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Pinning With Pinterest

By: Ron Robinson and Upasana Sahu
Posted: August 27, 2012, from the September 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

Nearly everyone is busy commenting, liking, following or tweeting these days. But how about pinning? One of the latest and hottest social media trends is Pinterest, a social media venue all about exploring and discovering new things. It allows its users to share and curate ideas by “pinning” images or videos to various themed pinboards using a “Pin It” button, and users and fellow pinners can then choose to follow none, a few or all of some else’s boards.

The Facts and Figures

With the constant presence of social media, many Internet users are suffering from Facebook and Twitter fatigue, but Pinterest provides a different outlet that’s currently less pervasive. It also offers a more holistic approach to social marketing, engaging and emotionally connecting with its consumers, and helping them visualize how the products or services they are interested in can influence their lifestyles.

In December 2011, Pinterest made Hitwise’s list of the Top 10 Social Networks, coming in at No. 5 and even beating big names like LinkedIn and Google+. According to media company Compete, Pinterest visitors increased by 155% from December 2011 to January 2012, and the site has a highly engaged audience—a reported 3.3 million users, out of which 70% are female from ages 25–45.

Any business that depends on high volume consumer traffic should invest time into thinking about making a Pinterest account, as it can be a great way to connect and interact with consumers. But to have an engaging and successful Pinterest account, it is all about knowing how your brand’s products can fit into the lifestyle of your target audience.

Going Pinning

Once you get an invite to Pinterest (which is an easy process primarily consisting of a user requesting said invite), you can log in using a Facebook or Twitter profile, and first things first: Create a company profile using your company logo, an exciting and engaging tagline, and other relevant details.

Pinterest is mostly visual, so you will need to create pinboards that highlight some of your beauty brand’s best visual content using clear, beautiful and innovative images. For example, Nordstrom has specific pinboards showing beauty products used during New York Fashion Week, accompanied with lively images like backstage pictures. Beauty and fashion bloggers, including nail polish brands, have been pinning images of innovative nail art using certain products, and makeup and beauty application tips and tricks are highly favored—as long as they have a visual element. BeautyStat.com has different pinboards, including those specifically dedicated to nails—titled “Nail Obsessed”—as well as “It’s All About Hair” for hair care and “Truly Skincare” for skin care. Meanwhile, Birchbox concentrates on pinning close-up hair, eyes, lip, painted nail and various makeup looks.

Another issue to think about is naming your brand’s pinboards. Name them with core keywords that can easily show up in searches, or add attractive phrasing that’s inspired by your own company name. For example, Real Simple magazine has pinboards such as “Real Simple Covers” and “Real Simple Family.” Or give an idea about your pinboard in short phrases rather than just names, as Zulily does. It’s an opportunity to have fun and show a bit of your brand’s personality.

You can create several boards that cover a wide range of topics. But perhaps most importantly, start adding pins to your boards. Don’t just leave them with one or two images or ideas—make sure to fill them up, always including links back to your website. And just like Twitter and Google+, Pinterest also supports the use of hashtags.

Being Followed and Following

Once you’re done preparing your brand’s boards, it’s time to announce your arrival. Send an e-mail blast to your mailing list subscribers about the launch of your Pinterest profile, providing visual examples of your Pinterest activity. Also, promote your new Pinterest presence across all your social networks. Remember, your major traffic flow is going to come from your e-mail subscribers and existing fan base, so be sure to get it out there, and add the Pinterest follow button to your website and e-mails.

Now it’s time to get social. You need to keep your pins rolling in order to engage with followers. You can follow other Pinterest users you think will follow you back, like their comments and even re-pin their pins. When they see you interacting, they will surely check out your pins and maybe even follow you back. You can also re-pin the top related boards to your own Pinterest page. And always remember to credit the owner of the images and sources you pin and to highlight active re-pinners.