A few months ago, my friend Olivier Blanchard, who is about to self-publish his first fiction novel, started creating memes and blog posts to create some buzz and excitement around the launch. It occurred to me that it would be fun to collect all of those little tidbits into one place so that when the book and the author are world-famous, we can all see how the journey began. But how can you create a scrapbook when everything is digital? It occurred to me at random that Pinterest was actually the perfect way to preserve these digital mementoes. Not only would Pinterest preserve the URLs to the blog posts and ostensibly help drive traffic to them, but you could also trace the progression of things fairly chronologically. Not exactly as crafty as using stickers and rubber stamps and colorful paper, but it seemed like a good answer.
This experience got me to thinking more about Pinterest. I’ve liked Pinterest for awhile despite its flaws, but I haven’t really been able to rationalize suggesting it as a tool for most of our clients. Most of our clients are B2B manufacturers, and while their products are amazing and do a lot of great things, they aren’t necessarily the kinds of products that would perform well on Pinterest (think about whether you would repin a picture of a giant Sonic Drill rig, for example. It’s a neat product but it’s not exactly a hairstyle or a new dress). There is one way, however, that any company could use Pinterest. Any company could create a board dedicated to digitizing and preserving the history – the story, of that company.
Consider, for example, a company that is celebrating its 60th anniversary like we are this year. We could create a board that would start with pictures of Henry Clayman, my grandfather and founder of the company. We could scan some pictures of the earliest ads we did. Pictures of clients, employees and vendors, past and present, could also be included. Like a physical scrapbook, this would give any company a sense of depth, a sense that they’ve been around for awhile, and a greater awareness of how that company has evolved.
Let’s set some realistic expectations. This kind of time investment will not necessarily ever translate into sales, so you need to make sure you can safely invest a little time in this project here and there without pulling away from your paid work. Also, and understandably, this kind of Pinterest board would be of the greatest interest to the people within your own company. People who have never heard of your company before aren’t likely to care much about your company history. Even your loyal customers may only express a passing interest in your company’s story.
On the other hand, this project could also yield many great benefits. From a utilitarian perspective, you’ll have a readily accessible archive of great historical shots that your employees could use for power point presentations, blog posts, and more. Linking to your Pinterest board from your “about us” page could show that you are willing to think outside the box and it could also put some faces to the names for your customers and prospects. Showing the depth of your company’s history and your company pride can help build your brand over time. It’s even possible that your board might be memorable enough that when someone is ready to buy your type of product or service, they might remember you instead of your competition.
The obvious must be stated – your board needs to be branded somehow. Because Pinterest pages simply keep scrolling and scrolling, make sure that every once in awhile you include a picture that reminds people who your company is and what you do. It does not have to be a promotional message, just a note about why your company exists in the first place. Also, don’t be afraid to look for accounts on Pinterest that might be interested in your pins. For example, if your company has been in the same city for decades, perhaps you can find other accounts tied to your city’s history and network with them. Sharing individual pictures with a link to your board on Facebook or other platforms could also be an interesting way to conduct some company outreach.
What do you think? Is this something your company would contemplate? We’d love to hear from you.