5 Pinterest Marketing Pro Tips For Brands

What brands need to know to best reach the 72 mil­lion con­sumers who are using Pin­ter­est for self-dis­cov­ery and to plan future actions.

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 0 comments

On Pin­ter­est, con­sumers are plan­ning their lives and look­ing toward the future, which makes for a com­pelling mar­ket­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty. Pin­ter­est offers brands sev­er­al oppor­tu­ni­ties to reach peo­ple at dif­fer­ent stages of the pur­chase jour­ney, whether it’s dis­cov­er­ing your prod­uct or answer­ing ques­tions for peo­ple who are con­sid­er­ing a pur­chase. Here’s a look at the role Pin­ter­est plays in the con­sumer jour­ney and five Pin­ter­est mar­ket­ing tips for brands.

Pin­ter­est isn’t like oth­er social net­works. Kevin Knight, head of agency and brand strat­e­gy at Pin­ter­est, speak­ing at Adobe Sum­mit 2015, said Pin­ter­est isn’t a social net­work at all. Nor is it a pho­to-shar­ing site.

Instead, Knight describes Pin­ter­est as a visu­al book­mark­ing tool, which means it dif­fers from oth­er plat­forms in sev­er­al key ways.

Why Pinterest Is Different

Help Consumers Discover You

Likes are less com­mon on Pin­ter­est than net­works like Face­book and Insta­gram because users are more inter­est­ed in pin­ning con­tent than in lik­ing it, he said.

What’s more, Knight said, “fol­low­ers don’t mat­ter that much on Pin­ter­est.”

That’s because Pin­ter­est users explore con­tent for them­selves. In oth­er words, Pin­ter­est is all about self-dis­cov­ery – not self-pro­mo­tion.

It’s much less of a lean-back-and-see-what-the-Inter­net-is-bring­ing-to-me [plat­form] and more of a ‘Huh, this is what I’m inter­est­ed in today and [I’m going to] start explor­ing it’-[platform],” Knight said.

This is pre­cise­ly where mar­keters want to be, Knight said.

Make Consumers’ Dreams A Reality

On plat­forms like Face­book and Twit­ter, con­sumers are post­ing pic­tures of events that have already hap­pened.

Christ­mas trends on Pin­ter­est in Octo­ber,” Knight said. “It won’t trend on Twit­ter until Decem­ber 23.”

These Pin­ter­est users who are mak­ing Christ­mas trend in Octo­ber want to dis­cov­er con­tent they didn’t know exist­ed before. It’s this “hey-maybe-I-could-do-that” stage that is the per­fect time for mar­keters to reach them, Knight says.

Pin­ter­est users con­sti­tute a siz­able audi­ence at this point: Pin­ter­est has more than 72 mil­lion month­ly users, includ­ing 40 per­cent of U.S. women and one-third of U.S. mil­len­ni­als. In addi­tion, the aver­age active pin­ner has 24 boards.

Plus, these users are already pin­ning con­tent from brands on their boards. In fact, a full two-thirds of pinned con­tent comes from busi­ness­es, Knight said.

Peo­ple on Pin­ter­est need busi­ness­es to make their dreams a real­i­ty,” Knight said.

Identify And Shape Trends

Pin­ter­est also gives mar­keters a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to see how con­sumers think about their brands as cus­tomers may be pin­ning prod­ucts and con­tent in ways or con­texts that even the brands them­selves hadn’t thought of before, Knight said.

You can learn a lot about where the oppor­tu­ni­ty is and how to be an addi­tive part of the user expe­ri­ence,” Knight said.

Knight uses the exam­ple of Jawbone’s activ­i­ty track­er Up, which appears on fit­ness, fash­ion, goal and tech­nol­o­gy boards, among oth­ers, which he notes are “dif­fer­ent use cas­es.”

That means brands like Jaw­bone can use Pin­ter­est as “the world’s largest, most action­able focus group and look at how [users] are already bak­ing your brand into their lives and you may see new trends emerge,” Knight said.

