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Pinning Down Pinterest Best Practices

Oh the joys of pinning new ideas, trends, videos, and so much more on Pinterest! I’ll admit it…I have a little obsession, racking up thousands of pins between professional and personal Pinterest accounts.

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Use Pinterest best practices to create more meaningful conversations and increase followers.

Just like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media channels, Pinterest has its own culture and communication style. After countless hours of reading, pinning, and repinning throughout the past year, I’ve recorded some Pinterest best practices and etiquette tips to share with you.

Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Streamline content (Some Pinterest accounts have a board for every topic, but only have a few pins. Make it interesting for followers by providing broader range board topics that they can follow rather than segmenting topics too specifically. And try not to create empty boards until you have items to post to them.)
  • Leverage social channels (When appropriate, share your pins with Twitter and/or Facebook communities as well. It’s a great way to expand your reach and the conversation.)
  • Use keywords (One of the main features of Pinterest is the ability to search keywords by pins, pinners, or boards. Make sure to take advantage of this feature by using keywords in the descriptions as we do for other social media channels.)
  • Understand policies (Pinterest stirred up quite a bit of controversy regarding siting sources, etc. Take the time to understand Pinterest’s policies as well as your company’s guidelines (if using it on behalf of the brand) to protect yourself.)
  • Joining group boards (It’s flattering to receive invitations to join group boards. However, before clicking the tempting “accept” button, evaluate how many pins you would like to receive from those boards. Getting inundated with pins, from a certain topic each day, may have an adverse effect on your participation!)
  • Share information (Vary the type and format of content you pin to boards. While we all like infographics, they can get a little old on Pinterest if that’s the only thing that’s pinned. Mix it up with videos, case studies, reports, SlideShare presentations (if for business), articles, blog posts, and other types of content. I like to use the 70% new content/30% repins rule of thumb.)

And here are some etiquette tips to keep followers interested and to attract new ones:

  • Site sources (Always include the source, especially for items that have copyrights, etc. If the source is on Pinterest, use the @ format to link to the person/organization.)
  • Include a description (Insert a description, with keywords, to help followers understand the item more clearly, leading to more repins.)
  • Acknowledge comments (I find that 2-way exchanges are still a newer trend on Pinterest versus other social media channels. Since participants are still getting into this feature, it’s important to respond to posted comments. It will go a long way with followers and we can learn from each other!)
  • Pace pins (Space out the number and frequency of pins so that followers do not feel bombarded all at one time. By pacing the pin posts over time, it will also give you the opportunity to share new content without having to do a lot of research work ahead of time. And lastly, try not to duplicate pins. It gets confusing for followers.)
  • Maximize boards (Pinterest is dynamic and social. Leverage it for sharing a variety of information and use Instagram or Flickr for photo postings instead.)
  • Reciprocate information-sharing (Monitor followers and how the content you share is repinned. If you find there are certain followers that consistently repin your content, try repinning their content in reciprocation.)
  • Follow others (The same principles from other social media channels apply to Pinterest. We do not need to follow everyone that follows us. Check on the type of content the new follower pins and evaluate if the content matches your needs and what your other followers are interested in too.)

Lastly, if you are prepping items for Pinterest, here are a few details to consider:

  • Images: Use images in blog posts or other communications to make it easier on Pinterest users to post.
  • Pin Features: Include pinning capabilities as part of your “share” social media icons on websites, emails, and more.
  • Captions: Incorporate a short, but descriptive caption for each photo used to brand information more clearly.

Did the details above “pinpoint” the best practices you were thinking of as well? (Sorry, just had to play on that word!) Do you have other tips you are using as well? I’m interested in reading your insights and learning about the different ways you are using Pinterest too!

And in the meantime, if you are interested in other types of social media training, check out our new complimentary Cisco Social Media Training Program.  Take short on-demand courses or sign up for customized one-on-one team training sessions by emailing ciscosmtraining@external.cisco.com.

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Happy Community Manager Appreciation Day: Recognizing the Dedication of Our Community Managers

It’s that time of year again when we recognize and celebrate the work of so many unsung heroes, the Community Managers. Community Manager Appreciation Day is celebrated globally on the 4th Monday of January and was started back in 2010 by Jeremiah Owyang.

I joined the Cisco Global Social Media team in March of last year and have had the pleasure to work with many of our community managers. A common strength that shines through with all our community managers without a doubt is their dedication.

It’s dedication from Anna Sui, Partner Community Manager that allows 81,000 partners to tap into the Partner Community every month. Anna manages over 100 thriving topic areas and has built an extensive community and subject matter expert network where partners can receive and share latest news, product and program updates.

The Cisco Collaboration Community team, made up of Laura Douglas, Denise Brittin, Lisa Marcyes and Kelli Glass, empowers technical IT audiences in the Collaboration Community to learn about collaboration technologies for businesses through peer and Cisco interactions. Direct daily contact with Cisco Collaboration leaders, product managers, services consultants, technical marketing and Cisco engineers through the forums provides visitors with expert information and trusted relationships. The community also offers Cisco customers the opportunity to become more hands-on in shaping the direction of Cisco Collaboration solutions by joining the Cisco Collaboration User Group (CUG). Over 8000 (and growing) CUG members participate in betas, 1-on-1 feedback sessions with product managers, and “sneak peak” pre-announce product briefings.

