Businesses tend to “write off” Pinterest when they develop social media marketing strategies. There is still a widespread belief that this platform is largely for females and followed by “crafters” and recipe hounds.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Today, there are about 250 million people with Pinterest accounts, and 97% of those account holders state that they look on Pinterest for potential product purchases.
Perhaps this will make you sit up and take notice – Pinterest is definitely a platform for business marketing.
Just What Is Pinterest?
Above all, it is a visual social media platform. Users can look for, store and share content they like, they find entertaining, or inspirational, or even educational. Whatever content users choose to add or select from others, they store on their “boards,” usually by category so that those boards are organized and so that other users can find what might interest them.
Users must sign up for an account, just as they do on other social media platforms before they can create boards and share content and “follow” the pins (content) of others and make comments on and re-pin what others have pinned. You can also search for content, using keywords, just as you would on Instagram.
You also need to understand that there are personal and business accounts on Pinterest. Businesses that set up accounts have access to a number of features that personal accounts do not, and here is where the marketing comes in.
So, let’s look at how you can market your products or services on Pinterest, gaining an audience and thus a number of potential customers. Here are your steps and strategies for marketing on Pinterest.
1) Get A Business Account
A Pinterest business account is free and has many marketing features, like creating a business profile that clearly establishes your brand, or using widgets to place your favorite boards on your website or other social media accounts and to add share buttons to your boards. For a full listing of all that you can do with your business account, you can simply go to the Pinterest business site and learn more.
You can also run ads on Pinterest, although this is not a free service. The Pinterest Ads Manager will let you target your audience, though, and that may be an important part of your overall marketing strategy.
2) You’re Ready To Create Boards
Here is where you want to get creative. You don’t want boards that simply tout your products and prices. That’s not interesting to potential customers. Think about the blog posts you write. You educate, entertain, or inspire – you don’t sell. Pinterest content should do the same. And because you have as many boards as you wish, you should have some type of related theme for each of them. If, for example, you sell lawn and garden supplies, then your boards could provide inspirational garden or landscaping ideas, annuals or perennials for each season in different climates, etc. If you sell pet supplies, feature breeds of dogs and cats, house training tips, etc.
Once you have your theme and create your boards, you can pair each board to a related product or two that you sell.
And, here’s a cool idea. Invite others to share on your boards – you then have a group board. Even current customers can post photos of how they are using your products.
3) Be Sure To Choose The Right Categories
This is the key to being found (along with keywords which we will discuss later). People do a search by category, so if you are in all of those that may be related, your chances of being found are much better.
For example, if you sell pet supplies, there is a large category of animals and pets. But think outside the box too. One of the most popular categories, for example, is health and wellness. There is a lot of content out there related to the impact on the mental health of having and caring for pets.
Another popular category is the DIY home improvement projects. If you sell lawn and garden supplies, you might choose that category but also DIY projects, along with amazing photos and even videos of gardens and landscaping.
You want to be in categories that are related but as many as possible.
4) Images And Videos Must Stand Out
You are marketing on a visual platform. Mundane and boring images of your products are not going to capture attention, engage audiences, or motivate users to follow you. This part of Pinterest marketing is perhaps the most time-consuming because you want to accomplish two things – promote your brand but meet user demands for the unique and captivating.
● Create short videos (60 – 90 seconds) that are branded, of course, but that also shows the value of what you bring to your audience. Choose topics that you know are of interest to your audience and that solve a problem they may have. And be entertaining, using language and humor that your specific audience will appreciate. While not created for Pinterest, here is a short explainer video of the brand, Dollar Shave Club that shows a perfect way to appeal to a target audience.
The video is 93 seconds long and just hysterical while providing its audience with solutions to a current problem.
If you don’t have the wherewithal to create such a video, use a professional creative – it will be well worth the cost (this video cost $2500 and went viral almost immediately).
Also, if you have the budget, pay for the Pinterest Promoted Video option. This will feature your video in categories where it is pinned.
● Users like to see products in action. Any time you can pin a video of an actual customer using your product, you will have a compelling piece of content to which your users/followers can relate. They will see themselves using your product too.
● Photos must be more than just an appealing image. Consider finding great inspirational quotes to go along with them.
And remember, all of these visuals you create for your Pinterest boards can be published on your other social media accounts as well – you can “kill more than one bird with your stones.”
5) Time to Build Your Following
You have to drive potential customers to your Pinterest boards if you expect to get them to follow you, as well as like and share your content. This is not an overnight deal – you will have to work on marketing your account and boards just as you market your products or services. But here are some things you can do that will increase your Pinterest following:
● Promote your Pinterest account on your other social media platforms with an easy, clickable link.
