Visual marketing is all about creating buzz through images – so there’s no wonder brands were quick to see the potential in Pinterest, that ultra-hot social media site where photos are center-stage and sharing is second nature to your audience.
Pinterest only launched in March 2010 but now has over 70 million users and has an engaged, active user base. There are over 500,000 business user accounts, but, while some brands have been quick to make use of the incredible power of Pinterest to drive traffic, there is still a huge amount of potential for companies to do more to harness the power of visual marketing on this exciting and stylish site.
Let’s look at some of the innovative ways that brands are using Pinterest. If you’re not yet making the most of this site, get ready to be inspired!
1. Bringing the Pinterest experience in-store
(Image courtesy of Business Insider)
For some brands, their Pinterest strategy is becoming so central to their wider marketing strategy that they are using it as a visible promotional tool in store. In the same way that cosmetics or perfume brands might use an image from their latest campaign to draw attention to their product in a store, Nordstrom is now highlighting its most popular items on Pinterest by ‘pinning’ them in store. According to Business Insider, the fashion and style retailer, which currently has around 4.5 million followers on Pinterest, not only flags up popular items in the shoe and handbag departments, it has also produced an app to help salespeople find the items in their store.
Target and other retailers are starting to adopt this practice as well.
Tip: If you have an online or real-world store, you can highlight the products that are particularly popular on Pinterest to draw attention to trending items.
2. Showing your lifestyle, not your products
You may not think that Lowe’s hardware stores would be a natural fit for Pinterest, given the popularity of fashion and style on the site, but the brand has worked hard at tailoring its activity to Pinterest’s audience. The result is a showcase of lifestyle ideas – and a following of 3.5 million people.
From style inspiration for each room in the house, gift ideas that link neatly to their online store, craft projects, and cool gadgets, Lowe’s have really hit the nail on the head when it comes to showing how their products can work in a Pinterest user’s dream lifestyle.
Tip: Pinterest’s user base is currently 80% women, with top interests including fashion, home, style, crafts and kids. Try showing how your products would appeal to this demographic on themed boards.
3. Using guest pinners
Social Media Examiner recently reported on how Etsy was making great use of Pinterest’s group board, or contributor board, feature. It’s a simple idea, but one that Etsy is using to great effect, with a whole range of guest pinners from Pop Sugar to Martha Stewart. You can invite other users to contribute pins to a board, and the activity will show up on their followers’ home feed too, so it can be a good way of attracting new followers to your profile, especially if they are an influential pinner. It’s an approach that works well for Etsy in particular because they have such a wide range of products so each guest can have a board themed around their own specific interests.
Tip: Form partnerships with influencers in your industry, or else fans with a large following on Pinterest to help curate guest boards. Don’t have too many contributors to each board: Etsy has a separate board for each of their guest pinners.
4. Running competitions
(Image courtesy of Econsultancy)
Competitions centered on Pinterest are becoming more popular and are a great way of encouraging your followers to share branded pins on their own profiles and for you to quickly gain new followers.
Econsultancy reported on a contest run by holiday company Jetsetter, where contestants had to find images from clues left on Facebook and create a ‘Pin your way to Paradise’ board. The top prize was a seven-day trip to Bali, but there was also a $500 Jetsetter voucher for the board with the most pinners. More than 500 boards were created, all with images from Jetsetter.com, which would have raised awareness of the brand’s website as well as led to engagement with social media pages.
Tip: keep in mind the appeal of Pinterest contests, they are a great way to engage and grow your community.
5. Putting customers up front
There are some brands who always remember that their customers and their fans are at the heart of what they do. Social media can be a great place to thank them for their continued support and to celebrate their help.
The Today Show recently hit 100,000 followers on Pinterest… so they baked them a cake to celebrate! According to Convince and Convert, the pin led back to a recipe on the Today.com website which showed step-by-step instructions for how to make it at home. The morning TV show shared the pin across their social media sites to make sure their message was seen by as many people as possible.
Tip: Saying ‘thank you’ to your followers is a simple gesture, but one that is always appreciated. If you can go the extra mile and provide some additional content or special feature, you might find that you quickly win an additional 100,000 followers too!
6. Humanizing your brand
We’re used to seeing slick marketing images that put a brand in its best light, but the rough-around-the-edges, home-spun photos can be just as engaging, if not more so!
At Ben and Jerrys, they know how much their fans love their product: they even run factory tours for anyone who wants to know where the magic is made. But if you can’t get to Vermont, you can still check out their ‘The People Behind the Pints’, ‘Our Factory’ and ‘History’ boards to find out more about how the iconic ice cream is made and the journey the brand has taken. Ben and Jerry also celebrate their fans with a fan photo board, as well as a board that celebrates Vermont and one that shows the brand’s wider mission. You come away with a strong sense of what the brand stands for and why their fans love it so much… all without a plane flight to Vermont!
Tip: your staff, your stores, your customers and your hometown are all worth celebrating and can show the human side to your brand.
7. Inspire your audience
It’s not your average fashion brand, but GE still manages to make the most out of their stunning visual content on Pinterest. It can be hard to show the visual side of a manufacturing brand, so instead GE turns to the inspiration that drives them and their customers to engage followers on Pinterest. With boards such as ‘Badass Machines’, ‘Brilliance in Motion’, ‘Lighting the World’, ‘Gifts for Geeks’ and ‘Under the Microscope’, GE have created an exciting, original profile that appeals as much to science geeks as it does to the style-conscious.
Tip: If you find it hard to represent your brand in images, try turning to what inspires you to find images to share.
Pinterest is the ideal place for you to post your best visual content. But even if you aren’t a visual brand or you don’t feel like you have the glamor to share, remember that Pinterest is as much – if not more – about curating and sharing other people’s images as pinning your own. There is so much potential to give a 360-degree view of your brand, your products, your ethos and your customers through this inspirational and positive image-sharing site.
Originally posted in Social Media Examiner