Making the Most of Pinterest
Since its creation in March of 2010, Pinterest has become hugely popular. It also has huge potential for businesses that want to get their brand out there. There are well over 25 million Pinterest users, meaning that it's never short of an audience. Pinterest allows other users to pin images from your site to their boards allowing for massive amounts of exposure. Pinterest is about more than simply sharing images, its success lies in its focus on lifestyle and not products. Below, we'll show you how to bring your Pinterest boards to life, increasing exposure, engaging your followers and encouraging more interaction with your brand.
Pinterest is now better than ever, providing support for brands by allowing them to sign up as businesses as opposed to being just an individual. If you already have a Pinterest individual account, you're able to convert it into a business account as well. For making a new account or converting your personal one, simply head over here to get started.
Though there aren't any apparent benefits to converting to a business account, I'm sure there will be in time. At the moment, you do get access to some links to Pinterest buttons and widgets that you can add to your website as well as some successful cases studies which could help with your marketing strategy.
Choosing an Effective Username
When signing up with Pinterest, the first thing you need to do is choose your username, which will be used to for your profile's URL, for example – www.pinterest.com/yourbrandname. You'll be using this URL for both online and offline marketing, so it's important that you keep it short, simple and easy to remember. Your best choice would be to use your company or brand name or perhaps even a slogan or keyword related to your company that's well-known. Remember, there is a 15 character limit, so choose wisely.
When entering your First Name and Last Name, you should also use these boxes for your company name, as it will be displayed at the top of your profile. You can split a long company name over the First Name and Last Name boxes.
The About Section
The information in your About Section, not only appears at the top of your profile page but it's also the description that's shown for your page in Google's search results. So it's important to fill this information in, and to include 2-3 of your business' most relevant keywords. Pinterest gives you a maximum of 150 characters to work with, so make them count.
The Website Section
Like most social media sites, Pinterest also allows you to add your website information on your page. You simply need to fill in your website URL and when someone browses your profile page, they'll see a little 'globe' icon that will direct them to your site. The link out to your site isn't very prominent but it's important to use to every little edge to get more visitors to your site. If you don't have a website, simply fill in your blog or other social media page info.
Linking to your other Social Media Pages
Be sure to connect Pinterest with your Facebook page and Twitter board by either adding some links out to them from your profile page, or create a board that's specifically designed to host links to all of all your social media sites and all other contact information.
The "Pin It" Bookmarklet
The Pin It bookmarklet can be added to browser, making it easy to grab an image from any site you're on and pin it to one of your boards. By using this bookmarklet, you'll be able to quickly and easily pin content to your board as soon as you come across it. You simply need to click on the Pin It bookmarklet while on a site and the bookmarklet will display all available images to pin. Now you'll just need to choose the appropriate image, choose your board, fill out the description and Pin It.
The Pinterest Buttons
Most websites have a Facebook "Like" and Twitter "Tweet" buttons on their site already, but it's important to throw Pinterest into the mix as well and add a Pinterest button. This will allow visitors to your site to quickly post your images to a Pinterest board without the use a bookmarklet.
Pinterest also has a variety of additional buttons that can be found here. They also provide step-by-step instructions to get these widgets installed quickly.
Uploading your Profile Picture
As a site that revolves around images, your Pinterest profile pic is extremely important. This is going to be how your brand or company is recognized across the site. There are 2 main images that are commonly used as profile pics. First there's your company logo and secondly, if you're the figurehead of the company, a head and shoulders shot of you – with a smile. It's best to use an image that can be easily recognized even at a very small size as this is how it'll appear to people against your name whenever you like, comment or re-pin content. The ideal size for Pinterest profile images is 180x180 but you can also use a slightly larger image, which Pinterest will scale down during the upload.
Pinterest Image Size Limit
When post content, keep in mind that Pinterest has a horizontal max image size of 554 pixels, however, there is no vertical limit applied to images. This simply means that any image can be posted to Pinterest but that some larger images will be automatically resized. Another point to remember is that Pinterest can only pin images that are 180x180 pixels or larger. So make sure that you have at least one image in every post on your website and that it means the minimum requirement to allow visitors to promote your content.
Use Taller Images
Due to the design of Pinterest boards, research shows that taller images receive more re-pins more than standard sized pics. It may not be possible for you to create tall images for every single one of your pins, but focus on your most important articles and create tall standout images for your board.
Rearranging your Pinterest Boards
By clicking on the button next to Edit Profile, you're able to rearrange the order of your Pinterest boards. You should aim to move your most important boards into the top few rows. Basically, you want your most important boards to show at the very top, before the reader has to scroll down. So check which of your boards you feel are the most important and move them to the top.
Adding Another Pinner
Pinterest allows you to let others pin to your board as well, if you choose to allow it. You can use this feature to allow one of your most trusted followers to pin with you when you create a new board. You can do this by simply adding their name to the "Add another pinner" box.
