Taking Pinterest to the Next Level

Several months ago, I wrote an article on why and how dealers might establish a presence on Pinterest, and much has changed since then.  Since that article was published, Pinterest (launched in March 2010) has now established itself as the 3rd most popular U.S. social networking site behind Facebook and Twitter.  In April of 2012 the site hit 20 million users, up from only 1 million users in July 2011.  A few weeks ago The Wall Street Journal reported that Pinterest is now valued at $1.5 billion, primarily due to the amazing way the site attracts users, their high dwell time, and its ability to convert to revenue.  If you’re still sitting on the sidelines, it is time you jump into action.

One of the biggest risks for dealers not taking action is that there are spammers squatting on key brand names (like your dealership brand), who will then be ready to sell you your brand once you wake up to this hot new Social Media site.  It only takes about 15 minutes to secure your brand on Pinterest, you may want to stop reading this article right now and register your dealer’s brand name.

And if you haven’t heard or seen Pinterest’s amazing ability to secure Page 1 SERP presence, it is a proven fact.  You can win not only on your dealer brand name, but also on key search terms.  Trust me, I’ve got plenty of examples from dealers who are jumping in.  The most wonderful thing about Pinterest is…is pretty darn easy to do, and you may have fun along the way.  You simply establish your dealer brand name and presence, and then begin to develop your style and voice for the page.  What does that mean?  Read on.

I recently gave a presentation on Pinterest at the 2012 Automotive Boot Camp in Las Vegas, and had done plenty of research and dealer interviews prior.  There were also a handful of dealers in the audience that had established their presence and could talk about their “Pinterest Style”.  I might argue that establishing your dealer on Pinterest can help you really dial into your dealership’s personality, which should be a personality that appeals to your current and prospective customers.  Fiat dealers feel their customers like things to be fun, quirky, and creative, and they are attracted to Pinterest pages from dealers who echo that.  Jeep dealers would contrast that with a personality of rugged and adventurous, and would have Pinterest boards showing customers using Jeeps in a very wild and muddy way.  You get the picture; dial into what excites your customers, while also showing off some of your dealership’s history, community involvement, and personality.  Some of the examples were absolutely amazing.

How can you measure if you’re doing a good job on Pinterest?  That’s easy too.  Simply visit a site called PinPuff (www.pinpuff.com) and you can get a free rating on your site.  PinPuff is a measure of your popularity on Pinterest and the value of each of your pins.  They’ll tell you what boards and pins are getting the most action, and give you a few tips to build your network, improve your content, and get more results.  An average score is 32, and any score 50 or higher is considered very good.  Another free tool is actually built right into Pinterest, that allows you to track the pins that have come from your dealer pages.  The URL structure is:  http://pinterest.com/source/[domain]  You would replace the “domain” with your website address.  For instance, if you want to find out the pins that have come from Ford Motor Company’s website you would go to this web address:  http://pinterest.com/source/ford.com  Once you find people pinning and re-pinning your content, you have the perfect opportunity to engage the visitors (since this is a Social site!).  The key is not to be creepy, but instead be conversational and helpful.

The SEO ability of Pinterest is probably what amazed the audience at my presentation the most.  I’m not sure anyone really believed it until I showed them live examples.  Since Pinterest is a site built upon links, and Google indexes the text from your boards and from your homepage, it is potentially packed full of SEO juice.  You simply have to be strategic with your homepage description, and with your board descriptions to make sure you’re getting indexed on the keywords that your prospective customers are searching for.

We all know, the Internet remains a world where change is constant, and the key for dealers is staying dialed-in to where consumers are spending their time, and tweaking their online strategies accordingly.  Of all of the Social Media outlets dealers should be paying attention to, Pinterest is a very easy one to get started with.  Don’t delay, grab your brand today, and start laying out your strategy.  Please let me know if I can help!

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