I love being pleasantly surprised.
The last four weeks have been genuinely enjoyable as I became familiar with and experimented on Pinterest.
To be honest over the last few years I always disregarded Pinterest. I figured being a guy it wasn’t for me. I did not even consider the massive marketing implications I was just disregarding, believing that Pinterest marketing was somehow less important than Facebook, Twitter and even G+.
I just assumed it was for mom bloggers, girls planning their weddings and foodies, and there is a lot of that. In fact over 85% of Pinterest users are women, but as a marketer that is a tremendous opportunity.
The first time I seriously got a feel for how Pinterest worked was when my wife and I were planning our wedding last year. And for any couples out there, there isn’t a better tool to find wedding ideas than Pinterest. We used the network for decorating ideas, my wife got hair ideas for the big day and I got my first look into Pinterest.
The fact is that whether you are looking to drive traffic to your blog or corporate website, you are looking to sell products or you want to influence buyers’ decisions, Pinterest is a network you need to be using.
Social Media and Pinterest Expert Trevor Ellestad spoke to me about just how important Pinterest can be for brands but also the challenges that it poses.
[Tweet “”Pinterest is a great tool to gather your thoughts, visualize your goals, & share together” @trevorellestad”]
The personal/business objectives of Pinterest can be very polarized compared to other platforms, but they also share a lot of similarities. From a personal perspective, Pinterest is a great tool to gather your thoughts, visualize your goals, and share together.
Brands struggle with the medium, because unlike some other platforms, it really takes an in-depth knowledge of your brand personality beyond just the face value. I would urge brands to think of themselves as a person, not the person sitting in the office who has been assigned to manage the account, but the REAL personality behind the brand.
What would that person pin on their own boards? Fantasy vacations, favorite smoothie recipes, or pics to help them plan their upcoming wedding decorations? Think about those big picture buckets and map them out, as a part of your strategy. Add those to the obvious boards that are relevant to your industry, whether it’s infographics about trends in technology or beautiful pictures that you link back to relevant content about plant-based protein on your website.
Pinterest can be an unbelievable driver of traffic for brands, and it can be an exceptional overall branding tool for businesses and personal brands. The biggest surprise I’ve had with Pinterest has been how great of a relationship-building tool it can be. I started a collaborative plant-based blogger board to help connect me with the influencers that I was working with, help them share their recent recipes with me so I can help cross-promote them, and just generally build a community. The board has grown really quickly! In fact, it has gathered 20,000 pins in less than a year. It was a creative way that I found to use technology to connect me with people in my industry and helped to not only build relationships, but also showcase myself as more of a thought leader in the space. Along with that, it’s helped to drive the number of people following my account and given me a great way to reach out to new people that I might like to work with in the future.
I think collaboration boards are great for a lot of reasons, and I’ve seen many creative applications for them along with brand partnerships and places for office productivity and brainstorming. Number one thing with Pinterest is to go into it with a passion for discovering more about your personality, share what is beautiful and aspirational, and promote your brand very occasionally only to the point that you would on other networks (5-10% of the time), and see if it works for you. I think you’ll find very quickly if it’s a fit for you or your brand.
There are a ton of amazing nuggets in what Trevor said above, I encourage you to reread it again before diving into some of them in more detail below.
Building Your Brand’s Personality on Pinterest
Because mine is a personal brand, I have been able to align my Pinterest presence with the topics that most appeal to me. The Pinterest Boards I have created speak to my passions and even the way I have named some of my boards can be tied directly back to my brand ie. Social Media Spellbook.
As a marketer who is consistently working with brands and personalities, the challenge and opportunity in finding or creating the personality of a brand gets me out of bed in the morning. No social media network allows more creativity when it comes to this than Pinterest.
To be successful requires some strategic and creative thinking up front, before you even begin to map out your Pinterest strategy. Really map out the personality of an ideal customer of your brand. What does he/she like to do in their spare time? Is he/she married? Does he/she have a pet? What is his/her favorite food?
Dive really deep here, the more detailed you get the more engaging and successful you will be on Pinterest and other social media networks.
Once you are ready it is all about mapping out your Pinterest Boards, this is one of the most enjoyable things I have done during this four week experiment. What are the interests of your brand, how are you going to animate your Pinterest presence.
Of course you always include a number of boards within your niche. If you provide fitness services than Nutrition, Yoga, Workout and Healthy Recipe boards are a no brainer. But thousands and thousands of other people and brands have the same boards with a lot of the same content saved to them so it is in the personality-based boards that you can really differentiate yourself.
Taking myself as an example, my brand name might have given away to you the fact that I am a bit of a geek and so I wanted to really help that come across with my non-niche related boards. I created a Wolverine board (my favorite superhero since I was a boy), a Zombie board (because everyone needs a Zombie board, Walking Dead anyone?), a board dedicated to my favorite authors (C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien), and a Football board (my favorite sport).
Hopefully this helps differentiate me from other social media bloggers and people can get a more personal look into what I am passionate about and who I am as a person.
Pinterest as a Networking Tool
This is not a topic I have been able to elaborate on yet so I am so glad Trevor brought this up. I have written at length about Twitter being an amazing tool to network with influencers in your niche but Twitter isn’t the only social media network that can do this.
Pinterest group boards are an amazing tool to facilitate collaboration.
[Tweet “Pinterest group boards are an amazing tool to facilitate collaboration.”]
Group boards allow you, the board creator, to add other people and allow them to pin and contribute to the board as well.
Besides the obvious networking benefits, using group boards can have a dramatic effect on your Pinterest success. It can boost your follower number, increase the number of repins your content gets and can help build brand ambassadors who being creating content for you.
Trevor’s Plant-Based Bloggers board is a great example. Not only was he able to connect with influencers and become a thought leader himself within the niche, but his board has earned over 11,000 followers and contains over 21,000 pins to date.
Remember though, if you want to connect with influencers in your industry or niche, just inviting them to contribute to your group board will not work very often. You need to cultivate a relationship by liking their content and following their social media profiles and then maybe even contact them via email asking if they want to contribute. Cold calling them with no prior history is a sure way to get a quick “no”.
Connect, Collaborate, Pin, Repeat
Pinterest is an amazing tool when utilized correctly, and more than that, it is tons of fun to engage with people and really express yourself or your brand’s personality visually.
Don’t just jump on and start saving Pins, anyone can do that, you really need to sit down and figure out what you want to get from it and how to best represent your brand on the network.
It is work, but anything you do now will make it much easier down the road, and make you more successful to boot.
If I can do it, you can too, so get out there, and if you have and questions on anything above please feel free to message me in the comments section or via social media.