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People often overlook Pinterest in favour of other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. It’s a big mistake however to discount Pinterest. Over 250 million users visit Pinterest on a monthly basis. 93% of users use Pinterest to make purchasing decisions and 40% of users have a household income of $100k+.
These are powerful statistics. It’s no wonder that Pinterest can prove a useful social media platform, use it effectively and it can be a great way to drive targeted traffic to your site.
In this post we will cover Pinterest. We start from the ground up, we show you how you set-up a Pinterest account and what setting changes we recommend that you perform. We show you the secrets of creating effective pins and we explain how you perform keyword research in order to reach your target audience. We will also go over tools that will allow you to automate the pinning process as well as grow your follower count. Finally we will cover Pinterest Analytics and how you use it to track what is working and what is not.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a visual social media platform. Think of it as an online pinboard where users can pin and share all types of visuals including images, infographics and video. Visuals uploaded to Pinterest are called pins. Pins can be organized onto boards/pinboards which can be followed by others. Users can follow other pinners and they can also share other user’s pins which is called a repin.
People typically use Pinterest to discover new ideas which they can then bookmark to read later on. For example, a person who is thinking of redecorating their bedroom may search on Pinterest for inspiration on how to decorate it. If they find pins that they like, they can save them to their own board which they can access later on.
A pin comprises of three main components, which include:
- An eye-catching image.
- A description which provides more information about the pin.
- A link to the original source i.e. this can be a blog post. When a user clicks on a pin it will open the relevant website that the link is pointing to.
One of the benefits of Pinterest is the lifespan of a pin is typically much longer than content posted on other social media platforms. The average lifespan of a pin is months, while for Facebook this is just a few hours and for Twitter this can be just a few minutes. This means you could be getting engagement on your pins for months or even years to come. The reason for this longevity is a pin will show up on a user’s feed as long as it’s relevant to a user’s search and it can also be repined which means it can reach more potential users and be rediscovered over time.
Steps for Setting up Your Pinterest Account
Before you can use Pinterest, you must first set-up a free account.
Follow the below 5 steps in order to set-up your account:
1. Create Your Pinterest Profile
If you’re planning on using Pinterest for your business i.e. you will be using it to promote your blog or online business, you should sign-up to a free Pinterest Business account.
A business account works in the same way as a personal account, however it provides added functionality such as:
- Allowing you to use Pinterest ads to promote your pins.
- Detailed analytics allowing you to check the performance of your pins.
- Being able to use rich pins (we will cover this in more detail later).
- Being able to use your business name in you profile.
In order to sign-up to a business account, you will need to perform the following steps:
1. Head over to Pinterst.
2. Enter an email address and password and then click on “Create account”.
3. Next click on “Settings” from the top toolbar.
4. From the “Edit Profile” page, add a profile image. Depending on the nature of your business, you can add your business logo, a profile photo or a photo of the product that you sell on your site. Next enter your display name, a username, a profile description (ensure you use relevant keywords relating to your niche). If your business is local, you can enter your location, otherwise you can leave the location blank if you’re running a blog for example.
The username that you enter will appear after https://pinterest.com and your display name and profile description will appear in bold at the top of your profile.
2. Switch to a Business Account (For Personal Account Users)
If you already have a personal account but you want a business account instead, don’t worry, you don’t need to create a new account. You can simply convert your personal account to a business account.
To do this, simply follow these steps:
- Log in to your account.
- Head to the following domain: pinterest.com/business/convert/
- Enter your business name and website and then select your business type.
- Finally click on the “Create account” button.
3. Verify Your Domain
The next step after setting up your profile is to add your website address to your Pinterest account. Once you’ve added it, you will then need to verify that you’re the rightful owner.
In order to add your website to your Pinterest account, you’ll need to perform the following steps:
- Log into your Pinterest account.
- Once logged in, select the three dots “…” that appear on the far right corner and select “Settings” and then select “Claim”.
- Enter your website URL and then click on “Claim”.
