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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John Ernest June 24, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Right, this is a great guide. The Gifts tab is the important part of Pinterest that we should utilize. It is great having these social media sharing sites to have for marketing and advertising. The Internet continues to revolutionize how things work in the world we live in.

Samuel June 25, 2012 at 2:58 am

Pinterest is proving to be a very good asset to a business. A business should be now more inclined to visual aspect of promoting which can lead to a better Pinterest “profile”.

I will and am going to further investigate and utilize Pinterest to promote my site and my content.

Darin Spears June 25, 2012 at 11:27 am

I have never been able to us the Pinterest so far, I have received an invitation and now integrated with me facebook also.. But still cant figure out the purpose/use behind it!

Aasma June 25, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Hi George,

Really interesting points, However it’s always best to keep balance between promotion and sharing images to show your interests. If you only focus on marketing then I’m afraid nobody is going to take you seriously.

Anuj June 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm

what would happen if we over promote our brand or blog does it affect our alexa rank

David Sneen June 25, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Pinterest involves more interaction than other social media platforms. As such, it is a valuable tool to those of us who want to create a brand; whether traditional business or not. Using creativity to make your brand stand out is essential to Pinterest success. Thanks for the assist, George.

Kevin Gabbard June 26, 2012 at 2:18 am

Any marketing campaign not using social media as a forum is failing, or at least not living up to their expectations. Pinterest is another form of that, which is just as good as Facebook or Twitter if being used correctly. Great article really enjoyed it.

Sammie Clemmons June 26, 2012 at 2:41 am

Pinterest is very visual marketing. Find a compelling image that represents your business or blog and post it on Pinterest, and you will be surprised at the amount of traffic you get from it. I have really started to “Pin” more things as I find them in my niche, and it has made a big difference for my visitors to my blog– and that a lot of that traffic comes from other sources, like Facebook, Twitter, and other blogs…so my images are getting reposted elsewhere and sending more readers my way….you cannot beat that!

caroline June 26, 2012 at 1:29 pm

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 …

Raspberry June 26, 2012 at 2:46 pm

The blog seems interesting, specially high lighting pinterest. In such a short span of time it has gained so much of popularity.

Pinterest is just not a platform, it is much more. It helps you speak your mind and also pictures add expression to it.

I got an invite some 4 months back and have been using pinterest since than.


Rob Francken June 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I can see that Pinterest could be used quite effectively for certain businesses, but I don’t think it’s a viable marketing tool for everyone. I sometimes get the feeling that social media is getting out of hand, with so many platforms around it’s difficult to balance the time spent on each one.

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