An indepth look at How to use Pinterest for Business
I’ve put 16 top tips first in case you’re short of time. There is a full table of contents below.
16 top tips for Pinterest
- Pinterest is possibly the best tool for promoting many businesses both for SEO, in-platform for free, and with paid ads (carrying more detailed analytics than Google).
- Pinterest is so much more instantaneous, easy and fun than other social media. You can dip into your feed to make selections, or re-pin from draft boards whenever you’ve a spare 5 minutes.
- SEO your pin titles and descriptions and use hashtag.
- Keep a list of all relevant hashtags for future ease of reference.
- Use high-quality lifestyle, instructive or infographic images with key text and your logo superimposed.
- Save at least 3 pins to a board when you start a new one.
- Utilise the board cover photo function.
- Pin no more than 3-5 pins at a time, and make your own pin the last one.
- Use secret boards to capture more than 4 new pins at a time, and for easier, more co-ordinated pinning to your public boards.
- Pin daily at the peak times of afternoon, evening and weekends.
- Utilise click-and-drag pin and board move functionality to create a co-ordinated, aesthetically pleasing look.
- Diarise posting daily at peak times to remind you.
- Schedule content via free automation tools such as Buffer.
- Engage with other pinners by pinning, commenting, following and collaborating on group boards.
- Utilise video upload and new 5-pin carousel functionality for more eye-catching pins.
- Use PPC advertising to cheaply and effectively expand your reach.
Why use Pinterest for business?
250 million people use Pinterest to look for ideas for their daily lives, find inspiration, and research new products to buy. So, unlike many other social media platforms, users on Pinterest welcome posts from companies in their feeds.
Over two-thirds of users say they’ve come across new products or brands on Pinterest. Almost all of them use it to plan their purchases and half of them have made a purchase after seeing a Promoted Pin. You can even sync your online shop so purchases can be made without leaving Pinterest – great for capitalising on your customers’ impulsive impetus.
And how many times have you searched for something on Google and got Pinterest images in your results?
As with all social media, you won’t be successful if you see it merely as a means of free product advertisement. You need to share knowledge, interact with other pinners, and build a community of followers and people you are following. Some of these may be relevant social media influencers who you can collaborate with. Some of your followers may be customers – some of whom you could add as collaborators on your boards so that you can learn from them. This is great for marketing since marketing is all about understanding and meeting your customers’ needs.
Paid advertisements on Pinterest will expand your reach, can be very successful, and are fairly charged for – you only pay when someone clicks through to your site. More on that later.
Getting started on Pinterest
Sign up for a business account on Pinterest. Complete your profile and add your logo.
Link to your Instagram account.
Link your website. You’ll need to be able to edit your website’s HTML code or use the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress.
Have a clear aim as to why you’re pinning. Your pins should inspire and lead people to take action.
You should know from your marketing strategy who your customers are, so ensure you create pins that will appeal them. Women? Men? Mums? Family activities? Older generation? Find some sample Pinners and see what they’re pinning.
Keep active – pin/re-pin at least once a day, but not more than 3-4 pins at a time (or you may be seen to be ‘spamming’ feeds and lose followers). Comment on other pages and pins regularly.
Pin in the afternoon, evening and weekends.
Think about the order in which you add your pins and/re-pins to your Board – which products or colours look good together on your Board cover and, less so, in your ‘recent pins’ feed?
Add one of your own pins each time you re-pin a few others. Add yours last so it remains at the top of your Board and is visible on the Board cover.
If you’re creating pins to coincide with a new product range launch or upcoming holiday, season, or event, start posting them about 45 days in advance. This means your board is available for early planners, is well populated as the event approaches, and spreads the word and creates interest in your product.
Avoid having competitor’s products in them unless the image and title clearly demonstrates your added value eg cheaper price, better design etc.
Creating a board
From your Pinterest profile, click the Boards tab, then click the red plus sign to create a new board.
Use a new board for each theme – it could be anything related to an aspect of your product eg colour, season, similar concepts.
Keep the board name short (max 5 words), use keywords, and ideally a touch of creative flair to capture people’s attention.
Give the board a short description and use relevant keywords.
If you don’t see the description option, return to the main Boards tab and click on the name of your new board, then click the pencil icon.
Choose a relevant category too.
You should save at least 3 pins to each board to start with and set a cover photo (see below) so you don’t have empty boards on your profile. If you don’t set a cover photo, you need a minimum of 6 pins.
