I’m always flabbergasted when I meet people that haven’t caught on to the benefits of using Pinterest yet. With 70 million users worldwide, 80% of which are female, it’s a platform businesses can’t afford to ignore. Whilst the US still remains it’s biggest market with 67% of females accessing the site in the States, it’s slowly but surely gaining traction in other parts of the world.
Many start-ups seem to overlook it as a marketing tool in favour of Twitter and Facebook, but Pinterest is great for building your brand identity and authority, and it’s a great way to expand your reach and drive traffic to your website.
But knowing how to effectively use Pinterest to drive business, traffic and sales can be tricky. We met up with Anna Cadiz Bennett, Pinterest Expert and the Founder of White Glove Social Media, to get her top tips for using Pinterest for Business.
Anna, why should startups and small businesses use Pinterest?
Pinterest helps businesses:
- Get more traffic
- Make more sales
- Collect market intelligence which helps with future content and product development
- Raise your brand’s profile
- Develop loyal fans and brand advocates – you will be able to determine exactly who is sharing your content from your website!
- Rank higher on search engines
- Reduce marketing expenses
- Have others create content for you – for free…so you don’t have to do all the work (this does not happen on Facebook, Twitter!)
- Increase your exposure to a wider audience so others can reach out to you about partnerships
Most businesses want two things from their on line presence – Traffic and sales. Remember – no new traffic to your website means no new sales and missed opportunities.
We can see how products like clothes or jewellery could be sold using Pinterest and their images liked and shared, but what about if you sell services or courses; how do they convert?
Publishers such as BuzzFeed are capitalizing on the influence of Pinterest. Since September of 2013, over 5 million articles are being shared on Pinterest daily. BuzzFeed’s creative director Emily Fleischaker told the New York Times, “We think of Pinterest as our newsstand. Pinterest’s hire of former Google employee Robert Macdonald as head of media partnerships proves that Pinterest is prepared to benefit from publishing partnerships.
As the owner of a B2B service company myself I can tell you that our number one source of traffic is organic search and our second largest source of website traffic is from Pinterest.
That tells me our Pinterest efforts are producing a significant business result for us.
In fact because of our SEO strategy we rank very highly in organic search on Google. Usually, we are found on the first or second position on page one. I see plenty of evidence of service businesses doing well on Pinterest.
To this day we have not bought any adwords.
Does it matter what time of day you post on Pinterest and do you have to post consistently?
Absolutely! In fact it is critical to your success. Look at it this way…you can have the greatest images but if you’re pinning when your target audience is not on Pinterest then all that hard work creating those pretty images won’t matter one bit because so few of your target audience see them.
Can you schedule Pinterest posts using an online tool?
What if businesses don’t have images of their own to share?
There are many ways they can create images to drive traffic to their sites. They can buy images, make images and get their followers to help them collect images too.
Every business is unique, I help brands and businesses decipher what images they should create based on their Pinterest goals and where to get them.
What can they use to visually represent their content and services?
The visuals help tell your story. You’ve all heard that saying “a picture is worth a 1,000 words” right? Think about it. We live in a fast paced society where we’re glued to our smartphones, laptops, iPads and images are easy to consume. This shouldn’t be all that surprising when 65% to 85% of people describe themselves as visual learners.
Find a way to share your content as simply as possible (which means images). People have a short attention span and are in the habit of moving from subject to subject very quickly.
One of things I do as a Pinterest consultant is to help owners determine how to translate a business or brand content into helpful and viral content on Pinterest. Infographics, checklists, free ebooks are some examples of those.
A lot of images have text overlays that look professionally done. Do you know if there are any free tools that people can use to do this?
I highly recommend Canva’s Pinterest template to create your images. It’s super easy to use and they have several free features which I love.
First, you want to make sure you’re creating content that your target audience will resonate with. Use images that evoke emotion. There are a handful of websites out there that offer royalty free images like www.freepixels.com and www.pixabay.com. I recommend using images and adding text overlay. Plus, always add your logo or website to brand your images.
From my observations most people fail to brand their images and size their images properly. Images need to be at least 800×1200 pixels. If they are not that may be one of the reasons your image may not get as many repins.
Is there a right and wrong way to label your images? What do you need to include?
Yes, Pinterest is about pretty images but you can’t expect your images to do all the heavy lifting to get you those click throughs. Success on Pinterest isn’t just one thing; there are multiple smaller factors that contribute to operating a successful account. I have said this before; there is a lot of science to Pinterest success.
The challenge for many bloggers, marketers and business owners is finding a way to create attention sucking, eye ball grabbing messages that stand out and make pinners care about clicking through your image amidst all the hundreds of other ones on their home feed.
Make no mistake about it, you are competing for eye balls and attention on Pinterest… are you playing to win or mailing it in?
