David Kirkpatrick

B2B Social Media: How one marketer is utilizing Pinterest

May 10th, 2012

Bluewolf is a professional services company that provides consulting on enterprise agility. A campaign designed to promote its employee knowledge through social media with a gamification element to encourage participation — “B2B Social Media: Gamification effort increases Web traffic 100%, employee collaboration 57%” — was featured in last week’s B2B newsletter.

Bluewolf’s very innovative usage of Pinterest did not fit into the case study, so I wanted to use this blog post to show what you can learn from its efforts.

Pinterest is one of the hottest social channels right now. Here are two data points from a Shareaholic.com study and information that Pinterest is publicly sharing:

  • Pinterest’s user base is only 7% of Twitter’s, but the platform sends more total referral traffic than Twitter
  • With a mere 1% of Facebook’s user count, Pinterest sends 13% of the traffic that Facebook does

At the moment, consumer marketers are making more use of this platform than B2B marketers. However, Bluewolf offers a great blueprint on how B2B marketers can take advantage of Pinterest.

Bluewolf’s main Pinterest page shows the variety of boards the company is sharing on the platform.

Corinne Sklar, VP of Marketing, Bluewolf, says the company found a natural home with Pinterest because the platform is very visual and is also suited to sharing content, two areas where Bluewolf’s marketing is very invested. She adds that Pinterest also encourages viral sharing of that content.

Bluewolf’s pinboards

Bluewolf does share its content on Pinterest, but it also uses the platform to share its corporate culture. This means its Pinterest pinboards include:

The company is also utilizing Pinterest to replace PowerPoint demonstrations for live events. At a recent offsite workshop for employee training, Bluewolf CEO Eric Berridge presented with Pinterest boards and pins instead of the typical slide deck.

One issue for using the platform for presentations is that the site currently offers no way to make these boards private. As a result, no sensitive company data was uploaded to Pinterest, and once the presentation concluded, the boards were deleted. Based on that success, the company has gone on to use Pinterest for other live presentations.

“We have used Pinterest for keynotes in several different areas,” says Corinne. “We are using Pinterest as a presentation format for keynotes, analyst briefings, PR and media relations.”

She adds that as a consulting firm, Bluewolf is “always trying to push the needle” and bring innovation to its clients, so demonstrating how a B2B company can leverage a social channel like Pinterest is one way for Bluewolf to be on the cutting edge of marketing practices.

Pinterest as a sales tool

Another way the marketing team at Bluewolf uses Pinterest is to provide Sales with marketing content. Corinne says it is very easy to create pinboards dedicated to specific vertical sales units giving those reps the content they need in one easy to navigate location.

She says these Pinterest boards are created by the marketing team, and some are even created by the sales reps with some guidance from Marketing.

One final place that Bluewolf uses Pinterest is building microsites for events. All the session content is placed on Pinterest instead of on a dedicated event website.

Interestingly, Bluewolf began utilizing Pinterest in its marketing mix because the marketing team wanted to offer people multiple options for consuming the content, and the platform was used for the internal keynote because each year Marketing challenges itself to up the ante on how the material is presented.

And, although Pinterest has become a major piece of Bluewolf’s marketing — from social sharing of content to keynotes and events, all the way to Sales — the company does not currently track any KPIs on these efforts or analyze any metrics.

Bluewolf sees measuring and tracking Pinterest metrics in its near future.

Helpful hints to get started

Based on Bluewolf’s Pinterest experience, Corinne shares a few best practices for the marketer interested in engaging with the platform.

  • Don’t think of Pinterest solely as an outlet for self-promotion. “Think about it as a way to color or visualize your business culture,” says Corinne. Offer your content, but also have boards that are just fun.
  • Use a “holistic strategy” where Pinterest is certainly a content marketing presentation stage, but it’s also a place to appeal to emotions and provide thought leadership.
  • “Things that work in the consumer world, why aren’t they working in the enterprise?″ asks Corinne. She says that enterprises are made up of people, and those people are using social platforms like Pinterest in their personal lives. There’s no reason why it can’t be an enterprise sales tool as well.
  • Before creating a B2B Pinterest account, think about the story you want to tell. “You want to do some pre-planning before you go in the site and build things,” explains Corinne.

Related Resources:

Social Email Marketing: 256% higher clickthrough rate on tweaked Pinterest promo for nonprofit

Social Media Marketing: An early look at how marketers can use Pinterest

Pinterest for Brands: 5 Hot Tips (via Mashable)

Why Use Pinterest for Your Business (via PaynesBrain)

David Kirkpatrick

About David Kirkpatrick

David is a reporter for MarketingSherpa and has over twenty years of experience in business journalism, marketing and corporate communications. His published work includes newspaper, magazine and online journalism; website content; full-length ghosted nonfiction; marketing content; and short fiction. He served as producer for the business research horizontal at the original Office.com, regularly reporting on the world of marketing; covered a beat for D/FW TechBiz, a member of the American City Business Journals family; and he provided daily reporting for multiple LocalBusiness.com cities. David’s other media and corporate clients include: USA Today, Oxford Intelligence, GMAC, AOL, Business Development Outlook and C-Level Media, among many others.

Categories: Channel Marketing Tags: , ,

  1. May 10th, 2012 at 14:04 | #1

    What an innovative way for a B2B company to utilize Pinterest! A key tip here is the point about using Pinterest to highlight your business culture.

  2. May 15th, 2012 at 07:57 | #2

    Lovely piece. Informative and highly educative on how get the most from pinterest.

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