Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Happy Pinning!

Sharing pretty photos is no longer enough to make Pinterest work for your business and marketing strategies.

Pinterest, like many social networks, experienced a viral-like reaction during its beginnings, but it remains a serious player in the social media universe. It offers a huge audience and plenty of opportunities for you and your advertisers to engage with customers.

Unlike the other two social media giants — Facebook and Twitter, where conversation between users is the foundation and premise — Pinterest hinges on creating a visual response rather than a textual one. Of course, users share pictures, video and links on Twitter and Facebook, but they’re secondary to the message. That is not the case on Pinterest, where photos are of utmost importance. However, conversation is becoming more integral to the Pinterest experience, especially with the recent updates to the site’s Android and iOS mobile apps.

Conversation was not absent from the site, however, it happened more as a trajectory rather than a back-and-forth between users. If your friend posts a pin you like, you can repin it, but the conversation pretty much ends there. However, the updates are improving the engagement potential on Pinterest — all the more reason to build up your presence on the site.

Pinterest announced the updates last month, which include search functionality, mentions and notifications. The new search updates will make it easier for users to look through their old pins. They will also make captions more imperative when sharing on the site. The captions often are reduced to “I love this,” or overlooked entirely. Now, if you want your pins to be searchable, then you’ll have to choose concise keywords describing the content of the pin.

Mentions, similar to Facebook and Twitter, allow you to target and communicate with fellow users, and the notifications will prompt users when they are mentioned and when their pins are favorited or repinned. These are actions that have become synonymous with social networking — emphasis on “networking.” The aim is to engage with others and start a dialogue, and Pinterest is not an exception. Sharing pretty photos is no longer enough to make Pinterest work for your business and marketing strategies.

Of course, it’s still important to focus on the quality and impact of the visual content you pin and repin. You must know and understand your audience. What do they pin? What do they like? In terms of social networking, it’s essential to blend into the community. What you post on Tumblr may be different than what you post on Pinterest, because the demographics on those sites are different. Once you get the content right, it’s now time to shape the conversation, and Pinterest’s new updates will be key in doing so.