I have a small confession to make before I fully write this blog post. Even though I am a public relations blogger, I am not female. Why is this significant? Well, because 73 percent of the members of the Public Relations Society of America are women. Similarly, the population of Pinterest is equally divided. Forbes reports that the estimates range from 72% to a staggering 97% of its user base has been reported as female. So should men use Pinterest? Should this fact dissuade male practitioners from becoming involved in Pinterest?
Of course not!
Just like all public relations communications, make sure you know your audience. Are you marketing something that is useful to a population which is overwhelmingly female? Or would you be better served staying with Facebook or Twitter? If you are trying to promote sales of your company’s new fishing rods, then it might be best to look elsewhere (not that there are no women that fish, but it is much more likely that more men prefer the activity to women). However, if you’re promoting something relating to health, well-being, fashion, creative crafting, or a slew of other areas that can will interest women, there is no better market than Pinterest.
Here are some simple guidelines:
- Pinterest is the exact opposite of writing for radio. You absolutely must think visually for your campaign to be effective. High color, high interest, unusual, shocking photos will draw more attention than just posting your boring logo up. A great guideline is to ask people unrelated to your company (particularly if they use Pinterest) if their immediate reaction to the visual is something like, “Oh! That’s really cute!” or “That is useful/interesting!” or even better, “I totally have to try that!”
- Do not only self promote. Pinterest is unusual to most male practitioners because we want to instinctively use social media to meet our own interests and ends. However, by making sure you promote other individuals on Pinterest as well, you build a sense of community and belonging. If you only self promote, you’re going to be looked down upon.
- Promote your industry! This is closely related to number 2. If you are in charge of public relations at a mall, pin a few interesting things about why shopping at a mall is much more beneficial than going to just a big box store (unless such a store is an anchor for your mall of course). Even if you don’t promote your mall/business by name, you’re promoting your industry which creates positive positioning.
- Just like the “post to Facebook,” or “tweet this,” buttons, add “pin-it” buttons to your blog posts and online activities/campaigns. If you do it frequently enough, there is a good chance you’ll generate some organic Pinterest interest.
- Make sure you post on multiple subjects! If you’re marketing a bridal company, dedicate boards to fitness (brides have got to look good), general fashion (brides wear other clothes besides white dresses right?), favorite recipes (hey! A girl has got to eat!)
Be cautious however! The world of Pinterest is not without its pitfalls:
- If you re-pin something, make sure you check the source/back story of it. You do not want to look foolish later.
- Be active! This is the warning I like to give out to any social media specialist. If you start using a new venue, you have to keep up with it. Otherwise, months down the road, someone might find your page and think you are inattentive, which damages your credibility.
- Time your pins properly! Do not post a huge amount of pins all at once. Space them out. There is no quicker way to get unfollowed, unfriended, or otherwise ignored besides spamming peoples’ walls, pin-boards, or twitter feeds.
- Be social! Like I said before, like and promote the work of others. Thank people when they re-pin your work. Follow other interesting users. Try following users back. They will like that!
Bonus Article: 9 Businesses Using Pinterest Contests