What’s Pinterest and How to Use It for Marketing Your Brand?

In December 2011 I reported that there was a new entry to the list of top 10 US social networking sites. It’s Pinterest. Pinterest debuted with almost the same market share a s Google+. So what’s Pinterest?

Wikipedia tells us that:

Pinterest is a vision board-styled social photo sharing website and app where users can create and manage theme-based image collections. Users label and create theme-based image boards.

I have to say that I didn’t pay much attention to that site. But that changed as we got a pretty impressive peak of traffic from that site. Before January 14 we had practically zero visits from Pinterest and then it exploded.

The image that did it for us was Facebook Cheat Sheet. The image got pinned and repinned hundreds of times generating about 10 thousand visits to our site.

In some sense Pinterest is similar to StumbleUpon. However, I noticed that during the the peak in visits from Pinterest we had also a measurable growth in traffic from other social networking sites. This suggest that users on Pinterest tend to reshare the content to other social neworking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

This got me really interested and after some digging I found that Pinterest is growing like crazy. On this Experian Hitwise graph you can see how Pinterest reached 11 million visits per week in December 2011.

So what’s Pinterest?

Pinterest is an online pinboard that allows you to collect and display the images you find on the web. You can find boards from other people to discover new things and get inspiration from others. You can use Pinterest to plan their a vacation, decorate your home and share your favorite fashion items.

First of all Pinterest is really visual. If you find something that pleases the eye then you would like to pin it on Pinterest. This means that the most active categories on the site tend to be interior design, travel destinations, hobbies, fashion, food, etc.

When you open up the home page of site you will see images of resorts, shoes, pies, furniture, and so forth. And this focus also shows when you take a look at the categories list.

Experian Hitwise says that:

Pinterest visitors also over-index for the Hobbies and Crafts category (versus the online population) which is expected given the abundance of crafts content on the website. […] This group of consumers is characterized as baby boomers and young adults who are heavy web users who spend time on house and garden, sports and fitness, and family-oriented websites.

Pinterest and social media marketing

Pinterest will work for your marketing if your business is about home décor, fashion, travel, design furniture… Everything you can eat with your eyes goes. Images that people dream about or collect to get inspired will get pinned.

For example my business partner creates wooden flooring and uses really innovative technology to do that. We talked about his site and I suggested that Pinterest might be a great match for his business. I started to show him how to use Pinterest and we found that there were already hundreds of pins with people expressing their interest in their products.

9 specific marketing tactics for Pinterest

1. Promote a lifestyle that your brand enables. Give people ideas and inspire them. This will lead to sharing your content with friends and family.

2. Run a contest where you let people pin your product images or take pictures of themselves using you brand.

3. Share great content from others that you can’t re-post to your site then use Pinterest to get it to your audience. For example we pin interesting social media marketing infographics to our pinboard.

4. Pin first, tweet later. If you find something visual that you would usually tweet about, such as infographic, then pin it to Pinterest first and then tweet about the pin.

5. Sell your products. If you add $ or £ sign to a number in your pin description than Pinterest will automatically generate a price tag on the pin.

6. Create pinnable content! When creating content think really hard about the images you use. Are they pinnable? After discovering Pinterest I have a constant desire to illustrate the social media marketing materials we create, so that they would get more traction on Pinterest.

7. Use “Pin It button”. We added this button to our own site just to test it as we don’t have much visual content but even now some of our posts get pinned. So if you have anything visual to share use it!

8. Add a “follow me on Pinterest” button to your web site.

Follow Me on Pinterest

9. Don’t pin just your own content. Create relationships by repinning images from other users and give value to your own followers by helping them discover new things.

Now go for a test drive with Pinterest. Let us know in the comments what ideas do you have about using Pinterest for marketing your brand.

Check out 41 Great Examples of Pinterest Brand Pages

Priit Kallas

Priit is the founder and CEO of DreamGrow Digital, an internet marketing and social media company. With his 20+ years internet marketing experience he is Helping companies to understand and use the digital marketing to reach their target audiences. He has spoken at hundreds of seminars and conferences on different aspects of internet marketing. Priit is also the organizer of Digital Elite Camp, a leading traffic and conversion event.

21 Responses

  1. Mar says:

    Pinterest users are primarily drawn to the network for four obvious reasons: 1. It’s a place to make a statement about what inspires, motivates and guides the user. 2. It’s a good list reference tool for cataloging photos, products, quotations and resources useful to the user. 3. Eye appeal. Who can resist eye candy. 4. It’s an alternative environment that make products lists more acceptable in a social networks that was once a mix of personal dialog and photos.