The Collaboration and Partner communities above are just two examples, yet I know there are many more fantastic examples at Cisco. I’d like to ask all our community managers to take a couple of moments on Monday and reflect back on the dedication they have shown during the previous year and for them to recognize the amazing job they have done. And feel free to share successes by commenting on this blog post.

For our newer community managers and community managers to-be, I’d like to highlight our recently published Cisco Communities Playbook. Although the process of building an online community can be daunting, the Playbook provides guidance around defining, developing and driving engagement within communities. The Playbook still makes a great read for our veteran Community Managers providing ideas that may not have been considered previously.

As I wrap up, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank ALL of our Community Managers for the amazing dedication they have shown and wish them every success as they continue to drive their communities forward. Happy Community Manager Appreciation Day and please do share how you’ll be celebrating.

#CMAD

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Connecting the Customer Experience Through Social #CiscoListens

January 28, 2013 at 6:50 am PST

Integrating Social Media Channels into Existing CRM Systems and Processes

The year is 2024, and you just walked into a department store to return a pair of jeans. As you enter the store, the near field communication (NFC) chip in your smartphone tells the store who you are because you have enabled the privacy settings to do so. The store knows you’re an active fan on Facebook. You’re even classified as one of their ambassadors. You’ve been identified as a frustrated customer after posting a comment on the company’s Wall about your brand new jeans being defective. One of the sales representatives receives an alert message that you’ve arrived, and she’s waiting for you in the jean section, holding a new pair of the same jeans, in your size, ready to make an exchange. The NFC chip in your phone has already confirmed your identity, reducing the need to show a receipt, credit card, or drivers license. You’re out the door with a new pair of jeans faster than you’re able to post a raving review on their Facebook wall, reclassifying you as an advocate in their CRM system.

“They replaced my busted jeans without even asking a question!”

OK, the year is not 2024, Cisco doesn’t sell jeans, and I’ve only been able to use NFC once in the year I’ve had it on my smartphone. But haven’t you wished that the company you just called already knew the past phone, email, even Facebook conversations you’ve had with them so that you didn’t need to explain yourself to them again and again? Isn’t your time valuable, shouldn’t all of their systems talk to each other to create a better, not worse experience for you? Read More »

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Building Trust in the Expanding World of Big Data Retailing

These days, the generation of data has become almost as constant as breathing. With every click or swipe, today’s mobile, hyperconnected consumers exhale an ever-expanding trail of digital details, revealing troves of information about their wants, needs, interests, well-being, and aspirations.

All of that data offers great promise for retailers looking to know their customers in deep, new ways in order to provide carefully targeted products and services. But it is also a source of headaches. Those same retailers are wrestling with a complex new realm of Big Data analytics, where a deluge of information from new sources like video, mobile, and social media threatens to swamp their capacity for processing. That is, if they can properly access those new data streams in the first place.

Read More »

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Train Employees And Yield Higher Social Media Results

Here we are…just into the third week of 2013 and questions of how we will use social media in more strategic ways, or measure more effectively, or take our efforts to the next level are already heating up. Goals, aspirations, expectations, responsibilities, commitments…the list goes on. Is your head spinning yet?

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While it may seem overwhelming, indeed these are important questions to ask ourselves as social media becomes even more integrated into the business structure and expands its value even further. While its easy to see the value social media can have for our businesses, brands, and even personal reputations, getting everyone who will be participating in the social stream up-to-speed on policies, best practices, and integrated strategies, can be the biggest challenge!

It helps to take a quick assessment of where we are currently with social media and then build the proper goals, efforts, monitoring, and measurement strategies from there. Here is a quick checklist of questions to ask ourselves:

  • Does your organization have a social media policy in place and are all employees aware of it?
  • Are your social media efforts integrated into the overall business or is it used for specific purposes?
  • Can anyone participate in social media within the organization or is it the responsibility of select roles?
  • How does your organization monitor social streams? And how are responses handled?
  • Does your organization have an established measurement strategy? How are benchmarks created and what’s measured?
  • Are members of management involved in the social streams?
  • Do you feel your organization is maximizing the use of social media or do you feel there are areas of improvement?

These are just a sampling of questions to ask ourselves as gear up for the year. And though many of these questions are applicable to different types of organizations, the truth is that each organization’s social media needs, structure, and efforts are unique…not to mention their employees’ social media skill sets vary across the spectrum. Some organizations have an established footing in social media while others are in the ramp up phase.

To make these questions easier to answer and to help provide further social media insights, we would like to offer a new training program, open to Cisco customers. Whether organizations are new to social media or have established strategies, this new program offers the opportunity to:

  • Become more proficient in social media
  • Empower team members to use social media more effectively
  • Receive guidance around developing internal training, policies, listening centers, and more
  • Meet directly with Cisco social media subject matter experts
  • Get an inside view of Cisco’s social media best practices

Here is a quick snapshot of the complimentary program offering:

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Does this sound like a program that could benefit your organization? If so, we invite you to join us in the social conversation. Here is a link to more Cisco Social Media Training Program details. For those that are interested in getting started with customized one-on-one team training sessions, send an email to ciscosmtraining@external.cisco.com.

I look forward to hearing your feedback to this post and getting the opportunity to work with you through this program!

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