If you’re not sure you’ll find enough pins for each board I recommend creating a secret board that you name ‘draft’ and save pins to there. You can add them to specific sections for specific ‘final’ boards to help you re-save them in the right place later. (I find doing this helpful all the time, not just when getting started, as when I’m browsing I often see more than 3 pins I want to save so I can punt them into my draft board and save them to public boards – with the extra benefit of choosing ones for a co-ordinated look – later.
Or you can make your final board secret until it’s ready to go. However, when you do ‘unmask’ it, pins won’t appear in people’s feeds so it’s wise not to unveil a completely finished board, especially once you have a good following.
You can add members of your team or friends as collaborators to pin things for you. Note it shows that they’ve pinned it, and what they’re pinning for you will affect their suggestions feed. Be careful you’re not all pinning at the same time and ‘spamming’ people’s feeds.
Rich pins show extra information directly on the pin – above and below the image on close-up, and in the bold title in grid. The information is drawn from the website the pin came from, so if something changes on the original website, the rich pin is also updated.
There are 3 types of rich pin:
Article – enables users to save pins that show the writer, headline and description
Product – availability, pricing and stockist information
Recipe – ingredients and how long it takes to prepare and resulting quantity
Pins from other websites
Some websites have a Pinterest icon you can use to easily create a pin.
If not, install the Pinterest toolbar button on your browser. You can then click on this button from a webpage.
Your own products
Pinterest will import images and data from your own website when you claim it but you may need to add your full portfolio and/or edit the pins to maximise their effect and utility.
Images are portrayed vertically. The image ratio can be up to 1:2.8, but 2:3 is ideal, which means your image should be 600 x 900 pixels. If your image is taller than 1560 pixels, it will get cut off.
Use quality imagery – in focus, well composed, and well lit. Remember the rule of two thirds where the eye is drawn to the vertical and horizontal thirds of images rather than hard top, bottom, left, right, or centre.
Be creative – Pinterest found photos depicting products in use, lifestyle scenes, and those with people tend to outperform images showing the product alone, and that those showing someone using a product or service are 67 percent more likely to drive offline sales.
Stock photography websites such as Unsplash, Pixaby and Pexels may help here.
Use an editor to put a few words of text on the image itself to make an immediate impression.
Include your logo on your image – the eye is naturally drawn to the bottom right corner.
Use multiple images that teach people how to do something.
Infographics are also popular.
Choose colourful images with varying shades of the same colour.
How to add videos on Pinterest
Video is the hot medium right now, and it’s very effective on Pinterest where the feeds are full of static imagery.
The description is drawn from your page’s meta description if you’re using Rich Pins.
You should edit it so your brand name appears in the first line of your Pin’s description – according to Pinterest, this practice drives 2x higher awareness.
Edit the description and add hashtags – as many as you can think of and can fit into the character limit. Eg giftideas giftsforher giftsforhim giftsforcolleagues giftsforfriends christmasgifts etc Search on Pinterest for valid ones.
How to create Pinterest Carousels
Click on the red + button on the top menu and “Create carousel”.
Add up to five 600 x 900 pins.
You can have different titles, descriptions and URLs for each pin, or apply your text to all of them.
Carousel Pins cannot be edited after creation so make sure your titles, descriptions and links are perfect before hitting Save.
This is the easy and fun bit. You can run searches on Pinterest for relevant items to click ‘Save’ on and choose your board.
Once you’ve got started pinning on a theme, similar pins that have been added or re-pinned recently will populate your suggestions feed.
Once you follow appropriate Pinners (or simply some of their boards that are relevant for you), you’ll also see their new pins in your feed.
Re-pin other people’s content (3-4 pins) and add one of your own each time. Add yours last so it remains at the top of your Board and is visible on the Board cover.
Click on the origin of others’ pins and see if it’s someone, or a board, that is relevant for you to follow to find content for your own boards.
If they have a decent number of followers, but not too many (say 1-10k), you can encourage them to follow you by posting 2-3 of their pins and following them.
You can even comment on their pins or write them a message saying what you love about the specific pins you’ve re-pinned and/or thanking them for their great pins for extra brownie points to try to get that follow. You won’t usually hear back, and it can be considered spam so be careful.
The Board cover is automatically set to the pins added last. However, you can choose the most visually compelling to be the main cover pin.
