If you’ve been in charge of a company website or blog for a while, you probably know not to google an image and save it to republish on your own site, even if it seems the easiest way to get a photo you need. Using an image without proper copyright permission on the Internet is a risky business. If the copyright holder (most often the photographer or sometimes a business that purchased the photo or commissioned it to be taken) finds out – and they can find out through an image search – your company could be facing a lawsuit even if you agree to take down the image immediately. It makes sense, and then that you’re concerned about your company’s Pinterest account, as the entire point of Pinterest seems to be to repost other people’s images.
Create an Account Regardless
Even if you’re (rightfully) concerned about reposting images you don’t have the copyright for, sign your business up for Pinterest regardless. The Pew Research Center reports that 26 percent of the entire adult population is on Pinterest, and 31 percent of adult Internet users. That’s a large demographic you won’t be reaching if you skip out on the platform entirely.
While you don’t have to keep the account very active – unless you find your target demographic prefers it to other social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter – just putting your pictures out there and allowing other users to repost them will help spread your brand around. Make good use of hashtags and categorizations so users have an easy time finding your posts.
What to Post
Social Marketing Writing claims that 80 percent of Pinterest posts are repins. It’s a very share-friendly platform, and while most individual users don’t have to worry about reposting a “pin,” you should protect your brand because a company might make for a bigger target than an individual user. Your account should primarily be filled with photos you pin yourself to the platform.
Post all the product photos you have taken for your website or online store, as well as any photos you shoot of your company’s office, warehouse and staff. You can also purchase the rights to use stock images and share those as well, but your own photos will prove the most effective and safe from legal action. If a happy customer takes a photo of your product, feel free to repost it, as they’re often willing to share these photos.
Repinning for Fair Use
If you find images on Pinterest you simply must share with your followers, go ahead and repin them if you see proper attribution to the artist in the credits. Sharing these images – so long as you’re not the account that initially put the photo up (if you are; make sure to get permission) – falls under “fair use.” If the artist has an account on Pinterest specifically to promote her work, she’ll welcome repins. However, if you feel uncomfortable, don’t feel obligated to repin anyone’s work on the company account.
The safest way to use Pinterest – and the most effective way for your business regardless – is to only post photos for which you have proper permissions. However, if you do repin images, make sure they’re properly attributed to the copyright holder and never pin copyrighted images to the site yourself. Have fun, and err on the side of caution when it comes to your company’s Pinterest account.