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Three things you're doing wrong on Pinterest

D Custom, a content marketing agency, discusses how brands are using social media network Pinterest incorrectly

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The marketing world is in love with Pinterest, but for me the bloom is starting to come off the rose. Not because I think it’s a bad service—I’m a bit of a Pinterest addict—but because companies are missing the point. Marketers are trying to fit Pinterest into their social media strategies, and they’re doing it all wrong.

They’re creating noise.

Some companies are so eager to get their foothold in this new social media territory that they are filling Pinterest with what I’d classify as noise, even spam. When I saw a furniture store pinning their own ad circulars, I knew things were officially out of hand. As Pinterest rises in popularity, it’s only going to get worse.

A “best practice” for Pinterest black belts (per Copyblogger) is to create contests for pinners that encourage them to pin images from your site. Apartments.com is currently running such a contest, asking users to pin their favorite apartments from the site in the Home Décor category for a chance to win $100. This runs the risk of the Home Décor category filling up with images of generic apartment buildings and edging out actual unique content. If the contest were based on highly visual home décor examples or DIY content from Apartments.com’s site, it could be an excellent engagement strategy. It may seem like a great marketing idea, but the contest as-is feels like noise for noise’s sake. That kind of thing can turn a potential customer off quickly. Social media users are savvy and they aren’t afraid to share opinions with their wide networks. Do you want to be the brand polluting their channel?

Their content isn’t Pinterest-appropriate.

We’ve talked about it before—content needs to be appropriate for its channel. Apartments.com is a great example because the point of the contest doesn’t really fit the point of Pinterest. The images they’re encouraging users to pin have limited value to be repinned because they aren’t very memorable or inspirational, and they are meant to do nothing more than promote rental properties. The images pinned don’t tie to any content. Therefore, the pins won’t gain traction across Pinterest and guide people back to Apartments.com’s site for more useful information.

Apartments.com is missing out on an opportunity to use Pinterest to further establish themselves as a resource for content on apartment living, decorating, moving, housekeeping, and more. They have a blog and many articles on their site—with the right strategy in place, they could be a source for content that is truly engaging and Pinterest-worthy. (Hey, Apartments.com, I have a few ideas…let’s talk.) Don’t waste your time (or the time of Pinterest’s users) on gimmicks just because it’s the popular marketing tactic of the week.

They’re not linking correctly.

It’s so irritating to see a great product on Pinterest and not be able to click through to the page where it can be purchased. Isn’t that sales 101? “Pinning etiquette” dictates that a pin should link directly to the original source, such as an article, blog post, or product page. If you are promoting your company’s goods and services through Pinterest, make it easy for customers to get to that product or service on your website. If I have to spend time looking for the product you highlighted or the specific blog post you shared, I lose interest.

As Pinterest grows and marketers start to try and shoehorn it into their social media strategies, I’m afraid that the service will get so cluttered with promotions that there won’t be any room for it to be used as it was originally intended. Please, marketers—if you can’t use it correctly, stay away from Pinterest.


5 Responses to “Three things you’re doing wrong on Pinterest”

  • Kerry, commented on

    Hi Jessica,

    Thank you for your thoughts on our Pin A Pad Contest. The idea is to give people the opportunity to share their apartment search with their friends in a really visual way. I would highly encourage people to use the board they create for our contest for all things that inspire their apartment living style, but the foundation of that is the apartment community. I hope that people enjoy our contest and searching our site to find their favorite apartments, and then build on it from there. Have a great day and thanks again for the post!

    Kerry

    • Jessica Fritsche, commented on

      Hi Kerry,

      Thanks so much for your comment. I think that Apartments.com has a lot to offer…you’re doing a great job generating content on your blog and site. I get where you were coming from on the Pin a Pad contest, but I still feel like there are better, more channel appropriate ways you could be using Pinterest to really promote your expertise as a company on all things apartment and living related. I’d love to be able to help you with that, so feel free to reach out to me at jessica.fritsche@dcustom.com.

      Thanks again for taking the time to connect with us. Keep up the good work.

      Best,
      Jessica

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