By now you have heard the news that Pinterest is among the fastest growing social media sites in history. It has an average of 1.3 million users every day who (according to sources like Comscore, Techcrunch and Modea) spend on average of 15+ minutes on the site. You have no doubt also heard how it sends more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. For some sites, like Cooking Light, Pinterest drives three times the amount of traffic than Facebook. It’s visual, exciting, slightly addictive, and if you’re a brand, it’s an opportunity.
For those who are considering joining this world of pins and boards, either to promote or launch your brand, it’s important to have a strategy that includes these essential steps to ensure you get a successful jumpstart.
Is It Right For You?
Currently, Pinterest users are in a unique demographic. According to Google’s DoubleClick Ad Planner it’s currently 82% female, ages 25-54. If this is your customer then Pinterest is definitely right for you. If it isn’t exactly your target market, there are some other areas of opportunity to explore in this post as well.
Sign Up & Get Started
Once you have an invite to join Pinterest (get one by requesting one from the website or asking a friend to invite you), there are a couple key steps you will want to take.
First, when you are signing up it’s important to use your Twitter email address so that you can connect your brand’s Twitter account to Pinterest. This will allow for easy posting to Twitter from Pinterest later on. Facebook still doesn’t allow brand pages to be connected. Second, make sure that you fill out all the profile information including a profile image, description, website address and search visibility toggle. Also, while you’re at it, it’s a good idea to change the default email settings so your inbox doesn’t get flooded with activity.
Beware Of Squatters
Even if you decide not to use Pinterest for your brand you should go ahead and claim your name. We all know how fast people swoop in and claim names on sites these days.
Keeping It Real
As a brand it’s easy to fall back on the old standard of ‘how do we sell more stuff’. What makes Pinterest such an exciting and engaging place to be is the fact that it actually breaks away from that model. It’s a place for sharing interests like recipes, home remodeling ideas, party ideas and, of course, wedding ideas. You should stick to that spirit and create boards that are relevant and convey who you are without in-your-face tactics focused on sales. Some brands like West Elm create mood boards, others like Modcloth have guest pinner galleries where they host their top users pins, but in all cases the content is not solely from within.
Join the Conversation
The most engaging brands are actively pinning, re-pinning and commenting on external content. As with any social media forum, brands will get out of it what they put into it. The key to success is having a conversation with your followers rather than just blasting out another catalog full of products and prices. Follow the examples of some of the most popular brands like Lands End and engage the people who talk about your brand. In other words, be a part of the conversation.
One of the main reasons Pinterest is so engaging is the infinite display of the webs best ideas brought together in one place and presented visually. While the vast majority of the content is currently images, video can also be used.
No, this does not mean brands should run out and pin their latest Superbowl commercials. Yes, I know you spent a lot of money on them. Don’t do it. If your spots are truly that good chances are people have already pinned them as something they like. By repining, ‘liking’ or writing a comment on that post you will be engaging in a more meaningful way with your audience.
Regardless of what you decide to pin be sure to use a quality description. Use rich, descriptive text mixing in keywords that apply to the pin but also reflect your brand’s voice. Be sure to include Twitter hashtags where possible so that when people share the pins the tags are already included. Also, be mindful of the images or video you do choose to pin or repin and be sure to source them where appropriate. Molly McHugh at Digital Trends wrote up a great article on copyright issues for Pinterest if you would like more info.
For brands with a slightly different demographic target there are some alternative pin style sites popping up. For example, Gentlemint is an up and coming site that is geared for the male audience. Others are Manteresting and Where is the Cool.
There are lots of cars, gadgets, and other things guys like. The interesting thing, however, is that there are still a lot of recipes, home improvement ideas, fashion ideas, etc. Sounds familiar right? There is a clear difference in the amount of sharing that occurs on these dude sites vs. Pinterest. This could be rooted in the fact that there are only handful of users as compared to Pinterest’s 11 million+. Guys don’t appear to share as much which also contributes to an overall sparse feeling. The point is, there are other sites out there that have the Pinterest type model.
One Last Thing
If your still not sure if Pinterest is right for your brand you may want to dip your toe in the water by trying out something different. Perhaps you are a B2B business or a company that offers a not-so-visually-interesting product such as computer hardware. Consider creating infographics about your market or creating boards that appeal to and inspire your customers. For example, say you sell routers and wanted to create a board that played on that category. One cool idea could be to create a ‘Cool Ways to Hide Your Router’ board and share different ideas of how people have hidden their routers. Doing a quick search in Pinterest returns several great examples. The point is to think outside the box, even though in this case it is inside the box.