According to Pew Internet, 22 percent of the U.S. population and 28 percent of adult Internet users are on Pinterest. Pinterest is the third largest social network, trailing Facebook and LinkedIn.
According to an Ahalogy study, many Pinterest users turn to Pinterest in place of traditional media:
- Forty-three percent use Pinterest instead of reading magazines.
- Forty-nine percent use Pinterest instead of browsing catalogs.
Yet even the B2B darling, LinkedIn, seems to get more love from social media experts than Pinterest.
“Because to successfully market on Pinterest, you must act a little differently,” says David Weinberg, CEO and founder of Loop 88, a Pinterest marketing firm. “It offers a unique visual aesthetic with different uses than other social networks.”
Here’s what it takes for communicators to succeed on Pinterest:
1. Create content you can pin.
People don’t act the same on Pinterest as they do on other social networks. On Pinterest, people search for and pin things that are meaningful to them. The context depends on the end user.
For example, if you are a travel company, you might write a post on why Paris is a great place to visit. But the end user would likely search for romantic places in Europe to propose. While to some it may seem obvious to propose in Paris, it might not be to Romeo. A Parisian travel site might want content about the top 10 places to propose in Paris, each with its own image and short story.
In 2013, Target created a unique campaign called Best.Party.Ever for people looking for party supplies. Target hired renowned event planner David Stark, and its Pinterest board attracted more than 160,000 followers. It was a brilliant campaign that highlighted one of the primary reasons people shop at Target.
2. Codify for the pin.
Great pictures that link to a story are not enough. Build pins that fit common search terms, and place them in boards that fit larger consumer searches.
“The right pin boards and keywords are critical for success,” says Weinberg. “You can see it with re-pins, sponsored posts, and even the successful influencers. People look for stuff. If you think about the lifetime of a pin, it can work for your brand for years.”
3. Hire influencers to build pins.
On most other social networks, you’re happy if an influencer mentions your brand. With Pinterest, it’s better to have influencers build content than re-pin it. It often creates significant interest.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that, rather than buying sponsored pins, large brands are starting to hire influencers to work the brands’ networks. The article cites how VH1 hired influencers to create pin boards for the show “Hindsight.”
“It had 600,000 followers for an influencer-created pin during a single week,” said Tom Chirico, VH1’s vice president of marketing.
4. Use Promoted Pins.
Success is paramount. Pinterest uses editorial control over the ads to make sure the community will enjoy them. As a result, the optimized pins will garner success beyond the paid reach, creating content that will perform well for the pins’ lifetimes.
Promoted Pins are new, but Pinterest says brands experience a 30 percent bump in earned media, or free impressions, from their campaigns.
5. Spread the pins.
It’s one thing to work within Pinterest. It’s another to understand that Pinterest fits within the larger Internet. If a good percentage of your customers are on Pinterest, integrate your Pinterest assets into your online presence.
Some brands go further than just offer on-site pin sharing. They’re integrating entire pin boards into their websites.
For example, HSN’s fashion show, “The List,” integrated a pin board into its site and references Pinterest during the show-a great way to curate deep content on site, while highlighting your Pinterest page.
What Pinterest tips would you add to my list?
Geoff Livingston is president and founder of Tenacity5 Media, a digital marketing agency that provides content marketing and social media services. A former journalist, Geoff has written five books. Follow him @geoffliving. A version of this article originally appeared on the Cision blog.