10 ways PR and marketing pros can use Pinterest

The visual platform can increase traffic and revenue for a plethora of organizations, even if you don’t sell a product or service that’s visually enticing.

Pinterest isn’t just for organizations in the fashion, food, sports, homes and retail industries.

A software organization started pinning its blog posts to Pinterest. Some images from the blog posts were original—infographics, its product in use, PowerPoint decks—and in others, it used a Shutterstock account.

It built boards based on brand personas, representing five different segments. On every blog post, there was a call to action, offering the free trial it already provided. Pinterest users are not their decision makers, but they do influence purchase decisions.

This organization knew that if it could get these people into the free trial, they would then recommend the software to their bosses. After just one month, Pinterest became its No. 1 social network referral source.

The company’s real goal was to drive people to take its free trial. In the four months that it tested Pinterest, 35 people visited directly and took the free trial. Of those 35 people, 10 became customers. A four-month test drove about $50,000 in new revenue.

This is a PR pro’s dream—using social media to drive new visitors and, ultimately, sales.

Here are 10 ways you can use Pinterest for business:

1. Say thank you.

When NBC’s “Today” show reached 100,000 followers on Pinterest, it said thank you with a photo of a cake and a recipe for making it. “Today” doesn’t make and sell cakes, but it knows some of the most pinned things are recipes.

That is a super easy idea for you to replicate. Say thank you in ways you know will engage the Pinterest audience.

2. Boost influencer relations.

As with anything else on the web, there are Pinterest influencers. There are gigantic influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers—and there are micro-influencers.

Do your homework (Traackr can help you do that) and figure out which influencers make most sense for your business.

The easiest way to work with influencers on Pinterest is to create a group board. That way, they can contribute to your board; when they do, it shows up in their feeds, as well as your own. This gets you in front of an influencer’s followers without a lot of time, effort or money.

3. Share what inspires you.

GE is not known for pulling back the curtain and letting people see the wizard.

To boot, its social media people don’t really have anything visual to share on Pinterest. So, they share inspiration. Check out DIY science—things you can do at home with (or without) your kids. It inspires their work, and it includes the kinds of things that get their team excited about getting out of bed in the morning.

What inspires you to create? Include those things on your Pinterest for business boards.

4. Use your newsletter.

Every organization, no matter what you do, make or sell, has a handful of pinners who adore you. Recognize them in your company’s newsletter.

You can have a “best of Pinterest” section—or an entirely separate newsletter for the topic. Include boards of theirs you like and pins from their profiles. They’ll love that you’ve recognized them, and your readers will love the fresh, new ideas.

5. Create moderated boards.

When our book “Spin Sucks” launched, we conducted a brand ambassador program. We had a moderated Spin Sucks board where our ambassadors could pin things to help the book sell.

It included everything from pictures of me with Robert Downey Jr. (in my dreams) to reviews of the book. It had 13 curators, 624 followers and more than 100 pins.

When you create moderated boards for your fans, they can add videos, blog posts and photos on their own. Remember, when they do this, it all goes into their streams as well as your own.

6. Include products you sell.

This seems like a no-brainer for some brand managers, but for those who sell information products, it isn’t the first thing we consider.

Let’s say you have an online course that runs eight weeks. You can create boards for each lesson and use them as supplemental material for your students.

Make Pinterest part of their homework. They can get information, downloadable templates and more. If your class is live versus online, you can also include photos from the event.

7. Share gift ideas.

A few years ago, a friend and her team sent me a thank-you for helping them with some content. Rather than sending something they send everyone, they mined my Pinterest boards for ideas—keying on a chalkboard I use regularly and sending me related gifts.

The holidays are right around the corner. For gift ideas, check out what your clients and VIP brand ambassadors pin.

8. Highlight team members.

The first time I saw Tim Washer speak, I was blown away. He talked about a video program they created while he worked at IBM. Because IBM has so many offices around the globe—as well as “stringers” in the field—it’s difficult for the organization to create culture.

IBM wanted to highlight team members in a new and interesting way, so their video program was born. It empowered every employee to take video of their day-to-day lives. It could be playing with their kids, having dinner with friends or traveling the world.

This idea also works on Pinterest. Ask your team members to upload photos and videos of themselves doing their things to a group board. Make sure each photo and video links to your website (not your home page, please) so you can track effectiveness.

9. Create tutorials.

If you have video tutorials—or even teaser videos—get those up on Pinterest.

Use engaged and passionate pinners to drive traffic to something you sell.

10. Share your content.

Don’t forget about blog posts and other content. Include a call to action on each piece of content, and track results.

Make sure there’s a compelling image in each piece you pin, and link to your website. Monitor your efforts through Google Analytics and your customer relationship management software.

What have you seen work well for brands on Pinterest?

Gini Dietrich is the chief executive officer of Arment Dietrich. A version of this article originally appeared on Spin Sucks.

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