Pinterest is an online pin board for photos and graphics of things people love and are passionate about. What Pinterest is not is a marketing tool for self promotion, indeed point three of the Etiquette of Pinning asks you not to purely use Pinterest for self promotion. So in essence Pinterest is a social platform for sharing photos of things you love, from the design of a notebook to a lovely bag or a handcrafted lamp. But its not for self promotion, so How can you use Pinterest to Market Your Brand?
The answer is indirect brand marketing strategy, sounds complicated but it isn't really. The idea is that you can talk about your amazing products for 5% of the time, the remaining time you spend talking about and liking other peoples products, photos or designs - you become part of the Pinterest community, this of course the secret of Internet Marketing through Networking.
To help you along your way here are my top 5 tips for marketing your brand and products using Pinterest.
Audience Specific Pinboards Whether you are a person who knits, bakes cakes, designs logos or sells sports gear create boards around these topics, so design, build and output (or just output if you so desire) and post other peoples work that you admire and love. Basically the key is to show your passion by posting amazing images and in your description showing your appreciation for the piece of work. Don't post your own work here, but perhaps open the board for others to contribute and maybe they will post your work and say they love it - build a community around a pin board.
Use Pinterest for Market Research Pinterest isn't (at least right now) being used by hundreds or thousands of businesses, and most of the businesses that are there are small businesses looking to market their company. That means the overwhelming majority of users are consumers, they may well be your target market, if you are a craft or design person you can get feedback and improve your products by looking at other products and in the 5% you post your stuff ask for comments.
Cross Platform Promotional Contests using Pinterest It sounds odd that as much as social networks think of themselves as walled gardens (aka you and I should only share what we share with our friends and on that network) they really aren't. What I post to AK Designs on Facebook is tweeted, when a blog from this site is published it gets tweeted, facebook shared, google +1'd etc ... people don't do the walled garden concept which is why cross platform promotions work. In the audience specific custom pin board section I mentioned allowing contributors to post to your pin board. For one competition you could ask users from facebook or twitter to post to your custom pin board with a winner choose at random or the winner being the one with most re-pins or likes (telling them they must link to your account in some way)... For another you could ask people to share your profiles across each media, each time they do they get an entry to a prize draw for a gift of some kind. The ideas are endless but the key is to get people engaged by jumping from platform to platform and promoting your brand name in the process.
Add Pinterest Pin It Buttons to Your Website or Blog A bit like the buttons to the right of SEOAndy.com, Pinterest offers Pin It buttons which you can put on your website around images or videos (oh I forgot you can post videos to Pinterest, so if you create how to videos or podcasts use Pinterest to Promote them!). One thing to note is if you have a blog, remember to have at least an image on the page worth Pinning else don't have the button, don't waste your time or bandwidth. One click and it's shared.
Direct Marketing using Pinterest Having just told you not to direct market on Pinterest here is a secret... knock yourself out but don't do it by uploading your stuff yourself. Ask others to do it, ask others to follow your Pinterest and from there ask them to visit your website or other social accounts. Further to this create exclusive bundles of products and exclusive coupons only available on Pinterest etc.
So there you have it 5 tips for using Pinterest to promote your brand online easily and without a fuss.
Now feel free to Pin this article (look a Pinterest logo for you, or my face, Pin My Face ... I dare you ;)
Oh and follow me on Pinterest - pinterest.com/andykinsey
-- UPDATE: NOPIN for Blocking Pinterest
Since writing this post Pinterest have given way to some companies concerned about copyright infringements. In the USA they already had the lovely DMCA and it worked well... but some companies wanted more. Some companies (for some reason I can't yet figure out) wanted to be able to block users from Pinning their content.
If you are one of these companies you may want to reconsider your position, if you still want to block Pinterest simply use this code in your <head>
<meta name="pinterest" content="nopin" />
If someone then tries to pin it will simply display a message saying that your site doesn't allow pinning.
I must advise you against using this strategy, it will be a loss of traffic, a loss of audience that you wouldn't other wise have and it's a loss of promotion channel. If someone is abusing your content and claiming your work to be theirs, send a DMCA its easy to do.
If you are concerned about your latest work only being pinned you can use this code just on one page which is more advisable than a blanket cover.