A hot marketing topic is the wide variety of social media platforms and how marketing professionals use them. We recently visited with Brenna Kowall, Digital Marketing Specialist with Firefighters Community Credit Union ($200 million assets, 27,500 members) in Cleveland, Ohio to find out more about her efforts using Pinterest.

1) How long has your credit union been involved in Pinterest and what prompted you to join?
Our credit union joined Pinterest about two years ago. We recently went through a rebranding campaign and saw Pinterest as a good way to reach out to both existing and potential members and the communities we serve. We find Pinterest, among other things, is a good outlet for improving our brand identity and also a great member engagement tool. Pinterest is not just another social media channel we have our name on. It’s an amazing marketing tool that helps us connect with our members and potential members and the community.

2) How has Pinterest helped your credit union better connect with members and potential members?
We’ve found people that use Pinterest (our Pinners) tend to take over the job of sharing information for the credit union. When we share something of interest, our Pinners take the initiative to pin, re-pin and share with their networks. You don’t usually see that kind of interaction in traditional marketing and we want to take full advantage of it.

3) What challenges have you faced using Pinterest?
The elephant in the room when it comes to Pinterest is the heavily female-skewed demographic. Honestly, if you’re looking to reach a mostly male audience, Pinterest is not the best outlet for your social media efforts. The way we look at it, though, women control the budgeting and purse-strings in many households these days, so using Pinterest to reach them makes sense.

Our female Pinners are typically frugal mothers, homeowners, and businesswomen. I try to put myself in the shoes of our Pinners and think “okay, they like the pin about increasing home value, so what other content might they like?” Then I go on to finding information about refinancing, home equity, etc. (complementary topics).

It is also sometimes a challenge to not become so heavily mired in sharing only financial services related information. As a credit union, we naturally tend to want to share all things financial, but that’s not necessarily content that is of interest to our Pinners. You want a good mix of information that helps promote the credit union but is not overtly related to finance all the time.

4) How does Pinterest complement your use of other social media platforms?
Pinterest, for us, started out as a complement to our other social media efforts, like Facebook and Twitter. We monitor things we pin that garner the most attention and share that across our other platforms.

Pinterest is also a great tool to present your content visually rather than textually (like status updates and tweets). It’s different from other social media outlets because I need to focus more on what the content looks like rather than how I am saying it.

5) What Pinterest advice do you have for other marketers?
You definitely want to spend time researching what other financial institutions are doing on Pinterest. You also need to think outside the content box and go beyond core products and services. Your Pinterest audience simply won’t go for that every day. I try to look for a good balance between the artsy, fun and do-it-yourself side of Pinterest and the “financial, budget savvy smart spender” brand attitude of our credit union. Finally, make sure you use the things you pin on Pinterest to help leverage your other social media efforts.