: How to create a Pinterest content strategy for your hotel. So now we understand the anatomy of Pinterest, let’s talk a little bit about some of the content strategies that we can work on to get some ideas for the kind of content that we can put on our Pinterest accounts.
Now, obviously, this is all about photos, and you own a property or you’re managing a property that is trying to sell itself primarily visually. An image tells a thousand words, and you’ve been in the game for a long time, and you probably have a website. It’s probably been online for a long time. And you understand how important images are, which is great news for Pinterest, because it means you probably have a stockpile of beautiful photos that are just waiting to be organized into boards on your Pinterest account.
So you can create some boards that are related to very specific parts of your property, whether it’s about your spa, maybe you’re famous because you have a wonderful spa. People come to get massages, and they go to the sauna and to get their nails done and all of that. Even those who aren’t staying at your property really love your spa. You can have an entire board dedicated to your spa and dedicated to the sorts of services that you provide and the wonderful experiences that guests have.
Or let’s say that you live in one of nature’s most beautiful areas and you’ve got beautiful vistas. Then you can have an entire board dedicated to mountain landscapes, to rolling plainness. Or maybe you live in the middle of the country, and you could have an entire board dedicated to derelict barns, right?
They are incredibly niche and focused topics that some of these Pinterest users will use to create their boards. There’s really no wrong way to go about it because…Let’s take the derelict barns thing, for example. What kind of person is going to subscribe to a board dedicated to photography of derelict barns? Probably somebody who’s interested in beauty or maybe it’s a photographer who’s interested in locations, who might want to go to a location to scout out a photo shoot, or an artist who wants to go and paint a landscape or something like that, and they’re wanting to find some accommodations for their travel, or they’re wanting to get inspired and find a place to stay.
There are any number of circumstances that could pop up. So sharing your content, there’s really no wrong way to go about it. Coming up with ideas for your boards, there’s really no such thing as a bad idea. What we encourage is that you sit down and you start to be creative and you think of all of the different ways that your content can be interpreted. You put yourself in the shoes of guests who come to your property, and what do they do when they come to your location? What activities do they like to embark upon? Are they mainly adventure goers? Do they go kayaking? Do they go hiking? Do they go and sail boats? Do they go skydiving, paragliding? Or do they come for the arts, to collect [inaudible 00:14:13]? Do they like going to the museum?
Maybe they do all of those things, and so you can curate very specific boards about all of those different topics that are directly related to your property and your location to try and build a subscribership to build a following of Pinterest users who are interested in those things and who would appreciate the unique perspective that you can offer.
And that’s an example that we just talked about. Boards about your destination is a great idea that you can have. Here’s one about San Diego. This particular property, the Lafayette Hotel, has all sorts of photos of San Diego, whether it’s about the children’s pools or local attractions or famous photos of history that have been taken in this area or spooky mansions and all sorts of parties and festivals that are going on. It’s a board just completely dedicated to San Diego.
Now, obviously, if you’ve got a property in New York City, you’re not likely going to be getting a lot of subscribers by having a board as general as New York City because that board probably already exists. There’s probably already somebody out there who created a New York City board and a bunch of pins are already in there about New York City. Now, you can certainly make one if you wanted to. And who knows? Maybe your unique perspective is going to be so overwhelming and powerful and interesting and compelling that you’re just going to develop a lot of subscribers.
But the trick to this, in my opinion, is to think of ways to create content that hasn’t already been created on Pinterest. So instead of creating an entire board dedicated to the city of New York, maybe you would find very specific niches within New York, maybe very specific subcultures you could create a board for or specific neighborhoods that people frequently travel to to enjoy beer and local food and local culture. You could create very targeted and niche boards about specific communities and cultures within New York , instead of something so broad as New York City.
And here’s an example of Hotel del Coronado that decided to show off their property with their boards, and they’ve done a great job. As you can see, this is hotel photography. It’s the inside of rooms. It’s exterior shots. It’s shots of the beach, shots of the sunset. These are all trying to give guests the travel bug. They’re trying to hook somebody into coming and staying at their property. They’re trying to inspire that travel movement that many people want to get when they go to Pinterest. So showing off your property, showing off your scenery is another good strategy.
