If you’re a marketer and you’re not on Pinterest, then you’re missing out on one of the biggest and the most flexible/powerful platforms out there. Pinterest may not be quite as big as Facebook in terms of pure users but it’s actually not as far behind as you might think. What’s more, it has a ton of unique features that present excellent opportunities for the savvy marketer.
To get started with your business account, you need to visit this link: https://business.pinterest.com.
If you don’t already have a Pinterest account, then you just click ‘Join as a Business’ to get set up with your own business account.
If you do already have a Pinterest account, then thankfully there is the option to ‘Convert Now’ which lets you change your current account into a business account. This is completely free and takes a matter of seconds, so it’s worth doing (see above for more reasons why).
From here, you can then install a Pin It button easily to your page, your can get a ‘Follow Me’ button to add to your website too, or you can set up your analytics.
Using analytics is an incredibly good idea, because it will allow you to see which of your articles and images are being shared on Pinterest and being interacted with. This is a hugely useful tool for assessing which of your content is performing the best and that helps you to refine your approach. Maybe your memes are getting the most shares? Maybe shorter articles perform better? Looking at these metrics let you know. This is a very powerful feature that a lot of other social sites just can’t come close to!
We discussed the use of ‘rich article pins’ earlier but in fact there are actually six types of rich pins. These include:
That means that you can provide additional information about your pin and set up your site so that when someone else shares your pin, the additional information will be there automatically.
Go to this link: https://developers.pinterest.com/docs/rich-pins/overview/ to apply for rich pins via the ‘validator’. From there, you then simply need to add some meta information to your website so that Pinterest can see what type of content you’ve shared.
Note: If you want to prevent your pages from showing as rich pins, you simply add the following line to the head section of your HTML:
<meta name=”pinterest-rich-pin” content=”false” />
There’s also some code you can use to prevent your content from appearing as pins at all. This however is not a particularly useful tool for a marketer!
For marketers, one of the most interesting types of pin other than the rich article pin, is the product pin. A product pin essentially enables you to show availability for an item and to show the pricing in real time. If you don’t have the ‘Buy’ button on your pin, this is the next best thing for making it easy for people to buy your products and to learn more about them.
Again, you need meta content for this to work. This time the following markup:
<meta property=”og:title” content=”Name of your product” />
<meta property=”og:type” content=”product” />
<meta property=”og:price:amount” content=”1.00″ />
<meta property=”og:price:currency” content=”USD” />
Pinterest has some useful utility for influencer marketing, thanks to its own ‘Pinterest Email’ feature, which was introduced in May 2013. This tool allows you to send your contacts on Pinterest a personalized message that might recommend a specific pin, or which can be used to open up a dialogue.
What makes this useful is that it means you can now get in touch with other users that are performing well on the site. In turn, this then means you can invite them to work together, or can suggest particular partnerships. This can be beneficial for both brands and if you gradually approach more and more highly influential users, you can progress up the ladder to increase your rich.
You can also use this to turn prospects into buyers – send someone who is engaging with your content a pin that you think they’ll like, or that you think will solve an issue they’re having, and it could turn into a sale for you, or at least a new subscriber or follower!
If you want to go one step further with your website/Pinterest integration, then you should look into adding widgets. You can get widgets for both your Pinterest page and for your boards specifically. Either of these can then be added to the sidebar of your website, which will make your profile much more tempting for people to follow. Not only will your visitors be able to see that you’re on Pinterest but this way they’ll also be able to see the type of content you’re sharing and the kind of value you’re offering. This is also a great way to ensure that your website stays looking active if you’re busy and don’t have time to add new blog posts for instance.
As we mentioned previously, Pinterest is the perfect platform for launching a competition. The visual nature of Pinterest creates a fun opportunity for people to send in their ideas for interior design, or novel uses for your products. Likewise, you can run contests where you award the most inspiring boards on the platform that solve a particular problem that you posit.
Either way, this is a great way to get more people engaging with your brand which can in turn also lead to more of your pins getting shared throughout social networks.
When running contests though, make sure that you adhere to the guidelines that Pinterest sets out for brands. You can find these here: https://business.pinterest.com/en-gb/brand-guidelines.
If you want to make your marketing strategy even more advanced then you should look at the ways you can leverage other tools and software to streamline your workflow. As we’ll see, utilizing the right apps and services can save you a lot of time and help you to get more work done more quickly.
Here are some of the best ones to consider using…
IFTTT is an absolutely incredible tool that allows you to synchronize a large number of different apps and services that you use on the web. It works by letting you set up certain actions on social media, web apps or even WordPress to work as ‘triggers’. These triggers can then cause an action on a range of other connected services.
The most basic example of this would be to have your WordPress page automatically share posts to Pinterest when you upload them. Make sure you’re adding in the rich articles metatags, and then let IFTTT take care of the rest by adding the articles to the pages automatically. This can save you a lot of time but do remember that you don’t want to make all your content automatically added – you also need to actively select some of your Pinterest content to make sure that you’re providing value.
