Pinterest is a visual canvas for brands to convey powerful, wordless messages to their audience: your pinboard is a visual story about your company’s style, message, views and identity. With every image you add to Pinterest, you are speaking volumes to your audience about yourself and your tastes.
Creativity is the primary ingredient for successful Pinterest marketing strategy, followed closely by Engagement. This isn’t a platform where you can simply jump on the pulpit and preach via the images you share; it’s a platform that requires heart and connectivity.
So what does as a Pinterest Marketing strategy actually look like? Let’s start with the basics:
Although many know Pinterest as a social bookmarking site, it’s true power and beauty is it’s social component. Pinterest is really another social media platform that leverages engagement, content discovery and content sharing. It functions in much the same way as Facebook does, but with a much greater emphasis on content curation and of course, visual imagery.
People can follow users or boards on Pinterest. If someone follows you on Pinterest, any pin that you add to any of your boards will show up on their home page news feed. If they choose to follow select boards instead of all your boards, then they will only see updates from those boards.
When people log on to Pinterest.com they see a collection of the latest pins by people or boards that they follow.
From there they can repin those images, or they can pin images that they find on the web. If they find pins they love, they can repin them, comment on them, or like them. So in a nutshell, Pinterest is a visual curation platform aimed at sharing and discovering great visual and video content.
Choosing the Right Username: You only have 15 characters for your Pinterest username. Choose wisely! Choosing a username for Pinterest is much like choosing a domain. It will be intricately connected to your brand’s identity. Unlike with other social profiles, you CAN change your profile later.
Depending on the objective of the account, you may choose to use a keyword. If not, it might be best to select your company name as your profile.
About Me section: Use keywords when filling out your about me. You only have 200 characters, so use words that are descriptive of your brand while also creating semantic relationships with the terms you’d like to be found for.
Profile Picture: Why not use keywords in the filename of your profile picture? Or, if you are branding your company name, rename the file to the name of your company, or slogan, or something relevant to your brand identity.
For Local Businesses: Include your address in the Location place on your profile.
Naming Your Boards: How you name your boards is important for many reasons. The keywords used for the name of your boards will help you rank both in Google as well as in Pinterest search. Additionally, the name of the boards is like a headline: if it’s not compelling, people won’t click through. Write every Board Name like you’d write a Google Adwords ad, playing close attention to every single word used and how it may impact users. You have 20 characters to convince people to click through!
Board Descriptions: What is your board about? Again, write a compelling, interesting description that, if possible, includes keywords. You have 500 characters for each description section to attract the click! And of course, make sure the description is relevant to the pins you plan on adding to the board, as well as the keywords you’d like to be found for.
Naming your pins: When naming your pins, consider using relevant keywords. As with your profile and board names, the descriptions of the pins will determine whether people click through to the Pin source or not. Spend the time writing compelling pin descriptions!
Links to Pin Sources: If you are pinning images from your site, include the full URL to your website so you can send people back. Or pin the image FROM your website so it will automatically link back.
Repinning: Update descriptions even when you re-pin! Don’t get lazy—every pin counts! And, as always, use keywords in your pin descriptions. Those pins essentially become part of your Pinterest marketing strategy and you want everything to be “just right.”
Optimizing Your Website For Pinterest
There are a few things you have to do to create a connection between your website and Pinterest, given that most of your essential conversions will occur on your website. Here are some important steps:
Verify your website on Pinterest: Verifying will give you access to Pinterest analytics, a tool we’ll discuss in-depth our following posts. This will also give you greater visibility as your account will be trusted. Additionally, the verified checkmark at the top of your Pinterest profile will give you greater credibility.
Add the “Pin it” button on your site’s images: By adding the Pin It button to every image on your site you are subliminally suggesting that users should pin your images. This will increase the likelihood of people pinning your images and thus your visibility and number of pinned images. Essentially, every time someone pins an image from your site it becomes a link back to your site from that Pinterest profile. Even though the links are nofollow, as social signals become a stronger ranking signals, the power of these links will increase.
Semantic Markup: Pinterest uses Semantic Markup for Rich Pins and Article Pins. You just have to add this markup to your blog or website in order for Pins to be properly displayed on Pinterest.
“Follow Me” on Pinterest: Add a “Follow me on Pinterest” button and/or image on your site so your visitors can immediately join you as members of your community on Pinterest
Optimize your images for Pinterest:
- - Experiment with image sizes. Infographics perform very well on Pinterest because they dominate so much vertical real estate space.
