How can your brand use Pinterest effectively?

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Pinterest, a pinboard for the visually inspired

First, what is Pinterest? I think this image says it all:

Pinterest Infographic Traffic US, via The Myndset Brand Marketing

Pinterest hits the tipping point

Pinterest is a huge success (at least in North America).  While a picture can say a 1,000 words, a little text doesn’t hurt (especially for #tagging)!  There are scores of Pinterest Minter1 - for The Myndset Digital and Social Media Marketinginfographics on Pinterest, a telling testament to the visual component of the site.

What is Pinterest exactly?  Pinterest is an online pinboard where you can post images and videos (only on YouTube, for now) and organize them into themes or collections. You can follow users or simply individual boards. You do not need to be “friends” and there is no unwritten rule that you have to follow back because you will only want to follow the subjects about which you care.

The Pinterest community: large and still selective (for now)

Despite the 12+ million members, Pinterest remains an invitation-only site.  Drop in a comment if you want an invite.

Pinterest Invitation Only, via The Myndset Digital Marketing

Let me know if you would like an invite, comment or send me a mail

If the vast majority of users remain North American and female (87% according to Google Doubleclick Ad Planner), the chances are that the audience will roll out internationally rather easily due to the language-neutral aspect to images. And it is safe to assume that more men will get on the bandwagon, although as with the other more social (less business) oriented networks, it will likely remain more female.

Brand Marketing on Pinterest

As for brands that have taken to Pinterest, there are some best practice notions already surfacing.  The Sine Qua Non is that you need to have appetizing image assets.  You are also going need to consider carefully how many boards you are prepared to update regularly. Here are a few of the better brand examples:

While Coke may have just started on Pinterest, I like the fact that they have a call to action in their title: “Be Active,” with a click through to their Flickr page.  And, another neat function, exhibited by Boucheron, cutting their diamond images into 9 pieces (and Ilove the black & white).

Boucheron on Pinterest, viewed by The Myndset Digital Marketing

9 carré (if not carat) ring

Luxury brands on Pinterest

There is no reason that luxury brands cannot also get into the fray, considering they use some of the more powerful photographers and have superb eye-catching objects. For example, I see that Burberry has started — and my favorite board of theirs is Burberry Weather. And, taking the example from Burberry Acoustic where the videos are reposted on their Burberry Acoustic board, I think that Pinterest is a good place to repurpose certain visual and emotional content.

10 top Pinterest tips brand marketers

    1. Book your brand name extension. For now there is no “official” recognition of brands, so you might want to optimize with the best extension, i.e. www.pinterest.com/yourbrand.  It seems, for example, that oscardelarenta has been kidnapped.
    2. Create boards that come from a place of passion. As with most social media endeavors, you want to be passionate about the topic yourself in order to find the internal resilience to continue posting. You’ll notice in the invitation, Pinterest says to organize and share things you LOVE.
    3. If you have a blog, make sure to select striking images. If you create your own photos, you might want to create a non-invasive watermark. [Great HINT from CopyBlogger: If you have thought to give away Pinterest-exclusive coupons, make them beautiful looking!]
    4. Install a “Pin it” button on your site. [You can also add a “Follow Me on Pinterest” button which you’ll find in the Goodies].
    5. Make Pinterest part of your social eco-system, by including your Pinterest link in your main and social media sites.
    6. Don’t be lazy. In other words, don’t start pinning aimlessly and/or automatically. Brands that spam smell bad.
    7. Don’t be selfish. As Pinterest suggests, avoid self-promotion. As always in the true social media spirit, GIVE before expecting in return. This means following, liking and repinning others. Besides, aside from expressing a legitimate interest in other people’s content, you will encourage discovery.
    8. Connect your account with your preferred Twitter account and Facebook page. If you have several pages, you will need to think this one through.
    9. Social semantics. You can tag other people, much like in Twitter, i.e. @mdial. You can also use hashtags for #interestingtopics for better searchability.
    10. Finally, sign up for Pinclout (UPDATED October 2015: this service has closed down!) to track your Pinterest progress. Just as Klout only actually monitors your activity, Pinclout just keeps tabs on your followers and repins, etc. Apparently, the average pinclout score these days is 29.

