By Lindsey Kacher, Intern, R&J Public Relations
When I first joined Pinterest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, after my first hour as a pinner, I had my dream wedding planned, my future house built, decorated, and landscaped, and years worth of vacation destinations chosen. I also came to the realization that I NEEDED a finger monkey. I was amazed at my picture montage masterpiece and knew that I was just getting started.
From previous experience with new social media platforms, it’s obvious that it’s only a matter of time before businesses jump on the hot new bandwagon and use the network to help leverage their business.
If you haven’t been pinning yet, now might be time to join. As with all social networks, Pinterest has its own rules and etiquette, and it’s not necessarily right for everyone. This is certainly true for businesses and brands. While Pinterest might be ideal for a consumer products company, it’s probably not the ideal platform for a service-oriented form. It’s important to do your research and develop a plan of attack before you start pinning. Here is everything you need to know if you decide to get started.
- The average person spends 15.8 minutes on Pinterest, compared to 16.4 minutes on Youtube, 12.1 minutes on Facebook, and 3.3 minutes on Twitter
- The Pinterest population is about 60% female and 40% male
- Since May, 2011, total unique visitors increased by 2,702.2%
- There are 1.36 million visitors daily
- Pinterest is the fastest standalone site in history to cross the 10 million mark
- Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google +, LinkedIn, or Youtube… combined!
- 71% of Pinterest users are between the ages of 25-54 (a key demographic of online spenders)
Configure your settings.
It’s important to note that as of now, Pinterest can only be linked to personal Facebook profiles and not to Facebook business pages. So, when you are creating your Pinterest business page, use the email address associated with your Twitter account to link the pages. Once the pages are linked, your pins will automatically be shared to your Twitter account. If you want your pins to show up on your Facebook page, you have to manually post them.
Before you even begin thinking about pinning, do a background check to see what fellow pinners are saying about your brand. You can do this by going to http://pinterest.com/source/ENTER YOUR URL HERE/ …. but make sure that you leave out the http://www when you enter your business’s URL. This will help you understand what Pinterest users enjoy most about your brand and what they feel is worth pinning. As you would with other social sites, like and comment on these pins to show your appreciation.
To stay ahead of your competition, use the same URL above to see what your competitors, or fans of your competitors, are pinning. See what’s working (and what’s not working) to help plan your strategy.
Create your boards.
Before you create boards filled with product features and offerings, take a step back and think about what Pinterest users are most likely to repin. While it is acceptable to promote your products/services on your boards, be sure to create boards that emphasize the lifestyle associated with your brand as well. For example, Whole Foods Market does a great job integrating the general lifestyle of their customer into their boards. Some of their boards include recipes, gardening tips, photos of cool kitchens, entertaining ideas, eco-friendly ideas, and even gift options.
Prior to following anyone, develop your boards to create a clear message of who you are and what your brand is about. The goal is that the people you choose to follow will follow you back, so it’s important to have a strong profile with attractive photos as a baseline. Once you believe your profile is a good representation of your brand, start following people that are relevant to your business – local personalities, current customers, potential customers, and other brands who may have some influence.
Pinterest users are attracted to high quality images and videos. They are originally engaged by looking at an eye-catching photo, not the lengthy description below it.
Pinterest boards are indexed by search engines, so make sure your pin descriptions and board names are rich in keywords. For example, if you post a photo of a delicious cupcake recipe without a title or description, no one will find that pin when searching “cupcake recipe” in the Pinterest search engine, even if it’s worthy of thousands of repins. Keep in mind, however, that pinners like short and concise descriptions!
Similarly to Twitter, using the #hashtag feature will categorize your pins so they are easily searchable. You can even create your own #hashtag so that all pins that were shared in that category can be identified. For example, Lindt Chocolates ran a Pinterest campaign that said they will donate money to AUTISM SPEAKS for every #Pin4Autism pin on Pinterest. By the end of their campaign, they reached their donation goal of $10,000!
The whole idea behind Pinterest is sharing unique content to your social circle, so by all means, repin away! As you browse through different boards, keep your brand and customer in mind when you repin. Similarly to Twitter and Facebook, if you tag/like/share/retweet, you increase your own credibility while politely crediting the original creator of the post.
Share your content with your other social networks.
Encourage your Twitter followers and Facebook fans to follow you on Pinterest. Since you will only be sharing attention-grabbing pins, your fans are very likely to follow you on Pinterest too. Remember, this is your time to sell yourself to your fans!
Utilize the Goodies Page.
This page is FULL of awesome add-ons and tips, like…
- The “Pin It” button, which you can install to your Firefox toolbar to easily pin anything. One important thing to note is that while using the “Pin It” button will ensure that all of your pins will link back to your website, they are no-follow links and will not improve your SEO. Regardless, the links are still driving traffic to your website and it would be worth creating a custom landing page for Pinterest users.
- The “Follow Button,” which encourages people on your website to follow you on Pinterest.
- Another “Pin It” button, which you can add to your website to invite your readers to pin your products onto their Pinterest profile.