It has been nearly seven years since Pinterest launched and became a runaway success. According to Statista, the image-saving site, which describes itself as “the world’s catalog of ideas,” reached 10 million monthly visitors faster than any site in history.
Other data from Statista shows that:
- It’s one of the best loved social networks, ranking only below Wikipedia and YouTube in terms of customer satisfaction.
- Its users are 56% female.
- And it’s hands down the top social media shopping platform. Some 55% of Pinterest’s user base use it for shopping (compared to only 12% of Facebook users, for example).
RJ Metrics rounds out the picture. Its 2014 study shows that:
- 92% of pins are made by women.
- 84% of women who sign up for Pinterest are still using it four years later.
- The number of pins they make goes up every year.
The RJ Metrics data shows that women pin mainly in the food and drink, DIY and crafts, and home decor categories. And since people will see pins multiple times up to 3.5 months after pinning (compared to 24 minutes for a tweet and about 90 for a Facebook
post), it’s a no-brainer for anyone interested in improving leads, conversions and sales in these areas to use Pinterest.
Business or Personal: Which Pinterest Should You Choose?
If you’ve had a Pinterest account for a while, you might still have a personal account. But if you’re starting from scratch, Pinterest for Business is the only realistic choice. There are a few reasons why.
One of the most important factors for marketers is analytics, which you only get with a business account. Since you need to measure the success of your Pinterest marketing campaigns, and understand how people are interacting with your pins, you can’t do without this feature.
You can also use Rich Pins (more on those later, but they are awesome!). If you integrate paid campaigns into the marketing mix, you’ll want to use Promoted Posts, another business feature.
And finally, you can verify a business account, so you have a nice little check mark that tells your followers you’re legit – and you know how important trust is.
If you have a personal account, Pinterest makes it easy for you to convert, which means you can keep all your boards, pins and followers. If you don’t, then read on. (And if you’re totally up to speed on the basics, then go straight to 10 Tips for Getting More from Pinterest).
Pinterest for Business Setup Guide
To set up your Pinterest for Business account:
- Go to pinterest.com and click “join as a business.”
- Add your email, create a password and add your business name.
- Select a business type. There are 9 to choose from (public figure, professional, retailer, brand, media, online business, local business, institution/non-profit or other) with examples of the types of businesses in each category. Don’t worry; you can always change this later by visiting the Pinterest settings.
- Optionally, add your website in the final box.
Pinterest says setup takes 15 seconds, and it’s true that it doesn’t take long to enter the information above. However, if you really want to use your account for marketing, you’ll need to do a bit more to get it ready:
- Click in the top right corner (next to the chat icon) to access the menu, then click on “my profile” and then the pencil icon (near the top left). This will allow you to add a username, a short description of your business and your website, if you haven’t already done it.
- Make sure your profile description makes it clear who you are, what you do and why people should follow you.
- Add your business location just as you would on other social media sites.
- Verify your business by uploading an HTML file to the root directory of your website.
- Add a profile image. It makes most sense to use the same one as on other social networks for brand recognition.
- Don’t forget to save.
If you really want to dig into the settings, click the “your settings” link at the base of the box to get access to everything. We’ll look at some of those other settings as we go through the guide.
Before you start saving content on Pinterest, it’s helpful to understand some of the basics. There’s not a whole lot to keep track of:
- To pin is to save an image on Pinterest; once saved, it becomes a pin. You can also like items without pinning them to a board.
- The place where you save items is called a board (well, really a pinboard). This usually holds a collection of pins around the same theme.
- To repin is to pin something you have found on Pinterest to one of your own boards.
- The cover includes the main image on a board, plus two smaller ones.
- Secret boards are boards that only you can see.
- Group boards are boards that multiple people can pin to.
- Your home feed is where you see content from people and boards that you follow.
- Know your limits. According to Pinterest, an account can have up to 500 boards, 200,000 pins, 100,000 likes and 50,000 follows.