And then, of course, food. People are foodies. People on Pinterest love food. One of the most popular topics on Pinterest is recipes, food, ingredients, recipes, photography of food. These things do exceptionally well. And if you’ve got a restaurant or let’s say you’re a bed & breakfast and you have a menu, a weekly menu of the breakfasts that you serve, you can share photography of the different kinds of foods that you provide, photography of guests who have enjoyed eating these meals, or maybe even you could take it a step further and provide free recipes from your restaurant or from your kitchen that you can share on Pinterest.
These are some great strategies. This strategy is for original content that hasn’t been made yet before, that has the potential to go viral or to be shared on Pinterest in a way that you can get traffic back to your website because that’s ultimately the goal.
Here are a couple of my ideas, content creation ideas. What about your property’s history? Maybe you’ve got a property in a real historic part of San Diego like this particular property, the Hotel del Coronado. This property has been around for a while. It’s in an historic part of San Diego. So they’ve got a story to tell. They have a personality. They’ve got a character that they want to reveal. And they revealed it with all of these old photographs.
I once worked for the property that had gone through many names and gone through many owners, but its story had remained the same because in the ‘30s and ‘40s, it used to be a retreat for Presidents. Presidents would go and spend the weekend or the week at this property, cooking out and having a barbeque, or dignitaries and ambassadors, people from all over the world. And so they would share all of this wonderful black & white photography from the ‘30s and ‘40s of famous men and women of invention staying at their property, right?
Now, not everyone’s going to have such a luxurious and glorious history. But almost every property that’s been around a while, especially if you’re in a historic city, is going to have some bit of history that you can share. And many people really do find that interesting. So sharing old photographs, digging up some information about your location, even if it’s not your property in particular but maybe it’s the street you’re on, or maybe it’s the little neighborhood that you’ve been in, finding old newspaper clippings and sharing those, anything that just sparks the curiosity of somebody to come and visit your property.
Weddings. Oh my goodness! Weddings go crazy on Pinterest. From cakes to dresses to party favors to bridesmaids’ dresses to bachelor parties to bachelorette parties, everything about weddings sells like hot cakes on Pinterest. And if your property is large enough to accommodate weddings, if that is part of your business, to accommodate weddings, then you have got to make sure that you’ve got a section of your Pinterest account dedicated to weddings.
And you need to be really clever about the way that you promote this. So you wouldn’t just want to make a very generic board that says “weddings,” because that’s likely going to be lost. That’s probably not going to get found. Be smart about it, and find out the keywords that people are going to be using on Google to do wedding planning research on Google because that’s the way that your board is going to get found.
So if I had a property in Houston, Texas, and I was a wedding planner or I work with a wedding planner or my venue accommodated weddings and wedding planners frequently work there, I’d name my board something like “Wedding venue in Houston, Texas” or something like “Best wedding venue in Houston, Texas.” That would be the name of my board. It’s very topical, very targeted, very direct, and it’s probably going to be ranking a lot better than something very generic like “weddings,” right?
And then within that, you would be sure to stay on topic. You’re not going to go to some stock photography site and pull a bunch of dresses and wedding photography off the website. Everything’s going to be original, and you’re going to keep it focused on Houston because Houston is where your property is located. You’re going to want to show off the skyline of Houston. You’re going to want to show off the sites from your property. You’re going to want to show off some of the Houston culture and then take photographs of some of the previous weddings that you’ve done just so that people who are planning their wedding are going to be able to visualize the snapshot of what their wedding could be like if they booked it at your property.
Your vacation photos, because you didn’t get into the hospitality business just because you’re just ever so keen about hotels. I’m very sure that you’ve gotten to the hospitality business because you probably like to travel, as do most people. So what kind of photography would you take on your travels? When you go out and about, what do you take photos of? Is it seagulls? Is it food, like in this example? Here’s a photo of s’mores. Here’s a photo of sand castles, of campfires, of wine on the beach, right? Your vacation photos, just things that are trying to put the guest in your shoes or put the guests on your floor at your property. What can you share to teleport them there, to place them right into the middle of your property so that they can see it the way you see it, so they can get that inspiration the way that you once had it or hopefully still have?