Mentioning Others in Pins
Similar to Twitter, Pinterest allows you to mention another user in a comment by typing @USERNAME. Pinterest is all about sharing and interaction, so be sure to let others know when you like their content. You should also create a list of people that regularly re-pin your content and @tag them when you make new pins to their attention.
Check Who's Re-Pinning your Content
In order to get a list of who's re-pinning your content, first you have to find them. Use the URL http://pinterest.com/source/YOURUSERNAME to see who has shared what from your site. This also helps in your testing, to see which content is most popular with your audience. You can use this information to create better pins and boards.
Keywords and Hashtags in Pins
Use the description box of your pin to add a few keywords and hashtags that users may use to find your pin in Pinterest's search. As with Twitter, you don't want to add too many hashtags as it becomes confusing. One or two will be just fine – three maximum. You should also avoid making your description too long, despite the 500 character limit. Work on keeping your description between 200-300 words for best results.
Proper Image Tags
Whenever you post an image on your website, it requires a title. This same title is the text that pops up when someone hovers over that image – once it's been pinned to a Pinterest board by one of your readers. Be sure to use titles that reflect your images with relevant keywords. Another useful tip is to add a full URL of your post into the description box of your pin prior to pinning for a SEO boost. It's best to use the full URL as Pinterest has been known to mark shortened URLs as spam.
Adding a Price Tag
If you're selling goods, Pinterest has a dedicated gift section on its site. You can make the best of this feature by simply adding a price to the description section of your pin – preceded by a dollar or pound symbol e.g. "Get a personalized coffee mug, on $3.99." By simply doing this, a price label will added to your pin and it will be placed in the gift category.
You should aim to be pinning a few times each day and maintaining the stream over a long period of time. It's pointless to leave your audience with no content for weeks and then suddenly bombarding them non-stop pins. By spreading out your pins and keep them constant, you'll maximize your exposure and build up an army of followers. Most of the content on Pinterest is re-pinned content, so it's very important to create original and inspiring pins that people will want to re-pin.
Pinning from Different Sources
You want to keep you followers interested by providing them with fresh interesting content. You can achieve this by pinning from others sources besides yourself. Your followers will enjoy a being able to read a fresh take on a topic.
Using Description Links
Add links back to your site in your pins to drive some traffic back to your website. If you're re-uploading a pic and not pinning something that's live already, select a relevant link and include that in your pin description.
Check your Followers Boards
You can learn a lot about your audience by taking a look at your followers boards and tailoring your product range and Pinterest content to better suit them. You can also use Pinterest's "Popular" link on the homepage to see what Pinterest users find most interesting at the moment to use as part of your strategy.
Create a Video Board
Pinterest supports both images and videos on their site. You're able to easily pin videos from sites like Youtube and Vimeo. These videos will play directly within Pinterest and there's no need to click through, to see the video. So if videos are a part of your marketing strategy, be sure to get them noticed by pinning them to Pinterest. You can create a video board to showcase all the videos that you've used already in your social media marketing strategy.
Quality Images and Video
In order to make your website more successful on Pinterest, you want to make sure that all your images and videos are high quality, tagged correctly and are pinnable i.e. non-flash. Pinterest supports videos from both Youtube and Vimeo. Ensure that you use images that your audience can relate to and respond to. In this way, it's more likely that they'll find value in it and interact more. You can draw more attention to your site's videos by using annotations that ask users to "Pin this video to Pinterest." Once a video has been pinned, it goes into Pinterest's dedicated video section.
Custom Thumbnails for Pinterest Videos
A problem that you'll encounter when pinning videos to Pinterest, is that it will randomly choose a video still to use as your thumbnail. This takes away from you videos visual appeal and may make it less attracting to visitors. To fix this, use Youtube's and Vimeo's custom thumbnail features. Whichever image you choose there will serve as your video pin's thumbnail, so it's best to make it something interesting. I would recommend creating your thumbnail by using a text image that best describes what you video is about, e.g. "TOP 10 MARKETING TIPS FOR YOUR BUSINESS"
Encourage Likes and Comments
Use your pin boards as an opportunity to interact with other users and obtain more likes, comments and re-pins. Ask other users that they think of your pins. If they enjoy it, ask them to like it. You could even ask other users or followers to guess where a particular photo was taken to draw attention to it.
Make Engagement a Priority
With all the pinning you need to do, it easy to forget about engagement. You need to be active on Pinterest by liking, commenting and re-pinning content to encourage others to do so as well. In the long-term, this is very beneficial.
Inspire Pinterest Users
Regardless of the topic of your website, you should also use Pinterest to inspire people. This can be done by showing images of their dreams and aspirations. Besides your products boards, you want to create a board/boards that demonstrate interesting pinnable ideas and concepts that surround it. Your website might be about Italian food but you could also have a board that covers their music, fashion and culture, in general.
Short Simple Board Names
When naming your boards, you want to give them easy descriptive names that can be easily found when searched for. You also want to ensure that you don't make your names too long as the end may be cut off when viewed on your profile.
