It’s clean, slick, and endlessly engaging. It’s hard to ignore Pinterest’s draw because it’s largely an interest-driven network. Sure, you can connect with your friends from Facebook, but as a user you’re far more concerned with sifting through seemingly endless pictures of anything from postmodern architecture to aborable puppies. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Earlier this month, TechCrunch broke news that Pinterest has reached 11.7 million monthly users. Clearly, there exists potential for brands to enter the world of Pinterest, but how should they approach the network?
A few weeks ago we discussed this topic with a group of community managers during our #SMOChat. Based on these responses, research into the top existing brands on the site, and some of our own experiences, we’ve compiled some quick tips for your initial run with Pinterest.
Create a Vision
While Instagram might lend itself to a random sampling of brand images, Pinterest demands a more structured schedule. Upon creating a profile for your brand, develop a few boards with separate cohesive themes. Then, stick to them. For example, at Crowdbooster we distinguish our “Life at Crowdbooster” board (pins promoting company events and culture) from our “Infographics and More” board (pins related to industry infographics and posters). While this might seem unnecessary, it actually offers you the opportunity to create multiple niches on one network. Some might come for the infographics, others for the company quirks.
Whole Foods’s communicates a clear vision on Pinterest: promote the organic lifestyle with appealing pictures.
Whole Foods has one of the most unified brand visions so far on Pinterest. It maintains over 25 boards dedicated to a variety of topics from sustainability to dessert art. While the majority of their 17000+ followers may not necessarily shop at a local Whole Foods store, the brand itself creates value in the community through a diverse set of interests.
Connect With Interests
Once the vision has been established, target the interests that best resonate with your community. While it’s important to leverage the social frameworks Pinterest has to offer (cover in the “Engage Your Audience” section), at the end of the day the network functions on content. Use that content to drive conversation.
HGTV actively curates its taste for interior design. Followers don’t seem to mind one bit.
Pinterest’s highly visual interface offers brands an opportunity to set the standard within their industry. Ricky Yean, Crowdbooster CEO, regards Pinterest as an arena in which companies can potentially “curate their tastes and express an aspirational lifestyle.” For example, cable TV channel, HGTV, doesn’t design its strategy on Pinterest in order to broadcast its shows to followers. Instead, many of their pins offer decorating tips and suggestions for enhancing your home. This actually serves to elevate their brand beyond the product itself.
In light of the fact that Pinterest is interest-driven, it’s unwise to inject company promotions and advertisements into your followers’ feed. Depending on your industry, you may compete with pins depicting designer clothes or jaw-dropping European landscapes. While a brand should certainly utilize Pinterest as a marketing platform, its efforts should contribute to the conversation, not disrupt it.
During out #SMOchat, Brittany Morse of Sprout Social share insights on Pinterest. Clearly, Sprout Social understands the need to add valuable content to the conversation.
Even B2B companies can add value to the conversation. Promote a blog post or infographic that offers industry tips, trends, or statistics. You can even take it one step further and pin videos that highlight case studies or tutorials. Beth Hayden of Copyblogger suggests that since there are far fewer videos than pictures on the site, your videos are more likely to be seen. All in all, these tips may help you create desirable content that engages followers with your brand without alienating them.
Engage Your Community
Similar to other social media sites, Pinterest offers brands ample opportunity to foster a two-way conversation within its online community. Although it’s important to establish yourself as a “curator of taste” or leader within your industry, take time to acknowledge the value your audiences contributes to the topic or niche. Repin content you find particularly compelling onto company boards. Design a board that highlights customer stories, whether case studies or pins that highlight the value your product or service offers. Take it one step further: like and comment pins from your followers, regardless of whether or not they relate to your brand. Don’t be afraid to show followers a human element of your brand’s culture.
Ultimately, we hope this serves as a basic guide for developing your brand’s presence of Pinterest. We’d love comments on readers’ experience so far with the network in the comments section. As a community manager, what are best practices you’ve found so far? As a personal user, do you engage with brands on Pinterest? Why or why not?
We’d love to connect with you on Pinterest! Our boards are still a work in progress but they’re a taste of what’s to come.