Pin For The Win – Leveraging Your Employer Brand Across Pinterest

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Katie Newland, Project Manager, Branding and Research Services Group

3/22/2012

By now, you may already be familiar with the new digital pinboard taking the social media world by storm – Pinterest. It seems as if almost everyone has jumped on the bandwagon. It’s addictive! Who doesn’t enjoy perusing pictures of trendy outfits, beautiful homes and cute baby animals? It’s chock-full of quotes and savory recipes and is a great space to brag about your DIY projects. But a new function has emerged on Pinterest: The Job Search.

The active and passive job-seeking pinner is most likely to be female, between the ages of 25 and 54, living in a Midwestern state and has completed some college courses.  So, if you’re a recruiter for a Biotech company in California sourcing for a scientist, this is not your market – yet. While Pinterest currently attracts a niche market, the site is rapidly growing – crossing the 10 million user threshold in January 2012 with 11.7 million users – faster than any other site in U.S. history.  Since that time, Pinterest has increased its daily visitors by 145%.

The Pinterest-savvy job seeker has converted their traditional bulleted and outlined resume into a stunning visual representation of their skills worthy of pinning and re-pinning. They pitch themselves for employment via infographics and images touting their abilities, education and previous employment. They may also create boards to publish their portfolios and depict their personal brand. Job seekers research tactics for finding a job and keep abreast of job-related facts.  Job-seeking pinners also network with job placement companies and career experts while interacting with companies on Pinterest in an attempt to establish rapport and land employment. 

Don’t panic yet. While there ARE active job seekers on Pinterest, it is important to evaluate not only if the site is an appropriate channel for broadcasting your organization’s brand message, but also if it aligns with your overall social media strategy.

Here are some best practices to consider:

An essential element in engaging with talent on Pinterest is through the usage of images, charts, graphs and infographics to impart information. Images are a great way to differentiate you as an employer because you can easily show off your personality. Candidates can ascertain through genuine photos what it’s really like to work for your organization and what sort of corporate culture they can expect as a staff member. Photos of the company’s Halloween costume contest will convey an organization with a more relaxed atmosphere. Healthcare organizations may choose to post photos of nurses working with state-of-the-art equipment to illustrate the company’s dedication to advanced training. These inferences may only be drawn by being transparent and using photos of actual and current staff members (so long as you have employees’ consent and conform to all HIPPA laws!). Stock photos should NEVER be pinned. They’ll just look down-right silly and won’t aid in differentiating you as an employer.

Generating enough genuine content for pins may seem overwhelming. Identify your organization’s brand evangelists, provide them with specific guidelines, training and expectations, and allow these highly engaged employees to get in on the action. They can do this either by pinning with your company account or allowing them to set up their own accounts and pin to a user-generated pinboard.  This is an opportunity to showcase your unique culture and reinforce your employer brand promise.

Be careful not to overly indulge in self-promotion. You’ll risk coming across as “spammy” to the Pinterest community. And besides, Pinterest can’t be used as a means to solely promote yourself or your services. Diversify your pins to include external content; create boards with pins of industry-related case studies, blog posts and articles that are relevant to your pipeline of both active and passive job seekers. 

But it’s not just what you pin, it’s how you pin. The click through link attached to a pin is just as important as the pinned image itself. Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Twitter. It also surpasses YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+ combined. If you’ve enticed a candidate to click through on a pin, they want to learn more information about it. For example, a pin showcasing a chart depicting the number of employees who took advantage of your tuition-reimbursement program should link to a page describing the tuition-reimbursement program in detail. There’s nothing more frustrating than clicking on a pin and being taken to a page that is only hosting the image.

A pin’s description is also an important consideration and opportunity for reinforcing your brand message. Pinterest recently imposed a 500-character limit on captions – so choose your words carefully! Create valuable SEO driven descriptions for pins utilizing select keywords so that your pin may be easily found via the Pinterest search function. As with Twitter, include a relevant hashtag and be sure to use the “@PinnerName” to let your fellow pinner know that you’ve mentioned them. These functions enable Pinterest to be a highly viral community providing an excellent opportunity for brand advocacy. If people love you, they pin you!

Below are pinboard ideas that can lend support to your employer brand:

• Events Board – Post pictures of conferences, company parties, etc.
• Corporate Responsibility Board – Photos of staff members engaging in community service, charts depicting money raised for charity
• Behind The Scenes Board – videos and photos of “a day on the job”
• Employee Testimony Board – Showcase real employees’ headshots with quotes about their positive work experience, video testimonies
• Books Worth Reading – Prove your expertise and diversify your pins by including industry-related good reads
• We’re Hiring Board – Post visual job openings and descriptions with infographics depicting the ideal candidate
• Our Work Board – Showcase your work for case studies and whitepapers by pinning infographics representing the data
• Company History Board – Photos of important moments in your organization’s history: ribbon cutting ceremony, appointment of a new CEO, etc.
• Awards Board – Pictures of employees accepting awards or the work that earned the award

As with all social media properties, our advice remains the same: don’t get caught up in what’s trendy today. Evaluate what it is – does it align with your overall social media strategy and guidelines? Do you have the assets and resources required to make it effective? Then, if you choose to pin, pin steadily!  It’s imperative to actively connect with other pinners who share similar interests as your organization – follow, re-pin, like, comment and share with the community.  Ensure your Pinterest efforts are cohesive and reinforce your overall brand strategy. Include the Pinterest icon along with your other social icons on your web properties. Tweet and share your pins on Facebook so your existing fans know where to find you on Pinterest.

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