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The do's and don'ts for marketing with Pinterest

Brands are piling into Pinterest, the wildly popular visual bookmarking tool. And plenty are making mistakes along the way as they try to figure out how to use the site for their marketing.


Susan Gunelius, Entrepreneur, 25 June 2012  Share  0 comments  Print


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Pinterest, which launched in 2010, has grown to more than 10 million users. Every day, people use the website to “pin” images and videos to their personal pin boards so they can save and share the things they love. The site gets social when people follow each other and repin or comment on each other’s pins.

The vast majority of Pinterest users are women between the ages of 25 and 34, so it’s a natural place for small businesses to spend time if they want to connect with that target audience.

Many brands have already jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon, and you can get creative inspiration by reviewing brand pinboards. I keep a pinboard filled with brands doing cool things on Pinterest, which you can explore to start your benchmarking research.

Although brands targeted at women dominate Pinterest, other companies are also giving it a try. With that in mind, here are some Pinterest do’s and don’ts to help you use the site to promote your small business.

The Do's

1. Do tell stories and tap into emotions

Pinterest is a place for storytelling. Help consumers become emotionally connected to your brand by pinning content that reveals more about your brand personality than just your product line.

Check out the pin boards from Birchbox to get some ideas. For example, the beauty-products subscription service features fun “unboxing videos” of people opening their purchases and sneak peaks into packages before they’re sent to customers.

2. Do get social and build relationships

Pinterest is a social destination, so get involved with its community. Find active Pinterest members and build relationships with them by following them, repinning their content and commenting on their pins. The commenting feature in Pinterest is still greatly underutilized, and you can stand out by using it frequently.

3. Do create group pinboards and crowdsource

You don’t have to go it alone on Pinterest. Create group pinboards and invite other users to pin content to those boards. For example, ask customers to pin pictures of themselves using your products. You also could hold a contest to crowdsource pins. Ask customers to review your business or product on your website and pin a quote from their review to a special contest pinboard. You benefit from more reviews and a pinboard that’s filled with testimonials.

The Don'ts

1. Don’t use pinterest for direct marketing

Pinterest states that the site should not be used for direct marketing, advertising or sales. Excessive and overt self-promotion is clearly unacceptable, so make sure you’re pinning diverse content, not just pictures of your products.

You need to get creative and use Pinterest for indirect marketing. For example, fill pin boards with seasonal items, color coordinated images, gift ideas and so on. For inspiration, Scholastic has a variety of creative pinboards that are excellent examples of indirect marketing.

2. Don’t forget who the Pinterest audience is

Approximately three out of four Pinterest users are currently women. While the site is beginning to attract more male users, you shouldn’t waste time pinning a lot of content that women are unlikely to be interested in.

3. Don’t pin anything and everything

Cluttering your pinboards with everything you think people might like is a mistake. Just as people don’t like to sift through clutter in search engine results and on websites, they don’t want to be overwhelmed on Pinterest.

Stay focused, but don’t be afraid to pin interesting content that your target audience would enjoy and that’s at least loosely connected to your business. Such content can help give your brand more personality.

 

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About the author


Susan Gunelius, Entrepreneur

Susan Gunelius is president and CEO of KeySplash Creative Inc., a marketing communications and branding firm. She also writes two blogs: KeySplash Creative Conversations and Women On Business. Gunelius has authored several books, including Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps (Entrepreneur Press); Google Blogger for Dummies (John Wiley & Sons), Harry Potter: The Story of a Global Business Phenomenon and Building Brand Value the Playboy Way (Palgrave Macmillan). Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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