Jenny Sussin

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Jenny Sussin
Principal Research Analyst
2 years with Gartner
4 years IT industry

Jenny Sussin is a princial research analyst in the ITL Enterprise Software group of Gartner Research, with primary focus on social for CRM. Read Full Bio

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Social Networking for Business: Pinterest Etiquette

by Jenny Sussin  |  February 15, 2012  |  10 Comments

I want to start each post in my new “Social Network for Business: Etiquette” series with a quick one liner about why I am doing this: too many people in business (marketers, you are the #1 culprit) very obviously to users on the social networks, do not understand the medium they are working with. No one is asking you to create new content. We (we the people, the cool cats on these networks) just want you to put a little effort into making sure the way the content is presented is appropriate for where you’ve placed it.

I know it’s so “riding the wave” of me to start the social networking for business etiquette series with Pinterest as it is what’s hot right now – but I think this post is needed following a blog post I saw about ways to market your business on Pinterest that was so alarming I had to do something. (Side bar: this tends to be a thing with me – I see something that irks me so much I need to write a passive retort. This thought is for my therapist…)

Let me explain something to you (the “you” in this case is a marketer or salesperson, customer service folks are in the clear on a lot of this etiquette business:) no one wants to see your brand name plastered all over Pinterest except for your executives and while it may often be taught that they are your target audience, they are not the business’ target audience. STOP putting your brand all over everything. An exception here might be a luxury retailer like Chanel that people dream of being affiliated with, but if I can buy your brand at my local mall, don’t bother.

That isn’t to say don’t bother posting images of your product or affiliated ad campaigns, but don’t bother putting your brand name on them.

Consider the medium you’re working with an why end-users are there. On Pinterest, we’re looking at aspirations. These are things people want to do, see, be, get – not what they are doing, seeing, being, having. It’s literally a series of virtual “dream” boards (which is why it attracts females, we know men don’t put their dreams on display, perhaps there is something in that generalization that can explain why men don’t understand the significance of flowers…another one for my therapist.)

But away from my gender warfare, let’s talk about how you really get something “re-pinned” on Pinterest. If I put a picture of a cool looking building and post it to both my “Cool Buildings” board and the public “Architecture” board, people who like architecture are likely to re-pin it, assuming what I think is cool actually is cool to other people. Now let’s say my reason for posting it as I want people to know that Gartner is cool and modern and this is one of the buildings we have an office in, so I throw “Gartner” up on the image. Now other people who look at it perceive that they are no longer re-pinning a cool image, they are re-pinning a brand. For them to do that, they’d already have to have some brand allegiance to Gartner, strong enough to share with their personal friends (Pinterest helps you import your Facebook friends, assuming you create your login with Facebook, which I see is very common.) BE SUBTLE. You’re not being deceptive by captioning the image with “Gartner Singapore” vs. putting the Gartner name on the image. You’re not being deceptive by linking the image back to Gartner Singapore’s page where the image sits and there is information about the building’s architecture.

On a site like Pinterest, your content is only good if it’s re-shared. If you hear there are a million people using Pinterest daily, that doesn’t mean you can reach a million people. It means you have the potential to, but only if you can get each of their eyes on the content you’re trying to share. The way you do that is by making the image compelling enough to re-share. If you’re brand is on it, you already decreased the likelihood of a re-pin. I don’t have the stats on the likelihood of something being re-pinned with or without a brand name on it. No numbers, just common sense from a chronic social networker.

End of rant. Comments welcome :)

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Category: customer service marketing social crm social media     Tags: , , , ,

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