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Getting Started on Pinterest for Brands & Businesses | Social Media Marketing

For a social networking site which is still invite-only, Pinterest has managed to gain over 6 million monthly users to date, and receives millions of hits weekly. It’s been described as one of the hottest niche social networks available today, and is typically a place for bloggers and crafters to create virtual ‘mood boards’ and to share inspiration.

However Brand’s are now starting to see it’s potential. Businesses with a female orrientated target audience should be considering Pinterest’s possibilities – as a huge 70% of ‘pinners’ (users of the site) are female. Pinterest also has a highly engaged audience — a reported 3.3 million users logging more than 421 million page views.

A branded profile on Pinerest means  plenty of opportunity to “show off” with  pinboards and catch pinners’ eyes.

Pinterest is a visual social discovery network. Users or ‘pinners’ create online ‘pinboards’  for various categories (typically for female users this might be “dream home” for example or “things to buy” or “recipes”). Item’s are then ‘pinned’ to these boards.

You can pin a photo or video in three ways:

  • Upload it directly to Pinterest
  • Use the Pin It bookmarklet on any site on the web to pin the item — it will be pinned with the URL, so you can always go back to the original source
  • Repin other people’s pins, either by seeing what your friends have posted or browsing the dozens of categories on the site

For businesses, however, the marketing strategy cannot be approached in the same way as Facebook or Twitter for example, as Pinterest etiquette clearly states that it’s not a platform for self-promotion. For brands it’s important to think round this, and promote themselves in a way that will not upset users of the site.

Tips for Brands on Pinterest

  • Promote a brand associated ‘lifestyle’.  It’s not really acceptable for businesses to upload pictures of their products on Pinterest so users of the site for marketing purposes should perhaps consider pinning images that capture a lifestyle and/or the essence of the brand. For example, Bon Appetit pins images of cooking appliances, beautiful kitchen decor, cutlery, dinner parties and delicious creations or recipes. A constant stream of visually appealing images relating to what the brand does seems to make pinners more familiar with and more likely to trust the brand, visit the website and maybe even subscribe to the magazine.
  • Be a source of information. Giving your followers a reason to keep coming back to your branded page, means that they are more likely to explore further and visit your site. Be creative with pinboard categories, and, as with all social media ventures, update followers regularly with engaging, brand focussed content.
  • Appeal to a wide audience. Pinners can choose to follow one pinboard, or all of them, so for brands it’s worth putting the effort in to creating adventurous, interesting, brand-related boards that will reach as many different people as possible.
  • Hold contests to gain attention. As the site is still fairly new, the possibilities for this haven’t as yet been properly explored. However, one way of gaining new customers could be by asking users to pin pictures of themselves with their favourite product and tag it with the company name. This is a fun way of showing your product in use without looking like promotion because it’s coming from your followers. Prizes could be given for creativity.
About the Author:

I have worked in online / digital for 20 years! Yes, it is possible. Started in the early days before freeserve was a scribble on a napkin, developing and marketing online self help products for the likes of BT, Cable& Wireless. MCI WorldCom et al. Set up the first online retailer channel for Demon Internet (Now part of C&W) before moving Agency side. As MD of grow* i focus on strategy and head up the client management team as well as keeping my toe in the water.

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