Pinterest for business

Pinterest for business

Of all the social media platforms out there, Pinterest uniquely positions itself as the place for inspiration and ideas. With over 250 million active monthly users, and a growth rate that is currently outpacing both Twitter and Snapchat, it is definitely a contender as one of the more popular social media options.

Unlike its social media counterparts, Pinterest focuses less on social interaction and more on encouraging its users to search and collect things. In this sense, Pinterest isn’t so much social media as it is a visual search engine.

Users create Pins — an image or video that people add to Pinterest, pulled directly from websites, shared from apps, or repinned from other users. Pins are organized into collections called boards (think virtual bulletin board).

You could have a favorite recipe board, basement remodeling ideas board, art inspiration board, favorite hunting products board, really anything. Searching for the best dog toy for tough chewers? Check Pinterest. Need help selecting a light fixture for your bathroom remodeling project? Pinterest can help. Sky is the limit based on your preferences and what you are interested in learning and collecting.

Is Pinterest right for your business?

Like many other social media platforms, Pinterest provides an advantage to businesses and marketers looking to connect, engage, and educate customers about specific products and services. Implementing a Pinterest marketing strategy for your business can increase sales and brand awareness. Fifty percent of people made a purchase after seeing a promoted Pin and 67% say they’ve discovered a new brand or product from content on the network. With the right strategy, the platform is a great way to drive traffic to your website, market your products or services, and even sell (check out The Pinterest Shop). PewResearch reports that 28% of online adults today use Pinterest, making it one of the most popular social networks and most powerful drivers of website traffic.

So, how do you know if it is right for your business? Start by looking at your target customer and who is using Pinterest. If those groups match, your business should be on Pinterest!

Below are a few stats on Pinterest’s users. For additional info check Pinterest’s audience insights.

Also helpful in understanding Pinterest’s audience:

The basics – what you need to know to get started with Pinterest

To take advantage of this marketing tool, here are a few basic steps you should take to get up and running.

Step 1: Set up your account

This is easy to do. It takes about 15 seconds and you just need to provide basic information like your email, preferred language, and business name. During setup, you’ll also have the option to claim a connection to your website as well as other services you might be using like Etsy, Instagram, or YouTube. This is something you will want to do. Pinterest will attribute to you any Pins posted by other users from these sources. Many of these features are not available with a “personal” Pinterest account. If using Pinterest for business, it’s important to set up a business account. Doing so will open up Pinterest analytics which is critical for measuring your effectiveness on the platform. You can convert your personal account to a business account if you already have one and would like to unlock this feature.

Step 2: Verify your website

After you create your account, you will want to verify your website with Pinterest. Why is verification important? Claiming your website allows you to get attribution and analytics for your content which may already appear on Pinterest. The process is fairly simple to do and Pinterest walks you through the steps. You can either download an HTML verification file and then upload it to your server or add a tag to the head section of the index file of your website. If you are unsure how to do this, download the HTML file and provide it to your web developer. They should know how to take care of it for you.

Step 3: Create boards and pin relevant content to them

Before you start promoting your Pinterest account, make sure you’ve compiled some content to engage your target audience. Create boards that support your brand, sales messaging, and marketing efforts. Pin appropriate, supportive images and videos that are relevant to your brand and audience. Below are several strategies you can employ to get the most from your efforts and drive traffic from Pinterest to your website.

Step 4: Complete your profile

A complete profile is necessary before you start promoting your account. It’s basic Sales 101. You want people to be able to easily connect with your brand, understand who you are, and what you can offer them.

Strategies — use Pinterest to drive traffic to your website!

Now that you have a business account set up and are ready to engage and attract customers, here are 11 of our favorite Pinterest strategies you can try leveraging in your own social strategy. Keep in mind, as with all social media, every audience is unique. Test these strategies and see which ones get the most reaction and engagement with your target audience.

Strategy 1: Upload Pins directly from your website.

