Mar 22, 2012

Tips For Using Pinterest Successfully

Tom Hynes' "Interspecies Buddying" Pinterest board is number one on HuffPo's "Must Follow" list.

You’ve probably heard of Pinterest. It’s the new social media network that’s all the rage. Well, the hoopla is rooted in truth. In January, the site attracted over 16 million unique visitors, twice the amount it drew just two months earlier. (You can find even more information on Pinterest here on my colleague, Lee Green’s board. )

Not surprisingly, brands are looking to get themselves and their products in front of those eyeballs. But as a new platform with some tricky terms and conditions, what’s the best way to stake your claim in this new space?

In order to use Pinterest well, you first have to know what it is. In recently describing the site via email to my dad, I called it a virtual scrapbook. “You see things on other websites, and you ‘pin’ them back to ‘boards’ you’ve created. It’s curation. It allows users to keep track of the things they find interesting or cool.” (Did you get all of that, Dad?)

At this point, I should probably tell you why I was emailing my dad about Pinterest.  Well, recently, the Huffington Post named my only board – Interspecies Buddying – one of the “most gorgeous” ones around. And I don’t have to tell you how it’s every English major’s dream to have their collection of animal pictures reach such internet fame!

But in all seriousness, something about this board resonated with other Pinterest users. I went from around 60 followers to 1,200 almost over night. The email notifications became so frequent, they had to be disabled. And now, every single time I post a new ‘pin’, I get almost immediate interaction and engagement. So how did this happen?

Well, for one, Huffington Post had asked readers for examples of interesting boards. Shortly thereafter,  someone sent them mine. HuffPo loved it so much that when they rolled out their list, my board was the first one shown on the slideshow. It’s not surprising. The internet loves pictures of animals. That’s probably going to be true forever. But, there’s more to it than that…. I think.

On this board, as in everything I write, I try to use my own voice. Every picture or video on my board has what I hope to be a funny comment underneath it. I’d wager to say it sounds a lot like how I speak in real life. I’m not writing what I think my audience wants to read. I’m writing what comes to my mind when I see a French bulldog encounter a horse down on Wall Street.

I also strive to consistently update the board. And now with all these new followers, I sort of have to do so.

Furthermore, pictures of animals hanging out with other animals  are a somewhat unique thing. My board – Interspecies Buddying – is unlike most other boards out there. Yet, it still fits within the Pinterest universe.

Now, that’s all well and good for my Interspecies Buddying board. But what about brands?  How should they use the site?

Lauren Arrigo, Marketing Manager at Juliska says, “We see Pinterest as a great opportunity to further connect with our core customers. It is an easy transition for us to create the boards and share a little more insight into the brand with our fans and others who may not be familiar with us.”

Basically, Pinterest is another way to reach customers. It’s another way to keep your brand, your product and your voice in the front of people’s minds. When done right and with the interests of customers in mind, it can be used as another tool in successful customer outreach.

And if none of that works, try pictures of animals. It’s certainly worked for me.

Author Tom Hynes is PR Newswire’s manager of blogger relations. And as you may have guessed, he has a twitter35353535 account.  You can also follow Interspecies Buddying on Pinterest:

Visuals are playing an increasingly important role in public relations and social media.   We’ve collected a variety of tips for using multimedia (photos, infographics, video, etc.) in PR campaigns and on social networks here, under the Visual PR tag.

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