How Brands Can Utilise Pinterest As Part Of Their Wider PR and Social Media Campaigns

by George Guildford · 22 comments

This is a guest post by George Guildford from Punch Communications.

With over 10 million users and counting, Pinterest has quickly become the latest social media platform to get bloggers, social media agencies and businesses talking.

Essentially, Pinterest is a visual bookmarking platform, almost like a social media scrapbook. With a focus on image-based posts, Pinterest enables users to collect visual content they discover anywhere online and ‘pin’ it to their Pinterest profile using their own customizable ‘Pinboards’. Other users can then ‘Repin’, ‘Like’ or ‘Comment’ on images, with activities then appearing in a real-time feed for fellow ‘pinners’ and members to see.

How Brands Can Use Pinterest Properly

Current sections on the site include ‘Pinners you follow’, ‘Everything’, ‘Video’, ‘Popular’ and ‘Gifts’ making it easier than ever for users to search and find the content they are looking for. Perhaps the most interesting of these for brands is the integration of the ‘Gifts’ tab; a section which gives brands the opportunity to add price tags to the images on their pinboard. By clicking on images with price tags, users are taken to the original Pinterest page where the image was first pinned from. Clicking on the image again links the user to an external brand website enabling them to purchase products from the original source. An incredibly well-integrated, seamless social shopping experience, taking users from discovery to purchase in a matter of two or three clicks.

Imagine a smartphone brand being able to take users to a pinboard filled with their latest range, including latest colors, features and handsets all clearly laid out in one place, or a clothing brand being able to showcase their entire collection from their pinboard – user comments and Likes scattered throughout. The potential for brands is an incredibly interesting one and one that is sure to develop even more so throughout 2012.

In addition to the ‘Gift Tab’, the introduction of a ”Pin it” button is something which presents businesses with the perfect opportunity to utilize visual assets to encourage users, bloggers and partner agencies to share branded content and increase visibility around new products, services and campaigns. By bookmarking the ‘Pin it’ button, users can quickly and easily ‘pin’ any images they see from any website straight to their own pinboards. For an increasing number of brands with unique and striking visual assets, the opportunity to raise visibility via images being shared and pinned across the site by other users is one that has provided the biggest pull. Moreover, it’s not entirely unimaginable that as Pinterest’s popularity continues to increase, brands will start to add calls-to-actions on their own websites next to products and images inviting visitors to ‘Pin it’ much in the same way we see with Facebook’s ‘Like’ and Twitter’s ‘Tweet this’ buttons.

As well as create their own pinboards and pin content, brand profiles can also comment, share, Like and repin user content, much in the same way as ‘User’ profiles, making it easy for brands to interact with other brands and users across the site, increasing visibility to their own content, and engaging in dialogue with pinners and consumers alike.

The Right Approach

One of the key things for brands using the network to keep in mind will be the balance between promotional, product-focused content and more thematic, creative, lifestyle content. As we have seen with brand’s using Facebook, bombarding users with sales and promotional messaging doesn’t always work and in many cases switches users off from engaging with the brand. A great example of striking this balance in particular is the West Elm Pinterest boards. Having created a series of their own themed mood boards filled with lifestyle and inspirational images, home décor brand, West Elm have created a space that sits separately from focusing on products and services and yet still aligns with and supports the overall brand offering. Creating ‘themed’ boards to provide users with inspirational and creative content is something that will certainly work well for many businesses, in the same way that tying in with current conversations and #hashtags has worked so well on Twitter.

Another factor worth considering is that across the board, online PR and social media seem to be shifting towards becoming more and more focused on the creation of a visual experience: the arrival of Facebook’s Timeline, the growth of apps such as Instagram, and Twitter’s introduction of photo upload within tweets, to name a few. With this increasing shift towards visual content and the majority of links from Pinterest pins reported to be ‘do-follow’ links, the possible effect such content will have on a business’ SEO activities starts to become a key talking point.

With more and more users pinning content with links pointing directly to brand websites, as well as the number of sources from which a link points to a company’s website increasing via social sharing, the importance and influence that such content has upon a brand’s SEO performance is definitely one for businesses and SEO agencies to watch closely throughout the year.

About George Guildford

George Guildford is an Account Manager at digital PR agency, Punch Communications, utilising over 7 years marketing, PR and social media experience working across a wide range of clients from the music, gaming, retail, tech and smartphone industries.

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Robert Koenig June 26, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Pinterest is a great visual website; however, I don’t think it can be for everyone. Someone who works in a law office can’t exactly use Pinterest to advertise but for companies that are more image-based, then Pinterest is perfect and all the tips you gave are highly applicable. While it is a growing website, companies need to be careful where they market themselves in. Business owners need to be smart about how they present themselves and this is highly influenced by social marketing websites.

Caleb June 29, 2012 at 1:48 am

Pinterest can surely be used for companies that aren’t image-based. Sometimes though it won’t be as easy for a lawyer compared to a photographer, although creativity and brainstorming is the key part. A lawyer could still do a viral info-graphic that would benefit from Pinterest. A perfect example of an info-graphic they could do is turn the health care bill and the Supreme Courts decision from legal terms to words that normal everyday people will understand in a info-graphic format.

Harry June 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I like Pinterest because it allows promotion as the best way as it can, but what I don’t like in Pinterest is that it’s an app of Facebook. I don’t want to create a Pinterest account through Facebook or Twitter.

Smith June 28, 2012 at 2:47 am

Pinterest is certainly the flavour of the month and with good reasons as you have explained. I have been looking into using it for a while and I really appreciated your tips. Thanks 🙂

Pulkit July 3, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I used pinterest but not getting traffic from that. Can anyone suggest what can be the reason?

Nanm July 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm

It is good explanation for using pinterest in this way. I have got some ideas from this post how precisely brands use pinterest!

lawrence July 28, 2012 at 11:16 am

Pinterest is now a very popular social media site, next to Facebook and Twitter, there are chances of promoting your business there, your tips are very helpful to us. Thanks for sharing.

stiver lee August 4, 2012 at 6:37 am

I have just started using pinterest for my business a month ago, its a different work experience when compared to facebook and twitter hope I will get some leads from it …oh god!

Simona August 13, 2012 at 6:16 pm

I use Pinterest almost one month, but I don’t get trafic.
What can I do to get more traffic from Pinterest?
Any suggestion is welcome 🙂

Kulwant Nagi August 21, 2012 at 6:28 pm

I think Pinterest is the fastest grown-up Social Site. This is having such a huge potential that every niche people can take benefit from this.

Richard September 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Man, I’ve never even heard about Pinterest before, sounds interesting.. but is it really necessary?

I think the whole PR system is a bit wonky, but I’m glad Google is working as hard as they do to make the system as fair as possible for everyone.

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