Everyone talks about Pinterest, but what is it? Do you need it? How do you start a Pinterest marketing strategy for your business?
Pinterest emerged on the scenes in 2010, as an online bulletin board, a place to ‘pin’ and organize ideas and products for later. This digital version of a kitchen mood board initially lent itself well to the female demographic with visual inspiration for wedding planning, fashion, and recipes. But the last few years have seen the Pinterest market grow with a more diverse demographic and new opportunities for businesses to embrace Pinterest.
Does My Business Need A Pinterest Marketing Strategy?
Before you jump into any marketing tactics, first you need to evaluate whether Pinterest fits in with your business model and marketing strategy. Your key questions should be: Is Pinterest right for my business? Are my customers using Pinterest? If you answer yes to either of these (specifically the latter) then you should be thinking about using Pinterest marketing for business.
Who uses Pinterest?
Marketing is only as effective as the customers you reach. It’s important to know who your customers are and how market to customers. You will find that while the demographic has changed slightly, only 7% of Pins are from men. Men who use Pinterest are more interested in Technology, Fashion, sports, and cars, and motorcycles. Men on Pinterest are also more likely to be interested in video content.
The majority of Pinterest users are women who often pinning content such as food and drink recipes, home and holiday decor, DIY tips and craft tutorials. Unlike Twitter, many users would prefer to follow a brand on Pinterest rather than a celebrity. This means that Pinterest is great for marketing your business by getting the word out and establishing brand loyalty and promoting offers.
Business Marketing Tips for Pinterest
As with all marketing, it is important to make sure your content is in front of the right audience. Use social media to engage users with content that is unique and interesting them. Make sure the right content is on display at the right times.
Plan Pinterest content in advance
You should be working with a marketing calendar, to be aware of busy period and topical times of year. Make sure your content is in front of people when they are looking. For example, a travel agency shouldn’t start publishing summer travel content at the beginning of the summer holidays – the time to start posting that is in the months leading up to the summer holidays, when people begin to book vacations.
A common issue many companies fall into is to not be consistent with their marketing, by sharing something initially then expecting it to do well without any promotion, nurturing and re-sharing. Marketing consistency is key to the success of a small business marketing strategy – even on Pinterest!
Label boards & Pins for search queries
Your boards should be topical and named for how users will search for content on Pinterest. For example ‘summer vacation ideas’ or ‘Cheap Vacations Destinations’ leave no one in doubt of the content on those boards. Many users browse Pinterest with an idea to purchase something so, if appropriate, add prices to your pins. This not only clarifies that something is for sale and also is a good way to manage user’s expectations.
Use Marketing signals, for example a trip to Paris with a stunning image of the Eiffel Tower could have the content ‘Romantic Paris Trip, from $x’, content such as this does not detract from the image, it sells the idea of the trip as well as the logistics and gives the user a best case price so they can determine if it is affordable.
On ThriveHive’s Pinterest boards you can see each board is named offering tips and advice that help their audience find what they need. The main image for each board is generic and descriptive; they keep the boards updated with monthly tips and cater for seasonality. ThriveHive also tells the company story; you can see the people behind the company in a board that is specifically for the brand. Brands and businesses should take note as you can gain a good following by sharing your own story visually.
Promoted Pins were launched last year and were primarily for big brands, however now they are being used much more for smaller brands and businesses. If your target audience is on Pinterest then you may want to consider promoted Pins and whether they fit into your marketing plan.
Tips for Creating Images on Pinterest
There are many free tools around that can help you create good images. Canva is a great marketing tool where you can customize you images, add content, and use tried and tested layouts that are effective for marketing. Canva even has a template for Pintrerest Pins!
When creating images for Pinterest, the average users share more images that have bright contrasting colors, red and orange in particular. Images with faces are not shared or liked as much on Pinterest as images without face. Make sure to keep the background to a minimum
Optimize image size
Pinterest is a visual tool so it’s important to create an image large enough to stand out. Where possible re-size or create images to the optimized size for Pinterest,ideally 735px by 1102px.
Optimize descriptions, alt tags, and file names
When writing descriptions avoid keyword stuffing but do include keywords and make them relevant. Make sure to add alt tags and rename your image on your blog according to what is in the content. This will help it get found in not only Pinterest searches, but Google image searches as well. Keep your descriptions between 200 and 300 words as these have been shown to get more shares.
Best Practices for Pinterest for Business
You have the ideas and a strategy that will help get your products and services in front of the right people, but if you don’t follow these best practices then it will be a wasted effort.
Be mindful of hashtags
Hashtags do not work in the same way on Pinterest as they do on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and are likely to divert traffic away rather than attract it. Not all hashtags are indexed on Pinterest and they are not clickable on mobile, which makes up around 75% of Pinterest traffic.
Use hashtags with caution and make sure they are working as you wish them to with regular tests. Unlike Instagram, the overuse of hashtags on Pinterest is considered bad etiquette and can be off putting to users. However, if you are promoting a particular offer or launch then it can be a unique way to get found especially when integrated with other marketing.
Include Pinterest on your website and other marketing
Use ‘Pin it’ buttons on your website images, articles, offers and products, these are a great call to action for sharing or pinning for later.
Drive traffic back to your website
Don’t get so carried away getting followers and curating great content for your boards that you forget that the whole purpose is to make money. You need to direct traffic back to your site, you can do this by pinning content, articles and offers from your site.
Don’t over promote your business on Pinterest
Although using Pinterest for your business is about marketing, your boards should not be completely full of your own content. You should also be re-Pinning other peoples’ Pins, share good content, and commenting on Pins. A good rule of thumb that you should never be promoting yourself more than 1 in 5 pins or posts. This way you will engage with a much better following and gain trust.
Use analytics when using Pinterest for business
As with all marketing efforts, analysis is needed to make sure you are getting a good return on investment. Pinterest has its own analytics platform you can use, as well as seeing referring traffic in Google Analytics. Using ThriveHive you can see how people are finding your site all in one place, to see which is working best for you.
Make sure to track your results to see if it’s a marketing activity that’s worth your time. If you’re thinking of giving Pinterest a shot, go for it and let us know how it goes!
This post was written by Sadie Sherran for ThriveHive. Sadie is a Director at Falkon Digital, specializing in online marketing for small to medium sized businesses. You can follow her on Twitter @seobelle