Ah, Pinterest. The online scrapbook filled with pictures, images and infographics that inform, entertain and inspire users.
Note: This blog was originally written on 7 November 2014 but has been updated on Tuesday, 22 March 2016.
You can get lost in the world that is Pinterest, scrolling, pinning and repining items for hours on end. Before we figure out how to use Pinterest for business, let's have a quick look at the bigger picture.
Pinterest is a virtual pin board that focuses heavily on imagery (including infographics!), and less so on heavy text. You’ll find no stuffy tech-speak or business babble here, even from corporate businesses!
Why do people love Pinterest?
The simple and bright layout lets the visuals do the talking and isn't convoluted with confusing navigation. Showing affirmation takes little effort, too: ‘repin' or ‘like’ a pin with just one click!
Decorating, shopping and event planning becomes easy to organise onto specific boards. Name your boards accordingly by broad but focused categories and topics so they stay organised and clear.
A picture says a thousand words
Online, users are much more captivated by images accompanied by a little text, and not the other way around. It’s so much easier (and quicker) to consume images (even when they contain text, like an infographic) rather than solid blocks of text.
You won’t find half as much negativity as you might find from scrolling through posts from your friends’ complaints on Facebook (and complaints from strangers on Twitter!) Pinterest is, for the most part, an uplifting and positive platform where people inspire and entertain others!
Pinterest tips: how to use Pinterest for business
📌 First, complete your profile!A user looking to use Pinterest for business must first complete their business profile. (Make sure you’re using a business profile and not a personal one, but don't worry: you can convert a personal account to a business one here). Use this checklist to set up your Pinterest business account as best as possible:
✓ Upload a clear logo
✓ Link your Facebook and Twitter accounts (if applicable)
✓ Add your location, website, and brief description - you’re only allowed 160 characters here, so be succinct, and add a keyword or two if possible!
✓ Follow a few other users, including brands you’re interested in, influential brands and people, and other local businesses
✓ Take half an hour to have a play on the site, searching a few key terms, and looking at what other brands are sharing
✓ Let people know you’re on Pinterest! Share it on your other social networks and be sure to add it to your website
📌 Think like a consumer, not an advertiser
Think of your business’ Pinterest page as an extension of your work culture and hobbies, and not just about your product. Get into your ideal customers’ mind frames and share content in which they may have an interest!
☞ What do they look for on the internet?
☞ What inspires them?
☞ What are they interested in?
☞ What can you teach them?
☞ What makes them laugh?
☞ What makes them relax?
(Look to your other social networks to give you some hints, e.g.: Twitter Analytics tells you what your followers are most interested in.)
Think more like a consumer rather than a marketer or advertiser. Get out of that stuffy corporate mind-set; you’ll need to think differently here.
The majority of Pinners are women (about 70 per cent , if you don't mind!), and they come to the site to share and be inspired by captivating and high quality images, unique ideas, and cool news. But don't forget about the men: more recent stats (July 2015) tell us that males are the fastest growing group on Pinterest.
Take a look at GE’s Pinterest: they have boards about machines and factories - as you’d expect - but they also have boards on food, DIY projects, and fitness.
The board that takes the cake, though, is the Thomas Edison-themed “Hey Girl” board , capitalising on the popular Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” meme , but keeping it relevant by mixing it with scientific terms (“Hey girl, I’m stuck on you like the opposite poles of a magnet” is a classic).
📌 Create a few boards
Don’t lump all your pins into the one board; break it up into categories. Our Pinterest account , for example, is split into the following nine boards:
- Tech | Gadgets, Apps, News
- Social Media | News & Tips
- Content | Copywriting, Blogging
- iformat | Blog Posts
- Our Websites | Design & Development
- Friday Funday
- Marketing | Quotes
- Marketing | Ideas, Ads, Infographics
- Web Design | Tips, Facts, News
(We're also part of a group board called "Visual Content Creators". We were invited by the board's owner.)
Notice how most boards are not about us or our product? We have one board where we promote new blog posts, and another where we showcase recent websites we have done. The rest are focused on relevant topics that we and our followers are interested in.
...and here are some examples of the way we’re using them:
→ Each time we publish a new blog post to our website, we’ll take a screenshot or create a graphic in Canva (one of my favourite tools) and pin it to our blog post board, making sure to add a description as well as a link to the post*.
→ When Apple released the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus we pinned an image linking to an article to “Tech”.
→ And we like to post lots of fun and lighthearted (and sometimes a bit off-beat, unrelated, and silly) stuff, on a Friday, to the “Friday Funday” board.
Makes sense, right? This way, our content stays organised and is easier to navigate through. It’s also clear to users which boards are of interest to them! (You can choose to follow a user - as in all their boards - or only specific boards from that user).
*A note about links:
Pinterest’s help centre explicitly advises you to link directly to the source - that means not using link shorteners like bit.ly or goo.gl. If you shorten a link, your pin might get flagged as spam.
Those who click on these types of links might even face a Pinterest roadblock sign, warning them not to proceed - not the best way to lure prospects to your website...