There are times when your visuals may not evoke the emotion we are trying so hard to create which is why you need to back that up with clear, powerful, attention grabbing pin descriptions.
Pin descriptions are a lot like blog titles or headlines in my eyes. That first line makes it or breaks it. We are grabbing the pinners’ attention in order to move them to care about your content.
One of the biggest mistakes I see being made over and over again is Pinterest users failing to craft eye grabbing, attention sucking pin descriptions.
I often just see hashtags, one liners, or even just one word. I think it is because it is so much for fun to pin while creating pin descriptions feels more like work! Guess what? It is!
Powered by user supplied captions and comments, Pinterest categorizes your pins based on your pin descriptions. One of the most powerful & important ways to improve your search results is to sharpen your pin descriptions.
The length of a pin description on an Android smart phone device cuts off at around 125 characters depending on the width of the letters. Over 80% of Pinterest users use their mobile device so you want to make sure that your most vital information and keywords are in your first 125 characters.
You’re pin descriptions must include these 5 critical elements to help you rank high on Pinterest’s Guided Search:
- Who’s your audience?
- Is it easy to understand?
- Does it include a keyword for SEO? To maximize the Pinterest search results you have to figure out which word or category within the Guided Search “narrowing” choices you want to be found in and optimize your boards and account accordingly.
- Does it include a call to action with a link to where you want the pinner to go?
- Does is answer the WIIFM question? Is your image helpful? Is it something that the pinner can do better, cheaper, faster?
What value does this hold for a small business if people follow your board?
Growing your followers is important because you want as many Pinterest users as possible sharing your pins.
More eyeballs on your Pinterest pages gives you more chances of getting those click throughs. At the end of the day you want more people going to your website which in turn increases your odds of making more sales.
What is the value (for a small business) of someone liking or sharing one of your posts?
I don’t see any value for liking. Getting pinners to repin your image is crucial because your goal is to get those click throughs. Repins also help you rank high on the Pinterest search engine which is what you want.
Can you tell us about ‘Rich Pins’ and how they work?
One of the keys to achieving success on Pinterest is to make your pins stand out from the crowd.
The goal for any business on Pinterest is to get as many repins as possible. The Rich Pin feature that Pinterest offers to businesses and bloggers can help you do that.
The cool thing about Rich Pins is that brands can include data such as real-time pricing info. Pinners also get email notifications when Product Pins (Rich Pins) they’ve added to their boards drop in price by at least 10%. Price drop notifications encourage buying behavior.
Imagine that – free email marketing that costs you nothing. You won’t get that on any other social networks.
Rich Pins are important for all brands, but especially e-commerce brands. Rich Pins allow you to include incredibly useful data in your pins, like agile product pricing and product availability.
Pinterest’s search pulls this data directly from your site, in real-time. Rich Pins also include a strong call to action on where to buy the pin, which can drive more qualified and higher purchase intent traffic back to your site while reducing bounce rate.
There are five kinds of rich pins.
- Place Pins include a map, address, and phone number.
- Article Pins include headline, author and story description.
- Recipe Pins include ingredients, cooking times and serving information.
- Movie Pins include ratings, cast members and reviews.
- Product Pins
Make sure you are using whichever one is right for your brand.
What are your Pinterest top tips for small businesses?
Pinterest can drive a mind boggling amount of referral traffic to your website. That in turn drives new sales.
- If you want to reap the rewards of Pinterest social media marketing you need to have a cohesive plan.
- Also pin content that your target audience can’t resist.
- Measure your results so you know what’s working and what isn’t working.
- One of the biggest challenges for most small businesses is to find the time to master Pinterest. They can barely keep up with their day to day tasks and working long hours.
- Small businesses have two choices to really harness the avalanche power of Pinterest: a) take a course from an expert and manage your account yourself or b) hire a Pinterest expert to manage their account for them.
- Either way if you want to have success on Pinterest it will cost you time and money. You have to be smart about your choices because time is valuable.
I offer a Pinterest self-study video based course for businesses large and small laid out in an easy to follow blueprint, with a step by step plan on how to successfully manage a Pinterest account. If you manage it well it will drive more traffic to your site.
It took me and my team to 2500 hours to develop this course.
The worst mistake I see businesses make is trying to figure out Pinterest on their own and then trying to keep up with the constant changes Pinterest makes. Why would you want to reinvent the wheel when someone has already done all the work for you? Keeping up with Pinterest is a full time job. I work 60 hours a week to do it.
White Glove Social Media offers Pinterest account management services to those who have the budget but don’t have the time to learn how to do it themselves.
Bottom line: you’re going to have to get a Pinterest expert to help you or become one yourself. There is a ton of science to mastering Pinterest.
Good luck! If you feel like Pinterest is too complicated please contact me and ask about account management services or do invest in my course to learn how to manage your Pinterest account as efficiently and effectively as possible.