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Some ideas on how brands can leverage Pinterest

Rajiv Dingra, CEO, WATConsult, a leading social media agency, provides tips on how to leverage this new social networking platform

May 22, 2012

There is a lot of buzz about Pinterest these days. Aside from being visually appealing and sporting a growth that can only be described as phenomenal, Pinterest is now unveiling itself gradually as a dream platform for brands. The rules of the game are different here: no ads, no metrics and no open APIs. The only rule that applies here is smart and compelling content, something that should be first on the priority list of any brand.

Pinterest is just about two years old and is already poised to join the exclusive league of the 30 most visited websites in the world. It crossed the 10 million-milestone faster than any other independent website in internet history. The common perception among people is that Pinterest is only for women. This is changing rapidly as Pinterest is seeing an increase in the number of men who are joining and actively sharing on the platform. According to some reports, Pinterest generated huge amounts of referral traffic in January this year. It was more than that of YouTube, Reddit, Google+ and LinkedIn combined. This is incredible!

The platform doesn’t even have a revenue model in place and does not support third party applications yet there is a huge growth in usage. This is simply because ‘visual data’ is more compelling than other types of updates. This is something that most Facebook marketers know. Pinterest has nailed this spot and may taste success when they finally monetise their service.

As far as leveraging Pinterest is concerned, let me be as frank as possible: Share great content with your consumers. Many brands are jumping on to the social media bandwagon. You need to stand out. Good content is the only way you can do that. Pair visually appealing content with some smart tactics and you will taste success in terms of engagement with your customers.

Here are some of the ways in which one can leverage Pinterest:

1. Let’s start with the obvious. Establish your brand and its identity on Pinterest. Share your Pinterest content on to your Facebook pages and Twitter feeds. Raise awareness about the fact that you are now on Pinterest. You can also use the ‘Pin it’ and ‘Follow me on Pinterest’ button on your websites, product pages, blog-posts, etc. Use apps like Tabfusion and Pinview to sync your Pinterest with Facebook. This should give all your fans and followers on other social media platforms an idea about what the platform is all about.

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2. Second, you need to devise a clear content strategy for this platform. If you are a product company, then you can showcase beautifully captured images of your product. You could experiment with using the price tag in the image. This could either be a discount offer or an exclusive deal kind of a thing. Research shows that brand images without price tags were more likely to be re-pinned than the one with the pricing information. These are stats but you could always experiment and see if it is working for you.

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3. Contests are a good way of running a Pinterest campaign. There are quite a few brands that do contests on Pinterest. Most of these are photo upload contests, but you need not restrict it to just that. You can have a quiz contest using only visuals and the right answers could be submitted in the comments. You could also plan a contest where you ask your fans to re-pin a certain image on to their boards to get a discount coupon or other goodies. A lot of fun contests are possible. Here are some of them for your reference. Remember, think as out-of-the-box as you can when planning a Pinterest contest.

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4. Promote your brand philosophy. Pinterest is the perfect place for your brand to establish its philosophy and identity. Don’t just post and share your products, share a lifestyle! This will help bring targeted audiences and give an aspirational value to the brand. Always a good thing.

5. Make many different boards. Brand milestone board, campaign (current) board, collaboration board, resource board  and product board are just some of the ways in which you reach out and provide content to your followers and audiences. You just have to figure out which one is the best for your brand.

6. Crowdsource your board. Make one board for a specific purpose, ask a simple question and encourage your fans to post their images on this board. One of the biggest brands on Pinterest is Bergdorf Goodman and they have a pretty awesome board right here. It is simple, yet the engagement on it mind-blowing.

7.  Finally, make it look beautiful. Why do brands spend so much time and money on art in their ads? Because it connects better with consumers. Pinterest is similar. Visuals need to be carefully studied and created so that they will achieve organic virality on the platform. Only beauty can keep a user glued to your boards. Implement a creative thought for every board.

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