It’s true that the virtual pinboard and social sharing site Pinterest is a retailer’s dream – users share images of their favorite products and ideas while vendors reap the benefits of the free marketing. (A recent study found that 32% of users had made a purchase after seeing a product on Pinterest.)
But you don’t actually have to sell anything in order to market your brand on Pinterest. All kinds of organizations – from trade associations to charities – are taking advantage of the social platform to reach their target audiences.
Below are eight “rules” to follow when creating a Pinterest page for your organization:
1) Re-pinning and “liking” other users’ content is at least as important as pinning original content. As a matter of strategy, interacting with (and following) users who have a lot of activity on their own Boards will be most effective for solidifying your organization’s presence on Pinterest. A good way to start is by following, liking and re-pinning from organizations that are similar to yours.
2) Vary your pins. It’s good to have a mix of images. Text-based images, such as inspirational phrases, quotes and infographics are among the most popular. Recently, sites like YouTube and Vimeo have made it easy to incorporate video. Each time you pin something, think about how a user might re-pin it onto one of their own Boards.
3) Group pins strategically. Be creative about how you might organize pins thematically. Broad categories typically work best because they invite users to peruse the content and find something that appeals to them. The Heritage Foundation clearly understands this concept; Boards for each of their key political issues complement more generalized Boards with titles like “Patriotic,” “Quotable,” and “Fun.”
4) Get to know your audience. As with any social media platform, being familiar with your audience is a crucial component of being successful. Currently, about 80% of Pinterest users are women. Keep a close watch on the content that is receiving the most attention, and try to replicate those kinds of images.
5) Consider creating original content just for Pinterest. A great way to get your organization’s name out there is to have a graphic designer create an image with broad appeal that includes your organization’s logo. Think of it as a postcard: the key is to make the image/text the primary focus and have any branding be secondary. Again, it may take some experimentation to figure out which pins resonate with users before you tackle content creation.
6) The caption matters. It’s true that Pinterest is an image-driven site, but don’t neglect the caption. Not only does the caption inform the search results on Pinterest, it’s an opportunity to say something that adds value to the image. Keep in mind that the search refers to EXACT terms: if something is captioned “daisy,” for example, it will not appear in a search for daisies. You can also add searchable hashtags (à la Twitter) that are preceded with a # sign. Sevenly does a great job with captions.
7) Don’t just pin your own content. To keep it fresh, try to find pins from third parties that link elsewhere on the web. That said…
8) Make sure your pins link back to their original source. There has been some speculation that copyright infringements may become an issue for Pinterest users down the road, so make sure that you’re crediting the right source. Some media platforms, such as Flickr, YouTube and Vimeo have made image attribution easier with a “Pinterest” button in the share menu. Keep in mind that Flickr users can opt out of the Pinterest button, so if the option is unavailable, it probably means that they don’t want their photo shared.
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