Yesterday I was invited to talk Pinterest for PR at the Public Relations Association of Louisiana in New Orleans.

When Abbie Fink asked me how it went, I said, “It’s really fun talking Pinterest with 30 PR girls (and three guys).”

Because, as we all know, I LOVE PINTEREST!

Rather than talk to the room from slides, I had written down 16 ways to use Pinterest for PR and I walked around the room asking for examples for each.

I began the discussion by reminding everyone that using Pinterest is not a strategy. So I remind you of the same. These are fun ideas for using Pinterest at work (and feeding the addiction), but they should be used as part of a larger marketing or communication strategy.

I now give you those 16 tips.

  1. Think visually first. Duh. It’s a site full of images. So, while I really do love Pinterest, if you can’t tell your story visually, it’s not the right place for you to spend time. An example we discussed yesterday is the Department of Transportation. While the group did come up with a few ideas their communication pro could use, all-in-all there isn’t much exciting about photos of asphalt.
  2. No blatant promotion. We like to see a nice balance between your own boards and boards that highlight others. For instance, for our client Frank and Eileen, we have boards for their women’s and men’s shirts, but we also have inspiration boards.
  3. Provide visual customer stories. We’re storytellers, which means we also need to know how to tell our story visually. The Chicago Bears do a nice job of this because they not only give you things to buy (clothes, merchandise), they tell a story of their history through photos.
  4. Pin interesting things happening in your industry. And also invite others to contribute to that board. I am a contributor to a social media board and also to Meta Pinterest – Insights & Resources. This allows you to keep up on trends, statistics, and resources without doing all of the work yourself.
  5. Think about your events, publicity stunts, and news conferences. About 10 years ago, I was in New Orleans for the first time. We were launching Over ‘n Out Fire Ant Killer. In order to tell a story and drive interest from TV stations, we created a New Orleans style funeral, complete with a singing minister and mourners, for the fire ant. I did a search and found some images so I may still pin them…10 years later!
  6. You can pin videos. Most people do not know this, but you can pin videos. I started a Facebook question of the week board, just to see what would happen to views if I did. Turns out, a good number of people (in the top 10) come to our YouTube channel from Pinterest.
  7. Put the “pin it” button on all of your web properties. I need to take this advice myself. I use Chrome so I have the “pin it” bookmarklet in my toolbar. Because it’s so easily accessible for me, I forget not everyone has the same. Just do it.
  8. Articles, stories, and blog posts. Even though it’s a little bit self-serving, pinning articles, stories, and blog posts about your company also helps out the person who wrote it. You get to highlight some of the stuff others are saying about you and they get the benefit of increased traffic. Whole Foods does a nice job with this with their Favorite Books board.
  9. Ask employees to create boards. Just like you want employees involved in your other social networks, ask them to create boards on the business page that showcase their talents, hobbies, and families (if they’re so inclined). Just make sure you have a couple of sentences in your social media policy about what’s cool and what’s not on Pinterest.
  10. Blogs and websites you admire. I’m going to use Frank and Eileen as the example here again because I think my team does a nice job with this. They’ve pinned bloggers they love, based on the industry. So, for instance, they don’t have technology or social media bloggers pinned. They’ve pinned only fashion and clothing bloggers.
  11. Best practices. I do this for my speaking engagements. Anytime I read something, or hear someone speak, and think, “Ah ha! I need to include that in a presentation,” I pin it. You can do the same for best practices you’d like to incorporate into your business world.
  12. Key journalist’s stuff. This really goes hand-in-hand with tips eight and 10, but you can separate bloggers from journalists. The nice thing about pinning the work the reporters in your industry do, they can see who is driving traffic to their sites and so begins a relationship.
  13. Trade shows and conferences. Just back from Counselor’s Academy, Martin Waxman introduced Sharypic to the group, which is a photo sharing site for conferences. I’d like to see a mash-up of Sharypic and Pinterest for PR pros. The conference will use Sharypic to combine all of the photos everyone at the conference tweets and you’ll pin the ones important to your boards.
  14. Change descriptions with SEO in mind. This one drives me crazy. How often do you see a photo on Pinterest with the caption, “This is so cool!” What the heck is it?! People don’t search, “This is so cool!” They search, “Extra kitchen storage.” It’s easy to change the description. Make sure you do it so what you’re pinning is easily found.
  15. Make sure links work. There is nothing more frustrating (on Pinterest, at least) than clicking on an image to buy it or a to make it and not finding the URL that has more information. If you’re pinning things that are going to drive back to your website or blog, make sure the links work!
  16. MEASURE your efforts. It wouldn’t be a Spin Sucks blog post without measurement, now would it? One more example out of Frank and Eileen, because I have easy access to their analytics. In April, Pinterest was their number eight driver of traffic, which represents three percent new visitors. Of that three percent, 83 percent bought a shirt, representing $2,670 in revenue. Not too shabby for a few images on a cool new social network!

So there you have it. A nice big list of things you can do on Pinterest.

What else would you add?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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