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The Harlem Globetrotters Share Their Pinterest Marketing Strategy

Penned by Dylan Richter

This article is for those responsible for creating a presence on Pinterest, but are still trying to figure it out. If you’re anything like us, you’ve scoured the internet reading articles, talked with those who you think “get” Pinterest and read every case study available. The research helped and you’ve learned a lot, but at the end of the day:

It’s difficult to see how your brand fits on Pinterest
It makes no sense for the Harlem Globetrotters to pin about weddings, recipes, fashion, hair styles, home decor or many of the more popular categories. We could try to tie into these topics but it wouldn’t be authentic to our brand.

You still want to reach Pinterest’s demographic but you’re not sure how
Despite your research, you’re asking yourself the same question: How can I create a successful Pinterest presence that fits my brand?

This is what we’re facing at the Harlem Globetrotters, but I think we’ve got a solid strategic plan. I can’t share results yet because we’re in the process of unfolding it, but I can give you some insight into how we got there, and hopefully spur some ideas of your own.

As we go, I’ll be sharing results and insights we learn along the way. We’d love feedback, and to hear your success or failure stories as well because at the end of the day, you learn just as much from what doesn’t work, as what does.

Harlem Globetrotters Background:

• The Globetrotters are a family entertainment basketball team

• We’ve been around since 1926 traveling the country and performing in front of millions of fans

• We are a family-friendly event that kids, parents and grandparents alike, will enjoy

• Families love coming to our shows and mothers tend to be the ones that purchase tickets

Due to these facts, the female-skewed Pinterest platform provides an amazing opportunity to directly connect with our female fans, including mothers.

Goal: Learn more about our target market
We’re a sports entertainment company, as opposed to a retailer, where a direct sales approach would make sense. Rather than direct sales, we view Pinterest as a tool to engage with and learn about our fans. We want to know: what are our fans interested in? If they like the Globetrotters, what else do they like?

Our goal is to study these engagements and interactions through driving traffic back to our website. Repins and clicks equate to traffic, and traffic lets us know what our fans on Pinterest are interested in.

Strategy: Use Pinterest as an extension of the Harlem Globetrotter’s Brand
In the words of Angela Leaney, EVP of Brand Marketing, the theme of our strategy is “Finding the intersection between what is interesting and shared amongst moms, and what we have credibility or expertise on.” Instead of the common approach: ‘How can I extend my brand into Pinterest’s platform?’; we ask, ‘How can we use Pinterest’s platform as an extension of our brand?’ Since we want to extend our brand, our strategy is guided by what’s popular on Pinterest, and we are looking on how to capitalize on that in the areas that make sense for our brand.

One of our stars, Dizzy Grant, got married last year. We could post pictures of Dizzy’s wedding because weddings are a popular category on Pinterest. Although the category is popular, our brand isn’t relevant, and aside from a picture, we have nothing to offer.

Here is a snapshot of what we’ve created so far on Pinterest:

Questions to Answers:
Now that we know the direction we’re headed we can ask:

  • How can we use Pinterest’s platform as an extension of our brand?
  • What does our brand stand for?
  • What are our areas of expertise?
  • Where do we have credibility amongst mothers?

For the Globetrotters, those include topics like giving back to the community, healthy lifestyles, character development and bringing families together. Essentially, we use a venn diagram approach consisting of identifying areas mothers find interesting, identifying areas where the Globetrotters are relevant, and pinning the common ground.

All the general tips involving descriptions, visually rich content and SEO are helpful, but won’t help you maximize Pinterest if your strategic approach is flawed.

Now we have some questions for you:

  • Do you have any feedback on our strategy?
  • Has your brand run into any problems with Pinterest?
  • If your brand doesn’t seem to fit Pinterest’s mold, how do you create a successful presence?

Let us know what you think. In the meantime, you can follow our boards to see how our strategy plays out.

Dylan Richter is a former collegiate basketball player turned marketing man. He is the Digital Marketing Manager for the Harlem Globetrotters responsible for the execution of all digital campaigns including website, social, mobile and online marketing tactics. Connect with him on Linkedin .

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