Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past month there is a good chance you’ve heard of Pinterest. In case you actually HAVE been living somewhere off the grid, Pinterest is the newest craze online. It is a site that is dedicated to finding, gathering, organizing, and sharing the visual representations of everything and anything that interests people. Sound confusing? Well it’s really not. That was just a fancy way of saying “It’s a site where people can gather images and videos of things they like and organize (or “Pin”) them to into themed pages (boards). Then they can share those boards, and their pins, with their networks. So, for example, you can create a board that is dedicated to “My Dream Garage“. As you stumble around online and come across cars, motorcycles, boats, airplanes, scooters, or anything else you’d put in your “Dream Garage” you simply click the “Pin It” button and add it to that board. Not only is it a great way to organize all of your interests, ideas, and inspirations, but it is another great way to connect and share with the world.
As you could imagine, as with all of the social networks out there, this means that it can benefit your business. It is yet another way to quickly, easily and uniquely share content, drive traffic, and establish brand identity for your business. Here are some tips and pointers on how to use Pinterest for your brand.
1. Understand exactly what Pinterest Is -
Pinterest defines their mission as :
Our goal is to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting. We think that a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people. With millions of new pins added every week, Pinterest is connecting people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests.
This means that people are on there to find cool stuff. They aren’t on the site to read, or to see advertisements. They are there to find cool stuff to add to their boards and show to their friends. This means that if and when you set up your account, you don’t want to be filling it with stuff that no one will understand. Post things that people will WANT to repin. This will be an important thing to remind yourself as you build your profile.
2. Understand WHO uses Pinterest.
The second thing to understand is WHO uses Pinterest. This will, and should, affect how you gear your pages (if you are a “gender neutral” brand). There was a great article posted by Ignite Social Media recently that provided a look into the demographics of Pinterest users. What it told us was that, of the 5+ Million users, 80% of them are women, and 71% of those women are between the ages of 25 and 54. This isn’t exactly the news of the century if you’ve been following the site, but what was interesting was that they noticed that 85% of the users had at least some college experience. They also noticed that people in the Midwest are far more likely to use Pinterest than in other areas of the country. In addition they noticed that 70% of the users had a household income between 25 and 70k a year. When you put these all together it paints a much clearer picture of who REALLY uses Pinterest.
Once you understand who is most likely to come across your content, you can create boards that will intersect between your brand and your audience. Now, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t go out of your way to do this (Car dealerships don’t need to post on their favorite spring outfits), but it’s important to think outside of the box and come up with aspects of your business that could be interesting to your audience. For example, If you own or work for a gym, you could post Yoga poses, or find diagrams with body part specific exercises. This both bolsters your message of health and fitness all while appealing towards the audience available to you. We’ll get into this more in a bit.
3. Integrate Your Current Content with Pinterest -
This goes back to the Flickr/Youtube question. If you have already spent a great amount of time creating, optimizing and posting content on any of the other networks out there, there is no reason why you can’t integrate them with your Pinterest page. Now, there are some areas where this just isn’t a good idea. If your pictures are mostly of people taken at company events, then that probably isn’t something that will do you any good on Pinterest. On the other hand, If you are a hotel that has a wedding reception venue, it might not be a bad idea to post any pictures you might have of previous weddings that people had in your venue. This way, when people are looking for wedding inspiration, it’s possible that they see that picture and say, “I want to get married there” or maybe they’ve already decided to get married at your venue, but they’re just looking for decoration ideas. This would help both people as well as your business. There are plenty of possibilities of what to share, it is just important to remember the first rule of using Pinterest for your business, as well as content marketing in general, and that is to create content that people will WANT to share.
4. Use Pinterest to highlight specific areas of your business.
So this is the main way a business would use Pinterest. You would use it to curate pictures and videos that are complementary to a specific area of what you do. I’ll go back to the example of the hotel that wants to promote the fact that they do weddings. By creating boards like “Unique Wedding Cakes” or “Traditional Wedding Flowers” they are able to make pages that are full of content that is highly searched and promote that part of their business. Another example would be a local Toy Store that has a special department for baby stuff. They want to promote the fact that they have more than toys so they create a board about “Educational Toys for Babies” and fill it with pictures to products that they carry in their store. This is great content, that has a lot of value to the person looking for it, and it all promotes their business.