- - Use keywords in your file name for images on your site
- - Use multiple dominant colors instead of a single dominant color
- - Avoid dark images: users like light!
- - Minimize the background space for the image – use the space!
- - Believe it or not, images without faces get repinned more on Pinterest.
Caution: Avoid over-optimizing so you don’t compromise the quality of your site and images.
Now that you know some of the basics, your next move would be to take a step back and look at the overall picture. How do you convert this into an actual marketing strategy that fulfills one of your marketing goals, such as customer acquisition, traffic, and sales?
Part 2: Crafting Your Perfect Pinterest Marketing Strategy
The most important part of creating a marketing strategy is to have clearly defined goals. You need to know WHO your audience is and exactly HOW you plan to reach them; with this in mind, you can begin to grow your audience, rank, and begin to get the ROI you’ve been looking for.
Who is Your Target Audience on Pinterest?
Forget demographics, think psychographics. Perhaps you are trying to reach CTO’s at Fortune 1000 companies. Dig into the psychographics of those individuals and deeply understand their interests, tendencies, problems, frustrations and desires. Use that data when considering what to pin.
Who are Your Competitors on Pinterest?
When identifying competitors, don’t focus just on direct competitors; you can identify sites in related or complimentary industries that are running interesting or noteworthy campaigns.
- - Do some competitive research to find out who your competitors are, what they’re pinning, and what they’re doing to drive likes, engagement and follower growth.
- - Study popular industry boards also to learn what’s working and what isn’t.
- - Sign up for PinAlerts so you can see the types of images your competitors and top industry sites are pinning.
Set Measurable Goals
Start with business goals, not just KPI’s. Why market on Pinterest? Are you looking for sales, a new audience, branding? Defining your goals will help define your KPI’s.
Here are a few KPI’s for you to track:
- - Visitors from Pinterest to your website
- - Number of followers
- - Number of repins
- - Number of likes and comments
- - Sales from Pinterest
- - New engaged audience members
Define a Content Strategy
What content will you share on Pinterest? Where will that content come from? What should be the theme of the content that you share? What message are you hoping to convey? How will this content strategy help to accomplish your goals?
The first step is for you to create a list of content sources. These can be:
- - Popular Pinterest accounts
- - Popular Pinterest Boards
- - Popular Social Media Channels (Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Plus, etc)
- - Media outlets
- - Relevant Blogs
- - Popular content from sources such as Hawker, Buzzfeed, Mashable, Weheartit, etc
- - Google Alerts with relevant keywords
- - pinterest.com/source/URLs
Create a spreadsheet with links to all these sources, or create a bookmarks folder on your browser and make it easily/quickly accessible.
Once you have your sources ready, the next step is to visit these sites every day to search for great, relevant content for you to pin. Pinterest itself of courses is a fabulous source of content. You can visit your favorite Pinterest boards to see if new pins have been added, or you can go to your home feed based on content you follow or on Pinterest categories.
You’ll want to spend some time every single day finding great images to pin. If you find many that you love, you can schedule them with ViralTag so you can spread them out across the day or even months out.
Factors to Consider when Selecting Images to Pin
Don’t Just Curate Images: Make sure you are also creating unique images to share on Pinterest so you become the “source” and when people repin the images they give you attribution.
Be Selective: Only pin the highest quality images that offer a benefit to your audience. Don’t jeopardize your audience by pinning low quality images. Stunning images will guarantee increased engagement to your boards and account, which improves your overall visibility.
Pin Inspirational Images: As you probably know, people love to be inspired and quotes are some of the most shared content on the internet. If you can’t beat them, join them!
Pin Popular Images: There’s a reason cute cat pictures get millions of shares and likes; they make people happy. Pin images that are popular with the masses that still reflect the message you’re trying to convey.
Your Goals: If you want traffic, consider how to draw in the click through.
Elevate: Consider the overall account quality, not just the individual pins. Make sure the overall picture looks natural and high quality.
Create a Content Manifesto
This is the heart of your Pinterest marketing strategy.
Content Sources: What are acceptable sites to find images to pin? Use a variety of sources using popular sites like Buzzfeed, Weheartit, Visual.ly, and more. You can also create a list of themes, profiles or keywords to be used when searching for pins to curate.
