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Pinterest Part III: Participating on Pinterest as a Brand Curator

Everything you ever wanted to know about Pinterest
(but were afraid to ask)

Update: We've distilled the Pinterest wisdom from this series of blog posts into one handy downloadable eBook. We hope it's useful.

 Pinterest's current population is made up of an interesting mix of designers, bloggers, moms, fashionistas, and early tech adopters.  As the site grows, so does the userbase.  Some brands are using currently using Pinterest, but with a new medium, there is a level of experimentation to even the most polished effort.  Below are tips on getting started with Pinterest as a brand curator. 

Participating on Pinterest as a Brand Curator

Getting Started
On Pinterest, full, rich content boards to better than sparse ones.  For brands, a steady feed of newly pinned or repinned content is better than one mad set-up dash and then a dusty account.  The one exception to the above is in claiming a brand address.  It is far better to claim an account for your brand’s name now, even if you have yet to identify if your brand is a good candidate for Pinterest participation, than to leave your brand’s name unclaimed and available for a potential or accidental brand-jacking.  (On Pinterest, "Time" and "Time_Magazine" produce decidedly different results.)

Show Your Lifestyle and your Brand Taste Aesthetic
Getting started on Pinterest can be a daunting task.  Pinterest designer and co-founder Evan Sharp sums it up: “For most consumer brands, the idea behind your brand makes sense on Pinterest.”  Whole Foods follows this advice particularly well.  Boards focused on gardening, recycling, and world charities add value and context to their brand.  West Elm is another company that makes use of this strategy, repinning user-sourced content to their own inspirational boards with titles like “Globalist” and “Chevron Stripes.”  Other Pinterest users “follow” West Elm once they discover they have been repinned and/or followed by the taste making brand.


Give Tutorials
Hobbiests, bakers, crafters, designers, and other "hands-on" driven people love to use Pinterest as a source book for making visually appealing projects.  Brands can leverage this desire by making short tutorials on the use of a product and presenting it either through a photo tutorial that is easily understandable when in pin form, a photo plus content that give clear how-to instructions (do-it-yourself, recipes, crafts,) or by making use of the ability to pin YouTube videos.

Use it as a Focus Group
Pinterest can be used as a focus group by watching what your followers pin, as well as watching what popular pins in your category or industry reflect about current trends.  Chobani watches repinned recipes as a source for possible test kitchen candidates.  Nordstrom watches for surges in popularity measured by direct engagement (pins and likes) for trends and styles.

Show Your Core Values
For a brand curator, creating different boards on Pinterest can help show the different sides of its personality and its core values.  Chobani uses this strategy effectively in its Pinterest boards, championing Chobani Moms on one board and inspiring fitness on another.  Cabot Cheese displays its core values in the subjects it curates – Farmer Pride, Vermont, and Cow themed boards receive equal attention to the food recipe and photography boards.

The Travel Channel shows Behind the Scenes photos,
pinned from
Show Your Behind the Scenes
Not all content needs to be repinnable to be worthwhile.  Some brands are finding value in using Pinterest as a visual diary, showing behind the scene photos and pictures of staff in a format that is personal and appealing.  Time Magazine uses a static board to show off a visually cohesive set of staff profile photos with short attached bios.  Tarte Cosmetics shows off staff photos and industry snaps on its “Tartelette Takes” pinboard.


Campaigns and Contests
Marketers are beginning to explore how Pinterest can be leveraged for limited-time campaigns and contests.  It is a slippery slope to navigate, as participants of Pinterest are suspicious of brands that engage for self-promotion.  Early adopter Land’s End saw success with its “Pin It to Win It” holiday campaign, as did Tarte Cosmetics with its “Pinning on the Glitz” sweepstakes.

Curate Your Own Content
While Pinterest frowns on self-promotion, some massive scale e-commerce retailers are natural fits for self-curation.  Using their e-commerce urls, both Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman curate their own content, taking their vast inventories and linking individual products into smaller themes like “Seventies” and “Glam” look books that put content together visually in away that is not possible on their shopping sites.

For more reading, see tomorrow's post in our five part Pinterest series -
Part IV:  Making the Most of Pinterest - Tips and Tricks

Previous posts in our Everything Pinterest series include -
Part II:  Optimizing Content For Pinterest

Part I:  Just What is Pinterest Anyway? 

Post by Bliss Hanlin, Community Manager at eModeration

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