Pinterest Your Brand: Harness the Real Power of Pinning
[This is the first blog in a two-part series on using Pinterest as a brand strategy and Pinterest for brand execution]
The latest outlet in the social media craze, Pinterest is gaining more momentum each month. Yesterday’s news of the Facebook acquisition of Instagram proves just how influential imagery can be when it comes to online content. The popular online pinboard that allows you to pin and organize your favorite images across the web, Pinterest provided more referrer traffic in February, 2012 than Twitter.
And the news media is taking notice. From The Huffington Post to PCWorld, reporters are questioning Pinterest's use, value and primary goals. The New York Times calls it a “scrapbook” in its review, while PCWorld, wants to know “if anyone should care.” The answer is absolutely.
Early reviews of Pinterest take the same cursory glance and have the same questioning feel as early reviews of Twitter. But most early reviews take these social media networks at face value. They evaluate them based on how early adopters are using the network, and how the network communicates instructions on use.
We see Pinterest differently. It’s got the potential to be a true brand platform. At Evviva, brands are our business. When we evaluate the core components of brand, we’re considering the meaning of the brand, the experience of the brand consumer and how the brand is expressed. It’s the emotion and the passion.
Our work in brand creation means that’s the lens we used when pinning for the first time. And guess what? There was a spark, a passion and an ease about finding the right content to pin. The fact that we could visualize it? All the better. And when others looked at our collections of pins, organized through what Pinterest calls “boards,” they felt an immediate emotional connection.
The way we see it, Pinterest has the ability to profile the heart and soul of a brand and/or company through imagery. Imagine profiling key employees through Pinterest boards. How about showcasing the spirit of your brand’s culture? The capability of Pinterest is beyond pinning clothes, furniture or recipes you like. It’s a visual anatomy of your brand.
But it’s not all about images. Or is it? The PCWorld review of Pinterest says, “businesses won’t get far if they don’t have alot of visual content.” Wrong.
Every word inspires a visual. Every visual inspires emotion. And emotion sparks action (purchase, application, referral) on the part of your customer. We’re living in an increasingly visual world where tweets and texts are supported by videos and emoticons. So images mean more now than ever.
Get a feel for how it works on your own before you try it for your brand.
When you’ve got a good sense of how it works for you, it’s time to look in the brand mirror.
Do you know what your brand stands for? And what your brand means to your customers? Your partners? Your fans? With this philosophy in mind we took our own look inward and created our own set of brand boards for Evviva Brands. And want to inspire you to do the same.
As a brand on Pinterest, the organization of your boards is key in successfully communicating with followers (read: current and future clients and customers). Pinterest currently leaves the organization of boards up to the user. The content you post will only be as successful as the way in which you organize your boards. And a preview of your boards is the first thing a viewer sees when they visit your Pinterest account.
From an initial scan, a viewer should be able to look at your boards and be able to have a sense of your brand’s values, personality and work. We’ve put this theory into practice with our own Evviva Pinterest account by organizing our boards into one of three categories:
- Our Brand --These boards serve as your brand’s visual biography. They give followers a glimpse into the heart and soul of your brand. This is a great way to showcase the personality of the brand and most importantly, the people behind brand. The opportunity to display the truly unique threads that make up your company lies within these pinned images.
- Our Work --This second category of boards is an opportunity to display your brand’s portfolio of work in an easy way. This is also a great way to showcase digital client work or to link your pins back to your own website. The introduction and high usage rates of Pinterest to date means visual content on your website is now more important than ever.
- Our Business --These boards help share insight with others in similar industries or of similar interest. Think of these boards as doing your part as an intellectual goodwill ambassador. They show your commitment to learning and knowledge in the space.
By creating a board for each of these three categories, we’ve created a platform that showcases both the heart and mind of our brand. Organized brand boards mean you will be able to showcase your creativity, personality and work of your brand while still keeping things clean, simple, and easy to follow. This is more than just selling your products—it’s showcasing your brand.
If you’re ready to create your own brand presence on Pinterest, there are some key lessons to learn before you get started.
1. Account Set-Up
When setting up your brand on Pinterest you want to set-up your account under a name that’s easy to find and search. A unique url is created based on the username you create when you sign up your account. Be sure to choose a username which will be easily linked back to your brand. If you’re concerned about people using similar usernames to your brand name you will also want to be sure to reserve any other similar usernames that may currently exist to prevent this.
TIP: Keep in mind that if you want to reserve similar names to prevent any confusion between your brand and another, you will need to register additional accounts under different e-mail addresses. There is currently no way to tie multiple Pinterest accounts to one e-mail account.
2. Naming and Content
When it comes to what you should name your board, you’ll want to be as clear and concise as possible. Chances are a potential follower will do a quick scan of your boards before deciding to commit to follow. The names of your boards have to be clear and concise to describe what pins (images) are contained within the boards. For example, if you have a collection of interesting infographics on trends in social media, consider naming your board something such as “Social Media Infographics” as opposed to just, “Infographics." You will get more followers when you’re more clearly able to describe the content within a board.
