In 2017, if you’re not making use of visuals in your marketing strategy, then you’re going to struggle to catch the attention of your ideal client. I have been using Pinterest actively for just under a year, and the wonders it has done for my business are breathtaking. At the end of 2016, I met up with a few other virtual friends of mine who are freelancing, and I was stunned when they told me that they had never thought about using Pinterest for business. I mean, it doesn’t seem obvious at first, but it can be a goldmine for your business.
When most people think about Pinterest, they think recipes, handmade goodies, and fashion boards full of breathtaking fashion. Well let me tell you – it’s also a pool of opportunity for your service-based business. With the rise of the popularity of visual content, it’s more than likely that people are going to engage with your content more if it’s in video or picture format.
I’m living the Pinterest life, and it’s good! I want to share a piece of the pie with you, and I am going to help you get started from scratch. I’ll hold your hand through the whole process, and I’ll include some mini video clips if you don’t fancy reading.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is quite often referred to as a social network, but there is not much socialising going on. It would be more accurate to describe Pinterest as a visual search engine. Pinterest is most commonly used by individuals looking for something. Whether it’s a gift idea, DIY tips, or a product or service, people are going on Pinterest to search for a solution.
It’s a fantastic platform that allows you to showcase your offers to others who are looking for someone like you and potentially turn them into loyal clients. It’s free, organic traffic for your business, and you have nothing to lose by signing up. In fact, you’re missing out each day that you are not on there! Purchases made via Pinterest are higher than purchases made via any other social platform. Which business does not want that?
If used correctly, Pinterest can offer your business the boost that you have been desperately looking for to kick start your business and start getting clients.
How is Pinterest for Business different from normal Pinterest?
There are some super awesome tools available if you use this platform for your business. With the standard version of Pinterest, it’s great if you are simply adding boards and liking photos, but that’s not enough for businesses.
What do people like to talk about all the time when making business decisions?
ROI. Return on interest.
If you didn’t get that, that’s fine. The business version of this platform has a couple of tools that will help you identify what is working and what is not working in order to increase the monthly views on your site.
So to break it down, Pinterest for business comes with the following tools:
Rich pins allow businesses to add extra details about where their pin originates from. You will see the pin contain a small icon from your profile and your domain name. This helps identify you to readers.
Pinterest Analytics allows you to see how people are interacting with your Pinterest profile. You can see stats that show you your most popular pins, which board is the most popular, which pins had the most repins, and more. If your pins are performing better than third party pins, then this is fantastic. If not, you can see what type of pins are performing well, which will help you adapt your content to match what your readers want.
Pinterest Ads allow you to promote your pins to a wider audience. You will be able to attract an audience that may be interested in some of the content but may not have come across your profile. I will discuss Pinterest Ads later.
How can Pinterest help your Business?
It would be easier to talk about what Pinterest can’t do for your business. There is definitely a shift in the way people are interacting with data. More video content and visual content is preferred by audiences, and having more of it available can increase readership.
Pinterest also makes it easier to share content, which means that your content can reach more people than ever before. The more people that see your content, the more likely you are to find your ideal clients.
What’s even better for people that sell products is the buyable pins. Yes! Pinterest allows specific platforms to connect with Pinterest. What this means is that people can click on a Pin and purchase your product immediately. With one step being removed from the buying process, your chances of closing more sales increases! Cool, right?
Is it only good for product-based businesses?
Definitely not! If you have a good offer, people will click on it. Pinterest works best for service-based businesses if they have a funnel. This would involve creating a landing page which offers reading one specific thing for free. In exchange for the free item, the viewer will provide their email address. After providing their email address, you now have an opportunity to put them through a funnel and offer products and services that you feel will meet their needs.
It doesn’t matter what type of business you own; with the right strategy, Pinterest will work for you.
How do I sign up for Pinterest for business?
There are two ways you can get started with Pinterest for your business:
Convert your personal profile to a business profile
Or create a new Pinterest business account
Head over to http://business.pinterest.com/. The website will look like the image below.
You will have the option of pressing the red button to create a new Pinterest for business profile or to convert an existing personal account to a business profile.
As you will see from the screenshot, you will be able to join as a business, or you can press ‘Convert now,’ which will convert your existing account into a business account. Click on the red button to join as a business or select the text underneath which says ‘Convert now.’
Once you have selected ‘Convert now’ you will either be redirected to a page asking you to log in (if you were not already logged in) like this:
If you have already logged in, you will be taken to a page like this which will ask you to enter your new business details:
Once you have done this, you will need to customise your profile with a few more settings. Each setting is important, but these three are the most important:
You want your business name to describe what it is that you do. When people land on your profile, will they be able to instantly identify with you. Is it clear what products and services you offer? Along with your business name, it would be a great idea to update your business profile picture. If you are a freelancer or solo business, it’s better if you use your own picture. If you are a brand, it may be better to use your brand mark.
You were able to add a couple of words about what you do next to your business name, but your business description allows you to go a lot further. You are capped to a certain amount of characters, but it should be enough for you to describe in details what you do, as shown in the description above. Do you have a free opt-in that you can use to get people to opt-in to your mailing list? In order to capture leads from Pinterest, as well as your pins, a great way to generate leads is to offer something attractive via your profile link.