Pinterest will now give you the two options in order to claim your site. You can either claim your site by adding a HTML tag to your site’s index.html file or alternatively you can upload an html file to your website’s root directory.
In order to claim your site by adding a HTML tag (this is the easiest option and the one we recommend), follow these steps:
- From “Pick claim option” pop-up select “Add HTML tag” and then click on “Next”.
- Pinterest will generate the HTML tag. Copy the generated HTML tag and you will then need to copy it to the <head> section of your site’s index.html. Once done, go back to Pinterest and click on “Submit”.
In order to claim your site by adding a HTML file, follow these steps:
- Select the “Upload HTML file” option and click on “Download” and then click on “Next”.
- Upload the generated HTML file to your web server at the root directory.
- Go back to Pinterest and click on “Submit”.
Pinterest will automatically check your meta tag, it normally takes around 24 hours. Once they have successfully completed this, your site will be claimed and Pinterest will send you an email confirming this. Once this is done, you’ll be able to remove your HTML tag or HTML file from your site.
4. Enable Rich Pins
Now that we have created our Pinterest account and set-up our profile, it’s time to enable Rich Pins.
So, what are Rich Pins? Rich Pins allow you to pull extra information from your website and display this data on your pins. The main benefit of enabling Rich Pins is it allows you to create feature rich and more engaging pins which can mean that your visitors are more likely to interact with your pins and click through to your site.
There are 4 different types of Rich Pins which you can use, these include:
- Article – this shows the headline, the title, the meta description from your blog post and the author. Without enabling article rich article pins, it would only show a single description. The useful feature about article rich pins is whenever you update your post title or meta description, the changes get reflected across your related pins
- Product – these allow you to display price, product availability and descriptions on your pins from your website. These are ideal rich pins if you run an ecommerce site.
- Recipe – these allow you to add ingredients, cooking time and serving information to your pins. Perfect if you’re a food blogger.
- App – these allow you to display an “Install” button under your pin so that you can redirect visitors to the App Store to download your app (only compatible with iOS currently).
Here’s an example of a regular pin next to a Recipe Rich Pin in the Pinterest feed:
As you can see, the regular pin on the left only displays a title. While the Rich Recipe on the left, displays the title, the cooking time and the overall recipe review.
Here are what both pins look like when you click through.
Rich Recipe Pin:
The regular pin only displays limited information while the Rich Pin displays a wealth of information including the recipe rating, cooking time, serving size and ingredients. With the Rich Pin, visitors are presented with much more information therefore allowing them to decide whether they would like to click through to the site.
How to Set-Up Rich Pins
Now that you understand what rich pins are, and the importance of them, let’s move onto how you set them up.
Setting up Rich Pins involves 2 steps which include:
- Adding metadata to the contents of your website.
- Applying for Rich Pins through Pinterest.
In order for Rich Pins to work, you first need to ensure that your site contains the relevant meta tags.
If you’re using a WordPress site, the easiest way to set this is up is by using the Yoast SEO plugin. If you don’t already have the plugin installed, head over to the following site and install and activate the plugin.
Once the plugin is installed, follow these simple steps:
- From the WordPress Dashboard, select “SEO” from the sidebar.
- Next, select “Social” and click on the “Facebook” tab.
- Finally enable the “Add Open Graph meta data” option.
You’ve now enabled article Rich Pins. If you would like to set-up product, recipe or app Rich Pins instead, follow the steps listed on Pinterest.
Now that you have set-up the relevant meta data on your site, it’s time to apply for Rich Pins on Pinterest and validate that it’s been correctly set-up. In order to do this, follow these steps:
- Open the Pinterest’s Rich Pin Validator.
- Add a link to a blog post in the text box and click on the “Validate” button.
- When the “Your Pin’s have been validated” message appears, select the “HTML Tags” option and click on “Apply now”.
The approval process in order to use Rich Pins can be instantaneously although it can take up to a few days, so be patient.
