The hype on the street is Pinterest, the "online pinboard" that lets users easily "Pin" images/videos they like on "Boards" they've created. Brides, for example, love Pinterest for keeping track of wedding-day inspirations and ideas! As other eager brides "Repin" their images, content spreads fast.

Constance Aguilar of Abbi Public Relations compiled a list of five ways brands can use this visually stunning channel to boost customer engagement. Read the piece for illustrations, but here's a summary.

Contests. Use Pinterest to host contests for "best Board" or give away prizes for the most "Repins" on a topic (topics can be open to "Pins" from others, or a selected few).

Product approval. Find out how people feel about a new product's look, well before launch. Track the number of times your photos are repinned, and what comments users add to the stream. "Think of it as a social media focus group," Constance writes.

Showcasing your personality. Use photos to showcase your brand's personality. Magazines can post past and present photos to share places they've covered. Local politicians can start a "Board" highlighting their community work. In the description, link your pin to the original story; descriptions often get repinned along with images.

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