Learn why Pinterest has quickly become a social media darling in an interview with Crystal Wiebe, Corporate Communications and Social Media Strategist for Staples Promotional Products.
Why Pinterest? Why now?
Although Staples Promotional Products operates primarily in the B2B realm, as a product-oriented company, having a presence on Pinterest makes sense for us. At Staples, one of our core markets consists of buyers of promotional products. Pinterest’s core group of users, women age 25-44, may only represent a portion of promotional products buyers. Yet they’re as likely as anyone to need promotional products at some point. Furthermore, in the B2B eCommerce space, Pinterest users may also represent our customers’ customers.
What have you learned from watching the Pinterest trends?
Seeing exactly what Pinterest users like has been very helpful to us. We haven’t been pinning for long, but the trends we’ve noticed there have already begun to influence the monthly product and design trend reports we share internally and with our clients.
As a business, we aim to be a “brand partner” –- a team of experts that our clients can count on to offer sound promotional product recommendations. Promotional products are most effective if they are useful and attractive to the people who receive them. Therefore, engaging –- or even just lurking –- on Pinterest provides a new way for us to get and test ideas. For example, if mason jars are getting pinned like crazy, that may be something to keep in mind for a client looking for an Americana-themed promotion. If messenger bags made of old tires go viral, that might be a good recommendation for a client seeking upcycled products.
How are you measuring your success on Pinterest?
We haven’t been playing with Pinterest long, so we are definitely still experimenting to figure out what works for us. Like other social channels, we view Pinterest as a relationship-building tool. Our Followers come from all over the world and include a handful of our own associates and some other brands in the promotional products industry. In this way, Pinterest also helps us subtly market ourselves. In addition, we track the number of Likes and Repins we see across our boards.
What advice do you have for new pinners?
Our most popular boards are those that our Art Directors contribute to regularly. Our Pinterest account began as an inspiration tool for our Art Directors. I would recommend that other brands who want to use Pinterest also let the creatives on staff take the lead. Our most active Art Director tends to share the images that get the most repins, such as a Scrabble Drink Coaster. (23 repins!)
We also pin images that reflect overall product trends that we’re noticing. For instance, you’ll see a lot of upcycled and metal items on our boards lately. Mostly, we pin a variety products, designs, even typography that inspires us.
How do you keep from being overly self-promotional?
Following the model of brands that are finding the most success on Pinterest, we try not to fill up our boards with our own products. We reference our products when it makes sense. For instance, this jacket is part of Destinations, our proprietary line of promotional apparel. Not only did we pin the jacket but also the recent stop motion animation video we had created to draw attention to the Destinations product line.
Any final thoughts?
We want people to associate our brand with creativity. Pinterest makes that easier than any other social forum because it is purely image based.
- See something cool. Pin it.
- See someone else’s cool pin. Repin it.
Our Pinterest contributors are a mix of marketing, merchandise, and designers. Just like anyone else, they share the cool things they stumble across online, as well as items that reflect current promo and retail industry trends. Our merchandise experts brought back a lot of pinnable ideas from the recent AmericaSmart show in Atlanta and the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Hey, HubSpotters, what are you pinning? Tell us your experiences with Pinterest in the comments below.