On a recent shopping trip to Nordstrom I noticed something that stopped me dead in my tracks. There was a real-life Pinterest “button” on a pair of Sam Edelman sandals that I had been coveting! Then it hit me, this was part of Nordstrom’s brilliant strategy to close the gap between online and in-store shopping. They were showing their shoppers’ in-person what was trending in their Pinterest communities online.
More and more brands are using Pinterest and trying tap into its audience of 70 million users. And with the average user time spent on Pinterest per month at 98 minutes, it’s pretty easy to see why! But building a presence on Pinterest isn’t just about throwing up some boards and pinning a bunch of cool pictures, it’s about individuality. Your users are building boards that reflect their unique personalities and your brand should too. Here are 5 ways your brand can introduce Pinterest into their online strategy for inbound marketing success!
1. Humanize your brand.
At first site you would think a college’s Pinterest board might just contain pictures of stale dorm rooms, or lecture halls, but establishments like Texas A&M University are using Pinterest to build student and alumni affinity by pinning Aggie lifestyle imagery (with boards like Aggie Moms, or Girl Gameday.) This is an excellent example of a brand that is humanizing themselves by identifying with the Aggie lifestyle and pride that so many connect with. Maybe you’re a small restaurant that showcases the making of their community’s favorite foods or maybe you’re a tech corporation that has a board dedicated to the killer home offices of their employees. But whatever you do, make sure that your board’s make sense for your brand identity. Ask yourself if the content makes sense for your business and utilize the platform analytics to see what resonates with your audiences organically.
2. Inspire your followers.
Brand’s Like Lowes, Urban Outfitters, and many others are using inspirational boards to spark customer creativity while building loyalty. I’m a particular fan of Lowe’s Organize: Get to It board (for my inner nerd) or Free People’s Festival Flower board (for my inner hippie.) These boards don’t necessarily contain these brand’s products, but Pinterest audiences are looking and building boards to inspire a new outfit and look for new creative project ideas. By contributing content that encourages your audience’s imagination you aren’t seen as just a brand but a helpful resource with great ideas and fun stuff to look at.
3. Use guest pinners to expand reach.
Brands like Etsy and Este Lauder are recruiting guest pinners to contribute to their content. The benefit to them is three-fold 1) Brand’s get additional exposure to their guest pinner’s online audiences, 2) Brand’s boards get fresh content that resonates with their audiences, and 3) Invited pinners feel special and are more likely to promote their activity on other social channels. Bottom line, you’re going to get some awesome new content and someone who’s seen as an influencer to your audiences is curating your content for you.
4. Celebrate your fans.
Your fans are very Pinteresting and you should tell them so! WeAre Teachers takes guest pinning to a whole new level and gives a weekly shout-out to their most effective community members. And Free People has a cool program running that invites their Pinterest followers to create a profile in their online style community for a chance to see outfits they styled on their board. Brands who are also using Pinterest to thank their community are making the experience about their fans. Whether you’re thanking them directly or collecting their contributions you are recognizing your fan’s work and creativity, which will build loyal affinity for your brand on Pinterest.
5. Online competitions generate buzz.
A good way to encourage your community to share branded pins and gain new followers is to run competitions that are centered around Pinterest. Copmany’s like Country Living, General Electric and HP have all run very successful competitions using Pinterest. Why don’t people get turned off when they see it’s branded content? Because brands are telling them upfront what they are getting in to. By being honest brand’s received far less flack from the FTC and more participation because their audiences wanted to participate instead of feeling tricked into sharing content.