We can all agree that social networks have changed the way consumers interact with brands and businesses. It’s a new age of marketing, where having an online presence combined with a solid social media strategy is essential. There’s no doubt that you’re already familiar with platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But there’s one network that’s unlike any other. Among many other things, it can be used as a means to grow a community, increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your website. Yes, we’re talking about Pinterest.
Pinterest recently celebrated 200 million monthly users. The network, aimed at helping users discover ideas and find inspiration, has become a force to be reckoned with. We’re about unveil how Pinterest works, how to set up your own account, and why you need it for your business:
What is Pinterest?
As the company describes it themselves, Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that you can use to find ideas for all of your projects and interests. Simply put, it’s a way to virtually collect and categorize things you like.
The most common categories found on the network are: recipes, DIY, home decor and wedding inspiration. However, interests span much wider than that. Users (or ‘pinners’) can explore other pinners content (images and videos) and save it to their own boards. Pinners interact with each other by commenting and saving each others content. Users can also follow other accounts, brands and businesses – or specific boards within those profiles. This is the ‘social’ aspect of the platform which is slightly different when compared to classic social media networks: The goal here is to connect people not through the news they have to share, but through the “things” they find interesting.
Knowing how to use Facebook and Instagram won’t necessarily mean you will know how to use Pinterest, as this channel offers a very unique user experience. Here are some of the main elements and their functions explained:
Board: These are essentially what your profile is made of. Each board represents a specific category. If Pinterest was a file cabinet, your boards would be the folders. There’s no limit to your imagination as you can create as many boards as you like.
Pins: Users fill their boards up with “pins” or pieces of content that are relevant to that category or theme. You can either find these on Pinterest, grab them from the Internet or upload your own original content. Each pin contains an image, a link and a description.
Repin: When a user saves a pin from another user or brand to their own board.
Feed: Just like you would find on any other social network – this is a collection of content from boards and other users the user (or business) follows.
Why you need it for your business
As you can already tell from reading what Pinterest is about, it’s no ordinary social network. And users love it! Small business owners can capitalize on the huge growth of this channel by marketing their products through compelling images and colorful infographics. Some of the advantages of using Pinterest for your business include:
Increased brand awareness: As a business, you know the importance of being present everywhere online! Continue to spread your brand across the Internet by personalizing your Pinterest account with your logo, a description of your biz and of course, a link to your website.
Additional traffic to your website or blog: Pinterest is an excellent traffic driver thanks to ability to include a link in each and every pin. Pinners are also accustomed to clicking away from the platform (unlike other networks which aim to keep you browsing). The key to seeing an increase of clicks to your site is by creating and posting beautiful and enticing content.
Converts browsers into buyers: One main advantage of Pinterest is that it reduces the amount of steps from discovery to conversion. Meaning that visitors convert into leads quicker than any other social networks. Since users are actively searching for something they are browsing with the intent to find something – or rather buy something. This is an audience you simply can’t afford not to tap into.
Free promotion: As the saying goes, the best things in life are free. Setting up your account and spreading your content all over Pinterest may require some time but it doesn’t have to cost you a single penny. Much like creating a blog or using Instagram, Pinterest is yet another platform where you can promote your brand and website for free.
Generate more inbound links: As mentioned before, every pin includes a link. Which makes it easy to locate the original source of every image. That means, no matter how far or wide your image is spread across Pinterest (or Google images) it will always lead back to your website. After all, home is where your website is, right?
How to create a business account
Now that we’ve covered what Pinterest entails and the benefits it could have for your business, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to open a Pinterest business account:
Go to www.pinterest.com.
Select “Create a business account”.
Fill in your: email, create a password, add in your business name and category your biz falls into (professional, public figure, brand, retailer, etc.).
Review the terms and conditions and you’re ready to hit “Create account”. Great! You’ve got the skeleton of your account set up. Now it’s time to customize it so that your brand looks credible and appealing.
Log into your account, in the menu on the top right hand side of the page are three buttons “…”. Click it and then click “Settings”.
Select “Profile” (from the menu). Here you can upload a photo which should ideally be your logo, (the optimal size is 165 x 165 pixels), fill in your about section and add your business location. Then, click “Save settings”. Your account is starting to take some shape now but there’s crucial step you can’t skip: confirming your website. By linking your account to your site you can see what users pin from your site. Plus, anything they do pin will include your logo. Finally, confirming your site gives a boost to your pins rankings in search results. Here’s how to do it:
From your settings, scroll down to the profile section and click “Confirm website”.
Copy and paste your websites URL.
Click “Finish”. You’ve made it. You’re finally ready to start pinning away!
Best practices for using Pinterest
Pin regularly: In order to gain a good amount of traction to your website, you’ll need to pin often. Just like with your blog posting schedule or your Facebook strategy, consistency is key. Think of your pins as the breadcrumbs leading the way back to your site. Pinning new content the moment it’s released is a good way to stay on top of your posting game. Examples of this could be your latest blog post or a new product launch. Due to the fact that users save content and return to it later, the lifespan of pins are that much longer – so pin away!
Upload rich pins: There are pins, and then there are rich pins! They provide more context about an idea as they show more details directly on the pin. Due to this extra amount of information rich pins create better engagement. There are four types of rich pins you can start creating:
Product pins: include real-time pricing, availability and locations to buy the actual product.
Recipe pins: show crucial information like the ingredients needed, cooking times and serving sizes.
Article pins: include a headline, author and story description. Pinners can also save stories they want to catch up on later.
App pins: contain a strategically placed “install” button so that Pinners can download the app without having to leave Pinterest.
Add the save button to your website: To make it easier for viewers to pin images directly off your site you can add the Pinterest ‘save’ button to your site. There are a couple of different options you can choose from: automatic buttons (the save button will appear on every image) or hover buttons (the button only appears when users hover their mouse over an image).
Create a board showcasing your products: This is a great way to get started when creating your boards. Be careful though not to come across as too promotional but aim to be more inspirational. Take the time and make sure all of your pins include a description and a link to your website.
Use the right (key)words: Pinterest is a visual platform, we get it. But words should accompany your stellar images in order to maximize engagement. Pinterest is essentially a search engine so you should pick your words wisely. When writing your board titles and descriptions pay attention to how you name these elements. Think about what pinners would need to search in order to find your board or pin. For example, if you have a board dedicated to summer recipes called “The best of summer” it won’t be as visible as a board named “Best summer recipes.” Use the keywords you’ve already implemented on your site and blog and carry them across to your Pinterest strategy.