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Living in the shadow of Instagram, Pinterest is one of the less well-known social media sites. After all, until the last year or two its members were mostly Millennial and Gen-X women. However, times have changed, and increasingly Pinterest is becoming a place where a larger segment of the population goes to get ideas.
Monetization of Pinterest’s platform isn’t as well-developed as other networks either, making Pinterest a relatively low-cost place to share ideas. No wonder why smart brands go to Pinterest for lead generation.
Furthermore, considering that Pinterest is less of a social network than a discovery search engine, it can be a major generator of organic website traffic. At the time of writing this post, my website this year has received 23% of its traffic from social media from Pinterest, and contrary to popular belief, in terms of both time on site and pageviews per visit, that Pinterest traffic is a higher quality than that coming from Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter! (Note: These are my personal results, but Tailwind also publishes the Typical Results of Tailwind for Pinterest Members every year, so you can see exactly what the average growth rate looks like for their members by clicking here.)
So, as a marketer, entrepreneur or business owner, how should you go about leveraging this network to boost sales? Here are some best practices, as well as some implementation tips on how to use Pinterest for marketing.
1. It’s gotta be fresh
If there is one thing that Pinterest is encouraging users to do right now, it is to create and post more fresh content.
One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make is not posting fresh content. Fresh content is defined as pins that have never been on Pinterest before. In other words, something that’s original and not recycled. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be something that has been on other platforms. For instance, if you have a website, feel free to share the pictures you’ve put up there on Pinterest. Unless somebody has already extracted the picture for their board, chances are your original pictures from the blog are fresh to Pinterest.
Here are some other tips for fresh posts:
Revise your pins
Any change you make in your pins will be considered fresh content once you post the revised pin to Pinterest. This might be the easiest way to create fresh content. You could consider doing this for both under-performing pins (in hopes of increasing clicks) as well as currently high-performing pins (in hopes of maintaining clicks). We have some great advice here on 6 Things You Can Do Today To Improve Your Pins on Pinterest.
Share product listings
Released a new product? Create a pin utilizing the product listing. This is material that’s only available in this form on your website. Or, if your business is brick-and-mortar, show a photo of it on the shelf. Indicate how much it costs, and when it’s available.
Been to an event? Share the pictures
It goes without saying that your professional website should have a button-down headshot prominently displayed. But have you thought about what to do with those spontaneous ones? Posting them on Pinterest might be a great way to show your unique personality in a business setting. For instance, if you run a craft shop post something where you’re helping a customer with product selections.
Don’t forget some duplications
Between platforms, that is. While you want a Pinterest picture to be fresh, you also should feel free to share pictures from your website or even social media (Tailwind allows you to integrate with and share your Instagram photos as pins on Pinterest, for instance). This can go far beyond product listings. For example, a clothing company could showcase a model wearing the product. Or, a technology company could post screenshots of someone doing cool stuff with that new tech toy. You could also share UGC that you re-posted on your own Instagram page. Whatever it is, be creative.
2. Make it Memorable
One of the big pitfalls of Pinterest posting is boring pictures. After all, who’s going to Pin pictures that are just plain boring? A girl standing on a street corner isn’t going to inspire your followers, unless perhaps there’s something really unique about it. For instance, the girl could be showcasing the latest product from your line. In that case, make sure the item features prominently in the picture. Other possibilities:
Don’t forget the cute factor
There’s a major American insurance company that makes commercials featuring a cartoonish gecko. This gecko has very quirky sense of humor, and sometimes states the obvious…creatively. Your company may not have a cute mascot, but there might be a product use that could be considered cute. A little girl wearing her mother’s shoes, for example, or maybe a dad showing his son how to wear a necktie. Ideally, the cuteness should make an important point about your product and its use. The more that these ideas “stick” the better, since people go to Pinterest for inspiration and not so much product news.
