Wednesday, April 18

Making Lures: Oooo Pinterest Is So Pretty

Do you remember Dory being hypnotized by a pretty little light in the animated film Finding Nemo by Disney? Or maybe you remember how much fun she had bouncing a squishy little jellyfish. Or maybe you remember how much fun they had swimming with a shark until its addiction to white meat kicked in.

Pinterest is filled with those moments. But it's not Pinterest you have to worry about. 

There aren't so many lures on Pinterest as there are lures off Pinterest — enough tips, tactics, and strategies to game the buzzed up social sharing network to fill an ocean. Learn to say no to them.

There is no such thing as a Pinterest strategy, let alone eight of them. And pitching doesn't have much to do with repinning other people's pins just to attract attention to a wall of marketing fodder on a network. In fact, the entire reciprocal push of other people's stuff so they will push yours is becoming passé. People see through it, mostly.

There are always those legal considerations too. Plopping every photo from your company on Pinterest is paramount to giving up any copyrights (which isn't so bad unless you're a photographer or those pics have monetary value). And that doesn't even account for accidental repinning infringements, with your company being much more interesting to any infringed party than a lone network participant.

But I don't really want to get too wrapped up in making a win-lose column about Pinterest as much as I want to offer up some common sense. When your communication strategy begins to become so benign that you count pins, repins, likes, and comments as your objective, what you're really saying is that you have nothing to offer. Do something different with Pinterest if you are going to use it. It's simple.

The best "strategy" for Pinterest is to use it like participants do. Don't try to game it for glory. 

The best online communication comes from natural interests that are designed with the company's intent in mind, not a means to grab up flash-in-the-pan attention. If anything, all those tactics tend to backfire.

• Review your organization's mission, vision, and values.
• Elevate your plan to see if the network augments anything.
• Consider relevant content you can share at the right time.
• Become a participant without any agenda other than quality.
• Work at being a beneficial presence not someone who benefits.

That's my list of five, but it might not make sense for anyone who hasn't seen it through to execution. Personally, I enjoy Pinterest but it doesn't fit this marcom slant beyond the occasional educational and psychological threads. So I don't develop sneaky ways to force it.

The platform is much more in sync with Liquid [Hip], a music, film, fashion, and travel review site. But even with relevant content, we didn't make a marketing channel to push anything. Instead, I integrate what other under-the-radar creative people find with our own. And mostly, they pin it before we do.

The idea is to make like-minded quality content indistinguishable to the content we create — which is precisely how people use networks without agendas. Most people pin to express something. Maybe you can too.

For example, if you have a parks and recreation department, maybe you could host a beautiful park photography board (with photographer permissions). If you are a tech company, maybe you can share like-minded innovations. If you are a restaurant, maybe you can highlight recipes that you have tried to make at home (along with some from your establishment). If you are a general contractor, maybe you can have a board that celebrates architecture or designers. And the list goes on...

There isn't any mystery to using Pinterest. The only mystery is how you can avoid the temptation to use it for anything other than the intent of the network. It isn't really about ROI as much as market position.

Specifically, you have to ask if you are one of them or just trying to use them. If it's the latter, skip the pinning and mind the "teaching" lures that promise marketing. Some lights have ugliness attached.
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