How to Use Pinterest Communities for your business
[Update April 2019: After a test launch and getting feedback from pinners, Pinterest decided to turn Pinterest Communities into group boards. If you’ve created any communities during the test launch period, your community will become a group board.]
Have you seen the newest kid on the Pinterest block yet? It’s called ‘Pinterest Communities’ and it’s here to change the way we view Pinterest. Although Pinterest is placed in the ‘social media’ bracket all this while, it didn’t provide an avenue for users to socialize effectively, until now. The fact that it’s termed as a visual search engine stays, but it’s also looking more like a social media platform now.
WHAT ARE PINTEREST COMMUNITIES EXACTLY?
Unlike the rest of visual content sharing features on Pinterest, Communities pretty much act like Facebook Groups. You can join a community of your interest, share pins, ideas, ask questions and interact with community members.
At the time of launch, you can only access the feature by accepting an invite link, so don’t expect to find the new feature automatically popping up when you log in to your account.
HOW DOES THIS WORK?
First, you’ll need to join a community by clicking an invite link via your phone’s Pinterest app.
Here’s an invite link to my community: Grow with Pinterest.
After you’ve joined your first community, it takes a few minutes before the community tab pops up. It takes another few minutes before you can search for communities or create your own.
Once you’re inside a community, it’s pretty easy to navigate. You can introduce yourself, post updates, and ask questions. Members can comment and like your posts. It functions pretty much like a social media post or a chat group.
The best part is you can share pins with your posts. You can also attach a photo to your posts.
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE ABOUT PINTEREST COMMUNITIES?
Whenever a new social media feature is launched, we typically see two types of people; those who jump in right away to take the first mover advantage, and those who wait and see from the sideline before they decide to invest their time and effort in it.
It doesn’t matter which type you are. If you’re already on Pinterest, it’s a great opportunity for you to connect with like-minded people, share ideas, and get your brand seen.
If you’re not ready to start your own community, you can always join a community created by someone else to decide if it’s for you. But I’d say go for it as you could be one of the firsts to start a community in your niche and connect with your target audience.
New communities are being created every few minutes since word about communities spread. If you get late into the game, the community name you have in mind may no longer be available. So grab the community name of your choice before it’s taken!
HOW TO USE COMMUNITIES IN WAYS THAT ARE BENEFICIAL TO YOUR BUSINESS
In my opinion, here are 5 ways you can participate in communities in a valuable way.
Find like-minded people
Before the launch of communities, the only way Pinterest users could connect with each other was via direct messaging or commenting on pins. Business owners use other social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook groups to connect with their target audience and people in similar industries.
Pinterest is now giving us the opportunity to connect with people of the same interest at a whole new level. Whether you create your own community or join those that you’re interest in, communities are a great way to directly connect with your target audience, make friends and forge new collaborations with fellow pinners.
Get yourself seen and be the gem of the community by asking relevant questions, sharing ideas and giving advice.
What I really love about communities is that you can easily share pins when posting or replying. When someone asks a question you have the answer for in a community, you have the chance to reply by sharing your pin.
I think this is powerful because you get to provide value to someone who is actively looking for the kind of content/ products or services you provide, and at the same time you’re connecting with them at a personal level, needless to say it’s targeted traffic for your business.
Pinterest also encourages sharing pins created by others, so if you find a really cool pin that’s worth sharing with your community, go for it.
Do not Spam
In the first few communities that I joined, the first thing I saw was people dropping off their pins (sometimes with no context). While this may be acceptable for certain communities like ‘photography’ or ‘recipes’, where sharing is caring, it may look spammy in some communities like bloggers community.
So proceed sharing pins with caution. You want to be helpful, not spammy. I’m certain it’s only a matter of time before communities start to have strict rules on spamming.
Community = collaboration, not competition
I love the fact that Pinterest is a platform that encourages collaboration. From the idea of sharing each others’ pins to group boards to communities, Pinterest makes collaboration an important aspect of their platform.
If you’re an illustrator, you can join an illustration community and make new connections with other illustrators. If you sell quirky slogan t-shirts, you can still join a ‘quirky slogan lovers’ community created by another t-shirt seller, and engage with the community members.
Find creative ways to encourage participation in your community
If you are the admin of a community, provide guidelines for the topic of discussion, ask questions, and set ground rules. You can even have themed days à la Facebook Groups to encourage community members to participate and interact with each other.
Are Pinterest communities going to be the next big thing? Only time will tell. I’m curious to see how it will evolve. As content creators and business owners, it’s another avenue (and a new opportunity) for us to look at when you we think of our overall social media strategy.
If you’re looking for a community to join, I’d love to connect with you in my community Grow with Pinterest.