While it’s always important to make sure your jokes aren’t offensive, appropriate uses of humor can make your Pins memorable. Of course, those jokes also show a brand personality. Humor is an excellent way to connect to your fans and potential customers, and you never know who they’ll share the content with. It could be that a car aficionado will find your “stupid drivers” joke to be incredibly funny, and share it with another car fan. Or, a “soccer mom” might enjoy your version of the kids acting up in the family SUV. Hopefully, this will prompt her to share the Pin with other soccer moms, who in turn buy whatever you’re selling.
Use catchy descriptions
Although most of us think of “clickbait” titles as just for written content, it can work for pictures as well. Remember that unless a Pinterest user is following your profile, they’ll most likely find your Pin either by search or through people who have shared your Pin. This means that you need to inspire people to look at the photo you’ve posted, and think of it as clever enough to share. In other words, what’s at the heart and soul of your Pinterest post? Ideally, the description should jump out at people, and then be remembered enough that they’ll return to the site.
Infographics embedded on your blog posts and shared on Pinterest are a great way to generate website traffic. Check out all of our advice on How to Use Infographics on Pinterest to Get More Website Traffic.
If you’re looking for advice on how to create great images for Pinterest, check out our post on 12 Free and Low-Cost Tools to Create Pinterest Graphics.
3. Show your product’s value
Nowadays, Pinterest is about so much more than crafts and fashion. In recent years, businesses from all sectors have started to see the value in advertising their products and services here. To understand the reason why, it’s important to realize that at its heart, Pinterest is a place where people share creative ideas. Where people look for things that solve their problems and share their individuality. Fresh content on Pinterest is one of the most important ways that brands can cash in on this essential function of Pinterest.
Demonstrate fresh uses for your product
This is easier for some product types than others. For instance, fresh uses might not be as easy for a car company. On the other hand, there are still some opportunities. Cars normally driven in the city can have demonstrated applications on country roads, for instance. In this case, a picture of that car with lots of mud at the end of a country road could be compelling. Or, let’s say you’re trying to sell a type of adhesive most commonly used for a given purpose, but suitable for another. Depicting this alternate use could open your customer’s eyes to the possibilities. Especially if it’s a fresh Pin, this new idea could prompt multiple shares.
Creativity helps…a lot
Sometimes customers know what a product is used for, and these uses are well-established. However, planning a project takes a lot of time and effort. This is an opportunity for brands to showcase a project completed with their product. One of the biggest things that women do on Pinterest is plan weddings. If you have a floral shop, consider showcasing pictures of your flower arrangements. These might be for weddings, funerals, or even Mother’s Day. But the important thing is that potential clients see your unique style and talent. An especially beautiful bouquet might be replicated by a DIY-er with flowers they bought from you, if this service is offered. AS the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Have a travel agency or run a tour company? Post new pictures of people having fun because they booked through your agency or participated in one of your tours. The important thing is that people see the value of what you’re selling.
Solve a problem
Some types of products and services are intended to solve problems people have, rather than enable creativity or participate in a hobby. Examples of these include plumbing or electrical supplies, home maintenance, and storage solutions. For these types of businesses, it’s important that your fresh content shows customers how they can solve the problem they have. Ideally, the customer will “picture” themselves using the product to achieve whatever goal they have. In other words, meet customers where they are. If the idea is awesome, they not only are likely to buy but chances are the Pin will get shared.
4. Showcase your brand
As important as it is to demonstrate fresh uses for your product or service, the brand itself shouldn’t be forgotten. Competition is fierce in most industries these days, and unless your product is unique chances are that ideas posted to Pinterest can be executed with competing brands. For this reason, experts recommend that your fresh content include brand logos and names. This way, the Pin is memorable not just for its contents, but for who developed the content in the first place. Even better, your logo gets distributed along with the Pin, increasing name recognition.
Incorporate your logo
There are a couple ways to do this. Some products are designed in such a way that the product itself always includes the logo somewhere. Perhaps the biggest example of this is on automobiles, where the logo is on every front and back, plus the wheels in most cases. Sometimes an unboxing of your product could include the logo on that shipping box, a common method for companies that do their own fulfillment. Another way, however, is by adding it to the picture after it’s been taken. Clothing, tools, and cosmetics companies do this all the time. No matter how it’s done, the idea is to make your logo memorable along with that awesome Pin.