Local attractions and hot spots, this is going to be really important. And it’s a great opportunity to target some of those niche areas that I was talking about earlier. So if you were to just make one big board about San Diego, that’s good. But it may not get the kind of traffic that you wanted. But talking about specific neighborhoods of San Diego, streets, or buildings, that’s probably going to be a better way of going about it.
And then sharing off your favorite local attraction is also going to be useful because if somebody is coming to San Diego and they’re on your board because they discovered it on Google, and they’re doing their research and they’ve already been inspired and they’ve seen your beautiful photos, now they got to plan their itinerary, “What am I going to do when I get to San Diego? Oh look, here’s a nice board filled with all sorts of local attractions that this fine hotel property has provided me. I am now no longer bored. I now know exactly what I want to do when I go to San Diego.” Not only being inspiring but making your Pinterest board useful, making sure that the content that you’re producing and that you’re providing can actually be used to help them plan their trip.
Those are, in my opinion, some good suggestions from keeping your board topical, interesting and to improve the chance that people will subscribe and share it.
All right, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. We understand why Pinterest is important. We understand the anatomy of Pinterest. We get it. We get how it works. But now, this is how you actually go and get it all done. It’s actually a fairly straightforward process.
business.pinterest.com is the URL that you need to go to. That’s the web address. Go there and you can create a business account for your property. Now, you’re going to need to make sure that you’re creating a business account, not a personal account.
A business account opens up more tools and more doors than a personal account would. For example, with a business account, you could do promoted pins. You could actually use Pinterest as an advertising platform for your property, which you might not be able to do if you chose a personal account. So business.pinterest.com is where you’re going to need to go to set up your account.
Alex: And if I can interject there for a second, if you already have an account and you’re not sure that it’s a business one, they do let you transfer it. So if you’ve already created a profile or a personal profile that you want to use for your hotel, you can switch it to a business profile.
Brandon: Excellent. Thank you, Alex. Here’s a great suggestion on the content creation ideas, and this is thinking outside the box, right? So if you’re really struggling on content creation ideas…You’ve got your business account. You created your profile. You’re just having a hard time coming up with the boards. You don’t know what kind of categories you should…
What you can do is you can log into your Google Analytics account. You probably have a Google Analytics account installed on your website if you’re tracking your users, if you’re using that information as every good marketer should to make decisions about your property.
And what you can do is you can log into Google Analytics to discover the interests of the people who are coming to your website. What keywords are already today sending people to your website? What interests does Google create as a profile for the audience that comes to your website?
Google was going to break it down into a lot of variety of topics, Grand Canyon hiking, cave paintings, golden fires in the Grand Canyon, star gazing in the Grand Canyon. These are all interests and topical ideas related to your property, related to your location that you might not have thought of yourself. But these are things your guests are typing into Google. These are things your guests are interested in. And if they’re interested in them on Google, if they’re interested in them when they get to your property, then they’re probably going to be interested in them on Pinterest as well.
So you can use this to mine information, to get a bunch of data, to get inspired yourself for ideas of boards you can create on Pinterest. So using Google Analytics and using the audience interest section is a great way to come up with board ideas.
So now, you’ve got your business account, and now you’ve got your board ideas. Now, it’s time to create a board. And Alex put together this nice flowchart. It doesn’t read left to right, but it is numbered correctly.
So number one, navigate to your profile on the upper right hand corner. Number two, click the big gray rectangular create board button. That’s going to open up an interface that allows you to name it. It allows you to categorize it. It allows you to upload or add your first photos. And then you can save it.
And then if you ever want to add pins to your board in the future, all you have to do is hit that little plus button from within the Pinterest Chrome, the user interface, and then you can punch in the URL to the page you want to promote. Choose the image on that page that you want to represent that page. Choose the board you want that pin to live in and click submit. Super simple process, that’s how you add a pin.