There are also a ton of other ‘recipes’ (as they’re known on the site) that you can create through IFTTT to streamline your Pinterest posting. For instance, why not have your Instagram pictures automatically shared to Pinterest as well? Or how about the Instagram pictures that you like? Alternatively you can go the other tact and make sure that your Twitter followers are notified each time you add new content to Pinterest. Now, each new pin you add is another opportunity for your followers to gravitate toward your Pinterest account and increase the number of followers you have there.
You can sync this up with any of your social media accounts which will help to keep your profile looking busy!
There is a Pinterest Chrome plugin that can save you a huge amount of time on Pinterest yet again. What this allows you to do is to easily share any image you come across online (as long as you’re using the Chrome browser) by just hovering your mouse over it. This is much faster than having to navigate to Pinterest each time you want to add a photo and then manually enter the URL and it basically means you’re more likely to add more high quality content as you find it to your account.
Pinterest also has great apps for Android and iOS – both of which make it even easier for you to manage your account and to add new photos or respond to comments. The great thing about the apps is that you can use them wherever you are, which will again save you time and which means you can promote your brand when it’s convenient for you instead of having it eat into your other business activities.
The other great thing about the app is that if you hit the ‘plus’ sign in the top left, you can quickly take photos that you can then add as pins. If you have a personal brand, or if you want to show off your company hard at work in the office, then this is a great tool! Other than this additional feature, using the Pinterest app is broadly similar to navigating the website, so you should find it very intuitive.
How Businesses Use Pinterest
If you’re still reading then congratulations, you now know Pinterest marketing inside out and should be ready to start achieving great things through the app.
But if you’re still feeling anxious about diving in, it might help you to see some examples of other brands that have managed to succeed. These companies have largely used the exact same techniques that we’ve discussed – delivering value to their audience and then linking it back to the products and services they sell. Here are some great examples of top brands and how they’ve worked their magic…
Etsy is pretty much the ‘eBay of crafts’ and allows its users to sell all kinds of things they’ve made (of course the company takes a small cut). Common products to find on Etsy include handmade jewellery, paintings, ornaments and more.
As you can imagine then, this is a perfect example of a creative and ‘visual’ brand that is ideally suited to Pinterest.
And Etsy has made sure to take full advantage of that fit. They have boards focussing on everything from interior design, to pets, to gardening, to cooking. With well over 460,000 followers, their boards are doing very well and they even allow viewers to easily buy the items that they like the looks of.
Swarovski has one board in particular that does very well on Pinterest, which is its ‘Wedded Bliss’ board. This board has over 1,500,000 followers and growing. The board works well because it really focusses on the emotions involved in getting married (hence ‘bliss’) and because it provides useful inspiration for those getting married. At the same time, it relates to their products without being an obviously promotional subject.
Mashable is a great example of a blog that is doing well on Pinterest. With over 1,500,000 followers, the company works by focussing on the most visually appealing aspects of technology: such as infographics, apps and products.
HTC One is doing a great job with marketing in general and has set itself apart as a very ‘trendy’ mobile phone manufacturer. Pinterest only helps it to cement this impression, where the company has been running contests. A simple promotion ‘repin to win your very own HTC one’ was enough to gain over 3,700 comments and even more repins. The contest was actually a partnership with a leading social media authority already doing well on the site, which nicely rolls two very potent marketing strategies into one highly effective approach.
L.L. Bean has more followers than any other brand currently on Pinterest: that’s over 5,300,000! They showcase all kinds of outdoors activities, again focussing on the lifestyle that surrounds their products. People want to fill their home-feeds with imagery that’s aesthetically appealing and that makes them feel good when they look at it – so keep this in mind as you populate your own boards!
As you can see, all these big brands are using Pinterest in precisely the way we’ve outlined: to share content that people will enjoy viewing and that will promote the lifestyle and value proposition of their products. Good marketing doesn’t have to be ‘on the nose’ – look for ways to get people excited about your brand and to help them feel inspired and to come up with ideas. If you can do those things, then your boards will succeed.
Your Pinterest Plan
Now you have all the pieces, it’s time to put them together to form a plan that you can follow one step at a time in order to build your viewers and to gain mass influence.
Step 1: Build Your Brand
The first step is to build your brand. This means you need to make sure that you know ‘who you are’ as a business before you tackle Pinterest.
This is something that should come before you begin on any social media site. You need to make sure you have a clear ‘mission statement’ that ties all your different products, blog posts and activities together. This should then be expressed through a logo which should bleed through into your web design. Make sure you have a website set up that has a design language consistent with the rest of your branding and then bring that same color scheme and logo to each of the social media sites you sign up with.
It’s this consistency that will ultimately ensure that each interaction with a customer increases your brand visibility and helps to build your authority. This will also considerably help you to appear more professional as you maintain the same design sensibilities in everything you do, rather than appearing not to have any particular strategy. The mantra of most businesses when it comes to social media marketing is to ‘be everywhere’ and consistency is key with that.