From there, brands may actu­al­ly be able to shape trends they see com­ing and even be per­ceived as lead­ers for shap­ing those trends.

5 Pinterest Marketing Tips For Brands

Here is Knight’s best advice for brands to get the most out of Pin­ter­est.

Tip 1: Details, Details, Details

Infor­ma­tion is the one char­ac­ter­is­tic that dri­ves the over­whelm­ing major­i­ty of pins’ suc­cess­es.

If there’s one thing you take away, it’s that pins should be help­ful. They should offer tips, advice or instruc­tions in addi­tion to show­cas­ing the prod­uct,” Knight said.

Gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, Pin­ter­est helps con­sumers do what­ev­er it is they want to do. It helps answer ques­tions, includ­ing those that don’t have defined answers, which “rep­re­sents an oppor­tu­ni­ty much big­ger than search,” Knight said.

When Pin­ter­est users are explor­ing con­tent, it’s the detailed descrip­tions includ­ed in the pins that helps them tran­si­tion from dis­cov­er­ing con­tent to poten­tial­ly inter­act­ing with a brand or prod­ucts in the phys­i­cal world.

If your pins are beau­ti­ful and unhelp­ful, they will fail, but if they are ugly and help­ful, they will suc­ceed,” Knight said.

Fur­ther, Knight notes, “Pin­ter­est in and of itself is a big search engine.” That means the infor­ma­tion brands pro­vide in pin descrip­tions will pop up in search. That also helps brands con­nect the dots from their pins to con­sumer inter­ests and cap­ture search inter­est.

Brands should also make sure to include plen­ty of key­words in their descrip­tions and not wor­ry about includ­ing too much text as Pin­ter­est trun­cates descrip­tions to about 80 char­ac­ters, so users will only see the full descrip­tion if they tap on it because they are inter­est­ed.

Err on the side of over-instruct­ing them,” Knight said.

Tip 2: Overlay Text

In addi­tion, Knight rec­om­mends using text over­lays on pins to imme­di­ate­ly con­vey a pin’s main point to con­sumers (i.e., a pic­ture may be worth a thou­sand words, but that does­n’t mean rel­e­van­cy is always clear).

Brands can then pro­vide addi­tion­al details in the descrip­tions. Head­lines can also com­mu­ni­cate why giv­en a pin is rel­e­vant to a user, he said.

Tip 3: Say Yes To Logos, But No To Banner Ads

Brands should incor­po­rate taste­ful brand­ing, or at least make sure their pins don’t look like ads, Knight said. Avoid bor­ders and blocks of logos or dis­tract­ing text.

When we dug into the data, we found that if con­sumers thought the pin looked like an ad, it had a sig­nif­i­cant decrease on engage­ment of up to 30 per­cent,” Knight said.

Inclu­sion of a logo, how­ev­er, actu­al­ly encour­ages engage­ment because con­sumers can see where a pin comes from and that it has some cred­i­bil­i­ty, he said.

It also tells you whether it’s right for you,” Knight said.

Tip 4: Color Is Subjective

Knight says there is no right answer for brands about col­or schemes on Pin­ter­est – only that they use con­sis­tent col­ors that con­vey their brand (i.e., Coke and Home Depot would­n’t want to use the col­or blue, liken­ing them­selves to Pep­si and Lowe’s).

Just do what’s right for your brand and con­veys your brand,” he said.

In addi­tion, Knight rec­om­mend­ed ver­ti­cal pins and avoid­ing ama­teur and/or user-gen­er­at­ed con­tent.

Tip 5: Forget Hashtags

Brands should also steer clear of hash­tags on Pin­ter­est.

They’re great for com­mu­ni­ca­tion tools, but Pin­ter­est is not a com­mu­ni­ca­tion tool and there aren’t any con­ver­sa­tions going on,” Knight said. “There’s noth­ing to pull togeth­er.”

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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