From a relatively unknown site in 2010, Pinterest has grown into one of the top ten social media sites in a very short time. In fact, between January and February 2012, membership grew by 85 percent. Forbes estimates the site’s valuation at about $7.7 billion. With Pinterest now being open to the public — no invites needed — this number is sure to grow.
Pinterest isn’t just a bunch of individuals pinning pretty pictures. Buzz Referrals reported that Pinterest users who shop online follow an average of 9.3 retailers, in comparison to 8.5 on Twitter and only 6.9 on Facebook.They are also 10 percent more likely to buy something when referred from Pinterest, and spend an average of 10 percent more on those purchases than other social media platforms. Many consumers are more willing to follow company Pinterest accounts because of the content: the platform offers a unique branding experience for many different organizations.
If you’re wanting to get in the game, here are a few tips to make your company successfully Pinteresting:
Tell Your Story
Zappos Pinterest boards such as “Polka Dot Party,” “Boys’ Club,” and “Glitter Galore” showcase the company’s products along with other items that express the brand’s culture. With more than a thousand followers, they use pins and boards to tell consumers about the company personality.
Zappos also focuses on community through their marketing and social media, calling consumers “part of the family.” Each of the members of their Pinterest team has an individual board highlighting them, and people are reacting. Hope’s board, which includes photos of her favorite styles, recipes, tips, and family pins, has 939 followers. By telling its story, Zappos is making itself even more reachable to its audience.
Avoid Copyright Issues
“It’s another way to showcase the brand,” Roscoe said. “Someone called it subtle marketing.”
Roscoe focuses on finding content that will resonate with consumers and is conscious of their international following. Since McDonald’s is such a large brand, copyright issues are also an immediate concern. The company avoids these issues by pinning content from McDonald’s corporate Flickr account along with the occasional fan picture.
And how do they procure outside content? Roscoe explained that a picture of a Big Mac cake took her hours to track down the original owner so she could ask permission to post. It’s that effort that keeps the company from accidentally violating copyright. Although every picture doesn’t come with such a founder chase, it highlights the importance of knowing your source.
“We’re being very cautious and we’re following our own legal guidelines,” she said. “Obviously we have to protect our brand.”
Collaborate and Reward
Social media feeds exploded with conversation about Mad Men’s fifth season premier in March, Newsweek capitalized on the popularity of both the show and their nostalgic Mad Men issue by creating two Pinterest boards: “Mad Men Era Decor” and “Mad Men Style.” Then they posted a call for all Don Draper fans to help add to them.
Fans responded with images of retro couches and dresses, and a few were chosen to help the company regularly pin content. The boards have more than 3,200 followers a piece, and Newsweek & The Daily Beast have expanded their Pinterest to now include five collaborative boards.
Jetsetter experienced success as well when it hosted a Pinterest contest for fans of vacation pins and fashionable getaways. Each entrant followed Jetsetter on Pinterest and then created a board on his or her own Pinterest account with the tag #JetsetterCurator. Pins came in, all with the same tag, not only increasing awareness about Jetsetter and its site–but also giving Jetsetter content that they could repurpose for their own boards. The company now has a following of 281,530.
Newsweek and Jetsetter showed that Pinterest can be a powerful activator for the consumer community, and when asked to collaborate, many brand advocates will speak out in support.
Plan It Out
Kelly Lieberman hosts #PinChat on Twitter every Wednesday night to talk about all things Pinterest. Each week brings a new host, including brands such as McDonald’s, Chobani, and Virgin Airlines. Lieberman said she learned a lot about the importance of brands on Pinterest.
“Your brand is already being talked about,” she said. You can choose to be a part of the conversation or you can ignore it. I think you should at least listen.”
However, adding a Pinterest account should align with your business strategy. Lieberman said companies should first search for themselves on Pinterest. Paying attention to what is being pinned and how it is being classified gives clues to how your brand is being received.
From there, she suggests building boards that give consumers value, including tutorials, and infographics — rather than only company products. Of course, you must also find your target demographic on Pinterest and what they’re excited about.
“Your audience needs to be in the area you are,” she said.
1. (Open for Business) Many companies are using Pinterest to showcase their brand. Photo Courtesy of TechCrunch
2. (Ronald McDonald) Although Ronald McDonald is popular, Roscoe said the Hamburglar was a crowd favorite. Photo Courtesy of McDonald’s Corp
3. (Repin/Like/Comment) Pinterest allows your audience to engage with you in a new way. Photo courtesy of PinterestRepin.org
Beki Winchel is a social media PR consultant, freelance writer, and a communications/business student at BYU. She loves technology, social media, dogs, and the Green Bay Packers. You can learn more about her — and check out her Pinterest page — at http://about.me/bekiwinchel.