It’s the fastest-growing social media channel by overall member growth. Its popularity is totally surpassing Twitter and it brings in 3X the traffic of Twitter, LinkedIn, and Reddit combined.
So, what is this marketing wizard?
It’s Pinterest, of course!
It used to be that the only way to pull in traffic to your website was through paid ads. Not only are those days long gone, but often you’ll now find that PPC ads are a big turn-off to your potential readers.
Nowadays, it’s all about the power of social media referrals.
Believe me: I am the biggest advocate for the use of Pinterest as a marketing tool.
In fact, I’ve been generating 30K unique visits per month from Pinterest alone, and it’s time for you to do the same.
The Pinterest 411
Before we get started, it’s important we set out the basics. There are a few things you ought to know about Pinterest before diving in.
- Understand your target audience. That way you’ll reach more of the right people. Put yourself in your target audience’s shoes: what would they be searching? Design your title and captions accordingly.
- Don’t focus on followers. Pinterest is the only social network where followers really don’t matter. It’s all about re-pins, likes, and comments: basically, it’s about the engagement.
- Pinterest is a powerful search engine. Especially with new updates such as Smart Feed, Pinterest tailors the way pins are viewed on a user’s feed to help provide more relevant content based on their Likes, Interests, and Boards they follow.
Got it? Awesome. Now let’s get your Pinterest pumping!
#1 – Amp Up Your Pinterest Profile
It’s simple, really: the better designed your Pinterest profile, the higher your number of referrals. By optimizing your profile in every way possible for your visitors, you’ll receive more engagement on your posts and, consequently, more jumps over to your website.
Sounds good, right?
So let’s start at the beginning. Some of these are going to sound simple. Yet, you’d be surprised at how often they are overlooked.
And as Pinterest continues to expand, these starter steps will become more and more crucial.
- If you have a personal account, convert it to a business one. It’s free and easy to do, makes you look more professional, and opens you up to many more services than you’d receive on a personal account (just like Pinterest Analytics, where you can track your performance).
- Add keywords beside your name. For example, instead of writing your name, add a keyword you’re known for. Take a look at how I did mine: Pauline Cabrera – Web Designer. Whenever people search for the word “Web Designer” my profile shows up in the “Pinners” list.
- Look Savvy. Build trust by completing your profile. Make sure to include links to social networks, verify your website URL, create a custom URL, and upload a profile picture relevant to your industry.
- Add important keywords to your bio. This can help boost you up in Google search rankings for people searching for those keywords, as well as pinners using the Pinterest search engine. Every little bit helps!
- Add your location. This will help you boost local traffic, if that is a priority for your brand.
- Turn off your “Search Privacy” settings. You want your boards and profile to appear in search engine results, right? Then you need to make sure you turn off this setting within your Account Settings.
- Don’t abuse keywords. You’ll just look spammy. Make sure your keywords flow naturally through your profile.
- Put your best boards in the top row. As a general rule, you should always keep your most attractive or important content “above the fold” on your website (the part of the screen that is first visible to visitors). That way, visitors are more likely to stay on the page and scroll down to see more. These could be your most popular or updated boards, or those relevant to current events.
#2 – Create and Optimize Your Boards
Next, it’s time to get creative and boost your visibility. Having a visually appealing and powerfully communicative set of boards will grab your visitor’s attention, hold it, and drive visitors towards your website. You’ll need to optimize your boards to make sure you reach your target audience.
Now we’re getting to the fun part.
- Prettify your boards. Clear, organized boards with gorgeous cover photos make for a Pinterest account that is irresistible to follow.
- Use descriptive titles with keywords. Your Pinterest board could show up in the first pages of Google’s search result if it’s optimized for the search. So, make your boards as descriptive as possible. The more specific, the better.
When you search for “30th Birthday Ideas,” a Pinterest board shows up in the first page of the search results. Amazing, right? So when people click that, the owner would send traffic to the pins added in it.
- Create more relevant boards using targeted keywords. For example, I’ve created a general board called “Social Media Marketing,” but will also create targeted ones such as “Pinterest Marketing for Bloggers” and “Facebook Marketing for Small Businesses.”
Create a spreadsheet where you can brainstorm keywords that are relevant to each other and refer back to it for inspiration. You can even use the Pinterest search suggestions to find the keywords that regularly crop up together! (For an even more advanced approach, give these tools a try: http://keywordtool.io/ or https://ads.google.com/intl/en_uk/home/tools/keyword-planner/
#3 – Pin Like a PRO
Building on this, you’re now ready to get pinning. And remember: it isn’t as easy as just pinning images here, there, and everywhere. You need to be on your A-game if you truly want to harness the marketing potential of Pinterest.