Go to the boards tab, hover over your board and click the pencil icon on the bottom right.
Scroll down to Cover and click Change, then scroll through to choose your cover pin. Square pins generally work better for a cover photo, as they fit well whereas longer pins can get cut off or cropped, creating an unprofessional look.
Choose a cover photo which represents what the board is about, ideally, but not necessarily, one of your products. Choose one which communicates your brand, co-ordinates well with the other pins that will show on the cover.
You can go into each board and click and drag pins around to rearrange them, and hopefully move your best/most co-ordinating ones to the top.
You can also click and drag Boards around to present your profile in the best possible light.
Once you have several boards, go to Settings and Edit Featured Boards and choose your 5 best or most topical, using the same considerations as the Board cover pins. These will display at the top of your profile page.
Group boards allow you to share your content and products, and have the advantage of allowing you to expose your products to a bigger audience outside your page. There are many group boards out there, but it is important to search for ones which are relevant to you. One of the best websites to search for relevant Group boards is PinGroupie.com.
To join a Group board, message its owner so they can add you to it.
How to create adverts on Pinterest
Pinterest data shows that advertisers get an average of 20 percent more organic clicks in the month following the launch of an ad campaign.
You can have overall campaigns, ad groups within each campaign, and individual ads within that ad group. It’s a bit confusing and takes a bit of getting used to when navigating around the reporting pages.
There are various ad options to create awareness, drive traffic to your site, download your app or view your video.
You can fix a daily maximum budget and a campaign lifetime or monthly budget.
Images including Carousels
The great thing about static or carousel ads for driving traffic to your website is that you only pay when a user clicks through to your site. You can also choose what you’re willing to pay for those clicks, though it’s an auction system so the lower your bid, the less chance you’ll have of winning. They will recommend what is currently a strong bid.
Carousels can present a product’s numerous features, drive additional purchases by showing multiple items in a pin or increase awareness with a multi-image brand story. They cost the same as a single pin.
Enter your campaign dates, your maximum daily budget, lifetime budget or monthly cap if the ad is ongoing.
Enter your target audience age (though this isn’t available outside the US), the categories you want to target, and as many keywords as you can – suggestions appear when you type in words of phrases. Your keywords seem to be unlimited but the more you use the longer it takes to set up. However, in the ad analytics you can see which ones were used so it’s useful for you to do it.
As with hashtags, keep a reference list of ones used if you’re creating multiple ads.
If you are creating a new ad within an existing campaign group, these will already be completed.
Click on the red + button on the top menu and “Create an Ad”.
For campaign objective select “Video views”.
Select “create new” and give the campaign a descriptive name (later you can re-use a previous campaign).
Select standard width or max width. Standard width is the same size as other Pins. Max width spans the two-column feed on mobile, has extra user functionality – users can tap audio on or off using the in-feed icon – and Max costs a bit more.
To get the option to upload video you may need to add your billing details to your Ad Account first.
As with images, enter your dates, budgets, audience, categories and keywords. If you are creating a new ad within an existing campaign group, these will already be completed.
Enter the maximum bid you’re prepared to pay for every 1000 times your video is scrolled past on a feed (CPM). In the UK this is a minimum of £4.10. When there’s a lot of competition you may have to place a higher bid to get placement. Whatever maximum you select, you may pay less in the end. And remember, you can cap the amount per day, per campaign or per month.
Upload your video with a description, enter your desired URL, and select the board to upload it to.
You’ll get a box that says your ad will appear in your board when it’s loaded. Close it and go to your board to check. Then you can select it and click on Review Ad.
Adjust the Ad Name and the URL as necessary. If you’re happy with all your details (note the pin itself can’t be changed after), click Launch.
Pinterest Promoted Pins
If you click “Promote” on one of your pins, you’ll get taken into a quick setup dialog box, where you enter your daily budget, how many days you want the promotion to run for, and target keywords (without auto-suggestions).
You can click on the Analytics menu option to see graphs on rises and falls in engagement, stats on Saves and clicks from your pins, and your top performing pins and saves.
Within the Ads section, you can see how many impressions, engagements and actual clicks each pin got, and which of your keywords were used to search on.
Sadly this aspect isn’t very intuitive to use (to me anyway), but, hopefully you’ll get the hang of it. I’ll aim to update this article with further guidance once I’ve figured it out!