Today’s blog post is a guest article from content marketing expert Nora Flint. 

Most businesses limit their social media marketing strategy to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. They just look at the number of users and decide to go for top two or three social platforms.

If you are one of those businesses, you might be missing out on some great opportunities available at relatively smaller, but rapidly growing platforms.

Pinterest is one of those platforms with great potential.

It’s not far behind in numbers. More than 20% of all US adults use Pinterest, which is higher than Twitter or Instagram.

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And unlike Facebook or Twitter, where users are mostly looking to connect with their friends or family members, or LinkedIn, where they are looking for jobs, Pinterest users are actually looking for ideas, products, or solutions to their problems.

In other words, you can reach consumers right in the middle of their buying process. How cool is that?

But isn’t Pinterest just for women?

Pinterest has more female users, but the number of male users is catching up quite rapidly.

In the past couple of years, it doubled. In fact, the divide is not that prominent when it comes to markets like China, India, or Korea.

Pinterest is doing its best to attract and accommodate male users. Earlier, the search results used to be inclined towards the female audience, but now their search is getting smarter. If you are a man, you will see customized results which are more suited to you.

A picture speaks a thousand words:

For many businesses, Pinterest can work as a product catalog.

Think of it as a big shopping mall, where hundreds and thousands of visitors are roaming around, at any given time. Display some of your best products and you will easily turn some of these visitors into customers.

Take the travel businesses as an example. You can write a thousand words praising some destination or activity, but one good picture will be much more effective. Have a look at this image.

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Source: Pinterest

Doesn’t it make you feel like visiting and experiencing these places?

It’s not just limited to travel businesses. You can achieve the same results for businesses in other domains like food, clothing, home décor, sports, technology, automobiles, gifts, and more.

If you are using Facebook for marketing, you know that your posts will reach a very small percentage of your followers (unless you are paying to boost your posts). Pinterest is the opposite. Your pins will reach more people than the number of followers.

To make a long story short, Pinterest is an absolute must for businesses looking for traffic and leads for their websites.

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Below is a step by step guide that will ensure that you are mastering Pinterest in no time.

STEP 1 – LAY THE GROUND WORK

Before we talk about the tips and methods to succeed on Pinterest, let’s have a quick look at the basics.

If you are not already an active user, you will benefit from knowing the following terms.

Pin & Re-pin: Just like posts on Facebook, or tweets on Twitter, when users post content to their Pinterest account, it’s called pin or re-pins (when they are sharing someone else’s content). Pinterest users are called “pinners.”

Boards: The term pin or the name “Pinterest” was coined with “notice boards” in mind. Just like notice boards are used for announcements or notices, you can create and use Pinterest boards to do the same. These are like categories.

You can also create “Secret Boards” which are not publically accessible.

Likes & Follows: Users can follow certain users or businesses. They can also comment on other’s pins, and mention users by tagging them in posts.

That’s pretty much all you need to know before getting started.

Choose Your Niche:

Start by choosing the right category.

Pinterest has more than 30 categories at the moment.

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You will have to choose the most relevant and popular categories.

If you can build your content and campaigns around popular categories, your pins will get a lot more eyeballs compared to others.

Here’s a list of the most popular categories at Pinterest.

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As you can see, categories like “food & drink”, “DIY Crafts”, “Home Décor” or “Women’s Fashion” are a lot more popular than “Animals”, “Technology” or “Humor”.

Don’t be discouraged with this list though. If your business falls into one of the less popular ones, remember that men are quickly catching up, and it’s pretty much a given that the categories like “Geek”, “Men’s Fashion”, or “Cars & Motorcycles” will soon climb up in these rankings.

Choose Your Target Audience:

Targeting can be the difference between a successful and a catastrophic campaign.

Read this case study to know how an online seller used some common sense and precise targeting to generate $41k in sales, while spending just $775 on advertising.

You need to create content that will be of interest to your target users. You will have to create content that they are searching for. Once you know your target audience, you can easily come up with a list of topics and subtopics that they will be searching for.

You can also use Keyword Research Tools like Adwords Keyword Planner or KeywordTool.io for ideas.

Buzzsumo is also good for finding the relevant content that is getting the most love at Pinterest. Go to buzzsumo, and search with your basic keyword. Sort the results by number of “Pinterest Shares”.

For example, here’s the most shared content that is related to Tattoos (Tattoo businesses must take note).

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Create a Business Account:

Go to this link to “Join as a business.”

Business accounts are free and you will get the features like Analytics, Paid promotions, or Rich Pins.

Signing up is simple. You will be required to enter an email address, password, business name, and website (which is optional, but you will need it for Analytics in any case).

Select a business type from drop down menu and you are done.

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Integrate with Your Site and Other Social Media:

Integrate Pinterest with your website and social media accounts. Make sure that you’ve already created some boards and posted some Pins before you start promoting.

You can use this plugin to add Pin buttons to your product or blog post images.

WordPress users can use the freely available plugins like “Pin It” for the same purpose.

Once you’ve added these buttons, set up tracking to know when someone has pinned an image from your website, so you can follow-up and engage with these users. Pinterest Analytics won’t give you this data, but you can use Pin Alerts, which is a free service that sends you a notification whenever someone has pinned something from your site.

Get the Hang of the Platform:

Browse Relevant Business profiles or boards to familiarize with the “ins and outs” of this platform. You can also look at popular categories to get an idea.

STEP 2 – CREATING THE PERFECT PINS

You’ve done the basic research, you know your target audience, and you’ve created a business account. It’s now time to start working on your first few pins.

There must be a purpose:

Most businesses create content just for the sake of it.

It can be a rephrased article, a video that’s not more than a slideshow, or an infographic that looks like a useless chart.