The most valuable aspect of using Pinterest is the connection between your Pin and its source link. Each time you upload a Pin from your website, you’re automatically creating a link back to your website from a reputable, well-known source (which can help with search engine rankings). Additionally, when someone re-pins your Pin, the link back to your website will remain as the source of the Pin. When adding a Pin, make sure to add the URL from your website that you want people directed to when they click the Pin. This should be the page on your website that is the most relevant to the Pin. For example, a related article or product page.

Strategy 2: Infographics, infographics, infographics.

An infographic is a visually compelling communication tool that when done well can communicate complex information in an easy to digest visual format.

Our brains like infographics! In a recent study by Infographic World, Infographics scored highest among the following mediums for effectiveness in learning and retention of information. They are huge on Pinterest and are known for their ability to go viral.

Tip: If you create your own infographics, be sure to include your company name or logo somewhere on it. Link back to a page on your website that has additional details or information about the graphic.

Strategy 3: Create boards that your customers will like to follow.

If your customers are technical and spend most of their days working behind a computer screen in a big city, it probably wouldn’t make much sense to plaster a bunch of Pins and boards that promote living off the grid to your account. Boards should be created with your customer in mind. What will speak to them? What will get them to click? What will they find useful? Focus on one of the basics of marketing – understand your audience – when creating boards and Pins.

Wishpond has a great blog that highlights 10 Amazing Pinterest Boards, providing good examples of businesses and brands leveraging boards that speak to their customers.

Strategy 4: Encourage employees to create personal Pinterest profiles and to follow and create boards that are related to your products.

You are trying to create a community and grow your footprint. When your employees are interacting with customers online and sharing your brand, boards, and Pins, your message will go further.

Strategy 5: Post regularly – multiple times per day if possible.

If you were posting 15-20 times per day on Facebook, you likely would feel spammy, but Pinterest is different. According to MediaPost, brands see scale results when they pin 15 to 30 items per day. It may seem like a lot, but that is still a fraction of a user’s feed.

Tip: Spread the posting of your Pins out throughout the day, not all at once.

Strategy 6: Re-pin and share content other than your own.

Don’t just post your own content. Add other related and brand supporting content to your boards. The goal is to engage and inspire your customers and sometimes it’s best to not be self-promotional to achieve this goal. Promote Pins that will connect with your customers, even if that means sharing other people’s ideas.

Strategy 7: Use high-quality optimized photos.

Pinterest is a visual medium. High quality, unique pictures are critical to attracting attention and standing out amongst the crowd. You are competing with thousands of other brands on Pinterest so it is important your pictures do the talking.

Ensuring you are using correctly sized images is important too. This helpful infographic breaks down what to focus on with Pinterest images.

Tip: Focus on making pictures relatable. Instead of just showing a picture of your product, show a picture of the product being used. As HootSuite points out, Pinterest found that lifestyle images (pictures where a product is being used) generally outperform product images. For instance, fashion and style Pins showing products in use in real life saw 30% more clickthroughs and 170% higher checkout rates than those showing the product alone. An example: If you were selling athletic shoes, you’d want to feature your shoe being worn by an outgoing athlete in action as opposed to just a picture of the same shoe sitting on a shelf.

Strategy 8: Use meaningful titles and descriptions that appeal to your customers.

Not only are titles and descriptions important in attracting your target audience, but Pinterest also has a comprehensive algorithm behind the scenes that gives preference to posts that do their diligence with these fields.

As Pinterest points out in their helpful Best Practice Guide, every Pin should have a description that provides context. The best descriptions are positive and help people imagine what they might do with a Pin while also providing extra information. And remember that Pins last forever so its best to avoid titles and descriptions that focus on timely promotional information and schedules.

Tip: Use rich data. This is done via meta tags and helps Pinterest properly index your content. More information on how to set up Rich Pins can be found in the Pinterest Developer Docs.

Strategy 9: Follow others and be social.

