Pinterest’s terms of service specifically state that self-promotion is not allowed on the site. That doesn’t mean you can’t pin your own content and products, but it does mean that self-promotion has to take a back seat to indirect marketing. This isn’t a new concept. Successful social media marketing is all about indirectly promoting your brand to build awareness and loyalty.
Push marketing tactics simply won’t work well on Pinterest. Bottom-line, you can’t use old school marketing tactics and expect to get positive results from the Pinterest audience.
2. You Want Immediate Results
If you’re impatient, then Pinterest is probably not right for you and your brand. You have to commit to the long haul and invest time and effort into creating great content and conversations, or you won’t succeed on Pinterest.
Pinterest should be part of a long-term brand building strategy. If you can’t see the bigger picture of how each social media tool fits into a broader brand marketing plan, then you should consider skipping visual social bookmarking and focus on digital advertising and direct marketing tactics instead.
3. You Don’t Have an Integrated Marketing Strategy
Pinterest is a great tool for amplifying your content but it’s far less useful as a stand-alone marketing tool in its current form. Pinterest needs to be a part of your brand’s fully integrated marketing strategy where one component feeds off the next.
Your goal should be to surround consumers with your branded content and allow them to self-select how they want to experience your brand. Pinterest is just one more way for them to experience it.
4. You Can’t Make the Leap to Visual Storytelling
All brands can benefit from storytelling as it adds an emotional element to the relationship between a brand and its customers.
Pinterest provides a perfect place to tell stories about your brand using a variety of images and videos that evoke feelings about your brand. If you can’t evolve your marketing messages from sales pitches to storytelling, then you should hold off on making Pinterest a priority for your business.
5. Your Audience Isn’t on Pinterest
This isn’t necessarily a show-stopper. If your audience isn’t using Pinterest heavily now, they might be in the near future. Currently, the U.S. Pinterest audience skews heavily toward females between the ages of 25-44, and the audience is most interested in lifestyle content.
Brands in the fashion, beauty, entertainment, design, and other lifestyle categories are a natural fit and have performed well on Pinterest to date. If your brand isn’t in a lifestyle category and your audience falls outside the demographic profile of most Pinterest members, the site might not help your brand or business in the way you need it to at this time.
Is your brand represented on Pinterest? Drop a link to your Pinboard in the comments below and be sure to check out Sprout Social on Pinterest too.
Susan Gunelius: Susan Gunelius is a 20-year marketing veteran and President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She has authored nine books about social media, content marketing, branding, copywriting, and blogging, and she is a marketing columnist for Forbes.com and Entrepreneur.com. Susan speaks about marketing, branding, and social media at events around the world and is often interviewed about marketing topics by television, online, print, and radio media organizations.