Again, you don’t always have to do this from the Pinterest website. I know. This is at least the way that I am. I don’t always want to be on the Pinterest website. I don’t want to have it open as a tab on my browser all the time. So what I do is I installed a little Chrome extension on my browser and I just haphazardly click it every time I find something that’s interesting. Oh, that’s a great image on that website, Pinterest. I just hit the Pinterest button on my browser, and it goes right to my account. It goes right to my board, and I automatically share that link. This is a great way to populate your Pinterest account with content that’s already on your website. You can install the Chrome extension, then go to your own website and go from page to page to page sharing images, putting it into your Pinterest account, organizing it into boards right from your own website.
And once you’re done, then you could just go to Pinterest, and bam! Everything is already there. Your image is already organized. Your boards are already created. You’ve already got the descriptions which you wrote from browsing your website. It’s a really easy and useful way to create content.
Let’s talk a little bit about captions. I just mentioned about adding the description, and captions is what I’m talking about. So not only does Pinterest allow you to share big beautiful photos, that’s the primary part of the social network, but almost equally as important is going to be the caption.
What really makes Pinterest stand out from many other social networks is they don’t do hash tags. This is not any social network that loves hash tags. Twitter does hash tags. Facebook tries to do hash tags. But Pinterest really doesn’t like hash tags. So you don’t need to worry about that. Instead, captions should be informative and useful. They need to add context to the image so that your guests can better appreciate it, right?
So here we are looking at some beautiful food. And I like that food. That’s great food. But what if the caption said something like this, “Missionaries came to a homeless shelter and they gave us all free food. This is the wonderful feast that they gave us,” right?
Whoa! Suddenly, the image is completely different. I’m like, “Wow! How inspiring! Look at that beautiful meal,” right? That’s the power of a caption. That’s the power of using really punchy and inspiring text to transform the photo. So being intelligent about the photos that you’re using is important, but then also being intelligent about the captions that you write is essential because that really makes the image.
Another really important thing is that every image should backlink to its original source. And this is particularly important if you’re using Pinterest as part of your marketing strategy, part of your SEO strategy, part of your referral traffic strategy, right? You don’t want to go to Google Images, type in “pictures of the Grand Canyon,” and then just start pinning every photo that you see to your Pinterest board. It’s not going to be as useful to you as if you went to your own website and started pinning the photos that are actually housed on your website. And the reason for that is because every single time Pinterest posts a pin to Pinterest, they also put a backlink to the original source.
So if the photo was on your website, your website gets the backlink. Now, I’m not saying that having a thousand backlinks from Pinterest is going to be really useful. It probably won’t be, unless those thousand backlinks come from a thousand different accounts, right? But Google’s going to notice if a thousand backlinks come from only one Pinterest account, and they’re going to think something’s a little fishy about that.
But a backlink is definitely a backlink. And so having a backlink from Pinterest is useful. But what’s more useful than just the SEO benefit of getting a backlink from Pinterest is the referral traffic potential that you can get from Pinterest. You can grow your board. Then people are going to be clicking on the images within that board. And if those links go back to your website, that’s more website traffic and potentially more direct bookings, which of course is the entire point of this exercise.
The goal is to inspire potential guests to book at your property. So make sure that your link is accurate.
Now, I will interject here to say that it’s okay to share content from other websites on your boards, and this is especially true if you have partnerships, local partnerships.
Let’s say that there’s a local tour guide in your area that you’ve got a great working relationship with. You share customers with him. He shares customers with you. It’s probably okay to share images of his services on your Pinterest board and to give him a nice backlink. That’s a kind neighborly thing to do.
And sometimes you’re going to find some content out there that’s just so amazing and so pertinent and so relevant that you just have to share it with your subscribers. And yes, it links to the New York Times or to some other website. But doggone it, it’s topical. It’s amazing. And it just makes your board that much more interesting. And in those situations, yeah, feel free to use it as well.
But never forget the true purpose of this, which is to create a bunch of wonderful, beautiful image content out there that links back to your property. Making sure that you nail that one is essential to success on Pinterest.
All right, let’s cover some tips from Pinterest itself, right, the people who made this social network. They’ve got a couple of great tips that we should all bear in mind when we sit down to work on our Pinterest profiles.
