It’s very likely that you have a Twitter account and a Facebook fan page set up for your business (and if you don’t, for the love of Pete, do it now). You’ve also probably heard of marketing with Pinterest but are thinking that you don’t have time to devote to it and that it’s completely unnecessary as a social media networking strategy. Well, the good and the bad news is that you can’t afford not to set up a Pinterest account for your business.
Pinterest has more than 200 million active monthly users, and the traffic stats are insane. According to Shareaholic, Pinterest is the second biggest driver of social media referral traffic, right behind Facebook — and well ahead of Instagram, Reddit, Twitter and YouTube. And as you’ve seen in your Google Analytics (you do check that, right?), those sites are nothing to sneeze at.
Though Pinterest has been around since 2010, 2011 was when it really started blowing up. That’s when marketing with Pinterest started becoming a significant part of digital PR strategy, and it’s quietly been growing in prominence in the years since. No one knows why, exactly, it’s one of the biggest (yet quietest) social media trends right now. There was no crazy acquisition and no major redesign. Here are our theories:
Instagram has become almost as popular as YouTube videos of people falling down.
Instagram makes it easy for just about anyone to take awesome photos and share them, so the focus on images makes Pinterest even more relevant for users.
The focus is on what is shared, not who is sharing it.
When you’re friends with someone on Facebook and they post something funny or interesting, you don’t like it because you like them necessarily, but because – well, because you like it. Pinterest focuses on what is being posted. It’s less personal than a Facebook share or a retweet, but that turns out to be a good thing.
Smartphone cameras keep making professional-looking photography more accessible.
Meanwhile, apps like Canva make it easier than ever to create great-looking graphic design assets. People love sharing the pictures they take and the infographics they create.
Pinterest boasts a simple, clean UI/UX.
While there are, of course, ways to make your Pinterest boards and pins stand out from the rest, it’s pretty difficult to make them look bad. This makes marketing with Pinterest significantly easier than with some of the other social networks. Facebook pages and Twitter profiles, for instance, can start to look pretty ugly if you don’t know what you’re doing.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Marketing With Pinterest
Create Your Pinterest Account
- To get started marketing with Pinterest, create your own account.
- Connect using your Facebook or Google account.
- Be sure you have a business page on Pinterest. If you already own a personal page, you can convert it here.
Create Pinterest Boards
A Pinterest Board is essentially a folder to collect and showcase multiple pins around a common theme. To see examples, you may want to check out a few boards created by other people, but the concept is simple. The important thing to remember is that the boards do not have to directly relate to your business and should not be all about you.
Here are some examples:
- Web humor
- Favorite brands
- New products
You should really infuse these boards with your own personality. It’s a great opportunity to show that there are real people behind your branding. People dig that.
The cool part is that you can easily edit both board names and content, so if you set something up and then realize the next day that it looks dumb, you can totally go in and change it. You can also keep adding boards to your heart’s content. In fact, we recommend doing so. We’re particularly fond of old black and white photos that are in the public domain, like the ones that are in this blog.
What To Pin
Now that you have a few boards, it’s time to start pinning things to them (either from your computer, from the app or by repinning other people’s pins). You can repurpose images from other social channels or your blog, but know that vertical pins using a 2:3 aspect ratio (600px wide x 900px high) are optimal.
You can share any sort of content that has an image attached and that you feel will be of interest to your company’s customers. This includes things like:
- Blog posts – Pin photos and graphics from both your blog and the articles of other influencers (tag writers/outlets when possible),
- Infographics – They’ve proven to be most popular on this channel and their aspect ratio makes them more readable here than on most channels.
- Products – Pin images of your products with descriptions and prices attached. Choose the largest product photos you can from the appropriate URL on your site. This is where the Pin It button comes in handy. Don’t just post stagnant products though. Show what people can do with them. Sell the feelings not the features.
- Fun pictures – Remember, people come to this channel to daydream, plan, and reminisce. Keep your mix fun and inspiring to encourage repins.
- Inspirational quote graphics – These are easy to create in Photoshop or Canva and can be subtly branded to subliminally carry your message along with the famous figure you’re quoting.
What To Write
While Pinterest is obviously visually based, you should also pay close attention to what you’re putting on your profile and on your pins. Pinterest is actually a great opportunity to utilize your keywords and say something awesome in the meantime. Here are some things to remember:
- Pinterest gives you 500 characters, but it’s pretty tacky to use all of them. Try to keep things short, sweet and descriptive.
- Use hashtags to further categorize your pins and make them easy to find. Just like Twitter, you should do some research to find out which ones are the best to use. The hashtags are hyperlinked, so when a user clicks on one, they’ll find all the other pins that use it.
- If you take an image from a site and want to send users to another site, you can change the URL. Be careful with this one. You don’t want to confuse users, and you don’t want to use other people’s images without crediting them.
- Use SEO keywords in your descriptions and your profile. Google is now incorporating social networks into its algorithm, so this is an awesome opportunity.
Now that you have everything set up and you’re wasting hours pinning images when you should be writing a blog (which is totally what we did while writing this), it’s time to use Pinterest to its full potential. You’ve probably run Twitter and Facebook contests before (if not, get on the stick), and Pinterest opens up a whole slew of new ways to engage your customer base. Here are a few ways you can run a contest while marketing with Pinterest:
- Have users create a board showing your products and have them choose the one that looks best.
- Have users take pictures of themselves along with your product, or have them show a creative way that they’ve used your product. For example, if you have a hot sauce company, have users post pictures of food that they’ve put that hot sauce on. Choose the most creative photo.
- Create a campaign that tugs at the heartstrings, like a “cutest baby” contest (if you have a business that has anything to do with that).
As you would with any contest, choose a prize that people actually want to win. We’ve all seen one too many iPod Shuffle giveaways in our time. Gift cards are always good, but make sure that they’re worth a decent amount.
Contests are one of the most popular social media trends for a reason, so go to town. Just be mindful of Pinterest contest rules and stay compliant!
Tools To Enhance Your Pinterest Marketing Efforts
There aren’t nearly as many neat tools for Pinterest as there are currently for other social media networking sites, but as Pinterest grows in popularity more will most definitely come out. Here are a couple that we’ve found:
- Tailwind – Tailwind provides scheduling tools, analytics and the features you need to run data-driven Pinterest campaigns.
- Buyable Pins and Shop The Look are great ways to sell within the Pinterest app.
- Canva’s Pinterest template makes it easy to create custom Pins or to resize existing photos.
- The Pinterest Browser Button extension allows you to save pins from websites, even if they’re not optimized for pinners.
What kinds of success has your business experienced as a result of marketing with Pinterest? Are you impressed? Let us know in the comments, or tweet us @Contentfac!