From the FotoPlayground in Portland, OR

How can you use Pinterest for your brand.

Do you remember when Pinterest first started and some artists were up in arms that people were pinning their ART, their PRODUCT if they were a photographer? Really? If you pin it, it links back to their sites! If the image is out there without a watermark, anyone can find it. We are glad they all thought it through a bit more.

This week we participated in a Hangout On Air hosted by Mark Vang. The topic was using Pinterest effectively.

Here is the video replay:

Time to Prep BEFORE Pin.

Image Tips

Have a stockpile of Royalty Free images, or ability to take your own images to insert in all posts.

When you have your folder of images, HEARTILY consider watermarking each one (sample) to brand the image with your URL, at the least and usually your mark/company name. If people repin and re-repin, etc. at least it will always bare your branding.

Just because you find images when you search Google for your topic – it doesn’t mean you can download and insert them into your posts, really – “they” will find you and BILL YOU for using their protected images you “found.”

When you have your images – rename them to something more descriptive, and with your brand name or a keyword – remember NO SPACES, only underscore, hyphens and all lowercase.

123499994589.jpg becomes: target-customers-with-seo.jpg (even if you rename your “found” image, it won’t hide it from the photo police – there are bytes of hidden info in each licensed image that they search for).

Time to insert your renamed, branded/watermarked image.

Be sure to fill in all of the fields if you use a CMS like WordPress. Title, Alt Description, Name. Make sure it is descriptive, but not too lengthy. This is for PINNING and search engines. Does your image link to something? In WP, media can have it’s own post with a lot more SEO goodies and descriptions in there. Have it either link to the post you are inserting it into unless you put a nice long description in the media post. It is another opportunity. Create a link in the media post to the original post….

But, we are getting off track a bit – this is about PINTEREST. What you need to realize is that there is a lot of logic and new habits you need to gain to pin and be pinned effectively.

There are four major browsers: IE, Safari, Firefox and Chrome.

They each have different “Pin this” types of add-ons.

In order to come up with your ideal formula, you need to get the add-ons for each browser – there may be more than one – test them. See what happens when you go to your site post with your new spiffy images. Can you pin videos? That’s a MUST.

What is it pulling and pre-populating the pin window with? Alt tag? Title? Image name? Do you like it? Make sure you do because people are basically lazy and won’t add a lot in their pin window other than, “Oooo, I like this!” “OHHH I want this!” “Great ideas…” That doesn’t help much.

Pinning (posting) tips

Be the first to pin your ‘stuff’ whenever possible.

If you beat them to the punch and pin your items – staggering of course with pins to other sites that you like, use, inspire you – YOU have control of the initial view of the pin.

Pinterest sample pins with short and long descriptions

YOU can create those first few GRABBER lines that make people want to click to view the FULL image and then click through to your site. We have 500 characters TOTAL. Very few people use those up. You CAN, You SHOULD. Remember, it takes two clicks to get your site. Scroll through the pin feed and you’ll see endless missed opportunities for branding, enticing descriptions to assist in pushing pins to the top of the search results for specific terms.

Invite others to post to your boards on Pinterest

Another way to help populate important but possibly neglected boards is to invite others to participate in your boards to expand the interest, the distribution and tone.

Think of these folks as your topic ambassadors.

Many of you have BRAND ambassadors within your company. Make sure they understand how to use Pinterest effectively. It’s kind of like hashtags – Gary Vanynerchuk talks about RIDING the hashtag rather than creating it. When you name your boards, you are creating your “slug” or link: http://pinterest.com/youraccount/your-board-name – Creating names that no one will understand except your best friend isn’t very useful.

When you create your original content, go back after you have your pin created and add a footnote to cross promote – link to the pin, “If you liked this post, you may want to follow my Blah Blah board on Pinterest (with link)” or “this post is pinned on this board….”.

Peg Fitzpatrick effectively  links to pins on g+ in her general posting practice.

