The Dos and Don’ts of Pinterest for Marketing

By now, we feel safe in saying that Pinterest is here to stay. If you’ve decided that Pinterest is the next step for your business, you may be confused about where to begin – after all, the site is still relatively new, especially for marketers. However, there are a few distinct dos and don’ts of the platform that you should be aware of before you sign up for an account.

Do make separate boards.

Since Pinterest lets you make individual boards for various topics, it behooves you to take advantage of this functionality. Often, those new to the site forget about this very basic function, and instead pin all of their photos to the same board – which isn’t the biggest “don’t” on the Internet by a long shot, but is definitely a huge don’t when it comes to Pinterest.

pinterest marketing

For example, the Kate Spade New York Pinterest account makes use of this organization to differentiate their fashion pinboard from their travel pinboard, which are both distinct from a third miscellaneous board – all with names branded to match the company’s marketing.

Don’t forget who you’re targeting.

As of January 2012, Pinterest’s user base was still roughly 75 percent female, mostly falling between the ages of 25 and 54. Most social media sites aren’t this heavily skewed to one gender, which means you’ll probably need to adjust your marketing messaging (unless you’re already targeting that particular demographic). That’s not to say that you can’t use Pinterest to reach men, as they do make up a quarter of the site’s user base – but you’re much more likely to see success if you adjust your messaging to match the overwhelming majority of the audience.

Don’t get too pin-happy.

Just as your Twitter followers don’t want to see 15 Tweets from you in an hour, your Pinterest followers don’t want to deal with the clutter you create when you pin one photo a minute, every minute, for the entire day. Use your good judgment, and pin in such a way that you won’t completely overwhelm people into unfollowing your boards.

Do crowdsource.

One of the unique features of Pinterest (well, aside from the entire pinboard concept), is the fact that it allows for pinboards with multiple contributors. Some brands have been taking advantage of this to involve influencers and fans in the content curation process. For example, Whole Foods uses multiple contributors on almost all of their boards.

pinterest multiple contributors

The little icon next to the number of pins on each board indicates that these allow group contributors, as opposed to solely deriving from the Whole Foods account.

Crowdsourcing can also take the form of asking customers to pin photos of themselves using your product in creative ways — a tactic often used by Pinterest marketers in the food and beauty industries, occasionally integrated into contests and giveaways. However, you will want to proceed with caution if considering this tactic.

The Pinterest Acceptable Use Policy draws a very precise line between marketing activities and spamming – you’ll want to familiarize yourself with these rules before launching any form of Pinterest marketing strategy. 

Have you successfully integrated Pinterest into your marketing strategy? Leave us a comment and tell us about it!

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  • sharoninavolvo

    Synchronicity at work here–First Friday we had our Social Media Breakfast Lafayette meetup at America’s Coffeehouse & the subject: Pinterest w/Firefly rep Mallory giving us our Pinterest Prezi & I’m taking note reading this post that we didn’t talk about Crowdsourcing, so good to know that can be done as well, thank you Marketing Zen?!
    Am looking forward to the next TX Conf for Women in Austin, TX this year – didn’t check if Shama is speaking again, am guessing Pinterest will be added to the discussions?!

  • searchgonzo

    We just with soft launched our website and Pinterest was on my mind all the time even before we launched. It’s just such a great site for sharing content and get a bigger audience.
    So it was a natural decision to start creating boards from the day one. Specially since searchgonzo is a very visual website and we made pinning easy by integrating a pin it button to all the pictures.
    I also share some pins on tweeter and facebook.
    But I didn’t try crowdsourcing yet.

  • Marie

    This is awesome, but I think I’m just going to keep pintrest as fun…purely things that I enjoy. If others enjoy them… great. if not… thats ok too.

  • PrimeOutsourcing

    The moment I started using Pinterest, I can’t let go of my pc.. I’ve been browsing for hours and I am definitely enjoying it! And it is really effective for marketing too, because I became a consumer also on some sites in Pinterest, which I was so hooked and looked for more valuable sites afterwards. :)