How To Rock Pinterest: Tips For Less Than Sexy Industries

Posted in Social Media

Pinterest has swept the social bookmarking scene by storm, with a pulsing community of over 10.4 million users. When visitors log into Pinterest, they’re presented with a nifty dashboard featuring recent pins of folks they follow. For many, that might mean pins about crafts, hobbies, interior design, and fashion. Speaks pretty accurately to the social bookmarking darling’s main demographics: About 80% of Pinterest users are women, and the most common age groups on Pinterest are people in college years (early 20s) up to about their mid-forties.

With demographics like these, Pinterest might not seem an obvious or ideal social channel for businesses across all industries, from online marketing to engineering, to hop into. When we mention Pinterest to a client, either B2B or B2C, some common soundbytes that come back are: “Our industry doesn’t have nice imagery that would draw attention,” or, “I work in accounting, what could I possibly pin that would be interesting to my online community?”

Straight up- we like Pinterest, and we really like what it has to offer companies creative enough to make it work for their industries, objectives, and audiences.

Let’s dig around a little bit in Pinterest, and check out some unassuming companies’ social presence therein. We’ll example their
Pin Pulse—  how well (or not so well…) they are leveraging the channel for their businesses. Are they on the right track, or trying to fit a square peg into a round hole? Keep reading for fun case studies and bonus helpful tips to the hopeful pinners out there 🙂 .

First up, a welding company:

Pin Pulse: RD Welding is ambitious… but if they want to rock Pinterest, they have a lot of work to do. A quick look at their page shows some issues that might make a potential client hit the back button immediately.

What We Can Learn: 

  • Keep up with your Pinterest account! Pinterest is free. And it’s rather simple to create an account. It’s the effort in maintaining your company’s Pinterest account that requires a serious commitment and daily or weekly time investment. We can’t tell you how many businesses we see that seem to have started an account and then abandoned ship with no activity for months!
  • Dress Your Best – Optimize Your Avatar. Your profile picture (avatar) should be formatted according to site specifications… not bleeding off the edges such as the example above. Pinterest recommends using an image size of 160×160 pixels. Pay attention!
  • Introduce Yourself! In your bio section, there’s space to write up to 200 characters about your company to give users a better idea of who you are. You can even add a link to your company website up there! Take advantage of the prime real estate!
  • Stay Reasonably Relevant. The company in this example has five boards, none of which have ANYTHING to do with the welding or fabricating industries. You don’t have to confine pinned content to the types of products or services you offer… but don’t stray too far from the stream. Keep in mind who your target audience members and customers are, and what kind of content they’d consume. Also… who is Bailey? She / he has her own board… um? Right. We know too much about her / his bedroom and not enough about RD Welding.

Long Story Short, if you are going to have a presence on Pinterest, you need to be willing to take the time to develop your account to stay visible within the Pinterest community. Take 10-15 minutes out of your day; make a routine out of it. Pin fresh content ans re-pin other pins that you might see relevant to your business.

Next, let’s examine two Dental companies on Pinterest, Dexter Dental and Smedley Dental:

Pin Pulse: Not bad! Pinned content is relevant but not boring (and not all about teeth). Dexter’s bio could use a little help. Overall – admirable approach.

What We Can Learn:

  • Humanize Your Brand. Think, what would your brand look like if it where human? What would your brand like to do in its free time? Try and come up with fun and image-rich content to post about your business on your website, and pin that content to drive potential customers back to the mothership. Repining and liking other Pinterest users’ content is important, too. Try to comment on a relevant pin and start a conversation with someone. Adding a little humor to your page is always a nice touch to engage visitors, too.
  • Show Off! These companies could consider posting testimonials and / or customer reviews for their Pinterest community. In a similar industry? Upload a video of a happy customer’s experience… let them show off their beautiful new smile and show off your good work at the same time.
  • Again, don’t forget to take advantage of the bio section as we learned earlier. Use the space you are given! Dexter Dental is doing a nice job, but their bio could use a little TLC.

Now, onto a Pinterest account for an accounting company:

Pin Pulse: Wave Accounting has the right idea! There is certainly a lot of room for improvement but overall a nice approach to humanize their brand. I especially like the Accounting Lolcats board 🙂 . What a fun way get people’s attention.