● Promote your account on your website and in your blog posts
● Follow accounts of related businesses with the hopes that they will also follow you
● Take a long hard look at what your successful competitors are doing on Pinterest. You can learn a lot.
● You must use keywords in your posts (hashtags too, although these may not be as important). Users will search by keywords, so these are critical. Do your research and find the most popular keywords and keyword phrases for your niche and use them in all of your content.
● Get a Pinterest Ads Account and run ads, just as you might on Facebook and Instagram
6) Research Your Target Audience
As a marketer, you have already done this. But part of researching your audience is researching the audience of the social media platform on which you are promoting your brand.
Here are some key facts you should know about who uses Pinterest and why? (as of spring, 2019):
● Millennials use Pinterest as much as Instagram
● 70% of users are female
● 40% of new signups are now male, and their favorite categories are food, drink, and technology
● The median age of a Pinterest user is 40, but active pinners are under 40
● 300 million are active users worldwide. This means it may make sense to have some of your text content (including your business profile and ads) translated into languages of potential foreign audiences. Get a native translator from an agency, such as The Word Point, so that these translations are accurate and socially appropriate.
● There are 4 billion boards
● 2/3 of pins represent brands and products, some from companies of course, but most in the form of individual pinners’ likes, shares, recommendations, and referrals – this is where you want to be!
● 81% of users state that they use Pinterest to explore products before purchasing
Look at your typical customer with these stats in mind, and you will know who to target with keywords, ads, and content. And, remember, just because men represent only 40% of new signups, that percentage has been increasing, and females do purchase gifts for men.
7) About Those Keywords
Remember, you do want to research the keywords that are most popular in your business niche. But you also must think in broader terms as well. If you sell furniture, for example, think about who is in the market for furniture. These would be home buyers (real estate), DIY remodelers, users looking for interior design ideas, empty nesters looking to downsize; growing families adding rooms to their existing homes, etc.
Again, you have to spend some time thinking about categories, so that when searchers go to work, your board(s) are going to come up.
Here is where you need to insert all of the keywords and phrases you come up with:
● Your profile and bio
● Pin/Board descriptions
● Titles of your boards
● In your paid ads (Pinterest actually has a keyword search tool that will help you target your audience searches).
Instagram made hashtags popular, and other social media platforms have followed suit. This helps make your brand more search-friendly, and Pinterest has a tutorial of sorts for how to use them. Hashtags are used for more specific searches. Add hashtags to your boards and any promoted content you have.
9) Share, Share, Share/ Integrate, Integrate, Integrate
Use your other social media platforms to promote your brand and your boards on Pinterest. You can link your business profile to Facebook, for example. You can include links to your Pinterest content in posts.
Be sure that you have integrated your Pinterest on your websites so that you can drive traffic to boards that will be of interest to your visitors and users. And you can use Pinterest widgets that will allow your site visitors to view all of this directly from your website without having to click over to Pinterest itself.
10) Interact and Build Relationships with Followers/Influencers
Just as you should do with all social media platforms, developing personal and trusting relationships with your followers is an absolute must.
● You can follow their pins/boards and comment on them
● Respond to every comment or message a visitor makes, and do it quickly. There are social mention tools that will alert you when this happens.
● Get followers involved through surveys, contests, and giveaways
● Offer discounts in exchange for shares
● Make sure you put “like” and “share” buttons on your boards and ask followers to share if they enjoy what they see
● Research related individuals/brands with large followings. Follow them, comment, develop relationships, and ultimately ask for “plugs” in a reciprocal arrangement. Respected influencers will be wary at first. It is your job to make them see you as a trusted brand.
● Above all, make sure that your content is helpful to your audience – it should educate, entertain, and/or inspire.
● Tell stories with your visuals. These are not stories in the classical sense. They can be visuals or short videos of customers, for example. They can showcase the production of your products. They can showcase your team members. People love human interest stories. You become human and thus relatable.
11) Do The Analytics
If you don’t know what is working and what is not, how will you know what to dump and what to do more of?
Fortunately, Pinterest analytics lets you see such things as the number of visitors and followers who access your boards and who save or re-pin your content, whether they are using PC’s or mobile devices, and reporting on your most popular pins and boards. This is all wrapped up in easy-to-read reports, and you must use them to determine what you keep or change moving forward.
In The End…
Pinterest is a powerful tool for marketing that many businesses are not yet taking advantage of. But when you consider that users of this platform are looking for ideas and to make purchases, you cannot ignore its value.
Follow these 11 marketing strategies, and you will be well on your way to spreading your brand and increasing sales. Sign up for a business account, use all of the tools that Pinterest provides, and get moving!