How to Pin Content
Pinterest offers three ways to pin content:
- Hover over a pin you like and press the save button (which looks like the Pinterest logo).
- Use the Pinterest browser button to save images from any website. This also looks like the Pinterest logo.
- Upload images manually from your computer.
You can also use Pinterest sharing buttons by a number of third-party providers, such as Buffer, SumoMe and many others.
When you use the browser button and select your image, Pinterest automatically pulls in the URL and may pull in the description, as in the example below.
For manual upload, click the plus icon at the top of your home screen, then click the upload link. Upload your image and, optionally, type in a destination URL.
On the next screen, you can and should add a description and, optionally, a location. Select a board to add it to by hovering over the board title and pressing “save”.
You can also manage your Pinterest account via the mobile app. With more than one-third of users ONLY using the app back in 2013 (it’s probably more now) and two-thirds using pins while shopping in-store, downloading the app will help you understand the experience of your customers using mobile devices.
How to Prepare Your Pinterest Account for Launch
Before you tell your network about your Pinterest account, you’ll need to dress it up a little. A good starting point is to create three boards (that’s the number that shows across the top row of your profile page). Name your boards according to what you think your audience will be searching for, but don’t be afraid to have some fun. In the example below, fashion retailer LOFT has named boards according to the pattern on the clothes they offer:
Then pin at least three items to each of them (because that’s how many items visitors will see on the cover). The cover image, which you can change at any time, is the biggest of the three, with two smaller ones beneath it. Constant Contact suggests you set up these three boards:
- A board that showcases your products or services.
- One that solves your customers’ problems.
- A board that’s just for fun – as on other social media sites, don’t be afraid to show some personality.
However, your Pinterest profile now includes a carousel above the boards, where you can showcase up to 5 boards, so it’s definitely worth creating more. (See tip #6 below for more on this.)
How to Find Good Stuff to Pin
Find interesting things to pin by doing this:
- Follow your existing contacts on Pinterest (remember content from people you follow will show in your home feed). You can do this by adding your Gmail, Yahoo or Microsoft account from the settings page.
- Use the search box to find people who pin items your audience will find interesting.
- Pin content that you are sharing on other social networks.
Whatever method you choose, edit the default description for your pins so you can make them more interesting. You have the option to include keyword phrases and hashtags and to @mention other Pinterest users.
How to Improve Your Pinterest Experience
Similarly, include descriptions for your boards. Don’t be afraid to experiment – there’s no rule that says board descriptions have to follow a well-worn and boring template. You have 500 characters, which is more than enough space to tell potential followers what your board is about.
However, note that only 134 characters will show on a smartphone so make the first few characters count. Buffer recommends using keyword-rich pin and board descriptions even though it says the results of its research were “a bit inconclusive”.
Next, go back to the Pinterest settings page and connect your social media accounts. Pinterest works with Twitter (see our Twitter marketing guide), Google+ and Facebook. Be warned that it connects to your personal Facebook profile, which might be a concern unless you’re using that for business.
You’ll also want to make sure that your web content is pinnable (and images are the right size: a minimum of 600 pixels wide, but 735px is even better).
Not only will it make it easier for you to pin it, but it will help your audience too. If you’re running a WordPress site, then you can add pinning functionality via a plugin. There are also integrations for other popular blogging platforms, or you can build a save button on Pinterest.
10 Tips for Getting More from Pinterest Marketing
Once you’ve completed the steps above, there are lots of ways to make your Pinterest account work well as part of your content marketing strategy.
1. Pin at the Right Time
On any social media site, you get more attention for your content if you post at the right time. The findings from social timing studies can vary widely, but here’s what a couple of trustworthy sources say:
- Hubspot says to post during the evening, especially on Saturdays from 8-11 pm.
- CoSchedule agrees, but adds Fridays at 3 (plus a couple of other slots) to the mix.