5. Create Boards
We now need to create some boards. Boards essentially allow you to organize common pin’s together. For example, if you run a vacation affiliate site, you may decide to create a Pinterest board titled “Asia Travels” and another one called “South America Travels”.
When deciding on what boards to create, first review what categories you have on your website and then aim to create specific ones for each category.
When naming your boards, ensure that you’re as descriptive as possible and include relevant keywords and don’t forget to assign your board a category.
When you create your pins always ensure that you save them to the relevant boards.
Creating Pinterest Pins
Now that we have created and set-up our Pinterest account it’s time to start creating some pins.
Here are some factors that you will need to consider when creating your pins:
What Are the Right Size For Pins?
An important question is how big should I make my pins?
Most pins that you will see on Pinterest are taller than they are wide. Pinterest recommends that you create pins with a 2:3 aspect ratio. If you don’t follow this ratio, a pin may get cropped in a user’s feed and this may impact engagement and click-through-rates. For this reason, it is important that you follow their guidelines.
Here’s some image dimensions that use a 2:3 aspect ratio:
Using a Call to Action
Adding a call to action (CTA) on your pins is essential. You’ve no doubt created your pin because you want users to click through to your site. It is important therefore that you include a CTA so that you can entice users to click on your pin. You can include a CTA on the pin itself as well as the description.
Whether you want someone to download your free guide, or you want them to purchase your product or whatever it may be, include a CTA so that your users are clear what you want from them. For example, you may include a CTA’s such as “click to download your free guide”, “purchase now” or “pin this to view later”.
Want your pins to go viral? Infographics can be a way to make this happen, Pinterest users love them!
Infographics are an effective way of condensing and simplifying lots of information into a single visual image.
One of keys to success of infographics on Pinterest is they stand out over other pins. There are so many similar looking pins on Pinterest using the same stock images, it’s no wonder why infographics are so effective over regular pins.
Create a visually appealing infographic which catches the eye of your target audience and you will no doubt see increased engagement levels and repins.
Here’s a few tools which will help you create stand-out infographics:
Create Multiple Pins
Not all your pins that you create will prove popular. Some may go viral while others will hardly get any engagement at all. For this reason, it is important to create a number of different pins for each blog post that you publish.
The more pins that you create for each post, the higher the probability that at least one of them will prove successful.
When creating several pins, don’t just use different images but also experiment by changing the description, title, keywords and hashtags that you use.
Pinterest is a search engine not just a mere media social platform. It is for this reason, just as you would aim to write SEO optimized blog posts, you should do the same with your pins. If you fail to target the right keywords, Pinterest is not going to display your pins to your core audience which means you’re not going to get the impressions and therefore you won’t get people clicking through to your site.
Below are some important aspects which you will need to consider in terms of Pinterest SEO:
I’m sure before writing a post, you would first perform some initial keyword research using a tool such as SEMRush to know what keywords to target. Well, you should do the something similar when creating your pins.
So, how do you know what keywords users are searching for on Pinterest?
Here are 3 simple ways in which you can find out:
Pinterest Instant – this is similar to Google’s AutoComplete. Enter a target keyword in the search bar and Pinterest will display a list of popular related keywords that users have searched for in the past and it will also display related boards and users which you can then follow.
Guided search – enter a keyword in the search bar and then press Enter. A row of different coloured titles will appear under the search bar with semantically related keywords. In order to see the full list, click on the arrow on the far right.
Promoted Suggestions – another way to find relevant keywords that users are searching for is by using Promoted Pin Suggestions. In order to use this, you will need to create a promoted pin (don’t worry, you’re not to be putting the promoted pin live so it won’t cost you anything).
Here are the steps:
- Login into your Pinterest Business account and from the top left menu select Ads > Create Ad.
- Under “Set up your campaign” page, either select “Brand awareness” or “Video views” under “Brand Awareness” or otherwise select “Traffic” or “App install” under “Drive consideration”.
- Next, enter a “Daily spend limit”, this can be anything as we’re not going live with the promoted pin so just put $1 and then click on “Continue”.
