Contrary to what you may have heard (or believe), Pinterest is NOT a social media platform.
That said, even though it’s not what most would call “social”, Pinterest has a lot of cool features, especially if you’re curious about using Pinterest for business.
If you’re not using Pinterest to market your products or services, you’re missing out. BIG TIME.
According to research, more than 87 percent of Pinterest users have purchased a product after seeing it on Pinterest.
But before you sign up and start pinning “willy nilly”, here’s everything you need to know about using Pinterest for your business.
Eighty one percent of the 175 million active U.S. Pinterest members are female, with some 2 million of those saving content to a shopping board on a daily basis.
You can find just about anything on Pinterest, so the website’s categories include everything from recipes and art to technology and business.
The site is also known as a great place to find craft projects, fashion, home decor and health-related information.
How to Use Pinterest for Business
For businesses, it’s important to sign up for a business account. If you already have a personal account, you can switch over to business or just create a new account. Business accounts, which are free, give you access to features like analytics.
- Pins: Content is shared on Pinterest via “Pins”. When you click on a pin, it links back to a related website.
- Pinners: Pinners are people who use Pinterest.
- Boards: A kind of digital bulletin board. Boards are how you will organize your pins.
- Group boards: A group board is a collaborative board owned by one user/pinner. Owners can add other users to contribute to the board. While you can ask to join a group board, the board’s owner has to send you an invite, then accept you.
- Archived boards: You can archive a board you no longer use but don’t want to delete. Archived boards won’t show up on your profile, and you’ll stop seeing suggestions related to the board. For example, you can opt out of seeing wedding dresses after the big day has passed.
- Feed: Like a Facebook or Twitter feed, this is a group of pins from people you follow or what Pinterest thinks you’d be interested in. It’s what comes up when you first log into the platform.
- Hashtags on Pinterest: Hashtags on Pinterest work like they do on other social media platforms. They make it easy for other pinners to find your pins and content.
- Lens: This feature in the app uses your smartphone’s camera to produce new pin suggestions related to things you snap pictures of. For example, if you snap a picture of an outfit, it’ll show you similar outfits.
- Comments: You can add comments to other users’ pins.
- Save: When you click on a pin, you have the option to save, send or hide. When you save, you’re pinning it to one of your own boards, that your followers can see and share.
- Sending pins: You can send pins to other users or non-Pinterest users in private messages.
- Tagging users: You can tag users using the @ symbol.
- Messages: You can send private messages to other Pinterest users.
Creating a Pinterest Profile
While Pinterest does not offer many profile customization features, that doesn’t mean you can’t add some personality to your profile.
You can upload a profile picture, pick a custom username and write a summary of your business on your Pinterest profile.
Creative names, or clever phrases for your pinboards are another great way to customize your profile.
You can also add a short description of each board, that explains what that board is about, and how it relates to your brand. You can also choose a cover photo for each board that represents the board and your brand.
Create boards, add pins, follow other users
To get started, click the Create Board button (or the “+” sign) that’s accessible from your profile or when you save a pin.
I like to search Pinterest for interesting things. Once I find something that I like, I create the board for pins in that category.
For instance, if I come across a recipe for an awesome chicken dish, I’ll create a board called something like “Awesome Chicken Recipes”.
One down, infinity to go 😉
Once you’ve created some boards, you can start uploading pins in a few ways. The first is by going to the board you want to pin to and clicking “Add a Pin”.
Then, follow the directions to create a pin. You can also access the Add a Pin button at the top of your feed with the + button, which is near the search bar. If you’re using the Chrome browser, you can get an extension that allows you to pin right from the website you’re on.
In the Pinterest mobile app, you can now use your camera to find ideas. You simply open the app and point the camera at anything you’re interested in. The app will return with suggestions for similar things you might want to pin. For now, the company says it’s best at home decor ideas, clothing and food.
How to use Pinterest for business
1. Share creative, inspiring and actionable pins.
Pinterest is, first and foremost, a website for sharing pictures and inspiring ideas. If you want to succeed on Pinterest, you need to create and share visually engaging pins.
According to Pinterest, the most successful pins catch people’s attention and make them want to learn more. Great pins are typically vertical and show how to use a product or service.
