The latest craze to hit social media is the visual bookmarking platform Pinterest.  For those of you not familiar with the site, the network is built on recommendations.  Members create and name boards anything they like and “pin” (aka “save”) relevant photos on corresponding boards.  The pin board-type feed allows users to follow one another based on interests and Pinterest’s 32 general categories (home design, DIY, etc.).  Beyond personal addiction, Pinterest is a great platform and opportunity for brands to capitalize on, even for those that aren’t immediately obvious.   Interested? Here are five ways brands can jump on the Pinterest bandwagon to gain awareness for their product or service. 

1. Connect with contests.

Brands can create contests on Pinterest similar to Facebook or Twitter.  For example, fashion companies could ask users to post photos of the best outfits they put together from pictures on Pinterest.  Implementing these types of creative contests can help connect your audience and build buzz about your brand.

2. Get the 411 on a new product or idea.

Pinterest’s ability to comment on pins makes it an ideal platform to launch a new product and read any feedback. Not only can brand managers monitor how many repins a photo gets, they can also review what types of comments and thoughts the product/picture/idea creates.  Users may even make suggestions that the company can then consider for future products. 

3. Share your brand’s story and personality through your ‘pins.’

Although Pinterest is a primarily visual site, companies that don’t necessarily have product lines to show off can still utilize the site to communicate a brand’s personality.  For instance, a nonprofit could post photos of any fundraising or community events showing their community outreach.  Each pin also allows for a link to the original story, directing the user to the organization’s website. This is a great, interactive and unique way to share your story!

 4. Use ‘pins’ to connect visually with your audience.

Companies can use Pinterest to visually organize areas of focus for the public to view.  This also allows for other businesses to view similar work and share effective strategies across this network, making Pinterest a good B2B community. 

 5. Feature your supporters!

Brands can create pins and boards that feature customers’ product interpretations, and then showcase them to the rest of the Pinterest community.  For example, a clothing company could highlight a shopper’s outfit ensemble purchases through the retailer.  This allows the shopper to feel special (almost celebrity-like!) and creates content that keeps users constantly involved. 

Pinterest has huge potential for brands to interact with their audiences and to visually entice potential customers or supporters.  Using the visual platform, companies can create quite a buzz around products and services.  Some brands that have successfully harnessed the power of Pinterest include Whole Foods, Better Homes & Gardens, Today Show, and Travel Channel—check them out and see how your brand can benefit from their strategies!