You may have heard on numerous occasions before, from peers, workshop speakers or online marketing influencers – that you need to use Pinterest for your business, but didn’t really get into the details to actually try it. Or, perhaps like most of us you were skeptical about the impact “a cupcake and OOTD platform” can have on your business. Well, things are about to turn, because now you know that Pinterest is this huge, visual search engine that can help you get in front of a bigger audience, bring more traffic and leads to your website.
In this article we’ll explain why you need to use Pinterest for your business, how to maximize its potential, as well as which tools can help you save time and effort while fueling your promo strategy.
Excited? Let’s dive right in!
Why use Pinterest for marketing your business?
Unlike various social networks, where users share past experiences, events they’ve attended, their political, religious or musical preferences, etc – Pinterest is more about the future. It’s often used for planning things – anything from a wedding or party event, to a banner or website design, to your home decor, revamping old clothing and furniture, trying new recipes, finding vacation locations, and so much more. Pinterest users (aka Pinners) are always in discovery mode, looking for inspiration, being open to suggestions and product recommendations.
Knowing that 90% of weekly Pinners use Pinterest to make purchase decisions, we’re surprised that mood boards have not yet been renamed to shopping lists. According to Kleiner Perkins’ Internet Trends report – 55% of Pinners use Pinterest specifically to look for products and to shop, which is FOUR times more as compared to other platforms.
Crazy, right? Wait, there’s more!
Out of the 2 billion searches that happen on Pinterest monthly, a whole 97% are unbranded, which means that users do not look for specific brands, but are rather open for suggestions and new product (or service) recommendations. 72% of users said that Pinterest inspired them to shop when they weren’t even looking for anything.
Pinterest drives 33% more referral traffic to websites, as compared to Facebook, 71% more traffic if compared to Snapchat, and 200% more traffic than Twitter.
The bottom line is that there are over 250 million people using Pinterest, and you’re missing a whole lot of business opportunities by not giving it a try. Think about it, you spend so much time and effort posting daily on Instagram or Facebook, trying to get in front of as many eyes as possible. Did you know that the average lifespan of a post on Instagram is only 48 hours? For Facebook posts it’s around 2,5-5 hours. Pinterest on the other hand, can keep your post alive and performing for months, even years. A user doesn’t necessarily have to be online when you post, in order to see your content. They can find it later in their smart feed or search results. Pinterest is not based on chronology. Therefore, if you do a good job at creating useful and valuable content, optimize it for relevant keywords and share it with an appealing visual – your post will have a long and successful shelf-life, no matter how big or small is your number of followers.
Now, that you have solid numbers to consider in regards to promoting your business via Pinterest, let’s get to the practical part – how to get more website traffic and revenue via Pinterest.
Clean up and Optimize your Pinterest Account
Assuming that you’ve followed the steps from our previous article, have your Pinterest business account set up and your website claimed – it’s time to clean up and optimize your profile, boards and pins.
Step One: Optimize your Profile details
The most important question to ask yourself here, is who are your ideal clients? Who are you trying to attract to your business? Hopefully you’ve figured that out in the past, while creating your branding, designing your website or building out your SEO strategy. If not, you’ll need to do it asap. It’s not just a requirement for your Pinterest promo activities, but a key aspect for the way you do business and present your brand online.
Some essential questions to answer, while identifying your Ideal Client profile:
- Who are they? (age range, gender)
- Where do they live and what places do they like to hang out at? (restaurants, cafes, beach, mountains, night clubs, museums, etc)
- What lifestyle and hobbies do they have, what’s their favorite drink?
- How do they communicate online? Which platforms do they use the most?
- What are some of their favorite brands?
- What do they care about, what values do they have?
- What matters to them the most when it comes to photography? (since you’re a photographer)
- Who are your main competitors, and how do they target the clients you want to get?
- How much they’d be willing to spend on your services?
Do your homework, answer these questions and create a rough profile of the type of clients you want to attract and with the ones you want to work. Take this profile into account when planning your marketing communication, your SEO strategy, your blog posts and social shares. Use this guide also while optimizing your Pinterest profile.