- Use large, tall, eye-catching images. All your images should be 735 pixels wide by 1102 pixels long: if your images are smaller than this, they’ll be overlooked by a Pinner’s home feed. I use Photoshop to resize, or Canva if I’m in a hurry (a great resource for non-graphic designers!).
- Write a detailed and thoughtful description with your main keywords.Avoid stuffy descriptions. Use keywords that make sense alongside genuinely interesting content.
- Add the correct URL’s. Always use the actual URL rather than the main one. Pinterest doesn’t allow URL shorteners like bit.ly, so avoid using those.
- Use search-friendly file names for images. Google can’t read images. What it can read is your image file names. When you’re saving the images you want to upload, use file names with one or two keywords. Basically, don’t save with the default numbering from your camera: change it to something like “chocolate-wedding-cake.jpg,” or whatever it is your image features.
- Implement rich pins. Rich pins are gold for businesses: these “super” pins allow you to include additional information (such as price, availability, and location) about the image, pulled directly from your website. So they automatically update as your site does, standing out and make shopping and finding information far easier. Find out how to add your own here.
- Use a catchy title. Pins that feature “How-To’s,” checklists, and infographics always work well for me. The key is to not give all the information away in the image, to help you get more click-throughs.
- Avoid hashtags in the pin description. Pinterest has officially announced that if you use too many hashtags in your pin description, it could demote your pin’s search ranking. Why? Because they see it as spammy. So, avoid it like the plague.
- Use different images and titles. It’s important to find out which works best. For me, I like to experiment with various visuals to see if one outperforms the other. It’s paramount for your own market research to find out what your audience finds most attractive. Here are some examples. Based on Pinterest Analytics, the left one sends me more traffic than the right one.
#4 – Pin Strategically
You wouldn’t implement a business plan without a strategy, so why should your Pinterest marketing be any different? A strong strategy for your Pinterest activity will enable you to maximize your return by attracting a higher percentage of viewers and, as a result, more traffic to your website.
But how do you do that?
- Pin regularly. As with all social media, an active and consistent presence will increase your chance of generating traffic and make you a trustworthy source. Courtney from Bufferapp found that between 5 and 30 pins per day is optimal. The best times to post are 2:00 – 4:00am and evening hours every day, as well as 5:00pm on a Friday and 8:00 – 11:00pm on Saturdays. It’s also worth making use of Pinterest scheduling tools such as Tailwind or Viraltag. They’ll help you figure out the best times to post throughout the day.
- Schedule your pins. It helps you avoid flooding your followers’ feeds, spacing out your content and keeping it fresh and continuously updated. Again, use Tailwind or ViralTag to schedule your pins.
- Pin multiple types of content. I’m talking infographics, GIFs, and videos, as well as straight-up images. Show variety and keep your page exciting and dynamic.
- Re-pin your best pins to different boards or group boards. Maybe some new pinners haven’t seen your best content yet? This is a great way to bring it to their attention. You may use the Pinterest Analytics or Tailwind analytics (if you have one) to find out your top pins.
- Track your performance. Use Pinterest Analytics to see how people are describing your pins and what they are pinning alongside your content. This can be useful in knowing how to arrange your boards. You can also track the demographic of your audience and that can be useful in planning the type of content to post in the future.
- Avoid self promotion. Pinterest has said that it is “…designed to share content you love, so don’t use it purely for self promotion.” And that means no selfies.
- Don’t just pin the same content on two boards at the same time. At least give a few hours’ delay between the two.
- Fix broken or dead links. Pinterest focuses on the quality of user experience, so if you’re not managing dead links or expired pages, expect consequences. You can use tools like Board Booster or Pin4Ever for help with this.
- Share pins related to current trends and events. It’s been reported that pins based on trending topics receive a 94% click-through rate… so it’s worth staying current.
Still not sure what’s the best content to be pinning? Check out these interesting stats on how to determine what to pin:
- Over 80% of pins are re-pins. Be that extra 20% that gets re-pinned daily. Pin as much directly from your website as possible, or upload images on their own.
- Different days of the week have varied “most popular” topics. Mondays are best for fitness, Tuesdays for tech, Wednesdays for quotes, Thursdays for fashion, Fridays for humor, Saturdays for travel, and Sundays for food and DIY crafts.