TIP: Keep in mind that the longer a name you have for your board, the more likely it is that the name of the board will be cut off when followers see your board in a preview display (when you see all your boards at one time). It won’t be until they click into the board to view it in more detail will they be able to see the full name of the board. Each board has an edit button to with the ability to edit title, board description and category, so you can change the titles of boards if needed.
3. Driving Action and Emotion
Pins are meant to spur the user to act and react. When deciding what images to include in your boards, a good litmus test is, “does this photo drive emotion or inspire me to act?” If the answer is no, rethink the pin and/or the specific image you’re choosing to pin. Your pins should be purposeful and have intent (and a link) behind the pin. Think of your boards and pins as a gateway to your products, services, or pre-existing content where you want to drive traffic.
TIP: Keep in mind that you may find an image worth pinning that has a great story behind it but may not be obvious to others why you have chosen to pin it. This is why it’s great to have the caption of the area of the pin to describe why you find the pin is inspirational. A great example of this can be seen on our ‘Our Business is Brands” board. We have various pins of brand images that we admire and in the caption area we have described why these brands are among some of our favorites.
4. Pin and Image Attribution
A hot topic of debate right now with Pinterest is the copyright issues that may potentially rise up as a result of people pinning images they have no rights to distribute. While the debate rages on, we recommend (and this is NOT legal advice) that users pin content that can be directly linked back to 1) your website 2) another user’s Pinterest account or 3) a primary source. For instance; If you decide to post a photo of your favorite drink from Starbucks, it’s always better to pin a photo that either originated from the Starbucks.com website their Pinterest account or a picture you took yourself.
TIP: Be sure to test the link of every pin—especially pins you re-pin from another’s board. Make sure the links work and are legitimate. If you’re not entirely comfortable pinning a photo because you’re unsure of the source you might want to re-think pinning.
5. Board Management and Strategy
Using Pinterest as an integrated part of your brand’s social media strategy will require maintenance and management from your team. Like all of social media, it’s not a self-sustaining channel. As you set up an account for your brand, treat it like you would an additional social media channel. Make sure you have a plan for how it fits into your existing social media channel strategy, what you want to achieve by using Pinterest and a resource and staffing management plan.
TIP: Don’t use an individual email address when you set up your account (see #1). Since multiple people can currently be logged into one Pinterest account at the same time, using a central account (example: firstname.lastname@example.org) and login for your team should help to minimize the amount of duplicate pins as well as ensure constant maintenance of your account by multiple administrators.
This should be a good start to build your Pinterest brand foundation. In our next Pinterest blog post we’ll talk about taking your boards to the next level including storytelling and client-facing portfolios. Have you started a brand board for your organization? Have you see a brand board you think is worth mentioning? Share your comments and links below. And in the meantime, check out the Evviva Pinterest account to see how we’ve put our own lessons into practice.
Posted on 10 April 2012 by Jessie Read
There are 5 comments relating to this blog post.Jessie Read says:
11 April 2012 at 08:57:36
Join Susan Strayer and I tomorrow, April 12th from 1-2pm EST for our live Twitter chat. We'll be taking questions about this post and how to apply this process and strategy of Pinterest for your brand! Find us on Twitter @SusanStrayer and @EvvivaBrands.Jessie Read says:
11 April 2012 at 08:58:09
Join Susan Strayer and I tomorrow, April 12th from 1-2pm EST for our live Twitter chat. We'll be taking questions about this post and how to apply this process and strategy of Pinterest for your brand! Find us on Twitter @SusanStrayer and @EvvivaBrands.William Tincup says:
11 April 2012 at 19:33:05
I would love for you all to tackle two things in future posts related to this... (1) how learning styles / learning differences play in to the potential upside of Pinterest? Meaning, how folks like to learn? And (2), how the concept of procession can be explained via Pinterest? Meaning, for those that can visualize something... Pinterest can make clear. Whereas reading about a beautiful beach is one thing... seeing examples of said beach is something else. \r\n\r\nLastly, and not to come across dickish, but please add images to your blog post so those that are Pinterest inclined can \"pin\" fantastic articles like this. Meaning, how has Pinterest changed the content marketing game.\r\n\r\nKeep up the great work.\r\n\r\nWilliamJessie Read says:
12 April 2012 at 07:24:38
William- Thanks so much for this feedback it's great! We're still in the process of molding the Part II to this blog so your suggestions for what you'd like to see next come at a perfect time. You bring up some really great points that have definitely been noted and we're up to the challenge of weaving them into the next blog! Point taken on the note of adding images. Our current back-end interface makes it a bit awkward to post images throughout our blog and we're working on changing this soon, so bear with us! Thanks again for the great feedback and we're glad you enjoyed the post!Recruiting Animal says:
16 April 2012 at 13:41:42
Great article. I don't think copyright is an issue at all. I want to see some fashion magazine come after all the pinsters who are posting their photos.
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