Pinterest Success = Channeling Your Inner Tween

At the height of my tween-hood, circa 1991, I had a poster of hunky, 90210 boy-next-door protagonist Jason Priestley plastered on my wall.  I used to rip out pages from Tiger Beat magazine and decorate the inside of my locker with pictures of him, along with images of other unattainable heartthrobs. Taped next to them were cut-outs of “super rad” clothes and “totally hot” accessories from issues of Seventeen magazine absconded from my best friend’s older sister.

Much like the trauma of long division, I thought these formative experiences would be forever left to elementary school nostalgia. I was wrong.  Recalling these embarrassing, but ubiquitous, rites of passage have become relevant to my career in PR and a personal lens in which to better understand the motivations of social media users and consumers.  I have once again found myself compulsively collecting images of super rad and often unattainable things, and stashing them in a virtual locker –this time turned inside-out and publicly searchable.

Enter Pinterest.

Hi, I’m Serene. I’m a Pinterholic. It’s been 3 hours since my last Pin.

As the breakout digital ingénue of 2012 and People’s Voice Webby Award Winner, Pinterest is officially the third most popular social network behind Facebook and Twitter. In pop high school speak, this makes Pinterest the Zac Efron of social media sites – a seemingly flawless transfer student with full hair, a winning smile, a high GPA and an affable personality.  The type of guy you bring home to Mom with a potential for greatness and great usefulness – rendering its largely female user base smitten.

With an endearing, almost underdog penchant for the simple things in life – food, shelter and personal style – Pinterest’s colossal trajectory is best attributed to one thing: Really Pretty Pictures.

From a Brand PR perspective, there couldn’t be a more exciting new platform to tell a story and, in essence, flirt with your audience.  According to third party data by RJ Metrics reported by Mashable, 17.2% of all pinboards are categorized under Home, followed by Arts and Crafts (12.4%), Style/Fashion (11.7%), Food (10.5%) and Inspiration/Education (9.0%). Food is the fastest growing category.  If your brand doesn’t easily fit into any of these categories, not to worry, you can still have a presence on Pinterest and inspire content-hungry pinners.

Once upon a time, visual branding used to just mean consistent use of color schematics, logos, fonts and pictorials. With Pinterest now in the influencer mix, co-founder and designer Evan Sharp said it best: “…It’s the idea behind your brand that makes the most sense on Pinterest.”

To develop your own brand presence in an authentic way, I suggest channeling your inner tween; start pinning with passion and let the following questions guide you in devising your pin boards:

  • How does your brand improve lives? Craft pin boards around themes which reiterate your brand’s value propositions, keeping the popular categories in mind. Strive for the aspirational­ things to do, see, hear, experience and explore.
  • If your brand was a person, what would he or she be inspired by? What media would she consume, what type of people would s/he seek to surround him/herself with? Follow and repin. Check out which sites the pins are leading back to as well.
  • When sharing your own content, post it proudly. A picture is worth a thousand words. Following that logic, a Pinterest account – with various boards –  is worth a billion. Have fun with board names, don’t be afraid to pin content under more than one board, if relevant, and attach $$ sign banners to help with click-through rates.
  • Like any tween, observe the older kids and explore new horizons.  Brands like Whole Foods and Real Simple were early adopters of this platform, so take note. Explore categories under the “Everything” tab, not just who you follow. You may be surprised at what comes up which brilliantly captures your brand values for added visual context.

In the meantime, you’ll find me pinning away, seven-days-a-week, for work and for play, tween-flag a flying.

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