📌 Optimise your pinsOptimise your pins by using descriptive text containing relevant keywords.
Most pinners will be focused on image rather than text, but don't neglect good description.
Incorporate keywords (where they naturally fit!), and use friendly, light and familiar language to describe the image, article, or infographic.
You might even like to pose a question or encourage pinners to “repin if you agree!” You have a very generous 500 character limit here, but you probably won’t ever want to write that much; don't make your pins too text-heavy.
📌 Don’t go pin-crazy
Pinning content throughout the day is an excellent move. For one, once you’ve spent some time curating worthy material, the actual task of pinning doesn't take long at all!
More importantly, though, you’re reaching more people because your posts are spread apart.
If you pin ten things in a row at 10am, and take no other action until the following morning, all your followers visiting the site at 6pm might be missing out on seeing your cool stuff!
Remember, people won’t see everything you pin.
Spread your pins out so you have the best chance of reaching more of your fans.
📌 Repin, but don't forget to pin original content, too!Repinning images and infographics can reduce the pressure to come up with fresh, original content every time you want to take action on Pinterest. Share high-quality content from a wide variety of sources to build up your boards.
Additionally, share your own content.
That means you can Pin from your website -- your latest blog post, perhaps? -- or you can upload original images, infographics, graphs, recipes, or products.
Make sure you add a link if you want to encourage users to visit a specific destination.
Don’t just pin for the sake of pinning.
Make sure what you’re sharing is relevant, interesting and thoughtful, and of course don't be afraid to have a laugh every now and again.
Pinterest should be a place pinners come to to find awesome, helpful, interesting, inspiring, visually-appealing content, not where they’re bombarded with products and boring sales pitches.
📌 Bow down to the “rich" pinRich pins are pins that contain extra information right there on the pin itself. That means the text you put in your caption is not the only information you’re sharing.
Today, Pinterest recognises five major types of rich pins: movie, recipe, article, product, and place. Still confused? Here’s an example of a “place” and “product” rich pin: say you’re looking on Airbnb for your next holiday let, and decide to pin an image of a cute Parisian apartment, from Airbnb.com, this is what shows up:
You can see you’ve got your regular pin (the image of the apartment), but you’ve also pinned additional information. In this case, it’s a map showing the location of this Airbnb rental, as well as the cost per night (labelled here as ‘in stock’, but it’s not like you’re actually purchasing a product).
That means Airbnb has prepped its website with meta tags and applied for them to get onto Pinterest. More information on rich pins can be found here.
📌 The secret of secret boardsThis is an awesome (and awesomely simple!) idea that l love.
The answer: SECRET BOARDS!
Instead of sifting through articles and pinning them straight away, (or, like I used to do, saving the relevant link to pin later on during the hour, or day, or week, or whatever), pin all your articles and links to a secret board that only your staff can access.
The board serves as an online storage portal where you can curate a bunch of content, and it’s on hand when you need it!
Then, any of your staff can log on to the business account and find the next pin that needs to be, well, pinned!
A word of warning – and courtesy: don’t pin these pins directly from your secret board to your chosen board.
Instead, go to your secret board to locate and visit the article (or blog post, or website, etc.), and pin from there, so you’re giving credit where credits due, and everyone is happy. :)
📌 Map out special events and holidays throughout the year
Create content that is themed on certain events and holidays.
Unleash your creativity and link content to specific themes (think Christmas and Halloween!).
One quick search on Pinterest for Halloween in the weeks and days leading up to October 31 produced hundreds of thousands of pins on costumes, food, DIY, parties, games, treats ideas, drinks, and more, and we can expect the very same for the Melbourne Cup, Thanksgiving, Christmas, school holidays, and summer (or winter, depending which hemisphere you’re in!)
📌 Add a Pin It button to your browserPinterest really have made it as easy as possible! The Pin It button is an extension you can add to your browser (Chrome, Firefox, IE and Safari) so that whenever you see a great image (say, a picture that accompanies an article you want to share) you can click the Pin It button, choose the image, and pin straight to one of your boards, without even leaving the page you’re currently on.
📌 Pinterest Business Analytics: analyse your efforts!
Periodically check your analytics to see how your pins are faring.
Pinterest Analytics are easy to digest, and are broken up into your pins – so you can see how your content is going, as well as your audience – so you can see what countries make up most of your audience, and other topics that they’re interested in.
This can give you some pointers as to what else your audience likes reading and pinning.
How many people are seeing your pins, and which pins are getting the most likes and repins?
Which devices are people accessing your pins?
Make sure your images are bold and clear so they look great on mobile, too: earlier this year, Pinterest revealed that 75 per cent of the site’s traffic came from mobile devices!
With a bit of creative thinking, and thinking outside the corporate box, can you make Pinterest work for your business?
You don't necessarily need to have a clothing, interior design, fitness, or cooking company to make Pinterest work for you.
Pretty pinteresting, right? (I have been waiting this whole post to crack that joke... sorry.)