Yes, it's another social network.
Only one of the latest to have the bright spotlight of attention shone on them. It is becoming quite clear that rich media and image based content sites like Pinterest are going to be a major focus for both consumers (based on popularity, users and traffic) and for investors (re: latest Instagram/Facebook potential destruction acquisition).
Some of you might be scrambling to figure out what and how best to handle sites like Pinterest. Well on the bright side many of the same "best practices" of social engagement for business are completely transferable regardless of the platform:
- Be human.
- Have conversations not transactions.
- Be empathetic.
- Vividly demonstrate your personality.
- Set goals and measure your success against them.
Beyond these general truths there are some specific ways to be successful on Pinterest that might help to review.
1) Remember it's not [just] about YOU
Sharing only your own content on Pinterest won't earn you any friends. Or fans for that matter. Find and share the content your users will be the most interested in. Topics surrounding lifestyle tend to be the most successful with the current demographic. Recipes, healthy tips, motivating quotes, clothing, hair/beauty trends, etc tend to make up the majority of content here. What angle of your brand best fits in with how users are currently using the site? Share that. And yes - it is okay to share your own content but keep a sane proportion. (If I'm forced to put a number out there I'd shoot for 70/30 but as with any absolute, the disclaimer is "it always depends".)
Now - when other people share your content you can safely throw that ratio out the window. You want other people to share your content as much as possible. Pinterest has some assets you may find useful in enabling your site and content for sharing like buttons and logos.
2) Be Timely
Know the trends and post relevant content. If neon blazers and nail art is on trend - know it and share it. Not relevant to your brand? Perhaps not. But your ability to tap into trends and popular styles will help you. Beyond just style trends keep an eye out for new meme's to participate in. People love brands that aren't afraid to have a little fun. Participating in meme's is a good way to stay relevant, participate in internet culture and driving more conversation amongst your consumers. Disclaimer: this can backfire so be careful, but Pinterest is a great platform for dabbling in this tactic.
3) Sharing is Caring
Get on there and share great content and people will love you. Help share their content and they'll love you even more. Think of it as bragging on their taste, praising their choices in front of your whole audience. Who doesn't like that?
Keep an eye on your favorite influencers and their blog, site's and other properties to help share their content across the web - particularly if there are visual elements consider sharing on Pinterest. This will go a long way to getting a strong relationship started or furthering the growth of an existing one.
4) Think horizontally and vertically
This is a good technique in building out any content strategy but I find it particularly useful on Pinterest since singular content themes can get boring fast there. Thinking vertically. If you're a boat maker your content would center directly on boat making, the boat making industry and boat making related news. If you can broaden your thinking and go horizontally you will greatly expand your content possibilities. Horizontal thinking would expand your areas of focus to perhaps travel, fine dining, home remodeling, wine, art - you get the point! Go a little crazy and have fun with it. You know your customers better than anyone. Use that information when building out your content strategy.
Dan Zarrella recently released some information you might also find useful in terms of what gets the Pinterest user community's attention here. Knowing what works will help you tailor your content for the best results.
5) Tracking and Measurement
A good rule of thumb to follow on ANY social network is to monitor and respond to all user comments when it is appropriate to do so. If someone asks a question answer it. If someone complains help him or her as best you can. You can do this by keeping an eye on your activity area.
Use something like Linkstant to monitor incoming links to your website. They will also catch links from Pinterest! Something like Linkstant won't necessarily catch everything from Pinterest depending on how it was pinned so you should manually check for your content as well. You can do that by entering your website into Pinterest like this (replace yourwebsite.com with your actual web address):
You will get a page containing all of the pins that have come from your site similar to this:
As with any of your other online efforts it is important to continually measure your efforts and track what works best. Start getting creative and testing new tactics. The web is becoming more and more image-centric so don't stop here! Keep optimizing for sharing and engagement utilizing all of the rich media types across the web for success!!
More on Pinterest:
Kristy Bolsinger is a Senior Associate at PwC in Seattle, WA. She has previously worked at Ant's Eye View (acquired by PwC in 2012), and RealNetworks (GameHouse). Prior to her time at RealNetworks, and Ant's Eye View - Kristy was working as a Social Media Marketing Consultant and completing her MBA at Willamette University. She maintains a social media blog and can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
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