Use these as a starting point for your own pinning schedule and consider something like Buffer’s optimal scheduling tool to eliminate the guesswork.
2. Include Text on Your Image
Aside from having crisp, clear images that are the right size and shape, it turns out that a little bit of text on the images makes people linger and pay more attention to the pin. And if they like what they see, your pin could soon be in front of a whole new audience.
3. Find More Interesting Items to Pin
Whether you’re pinning on group boards or your own, the more interesting your pins are, the more likes and repins you’ll get. Find more interesting pinnables by doing this:
- Follow interests. Click the following button on any profile to find topics, people and boards they find interesting. Then click the interests that align with yours to see cool pins in your home feed.
- Check out the most popular categories. A University of Minnesota study lists the top 5 as food and drink, DIY and crafts, home decor, women’s fashion and other. Create great pins in these categories and you’re sure to attract more interest.
- See which other boards your favorite pins are saved to; these will almost certainly have related items you can also pin. Click on any pin and scroll to the end to see how many boards it has been saved to. Click the link to find those boards.
- Create pins that show how your product can be used (instead of what the product is). Social Media Examiner says you will get more love from Pinterest users.
- Find trending topics by clicking on the menu option and selecting “Popular”. After that, there’s a “Most Popular” link if you want to dig even deeper.
4. Write Longer Pin Descriptions
While there are lots of pins out there with no description at all, that’s wasting a space with marketing potential. Not only can you include search terms and hashtags related to your business as part of the description, but you can make them long. Descriptions between 150 and 300 words get more engagement, says Social Media Examiner.
5. Include Prices
Include prices in your product pins – those pins also get more attention. Pinterest’s own research shows that 87% of Pinterest users have bought something as a result of using the site.
6. Create More Boards and Name Them Well
Don’t leave your Pinterest account with 3 or 5 boards; add some more if you don’t want it to look lame. Some of the best business users have dozens of boards. Grammarly has 15; GE has 39; and Better Homes and Gardens had 186 at the time of writing. With an upper limit of 500, there’s no need to skimp on board creation. Use analytics data to find board names that reflect what people are searching for on your site; chances are they might be looking for something related on Pinterest.
7. Use Group Boards for More Engagement
Create a group board around a theme and invite some guest pinners to contribute to it. Not only will your Pinterest account be active, but you’ll benefit from exposure to guest pinners’ audiences. Group boards have proved to be among the most active and popular on Pinterest, so it’s a good strategy for building a community. PinGroupie has a searchable directory of group boards, though at the time of writing, it hadn’t been updated for a while.
8. Be Conversational
Talk to people. Pinterest has group board messaging for discussion with other pinners, and you can send regular private messages via the chat feature. You can even find people who are already engaged with your content via Pinterest analytics and converse with them specifically.
You can also comment on individual pins and message specific users by including the @ symbol and their username. And of course if influencers have been mentioned in the content you’re pinning, you can tag them on Pinterest or send a message if it’s relevant to them.
9. Use a Widget
Strengthen the link between your blog and your Pinterest account by creating a Pinterest widget to make it easier for your site visitors to connect with you on Pinterest and see the types of items you save and share. There are widgets optimized for WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr and Wix. Alternatively, visit Pinterest’s widget builder page to create and customize a “pin it” button, follow button or pin, profile or board widget. Embedding a board on your site will encourage web visitors to follow you and will help to build your audience and community.
10. Rearrange Your Boards
Once you have some analytics data for your account, figure out which are your most popular boards and rearrange your boards so these appear at the top. You can drag and drop till you achieve the best layout.
Similarly, you can put your most popular pin from a board on the cover to get more eyes on it.
Pinterest for Business Features
Earlier I mentioned some special features that you only get with a business Pinterest account. Let’s take a brief look at these:
- Rich pins provide extra information and functionality for pinners which can make your pins more engaging. Go through the short setup process, selecting the type of pin you want. There are six to choose from (product, place, app, movie, article and recipe). Add the right code to your website manually (or just use Yoast SEO) then validate it. Once you’re approved, you’re ready to use rich pins. The example below is an article pin, which pulls in the title and description plus a call to action to “read it”.