Make sure your Pinterest account is a business account and link it with your website using the code that Pinterest gives you.
Step 2: Link Your Accounts
Now you should do a little prep work to make sure that your work flow is going to be as smooth as possible and to help yourself more easily add new content to your Pinterest boards/share users between your accounts.
Make sure that you have a link to your Pinterest page right on your homepage then and even consider adding a widget in your sidebar so that your visitors can migrate to Pinterest from there. Likewise, ensure that you Tweet about your Pinterest page and that you share your Instagram images on Pinterest. You can use IFTTT to set up some of these relationships and that will save you a lot of time. You should also install the Instagram app on your mobile device and the Instagram plugin for Chrome – both of which will make it easier for you to keep adding new content.
Use Shareaholic meanwhile to add social sharing buttons to your website, thereby allowing other people to share your content. This is also a good time to set-up rich article pins with your website so that the pins that do get shared from your website will have titles and information under them.
Step 3: Provide Value
Now begins the most important part of your Pinterest marketing strategy: delivering value. Make sure that you are posting content to Pinterest regularly and that you have come up with some kind of ‘angle’ for your boards that will really appeal to your audience. You might focus on inspirational images, beautiful images, or tips and ideas. Either way, your board should fulfil some kind of purpose and be useful to your followers. It should be so valuable as to essentially stand as its own ‘product’ and attract viewers on its own merit. Only occasionally will you then link your images back to products you’re selling, or try to get people to sign up to your mailing list etc.
Make sure to carefully choose the tags you add to your pins so that people can find your images and write comments underneath to provide context. Good titles can also help a lot. If you’re still unsure of what works, then spend some time looking at the boards we recommended to get ideas.
You should also make sure to keep posting great value content to your website that people can share through Pinterest. Use analytics to see which content is performing best and make sure that you feature attractive images that will grab attention and get people to pin and repin.
You should also spend some time interacting with the community and building relationships: that means repining the content you find from other users, posting comments and sending messages to your followers. This will help you to build more of a relationship with those users.
Step 4: Monetize
Monetization is the step that should come last, but of course it’s still very important. The best way to monetize your Pinterest account is to add your own products or to mention your services in the text below your posts. The great thing about selling products through Pinterest is that the new ‘Buy Now’ button will allow you to sell directly like an eCommerce store. Otherwise, use the ‘Rich Product’ pins and use these to keep your viewers updated regarding the items you have in stock, the price and where they can get hold of them.
More important than these direct sales though is just to build your audience and to gain their trust so that you can bring them to your website when they’re looking for services and products like yours. This is when social media is its most effective, so don’t get impatient and drive them away!
There you have it: that’s everything you could possibly need to know to start succeeding on Pinterest!
Really though, the most important learning will occur ‘on the job’ as you go through the act of posting content and using the tool. When you first sign up, it might seem like a complicated platform to begin with, but you’ll quickly find your footing and at that point it can be a lot of fun too.
As some final advice, consider the following ‘dos and don’ts’ to guide you through…
DO Make sure that all your content is offering real value for your followers.
DO Add useful descriptions to anything you upload.
DO Pick the right tags!
DON’T Just try to sell products!
DO Set up useful ‘automated’ systems to save you time.
DON’T Rely on these though, or you’ll end up with a lot of random content.
DO Think about how articles you write for your blog post will work on Pinterest.
DON’T Post irregularly and leave your account looking barren.
DON’T Just rely on repining – add your own unique content!
DO Upgrade to a business account.
DO Verify your website so that you can see analytics.
DO Include social sharing buttons on your content.
DON’T Think that Pinterest is less important than other social media sites!
And while we’re at it, let’s consider some cool ideas for things you can do with Pinterest, which will hopefully leave you with a bit of inspiration before you get started.
Designing Your Website or Logo
A great way to get to grips with Pinterest is to try using it yourself not as a marketer. When designing your website or logo, you can use a Pinterest board to collect images that you like the looks of and that you think should inspire the artistic direction you’re going to go with. You’ll find this really helps you to bring everything together into a cohesive design at the end and this understanding will prove useful when you’re trying to appeal to other users with your own content.
If you have a fitness blog, then using it to share bodyweight exercises is a great idea. This is the kind of thing that allows you to provide genuinely useful tips but through just a single image and some text!
Some people love staring at pictures of beautiful holiday locations, other people love looking at stunning cars. Sometimes creating a board that’s all about making us salivate is a great way to get fans – and as you’re building up the desire factor, it will be great when it comes to selling!
People love lifehacks and actually Pinterest is one of the big reasons for this! Try posting tips that you can convey in a single image. Life hacks can also be applied to pretty much any niche whether it’s ‘gardening’ life hacks or tidying life hacks!
Motivational posters are popular online and can apply to a range of different topics. Why not create a board that focusses on motivational images and text relating to your niche or industry?
Those are just a few ideas but the possibilities are endless so dive in and start experimenting! Good luck and happy pinning!