The Rise of Images: The Five “C’s” to Succeeding on Pinterest

This is the third post in our series on how to build images into your social strategy, based on a recent Shoutlet webinar. See the first posts here and here.

Pinterest is the 4th largest driver of trafficPinterest is the 4th largest driver of traffic worldwide. For many businesses, this is reason enough to take note of the booming network. And, with regular stats coming out showing the long life of Pins and the rate of Pinterest conversion, the reasons continue to add up.

If you’d like to launch or improve your Pinterest strategy, take note of the Five C’s:  Concept, Curate, Connect, Create, and Collect. These will provide fertile starting ground to make your pin strategy successful and good for business.

FOCUS ON CONCEPTS, NOT PRODUCTS

Pinterest is centered around interests and themes, like weddings, home décor, gifts, moods, and styles. Any brand on Pinterest must connect with people on topics they care about, rather than pushing products or corporate messaging.

For example, West Elm creates conceptual boards around styles, and shares one or two images of their products within those boards.

West Elm shares style boards to inspire fans

West Elm shares style boards to inspire fans.

CURATE (AS WELL AS CREATE)

As with most social networks, it’s important to find your mix of original and curated content. Tiffany Mullins, social media manager with Sandals, finds the right mix by thinking of the fans. While they create a lot of original imagery, it’s essential to curate, too.

“My favorite thing about Pinterest is that you get inside the mind of brands. It’s not about what you offer – your products – but what interests your customer,” says Mullins. “For us, it’s about island life… … it’s about creating a lifestyle…and we share what’s good – sometimes that’s original content, sometimes that’s other people’s content.”

But, Mullins notes, people are following you to learn about your brand, so don’t leave your products or offering out of the equation entirely.

Sandals shares favorite drinks – curated and original

Sandals shares favorite drinks – curated and original.

CONNECT BEYOND THE BOARD

It’s easy to fall into the trap of pinning pictures but failing to actually engage your audience. Consider a few ways to connect more deeply:

Host a Contest
A Pinterest contest can be an opportunity to engage and learn new information about your customers. Sandals and its partner WeddingMoons recently worked with Shoutlet on its Pin to Win a Mystery Prize contest. Together they created a source board and asked pinners to create a board featuring their dream wedding.

Sandals hosts a Pin to Win Mystery Prize Contest

“We wanted people to pin from our boards but we also wanted to see what interested our potential brides, so we used it for research and development. We knew that location was important, but we found that so was customization – from flowers in your hair to other little details.”

Sandals translated this customer insight into an online tool, “Your Wedding, Your Style,” allowing people to customize their wedding at Sandals.

Use Group Boards to Make a Connection
Group boards, a recently added feature, allow brands to host a shared board where invited followers can pin. This has the double bonus of engaging users and garnering user-generated content to re-pin and share.

Amnesty International uses Group Boards to encourage their community to educate one another on issues like fair trade.

Amnesty International encourages fans to pin Fair Trade

Amnesty International encourages fans to pin Fair Trade.

Host guest pinners
Consider featuring guest pinners – either influencers in your industry or regular fans – to share things they love on a weekly or monthly basis. This can be a great way to give your customer a voice.

CREATE PINNABLE CONTENT

Even if your organization has no plans to join Pinterest, you’ll still benefit from creating engaging content that people want to pin.Whether it’s a product photo or press releases, add social sharing options to make it pinnable. Sites like AddThis or ShareThis make this a one-click process.

COLLECT DATA, ANALYZE SUCCESS

Pinterest released a brand-new set of analytics in March that provides a range of data for marketers – from what’s being pinned to how often people pin it. Tap in to these analytics to get insights into how to hone your content.

Ultimately, analytics are only helpful if you’ve set benchmarks in place from the beginning. Then, you can determine your progress in reaching those along the way.

Download our webinar for more insights on image strategy, or check out our post  with more ideas on harnessing Pinterest for social contests.