Ask any travel fan, bride-to-be, home cook or mom what social network they spend the most time on and you might be surprised to find it is not Twitter, Facebook or YouTube, but rather the image-based discovery site, Pinterest.
What is Pinterest? Considered an aspirational social network, Pinterest is a website that allows users to upload and share a wide range of web-hosted images, sorted by categories or boards. Users “pin” images they find on the web to “boards,” which the user has organized by theme. For users and publishers alike, this is a highly utilized social network, with a heavy emphasis on content discovery and sharing. What makes Pinterest so successful is that the pinned images include links back to hosting websites, allowing interested parties to click through to the original website for additional action.
This week, Pinterest revamped how they present pinned articles. Previously, one could pin an article, and the image would appear but the pin would be missing necessary information to make the pin relevant and compelling for search and discovery. But no longer! This week, Pinterest released its new article pinning service. Now, when a user pins an article, additional information such as the headline, author, story description and article link appears. This is highly beneficial for both the pinner and the reader. For the reader, this provides clearer context of the pin, and for the pinner, it is a perfect way to bookmark a great read.
Pinning articles was a natural next step for Pinterest. With more than 5M articles pinned every day, this new feature provides a better experience for those interested in pinning news as well as those discovering them. And it is a boon for publishers as well. As YieldBot notes from its recent publisher referral traffic survey, Pinterest (85%) dramatically outweighs Facebook (8.3%), Twitter (0.5%), Tumblr (0.1%) and more for desktop inbound referral traffic. Imagine if you could increase the inbound traffic from your social shares by 80% simply by using a new platform!
So how should public relations professionals implement Pinterest’s latest tool? First, download the new pin tool and add it to your company website’s existing social sharing buttons. This will allow site visitors to pin your news releases, images, articles and content to their own boards, kicking off viral sharing.
Next? Make sure your website images are tagged properly to help you be found within Pinterest’s own search engine. This, too, is easy, it just requires a slight adjustment to your image tags.
From here, the rest is about context. Pinterest is an image-based social network so of course, you must have image-based content. Then ask yourself, who is this image relevant to? Technologists? Scientists? Brides? Cowboys? Search Pinterest and determine the level of interest by its members for your type of news or product and pay attention to the terms being used by your audience. Every brand has brand fans, and every brand has a fan on Pinterest. The trick for reaching and being found by these fans is in images you share, the name of your boards and the caption you create. Consider creating highly niche boards to reach highly specific audiences, and more general boards when featuring industry specific industries. Looking for other ideas on how to maximize your Pinterest presence? We love this piece by Gini Dietrich, “16 ways to use Pinterest for PR.”
So where is Pinterest going next? While it is still too soon to know, this new service will allow Pinterest to track article uploads and reads to build out its own internal user “interest graph” data set providing additional customization and monetization options down the road.
What do you think about this new Pinterest feature? Do you plan on implementing it on your sites? If you are using it now, what do you think? We would love to hear how you are using this tool to increase the overall awareness of, and click through traffic to, your company, products or news.