Pinterest has accrued a reputation as being a platform to waste time on, looking for recipes and planning the ideal wedding. For those of us not in the wedding, crafts or food industries, it’s easy to ignore Pinterest as yet another platform we don’t need to be on.
However, to ignore Pinterest could be to ignore the potential to bring in thousands more people to your website. Mostly importantly, the potential to bring in thousands of new customers to your site.
Let me explain.
Why Pinterest Is Big for Businesses
Pinterest currently boasts an active user base of 170 million users. A number that is difficult to ignore but not overwhelming, in comparison to other platforms. It also has a reputation of being a women’s only platform, which, of course, is not a bad thing, but hardly recommends itself to male focused businesses. This view that Pinterest is purely for women is somewhat borne out by the statistics, which show its user base is made up of 81% women.
So a potentially large audience is at stake, but perhaps only for businesses focusing on the women demographic? Well, actually, perhaps not. In 2014 Pinterest’s male user base doubled and last year men accounted for 40% of new sign ups to the platform. To put that in perspective, more men currently use Pinterest every month than the combined readership of Sports Illustrated and GQ.
However, whilst Pinterest’s growth is impressive, it’s still not in the realms of Twitter’s 317 million active users, Facebook’s two billion or even Instagram’s 700 million online users. So why is it worth the time?
Well because 87% of active Pinners have reported making a purchase because of Pinterest. This isn’t limited to the online space either; with 72% of Pinners saying that they use Pinterest to make offline buying decisions as well.
Every day over 2 million people share product ‘Rich Pins’ to their audience and more than 14 million articles are Pinned everyday. The resulting traffic generated by this makes up 5% of all referral traffic to websites [source] .
So, where do we get started?
Make Sure You Have a Pinterest Business Account
Although Pinterest is more a search engine than a social media platform, it does have the option to have a personal or business profile. As a business, of course, you will want to make sure you opt-in for the business account.
This will allow you to access the ability to create ‘Promoted Pins’, Pinterest’s advertising platform. It will also give you access to an analytics board and the option to create ‘Rich Pins’, which we’ll discuss in a moment.
(FYI There are some specific terms and conditions that go with signing up for a business account which are worth a quick read.)
Optimizing Pinterest for Business
Optimise Your Profile
Pinterest is essentially a search engine, so the rules of Search Engine Optimization very much apply. This, of course, is not just for your Pins but for your profile as well.
Although you will want to make sure your bio is optimized for SEO, Pinterest also takes your name into account as well. So, for example, my Pinterest name is “Creative and Coffee | Entrepreneur + Blogging Tips” because I want Pinterest to return my account when someone searches for these terms.
So when creating your user name, don’t just stick to your business name but make sure to add in a description of what it is that you do. Use particular care to use keywords that you would like to rank highly in.
However, in the same way you wouldn’t cram keywords into a blog post to climb the Google rankings, don’t be tempted to just leave a stream words in your user name. Keep it on point.
You only get 160 characters in order to write your bio on Pinterest, so make them count. Your bio is displayed fairly prominently on your profile page and, for Pinterest users, might be the first substantive bit of information they read about you.
So make sure to let your potential audience know what kind of value your business offers to them. Let them know why you are different, what your unique selling point is and who you are in business for. Again, keep it natural, but a sprinkling of these keywords is going to help to attract the right people to you. On Brand Board Covers
When you create your boards, make sure that your board covers are on brand. This is the picture that will remain as the first image people see on your board.
You might like to create covers specifically for each board, in which case you will want to use graphics that are 217 x 146 pixels. You can choose to have images that reflect your brand either in tone, colour or image aesthetic.
Optimise Your Pins
On Brand and Vertical Pins
As becomes apparent when you venture onto Pinterest, horizontal images are the order of the day. Within the Pinterest feed images have a width of 235 pixels, increasing to 736 when clicked upon. The height will scale accordingly.
Pinterest recommends an aspect ratio between 2:3 and 1:3.5, with a minimum width of 600 pixels. In response to this, the popular graphics creation tool Canva has set its Pinterest template to 735 pixels x 1102 pixels which has become a standard size for most Pins.
You will see, however, that some Pins, most usually infographics are quite considerably longer than your average Pin.
There is a lot of data and advice out there about what makes a Pin ‘Pinnable’. If you want to take a look at some of the most popular Pins, then rePinned.net, is a good resource to see what is popular in each category.
General statistics tell us that Pins with the following attributes, tend to perform best.
- no faces,
- which are bright (as opposed to dark) and,
- high photo quality (shockingly)
As with all marketing advice, it really is a case of seeing what works best for you.
However, in the scramble to produce the prettiest, brightest and faceless photos we can – it is very easy to forget to make sure our Pins are also ‘on brand’.
Why is this important?
Well, this is especially important for those of you using Pinterest to promote your blogs posts and articles as part of your content marketing strategy. It’s important for the same reason that branding is important on all your social media platforms: recognition.
Without a doubt, there is a lot of competition for attention on the Pinterest screen. Your Pin appears surrounded by other entries for the keywords that was searched for.
If your Pin has a branded elements that appears on all your Pins, searchers will see it again and again. They will keep seeing it popPing up in their feeds consistently, when searching for Pins with your niche. If it’s appearing again and again, this is already helPing to build an impression of authority within that search term.
