Pinterest has become the fastest growing website ever, now with nearly 12 million monthly users.
The site illustrates the evolution from the “social graph” to the “interest graph” – or the shift from friend-based networks to those that connect people based on their shared interests.
Food is one of the major niches or shared interests on Pinterest. In fact, food lovers were among the first on Pinterest; they saw the benefits of pinning instead of clipping recipes.
These foodies used boards to plan dinner parties, collect holiday baking ideas, and create their own virtual cookbooks.
Not surprisingly, food bloggers have also become Pinterest power users. The Food and Drink category has become one of the largest and most active in terms of pins and repins.
Here are eight tips and best practices to get you started.
1. Add Value
Offer helpful advice and useful ideas that your followers would find valuable. Cooking Light, one of the early stars on Pinterest, has created a series of boards that feature timely holiday recipes, seasonal menu ideas and how-to cooking techniques, along with DIY projects and kitchen resources. Most content originates from CookingLight.com, which has made Pinterest the most important social media referral source for the site, according to Allison Lowery, who manages Pinterest for the magazine. Cooking Light was also quick to add “pin it” buttons to all online recipes to make it easier for readers to pin to Pinterest.
2. Tell Stories
Pinterest was made for visual storytelling. Grocery delivery service Peapod tells a tale with its “Delivery Trucks” board. The pins share images from the road by showcasing the various trucks in transit. One truck got stuck in an NYC blizzard; another donated food in Connecticut as part of Peapod’s Kids Give Back program. A separate Pinterest board provides the back stories of Peapod’s delivery truck drivers.
3. Host a Contest
4. Curate Your Core Values
Create boards that showcase the lifestyle your brand represents, not simply the products it sells. Whole Foods, one of the first food brands on Pinterest, features boards on gardening, recycling and fitness. You’ll also find pins of inspiring kitchens and art projects, along with faces impacted by the Whole Foods Foundation, the grocery chain’s charitable group, which addresses world poverty and hunger.
Create collaborative boards that allow external pinners to contribute. It’s a way to award and engage a few of your top evangelists or favorite bloggers. For instance, create a board dedicated to their pins, an approach used by Better Homes & Gardens and Whole Living magazine. America’s Test Kitchen created several boards focused on projects that feature pins from contributors – from homemade gifts to slow-cooker recipes.
6. Engage and Intersect
Panera asks its followers to share their favorite pairing (like soup and salad) using the hashtag #youpicktwo. A board is dedicated to these creative pairings, and even features photos of pairs like Julie & Julia to Will & Kate. Dunkin Donuts asks users to share what they’re drinking and how they’re “running on Dunkin.”
7. Leverage Your Offline Events
Use Pinterest to bring your offline activities to life with photos and video footage. One of Greek yogurt brand Chobani‘s boards highlights the travails of the CHOmobile as it canvasses the country. Cabot Creamery showcases farm families that are a part of the Vermont cooperative, and McDonald’s has a Pinterest board dedicated to the building of its first Olympic park restaurant in London.
8. Be Pinnable
Ultimately, Pinterest is all about visual content, so be sure your site has quality images worthy of pinning. Each online recipe and article needs some type of image, or it’s virtually unpinnable. Flash-based websites are also unpinnable. On the other hand, infographics are popular on Pinterest; consider ways you can convert your written content into an infographic. Install a “pin it” button and “follow me” badge on your site, and be sure to promote your Pinterest account across your other channels. Include key words in the description of your pin to increase your searchability, and recognize users who pin you by visiting pinterest.com/source/yoursitehere.com to see where your pins are showing up.
Article courtesy of http://mashable.com/2012/03/12/pinterest-food-marketing/
Janet Helm is the chief food and nutrition strategist of North America for Weber Shandwick. She is the author of the blog Nutrition Unplugged and co-founder of the Nutrition Blog Network and Healthy Aperture. She has been a contributor to Cooking Light magazine and is currently partnering on a book with Cooking Light.