Now, in most cases, this isn’t easy to do. There aren’t many places that do the type of business that can be represented visually. For example, I work at a digital marketing agency, and it would be very hard to create visual boards of pictures that promote our marketing business. Think about it, and it’s possible that there is a creative way it can be done.
5. Curate content that establishes your brand “Personality” -
Another great advantage to using Pinterest is that it allows you to establish a FAR more definitive brand identity and “personality”. I’ve always been a huge proponent and advocate of using Social Media to create and reinforce your brand image. Everything from the content you post to the exact words you use in your tweets establish the tone and character of your brand. This can either be great, or terrible for brands. I’m sure a hospital, or law office, wouldn’t want to give off a “laid back” or “hip” vibe by using slang or short codes like “WTF” or “LOL” in their posts. Likewise, a small record store, or a local bar wouldn’t want to post super “square” posts that make them seem rigid and boring.
This is where Pinterest can really make a clear impression. It’s very possible to misinterpret the meanings behind words, but if you see a company page with pictures of Internet Memes or their list of favorite movies with titles like “Dumb and Dumber”, or “The Big Lebowski” you can very clearly interpret the “personality” of their brand. In addition, the personality that your brand puts off will attract a certain type of person. That’s something to keep in mind because everyone at your company might be laid back, but if you are in a “serious” industry, you’ll want to tailor your page to that. You want to establish your brand personality as something that would attract your target audience. With that being said, it would be a smart idea to sit down and establish who you want to reach, and the brand personality that you think they would want to deal with. Once that is done, you can start to curate content that promotes that.
There are several examples of what you could do to achieve this. The obvious ones are boards like “Bands We Love” or “Must See Movies” or “Books We Recommend”. These are very clear. Some less clear examples would be boards like “Things That Inspire Us”, “Life’s Little Pleasures” or “Beautiful Design”. These have the ability to not only communicate interests, but they can also communicate emotions that people can relate to. It all depends on what you’re going for. The point is to be creative with it, and think outside the box to make content that people will enjoy.
6. Optimize your content
One of the aspects of Pinterest that many people don’t utilize is the optimizability (new word) of the content. Now, making the few little changes won’t affect your Google rankings or anything, but it could increase the likelihood of your content being found, furthering the reach of your content. There are a few little things that people should think about while they’re building their pages.
- Optimize your profiles – If you are creating a brand page, make sure people know it’s a brand page. Name it after the brand, add an optimized and detailed description, include links to your page and put your brand logo as the image. It’s simple stuff.
- Connect your profiles -Pinterest gives you an option to connect your page with all of your current networks. This does two things: first, it allows you to easily post your pins to the other pages (if you choose to do that) and second it adds large links to those pages on your Pinterest profile. I’m sure you can figure out why that’s good.
- Use your links with your content- So this is something I thought was interesting, and has sparked some debate in the office. First let me point out that Pinterest gives you the ability to change the link that is attached to each Pin. This means that you could go in and change the links on all of your pins to your page. This way when people click on your pin it will take them to your page, increasing traffic to your site (a common online marketing goal). Some people think that that is dishonest and there’s a good chance that if people are clicking on your pin it’s because they want more information and if it takes them to an unrelated page it could cause a negative reaction. I tend to agree with this sentiment, but I do think there is a fine line as to where it’s acceptable.Obviously I believe it’s another advantage to posting your own content. If you are that hotel with a wedding venue that posts the pictures of their venue that it should link back to your weddings page; that makes sense. But what if you want to expand the reach of content that links to your page. Well I determined that it is possible if what you are posting is something that is “common knowledge”. For example, if you own a bar, you could post pictures of mixed drinks with the recipes and link back to your bar. Since those recipes aren’t unique to any page or company than you can use them as a way to promote your establishment, since you could make them those drinks at your bar. That is my personal opinion and both arguments are certainly understandable, but the point of this was to let you know that you can change the links of your pins, if you so choose.
- The Pins are searchable – Well this is obvious to anyone that has every used the site, but have you tailored your content to the search? Doing little things like using keywords to name your boards, or putting keywords in the description of each pin, will make them show up in Pinterest search. This is an easy step to making your pages and content findable. The easier it is to find, the more people will find it. The more people find it the higher the odds that your content will be shared. The more it’s shared, the more people see it. You get the point.