The social media world is abuzz with its latest darling, Pinterest.
You yourself may have been “pinning” like crazy. Or at the very least, seen your friends’ pins on Facebook.
Even though Pinterest is still by invitation only, its membership has been growing faster than Google Plus or Facebook. As of this writing, it has over 10 million users.
Every time a new potential tool comes up, PR folks wonder, “Should I be using it, too?”
PR in Your Pajamas’ answer:
Pinterest can be an effective way to get your products out there to the market, get market intelligence, and engage a community of customers or potential customers.
Successful PR on Pinterest depends on a host of factors, which is what we’ll talk about in this post.
But First, A Background
What is Pinterest anyway?
Pinterest describes itself simply as “an online board.” Its tagline is, “Organize and share things you love.”
It’s a website where users can pin photos and videos on virtual pinboards. It’s “visual bookmarking,” in other words.
Beyond bookmarking, however, Pinterest is a social network. You can follow other Pinterest users, “like” other people’s pins, comment on pins, and repin another person’s pin onto your own board.
People use Pinterest in different ways:
- to keep things that interest them all in one place (e.g., recipes and hairstyles they want to try)
- to collect visuals for inspiration (e.g., colors, patterns, designs)
- to gather stuff they love (e.g., inspirational, touching or motivational images)
- to research products (e.g., furniture for their home, prom dresses)
- to share with like-minded people (e.g., knitted items with other knitters)
In short, Pinterest users use it to collect and discover photos and videos.
Discovery can happen through the people you follow. You can also browse pins by category, thus finding boards even by those you don’t follow.
What Pinterest Can Do For PR
Tell your story visually
As you may have surmised by now, Pinterest is all about visuals. If your core marketing and PR message can be told effectively through visuals, then Pinterest is an excellent medium.
Get exposure and referral traffic
PR Newswire recently added a Pin It button on the press releases they host. When a PR giant does this, you know they’re on to something. PR Newswire reported that referral traffic from Pinterest has exceeded combined traffic from LinkedIn, Google Plus, and YouTube.
Pins are highly shareable. Using the Pinterest bookmarket for web browsers, members can pin instantly without logging into their Pinterest accounts. The Like and Repin buttons make it easy to share pins, so you can imagine the potential for pins to reach a wide audience.
Finally, thanks to the ability to post pins on Twitter and Facebook, as well as embed them on a website, the potential for a pin to go viral is high.
Spread customer stories
When customers publish pictures about your product, or create a video review, Pinterest gives you yet another way to spread that customer story.
Create virtual special events
If you want to generate buzz online, Pinterest gives you several options. You could host a contest, for example.
Of course, make sure to pin photos and videos from your live events.
How to Use Pinterest for PR
If you’re now convinced that Pinterest would make a good additional to your social media PR toolbox, heed the following tips:
Make your website images pinnable
Give visitors permission to pin the images on your website (assuming you own the rights to those photos). As I’m writing this, only videos from YouTube and Vimeo are pinnable, so use one of those video sites if you want your videos on Pinterest.
Add a Pin It button
Make it easy peasy for website visitors to pin your image. Add a Pin It button.
Create compelling visuals
If you don’t have visuals, what will your visitors pin? Publish photos, infographics, videos, charts and graphs.
Use relevant images
Make sure the images and videos you do provide are relevant to your product, service or business.
Don’t open a Pinterest account only to pin your own stuff! Follow others on Pinterest, repin, like, and comment on other people’s pins. Don’t forget to share their pins through your other social networks. They’re likely to return the good deed.
Remember your keyword strategy
Search engines crawl Pinterest content, so don’t forget your keyword strategy when pinning. Use target keywords when naming your boards and writing pin descriptions and comments. But, as always, don’t go overboard with this! Use target keywords where appropriate and natural.
To Pin Or Not To Pin
So should you use Pinterest for PR or not?
… have a core message that can be told visually
… have visual and video resources, or are willing to develop them
… have the staff time and energy available to interact in an additional social network
… then go for it!
Otherwise, don’t freak out. Keep doing what’s working. If some of your social media PR efforts are not paying off as you expected, then you can try replacing it with Pinterest and see what results you get.
You can also try it on a small scale by focusing on a particular product or event. If you find that Pinterest brings you a targeted, highly motivated (to buy) audience, then you’ve found a valuable new PR tool.
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies.
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