Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you must have heard some of the buzz around Pinterest by now. For the ostriches among you, Pinterest is the world’s fastest growing social network, having launched in March 2010 and reaching 11.7 million unique users this year. These users, or ‘pinners’, share things that they like via virtual pinboards that they create and curate. Each pin consists of an image or video and short description, and these micro-posts can be commented on, liked or repinned by other users.
As the site is still in its beta phase, you need to request an invite to join and create your own pins and boards. Invites are received fairly soon after requests are submitted, but why should you bother?
Well, apart from the site’s incredible growth spurt, its greatest potential for brands lies in its ever-increasing referral traffic, which now sees it at the bottom of the top five referral sources. Pinterest users are highly engaged and active. They are creative; they are educated; and, reportedly, they are mostly women aged 18 to 34. (Now, I don’t want to generalise, but this could have something to do with the fact that Pinterest boards are really useful for collating recipes, creating fashion and beauty lookbooks, and planning a wedding.) Any business trying to target this market should take note, because this is one of these easiest ways to do so.
Setting up a Pinterest account couldn’t be simpler and in mere minutes you can be pinning to your heart’s content. On initial set-up, you are asked to link your account to either Facebook or Twitter, so your bio and profile photo are automatically imported. Then Pinterest will auto-follow popular accounts based on your selected interests, and they also suggest ideas for your first boards, all of which helps you to speed through the registration process.
Once you’ve established your profile, pinning is so easy it can be explained in less than 60 seconds. However, before you get stuck in, we have some tips you should bear in mind:
1. Put your pin in the right place
There are 31 pre-listed categories for boards, as well as the obligatory ‘Other’. Any visitor to the site can browse the most recent pins under a selected category, so use them wisely. You can also add a price-tag to your pinned item, which will automatically see your pin listed in the Gifts section. (This is not currently available for prices in euro, but we’re sure it’s on the way.)
2. Pin more than just a catalogue
Your pins don’t just have to be product shots – in fact, they shouldn’t be. Mix it up with infographics, videos, artwork and any kind of striking image you’d like to share. You can even follow Mashable’s example and use pins to link to articles.
3. Be visual, be themed
It’s easy to get lost in the smorgasbord of pins. To make sure yours stand out, only pin images that are high in quality and visually striking. As much as you can, try to use complementary images in one board, or get creative and use the 3×3 board layout to make mosaics. Eason, the first Irish brand to hit Pinterest, categorise their boards by genre, but they also have collections for Mothers’ Day gift ideas. Each of these pins links directly to the Eason website where you can make purchases.
4. Respect the community
Like any community, Pinterest has rules that should be obeyed. Namely, be nice, never post anything unsuitable for minors and always credit your sources.
5. Engage with your audience
Users can comment on pins, like them or share them. You can also enable other users to pin to boards you have created. Use these functions to interact with your customers and learn about them. You can even hold competitions based on repins or pins to your boards, or dole out special offers via pinned QR codes or vouchers.
6. Let yourself be pinned
Whether you are pinning or not, elements from your site can be pinned by any user. To make this easier for them, place a ‘Pin It’ button next to your usual share options. As an added bonus, use the code to fill out the required pin description for them. This lessens the time it takes to create a pin while also keeping you in control of the message that goes with it.
Pinterest isn’t for everyone, but for the right brand it could be key to your social marketing efforts. Take the time to set up an account now and get in on the ground floor of a rapidly growing medium.