Demonstrate corporate citizenship
One of the challenges of marketing to Millennials is the importance they place on good corporate citizenship. Increasingly, the day of corporate detachment from world events in the pursuit of profits is politically incorrect. As a result, you want to ensure your brand doesn’t have this reputation. Especially during a crisis, it’s important to know that your company stands by its workers, and even by society as a whole. So, if your company participates in philanthropy or disaster relief, use Pinterest to brag about it. People love to share a great story.
5. Play to the algorithms
Although I’ve given a lot of reasons for producing fresh content for Pinterest, here’s one more: As hinted earlier, many experts are saying that Pinterest’s algorithm prefers fresh content. When something has been posted a thousand times, it ceases to be as valuable as it once was. After all, people go onto Pinterest for fresh ideas, and not just the same old thing. Your entire aim on Pinterest isn’t to put people to sleep. It’s to inspire creativity and spending. Keep that in mind.
Also, consider that Pinterest is a kind of search engine. People do searches for ideas on particular topics. It’s important, therefore, that hashtags and categorizations are done accurately. Why would someone looking for a car want to view photos of sneakers? It can also be more subtle: a professional artist might be looking for paint. Yet finger paint is useful for a Kindergarten teacher, not an artist. Keep that in mind when you categorize things.
6. Use a Pinterest scheduling tool
If you’re like most business owners or marketers, chances are you’re very busy. That’s one reason why so many of us are tempted to engage in too much content reuse. While there’s certainly a place for that content, keeping it fresh requires a lot of time. If you need to save time, and who doesn’t, consider using a Pinterest scheduling tool.
My favorite Pinterest scheduling tool that I have religiously used for years is Tailwind. This application works on two platforms: Pinterest and Instagram. For both platforms, Tailwind is an official marketing partner, and as a result they have the expertise needed to help your Pinterest-based marketing efforts be more successful in a few different ways.
First, Tailwind gives you access to the analytics you need to know what’s working for your company. Analytics tell an important story in more ways than one. For instance, you can get a feel for what kinds of people are re-pinning your Pins, and what sorts of boards they attach to.
Second, Tailwind allows you to schedule an entire week of posts almost at the push of a button. Once that content is ready to go, it shouldn’t be a pain to ensure that Pins are added to your boards at the right time. Just upload and schedule.
Third, Tailwind has a unique evergreen queue scheduling feature called SmartLoop that, if you have a lot of content, can efficiently and forever publish that content to all of your boards according to a timed schedule that is in compliance with Pinterest’s Terms and Conditions. This shows that Tailwind’s expertise is highly valuable for businesses and marketers, and provide an edge over your competition.
7. Group boards are out. Tailwind Tribes are in.
Finally, as if this wasn’t enough great advice on how to use Pinterest for marketing using Tailwind, there is one more unique feature that the tool has that will give your business a competitive advantage: Tailwind Tribes.
Tailwind Tribes are similar to platforms such as Triberr where you gain access to a community of people with similar interests who are looking to curate high quality content from similar content creators. The difference is that you can see who shared your content and measure each tribe’s effectiveness as to how often your content is getting shared. This allows you to curate content from similarly minded users who might actually share your content when they curate from Tailwind Tribes. I currently curate an overwhelming majority of Pinterest content from my own tribe. My own Tailwind tribe is called Blogging & Social Media Marketing Pros, and you can join the tribe for free even if you are not a Tailwind member! Feel free to click here so that we can join forces!
Please note that from a business model perspective, both Tribes and SmartLoop are considered additional “PowerUps” for Tailwind for Pinterest.
Do you have any other how to use Pinterest for marketing tips? Let me know in the comments.
Check out this great infographic from Bold Business and learn more about how Pinterest can boost your marketing efforts.