    In addition to the above I find the Pinterest environment conducive to quickly drawing like-minded users together not unlike those who frequent craft fairs, conventions and product showcases. I find the like, share and comment excercise a powerful medium for making meaningful connections. For example, In our latest wedding planning book we feature an activity for the bride and groom that’s called “A Few of Our Favorite Things”. The activity involves listing only the interests the couple share in common. As time goes by that list gets longer as they bond closer having enjoyed sharing their mutual interests together.

    That said, Pinterest is the ideal venue for finding common interests among millions of users. As an event planning resource for reunions weddings and graduations it helps me showcase our latest printable invitations, flyers and event planning books. But I prefer to showcase without the price tag for very specific reasons. Users often find themselves focused on the image , it’s source and the profile of the one who pinned it.

    It’s important to pin a product in such a way that users are prompted to like it, comment on it and share and pin it. Putting a price tag on it says. “I Want You To Buy This”, a real turn off for anyone whose surfing for eye candy. All things considered, it’s probably most effective to have a product pinned by popular social personality or celebrity who has something intriguing to say about his/herself in connection to the showcased product.

    DIY crafts and books are becoming popular on Pinterest. This indicates that users are doing more than searching for eye candy. That said, a products best source link is a “How To” article or blog. I like to add DIY event planning books on my pin boards. I’ve learned that readers do well to link to the book’s review pages and and authors of books should consider pinning from their authors profile.

    • Priit Kallas says:

      Thank you very much, Mar, for your insightful comment. I really share your idea about not putting the price on pin as this seems overly promotional.

  2. Mary says:

    The very first image I posted to Pinterest got a lot of traffic for me– got me hooked on it.

  3. How do I join?
    Thanks, Glenn

    • Mart Prööm says:

      Hi Glenn, give me your email and I’ll send you an invite. The alternative is to request one from visiting Pinterest but i don’t know how fast that process is…

  4. Brad says:

    We have started doing product and company highlights and posting them on pinterest. Two days in a nd it is driving traffic.

    http://www.retailpitch.com we are a b2b

  5. Edithchick says:

    If you read Pinterests ‘rules’ : you are not meant to put your own work/products on there or ‘market’ yourself. It’s all too lovely. Are you?

    • Mart Prööm says:

      Quote from Pinterest’s etiquette guideline: “Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion.” I’d interpret that as you should not ONLY post promotional material but it doesn’t say anywhere that posting promotional material is not allowed. You shouldn’t spam Pinterest with too much content but that goes with any marketing channel really. If you stick to posting promotional material that is valuable for others, by all means, do it 🙂 That’s my 2c.

  6. Thanks for the info. Please keep me informed of any updates or other info not related to pinterest. Thanks Gary

  7. Norm Flowers says:

    Just joined pinterest and seemed to take forever to get the official invite. I think it is an excellent resource on a variety of levels and key topics. Recently had to totally delete my facebook and business fan page and start all over with better focus and content. Pinterest is a major part of that focus and content.

    PS If this shows up twice sorry – Didn’t see my post so not sure if it posted :-/

  8. What are your thoughts regarding Pinterest for B2B?

  9. Leon Cho says:

    According to a Shareaholic study, Pinterest is now driving more referral traffic to other sites than Google+, YouTube, and Linkedin combined. It’s working for many brands, products, and services already.

    It’s also great to see specific marketing tactics in your article as they really do need to be different than those used on other social networks in order to take advantage of the unique demographics, visual power, and aspirational lifestyles on Pinterest. I’ve got some specific pin selection and copy tips on PinBliss.com at http://pinbliss.com/pin-selection-and-content/.

    Pinterest Marketing Bible
    Available for Kindle, Nook, Print

  10. Sam says:

    Time will tell how it benefits the bottom line for brands but it looks good so far. I run a travel site and rather than just re-pinning nice pictures like alot of other brands using it, we have decided to use Pinterest solely as an adventure holiday shop window, each board categorised around the themes of the trips we aggregate on Much Better Adventures. Every picture is a trip that can be booked direct and is priced and linked. Here is our board: http://pinterest.com/muchbetteradven/ if you’d like to use it as another good example of how Pinterest works well for the travel industry. Cheers! Sam

  11. Ryan Hanley says:

    I started using Pinterest about two weeks ago. What I decided to do was create a social media recap type product I call – The Content Creation Curation… A visual representation of the week that way in social media blog articles…

    I think the grouping and easy sharing make the social network a great resource.

    Thanks for a fantastic article.

    Ryan H

  1. February 1, 2012

    […] users trying to make a difference.If you really need the nuts and bolts of Pinterest read this Guide to Pinterest.  That will give you an overview of the newest and hottest social network on the […]

  2. March 13, 2012

    […] What’s Pinterest and How to Use it For Your Brand – More content about how to promote your brand on […]

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