Your name (account title) should include your most relevant keywords. Use something similar to what you use via your Yoast SEO plugin (i.e. Brand Name | Fine Art Film photographer in Salt Lake, Utah). Think of how people search for things online. Which keywords you’d want to be found by? There’s a character limit, so keep it short, clear and sweet.
In the section under your profile name use relevant keywords as well, while describing who you are, what you do and how you can help people (read as your ideal clients) meet their needs. Include your website link. Note that if you also plan to add your social profiles, they will not be clickable. Only your website link can be clicked through. Nonetheless, this should not stop you from including a Call to Action to your profile’s description with a link to your newsletter, a recent article or freebie that helps you get more inquiries. Post the link inside your description, use a tool like bitly to keep it short, clean and trackable.
Add your photo or your logo to complete your profile.
Step Two: Clean up and optimize your boards
If you’ve been using Pinterest for personal inspiration up until now, most likely you have a good amount of pins or boards which are not relevant to your brand, nor to your clients. Go through each board and pin, identify those that need to be removed, and either delete them or move them into a secret board that only you can see.
Now, you can take each board separately, analyze its title and description to improve it. If you have a LOT, start with your top 5 best performing boards (you’ll need to read the Analytics section from below to figure out which are your top performing boards). The title and descriptions of your boards should be clear and useful for your future and current clients. They should also be easy to find.
New to Pinterest? Not sure what type of boards to create? Break down your portfolio images into categories such as outfits, locations, event decoration details, portraits, group photos, basically – anything that your clients usually ask or worry about, which can be answered via a blog post or inspiration gallery (aka Pinterest board). Some board examples could be: “Elegant wedding dress with an open back” – where you include a variety of photos from your client galleries. Other ideas for boards would be -“Outfit ideas for couple photo shoot”, “Newborn photography ideas”, “Rustic wedding venue in Portland, Oregon” etc.
Make your board names and descriptions clear and enticing for your potential clients. Most of them will look for inspiration before even deciding to look for a photographer. If they see your pins and boards, then click through to your website and love the rest of your work – you have high chances to get an inquiry from them.
Pinterest Friendly Images & Visual Consistency
What are Pinterest friendly images? Well, as a format, most successful prove to be vertical posts, with a 2:3 aspect ratio, because they appear larger in the user’s feed, hence are more likely to be seen, clicked on and saved as pins.
Here are some sizes you can give a try, all with a 2:3 ratio:
Apart from images, you’ll probably want to promote blog posts, various freebies, contests, sales announcements, presets that you’ve created, workshops that you organize or will speak at, etc. To ensure maximum visibility and virality for these posts, we recommend including text on your images, or creating graphic banners.
Ideally, you’ll need to create a series of templates that use the same fonts (your brand fonts) and color palette (your brand colors) to make your boards appealing and visually consistent. For those who have zero experience with design tools, but still want to have a killer presentation on Pinterest, we’ve created these gorgeous Free Pinterest templates. You can customize them with your own fonts, colors, add your image in the placeholders and voila, you have attention grabbing, elegant and share-worthy pins. We’ve included inside the template pack options to present your presets, sale offers, travel dates, events, mood boards, new galleries and more. If you haven’t already – download them here.
Additional Tip: Keep the text on the image short and in a large font – so it’s readable inside the user’s feed. You can also consider adding your website link on the image (top or bottom, in a small font) so users can always easily find the original source of this pin.
What to Pin, How to Pin it
This is pretty straightforward:
- If you haven’t yet, go to your website, open some of your favorite galleries and blog posts and start pining your images into your relevant Pinterest boards. Make sure to use strong, appropriate keywords and descriptions to help them appear in smart feeds, as recommended posts (explained in SEO section).
- Whenever you add a new post to your website – be sure to repin those images first, to maximize your chances for repins and get more site traffic to your fresh content.
- Create a few different pin variations linked to the same blog post or gallery. This allows you to test how each visual performs and get some idea on what your audience likes or dislikes + it will maximize the amount of traffic that comes to your website.
- It’s recommended to post anywhere between 5 to 25 times a day (5-10 pins at a time). Luckily, as a photographer, you have plenty of content to cover that. Make sure to keep it diverse and interesting for your followers (not 30 photos from the same gallery, almost the same angles and location). So it’s not too time consuming, you can schedule most of your pins in advance. We’ll cover the tool for this in the sections below.
