It seems like everyone – brands and consumers alike – is on Pinterest. Information about how to use the platform for business is kind of thin, so we thought we’d offer a few pointers to those thinking about adding it to their company’s social media arsenal.

Pinterest Do’s:

  • Make sure your website (full of images you hope site visitors will pin to their Pinterest boards) features plenty of high-quality photos. Technically speaking, photos should be sized for web use (JPG files, 30-50kb) and conform to good SEO practices (file name and alt tag relating to the keywords your brand targets). On the composition front, only the most visually interesting photos rule Pinterest. Color, contrast, texture, lighting, and dramatic effect all weigh in. Take care of these things, and you’re taking care of the home front. While showing off (pinning) your own stuff should make up no more than one-third of your total pins, a website ripe for others to pin from is just plain smart.
  • If your brand believes Pinterest is a strong strategic platform (uh, that’s why you secured a user name, right?), then you can’t sit back all Field-Of-Dreams like. Use Pinterest’s handy sharing buttons on your website (just the way you include the Twitter and Facebook ones now) to let visitors know they can find your brand. Write a blog post explaining the choice and ways you hope it’s useful for customers. Sprinkle in a few tweets announcing “We’re now on Pinterest – find us at XYZ handle.” Spread the word in low-key ways and let your good pins speak for themselves.
  • Consumers today long for multi-dimensional experiences with the products and services they buy. So increase customer intimacy by showing them more about what makes your brand unique and worthwhile. Part of the buying process involves personal alignment with what the brand stands for. How it treats people (employees, customers, communities it operates in). So show another dimension to your brand by using Pinterest to highlight the personal lives of employees, the quirky, morale-building internal event, or your product in use in real customer situations.


Pinterest logo

Pinterest Don’ts:

  • As with any social platform, participation should not be centered wholly around your brand. This is especially true on Pinterest (the company even has a code of conduct). Instead, create boards with pins that relate to the needs your customers may have. For example, a specialty foods store might include a board with pinned photos of recipies, another about interesting, niche, or vintage utensils and cookware, or a board centered around creating gift food baskets.
  • Repeating myself – as with any social platform, Pinterest isn’t magic pixie dust. Your brand will not suddenly gain huge share overnight. The Facebook fan page won’t spontaneously combust by all the many new people anxious to “connect” with your brand in every platform imaginable.
  • And don’t repeat yourself. Meaning, do not (can I emphasize that?) auto-post your pins to your brand’s Facebook stream. “But won’t that steer our Facebook fans to our Pinterest page? Wouldn’t that be good?” you might ask. Quite the opposite, in fact. Auto-pinning is akin to spam. And while cross-promoting content across online networks (along with reformulating the content to appeal to varied consumption preferences) is generally a good idea, it works best when the user (your brand) modifies the message (be it tweet, status update, etc.) to fit the platform. It’s much more acceptable on Twitter, for instance, to abbreviate and condense text due to the character limitation. The style/tone of Facebook messages is generally casual. I think Pinterest comments call for even greater intimacy because pin-worthy items evoke more emotion from users.

Is your brand on Pinterest? What’s been your experience? Have you seen good examples of brands using it in superb ways?