15 questions brands should ask before getting on Pinterest

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15 questions brands should ask before getting on Pinterest

If you’ve been debating whether to get on the Pinterest bandwagon, it may be time.

The image-sharing social network is now one of the top 30 US websites based on total pageviews. Pinterest received more than 103 million total US visits in February – a 36 percent increase over January visits.

If your brand or client is in the retail sector, the restaurant or food industry, or the travel realm, your strategy is pretty clear cut – those are popular categories on Pinterest that have a pretty clear-cut path.

pin-all-the-things

But before we go pinning all the things, remember that not every brand is such an easy fit. Believe me, I know this firsthand. Raven Tools is software-as-a-service – and not so visual. But as I noticed Pinterest bringing us more and more referral traffic, it only made sense to lock down our brand there. Here are some of the questions I asked myself to help determine Raven’s Pinterest strategy. I hope they help you, too.

Are you going to use this for good and not evil annoying?

If you’re getting on Pinterest exclusively to sell stuff/generate traffic back to your site, you’re not off to the best start. Yes, that’s ultimately what we all want, but that strategy is pretty see-through. Plan your pinning in a way that makes sure you’re focusing on contributing to the spirit of the site at least as much as you’re hyping your own links.

What do Pinners like?

According to a study by RJMetrics, an e-commerce analytics platform, the most popular board categories are home (17.2 percent of boards), arts and crafts (12.4 percent), style and fashion (11.7 percent) and food (10.5 percent).

Have you been a real Pinner?

I joined Pinterest from a personal account for a few months before launching Raven’s account, which really helped me see how “real people” use the site and what makes it important to them. It also gives you another anecdotal/regional view of what’s popular on Pinterest. For instance, in my feed recipes rule – even though they only make us 10% of all pins, according to the study above. I also see lots of inspirational quotes and funny memes, which are categories I can consider for Raven that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

What content from your brand is being pinned?

To find this information, type “pinterest.com/source/YOURWEBSITE.com/” into your browser. Any images you see will direct to your brand’s website. (You can also check out what competitors and other folks in your space are doing using this method.)

Most of our traffic was coming from a few infographics we’ve worked on or written about, particularly the perennially popular and info-packed Social Media Analytics infographic. This is a good clue for me.

What’s iconic about your brand?

In other words, if people only know one thing about you, what is it? It can be an iconic person, like a CEO or staff member, or a logo or saying.

Raven is pretty well-known for our Raven swag, like our T-shirts, pint glasses and other stuff we come up with to hand out at conferences. So I made sure to make a Reppin’ Raven board featuring some of that fun stuff, (and another board for swag we like from other companies, too).

reppin-raven

We also kind of lucked out having a super smart, badass bird as our mascot (although judging by Pinterest’s penchant for cute animals, we might have been better off with a puppy). But what’s iconic about your brand can be almost anything.

How can you best explain your brand in one board?

You can make as many boards as you like, of course – I just found this to be a good question to keep in mind to keep my strategy focused at first.

Since Raven integrates data from lots of partners, a board with each of their logos and information about how we integrate them might be a useful resource for Pinners. For other brands, this might be a step-by-step process with photos, a list of clients, or something else.

What are you an expert in?

This one should be pretty easy to answer for your brand. Since Raven is a platform for Internet marketing, our areas of expertise include SEO, social media, PPC, and content marketing. We can focus our “serious” boards around these topics.

What content of yours do people like the best?

Take a trip through your analytics to see what content is connecting best with people. Is it visual? Could it be made visual?

For Raven, our Ultimate Lists are popular, along with our weekly guest posts and how-to guides for things like adding Facebook comments to your blog or adding the +1 button to your blog. Some of these items have visuals, but many do not. Which leads us to…

How can you make future content more pin-able?

In the new world of Pinterest, adding a big, lovely image to every piece of written content is no longer optional. What I’ve learned about our referral traffic from Pinterest and the fact that much of our popular content isn’t all that visual will help me implement a new visual strategy for the blog. Infographics aren’t dying anytime soon, folks.

What’s cool about your office?

Pinterest loves decor, so why not show off your office? If you have cool furniture, a unique kitchen, spectacular bathrooms, local art or other distinctive details in your office, those details might be worth pinning.

What’s unique about your brand’s culture?

Raven has a laid-back office culture that mostly consists of beer, poker and business shorts. These are all boards I could start that would reflect the fun side of Raven (so we’re not just repinning the same Internet marketing infographics as everyone else).

What’s unique about your city?

Raven is located in Nashville, which is a topic of curiosity for a lot of the people we talk to, since they’re mostly located in tech centers like New York, Boston or the Bay area. We love living in musical, creative Nashville, but wherever you’re located you probably have a lot of expertise to offer about the area. Pin it up!

What do you do that’s outside the norm?

Does your company do anything that’s particularly notable, offbeat or unique in the course of doing business? We Ravens travel a lot for industry conferences and speaking engagements, so a travel/conference board was a natural fit for us.

How can you repurpose existing content?

Get back into your analytics and check for any visual, evergreen content that’s still getting consistent views – or, even better, conversions. Can you (organically, without looking like you’re hijacking Pinterest for an infomercial) fit any of this content into your emerging Pinterest strategy? Don’t forget that you can pin videos, too.

How will you add Pinterest to your existing social media schedule?

I’m already spotting some ghost town Pinterest accounts, and this thing is still in beta. It’s a good idea to think through how Pinterest will fit into your daily social media activities on the front end, even if you only have a general idea. (My plan? Pin the most visual of the posts I come across during my daily industry reading, possibly stealing a little from my Twitter activity for a while. I’ll be prepared for more categories to emerge as I go along.)

What questions are you asking about Pinterest? Let me know in the comments!

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Courtney Seiter wrangled a smart, savvy community of Internet marketers as Raven's first Community Manager. She moved on from Raven in January 2014, but her social media and writing advice stands the test of time.

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