Utilizing Pinterest for your Brand
When I was growing up, there are a few phrases my mother always used to say:
“Everyone is special in their own way.”
And, “Birds of a feather flock together.”
Cliché? Maybe. But these two sentiments are more or less the driving force behind Pinterest engagement. Working as a digital marketer, I see a lot of well meaning clients who don’t understand how to use Pinterest effectively.
Here is an example of a common line of thinking regarding Pinterest:
If you are marketing to 35-to-44-year-old moms, you might think that the best way to reach moms is to use Pinterest exclusively to pin things related to being a part of the Motherhood. Bibs, cribs, rattles, onesies, strollers, toys, pack and plays — you name it. You pin only the best representations of these products and agonize over which things you should be pinning and if they are “on brand” enough. At the end of the day you have maybe 10 pins that have made it to your boards.
This strategy might seem good at first glance, but there are several points where you might actually be sabotaging your efforts to be pinteresting (pun intended).
Like every entrepreneur in the world, I like to quote Gary Vaynerchuk often. And one of his best adages is as follows: Jab, jab, right hook.
Taken from the boxing world, this means you’re not trying to right hook, i.e., sell, constantly. Instead, you’re winning people over with real, genuine content 80-90% of the time. And that other 10-20% of the time, well, yeah, obviously you’re selling your little heart out like you have to sell these products or you die.
In the case of Pinterest, that means that you’re creating real, authentic content; not what you think your audience would want you to pin.
Pinning things you believe would make your audience want to buy your product may seem like a good idea, but in reality it’s not very effective. It is a much better practice to pin things that someone in your target demographic is genuinely interested in, regardless of whether it relates to your product or not.
This means being unabashedly authentic. As in, pinning things that you the person, not you the entrepreneur, not you the marketer, but you the person like.
If you are busy creating a product or service, chances are you live and breathe the things your target demographic genuinely likes, wants to buy, finds funny or amusing or fascinating or unbelievable OMG and wants to pin.
For instance, I’m a skincare blogger, and I make my living with skincare blogging, selling skincare products, and helping other brands/companies build websites and successful content marketing campaigns.
But I don’t talk about skincare all day. I genuinely love fashion, travel, photography, design, home decor. A lot of stuff. And, on Pinterest, there’s waaaaay more fashion than there is skincare. (I would guess a 20:1 ratio, if I’m being honest). And so I’m pinning a lot of fashion. And what do you know, a lot of people who like fashion also like skincare.
Of course, there are a few best practices. Like these little tidbits:
I’m on Pinterest at least once per day. Usually, I’m not on for longer than 10 minutes. It’s typically during those awkward times, like when I’m picking my husband up from work (he likes to walk over in the morning), or waiting for dinner to be done, or whatever.
The thing is, and I got this from Jerry Seinfeld, you can’t break the chain. You have to pin every single day. Some days it’s literally 2 minutes, whereas other days I might be pinning for 20 minutes. The key is, you (or whoever you hire to do this, see below) has to do it every single day. Don’t break the chain.
Watch patterns that emerge.
My fashion board became very popular over the course of a year. And I started to notice I was pinning a lot of Olivia Palermo, Kate Middleton, and Victoria Beckham. These became three separate boards.
In addition, my fashion board started to need differentiation. Handbags became their own board. Shoes too. And, later, “fashion bloggers” got differentiated from straight-up “fashion,” as in, hipper, more trendy styles.
Create a lot of boards. Use keywords as the title.
There’s a time to be creative, and then there’s a time to be methodical.
When naming your Board on Pinterest, this is time for SEO and Pinterest search gold. No creativity. Think of it this way: If someone is searching for gowns on Pinterest, what is more likely to come up and be followed, a board called “Gowns Gowns Gowns” or a board called “OMG Glittery Ooo Ooo Ooo Love It?”
If you aren’t a part of your target demographic, find someone who is.
Granted, I’m a 30-something woman, and my target audience is (gasp) 30-something women. Actually, women 25-44. But let’s say for the sake of argument that you are a man and you are trying to sell skincare to women 25-44.
The key is to find a passionate Pinterest guru who lives, breathes, and loves what your audience does and can pin things that genuinely interest her. To find these interests, go to your Google Analytics -> Interests -> Overview. Here are our stats for FutureDerm:
[INSERT STATS HERE]
Now, granted, I have zero interest in home gardening like 3% of my audience does. But the rest of it I’m pretty into.
Above all, be authentic.
One last adage from my mom: “What goes around comes around.” Back in the day, we used to all buy things from mom and pop shops. In those places, you could find experts who were passionate about hardware or baking or fishing or whatever and would share their passion and expertise with you — and then sell you something. Awesome, right?
Over the past few decades, big box stores did away with that, and Amazon still does to some extent, but the purpose of building successful Pinterest boards and successful content marketing is to bring the mom and pop shop concept back. You can speak about whatever it is you’re passionate about, connected with an audience who wants or needs it, and sell them exactly what they want or need. Except through e-commerce, mom and pop shops can speak globally rather than locally.
And, again, if you aren’t the voice of the target consumer but are the CEO, hire someone who is a part of the target demographic to do your Pinterest. And let him/her run wild with pinning his/her genuine interests. Just don’t break the chain.