Keep your potential guests interested. This means that every single piece of content that you publish needs to be inspiring. It needs to be unique. It needs to be interesting. What we don’t want to see is we don’t want to see somebody going on to Pinterest and pinning out of habit or pinning out of obligation or pinning because you have to. You should be pinning because you have something to say, because the content you have is there and it’s unique and it’s interesting and you’ve got a caption and you’ve got something to say. That kind of content is going to be interesting.
Content that is just regurgitated or doesn’t have soul in it, doesn’t have spirit in it, people can see that. They see the image and they see the caption is mismatched or there’s just no heart in it, and they get turned off. So when it comes to Pinterest, quantity is definitely important. So I’m not going to say quality over quantity. I’m not going to say quantity and quality. You need to have it both. You need to have quantity, but it’s also got to be really quality.
Number two, show what inspires you. Successful content on Pinterest is a reflection of your character. Now, from a hotel brand perspective, this is going to be a reflection of your hotel property brand’s character. Now, we’ve talked about this a lot in our past webinars, and we often talk about it in our eBooks. When it comes to creating a great marketing strategy, you need to make sure that your brand is established.
What is your brand? Are you a youth hostel, and so you cater to a lot of young, adventurous individuals who are happy to sleep in the dormitory as long as they’ve got good food and some beer and great hiking adventures, right? Well, you have a unique voice? If that’s your audience, you have a unique voice, and you need to make sure that you maintain that voice. And in whatever you do, even if it’s Pinterest, you need to make sure that that unique branded voice is being shown through.
Suddenly, if you’re this youth hostel and you start posting all of these really corporate images and less than inspiring quotes or content that you didn’t create, it’s going to ring off inauthenticity and it’s not going to do you any favors. Instead, keeping on brand, making sure that the people who are following you on Pinterest are the same kind of people who are going to your website, the same kind of people who stay at your property, the same kind of people who subscribe to your email list, keeping that in mind is going to be important when it comes to creating your content so that you can keep that content on brand.
Curate your collection. Life happens. News happens. Things go through time very quickly. Things are constantly evolving. And sometimes, something is happening to your property. For example, Alex gave us a great example of the Hilton who created a board for the Grammys. They showcased how Hollywood interacted with Hilton over the years.
Now, obviously, not all of us have that opportunity. We’re not giant hotel brands that have celebrities staying at them, so we don’t always have that opportunity. But if you find something in the news, whether it’s political or inspirational or maybe there was a natural disaster or maybe there’s some sort of great migration of wildebeests that only happens every now and then and your property happens to have a window seat or something like that, making sure that you create content that is relevant to the news that is going on is also a great idea. So keeping things current is important.
Authenticity matters. Keeping your brand authentic, we talked a little about this in number two, but making sure that everything that you share is genuine and from the heart, not sappy and soppy and romance movie and all of that, but making sure that you’re being authentic with everything, that if you’re sharing something, it’s genuine. This is a photo you really took. This is an accurate representation of your property. Or this is a cause that means a lot to you and should mean a lot to the people who go to your property, so something like that. Making sure that you’re not only on brand but that you’re also authentic is important for making sure that your content can be shared.
And then, finally, let’s talk a little bit about ongoing maintenance. Pinterest is not a social network that you can set and forget. It takes a lot of pruning. It takes a lot of maintaining. It’s definitely not for somebody who can’t dedicate the time to it. And that’s actually a word of caution.
It would be worse to have a Pinterest account that looked bad than to have no Pinterest account at all, in my opinion. If you’re linking to a Pinterest account on your website or if you’ve got this branded Pinterest account and it’s only got one or two images or the images are really bad or it looks really spammy, then it would just be better for your brand to not have a Pinterest account at all than to share content that’s poor.
So one of the ways to keep this going…Alex, did you have something you wanted to say?
Alex: Yeah, I’m just going to say that I agree with Brandon, but also if you do a really good job of setting up your Pinterest account from the beginning and then you just happenstance like update it from there but you still lay a really good foundation, then that’s okay too. Pinterest is about making content relevant over a long period of time. So if you do create really good content in the beginning and update it [inaudible 00:39:32], it’s not the end of the world either.