Posting Frequency: How often will you post pins? When will you post them? How many at a time? This could be something like 1 pin a day to each board, or 10 pins to 1 board, etc.
Content Style: Is there a particular visual style you’d like to follow?
Board Strategy: What boards will you create? How many pins will each boards have? How often will you add pins to each board?
Update Your Boards Frequently: Don’t just create a board, throw up a few pins, and forget all about it. Your boards are a canvas that never ends. Keep adding images or videos to your boards and see them as an ever-evolving work of art, or a resource that just keeps getting better, more detailed, more beautiful
Pinterest Promotional Campaigns: Pin it to Win it contests are a great way to quickly grow the number of followers, comments and likes for your account. You can encourage Pinterest users to pin images of your brand on their boards, with a relevant hashtag. You then randomly choose a winner or encourage them to promote those pins by getting likes, and awarding a prize to the pin with the most likes or comments. Contests are a fun and engaging way to grow your audience and engagement on Pinterest!
Promote Events: Why not post images of events real time on Pinterest for users to instantly repin to their own boards? When brainstorming coverage for your events, don’t just rely on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter..add Pinterest into the mix!
Cross-Promote your Pins: Don’t pin in an island. Use Pinterest as a cohesive aspect of your social media marketing strategy. Share your latest pins on Twitter and Facebook. Use Facebook ads to send new fans to your favorite Pinterest boards.
(Make sure you are not approaching Pinterest in a vacuum! Link your Twitter and Facebook accounts to Pinterest for automatic sharing. You can also use Pinvolve to install a Pinterest tab on your Facebook fanpage.)
Grow your Followers: Like Twitter, Pinterest is a social platform where people will follow back, especially if they like the content you’re sharing. Spend time checking out other people’s pins, and follow new people on a daily basis. Additionally, you may run a program like NinjaPinner to quickly do this for you on a daily basis.
Set aside time for Engagement: Just like you would surf your Facebook newsfeed, spend some time surfing your Pinterest newsfeed. Find images you love and leave a short comment stating why you love that image. Ask questions, add comments or direct experiences related to that images. And of course, like away, it’s the quickest and easiest way to send out a social signal on Pinterest!
Be Super Active! Pinterest is a platform that rewards lots of activity. Don’t just pin in bursts. Spending time on a daily basis on Pinterest will help retain followers and keeps boards active.
You can also use a tool like ViralTag to select and schedule pins in case you don’t have time on a daily basis to add images to Pinterest.
The Power of Collaborative Boards
Want to super power the growth of your Pinterest account? Say hello to Collaborative Boards. Joining boards as a collaborator is an excellent way to expand your reach on Pinterest. Here are a few key benefits:
Instant Exposure: When you join and start pinning to collaborative boards, you get instant exposure to an audience. When you start your own account you may only have a few followers and limited visibility. When you pin to collaborative boards you’ll have instant reach for your content, especially if the boards have lots of followers. If you post to a group board, all of your followers will see the pins PLUS all of the followers of that BOARD. So if the board has 50,000 followers and you add a pin to that board, voila, instant audience.
Follower Growth: When you are invited to a board as a collaborator, that board gets added to your profile. If other users of that board choose to “follow all” of any contributor’s boards, they will automatically be added to your followers, which increases your follower growth rate.
More Repins: The greater the number of followers, the more people have the potential to see your pins, as it’ll show up on their home page newsfeed. This increases the number of repins which in turn grows traffic to your site, repins and followers
Increased Engagement: If you create a group board and invite your customers to pin, they’ll help grow your account on auto-pilot as they pin images for you which will then get shared to their audience. This will give them greater involvement with your brand and help turn them into brand ambassadors.
An example of a popular board.
Create your own Group Boards: Don’t just join other people’s group boards. Create your own and start inviting others that you trust and whose pinning prowress you admire. You can also use a program like Ninjapinner to auto-invite people to your group boards in order to grow these rapidly.
When considering using Group Boards, you want to have dual goals: to grow your own private boards while simultaneously creating Group Boards, inviting people to pin to your boards, and joining and pinning to existing collaborative boards. You don’t want to focus all your efforts on group boards as you may not own them, or if they’re yours, they’ll require heavy moderation or may not contain the type of content you’re interested in sharing. But if you limit yourself to building out your own boards exclusively, without pinning collaboratively, you are missing out the potential of rapidly growing your audience.