- With promoted pins, you pay to get more visibility for your pins. Pinterest recently updated these so Pinterest users can get to the source of content with a single tap or download an app in one move. Pinterest suggests you use 20-30 keywords with a promoted pin to ensure that it appears in every relevant category.
- Buyable pins are available in the US and work with major ecommerce platform. They allow people to purchase items from your online store via a couple of taps or clicks on a pin. When people are ready to buy, that equals better conversions and sales. Learn more in this guide from Shopify.
- Pinterest introduced Search Ads in January 2017 to allow customers to run keyword based and shopping campaigns that will appear when users search.
As mentioned earlier, Pinterest includes analytics. There are four sections:
- Overview, which gives you a snapshot of all the other sections.
- Profile, which includes impressions, repins, clicks and all-time stats, as well as the top pins and boards from the past month.
- People you reach, including a 30-day overview of your audience, as well as demographic information and audience interests. Click on an interest to see related content and to follow it.
- Website gives data for pins originating from your site.
Other Tools for Visualizing Pinterest Data
As with other analytics tools, you can use Pinterest analytics to understand more about your audience and the performance of your content. However, if you want a little more insight, you’ll need to turn to an external tool. Here are a few to choose from:
- Google Analytics. Go to the traffic sources – referral report to find out what’s happening with Pinterest related traffic. You can also get additional insight by using UTM parameters.
- Use Tailwind to schedule Pinterest posts and you’ll get in-depth Pinterest analytics data (provided you have the right account).
- Viralwoot is another Pinterest scheduling tool which has built-in analytics.
- Both Curalate and ViralTag will help you understand how the images you share perform across social media networks.
- Track pin engagement from your WordPress dashboard with WP Pinner.
How to Boost Pinterest Follower Numbers
To keep your Pinterest audience growing, there are a few techniques to try. In addition to embedding boards on your site, pinning to group boards and running contests, CoSchedule suggests you try:
- Repinning to meet new pinners (experts suggest 80% of your content should be repins).
- Invest in design for your own images so they look great
- Follow your followers.
- Share the link to your Pinterest account on other social networks.
- Find out who’s following your competitors and follow them too.
- Pin 9 times a day.
- Run a contest. Not only will this get you more attention, but they make people more likely to buy.
Other cool things to do with Pinterest include:
- Pin music videos to create a playlist. Share this with your audience, or create a group board so they can add their suggestions.
- Make a reading (and shopping) list by pinning books.
- Put together a gift guide that includes your product or service.
- Curate content your audience will love (remember, it’s not all about you, so share other people’s good stuff too).
And for all copywriters, designers and digital marketers, Pinterest is a great place to create a portfolio.
Pinterest Marketing Case Studies
Finally, here are a few Pinterest marketing success stories to inspire you:
- Human Proof Designs increased referral traffic from Pinterest by 1358 visitors within a month by doing keyword to find board names, using custom images and more.
- Murals Wallpaper named Pinterest boards after site categories, created high-quality content with calls to action to visit Pinterest and used group boards, resulting in 77% new site traffic originating on Pinterest.
- Smart Marketer’s Ezra Firestone made $41,254.34 from a Pinterest ad spend on just $775 with the ads also leading to direct traffic.
- PetPlan used boards built around dog breeds to attract audiences, resulting in a 12.5% increase in requests for insurance quotes.
- AdoreMe used promoted pins to reach new customers and increase Pinterest revenue by 4000%.
Though I use it less often than Twitter or Facebook, Pinterest has been a great place to get visual inspiration and even do research. It’s a great marketing tool. How are you using Pinterest in your marketing?
The first version of this guide was created by Sharon Hurley Hall.
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