Brandon: That’s true. But the keyword there is making sure that it’s exceptional content when you do create it. And the thing about your subscribers is that people don’t like listening to empty rooms. People don’t like turning on the radio and hearing static. So if you’ve got a bunch of people subscribed into your boards, into your account, they’re expecting you to entertain them. They’re expecting you to inspire them. And so if you suddenly go off the air and you stop sharing content, then, yeah, all of the content you shared in the past is good, and it’s still online, and it can still be searched by Google. Just make sure that it is substantial. It can’t just be one or two images. That’s not going to helpful. It needs to be fairly substantial. And that’s all great.
But to maintain your subscribers and to increase the number of subscribers that you have, you do need to continue to maintain your account, and that’s by adding new pins every now and then, by updating existing pins, by making sure all of the images are accurate and work and so on and so forth.
Now, this isn’t something you have to do every day, certainly not every week, maybe not even every month, but maybe every one or two months, if you want to go through your entire Pinterest boards and update old stuff, just take a look at stuff, prune things here and there, it’s going to make your Pinterest account more healthy. It’s going to improve the subscribers that you have and help you retain them for the long term.
Pinterest is powerful. It’s not the biggest social network on the block, but it has a voracious user base that loves it, that loves images, that loves food and arts and crafts and do-it-yourself and travel. They love to be inspired. They share pins voraciously. And they go to websites that are promoted on Pinterest.
It’s a good opportunity. It does take a lot of work. But the best things in life are a lot of work. So if you’ve got the time and bandwidth for working on Pinterest, it can definitely be used to market your property.
All right, that’s the case for Pinterest, ladies and gentlemen. I hope that I was able to share something that you didn’t already know. And now, we’re going to open it up to questions.
If you hover over the top of your screen, your zoom screen, you’re going to see a button that says Q&A. You can punch that button and then just type in your question, and then Alex is going to ask those live.
Alex, are there any questions about Pinterest yet?
Alex: We had one question earlier about how often you should pin, but I believe we just answered that [inaudible 00:42:24].
Brandon: If you had to break Pinterest down to a pinning schedule, Alex, what would you suggest?
Alex: I would say put in the work in the beginning to create your boards and know what you’re trying to do and then go in once a month and update it. For user-generated content, go in and scan your tags on whatever profile, maybe Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and then add them to your Pinterest board. So once a month, going through and making sure everything’s fine-tuned, updating things. And then, obviously, if your property goes through some major transformation or a super event that’s happening and to update it whenever those things happen.
Brandon: That’s good. It’s certainly not like having to update Twitter multiple times a day or multiple times a week. You don’t constantly have to be coming up with text to say or broadcasting an idea. But it’s all about maintenance. It’s kind of like pruning a tree. Every now and then, you got to go out to the garden and take a look at the tree and find what you need to remove and see what you can alter here. And then you leave, and you come back a month later, and you take a look at it again. It’s one of those things where you’re pruning, you’re maintaining. It’s not like a fire hose that you have to keep the nozzle flowing. You just have to come back and maintain it over time.
Alex: Great. So it doesn’t look like we have any more questions here.
Brandon: All right, well, if there are no other questions, we will go ahead and end our webinar a little early. This was a Pinterest strategy for hotels, inns, and bed and breakfasts. I hope the information was useful. If you liked it, be sure to subscribe to our other webinars. We tend to do webinars every two weeks at Cloudbeds.com, and we cover a variety of hospitality topics, from marketing to hospitality management to independent research.
And we would really appreciate it if you would subscribe to our webinars that you can get notified of our webinars in the future. We’re going to be condensing this webinar into a nice, handy, portable eBook PDF that you can take with you. And we will be sure to email that out to you by tomorrow.
We’re going to be publishing a recording of this on Cloudbeds.com. So if you ever want to come back and re-watch it so that you can take notes or whatever, you’re more than welcome to do so. And we will also have that published on our website by tomorrow.
So no more questions, Alex?
Alex: Nope, there are no more.
Brandon: All right, thanks everybody for coming to this week’s webinar. And we will see you next time.