Promote your boards – not just your pins.

Consider setting up feeds to populate portions of your website. Great way to have dynamic mini visual sitemaps. WordPress has dozens of Pinterest widgets. Read all NOTES and TEST before committing. They vary a lot in effectiveness, stability and logic.

You’ve probably heard the 75/25, 60/40, 80/20 rules? No? That means when you Tweet, post to G+, Pin – be sure to give something that is NOT self-serving to your audience. If you know it’s a board that talks about recipes, don’t just post your own, help them find GREAT recipes. How about restaurants? Why not recommend them regionally – based on the ones that are great for meetings and corporate events? Be of service, be OF COMMUNITY, then you can toot your own horn and link back to your own stuff after your goodwill mission for the week is done..

Be sure to have GREAT images – or at least head-snapping images that put a smile on their face or wince in their eyes. They won’t share it if it doesn’t get under their skin – good or bad. Has to be relatable.

Did you know:

Pinterest Analytics or use Pin Alerts

If someone only follows ONE of your boards, they are added to the overall count of followers? If the number of followers is important to you, rather than the quality, this is VERY good news.

There are anayltics on Pinterest? Check them out.

Analytics within Pinterest is handy, but to really max out your insights and pinner pattern knowledge, consider getting a free account with Pin Alerts. This is similar to Google Alerts – you could even track a  competitor’s domain to see the type of content of theirs people are pinning – if any.

Know that not all browser add-on for Pinning allow you to pin videos.

For that reason, you should always have a STILL show in every post – make sure it is large enough and interesting enough to be seen. If you have a video post, insert a LARGE image and size it down. That way, when you pin it, it will display LARGE rather than a tiny side image and create more interest.

You have a FEED for each board you can utilize in other venues? That’s why your board names are so important.

The wind-up — and the Pin!

You and/or your clients all need to have a photo budget for unique graphics or royalty free photos to post a image or graphic FOR EVERY POST AND PAGE!

Don’t fall victim to neglected boards (I’m guilty of this).

Discipline your social media each week for tweets, pins, posts, follows, shares, commenting. It all takes time, but with careful planning, it can be done efficiently and effectively.

Royalty Free sites offer a variety of plans.

If you are ramped up one month, but a monthly subscription to Veer.com, istockphoto.com (which is now owned by Getting and has become istock.com), 123rf.com. Get a pile of images. You can also initially create topic lightboxes of some you may want to buy another month or two down the road. When you are ready to purchase, download them then RENAME and BRAND IT, BRAND IT, BRAND IT.

Please realize Getty and the like have thousands of low-wage folks around the globe hunting for misuse, stolen images and they will hunt you DOWN and bill you! If your clients provide images for posts – ASK THEM IN AN EMAIL if they have the rights to use these images on their site to cover yourself. NEVER assume. Stealing is the same everywhere. There is no gray area.

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Comments (3)

  1. Hi Susan,
    This is great recap of the HOA and lots of really useful info here that I will be keeping for later. You mention the people at Getty hunting you down – I have always purchased my images from istock and used them properly – but I did notice that it says in the licence that they can only be used in one place at a time. Would that mean that you can’t use one image on your website and then again on social media or even more than one social media channel? Thanks

    • Royalty Free are not the target as much as the licensed ones. Each license is different. Those are the ones Getty goes after. I had a client use a 150 x 250 image they “found” and insisted I use because it was OK. $10K later… it was awful – some 3rd party photovangelists went after them. Glad I had the email from them telling me it was OK to use it, or I would have been on the hook!

    • I missed the notice on this, Elle. To the letter, yes, one place at a time – either on your blog, or on social media. Not sure about “private” accounts like FB. I find that I only dive into licensed photos for clients when we are also doing print, etc. to make it worth the cost. Most of the time you are also only LEASING the image for a period of time. Sometimes it’s worth hiring a conceptual photographer to create images just for you.

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