How to use Pinterest to boost your online brand

Pinterest For Branding

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a photo-based social network which enables users to ‘pin’ (or share) images they like. Think of it as an online pin board where you can organise your favourite images into different types or categories by using different boards.

Pinterest works on the simple premise of sharing and organising photo and video content via an easy to use platform, attracting savvy social media experts and novices alike.

The site now boasts more than 150 million global users, so branders, marketers and business owners have a real opportunity to grab the attention of a captive audience which use Pinterest to explore and find inspiration through imagery – will your captive shots form part of their search?

How is it different from Facebook, Twitter etc?

Although it is one of the fastest growing social media sites, it’s not about sharing just any old image. A quick browse across its many million pin boards will show that the most popular and impactful pieces of content (those which are liked and repinned) are those which have a real ‘wow’ factor.

It would be a mistake to view Pinterest as just a dumping ground for average images, so when it comes to planning what to pin (or what you hope will get pinned), pay due care and attention and ensure it represents your brand in the best light, otherwise its unlikely to get picked up and passed on (‘repinned’).

pinterest v facebook

(Why) is it relevant for my brand and how can it boost it online?

Currently, Pinterest is one of the social media channels for referring web traffic, because the very nature of Pinterest is to find interesting and shareable content, its users are ready to share; distributing and redistributing impactful/beautiful/funny/provocative titbits as they discover them. In other words, Pinterest is a great SEO tool and can really contribute to your brand’s online presence.

And the real beauty of Pinterest is that many organisations aren’t themselves active on the platform. As long as their own web content is shareable and captivating, visitors to their site or other social media channel will share their content for them. Such third party endorsements are powerful and far reaching recommendations for a brand.

Getting started with Pinterest

1) Make your content pin-able

By its nature, Pinterest is a highly visual site and content that is pinned uses the image as the primary focus point. Be sure that all of your pages and posts (across all your online platforms) have impactful and relevant images/videos that encourage and invite pinning.

pinterest infographic

2) Add ‘Pin’ buttons to your website and all online channels

Once you’re confident you are producing really shareable visual content, encourage your site visitors to share it. Add a Pinterest button (you can find these on the site) to encourage this, making it easy for users to share images they like quickly and easily.

Give your users every opportunity to share your content with the world by adding buttons to your blog, Facebook page and Twitter channel too: in fact anywhere you are sharing unique and interesting visual content. Linking your channels together in this way will present your brand as seamless and joined-up.

3) Get your own Pinterest account

If you’ve been savvy, your brand, through the unique content you have created, will be spread and shared across Pinterest by a stream of online advocates. But you shouldn’t forget to create your own Pinterest presence by setting up an account too.  Ensure you differentiate your company persona from any personal activity you have on the site by using a corporate email account. The site was once invite-only but is now open to all.

4) Organise board content to support clear brand messages

If your brand covers multiple themes or categories, organise your content accordingly. For example, if you run an interior design business you could have different boards to share your inspirations for curtains, cushions, rugs etc. The number of boards is endless and so is the opportunity to share your great images, and with them your brand proposition.

5) Build your own brand community

To build a community of like-minded individuals who appreciate your content and re-pin it, or pin it themselves directly, you need to interact and engage on a regular basis, keeping the relationship two-way.

Although they may have originally shared your content without any thought of being acknowledged, a little recognition goes a long way. If they are active on Pinterest, think how far they could be sharing it and how wide your subsequent brand reach.

As well as on-site interaction, (in the form of replies to comments, reciprocating likes, and re-pinning their content), broaden the interactions by encouraging the content you share on Facebook, Twitter et al to be re-pinned by any Pinterest followers or fans you have.

Take time each day to read comments from people so you know what content is ranking highly in their opinions and which may be falling short of the mark.

6) Pinterest etiquette and best practice

So, you’re excited you’ve got lots of great content to share, but don’t overload by posting all of it at once and bombarding the Pinterest community. A slow drip feed effect works better to maintain momentum and interest.

Don’t view Pinterest as a place you can post just any old content. Your images should be considered and seek to inspire – always have your target audience in mind and be objective. Just because you think it’s a great image doesn’t mean it really is, so get a second opinion if in doubt.

etiquetteIncrease your images’ mileage and share-ability by using the hash tag standard to categorise your content so it is easily searchable. Make use of hash tags that already exist for larger content types, for example #interiordesign, so your content is seen by all who follow that content type.

Making your images as unique and interesting as possible – even if your brand is niche and in its own narrow category – will instantly make them more shareable, and doesn’t every business want its brand seen by as many customers and potential customers as possible?