What makes people share things on Pinterest?

For a while now, social media strategy hasn’t often involved
channels beyond the familiar Facebook/Twitter combination. Pinterest’s promising math connecting pins to sales has
prompted many brands to expand their purview to Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest. In
the service of using tactics informed by human beings and what they do online, communications folks should explore what sorts
of things human beings on Pinterest like to share and click on, and how can
this apply to brands, organizations and campaigns.

 

People pin what they
plan on buying, often for a specific
event or purpose.
This is of
course what excites most consumer brands about the channel, from wedding planning boards to doorknob
curation
. Brands that aren’t specifically out to make sales can also
tap into the listing behavior of pinners. AFL-CIO’s boards include “Made in America Thanksgiving” and “Union Made Holiday Gift Giving.” Organizations
that have swag of any sort — including political campaigns or sports teams — should make sure to include at least one
board of t-shirts and key chains so pinners can move those items to their gift
idea and “I want” boards.

People pin what they wish they could have or do. Many
things people curate on Pinterest are a bit more aspirational. This could
include anything from sexy custom motorcycles to extravagant
dream homes
. There is an opportunity here for some brands to insert
themselves into the possible achievement of these wishes and dreams. Travelocity, Rosetta Stone and LSU’s
study abroad program
do a good job of sharing images of travel
destinations, but it would be interesting to see the results if they could link
these specific landing pages on their sites.

People pin words and
pictures that inspire them.
Seriously.
Seems like if you slap any random combination of words over an image and put a
vintage-looking filter over it, it’ll get repinned all over the place.
Organizations like Greenpeace use this kind of content to amplify
their message, while brands like Barnes & Noble and New Balance connect it to their products.
Inspirational quotes can also be great if your organization has prominent
voices who deliver good quips, but not all of us can work
for a talk show
.

People pin what they
might make, whether it’s crafts,
recipes or tricks.
While this has obvious implications for home magazines
and food companies, other brands can also offer or curate this kind of content.
Sony, which is very good at Pinterest, shares “Gadget DIY” tips and crafts that can improve
experiences with Sony products.

Of course this list isn’t comprehensive. Personally I’m an avid
pinner, but my boards include Halloween costume ideas and people I might want
to draw rather than fitness quotes or cupcake recipes. As with any channel, the
key is to research and understand how people’s interests and behaviors overlap
with your brand. Just keep it human.

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