- Tutorials, guides, DIY, and recipe pins receive a 42% higher click-through rate than other pins.
- Medium-light images receive 20 times more re-pins than those that are dark.
- Images without faces get re-pinned 23% more than those that contain faces.
#5 – Delete or Optimize Underperforming Pins
This is a tricky one. While it’s important to only hold onto boards and pins with high engagement (as this helps your profile scores–and hence your website traffic–shoot up), it can be difficult to know when to cut the ties. Why? Because there’s always the risk that you’ll delete a pin too soon and lose out on sudden traffic.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It can take time for your pin to make its way around, due to Smart Feed.
So how do you get around this?
For me, I always try to optimize my pins with low engagement (think those with 1 – 2 pins or comments). Then, get promoting.
One way to do this is by joining some “pinning” trains on social media (Facebook and Google+ groups) where admins post threads encouraging members to pin other people’s pins. Give it a few weeks and see if you gain any response.
If your pins are very old and outdated with really low engagement, delete them. And if they look spammy, get rid of them!
Here’s another handy method for you to quickly get rid of your low level content using Board Booster:
- Create a temporary public board in your Pinterest account. This will be the new home of your low-engagement pins.
- Using Board Booster’s Pin Mover, set the query to move all pins with less than 2 re-pins to the temporary board. Set tool to search multiple boards and duplicates (this could take any anything up to a few hours!)
- Run the search. Keep in mind that Board Booster will charge 1 cent for each moved pin.
- You’ll now see that all the pins in your temporary board have less than 2 re-pins. Delete the board and the pins in them.
#6 – Make Your Website Pinterest-Friendly
What’s the use in making your Pinterest the most superbly optimized network ever for your brand if your website isn’t doing its bit?
You need to make sure that your site is perfectly geared-up to complement your Pinterest. The two need to work hand-in-hand.
- Use Pin It hover buttons on your content. Remember: the higher engagement on your pins, the more visible you are to Pinterest. This is down to Pinterest Smart Feed, which shows the “higher quality” pins (AKA, those with larger levels of engagement) at the start of a search. Drive engagement on every platform. Take a look at the featured image on this blog post; see how I have the “pin” button? That shows up when people hover over my images. I’m using SumoMe for this.
- Add a follow button. The more followers, the more chance you’ll receive new re-pins.
- Include “pinnable” images in every blog post. You know the drill: visually enticing, tall, and with text.
- Fill out the ALT tag on your images. This is the information that Pinterest pulls in for the Pin description. It needs to be short, interesting, and keyword-rich. Don’t bother repeating the post name. Instead, give an engaging introduction or ask a question to your viewers. Here’s a tutorial on how you can do this. See the ALT text part?
#7 – Get Social
As with all digital marketing, community management is vital in raising engagement and boosting traffic. You need to keep it as social as possible and really put the time in to spread the word about your brand.
- Be responsive. Reply to your comments and like pins of people who have re-pinned your content. Remember to tag their names when responding to comments. Just dedicate about 10 minutes to this per day. It’s totally worth it.
- Follow people in your niche. In particular, influencers and those who post quality pins.
#8 – Link Up with Established Pinners
It’s a foolproof Pinterest tactic. By collaborating, you’ll find it easier to not only curate boards, but also grow your own followers.
You can do this by:
- Creating your own collaborative boards and getting others to join you.
- Joining high-value group boards. Check out pingroupie.com to find some cool ones!
#9 – Use Promoted Pins
Promoted pins bring attention to your most important content and helps you to create traffic and engagement campaigns. But if you’re investing money in those pins, you need to make sure you are amplifying their effectiveness.
Ready for the good news? It’s easy as pie!
- Use your most compelling images with a text overlay.
- Include detailed descriptions with a call to action.
- Promote images with the vertical aspect ratio – the bigger and more dominant, the more noticeable they will be on pinner feeds. The result? More click-throughs.
#10 – Keep Up With Changes
We all know that the Internet is constantly changing, and nowhere moreso than in the world of social media. Now you’ve put in all the leg work, it’s important that you keep on top of it. Be sure to track any changes in Pinterest by monitoring the Pinterest blog. That way, you’ll always be able to react and keep your content fresh and relevant.
And, hey, presto! You’re now ready to truly harness the power of Pinterest in bringing traffic to your website. With these simple tools, you can now maximize the benefits of this up-and-coming social channel.
And don’t forget to let me know how you get on in the comments below!