Pinterest is the third biggest social media platform and yet is still underutilised by many businesses. But it can be a hugely useful tool both for marketing, inspiration and organisation. Here’s a brief guide on how to use Pinterest.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a social bookmarking site. As well as a social media site, it’s a great search engine.
Pins are images or videos that have a title and a brief description. They can be created on any topic (as long as they adhere to Pinterest’s community guidelines) and then pinned – or organised – into boards.
Each pin links back to a website, and can be pinned to any number of boards. Users can create boards that are public or private, and either create their own pins or repin those that already exist.
As a user, you can follow other users, or follow specific boards, so that you have a feed of pins that you like. Pinterest will also throw up a separate feed of suggested content based on your pin history, so that you can discover more related users, boards and pins.
Pinterest has some impressive statistics. If you’re not sure whether it’s worth your time, have a look at these:
15.6 million unique visitors in the UK. Worldwide that grows to 442 million and, while it doesn’t quite measure up with Facebook’s 2.7 billion, Instagram’s 1 billion, or LinkedIn’s 2 billion, it’s still a huge number and continuously growing. If the target audience is right for you, then Pinterest is a good place for businesses to be right now. Establish your presence as those numbers grow.
77% of pinterest users are women. So if you’re ideal customer is female, there’s a good chance that a big chunk of your audience is on the platform.
85% of people bought a product after seeing pins from the brand. Which just goes to show just how successful social media marketing can be. Showing up consistently with content that people like can really pay dividends for your business.
Pinners spend 80% more in retail than people off Pinterest. If you sell products, there are huge opportunities for promoting and selling your product. Even service providers have great success on Pinterest.
2 out of 3 users go to find an idea, product or service. Pinterest is primarily a platform of organisation and inspiration. Its users go there to find ideas for future purchases or to make plans. From wedding planning to organising a holiday, you can find an audience who is ready – or nearly ready – to buy.
Over 25% of time on Pinterest is spent shopping. That’s more than any other social media channel!
Set up Pinterest for Business
The advantage of a Pinterest business account is that business access gives you extra features such as analytics and the option to advertise. It’s also free to create, so you don’t need to worry about the cost unless you want to advertise.
So, if you already have an account and don’t have access to these features, consider converting to a business account.
How to create a new Pinterest business account
First off, you’ll need to create an account. If you’re already using Pinterest with a personal account, make sure you log out.
- On the Pinterest Login page click Create a business account
- Fill out the requested details to create an account and make sure to read the terms and conditions before selecting Create Account.
- You’ll then be asked to fill out your profile: add your business name, profile picture (probably your logo), website address (if you have one), country/region and language. Then click Next.
- Continue following the instructions, entering all the details required.
- Once you’ve entered all your details, you’ll be asked where you would like to start. For now, I would click on Showcase your brand to start building your profile.
- On the Edit profile page, there are a lot of options for telling people about your business. Fill in as much information as possible to make the most of this section.
- Remember to click Done at the top of the page when you’re finished, and save your work so far.
- Go through all the settings in this section and make sure they are set to how you’d like them. You can always come back and change them later.
How to covert your personal account to a Pinterest for Business profile
If you’ve already created a personal Pinterest account that you want to use for your business, you can easily convert it.
- Log into your personal profile
- In the top right of the screen, click the down arrow next to your profile picture
- Click Unlock business tools
- On the next page, click Switch to Business
- Fill out the information about your business
- Once you’re finished, click Done
Click on your profile image and then on the ‘plus’ sign and you’ll have the option to add a new pin or a board. It doesn’t really matter which you do first, but we’ll look at boards to begin with.
Boards can be public or ‘secret’, so toggle the option based on what your plan is. You may want to keep it secret until you fill it with more content, or you may want to keep it permanently private between you and some selected collaborators.
Then pick a name for your board. This shouldn’t be too long but should make it clear what the board is about. I’m going to use a clothing boutique as an example going forward, so the name of a board could be ‘Summer Wardrobe 2021’, ‘Cocktail Dresses’ or ‘Fashion Tips’.
When you create a board, you’ll be asked to add some pins. You can just ignore this for now – tap Done without selecting any of the suggestions.
Next to the board name, select the three dots and then choose Edit board. From here you’ll be able to add a description and collaborators (if applicable), edit your title, and adjust settings. The description is particularly important – give people a good idea of what the board includes, and use keywords (relevant words that people might search for when looking for your pins, account, or board).
You can also split your board into categories by selecting Organise. So, for example, you might have a board for dresses, and you could split these into several categories: by colour, by style, by occasion and so on. You’ll need a few pins before you can do that, though!
Once you’ve created your board, you can add your own pins or search for pins you want to add. Which brings us to:
If you want to use Pinterest to get traffic to your website, then you need to create your own pins. But it’s not as straightforward as that: quality pins need a bit of work.
Head back to your profile and click ‘Create a Pin’.
Your images should ideally be tall, with an optimal ratio of 2:3. Unlike a platform like Facebook, you don’t have to avoid text, either. Titles overlaid on images can help you stand out by telling pinners exactly what this pin has in store for them.
Make sure the image is relevant too. If you’re linking to a blog on your site about the top 10 blue dresses you sell, show an image of at least one of those dresses. Don’t use a picture of a cute puppy just because someone told you that puppies get lots of clicks on the internet.
You should use good quality images: dark, blurry images won’t sell your product or service.
