It’s no secret that ecommerce brands have been having a love affair with Pinterest for quite awhile now. But too many non-ecommerce brands are shrugging off the channel, writing it off as just a place to post pictures of products they want to sell when in fact, it’s a lot more. Below we share 6 ways any brand can be “Pinteresting” and generate a real ROI from the site without hard selling.
1. Provide inspiration
67% of Pinterest users say their main use of the site is to “keep up with the latest trends on things I like.” In other words, they’re looking for inspiration. There’s a reason topics like DIY, crafts, fashion and home improvement are so prominent on the channel – people use it to envision what they aspire their lives to look like.
As a brand, you can provide that for them, regardless of what you’re selling. Just take a moment to imagine your target demographic, and think about what their aspirations might be. If your target audience is affluent wives and mothers, your job is easier (though you’ll have more competition) – you can create boards around popular topics like food, fitness and DIY.
But what if your demographic is (gasp) men? You can still reach them on Pinterest, and the exact same theory applies. Inspire them to embody the qualities of the person they think they are or want to be.
A great example is Stone Brewing Co. This craft beer brand has done an incredible job of building a persona through their Pinterest boards – the persona of a well-off, cultured man who “gets” and enjoys craft beers. Through boards like “Craft Beer Badassery,” “Homebrew 101” and “Art of Craft Beer” Stone Brewing Co. has created the makings of a mini expert who scoffs at the traditional, mass-produced beers and harbors a rare knowledge and appreciation for the unique quality of the craft brewery.
2. Be a resource
Believe it or not, there is a thriving community of B2B brands completely rocking Pinterest. Visual marketing isn’t just about looking pretty or projecting a lifestyle – it’s also a popular and effective way of digesting a lot of information quickly. Pinterest has the perfect structure for housing a lot of information for one simple reason: it’s highly organized.
I know many marketing professionals, including myself, who use Pinterest primarily to keep their own resources organized, so that feeling of “I know I saw the perfect thing for that somewhere” is accompanied by “I must have pinned it to X Pinterest board” and 30 seconds later, information is retrieved!
Using Pinterest to create a resource not just for yourself, but for others, is a powerful use of the tool. Constant Contact is a great example of a B2B business providing actionable Pinterest boards professionals can use to do their jobs better. Boards like “10 Ways You Can Use Images to Bring Your Emails to Life” and “Copywriting Tips for Small Businesses” give incentive for people to spend long periods of time on the site just exploring content – all under Constant Contact’s brand.
3. Tell a story
Storytelling is one of, if not the, most powerful tool in helping an audience forge a personal connection with a brand. On Twitter you get 140 characters to do this, but on Pinterest you get, essentially, an entire collection of landing pages in the form of boards.
UNICEF has created boards like “Children in crises” and “Everyday Voices” that draw you in through powerful photographs, but when you actually click through to the boards, each photo is captioned with a story.
4. Chronicle events
Pinterest offers a unique opportunity to create a visual event recap, either with curated content, proprietary content, or a mix of both. Not surprisingly, the tech community seems to be leading this strategy. Many boards appeared during and immediately after SXSW, including that of Engadget, who has also done the same for Mobile World Congress, Sundance Film Festival, CES and more.
Because of their business focus on tech gadgets, most of these boards highlight gadgets that were introduced or featured during these events in the form of proprietary blog posts, but you could just as easily create a compelling board with curated content.
5. Be Timely
The mistake a lot of people make on Pinterest is thinking of the boards as static pages. In fact, Pinterest boards can and should live, breathe and evolve over time, just like any other digital channel. Take advantage of news, events and holidays happening in real time to create and curate content related to your brand you can showcase on a Pinterest board.
A great example is The Daily Sip by Bottlenotes (which is actually managed by my brother). Bottlenotes is a digital wine publication. Boards focus on ways you can enjoy wine and wine culture, including on holidays and during current events. Boards like “Thanksgiving Wines and Pairings,” “Wine and Sports” (created during the 2012 Olympics) and “Wines for Halloween” capture people’s interests in the moment, and bring the brand to life by piggybacking off of what’s going on right now.
6. Be hilarious
Never underestimate the power of humor. Never.