What We Can Learn:

  • Keep It Short & Simple: One tip for this company would be to keep in mind that for each pin board you only get around 23 characters for the board name. If your board name is too long it will get cut off… Neighbourhood Coffee an… and what!?

Next, let’s look at the American Red Cross nonprofit Pinterest account:

Pin Pulse: The American Red Cross has an awesome start to a Pinterest page. They have 326 followers, and have only pinned 32 things. The interest is clearly out there. Pump of the (pin) volume!

Posting historical and vintage photos are awesome and clever ideas. Having a board dedicated to nonprofit media is great for pinning articles and video all in one place. The information this organization wants people to see is easily and clearly displayed. Brava!


What We Can Learn:

  • Engage With Your Users. You receive an email update when someone engages your Pinterest account. If someone comments on a pin you posted or re-pinned, comment back!
  • Teach Something.  For the American Red Cross, posting videos to inform and teach others what is going on around the world is extremely important. This is an excellent idea to show people why they should get involved with this organization.
Lastly, Let’s take a peak at Cisco Systems:

Pin Pulse: Cisco’s pulse is healthy. They’re thinking outside of the box and creating awesome boards with pins that are visually rich in color and content.

What We Can Learn:

  • Show Them What You Are Up To! Using Pinterest to showcase a forum or conference is a fantastic way to hit a niche audience. Highlighting women in the workplace is a fantastic idea too, given Pinterest’s target audience are the ladies.
  • Showcase Your Team. Bring users to a company blog post that they have written. (Again – try to standardize these sections across case studies).
  • Attract New Employees. Why not use Pinterest for hiring new team members? Post job listings; feature your office and your current team members & their job titles.

Well that about does it  for the pin pulses today, we are beat! 😉 We hope you enjoyed this post and got some helpful takeaways. If you think outside of the box your business just might get the kind of exposure you hoped for!

  • James Chant

    Great article Megan

    It’s great that brands are increasingly exploring new opportunities. This is the beauty of Pinterest: where ‘unsexy’ brands such as welders would traditionally struggle to sell themselves visually, there are now ways to create and link to related images.

    I’m not sure what the rules are here of linking but I thought you might be interested in an article I put together a couple of months ago on content ‘unphotogenic’ brands could create for Pinterest. ( / pinterest-for-unphotogenic-brands/) Let me know what you think!

  • Megan Lichty

    Glad you dug the article, James! Thanks for sharing yours, we liked the approach you took – great tips!

  • Christa Watson

    This is great stuff especially for a lot of clients I currently have. Thanks for sharing! Now if only I can find someone with humor to man the boards… 😉

  • Megan Lichty

    Thanks for the kind words, Christa! I am glad that you found the info useful. 🙂

  • Kristiana Almeida

    Thanks so much for posting about the Red Cross’ boards! We were inspired to start adding more pins and boards as soon as we read this – thanks for the nudge/inspiration!

  • Megan Lichty

    Thanks for the comment, Kristiana! We’ve enjoyed following along with the Red Cross’ online presence. We’re curious – what are some challenges your organization has faced with social media?

  • Kristiana Almeida

    I would say that having such a small team to cover so many platforms has been one of our struggles. We’re currently developing a “guest pinner” program for our Pinterest account so that some of our chapter representatives can contribute (and reduce a little of our load).

    We also want to make sure we’re providing as much useful information and training to our more than 280+ social active chapters because their success is really the foundation of our success.

  • Megan Lichty

    Kristiana, The more pinners the merrier. 🙂 Great Idea. It’s always a challenge to run a distributed social system, where there is a centralized “Corporate” presence while leaving franchise-like discretion to satellites. In your case that’s chapters. Thanks for taking time to lend perspective to our readers!

  • Lisa Niver Rajna

    Thanks for the great tips! I am going to recommend your article to all my social media consulting clients. Thanks for having the 160 x 160 avatar info. Lisa

    “Your profile picture (avatar) should be formatted according to site specifications… not bleeding off the edges such as the example above. Pinterest recommends using an image size of 160×160 pixels. Pay attention!”

  • Steven J Fromm

    Very nice post here Megan. I got a lot out of this article. For a law firm it is nor really easy to pull off a Pinterest presence so this was quite helpful. Thanks very much.