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by Tara West on 27th January 2012
Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last month or so, you have probably heard of Pinterest. Although it’s been around since March 2010, it’s now getting a lot of buzz from marketers, big brands, and users alike. This post looks at what it is, how consumers use it and more importantly how businesses and brands can use it.
What is Pinterest?
The site describes itself as an online pin-board to organise and share the things you love, and that’s exactly what it is!
Users can create boards and give them unique names. The Pin It bookmarklet for browsers means that when a user is browsing a site, they can click the ‘Pin It’ tool on their toolbar and it will shows them a page with all the images it can locate on that page. They can then pick which one they want to pin, and which of their boards they want to pin it to. Simple! It’s this kind of simplicity that makes the platform so successful.
Users can add comments or notes to their pins and share them via Facebook or Twitter too. This seamless integration with existing social networks is also one of the best things about Pinterest.
Users can ‘follow’ others on Pinterest (and invite their existing Twitter / Facebook friends to join) to see a stream of things their followers pin. They can ‘like’ the pins of others and even re-pin them onto their own boards.
Who uses Pinterest?
The possibilities with Pinterest are endless, so the types of users are varied. At the moment it is positioned as an ideal way to create mood boards for designers, plan themses for events such as weddings, or even plan for redecorating your home. It’s also great for anyone working on design related projects or who just has a bit of a creative flare!
Even if users don’t have a wedding to plan or a design project to work on, Pinterest has its own built-in appeal of being yet another platform to express themselves with.
The Pinterest app integrates Pinterest with the day-to-day life of users on the move. It lets the user take images with the camera on their mobile device (or to choose an existing image from their camera role) and then use it as a pin on their boards.
Using Pinterest for Marketing
Pin etiquette states that Pinterest should not be used for self promotion, and the last thing I want to see is the platform become another medium for spammers, but if it’s used properly it can be a great platform for expressing brand personality.
Here are some actionable tips for marketers to use Pinterest for marketing:
Once your business has created a Pinterest profile, you can get the ‘follow’ button for your website in the third paragraph of this page.
The more users who continue to join Pinterest, the more users who are going to want to engage with their favourite brands on it, so it makes sense to make it easy for them to do so.
Get the Pinterest button on your brand website so that consumers are encouraged to Pin your images if they choose. This will work fantastically if you are a brand with an audience who are very pro-active online, and if your site has some great images which users will want to share. Like all social networks, it’s not simply enough to put the button there though. You need to give users a reason to use it.
Create engaging and interesting images for your site and users will naturally share this content. This might be something as simple as a great lifestyle shot which doesn’t include your product, or even an infographic. We all know that great content will get traction in its own right, so don’t waste time asking consumers to re-pin you; create eye-catching images and this will happen naturally! Get the Pinterest button with instructions in the fourth paragraph of this page.
Integrate Pinterest with the rest of your social media campaign by posting your pins to Facebook and Twitter too. You might also want to pin images you’ve already put on Flickr in the past.
If you put prices in the descriptions of products they may end up in the gift section of the Pinterest site. This is a way of getting more of a direct response from marketing on Pinterest.
Pinterest is great for services or brands which don’t have a tangible offering. They can create engaging boards to communicate their brand personality and put images of their service in action.
Pinterest is a great tool to use for market research such as brand perception research, or testing reception to potential advertising images.
Hold competitions using Pinterest. Encourage fans to get the most ‘re-pins’ or create the best board. Pinterest is great for fashion brands. You can ask your consumers to post pictures of your products styled by themselves and then re-pin the best. The user is left with a nice fuzzy feeling of being special because the brand has recognised them!
If your business uses SEO as part of their marketing strategy, Pinterest is a great way of building inbound links as every image pinned automatically links back to its original source. Another great factor is that links on Pinterest are followed (for now), unlike links on Flickr. Include your location within your description and create boards that include location terms to give your local SEO efforts a boost too. Add descriptions to your pins which include your keywords to add further SEO benefit. Please don’t spam it though, only use it for genuinely interesting images and content.
In the future we might see Pinterest open up to brands and businesses a bit more with the ability to create specific business pages rather than having the business listed as a regular user at the moment.
All signs suggest that this is not just another social network which is going to slip under the mat. Get on board! Find me on Twitter if you would like an invite @Koozai_Tara
P.S On a personal level I would like to warn you that Pinterest is strangely addictive:
Tara West has digital account management expertise and a degree in Advertising and Marketing Communications, giving her an excellent understanding of technical SEO expertise.