About one year ago, I joined Pinterest after hearing about the visually captivating new social network from my inner circle in the social media industry. When I joined, I knew only about 10 other people using the service, the majority of whom were also digital and social media professionals. Oh, what a difference a year can make.
These days, chatter about Pinterest is everywhere and the social network’s popularity has expanded far beyond the digital industry. I have witnessed Pinterest’s explosion over the past year in many forms – I see it when The Today Show runs a segment explaining the “hot new social network” Pinterest, and I am reminded of it throughout the day as I receive notification emails that a new friend has joined Pinterest and is following me. With such a surge in popularity and usage, it’s only natural that marketers will wonder whether they need to include Pinterest in their social media strategy.
I have to admit, I was initially resistant to the idea of marketers making their presence known on Pinterest. I had grown to love Pinterest as a place where I curated images of enticing recipes, dream vacation spots, fashionable clothing, home design spaces, favorite quotations, and more, and I did not like the idea of marketers invading that space. But the more exposure I got to marketers on Pinterest, the more I realized it’s actually a great way for brands to engage their audiences in a non self-promotional way.
How Can Marketers Use Pinterest?
Marketers can use Pinterest to build a brand story, perform market research, reach new audiences, and more. Any social strategy around Pinterest should be sure to follow Pinterest’s rules of etiquette, particularly the rule to avoid self-promotion.
This means that for every board you have to promote images of your own products, have 3 – 5 boards that have nothing to do with your brand. Whole Foods Market does an excellent job of this, with boards focusing on sustainability, farm raised food, dinner recipes, healthy eating, etc. Whole Foods uses its Pinterest page to provide value to followers by touching on themes commonly associated with the Whole Foods brand while avoiding obvious brand promotion.
How To Decide if You Should Be On Pinterest
Pinterest is very visual and marketers who have images of products or who can curate images related to themes associated with their brand will find more of a natural fit on Pinterest. If you find that Pinterest is an appropriate venue based on image based content, here is a list of 10 ways to get started:
- Create a Pinterest account and attach it to your existing Twitter or Facebook account. Linking the account will help you build a list of followers based on your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
- Select your interest categories to start finding followers and creating boards. Interest categories include Architecture; Art; Cars & Motorcycles; Design; DIY & Crafts; Education; Film, Music & Books; Fitness; Food & Drink; Gardening; Geek; Hair& Beauty; History; Holidays; Home Décor; Humor; Kids; My Life; Women’s Apparel; Men’s Apparel; Outdoors; People; Pets; Photography; Print & Posters; Products; Science & Nature; Sports; Technology; Travel & Places; Wedding & Events; Other
- Create pinboards organized by theme and start repining content that you find relevant to your brand or product.
- Once you have built out your Pinterest page and added content to some boards, add the “Follow Me on Pinterest” button to your website.
- Encourage your community members on Facebook and Twitter to pin posts to your board once you have optimized your Pinterest presence.
- Engage with your followers by repinning, liking, and commenting on their pins.
- Consider writing weekly or monthly roundups showing “The Best of the Best on Pinterest” to give credit to your most engaged followers by showcasing some of their pins.
- Facilitate contests on Pinterest by asking your followers to post images of their own experience with your product or with a theme you’re promoting in a board.
- Use Pinterest for upcoming product launches and market research by posting photos of new products and asking followers to comment with feedback.
- Have fun. Pinterest is a visual paradise and should be used to show a playful and creative side of your organization.
Questions? Contact me @lindsay_moore. Have an interesting pin to share with us? Email us at email@example.com.