- On the “Add more details” page, scroll down to“Keywords” area and on the right, enter a related keyword term.
- Pinterest will now suggest keyword related terms and most importantly it will also display the number of monthly searches for that particular keyword term.
Once you’ve completed your keyword research on Pinterest and found appropriate keywords to target, it’s time to add these to your pins. You may be asking what’s the best place to add these keywords to?
Well, here’s where you should place your keywords:
- In the pin text.
- In the pin description.
- Use them in the board names and board descriptions.
- In you profile name and description (if appropriate).
Hashtags can also play an important role in SEO just like they do on other social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Hashtags are useful as you’re providing Pinterest with more context about your pins. It also allows users to find your content as they can search by a hashtag as well being able to click on a hashtag to find related pins.
Pinterest recommends that you use no more than 20 hashtags, we would however recommend that you use no more than 5. Hashtags should only go in the description area of your pin.
While you’re free to place your hashtags anywhere within your description, hashtags littered throughout a description can prove difficult for your users to read so it’s advisable that you place them at the end.
Don’t use hashtags for the sake of it, only use relevant ones that accurately describe the contents of your pin and use a mixture of broad and specific hashtags.
Using Pin It on Your Site
A great way to get your visitors to your site to share your images within your posts on Pinterest is by adding a Pin It button. When a user hoovers over an image within your post, a Save button will appear allowing them to save your image to their Pinterest board with just a couple of clicks.
This is a perfect way of getting other users to share your content. In order to use Pin It buttons on your site, you can install the free plugin jQuery Pin It Button for Images.
If you’re not a Photoshop expert don’t worry, you really don’t need to be a graphic designer in order to create great looking pins. There are a number of graphic tools out there, one of the best and easiest to use is Canva.
Canva has a large number of customizable free templates, pictures, shapes, fonts which you can use to quickly come up with stunning pins.
In order to use Canva, you first need to sign-up to a free account. Once you have created your account, follow these steps in order to create a pin:
1. Once you’re logged into Canva, under the “Create a design” section, select “Pinterest Graphic” or if you want to create a custom sized canvas select “Custom dimensions”. If you have selected the “Custom dimensions” option, enter the width and height for your canvas and click on the “Create new design”
2. The Canva editor will now open. The first thing you will probably want to do is select a pre-defined customizable template. In order to do this, select “Templates” from the left tab and then scroll through the list of templates and choose one that you like.
3. You will now need to customize the template. If you would like to use one of your own images on your template, you can select “Uploads” and then click on “Upload an image” and navigate to where your image is stored in order to upload it. If you would like to add text, or add a background or you want to add some elements select the corresponding buttons.
4. Once you have completed your design, it’s time to publish it. In order to do this, select the drop-down list on the far right. Depending on whether you want to publish your pin directly to Pinterest, you can select the “Publish to Pinterest” option (you’ll need to sign into your Pinterest account) otherwise you can select “Download” to save the image directly to your PC before uploading it to Pinterest.
Join Group Boards
A good way to help increase your exposure on Pinterest is by joining group boards. These are community boards where users can save their pins.
In order to use a group board, you must request to join it. The group’s creator will then decide whether they will admit you.
Group boards are often followed by many thousands of users, some even tens of thousands. Pins that are posted to these boards can reach a large audience which can help increase the exposure of your pins. They can therefore be a highly effective way of increasing your follower count and allowing you to get more re-pins which in turn should result in more visitors to your site.
The keys to success with group boards is to join ones in your particular niche and that has a high number of followers. Ideally you want to be joining group boards that have at least a few thousand followers at the minimum.
Finding group boards on Pinterest is not as straightforward as joining groups on Facebook. In order to find group boards manually on Pinterest, you must perform the following steps:
- Enter a particular keyword relating to your niche in Pinterest and press Enter.
- Next filter to only show boards, in order to do this we select Boards from the drop-down menu that appears to the right of the search bar.
- We now need to open each board individually one by one to find out if it’s a group board or not.
