If you spend any time at all on the social web, you’ve probably heard the hype about Pinterest in recent weeks. It seems that everyone is jumping on this new bandwagon for 2012 ... and bringing all their friends along with them.
How does Pinterest benefit users?
With Pinterest, users can share images that are interesting to them and also browse images that other users have submitted. For example, if you’re looking for ideas on where to take your next vacation, you can browse Pinterest’s “Travel and Places” content and peruse endless photos of exotic places around the world. If you’ve just returned from Bora Bora, you could post a pic of your trip to show people how great it was.
Described as a “virtual pinboard,” Pinterest also lets users create sets of “pins” related to a specific topic. So, a bride-to-be may create a set (aka a “board”) with inspiration photos of flowers, dresses, and table decor for her upcoming wedding. This can help her stay organized and inspire others in the same boat.
How can your brand benefit from Pinterest?
A form of social marketing, Pinterest allows users to do the bulk of your marketing for you. Let's say you're Toms Shoes and just released a brand new style for Summer. Someone posts your new style on Pinterest, and word spreads like wildfire. Not much you have to do, right?
Well, yes and no.
Creating boards specific to unique audiences within your target market can help draw in potential leads to your brand. Let’s say your business sells women’s clothing. You could create different boards for fitness, evening, or even maternity and provide inspirations, perhaps of accessories, hairstyles, and locations that could accompany your clothing.
You could also encourage your existing followers of your blog, Facebook, or Twitter to “pin” an item of yours on Pinterest in order to enter a contest or giveaway you have going on.
Above all, you must add "Pin It" buttons to the products on your website. This will allow shoppers who’ve already discovered you to pass you along to friends and others within their demographic. A little word of mouth on the web can go a long, long way.
How might you screw up on Pinterest?
For starters, it's important to understand that Pinterest is primarily about sharing ideas, not about forcing marketing schemes down people's throats. Shameless self-promotion will not go over well on Pinterest, and users will be out the door before you even realize what you did wrong.
Like other forms of social media, Pinterest is about creating conversations and getting people talking about things that are relevant to your brand, not necessarily your brand itself. Mashable's recent analysis of "Whole Foods' organic approach to Pinterest" showcases how Whole Foods has used customer personas to share content that promotes the Whole Foods brand, including topics like healthy eating, recycling, and giving back. The point is: conversations take time. So, trying to rush a marketing campaign via Pinterest will likely frustrate both you and your users.
It’s also important to research your target market on Pinterest. Right now, Pinterest’s primary audience is young women, mid-20s to mid-40s, and the content they are sharing is “lifestyle” content, topics related to home decorating, children and parenthood, fashion, vacationing, and other similar subjects. So, if your business specializes in industrial gaskets, you’re probably better off advertising elsewhere.
For help identifying your brand’s voice and marketing strategies on Pinterest and anywhere in the social realm, contact us for a complimentary consultation.