2. Look at trending topics and keywords.
Knowing what’s trending on Pinterest can help you decide what content to pin, or what your next product should be. For example, if you see that DIY projects are trending, that would be a good time to find and share DIY content that relates to your business, making your business more discoverable on Pinterest.
3. Advertise on Pinterest.
Pinterest ads or Promoted Pins look like regular pins. The only difference is that you’re paying for your pins to be seen by more people.
You can use geographic targeting so your ad will only be shown to people in your specified area. Depending on the topic and keywords used, Pinterest advertising can be pretty affordable. Some users will see your ad and re-pin it, and you’ll get that additional exposure from their re-pin without paying for it.
Promoted Pins can have a snowball effect that drives more visibility to your pin than what you’re paying for. It’s important to make Promoted Pins look helpful and like a regular pin, said Andre. For more information, go to Pinterest’s business page.
4. Study Pinterest Analytics.
Pinterest Analytics gives you information about those viewing your page and pins. You have access to your audience demographics, the devices your visitors use and what your most popular pins are.
Data on your profile’s average daily impressions and viewers is also visible, as well as your average monthly viewers, and average monthly engagements. You can learn more about navigating and understanding your analytics data here.
5. Add the “Pin It” button to your website.
Have you ever gone to a website, hovered over an image and seen a little red Pinterest button pop up?
That’s called the “Pin It” button, and it allows Pinterest users to easily pin your content to their boards directly from your website.
Adding the “Pin It” button to your website makes it simpler to share your content, meaning more people are likely to do that.
6. Create Cool Content.
There are so many ways you can create fun and unique content while promoting your brand or business:
You can make a widget for each of your boards and promote them on your website. Just click on the three dots by your board’s name on the Pinterest desktop app and select Create Widget. On the next page, you can decide if you want the widget to appear square, as a sidebar, header or create your own dimensions. Once you pick on a size, copy and paste the code on your website.
Create gift guides.
For holidays or other occasions, create a new board that can be used as a gift guide.
Include your own products and products from other brands so it doesn’t look like one giant advertisement for your business.
Utilize Pinterest’s special features. For example, in the 2017 holiday season, Pinterest rolled out a feature called “Pinterest Secret Santa” that allowed shoppers to look for lists of personalized gift ideas based on their friends’ and families’ boards.
Make a reading list.
Save thoughtful articles and books related to your business with Pinterest by creating boards of all the good reads you think your customers would be interested in. You can also create secret boards with all the articles and books you’re dying to read in your spare time so they don’t get lost or forgotten in your bookmarks folder.
If you’re holding a contest or promotion, pin it to the relevant boards on your Pinterest page.
7. Use Rich Pins.
Rich Pins are special pins that make using the platform more straightforward and seamless. These pins include information beyond the image, click-thru link and pinner’s description.
Currently, there are four types of Rich Pins:
- Article pins: Article pins allow users to automatically see the article’s headline, author and story description, making them much more searchable, and distinguish them from other content on the platform.
- Product pins: Product pins make shopping on Pinterest much easier. These pins show where the product you’re pinning can be purchased, the current price and a direct link to the product page. Product pins’ prices also update in real time.
- Recipe pins: Unlike a regular pin, which would show an image and a description that the pinner manually enters, these recipe-specific Rich Pins show important information such as ingredients, cooking times and serving sizes.
- App pins: Pinterest’s newest addition to the Rich Pins family allows you to share and download apps directly from the platform.
You can find out more about applying for and enabling Rich Pins on Pinterest’s developers page.
8. Participate in and create group boards.
A group board is a collaborative board owned by one person who can add others to contribute to it.
Group boards are a great resource if you’re planning a big event or working on a project, because multiple people can see the board and pin ideas.
It’s also an easy way to get your pins in front of a lot of people, because more people typically follow group boards. The board owner’s audience sees the boards along with any of the collaborators’ followers.
I write relevant blog posts with valuable content on my blogs, then create attractive pins with compelling headlines and pin them to the relevant boards on my profile, as well as larger group boards with tens of thousands of followers.
I also use a this tool to help further distribute my pins, but that’s for another post 😉
9. Pinterest is a Search Engine.
Pinterest is NOT a social media platform. It has a powerful search function, and operates more like a visual search engine than an actual social media platform.
Most people initially go on the site to look for something specific.
Since Pinterest is similar to a search engine, it’s important to properly label and categorize each pin and board.