As you can see, finding group boards can be a rather time consuming and laborious process. A more effective and easier way to find group boards is by using Pingroupie. Pingroupie is a free tool which allows you to search by relevant keywords or categories to find appropriate boards to join.
In order to use the tool, simply enter a category or keyword relating to your niche and click on Filter. The tool will then list relevant boards which you can join.
In order to find boards that has a large number of followers, you can filter by Follower count. The tool also lists the Average Repins, this is an important metric to check before deciding to a join a group. The higher the average repin rate for a specific group, the better.
Once you’ve joined a group board, always review the groups posting rules. You should avoid spamming and only post relevant content.
If you’re serious about growing your presence on Pinterest, you really should consider signing up to Tailwind.
Tailwind is a Pinterest scheduler. The tool is however much more than just a simple scheduler, if used properly, it is a really effective tool to help you drive traffic from Pinterest to your site.
The Smart Scheduler allows you to schedule your pins in advance. The tool also has a handy feature where it will advise you on the best times and days to schedule your pins. It will therefore save you enormous amount of time and it will allow you to have a regular presence on Pinterest without having to spend all day manually pinning.
Apart from the scheduler, the tool has another feature called Tailwind Tribes. Tailwind Tribes is similar to Pinterest group boards. Tribes are groups of like-minded people who work together in order to actively help others share their content in their relevant niche. This is a really powerful feature as it can really help you boost your reach on Pinterest.
It also provides powerful analytics which will allow you to monitor what is working and what is not. You will be able to keep track of what pins get most engagement, your top performing boards, the number of new weekly followers and much more.
Engagement on Pinterest is vital. You can’t just pin every so often and only pin your own content and expect to get lots traffic, this is simply not going to work. You need to engage with other users regularly within your niche and repin their content as well. The more you share others user’s pin, the more likely that you’ll see an increase in your pins being shared as well.
Don’t forget the importance of also building a following. The greater the number of followers that you have, the more visibility your pins will get which in turn means the higher the probability that your pins will get repined. Follow other users as well, many will follow you back and don’t forget to follow important influencers within your niche.
Pining Frequency & Pining Times
Consistency is the name of the game with Pinterest. The more regularly that you pin, the easier it will be to grow your audience and reach more users and thus get more repins.
It is also important to consider the best times to pin your contents. Naturally you will want to be pinning when your target audience is at their most active on Pinterest. It is vital that you experiment to see what works best for you. Check your Pinterest analytics on a regular basis to see what days of the week and times your pins get most engagement.
Aim to keep to a pinning schedule. If you’re using Tailwind you can use their Smart Scheduler which will allow you to schedule your pins in advance saving you lots of valuable time.
Just as you would use Google Analytics to track what is working on your site, you should also do something similar with your Pinterest account. Pinterest provides an array of powerful analytic tools which you can use to track key metrics which will allow you to understand what is working well and what needs to be refined.
Check the number of impressions, clicks and number of repins each pin is receiving. Understand what your best performing pins are and what boards are proving most popular.
Don’t forget to also check the “Audience Insights” analytics section. This will provide demographic information regarding your users who are interacting with your pins. Find out where they are located, their age-groups, their gender, and their interests and much more. This data is extremely valuable and can help you understand if you’re targeting the right audience.
The more data you have, the easier it will be to make better informed decisions. This is key if you’re planning on using Promoted Pins. Regularly check your Pinterest Analytics stats to see how successful your marketing strategy is proving and it will also allow you to spot trends.
You should now have a pretty good understanding of how Pinterest works. As you can see, Pinterest is relatively straightforward, there is nothing complicated about it.
The secret to being successful with Pinterest is to concentrate on creating effective pins and remember to engage with other users on the platform. Find users to follow and join group boards within your niche which will allow you to market your pins and get more repins which should increase the lifespan of your contents.
Use Pinterest Analytics regularly to monitor what is working and what is not on your boards and pins. This will allow you to know what is proving effective and what needs refining.
Tell me in the comments below how effective Pinterest is proving for you in driving traffic to your site.