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The Why & How of Using Pinterest for PR

Pinterest: it’s not just for wedding planning anymore. In May, the social media site had 30 billion pins, half of which were added in the previous six months!

The increased adoption and usage of the social network and its inherent traits make it a strong fit for many PR communications strategies, whether you’re a clothing boutique or rubber extrusion plant.

At her recent webinar, “Pinterest Marketing: An Hour a Day” author Jennifer Cario discussed the benefits of Pinterest and the best ways to use it. Here are some of her insights:

Want to see the webinar yourself? Watch the on-demand version now!

Why Pinterest for PR

In the last quarter of 2014, Pinterest ranked second among social networks in traffic referrals. While its 5 percent pales in comparison to Facebook’s 25 percent, Pinterest crushes third place Twitter, which is below 1 percent.

“If you rely on social media as a huge part of your traffic sources, Pinterest should be second only to Facebook in terms of the time and effort and dedication in really making an impact there,” Jennifer says.

A look at the end of the year stats from 2011 through 2014 shows that Facebook and Pinterest are the only two networks to have grown each year.

Why not just use Facebook?

Facebook or Pinterest for PR

Facebook has more than 1 billion users, and those users spend significantly more time on the social network than users spend on Pinterest.

Don’t let those numbers fool you, Jennifer says. People use Facebook and Pinterest for different reasons.

“Facebook is used as a destination. It’s a place you go to connect with friends, connect with colleagues, to find out what’s going on in life,” she says. “Pinterest, on the other hand, like Google, is a starting point.

“It’s more of a collection and an inspiration platform.”

Another reason to invest more time in Pinterest is that Facebook limits the depth of your content. Creating and sharing a lot of content on Facebook will likely damage your organic reach.

Pinterest, Jennifer says, has unlimited depth of reach. On its platform, you don’t have to worry about overwhelming your audience with content because they choose which content they want to receive.

Because it is destination and can host tons of content, the content you post has a longer shelf life. Half of the visits a pin delivers will occur after three months. Half of the orders it will produce will take place after two months. The average pin has a worth of 78 cents in sales.

How to use Pinterest

Much like your other social channels or a blog, Pinterest only works well when you provide people with quality content. If you don’t, your target audience will find it somewhere else. They have plenty of other sources.

Here are a few basic tips for using Pinterest before jumping into some of Jennifer’s more in-depth best practices:

  • Make visuals easy to understand
  • Link to a high quality website
  • Use keyword rich descriptions
  • Remember that Pinterest uses pin activity to rank content

Watch trends

Pinterest Rustic Wedding

Pinterest users in 2012 could have predicted that the weddings they would attend in the upcoming years would all take place in a barn or have a rustic theme, Jennifer jokes.

By following what your target audience’s influencers pin and care about, you can see trends before they go mainstream and capitalize on it.

Take the time to identify your target market’s influencers and see the content that they are sharing and which of it their audience engages with the most.

Jennifer related an anecdote about a recent trip to Michael’s to pick up crafts for Valentine’s Day. Upon entering the store, Jennifer knew the Michael’s team scanned Pinterest and made a display based on what was trending on Pinterest.

Pitch influencers

The Pinterest platform lends itself to obsessions. You can have one board with hundreds of posts on a single topic. By identifying what people prefer to pin, you can see their passion points and tailor your pitch accordingly.

For example, if a fitness blogger mainly pins about running, a straight pitch about CrossFit probably won’t work. Can you pivot from the original idea to match their biggest interests? If so, you stand a better chance of getting a placement.

Know not to pitch something about CrossFit.

Collaborate with secret boards

Confidential - PR and Pinterest

Pinterest allows users to create boards hidden from public view. Keep one for yourself or select members of your team. They can host relevant lists and articles, act as a platform for brainstorming and serve as a reservoir for readymade outbound communications collateral.

As target audiences rapidly crave more and more visual content, Pinterest, for the reasons above and so many more from Jennifer’s webinar, will play a bigger and bigger role in PR communications. Will you be ready?

Image: Jason Howie (Creative Commons)

Tags : social media

About Brian Conlin

Brian Conlin is a content marketing manager for Cision. A former journalist, he enjoys researching and developing accessible content. When not writing, you will find him watching baseball and college basketball, sampling craft beer and enjoying Baltimore. Find him on Twitter @BrianConlin13.

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