Not only is this making it more likely someone will eventually click on your Pin to see what you are all about but they are also going to be more likely to click on your post then whey see it pop up in the future, bringing them back to your website again. Assuming, of course, that your website has impressed on the first visit.
Write Epic Descriptions
Just as we talked about SEO within our bio, this goes double for our Pin descriptions. Just in the same way you optimize your blog posts to appear higher in the Google searches, you want to optimise your Pin descriptions to appear higher in the Pinterest searches for your keywords.
Finding the right keywords are also important because of Pinterest’s related search function. This is where it will display ‘related Pins’ underneath the Pin that has been clicked.
Pinterest determines these related Pins through keywords but also, notably, through image. Thus it’s worth taking a careful look at what images and what keywords your competitors are posting as well.
Set Up Rich Pins
What are Rich Pins?
Rich Pins add more information to what you are Pinning. There are four types of Rich Pin; app, product, recipe and article.
Why Are They Important?
Rich Pins makes your content more dynamic by updating the metadata attached to your Pin in real time. This prevents common problems like old Pins linking back to content that is no longer there, price changes not been reflected or information not being updated.
Not only does using Rich Pins keep your Pins up to date, but it allows the Pin to display extra information, depending on the type of Rich Pin you are using.
For products this is especially helpful as using Rich Pins will automatically show the price of the product on your Pin but, importantly, it will also update the price to reflect any changes automatically. Other information includes where the product can be brought and its availability.
Recipe Pins allow you to display all the information right there in the Pin; the ingredients, cooking times and serving sizes will all display to give your audience quick access to the information.
If you are promoting an app, you can display your install button right there on the Pin. Your audience need not click through or go to your site; they have the option to download the app there and then. Unfortunately this is only currently compatible with iOS.
For those of your looking to use Pinterest to up your content marketing, you can even use Rich Pins with your blog posts and articles. The Rich Pin will show your post headline, author name, logo and a description of the post.
How To Set Up Rich Pins
If you are on WordPress there is a very simple way to set up Rich Pins. You can do this using the plugin Yoast SEO.
Within the Yoast plugin options you can select SEO > Social and then navigate to the Facebook tab. Within these options look for Add Open Graph meta data and enable it.
Once this is enabled on your site you will need to hop over to Pinterest and apply for Rich Pins. It’s a simple process of adding in the URL of your site in the indicated validate box and clicking validate.
Approvals can happen straight away or they can take a little time, in which case Pinterest will inform you that they will review the information and email you if they have any queries. In this case it might take a few days before your Rich Pins are enabled, assuming there are no problems.
Optimize Your Website for Pinterest
Whilst you will be sharing your Pins to Pinterest when your post a new blog post or upload a new product, you also want to be encouraging your audience to be sharing Pins from your website. So what’s the best way of doing this?
Create Pinterest Friendly Blog Images
We’ve talked about how to make images more shareable on the Pinterest platform itself, but when people share images from your website you want to make sure they are sharing the images that you have optimised for Pinterest. So make sure to include your Pinterest friendly images within your blog posts and on your site.
Make sure to pay special attention to your Alt Image description as this is the text that will be populated in the Pin description when it is Pinned from your website. People will rarely, if ever, fill in their own text so make sure all your images have the appropriate keywords you want to appear on Pinterest.
Add a ‘Pin for Later’ Button
Take it up a notch by actively encouraging people to re-Pin your blog images by adding a ‘Pin For Later’ button. You can create a small button that appears when visitors move their cursor over an image. This is easy to do with Plugins like Social Warfare or you can create your own image and upload it with a plugin like jQuery Pin It Button for Images
Pin Consistently and Often
Finally, one of the most important pieces of advice I can give about Pinterest. Be consistent. In 2014 Pinterest introduced the Smart Feed. Much like a Google algorithm change, this was intended to increase the quality of Pins that it returned in its search results, moving away from its previous, chronologically based feed.
The three main criteria used in ranking the Pins within the smart feed, appear to be as follows:
- Top quality images
- Accurate descriptions that encourage re-pinning
- Consistent contribution to the Pinterest community
We’ve already talked about the first two, but the final criterion is really where Pinning consistently comes into play.
What counts as consistent?
There really is no official number, with advice ranging from a beginning average of Pinning thirty plus Pins a day to some experts saying they are Pinning the region of 100 Pins day. Whilst this may sound overwhelming, there are tools out there that can enable you to have a ‘set it and forget’ mentality towards these overwhelming Pin requirements.
Tailwind and Boardbooster are two of the industry favourites. These are very similar to social media scheduling apps like Hootsuite or Buffer, which allow you to queue up posts ahead of time and release them on a schedule.
For me, one of the huge time saving elements of Pinterest is that, whilst on other social media you can schedule posts, you still need to be on the platform to authentically engage in real time to be effective. However, with Pinterest, the social aspect of the platform is much smaller.
It can take a little time to crack what really works for you on Pinterest, in terms of Pin visuals, descriptions and schedule. However, once you being to gain traction Pinterest becomes an exceptionally effective platform for driving traffic and sales.
The long life of Pins that bring in consistent traffic to older posts and the frequent buying intention of its users mean that Pinterest can be a treasure trove of opportunities. So whilst it may not have the user base to rival its social media neighbours, it’s certainly earned the right to be considered all with the greats.
And, of course, it’s still growing.
So, what do you think? Worth giving a go?