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Bob Gilbreath of Pingage

Meet Bob Gilbreath, cofounder of  Pingage along with Michael Wohlschlaeger, a Pinterest marketing service that uses data analysis, content creation and optimization, scheduled postings and more to build brand followings and drive results with the increasingly popular social media site.

How does Pingage work?
We do four things that continually maximize a brand’s followers and traffic through Pinterest. We source and optimize the actual content, and we have partners who can help source or sponsor existing content. Then we take that content, put it in a scheduling queue and automatically pin it during the days and times it has the highest chance of being seen.

We also have code on the brand’s website that recognizes when someone’s coming from Pinterest, and we have a number of landing page activities that welcome people to the page and encourage them to take a specific action, especially following the brand on Pinterest.

Finally, we use data, some of it from Pinterest and some from data we uniquely own, to see how we’re doing. We use that information to optimize content for the next day to optimize the scheduling algorithm.

Pinterest isn’t used by everyone, so who’s your target client?
There 10 types of things that work on Pinterest: food, fashion, fitness, beauty, décor, crafts, babies, kids, pets and travel. If you want to succeed, you have to play in that space, or have a brand that can ladder up to that space. If you’re a fashion retailer, it’s a no brainer. Things like furniture that are clearly in those categories are great fits. Even a brand like laundry detergent that can pin craft ideas or recipes you can make with your kids. Those are things that are viral, and that may be the kind of thing that you’d clean up with a detergent or a paper towel.

Is Pinterest less business-friendly than Twitter or Facebook?
I think it’s the first social media that’s made for marketing, but it’s early. Brands are still trying to figure it out. Pinterest is “I want to find cool stuff” versus Facebook, where the goal is to keep you on the site as much as possible. And Pinterest is focused on women ages 25-54, which is the group that makes most of the purchase decisions for brands. If you ask people if Pinterest has given them inspiration for what to buy, 70 percent say yes.

How can brands be successful on Pinterest?
The reason many brands are struggling on Pinterest is that it does take content and it takes a lot of it. People are only following brands that are giving content that they like; on Facebook, people are giving away likes pretty freely.

Unfortunately, most brands are applying the Facebook rules (best practices) to Pinterest. For example, contests work on Facebook, but they barely work at all on Pinterest.

What have you learned from Pingage?
Brand managers are about scale and maximizing impact. We learned that we have to teach them to work differently. We’ve also learned about the need for content. If you’re only going to pin one thing a day, you might as well not be on Pinterest.

Interview by Robin Donovan

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