Pinning your content only once – Big Mistake
Though your pins have a much longer shelf-life on Pinterest, as compared to other platforms – it doesn’t mean that you need to pin your content only once. Create new visuals for the same content and keep repining it once every 4-6 weeks. This allows you to boost older content again and again, and takes off the pressure of creating fresh content all the time.
This is especially important for your best performing and evergreen content. Test out various images and banners for the same articles/galleries, take out strong quotes and add them on an image, share mood boards and sneak peeks when relevant. Experiment to identify what your audience resonates with the most.
You can also pin the same visual to a few different boards (if relevant). Some Pinterest users subscribe only to certain boards, not to all your account – this allows them to see your content too.
Too busy to pin every day? Schedule it!
There are 2 ways to go about this. You can either use Pinterest’s native scheduler, or get a third party subscription tool. The first one is free, but has a limit of up to 30 scheduled pins at a time. With a paid tool, such as Tailwind (one of the leading Pinterest scheduling tools out there) you get unlimited scheduled pins, access to their analytics, smartloop options, etc. They offer a free trial for your first 100 pins, while their pricing packages start at $9.99 per month.
The smartloop feature is particularly interesting for those who have an active, well performing Pinterest account, as it allows you to schedule your top performing pins to be re-published consistently, all year around. For those who already use Tailwind, we recommend checking out this post by Louise Myers, to maximize your results.
Want more tool examples, to analyze the Pros and Cons, here you go.
Join Group Boards
Did you know that Pinterest allows you to invite other users to collaborate with you on a board and add their own pins to it? Group boards are displayed on each of collaborators’ profile page. When you add a pin to a group board, all your followers see it, as well as all the followers of the other collaborators, hence increasing the pin’s exposure and success rate.
Now the question is – should you join existing group boards or create your own with a couple of friends and industry colleagues? Well, you can do both!
When considering joining an existing group board, make sure the content that is added to the board by each collaborator – is relevant, interesting and useful for your audience. Ideally, you’d want to team up with collaborators with a similar or bigger following, who serve a similar clientele.
How do I find group boards, you wonder? A simple keyword search on Pinterest can help you identify them. You’ll just need to select “Boards” instead of “All Pins” in the dropdown menu on the right of the search bar. Then look for a circle on the board that indicates there’s more than one person contributing to it (see example below).
Once you click on the board, you’ll see the option “Request to join” next to Follow button. If and when your request is approved, you’ll receive a notification via Pinterest and email. Know that various group boards have their own rules for posting – to ensure that followers of the board are not spammed by hundreds of posts daily. Hence, read closely before starting to pin your posts. Also, it may happen that a group board is private and not open for any requests. If you really really want to join, try sending a direct message to one of the collaborators – they may be more than happy to take you on board with them.
The second option is to create your own group boards. Reach out to a few vendors within your industry. Start with those who you’ve worked with before and have good images of their product or service. You both serve the same clientele, why not join forces to get more exposure? If both of you commit to being active and posting well curated content daily, chances are you’ll both get noticed a lot faster.
SEO on Pinterest
We have always been big SEO preachers, not only because our themes are built on WordPress (the most SEO friendly platform available out there), but also because we want to help your business succeed, since we know how hard you work, how much heart and time you put into your photography, and how many things you’ve sacrificed to make this passion into a lifestyle and business.
Hopefully, most of you are familiar with the term Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If not, this article on Everything a Photographer Needs to Know about SEO should give you a good head start.
Pinterest is a search engine, remember? Obviously SEO is essential if you want your pins to get found in various search results. Your profile name and description, all your pins and all your boards need to be optimized for relevant, searchable keywords. Think of phrases and words that your target audience would use when trying to find your content, and use them. The more specific and clear you are – the better your content will perform. Use short and long-tail keywords when defining your boards and pins.
If you’re not sure where to start and need some ideas and inspiration, head over to your Pinterest account and type in various keywords into the search bar which are specific for your brand and products/services. Just like Google, Pinterest will offer you some recommendations of popular searches using that terms (as shown below).
You can also click on the neatly arranged keyword recommendations right below the search bar, to add relevant words to your search.
