Posted At: January 18, 2013 12:15 P.M.
by Cate Kennedy
If you’ve been around many girls between the ages of 14 and 40, you have, undoubtedly, heard of Pinterest. Using this online bulletin board, I share recipes, craft ideas, cute pictures of animals, cute pictures of babies, home decorating ideas, wedding plans (even though I am nowhere close to getting married… or even engaged) and dream vacation destinations. Sometimes I even post things that I designed or drew myself.
Because of its addictive nature, Pinterest is taking over our free time. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about. We spend hours (that we should probably be spending doing something more productive) looking at crafts, outfits, wedding ideas, recipes and cute pictures. We even pin things that make fun of how much time we spend on Pinterest.
Honestly, we probably know more about the last thing we pinned than about the last news article we read.
That statement might be an exaggeration, but you get my point: most women who have lived through 2012 know how to use Pinterest (and they excel at it).
Because Pinterest is one of the hottest social media crazes in the nation right now, I think we should look into using it for more than sharing craft and recipe ideas that we might never use. We can use Pinterest to reach out to our clients, competition and random followers. Pinterest even tracks who repins your pins — responses that can be used as a straw poll to see what is popular among our followers.
Pinterest has created a new way to encourage idea sharing. Instead of spending hours looking through unrelated material, I can choose exactly what I want to see and have it conveniently located in one place. I no longer have to flip through pages of cookie decorations when I’m looking for ideas for crafting a cute cake platter for my best friend’s wedding shower.
Pinterest is a new way to put our clients’ names and products into consumers’ daily lives. And we have almost limitless possibilities! We can pin photos of our clients’ products, videos of our promotions and inspiration for . . . well, anything! — anything that inspires us to do our job.
As PR pros, we can make personal boards that tell people who we are, what we like, what inspires us and where we hope to be one day — even if that place is on a beach somewhere. We can also share ideas that we want to include in our next presentation.
Here are some of the best tips that I have found for using Pinterest for PR:
• Be visual
• Avoid blatant promotion (include inspiration boards)
• Tell stories through your photos
• Pin interesting things that are happening in your industry
• Pin videos
• Share articles, stories and blog posts about your clients and products
• Create boards that tell who your employees are
• Share ideas for presentations and design
• Pin things by journalists that you want to build a professional relationship with
• Keep search engine optimization in mind when writing descriptions of your pins
• Make sure your links work and that they link to what you intend for them to link to
Like all forms of communication, we have to be careful about how we use Pinterest. If we use it correctly, we can get more people to notice our products and clients. If we use it incorrectly, we can push those same consumers away.
Twitter and Facebook have already proved this duplicity of social media to our industry.
We have to walk a fine line with social media. If you have a Facebook or Twitter account but never update, people forget about you. If you constantly update about mundane, meaningless things that are barely relevant to the brand you represent, people get annoyed and ignore you.
There is some obscure number somewhere in between the two that is ideal. It keeps your brand in the public’s mind, but it does not get that “annoying” label that we put on so many products and companies when we are constantly bombarded by their advertising.
As easy as it is to use, it is even easier to use Pinterest incorrectly. With Pinterest, you have to find the right combination of image and text to interest other pinners and explain what exactly it is that you are pinning.
You have to remember that some viewers will be brought to your Pinterest boards by Google searches, so don’t forget about search engine optimization! Simply captioning something with “OMG!!! Can’t believe I didn’t think of this!” will not bring as many views to your pins as “Such a creative idea for a presentation!”
I believe Pinterest can be a useful tool for us in PR. We need to use Pinterest for our ideas, our plans, our story and some promotion. It’s for collecting information on what our followers want to see. And we now have a reason to be on Pinterest at work — no more searching for excuses!
Remember, pinners do not care about who you are as much as they care about what you like. So show them!