You will never get any success at social media, unless you are creating content with a purpose, i.e., to help your target audience.

Bank of America has a full-fledged site dedicated to the same purpose. Better Money Habits shares a lot of tips, tools, and advice to help people make better financial decisions.

They’ve been using the same theme in their Pinterest campaign.

They have created boards like “Budgeting Basics”, “Wedding Planning”, “Travel Plans” and “Buying a Home”, and their pins are built around these themes.

With just 140 Pins, they have reached around 6 million people and received more than 29,000 repins.

Moral of the story?

Make sure each of your pin has some purpose, and something that will be of help, interest, or inspiration to your target audience.

The Right Images:

Pinterest is all about imagery.

So it goes without saying that you will need high quality images with bright, vibrant colors.

Research suggests that vertical images work better than the horizontal ones, and 736×1102 is the best resolution. Another interesting find is that the images without human face will get the most shares.

Having said that, just because these types have worked for others, it doesn’t mean you should be stuck with the same styles and resolutions.

Don’t shush your creative mind. Experiment with different types of images and Pins to see what works best with your target audience.

Include a Link:

At the end of the day, you want more traffic and visitors to your website or store. Make sure that there’s a link to your website in all of your pins.

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You can also add a call to action that prompts viewers to repin and share it with others.

Use Rich Pins

Pinterest allows businesses to create Rich Pins. Currently, there are six different types of pins: movie, app, recipe, article, place, and product. Each of these pins can carries its own extra bit of information.

Here’s how a well known fashion brand used Rich Pins to get 34% increase in traffic and 46% increase in revenue.

You can apply for Rich Pins by going to this link.

Choose the type of Pins that you’d like to use, and add meta tags to your website (you may need to ask a web developer, though there are plugins that can be of help).

Once meta tags are validated, you can apply for the Rich Pins.

STEP 3 – PROMOTIONS

You might be creating the most impressive content, but you are not going to get sufficient exposure. You must build your fan following because the more followers mean more trust, and more trust means more business.

Here’s what you can do to promote your Pins or profile.

Optimize for Search:

Start from optimizing your Pins for search results. You want your Pins to show when someone from your target audience is searching on Pinterest.

You can add your keywords to Titles and Descriptions, and you can also use them as file name for images.

Cross-Channel Promotions:

If you’ve got a website with reasonable traffic, or a social media account with sizable following, you can start from inviting your website visitors or social media followers to join you on Pinterest.

Etsy did the same by adding the Pin It button to its images, and it resulted in 22% increase in views and 20% growth in sales per week.

Invite your subscribers to connect at Pinterest by sending a customized email.

Get More Followers:

In a study conducted by University of Minnesota, Pinterest users shared the following criteria for choosing to follow a Pinterest profile (or vice versa):

Number of followers: They will look at the number of users that you are following, and the ones which are following you.

Total number of pins: You need to post new Pins on regular basis.

Boards: Create at least 4 boards with different themes or topics. Keep the most popular board or pins on top, so a new visitor will instantly see the most impressive content.

Establish Trust: 

You can verify your website and get the red tick mark next to your website, which is a good idea, because verified accounts are more trustworthy. Besides, you will have to verify your website in any case, in order to use Pinterest Analytics.

You can build more trust and connect with your target audience by posting seasonal and relevant content.

Here’s an example. A pin that shares a simple recipe for chocolate covered Christmas Trees. It’s visually interesting, easy to do, and with Christmas approaching, it’s highly relevant.

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Network with Others:

Networking is the key to social media success.

As a business, you must be ready to mingle with your target customers. If you are not doing anything but posting photographs of your products, it will start to look like a non-stop promotion, and you will never get a follower.

Just like Facebook Groups or LinkedIn communities, Pinterest has Group boards where people sharing the same interest can come together. You can search for some of these groups and participate.

Here’s a list of top group boards.

Comment on other people Pins, especially the influencers. You can also invite others to Pin relevant content on some of your boards.

Paid Advertising:

Here’s how Zola, an online wedding registry, used paid advertising to get 44% increase in conversion and 50% increase in click through rate.

Pinterest Advertising is fairly cheap, because competition is not as fierce as Facebook or Adwords. Though, it’s starting to heat up.

Analyze and Improve

Analytics are available on all business accounts by default; however you will have to link and verify your website to get the analytics from your website.

You will get a meta tag that you should place in the header section of your website. Pinterest will automatically check the code and validate your website.

What do you get?

Pinterest Analytics will give you a lot to ponder.

You will get the stats like Top Pins and most popular boards from the last 30 days.

You can also see the most popular Pins of all time, including the ones which are ranked highest in search results, and the ones that received the most Re-Pins.

Use this data to figure out content that is getting the most traction.

There’s an audience section as well that gives you the demographics like country, city (only US data available), gender, or language of your audience.

Interests section will give you the categories, boards, and businesses that your audience likes at Pinterest.

Keep Testing:

You will get various stats and “best practices” floating around the Internet.

For example, the best time to post a Pin is between 2PM – 4PM EST, according to this infographic.

Another study suggests that you should be posting around 5 – 30 Pins every day to get more followers.

But there’s no guarantee that following these tips will bring the best possible results.

You must test different timings and posting frequencies.

Services Pagemodo Posts will let you schedule posts at specific times and compare results through analytics.

Impressive growth has made Pinterest an absolute necessity. It’s the right time to harness the power of this wonderful platform.

Use this guide to add Pinterest to your marketing plans and drive people to your landing pages.

About the Author: Nora Flint is the Head of Content Marketing at TruConversion.com where she has been instrumental in devising strategies for Content Marketing, Social Media and lead generation. Her experience and knowledge in Online Marketing is second to none. Connect with Nora on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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