A few Pinteresting facts

      • According to comScore’s number, Pinterest is the fastest standalone site to hit 10 million unique US visitors.
      • According to Alexa, Pinterest is the 76th most visited site worldwide and 16th in the US.  You can see Pinterest’s extraordinary ascension in the Alexa graph below.
      • The average time spent on Pinterest is around 11 minutes per visit and hit a total of 89 minutes in January (equal with Tumblr and compared to 405 minutes for Facebook, 21 minutes for Twitter [only twitter.com which is NOT a fair indicator], 17 for Linkedin and 3 for Google+) – Source comScore.
      • CORRECTED (thanks to @AlexPaquin):   Like Facebook*, Pinterest has begun as a decidedly North American phenomenon.  90% of the traffic is from the US.  Canada is second with approx 3.5% of the page views.  England has approximately 200,000 users to date, but Europe is evidently catching on fast.  Source: AppAppeal

Pinterest on Alexa, via The Myndset Brand Marketing

Last thoughts: if an image you pinned gets “taken down” from the host site, you will want to go back and clean up (either fix or delete). Also, note that mid-February, Pinterest added rel=nofollow” attribute to the links which instructs search engines not to follow a link, thereby stopping passing link equity to the posted URL. And, I’ve seen that my friends at Scoop.it have added a “pin it” button to their functionality.

As always, I will be happy to hear your thoughts.  If you are in brand marketing, I strongly advise getting signed up to take a look (post a comment if you need an invitation).  Start engaging (liking/commenting) and learning your way around before blustering into Pinterest as part of a larger social media strategy.  Meanwhile, if you have read this far and are still interested, I have a few pinboards that I am filling these days.  Will be happy to have you on board.

*Canada has 65.5% penetration on Facebook, marginally ahead of the USA at 65.1%

Comments 27

  1. The last days I've been dwelling the whole "social sharing vs copyright infringements" thing. Pintrest may have spiked the whole discussion, but in fact every social networking service has the same T&C which goes like this: "THIS SOCIAL NETWORK respects the intellectual property rights of others and expects users of the Services to do the same."

    So this means that you agree that anything you upload, share or like is things that your either have the rights to or is licensed under CC?

    I just had a look at the photos of WholeFoods on Pintrerest, I don't know but it doesn't look likely that they have the exclusive rights to all those images.

    So what are we up against? Stupid copyright laws, social networks that don't care, and users that just wants to share and curate content with no financial gain.

    I've a brilliant example of stupidity from this beloved city (I'm sure it happens outside of Paris too). The shop, a well know retailer which I wont mention by name has a strict no-photo policy in their stores (they sell bikes). I want a bike, one that was in their store. So I took a photo and uploaded it to Foursquare together with a check-in…. how stupid of me, because that violated their policy and got me quickly sent out of the shop.

    So the retailer doesn't appreciate free marketing by its prospective customers. Doesn't sound like a brand that will do well in social media times. A quick search on Facebook shows their brand Page, obviously full with their own messages. On LinkedIn I even find that they have a social media manager, he's either having a hard time conveying his ideas or he either just don't get it.

    Back to copyrights, if all content de default is copyrighted we've a whole world of connected internet users making copyright infringements everyday by blogging, sharing, tweeting posting stuff they are just curating.

    If Brian Solis' ideas around Curation Nation will survive we need to have laws that supports the behaviour of the nation….

    1. I feel your pain Joakim about that no-photo policy. Some reactions are so silly. There are some legitimate issues, of course, in terms of privacy, secrecy of data, protection of the image, etc., but the sense of "openness" is also a whole mindset issue. It does not suit all brands and cultures… With an open attitude comes a certain freedom (pleasure?) for employees, a kind of karma among clients. Frankly, I don't believe there is a real right or wrong — except that some brands will benefit more than others!

      That said, there is the law and the jury seems to be out how this will all play out. Certainly, Pinterest is not going to be liable for the copyright infringements. We should see some kind of Creative Commons policy being implemented — an easy option to add on to each post, no? …
      My recent post MDE20: Interview with Michael Goitein of UsableNet, Total Mobility

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