It is best to use a bit.ly link so that you have more space for content AND so that you can track the amount of clicks that you get from Pinterest. You will be able to see how many people have clicked through from Pinterest to your website.
Verifying your business profile
In order to be accepted for rich pins, your website needs to be verified. You need to prove to Pinterest that you own the domain you wish to show rich pins on. Thankfully, the process is quite straightforward and Yoast SEO makes this easy for you. On your like the one shown in the screenshot above. You will be asked to verify your website. my website has already been verified. There will be a file for you to download or a meta tag to add to your website. If you use Yoast SEO, in your WordPress dashboard, on the left hand side, select SEO > Social.
The screen should look like the image below:
Simply add the meta tag given to you by WordPress and this should verify your website. Allow a few hours for the verification. Once you've done this, you can start taking advantage of Rich Pins.
How can I further optimise my business profile?
Pin Image Sizes
You may have noticed a pattern when you look on Pinterest. Most images are vertical. You need to make sure that your pins are vertical in order to attract the most attention. If your image is smaller, you may find that it is easily missed, thus reducing the amount of people who see your website.
For optimal performance, the best images size is 735 x 1102 but this is not definitive. I have used longer images and seen a great response to longer images. Test it out and see what works for you.
Create Eye-catching Pinterest Images
Not only are the image sizes important, but the actual images themselves matter. If your image is not attractive enough, sadly your image will not be shared, and no one will click through to your website. The ultimate goal is to get people to click on your pin so that they can land on your website. The easiest way to do this is to create an image that people will want to pin.
Here are a variety of images that do well on Pinterest. Notice that you do not necessarily have to have an image to have a pin that stands out. If your headline is snazzy enough, people will want to click through. Be creative and keep your images on brand so that people know that it’s you when they see your brand floating around on Pinterest.
Remember earlier on that I mentioned Pinterest being a search engine? Well, we know that search engines can not read images. They need text in order to tell what the content is about. This is what ‘Pin Descriptions’ allow you to do. They allow you to tell Pinterest what your image is about so that it can show up in the relevant searches. You want to ensure that your pin description contains all the relevant keywords to increase it’s chances of showing up in the right searches. Remember you are writing for humans, so do not stuff the description with keywords. Add sentences that make sense to the topic.
It’s also a good idea to add a call to action at the end of the sentence telling people to ‘click through’ and read the rest of the post.
Cover Photos for Boards
Looks aren’t everything (or so they say), but in Pinterest, I think it’s best to say that looks are everything. Adding a Pinterest cover photo for your blog makes it more aesthetically pleasing. With Pinterest being made up mostly of females, I think it’s safe to say that they prefer things that are attractive. Attractive is subjective, but you know your audience. What does your audience like?
As of writing this (Jan 2017), I am aware that Pinterest is testing a few layouts, so I can’t advise the best cover photo sizes to use, but I can tell you what I am currently using. I am currently using my Pinterest image as the featured image seems to focus in on the middle of the photo.
Some great examples of boards that use cover photos well are shown below:
Is there anything else I should be doing?
Oh yes, there is so much more you can be doing to make Pinterest work for your business. Initially, Pinterest is a platform that can be set up and then left alone, but it’s great to be active on it too and not fully automate everything.
Add a ‘pin me' button or share button to posts
On your blog, it’s a good idea to add a ‘Pin me’ button or a share button. I currently use Social Warfare on my WordPress website because it’s very lightweight and it also allows you to add a ‘Pin Me’ image in the plugin (especially if you do not want the image in your blog post) and set the Pinterest description. This way, when people click the share button for Pinterest, the correct image and description will show up. This means the person sharing does not have to do anything.
Social Warfare has a free version and a pro version. It's not a huge investment, but it’s a business investment that I do not regret one bit and highly recommend it to others.
Find out more about Social Warfare over at their website.
Join Group Boards
Group boards will help share your content and get it in front of more people. Group boards are normally owned by one person. Normally, you can contact the board owner to be added to the group board so that you can pin your own content, or you may be invited to join a group board. There are some smaller group boards with a handful of contributors, and there are quite a few with a few hundred people in each group board.
No matter which group board you join, you want to ensure that the boards you join align with your business goals. Are the right type of people going to see your posts? Are the people seeing your posts likely to click through to your website? Is the group board that you are about to join active? How many times are pins from this board being pinned and repinned?
You can find group boards by looking at the profiles of other individuals in your niche or by using the website called pingroupie.com. Pingroupie.com lists most group boards on Pinterest by category, and it shows you how often pins are repinned from the group board. It’s a worthwhile tool to use, and it will make all the difference to your Pinterest activity.
How can I automate the process?
There are plenty of tools that make it easier for you to post on Pinterest. The problem with Pinterest is that it can be addictive. I can spend hours on it so I need something that can post for me so I can be doing other things with my time. I do still sometimes pop onto Pinterest and pin myself, so it’s not all automatic.
There are several social media management tools out there, but I prefer to use something that is specific to Pinterest. The two that I highly recommend are Tailwind and BoardBooster. If you want to find out more about BoardBooster, you can find out more by reading my blog post about how BoardBooster helped me increase my page views.
Whoever you use, I am sure you will not be disappointed, and it will help you save so much time.
Everything I’ve mentioned will help you get started with Pinterest. If you’ve started using Pinterest already, tell me how much you’re loving it. If you’re struggling, I want to know about that too!