16 ways to use Pinterest for PR

Pin videos, stories from reporters, photos from publicity stunts, and more to get extra mileage out of this visual social network.


I recently talked about Pinterest for PR at the Public Relations Association of Louisiana in New Orleans.

When Abbie Fink asked me how it went, I said, “It’s really fun talking Pinterest with 30 PR girls (and three guys).”

Rather than talk from slides, I wrote down 16 ways to use Pinterest for PR and walked around the room to ask for examples of each.

I began the discussion with a reminder that Pinterest is not a strategy. These are fun ideas for using Pinterest at work, but they should be used as part of a larger marketing or communication strategy.

I now give you those 16 tips:

1. Think visually. Duh. Pinterest is a site full of images. While I really do love Pinterest, it’s not the right place for you if you can’t tell your story visually. An example is the Louisiana Department of Transportation. While the group came up with a few ideas the department’s communication pro could use, photos of asphalt aren’t very exciting.

2. Don’t blatantly promote. We like to see a nice balance between your boards and boards that highlight others. For instance, for our client Frank and Eileen we have boards for their women’s and men’s shirts, but we also have inspiration boards.

3. Provide visual customer stories. We’re storytellers, which means we need to know how to tell our story visually. The Chicago Bears do a nice job of this because they not only show things to buy (clothes, merchandise), but they tell their history through photos.

4. Pin interesting things happening in your industry, and invite others to contribute to this board. I am a contributor to a social media board and also to Meta Pinterest—Insights & Resources. This allows you to keep up on trends, statistics and resources without doing all the work yourself.

5. Think about events, publicity stunts, and news conferences. I visited New Orleans for the first time about 10 years ago to launch Over ‘n Out Fire Ant Killer. To tell a story and drive interest from TV stations, we created a New Orleans style funeral—complete with a singing minister and mourners—for the fire ant. I did a search and found some images I may pin even though it’s 10 years later!

6. Pin videos. Most people don’t know you can pin videos. I started a Facebook question of the week board just to see if it would impact the videos’ views. It turns out a good number of people come to our YouTube channel from Pinterest. (It’s one of the top 10 traffic drivers.)

7. Put the “pin it” button on all of your Web properties. I need to take this advice myself. I use Google Chrome, so I have the “pin it” bookmarked in my toolbar. Because it’s so easily accessible for me, I forget it’s not the same for everyone. Just do it.

8. Pin articles, stories and blog posts. Even though it’s a little self-serving, pinning articles, stories, and blog posts about your company also helps the person who wrote them. You can highlight what others say about you and increase their traffic. Whole Foods does a nice job of this with its Favorite Books board.

9. Ask employees to create boards. Just like you want employees involved in your other social networks, ask them to create boards on the business page that showcase their talents, hobbies and families, if they’re so inclined. Just make sure you have a couple of sentences in your social media policy about what is and isn’t cool on Pinterest.

10. Pin blogs and websites you admire. I’m going to use Frank and Eileen as an example again because I think my team does a nice job with this. They’ve pinned bloggers they love based on the industry. For instance, they don’t pin technology or social media bloggers—only fashion and clothing bloggers.

11. Pin best practices. I do this for my speaking engagements. Anytime I read something or hear someone speak and think, “Ah ha! I need to include that in a presentation,” I pin it. You can do the same for the best practices you’d like to incorporate into your business world.

12. Pin journalists’ stuff. This goes hand-in-hand with tips eight and 10, but you can separate bloggers from journalists. The nice thing about pinning the work of reporters in your industry is they can see that you drive traffic to their sites. It can spark a relationship.

13. Consider trade shows and conferences. Just back from Counselor’s Academy, Martin Waxman introduced Sharypic to the group, which is a photo-sharing site for conferences. I’d like to see a mash-up of Sharypic and Pinterest for PR pros. People could use Sharypic to combine all the photos everyone at the conference tweets, and then pin the ones important to their boards.

14. Change descriptions with SEO in mind. This one drives me crazy. How often do you see a photo on Pinterest with the caption, “This is so cool!”? What the heck is it? People don’t search, “This is so cool!” They search “extra kitchen storage.” It’s easy to change descriptions. Write descriptions that will help others find your pin.

15. Make sure links work. There is nothing more frustrating—on Pinterest, at least—than clicking on an image to buy or make it to find a URL that doesn’t have more information. If you pin things to drive traffic back to your website or blog, make sure the links work!

16. Measure your efforts. I have one more example from Frank and Eileen, because I have easy access to its analytics. In April, Pinterest was its number eight traffic driver, which represents three percent new visitors. Of that three percent, 83 percent bought a shirt, representing $2,670 in revenue. Not too shabby for a few images on a cool, new social network!

There you have it. A nice, big list of things you can do on Pinterest.

What would you add?

Gini Dietrich is founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, Inc. A version of this article originally ran on Spin Sucks.

(Image via)

Topics: PR

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