4 Smart Pinterest Strategies for Brands

4 Smart Pinterest Strategies for Brands Larry Alton Blogger Extraordinaire Simply Measured

Pinterest may have initially seemed like a gathering place for moms, wedding planners, and DIY aficionados, but we’ve all gotten the message by now: Pinterest is a powerhouse in the social media world, and it’s here to stay.

2015 Holiday Planning Guide for Social Marketers

Still, with relatively limited functions compared to other sites despite significant new e-commerce partnerships and Buy buttons, many companies have not yet figured out how to harness the social network.

Luckily, there are several brands that have managed to make a splash on Pinterest, and they act as good examples for your brand.

Here are four strategies for putting together creative and effective content on Pinterest.

Spot Relevant Trends

One of the major mistakes that businesses make when using Pinterest is failing to fully engage with what’s popular on the site, or jumping on the trend too late to be relevant. These companies tend to stick within their own categories, limiting who sees their posts.

Successful brands, on the other hand, are trend spotters. They see what Pinterest users are obsessed with and find a way to weave themselves in with original, non-salesy Pins that feed back to their websites.

A company that has used this technique with great success is UNIQLO.

UNIQLO and its marketing agency Projector noticed that a major Pinterest trend topic was DIY hairstyles. They developed a way to launch their new clothing line through a connected campaign.

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The brand paired UNIQLO clothes with 16 unique hairstyles and offered a DIY tutorial for these styles. This showcased UNIQLO’s ability to craft a head-to-toe look and drew users interested in hair trends to their page.

Another great example of building off already-existing trends comes from Jawbone’s recent work on Pinterest. The fitness brand has created an array of Pinterest boards, including vegan recipes, quick dinners, and indulgences for those watching their waistlines – which includes many of those interested in fitness trackers.

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Just because food isn’t Jawbone’s niche doesn’t mean they can’t engage meaningfully in the Pinterest ecosystem and reach an audience who is or could be interested in their product.

Know When to Create and When to Curate

Sometimes the most powerful Pinterest campaign is the one you don’t generate the bulk of content for. Pinterest is a great place to let the fans go wild. Then you just need to curate material, framing it and making it available for viewing.

The HBO television show GIRLS demonstrated the power of this strategy when they harnessed the creativity of viewers to create their fanGIRLS page, which is just what it sounds like: man-made art about the show and its characters.

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This board recognizes the power of not just engaging with, but centering the audience for publicity purposes. Fans love to feel appreciated, especially when they’ve committed a lot of time and energy celebrating something. Celebrate your brand’s fans, and you’ll be rewarded.

Think Seasonally

This may sounds like traditional advertising advice, and that’s because it is. One way to make Pinterest work for you is by treating it like other advertising modes. Even though Pinterest has many other capacities, users are still looking for autumnal content as the season arrives and begin searching for Christmas crafts, dresses, and cookies before Halloween even ends.

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You need to create boards that will correspond with these seasonal flows, just as you would with store displays, stock, and print advertising.

Take A Stand (And Make Connections)

Consumers like to think that they are socially minded and that their spending reflects that social conscience. And much like other social media platforms, Pinterest is a great place to share text art, photography, and other media and links that support this image of your company. Take MasterCard’s #AcceptanceMatters campaign as a great example.

#AcceptanceMatters was MasterCard’s first Pinterest campaign, and the brand, while well known, had no Pinterest followers when it launched. What the company had going for them, though, was a lot of marketing ingenuity and great networking skills.

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MasterCard sought out major Pinterest personalities who were willing to share their #AcceptanceMatters posts, and the impact was immediate. The company also smartly linked its Pinterest campaign to a Facebook contest, bridging the two platforms.

An Ever-Evolving Platform

Pinterest is updating rapidly, with a new kind of visual search being released today and buyable pins rolled out to most users with major brands like Nordstrom and Macy’s on board. Keep current on the latest Pinterest developments by checking the Simply Measured blog regularly for news and always-strategic tips.

Planning your holiday campaigns right now, on Pinterest and beyond? Check out the fresh-off-the-presses 2015 Holiday Planning Guide for Social Marketers.

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Larry Alton

Larry Alton

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.