Last week, I had the pleasure of answering a few questions for Cision Navigator about using Pinterest for PR efforts. Here’s one of my quotes relating Pinterest to other social media platforms, but check out the rest of the article for some great insight from the rest of the interviewees:
“Pinterest has the advantage of being just different enough than other social media platforms to make it relevant. Like Tumblr, it’s heavily based on graphics but has the functionality and organization of social bookmarking platforms like Delicious. Typically when you pin something, you’re not just sharing an image, you’re sharing the link to that image, whether it’s a how-to, a blog post or a product on a retailer’s website.”
What attracted me to Pinterest is similar to what initially attracted me to Twitter: there’s so many different ways to use it. At the end of the day, it’s a visual curation tool and is perfect for creative and visual thinkers. Personally, I use it almost every day — from helping a friend plan her wedding, to trying new dinner recipes, to my holiday shopping list.
The engagement on Pinterest is pretty basic and typical of any social media platform: you can share pins via “repin,” share your pins via Twitter and Facebook, leave comments on pins, send messages to other users and tag people in comments like you would on Facebook. That being said, I think the main focus of Pinterest is sharing and curating things you like. One of the features that I find the most useful is the ability to have multiple users on contribute to a pinboard.
While I haven’t used Pinterest for clients yet, I have used it find new contacts for blogger relations efforts through others’ pins. For instance, if I see a pin that might be relevant to my client’s blogger outreach program, I’ll click through to the website and make contact with the blogger if it’s appropriate. Or if I’m reading articles from one of my bloggers and see an outfit I like, I’ll pin it and tag them in the description if they’re on Pinterest to help share their content and boost readership. It’s like tweeting a blog post, but you’re sharing it through images rather than words.
Pinterest has the potential to be a very interesting channel for brands to figure out what their audience is interested in sharing, and providing content for them to curate:
- For consumer, I could easily see brands in lifestyle industries such as retail, fashion design, media, food services, home goods, travel, etc. Pinboards could reflect the brand and help build overall personality - whether it’s how to outfit your work wardrobe, ideas for remodeling a bedroom, gift guides, to new Christmas cookies to try this season. They could even have pinboard contests around creating the best pinboard or build relationships with brand evanglists by inviting them to collaborate on boards with the brand.
- On the B2B side, Pinterest could help give personality to corporate leadership and public figures with their (appropriate) interests, or lend itself well to industries such as technology, engineering, energy, science, etc.
- I could also see Pinterest being used in the non-profit sector, especially by non-profits that have inserted themselves into fashion and pop culture, like Pink Ribbon and Movember.
- Like SkirtPR, other PR and marketing agencies could use it for their own publicity, too. Different pinboards can help show the individuals and culture of the firm, “idea” boards to spark ideas for creative designs or client campaigns. However, like any platform, there would need to be designated pinners to sustain it.
Currently, Pinterest doesn’t distinguish between a brand’s account and a regular user’s. And like any social platform, you should not use Pinterest for the sole purpose of self-promotion or pushing your own agenda – whether you’re a blogger, a brand or a PR/ marketing pro. People will see right through it. And if you are going pimp your own your client’s stuff, always disclose.
Much like all of the recent buzz about brands using Tumblr, I could see Pinterest taking off within the next six months, especially once they figure out how to better integrate brands and monetize the platform. Something like promoted pins or branded pinboard skins/ backgrounds might be a start. I also would like to see further improvements that spur engagement. Lists or segmented groups within your following might be a cool feature to add. Other things I’d like to see: private boards, some type of consistency in tags, the ability to pin an entire pinboard instead of individual pins. And for godssake, Pinterest, please get a better notification system!