Using Pinterest in your PR campaigns

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Pinterest Example from the US Marines

Note: A version of this article first appeared in the Dunn PR blog. Visit the Dunn Public Relations website to see the original blog post.

Pinterest has caught our attention at Dunn PR.

The hot social networking site has officially gone mainstream, with over 18 million people now using it regularly. The site grew 52% in February, easily outpacing the growth of Facebook or Google+.

Although we first heard of Pinterest six months ago, the site has only gained momentum in the past couple of months.

At Dunn PR, we’re brainstorming ideas about how this social media phenomenon can be utilized to amplify our clients’ messages. Here’s a sampling:

1. Don’t make it all about you!

Pinterest discourages users from using the site for blatant self-promotion.

This might seem counterintuitive, but the truth is that most of the time, social media isn’t about you. This is true for Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ — and it’s also true for Pinterest.

Pin photos of things that inspire you. It’s fine to pin your own projects (see tip #2 below), but the Pinterest community frowns upon too much self-promotion.

2. Enhance your story — and tell it through photos.

The old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is as valid as ever. Pinterest — along with Instagram, Flickr, etc. — is just one of the many sites that encourage users to tell their stories through photos.

Pinterest lends itself to visual storytelling. (In other popular social media networks such as Google+ and Facebook, pictures also tend to get the most engagement.)

Take photos that tell the story of your brand well. Launching a new product? Why not create a Pinterest board and give your followers a sneak peek? Holding a big event? Then take some compelling photos at the event and pin them.

3. Show the organization’s human side.

People love to see the people behind the brand.  Give a behind-the-scene look at your company by posting profile photos of key people in your organization. Another idea is to snap interesting photos at your next company outing, conference, or speaking engagement.

A great example of an organization doing this well is — believe it or not — the U.S. Military. Their “Women in the Army” board, in particular, effectively showcases inspiring women. The key here is not just to pin random photos — think of how you can leverage your people to inspire your followers.

4. Experiment with videos.

A major misconception about Pinterest is that it’s only for photos. Users can also pin videos.

Leverage this functionality by creating videos that people would want to pin.  Of course, videos have other benefits: YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, and videos tend to rank well in search.

5. Learn more about media and online influencers through their boards.

We recently came across a marketing example that illustrates how brands can effectively use Pinterest for influencer outreach.

In a nutshell, an Isreali-based agency identified influencers through Pinterest as well as their interests through their boards and pins. The agency then sent them customized box of gifts that were as unique as they are.

When researching for blogger or online influencer outreach, consider checking people’s boards on Pinterest to get a better sense of who they are. Of course, don’t forget to check out their blogs, recent articles, and other social media profiles!

6. Get more mileage out of your media coverage.

Consider taking photos at your next media event and pinning your photos on Pinterest.

Again, a good example is the U.S. Military. Their “Good Morale” Pinterest board is an interesting mix of media appearances and charity events.

7. Develop relationships.

PR is all about relationships — and this remains true in the age of social media.

Follow reporters and bloggers on Pinterest and re-pin, comment on, and like their posts. Take the time to really get to know them through this platform.

Our final advice is to follow the website’s Pin Etiquette.  It’s available for a reason.

Your turn – how are you using Pinterest?

Now it’s your turn. What do you think of Pinterest? Have you been using it in your PR campaigns? Is it a useful part of your social media marketing mix?

© 2012, KC Claveria. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please link back to kcclaveria.com

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