When creating a Pinterest marketing strategy, make sure you follow this two-prong strategy of building out your own private as well as collaborative boards.
We’ve talked about the Do’s—now it’s time to address the Don’ts. Like any other social media site, the types of content you avoid can be equally important to your growth as content you post. Here are a few key etiquette points for Pinterest:
Don’t Just Pin Images From Your Company Site. Repin images from other users and become a phenomenal image curator to find and share relevant images
Don’t Self-promote. What happens to people who go to a friend’s birthday party and try to sell their products or services? Everyone runs away from them. Don’t be that guy or you’ll find Pinterest a lonely experience.
And, most importantly, DON’T Spam! Overloading your followers with endless, low-quality posts can be the death of a social profile.
How to Rank on Pinterest
So you’ve ironed out the details of your strategy. You know who to target, what types of content you’ll be sharing, and how frequently you’ll be sharing them, and you’re starting to gain followers. As you move forward and continue to hone your strategy, there are several elements of ranking on Pinterest that you should always keep in mind:
Size Matters: Bigger boards tend to rank better
Activity Matters: Boards with recent activity and pins added have a latency component that help improve visibility
Optimize Your Boards and Pins With Keywords: Make sure your content is relevant and searchable on all levels.
Profile Authority: the strength of your profile, determined by the number of followers, activity, number of likes, etc impacts how your boards and pins rank in the pinterest search engine.
Monitor Your Ratio of Followers to Following: Unfollow people who don’t follow you back.
Join Group Boards: Group boards give you an instant audience. Identify collaborative boards by searching on Pinterest and follow the board, hopefully you’ll be invited to pin. You may want to try direct outreach to board owners offering to share great content if you’re invited as a collaborator. This isn’t easy and will require some detective work.
And Grow your audience!
Part 3: Pinterest Analytics
Even brands that have thrown themselves wholeheartedly on the Pinterest bandwagon are clueless when it comes to Pinterest Analytics. Yet Pinterest Analytics is crucial to maintaining a living, breathing campaign that will continue to excite current followers and entice new ones.
Pinterest Analytics Business Tool
Pinterest Analytics was made available to Verified Pinterest Business Accounts in March 2013. This tool allowed a business to track images that were pinned from it’s website—and ONLY it’s website. Repins of other people’s images are not a part of Pinterest Analytics.
What you CAN learn from Pinterest Analytics:
Visitors and Clicks: Whether or not the number of visitors to your website via Pinterest has increased or decreased. You can then correlate these changes with what types or quality of content you were sharing at the time.
Pinners: The average amount of pinners you have, and whether or not this number is increasing or decreasing.. If it increased, check to see if the increase coincided with a popular image you shared.
Repins: Pinterest Analytics will tell you who has repinned an image that you pinned to one of your boards. This is great information for demographic and psychographic targeting.
Reach and Impressions: Has your reach and impressions changed since you implemented your marketing strategy? The data provided isn’t complex, but it will show you trends that you can use as a base for further analysis.
Formerly PinLeague, Tailwind is one of our favorite analytics systems because it is extremely comprehensive in the metrics it measures on Pinterest. With Tailwind you can track almost every single aspect of user interaction on your Pinterest account, and gives you the information you need to understand how content—both yours AND your competitors—moves through Pinterest.
Growth Tracking: Tailwind allows you to track the growth of your followers, along with how many pins, repins, and likes you have. This is most helpful in determining the success of a particular campaign.
As you target one psychographic audience with custom content, you can tell how many times that content has been pinned, repinned, or liked, and by whom—so you know if your content is hitting it’s intended mark. You can also track follower growth percent to help you gauge the success of your campaigns.
Measure Engagement: Tailwind takes all the data it collects and gives you three “scores” based on how successful your content is performing on Pinterest and among your followers:
- - Vitality Score: The average number of repins your pins receive.
- - Engagement Score: The average number of repins your pins receive from your followers.
- - Engagement Rate: The percentage of your pins that have at least one repin.
You can get scores for all your pins, as well as each individual board.
Trending Pins: With a free account, you can use this tool to see and compare up to 50 of your top-performing pins, as well as a word-cloud collection of what keywords users are using when they pin your content. You can also track who’s pinning the content, and your Top Pinners.
Competitor Tracking: It’s important to track your competitors, especially those that are doing well and have lots of activity on their Pinterest accounts. Tailwind allows you to see competitor’s top pins, repins, likes, and comments. By knowing what’s working for your competitors, you can share similar content on your site and on your Pinterest account. Devote specific boards to this content so you can benchmark your progress against your competitors.
