Pinterest launched in 2010 as an invitation-only beta platform. By the time it was released publicly in 2012, it already had 10 million users! The name comes from the idea that Pinterest is a giant digital bulletin board, just waiting for users to “pin” their favorite ideas. It’s an image-intense platform where users are already in the mode to buy, try, or at least save the idea for later. That alone is far different from users browsing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all the other platforms. When folks visit Pinterest, their mindset and intentions are totally different–making Pinterest intriguing to businesses in the creative industries.
I’m a numbers person. I’m the dork that loves math and spreadsheets and statistics. So that said, before I get into the details of Pinterest marketing, let’s take a look at their numbers.
Why Pinterest? By the *Numbers…
- Active users: 200 million (63.2 million in the U.S.)
- Percentage of U.S. online shoppers who pick Pinterest as their favorite social platform: 55%
- Percentage of Pinterest users who say it’s the best place to find new ideas: 75%
- Average number of monthly searches on Pinterest: 2 billion
- Users by gender: 60% female, 40% male (Did that surprise you?)
- Percentage of Pinterest users who have made a purchase after browsing the content on Pinterest: 30%
*Source: DMR Business Statistics
Now that we have a better idea of why Pinterest is such a great platform to be on, let’s look at how to grow our following and our return.
Step 1: Pin Often!
The most successful brands on Pinterest are pinning 5 to 30 times per day. That number is astounding, and unless you have a dedicated team to take great photos, create great graphics from the photos, and develop new content, it is overwhelming to think of pinning that many new things each day.
Many of the bigger, successful pinning companies utilize user-generated content to help with this. They ask their customers to share their images and posts with them using their products. Then, the company picks the ones they like the best and shares them on a board just for that type of content. When the customers see their content pinned by the company, they often repin it themselves, and thus, viral content is created!
Maybe you’re not quite ready for any of that just yet, and that’s ok! My best advice is simply to pin consistently. To start, maybe your goal is to share five new pins a week. If that’s the weekly goal, don’t pin them all on the same day. Do one a day, five days out of the week. Then work up to 7-10 per week, then 12-14 per week. Keep increasing until you reach the desired frequency.
One other thing to consider is to create multiple pins using different images–all pointing back to the same site. Since different images will appeal to different users in different ways, it’s a great way to increase traffic.
For maximum visibility, share your pins during peak times. Pinterest says in the U.S., peak times are evenings, Monday through Friday, and anytime during waking hours on Saturday and Sunday.
Step 2: Develop Great Images
Pinterest is all about imagery. The images have to be in focus, with good lighting, and with an appealing layout. Pinterest tells us users respond much more favorably to images of real life. For example, instead of posting an image of a new shirt your company is selling, put the shirt on a real person, and take their picture.
Vertical images are also superior to horizontal images on Pinterest due to the site’s design and layout. Whenever possible, create vertical rather than horizontal images. The ideal ratio is 2:3, making the ideal size 600×900 pixels.
Pinterest recommends avoiding images that are “too busy,” but some text can help give folks an idea of what the pin is all about. Add a few words to the image that provide some explanation.
Step 3: Be Engaging
I read an article on a Hootsuite blog post once that said, “Pinterest is a social network not a billboard.” It’s such a good point to consider. To be successful, you’ll want to be engaging. A two-way street will gain you more visibility and engagement in return.
Follow boards relevant to your industry (but probably not your direct competitors). Actively like and engage with content in your niche.
Step 4: Create Demo Boards
Sometimes, the best way to sell a product is to not sell it! It’s easy for a company to come off as too salesy–especially on social platforms. Many companies instead create demo boards. The pins on these boards show their followers how to do something and incorporate the products into the DIYs. For example, hair care product companies might create a demo board showing their followers how to do a specific hairstyle. The post will then reference that company’s style products as part of the instructions.
Step 5: Cross-Promote Your Pinterest Boards
Even companies with a strong Pinterest presence don’t often have the followers that they do on other social platforms. To drive traffic to your Pinterest boards, it’s important to continually promote them on your other social platforms.
- On Facebook and LinkedIn, share about your Pinterest boards once weekly or every other week.
- On Twitter, share 2-3 times per week.
- If you send out email marketing messages, include a few of your top pins in each message with easy links to get to them.
- Add a Pinterest app to your Facebook page (I like Woobox).
- Include follow us and pin it buttons on your website.