Create a Secret Board
As of November 2012, Pinterest allows you to create up to 3 "Secret Boards" that are private and can only be seen by you. These can be made public at any time. To create a secret board, simply choose the option from the bottom of your profile page, or when creating a board from the "Add" menu, switch the Secret Board slider to "On".
Secret boards are a useful way to plan your Pinterest activity in advance without letting followers in on it. In this way, you can release you board to the public whenever you're ready, perhaps simply before a special event. In order to prevent re-pins from disappearing, once a Secret Board has been made public, it cannot be made private again. Also, public boards cannot be made private either.
Ask some of your fans to pin pictures of themselves with their favorite product of your and to tag you in the description. You can now create a VIP board and re-pin these photos to it. This is a great way to hit at the vanity of your fans (everyone love being featured on boards), but it's also a great way to spread the word about your brand and products.
Create a Products and Services Board
You should avoid using Pinterest as a way to spam your customers with marketing pins, however a few boards dedicated to products and services won't harm. You can learn a lot from fashion brands boards on Pinterest, who post new boards to showcase new looks for each season.
Current Campaigns Board
Build a board that's specifically used for posting special offers and deals to. This allows customers to find all this info in one place. Be sure to rearrange your boards and place this one near the top of your profile so that it's given as much visibility as possible.
Meet the Team Board
Create a Pinterest board that allows customers to get to know your staff a little better. Take individual photos of your staff and use the title and description to tell customers who they are, what they do and any other interesting details you like. This humanizes your company and enables customers to more closely connect to your brand.
Company History Board
Similar to Facebook's Timeline, you can use pins to document the history of your company. Customers love to find out more about the history of their favorite brands and as they say 'A picture is worth a thousand words."
Showcase your Blog and Website
Create board that will be used solely to pin your website or blog posts to. This is great for driving more traffic to your site. You can also use this board to highlight older posts that were made before the creation of Pinterest.
Create and Share Infographics
Infographics are a very popular way to share info on the web these days and they look especially good on Pinterest. Infographics can be picked up quite easily by sites and shared with thousands of people across the web. Consider creating your own inforgraphics to share with customers and be sure to plug your business at the bottom. You can also share other infographics from Pinterest as long as they are interesting and relevant to your audience.
Creating a How To/Tutorials Board
Sites like Pinterest are perfect to be used for 'how to' videos related to your business. Using a step-by-step process, each pinned image or video should correspond to a step in the overall chain of instructions.
As we already know that taller images receive more re-pin, you could also try creating one tall image that includes all the steps combined.
Experiment with both methods to see which one work best for your business.
Reviews and Recommendations Board
A 2012 survey has shown that 70% of visitors to Pinterest use the site for shopping inspiration, and 43% use it to associate with brands or retailers. Write some reviews and recommendations about some good products and pin them to a board called "Products We Love," whether they are your products or not. Even though you're promoting other products as well, over time, the good karma of Pinterest will see more activity coming your way.
As with other social media sites, Pinterest can also be used to hold contests – that can increase engagement and loyalty on your site. You can do this by asking users to re-pin an image using something that says "Re-pin this photo for a chance to win a $100 gift card to spend at our store!" to enter. You could also ask people to follow you, and create "dream boards" from your company's pins and choosing the best. You might even add followers as contributors to a special contest board and have them submit photos of themselves to be judges for a prize. Make following you, tagging with your @username and a specific #hashtag mandatory for entry into the competition, for added virality.
Run an Offer on Pinterest
People love good offers and pretty much anything with the words 'free', 'discount' or 'giveaway' in the title. Pinterest is a great way to get these kinds of offers noticed. You can pin an image directly from your website and use the description box to display your offer or upload a pin directly to Pinterest with an 'Exclusive Pinterest Followers' offer. A great way to advertise your business is by creating a 'Pin It to Unlock' campaign. Upload a pin describing a special offer that you would like to give to your followers but make a condition that it will only become active once the image has been re-pinned 'X' number of times. This will encourage more people to re-pin, like and comment on your images to unlock your special offers.
Use your Facebook Page to Promote Pinterest
You can use your Facebook business page to draw attention to your pins on Pinterest but providing links to specific interesting boards, status updates, etc. Make sure that you include the URL to specific pins so that fans are encouraged to click through to re-pin and follow.
One of the best ways to do this is by using infographics. Perhaps you have a pinned infographic called "10 Best Marketing Techniques." Simply use an image editor to crop the image to only show the first technique and upload this new image to Facebook along with a post that describes what the infographic is all about. Tell your fans to click on the Pinterest link to see the remaining 9 techniques.
Images with Overlayed Words
Images that have bold text overlayed, do exceedingly well in encouraging re-pins. Think about all the quotes and proverbs that have been reposted everywhere. You can use a service like Pinwords to easily create this.
Beware of Borders
If your image has a border, be very careful on Pinterest as the site uses its own border and together, this may suffocate your image.