As public relations practitioners, we need to be ahead of the curve and make sure that our clients appear on appropriate social networking sites in order to gain brand awareness and exposure. It's simple, really.
So when I saw dozens of requests from clients, business associates and friends asking me to join the site, I was intrigued. Pinterest is a new social networking site that enables you to have your own online bulletin board where you can “pin” stuff you like or want to keep. It's easy to use but, like most other social networking sites, it can take several hours to prepare bulletin boards and pin relevant photos.
To make it easy, Pinterest developed a “Pin It” tool that you can drag to your Web browser desktop. This way when you’re surfing the Web and see something you want to pin to one of your boards, you simply click the “Pin It” tool and it lets you automatically pin to your Pinterest page.
On my Pinterest page, I have several boards, including: "things I love to do," "social media," "books I enjoyed reading" and "music I enjoy listening to." "On my "things I love to do" board, I pinned my Web site, my radio show and my blog. These are just some of the things I love to do.
I set this page up as a personal page so I could make connections with various potential new business leads in the hopes of connecting on a personal level. This way, I could also repin items from other users and people that I follow (and follow me back).
It really is about that personal connection. For instance, I saw one of the people I follow pin a vacation spot they would like to visit, so I repinned it to my board. Instant connection made—we pinned the same thing. Something that we both enjoy or thought was interesting and another way for me to make a personal connection with someone I might not know that well.
|Hilary Topper's "Social Media" board on Pinterest.
My corporate page, on the other hand, has photos of publications my company appeared in, pictures of events that we have planned and even images of logos we’ve developed. We even have a section on social media where we show off the Facebook pages and Twitter pages we have designed and manage. This makes it easy for HJMT’s followers to repin things and work they like and admire within our firm.
How to Get Exposure Using Pinterest
In January 2012, Pinterest attracted more than 11 million unique visitors. This makes it a prime marketing tool for potential businesses—retail, service and even product businesses. The site is growing exponentially every day.
What interests me most about Pinterest is that a business can use affiliate links. So when someone, including the pinner, clicks on a product that they like, the product could be purchased and the seller gets a commission.
It also enables salespeople to get a real look at who they are soliciting before they meet the person. This enables them to connect and have an advantage above their competition.
Here are some tips to get your client business exposure on Pinterest:
Don’t Just Put Up a Page – Like any other social networking site, don’t just put up a page and walk away. You need to be able to curate it and put interesting pins on your page that will entice your followers. In addition, the more interesting the pin the more likely it will be repinned, which helps with search engine optimization (SEO).
Update Sites Every Week – Update them at least weekly, if not daily. Otherwise people lose interest and stop coming back.
Create Links Back to Your Web or Other Sites – Make it as simple as possible so that people can click on links easily and purchase or view products or services in other places.
Link Pinterest With Other Social Networking Sites – By doing this, your followers on other social networking sites will know your activity on Pinterest and will be able to make more personal connections with you.
Have a Daily or Weekly Theme – This will help entice your followers to keep coming back and keep piquing their interest. For instance, have a “yellow” day where everything you post on that day is the color yellow.
Don’t Only Promote Your Product or Service – Be sure to promote other brands that you like. By just promoting your product or service, you are being too commercial.
Follow Early Adopters – They often have an interesting perspective on new sites.
Use Back Links to Take Followers to Your Web Site – This will help increase your SEO and also draw attention to your Web site.
Need a Focus Group? – If you are interested in a particular demographic—say, for example, people who like to sew—check out their boards on Pinterest and see what interests them. This will help you target them better.
Use Keywords and Hashtags – This also improve SEO.
Enable Your Community to Add – Your followers can actually add pins to your boards, which makes your Pinterest page more interactive. This also helps with SEO and the engagement of your followers.
Use the Boards Creatively – You can use them for team building with your staff and you can also have a board on office things you need to purchase.
Have Fun – If your pins are humorous, they will be repinned more often than those that aren’t.
Although Pinterest is a relatively new site, it’s viable and sustainable. Don’t let this one get away from you. Check it out and try to make sure that it fits in with your client’s social marketing plan.
Hilary JM Topper, MPA, is the president and CEO of HJMT Public Relations Inc., a public relations, social media, event planning and graphic design firm celebrating its 20th anniversary. She is the author of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Social Media but were afraid to ask… and is the president and founder of the Social Media Club of Long Island.
To learn from Pinterest early adopters, attend PR News' Pinterest Power: How to Broadcast Your Brand's Story Visually Webinar on March 27.