Update: We've distilled the Pinterest wisdom from this series of blog posts into one handy downloadable eBook. We hope it's useful.
At its core, Pinterest is a visual social bookmarking service. Its masonry style layout presents material in a pleasing way. Pinterest relies on user-created, high quality visual imagery from the web along with an addictive UX. The competitive social aspect of the service help keep the taste level of the participants elevated. But without strong content from the web, the service would not exist.
It is possible for a brand to choose to participate in Pinterest by providing and promoting its own strong, visual content via traditional social media measures and choose to not take the additional step of direct participation as a brand curator. In doing so, the brand would be trusting its savvy brand advocates to recognize and site the content that is readily available. This content can be presented along traditional channels: Facebook, Twitter pic, blog, etc. Pinterest serves as a niche network, not a global replacement. Active pinners are also savvy web surfers. If you provide it and it is beautiful, optimized, and useful, it is very likely your content will end up on Pinterest.
The PinIt Button
There are four main ways a product’s image might appear on Pinterest – by screenshot, by direct url, by PinIt bookmarklet, and by PinIt button. If a participant on Pinterest finds your product uncredited via a blogger’s screenshot or by an image search, the trackback to a direct url on an e-commerce or product information site will be lost. The simplest way to prevent this from happening is to incorporate the PinIt button on ecommerce sites, much the way Abe’s Market, Etsy, and Martha Stewart have with the PinIt button displayed along side the product information.
It’s All about the Visual
The images themselves are the main allure of pinboards, even though a url might have a great deal of text behind it. An image that has strong appeal to a Pinterest member is one that is powerful and emotive. Beautiful photography with good lighting and strong composition, quirky details highlighted, visuals with unexpected twists, quotes with powerful words and interesting typography, images of people that present a powerful or universal emotion, sophisticated color presentation - appealing and inspiring are the Pinterest themes. Without an appealing visual, a link is unlikely to be repinned, even it contains engaging text content.
Trust Your Bloggers
Continue your current efforts in social media, blogging and blogger outreach. Pinterest participants are more likely to respond to a trusted individual’s pin about your brand than a direct overture from a brand about its own product on Pinterest. Bloggers are early adopters of Pinterest, are comfortable trusting their "eye" when it comes to personal curation, and love to share their passions with a wide audience. Pinterest is turning out to be a great driver of traffic for bloggers, so most savvy bloggers are happy to spend time on the platform.
Watermark Your Image
Before finding a home on Pinterest, images sometimes lose their source information as they travel around the web. To better help your audience locate your product information, consider discretely watermarking photos that are used for social media promotion with the source website and/or product information.
Use Appealing Themes
Be seasonal. Pinterest reflects life. The week of January 22, the most popular pins included homemade valentine treats in with strawberry and chocolate in preparation for Valentine’s Day, exercise and health inspiration as part of New Year resolution behavior (bathing suit, healthy food recipes,) and gardening prep photos. Include human truths. Recognize human truths and find the humor in them. Themes that resonate on Pinterest: total looks, food, beauty, love, family, inspiration, organization, crafts, how-to, design, aspirational/dreams.
For more reading, see tomorrow's post in our 5 part Pinterest series -
Part III: Participating on Pinterest as a Brand Curator
Previous posts in our Everything Pinterest series include -
Part I: Just What is Pinterest Anyway?
Post by Bliss Hanlin, Community Manager at eModeration