Pinterests has a smart algorithm which makes suggestions to users, based on what they have search for recently. Whenever you open your Pinterest and go to Home (in your top menu bar), the collection of pins that you see in your feed, is what Pinterests thinks you’ll enjoy. Every time you refresh your Home page, new pin recommendations show up, all based on those same recent keywords you’ve looked up.
Getting favored by Pinterest’s smart feed does not involve any magic formula. It’s similar to the Explore page on Instagram – the more active you are on the platform, the more attention and engagement you get, the more relevant and optimized your pins are – the higher your chances are to get featured as a recommendation.
The algorithm will analyze your pins, which boards they belong to, is the pin relevant for that board based on its title and description, is the link working, is your website claimed, etc. There are multiple factors that determine whether or not you’ll appear on Pinterest’s smart feed. But don’t let this discourage you, keep working on your content, keywords and brand presentation, clean up old and irrelevant pins, optimize the existing ones and results will surely start showing.
These are pins which include an extended description (headline, story, real time pricing, etc), hence they provide the user with more information about your content, and ensure that only the most interested users actually click through. Which is a good thing for your retargeting campaign (see Advertising section). The extra information also makes your pin more noticeable inside the feed, which increases its chances to get clicked and saved.
Currently there are 4 types of rich pins available via Pinterest: Product pins, Article Pins, Recipe pins and App pins. For photographers – Article pins make the most sense. If you’re also selling albums, presets, prints, etc – you can explore the Product rich pins.
Implementing Rich pins on your Pinterest account will require you to first add metadata to articles and products on your website, then you’ll need to go through a verification process, to have your rich pins validated. Find more details and instructions here. Also, this articleby Golden Oasis Media provides a step by step guide on how to implement the metadata on your WordPress or Squarespace website.
Gut feelings and intuition may be great in other areas of your life, but when it comes to business – always look at the numbers. Use Google Analytics for your website, Iconosquare or Later for your Instagram, Pinterest Analytics or Tailwind for your Pinterest posts. Tracking and analyzing your pins’ performance will not only help you save time and effort, but can also significantly speed up your growth rate and success on Pinterest, which will hopefully result in more site traffic and leads.
If you have a business account, your Analytics will be available at all times via your top menu, left corner. You’ll find 2 options – a general Overview and your Audience Insights.
Pinterest recently launched their new Overview dashboard with all your analytics. It looks like this, and offers you great filtering options, to analyze your account’s performance based on a certain time frame (up to 90 days), based on impressions that your pins received, clickthroughs or saves, separate your own content from other users’ content, look into organic performances versus paid pins, etc. The dashboard looks like this (see below), and we do recommend you to test each filtering option, to get a better understanding on the type of metrics you have access to, and which ones are important to you.
You can also choose to switch to the older Analytics dashboard, which looks like this one:
With the old view, if you choose to go to “Your Pinterest Profile” tab, then into the “All-time” section, you’ll find your top performing pins ever (this includes your original content + posts you’ve pinned from other users).
This information is gold, as it allows you to identify your top performing pins, to add them to that “Best of ..” board, plus offers you a wonderful insight on the type of content that your audience prefers, how a viral post should look like and what type of content you can focus on more to improve your results.
Go through each tab and section, make notes based on which posts have received most saves or clickthroughs. The R letter next to pins means that it’s a Rich Pin. The P letter means that this pin has been promoted (more on Ads read in the next section of this article).
Analyzing all this data allows you to identify not only which pins perform best, but also the weak posts. Try changing their visual and keywords, to test whether it’s the presentation or the content that does not appeal to your followers. In time, remove your least performing pins, to keep your boards optimized with strong content only.
It’s also useful to check out your Audience Insights, to get a better understanding on what your current followers like, search for and pin. To do that, click on the dropdown Analytics menu, in your top left corner, and choose Audience Insights.
Once you’re on the Audience Insights page, you’ll be able to see some interesting details about your followers specifically (total or the ones that engaged with you in the last 30 days) + get insights on the preferences of the global Pinterest audience, pinning trends, etc.
In the Categories and Interests section, you can choose each category from the left side, and see it broken down into smaller subcategories, and the % of Pinners who engage with it.