Other data that Tailwind provides includes brand mentions, Industry Influencers, ROI, and much more.
Whether you are using Tailwind or another app, these are the sort of metrics you should be looking for to measure your campaign!
Keeping track of all the metrics above can be a huge task, which is why having a separate tool that collates analytics data can be a great asset. We use Cyfe to track all our social media analytics, but any dashboard that collects data in real-time will be an asset.
Why? Because it allows you to take a look at your social activity—in this case, Pinterest activity—at a mere glance. You want a dashboard that can tell you the number of pins, likes, and followers you have at any given time. If there’s a spike in activity, you can then conduct a deeper investigation with a program like Tailwind, and make sure you’re able to sustain that rise in activity.
Create an analytics schedule and check your dashboard daily, then perform an in-depth analysis once a week with Tailwind or another similar platform. You can get ideas to create more content from both that and Pinterest Analytics.
Now that you’ve got a handle on figuring out what drives traffic on Pinterest, you need to understand how Pinterest drives traffic to your site. Google Analytics is useful to help you track this data and hone your Pinterest Marketing strategy.
Social Reports: Under Traffic Sources > Social > Network Referrals > Pinterest, you can determine how much traffic is being sent to your site via Pinterest. This tool allows you to see which URLs on your site has received visitors, the number of pageviews, average visit duration, and pages per visit.
Custom Reports: Custom reports help you analyze Pinterest user’s behavior in-depth. Track metrics such as social actions, bounce rate, and goal completions and conversion rate to determine ROI for your Pinterest traffic.
Ultimately, understanding Pinterest Analytics is not only what will help you get your Pinterest Marketing Campaign off the ground—it is what will keep your campaign fresh and a step ahead of the competition, making YOU the top industry influencer in your niche. Analytics will help you create and curate content that your audience will love, like, pin, and keep coming back for more.
Part 4: Ready to Get Started?
Now that we’ve covered the main tenants of Pinterest Marketing, it’s time to get back down to the specifics, and create a detailed guide to get your Pinterest profile off the ground..
1. Set up your Profile
2. Audience Research & psychographics to create a list of interest and keywords
3. Create a list of content sources:
- 1. Top Pinterest user accounts
- 2. Relevant Blogs
- 3. Top image communities on the web or other social platforms (like Google Plus)
4. Seed your Account:
- 1. Start with 10 Boards relevant to your keywords/brand/image
- 2. Add at least 30 pins to each board
- 3. Create 3 Collaborative Boards
- 1. Surf the newsfeed to find pins to repin and new users to follow
- 2. Surf your content sources for content to repin
- 3. Like 30 pins every day
- 4. Repin 30 pins every day
- 5. Comment on 10 pins
- 6. Run Ninjapinner to help with Follower growth
- 7. Invite users to your collaborative boards
- 8. Add 10 pins to collaborative boards
- 1. Add a new board every week with at least 30 pins
- 2. Make sure you add at least 10 new pins every week to every board
- 3. Unfollow people using Ninjapinner
- 1. Use ViralTag to schedule pins – set aside a couple of hours a month to load it up with awesome pins to drip into your feed on a daily basis
8. Group Boards:
- 1. Direct outreach to other board owners to request invites to post on their boards (using other social media channels).
9. Build Profile Authority:
- 1. When engaging in other social media or internet marketing tactics, consider cross-promoting and linking to your Pinterest boards and profile. Your Pinterest profile works much like any other website, and if you build it’s authority, and you optimize pins and boards correctly according to the instructions above, you will see improved visibility from Google Organic.
10. Tracking: Use data from analytics to adjust and modify your campaign on a weekly basis.
- 1. Tailwindapp: check out which are your most successful pins and what is performing well to gain an idea of what else ot share
- 2. Tailwindapp: check out top competitors or industry brands on Pinterest to see what is performing best for them, and replicate
- 3. Pinterest Analytics: Figure out which pins are performing best from your SITE.
- 4. Google Analytics: see how many visitors are coming to your site from Pinterest, how they convert, and how engaged they are.
Pinterest can’t be ignored much longer, following it’s meteoric growth. It has a massive audience hungry to digest amazing images and content. Now that you have the complete blueprint for how to market effectively on Pinterest, it’s time to get started!