How to win at Pinterest

It’s no secret that I love social media. For staying in touch with friends and family, I use Facebook. For keeping track of the weird and fleeting meme-worthy world, I use Tumblr.  To build community and find news, I use Twitter. But Pinterest…oh, Pinterest is my guilty pleasure. I use it as a wish list, for gift ideas, for DIY inspiration, for day dreaming about what I’ll do when I win the lottery and, most importantly, to organize thousands of recipes (which we actually cook from). I also manage Pinterest accounts for clients and it can be very important as part of an overall social media strategy, but it’s not for every business or brand.

So, how do you win at Pinterest?

* First, make sure it’s appropriate for your company/brand/product. Pinterest is growing in leaps and bounds, currently there are more than 70 million users and the average length of stay on the site is more than 14 minutes per person. BUT, the most popular brands and companies on Pinterest are still primarily B2C and the audience is overwhelmingly female.

* If you’re a B2B company and have determined that your target audience is on Pinterest, you cancreatively capitalize on what you’ve got to build interest and drive engagement. Create boards inspired by your company mission or mascot(s), create group boards and allow employees and customers to pin what inspires them. Express business concepts visually, use infographics. Even tools you use everyday can inspire a board a la Photoshop Fails.

pinterest success

Know what your audience wants and inspire them by giving them what they want. If you’re part of an education-related company, for example, create classroom idea and back to school boards for teachers,

Make it easy to pin, buy and share. If your company sells a product and you pin something product-related, make it easy for a “pinspired” user to buy with just a click. Add a Pin It button to your website next to products, images, infographics, etc. to make it easy for people to pin your content directly from the source. Add links to other social networks, where appropriate, to make your content easy to share across other social media.

Be strategic. Segment your audience, segment your boards and selectively pin the best of the best. Don’t just randomly pin everything in sight. Get inspired, be inspirational, but don’t stray too far away from your business goals and purpose.

* Pinterest is a visual medium, so if you’re pinning original content, it MUST have a strong and compelling visual component. Pin descriptions count too — keep them brief and tell people why the content is relevant to them.

Timing isn’t everything on Pinterest. So many users are on the site at so many times for so many different reasons (you’ll often find me pinning at 1:00 am from my e-reader when I can’t sleep). Pin throughout the day and you’ll have a better chance of your pins being found. Timeless pins do better on Pinterest as they have a lot longer lifespan than a tweet or Facebook post.

Be social, reward fans. Promote your presence on Pinterest across your other social channels like your Facebook page, Twitter posts and through email marketing. Do not, however, post or tweet everything you pin. That’s annoying and obtrusive. Reward and engage fans by pinning their content as well. A “Blogger Creations Inspired By XYZ Baking Mix,” for example. Follow your top pinners, respond when people comment on your boards and leave non-self-promotional comments on the boards of others.

Still not sure if Pinterest fits into your social media plans, contact me at Lynne (at) and I’ll help you figure it out. In the meantime, happy pinning and feel free to follow me on Pinterest – where nearly zero percent of what I pin is business-related.