If you want others to be Pinning your content, you need to be actively Pinning yourself! As we mentioned earlier, be sure to be sharing content from other boards and brands. To find content, follow other Pinners in your industry or who create boards that resonate with your brand. Comment, like, and Pin their content. Another smart strategy: Join group boards and interact with other people there. Lastly, add comments to Pins that are relevant to your business. Anything you can do to interact with other people, boards, and Pins, the more likely it is that someone in your target audience will see you.

Tip: An easy way to find users to follow on Pinterest is to search for your topic and follow those who are already Pinning content related to your offering. If your competition is active on Pinterest check out their follower list and follow them as well. Each user you follow will receive a notification with a link to your profile. Depending on the quality of your profile and Pins, around 1-10% are likely to follow you back. Do this on a regular basis and watch your followers (and ultimately traffic back to your website) steadily grow. However, don’t get too carried away. To limit spam, Pinterest has imposed limits on how many people you can follow in a day. The exact number is unclear, but keeping it under 300 follows in a day and spreading those out throughout the day is generally considered safe. Avoid the temptation to automate the process with a bot. Doing so will help keep your account from getting blocked and undoing all your hard work.

Strategy 10: Add the Pinterest Save button and Pinterest Tag scripts to your website.

Add the Pinterest Save button to your website. This will make it easy for people to save your site’s content. It will add a clickable Pinterest logo that will appear on your website’s images and can boost your brand’s presence on Pinterest.

There is also a Pinterest Tag feature that helps you make more informed decisions by tracking website conversions. This script provides you additional information via Pinterest Analytics that can give you deeper insights into how Pinners interact with your site. Consider installing it once you are up and running on Pinterest.

Strategy 11: Consider using ads to increase reach and targeting power.

According to Pinterest, 90% of people on the social network get ideas for what to buy next. That’s pretty powerful. And while Pinterest’s organic reach, meaning reach that happens just by using a social network to build a social community, share posts, and respond to customer comments, is still good, many businesses leverage paid ads in order to increase the reach of their content while also ramping up their targeting power. Sponsored or promoted content can get your message in front of a larger, or more targeted, audience, however, a cost is incurred to place an ad.

There are a lot of different options for ads and targeting on Pinterest. And at first, it can feel a little overwhelming. But it’s one of those things that once you do it a few times, you get the hang of it quickly.

The basics: While setting up your ad campaign, you’ll need to determine your objective and the type of ad you want to use. Do you want to build awareness (i.e., increase video views) or drive consideration (i.e., increase website traffic or app installs)? Do you want to promote a picture or a video? Pinterest has a few different options for ad formats. Depending on the format you pick and how you set up your campaign, you can meet a range of business objectives.

From there you’ll fill in a number of campaign details, including the name of your campaign, campaign budget, and your target audience. You can target your Pinterest ads by interests, location, language, device, gender, keywords, or even pre-built audiences based on your own business data.

You could see some results for as little as $5 per day. This would be a place to start if you are new to the platform. If your experiment’s results are favorable (positive ROI) you can ramp up from there. Or, if results are not favorable, tweak your strategy and try again. Sometimes you have to go through a few rounds before you land on something that resonates with your audience.

HootSuite’s article, “Pinterest Ads: A Simple Guide to Set You Up For Success” offers a step by step process to set up an advertising campaign on Pinterest.  There are also a plethora of helpful tutorials out there that are easy to find on Pinterest’s advertising hub.

From there, you’ll finish the process with a few additional steps and be on your way to reaching your advertising goals.

The power of Pinterest

You now have the basics needed to start driving traffic and impacting sales from your own Pinterest account. With over 250 million users on the platform (and growing), it no doubt needs to be part of your social media and marketing conversation. The inspiration platform can drive traffic to your website, showcase your brand, and build an engaged marketplace eager to purchase your products.

About the Author:

Dustin Czysz has been working with web technology since late 1997. A big-picture thinker, he has naturally gravitated towards UX design and strategy over the years but will never give up working with code. Dustin lives and works in his family studio in Wisconsin where he co-runs Klovera, a website management, and development agency. Find out more about Dustin on his website and follow him on Twitter.