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Grant Crowell is a multimedia writer and marketing analyst who's been covering the online video space since 2006. Connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him at @grantcrowell.
Since Pinterest was founded in 2008, it's proven one thing: People love their visuals. And it looks like the site is becoming a hot space for online video marketing opportunities as well, with its recent integration of the Vimeo platform.
The video platform addition makes sense, given how video continues to grow on the network. For example, despite Pinterest's "no-follow" links rule to third-party sites, videos on the site are being indexed by Google at a rapid rate. In late March, Google had indexed 1,170 Pinterest videos. By mid-April, that figure jumped to 5,870 video results — an increase of more than 500% in just three weeks.
What that should tell brands and marketers is that now is the time to start looking at Pinterest as a video marketing vertical. Here are ten tips on how to get the most out of using video on this site.
1. Customize the Thumbnail Images
Video thumbnails that are nicely photographed and appear to be art directed will blend in much better on Pinterest, and typically draw more attention than a video still frame. However, if you're not a YouTube Partner, the images you get won't always look great. Vimeo offers a far better solution where you can upload your own custom thumbnail. This leaves quality control in your hands.
When selecting a thumbnail, find or create an eye-catching image that properly represents your video. If it's a company product, consider setting it against a white background. If it's more of an idea, then find a visual that provides a unique way of showcasing your theme. Whatever you do, make sure that your primary visual can clearly be seen at thumbnail size, and is not obscured by the default "play" button.
2. Have Descriptive Video Pins and Pinboards
Pinterest recommends you create at least a few boards that cover a broad range of interests, rather than maintaining a single board devoted to one topic. Yet, some brands make the mistake of placing all of their videos on a single pinboard and non-descriptively titling it, "videos." Don't do that. You wouldn't think of titling a pinboard, "images."
Instead, look for ways to combine your originally-produced videos with curated videos into pinboards around keyword-rich themes, and place them next to related static images you've pinned. For example, a product pin can be strategically placed next to an interesting video showing a lifestyle experience or demo of that product. Merchandising images and video together can prove to be more influential with viewers.
3. Keep Your Videos Short, When Possible
Pinterest is designed for quick browsing and pinning, so you don't want to make people feel like they're going to be stuck watching a long video. Naturally, there will be exceptions, as some video themes, like DIYs or demos, may require more time. In either case, make sure to list the length of the video right in the description since viewers are becoming conditioned to seeing that in YouTube and search engine results.
4. Clearly Describe Video Content
Don't ever leave your description field blank. Describe to people what they can expect to see before they click on the video. Even with an eye-catching thumbnail image, and a relevant subject, people still read the description field of a video to make sure it's worth their time.
5. Curate Fresh Videos with Fresh Descriptions
Always consider taking the most popular and freshest videos that relate to whatever product, solution, lifestyle, or event you are a part of, and curating them. I recommend creating your own unique title and description instead of duplicating what appears on the original video page, so as not to appear "spammy."
6. Include "Pin This" Annotations
When you are using your own YouTube videos, Brian Honigman, the digital marketing manager at Marc Ecko Enterprises, suggests including annotations with a call-to-action for your audience. Basically, tell your visitors to "pin this video to Pinterest" or provide a link to your Pinterest profile as a way to connect.
7. Add "Pin Me" Notices in Video Outtros
Of course, you can always feature your own call-to-action in the video content you create. Simply include something like "Follow me at pinterest.com/[pinterest name]" in your video outtros, like the example above. It makes for a great reminder for users to engage with you in another way and in a different community.
8. Put a "Pin It" Button Next to Your Video Player
You likely already know that you can add the Pinterest follow button to your website or blog. You should also have it embedded right under the embedded video player on your website and blog pages. It's just one more way your visitors can get to key content.
9. Create a Pinterest-Specific Video Campaign
Some brands are now developing video campaigns to encourage users to follow them on Pinterest and pin their items. Take this Pinterest video campaign from a U.K. insurance comparison website. Their Driving in Heels video was part of a contest where users submitted the craziest shoes they have ever worn while operating a car. This turned out to be an effective cross-marketing strategy. It created awareness about a public safety issue (unsafe driving habits), while also generating increased brand awareness through theme-based pinning.
10. Repin Videos by Others
Pinterest's best brand practices page says "repinning is one of the most social activities on Pinterest and it's how any user really builds his/her network of followers." One way to do this with videos is to find influencers in your industry who already have Pinterest profiles, follow them, and include their videos on your own pinboard. Make sure to notify them about it on the comments section of their original pins. Better yet, you can create a custom video that comments on some of the more interesting "Pin-fluencers" in your community. Both of these are acceptable ways of reaching out to thought leaders and brand leaders.
What other online video marketing opportunities are you seeing with Pinterest? Have you used video on Pinterest with a business strategy or an interesting business outcome? Let us know in the comments.
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