One More Important Note
A good practice is to monitor not only your Pinterest Analytics, but also your website analytics in regards to the traffic you’re getting from Pinterest, to asses its quality, interests and purchasing potential. If you’re on WordPress, you’re hopefully using Google Analytics for your site.
To identify which posts are most popular with your Pinterest audience, go to Acquisition → Social → Overview. This will give you a good idea on how much traffic Pinterest brings to your website, as compared to other platforms.
Click on Pinterest to see a list of articles and site pages, broken down by popularity and performance, for a given period of time.
If you’re selling products through your website and would like to see if any of your Pinterest traffic is also bringing in purchases, you’ll need to go to Acquisition → All Traffic → Source/Medium and search by the keyword “Pinterest” to view all traffic coming from this platform and whether any sales are associated with it.
Create a Board with your top performing pins of all time
Now that you know how to identify your top performing pins of all time, it’s time to create your killer board – the one that includes your most successful and sharable pins. This board will allow you to gather all your best, most useful content in one place. Plus, you don’t have to sit down and figure out each month, which pins need to be re-shared – this board is your number one go to. Of course you can refresh the visual when re-sharing a pin, but the content it’s linked to stays the same.
Check your Pinterest Analytics on a monthly basis, and keep adding new top performing pins to that board, to keep it fresh and active. If you’re using Tailwind, this is where that SmartLoop feature proves to be so useful – as you can automate the monthly repins for a year ahead for all the posts you have inside this board.
Additional Tip: If you’re wondering how to call this board, go for something simple like “Best of YOUR BRAND NAME wedding photography”, as this allows you to include your important keywords and intrigue users who follow you and are checking out your profile for the first time.
Advertising on Pinterest | Promoted Pins
Consider promoting some of your best pins, ONLY after you’ve implemented the advice and steps mentioned above – after you’ve cleaned up and optimized your profile, added relevant, strong keywords to your posts and boards, identified your top performing content and know exactly what Pinterest followers are most interested in. ONLY after this, you can start promoting some of your pins, to boost your results and exposure further.
If you’ve done advertising on Facebook before, installed a pixel to your website and created campaigns based on different goals and target audiences – Pinterest Advertising won’t be unfamiliar ground for you. Check out all the available goals and targeting criteria available in Pinterest and start creating your first ad campaign, based on these steps. It’s not as complex and extensive as Facebook’s Ads manager, but definitely has a few unique perks. Such as the keyword targeting option, showing your ads based on keywords users search for (just like with Google Ads). Another perk is – the extra free exposure that your promoted pins can get once users save it to their own boards, which are followed by hundreds of new Pinners who don’t know your brand yet.
Obviously, you also have the opportunity to target users based on their interests, location, age range, etc in order to leverage your investment and show your pins only to the most relevant and interested people. This is where knowing your ideal client profile comes in handy *wink*.
Don’t forget to monitor all your promoted pins and campaigns, to see which ones perform best, and which need to be re-thought or stopped. In your top left corner, under the Ads dropdown tab, you’ll find a series of metrics and reports that will help you analyze your adverts.
Run a contest via Pinterest
Offering a chance to win something for free can always help you get more exposure, more repins, more traffic to your website or new email subscribers. Ideally, any contest that you run, on any platform, helps you connect with potential clients and puts your foot in the door to further nurture and interact with this audience, up till they are ready to inquire you.
If after kicking off the contest you notice a good dose of interaction and response to it – promote it to further expand your results.
We hope that after reading this article you’ll stop viewing Pinterest as a social network for sharing recipes or outfit ideas, and start dedicating more time and strategy to it. It does have a huge potential to magnify your marketing efforts and connect you to a whole lot of new users, who are also your target audience but never heard of you before.
Remember, you don’t necessarily need to try advertising, jump straight to purchasing new tool subscriptions, etc. Start with the simple things – turn your account into a Business one, clean up all the irrelevant posts and boards, optimize EVERYTHING for keywords and SEO friendly descriptions. Start posting more and more, and measure your results. Once you’ll notice a significant growth of traffic, exposure and brand awareness – your curiosity and motivation will also rise, making you want to invest more time and resources into this often underestimated mine of potential clients.