The title of your pin should be descriptive and engaging. It should tell people what they’re going to get when they click your pin and, ideally, include keywords. So, a title such as ‘10 Beautiful Blue Dresses for your Summer Wardrobe’ is better than something like ‘Blue Dresses’, which is a bit vague, or ‘Feeling Blue this Summer’, which doesn’t tell you anything.
Don’t skimp on the descriptions! These should give more information than the title and include keywords. You want to make this interesting and informative – in very basic terms, you’re expanding on the title.
Many might overlook alt text – you’ve got a descriptions after all, right? Wrong! Alt text describes the image specifically. If someone can’t see the image (either it doesn’t load fully, or the user has a sight impediment, for example), how would you describe it to them? Use keywords here if you can, too, though don’t overdo it. An example of alt text would be ‘A woman wearing a blue knee-length dress while standing on the beach’.
All your pins should link to something. That’s ideally your own website, but could also be something like eBay or Amazon where you might sell your products. Wherever you link to, make sure it’s relevant to the pin. For example, don’t create that pin about 10 blue dresses, then link to your homepage – link directly to the page about the blue dresses.
Canva is a great tool for creating pins. It’s easy to use and free (though there is a paid version with additional features). You can also post immediately or schedule your pins.
Finding relevant content
You don’t have to rely entirely on your own pins and content to fill your profile. Curating content – or finding relevant content from other pinners – is a great way of sharing useful information. Perhaps a fashion blogger has posted a pin to an interesting article that you think your audience would like. Or maybe one of your customers has posted a positive review about one of your products.
Let’s look how people find content on Pinterest.
Click on Business at the top of your page, then select Home feed. You will have to select some interest categories first if you haven’t already.
There are three tabs:
Home is the home feed, a mix of pins from the boards, people and topics you follow, as well as ‘picked for you pins’ based on your activity. You’ll also find some sponsored pins here, i.e. advertisements.
Today is ‘daily inspiration’. This is a selection of trending topics that the Pinterest algorithm thinks will be of interest to you.
Following is a tab that’s filled only with pins from people and boards you follow – there are no recommendations here like on the other two tabs.
These are all great places to find new pins, and the more you interact with relevant content, the more Pinterest learns about your interests, the more relevant pins it can show you in these feeds.
As well as these tabs, there’s a search function, where you can enter a topic and find pins that relate to that subject. You can use this to search for any content you like, and it’s a great way of getting ideas, finding inspiration and doing some research. What’s popular at the moment? What are other similar businesses doing that are working?
Remember that you can make private boards, too, and you can always save some content there to refer to in the future, or to use for your own inspiration.
How to add pins to your boards
So you’ve found a pin you like. How do you add it to your board? Simply click or tap on the pin (or hover if you’re on a desktop) and hit Save. Then select a board you’d like to save it to.
If you haven’t created an appropriate board yet, you can do that from here, but don’t forget to go back and add all the relevant information such as description.
To view your saved pins, go to your profile and click on the board, then browse away!
Pinning from Outside Pinterest
If you find content outside of Pinterest that you’d love to share on one of your boards, then you can do that, too.
Start by installing the Pinterest Browser Button. Once you’ve done this, hover over an image you see on your chosen website and you’ll see the option to pin it. Or click the Pinterest logo next to your browser’s address bar to save a page. Either way, a pin will be automatically crated with a link back to the original website.
It’s important to note that you can’t do this for every site. Some, like Facebook and Google, will disable the plugin.
Advertising on Pinterest
Like on every social media platform, you can advertise on Pinterest! And it’s also very effective, with over half of pinners making a purchase after seeing a business’s content on the platform.
Types of ads
There are several types of advertising on Pinterest: promoted pins, promoted carousels (several images on one pin), promoted video pins, buyable pins (buy items directly from the pin), story pins and promoted app pins (where a user can download your app directly from Pinterest). That’s quite a few options!
In order to advertise, you should first add the Pinterest tag to your website – this will help you keep track of how effective your advertising is.
Go to your Pinterest for Business dashboard and click Install Tag. There are instructions for doing this yourself, or you can ask your web developer or a Virtual Assistant to do it for you (get in touch if you need help with this!).
Create an ad group
When you select Create An Ad you will have the option to create a quick ad or switch to campaign creation. These instructions follow campaign creation, but you can apply them to quick ads, too.
First, create an ad group.
An ad group is like a container for your adverts and is based on a specific budget and audience targeting. You could use, for example, 75% of your total budget in one ad group, and target an audience that is similar to people who have visited your website. The remaining 25% of your budget could be used in a second ad group that targets pinners who are interested in women’s fashion.
Choose a goal
Head back to your dashboard and select the Ads menu, then click Create ad. The first thing to do is to select your goal: do you want more traffic, brand awareness, or sales? The option you choose here will determine what type of ads will be available to you later on.
You also have the option here to name your campaign and add spending limits so that you don’t go over budget.
It’s important when advertising to target the right people: don’t just fling your adverts out into the ether and hope that they land somewhere useful. In order to get the best value, make sure you know your audience and choose the right type of people to show your ads to.
You can target by interest (for example, women’s fashion), or create an audience based on people who have engaged with your website or pins in the past. Remember that, in order to do that, you need to have built up some kind of history in this area (the Pinterest tag on your website helps with this).
In this section, you can also select a few keywords. This will help increase your ad impressions in search results when users are looking for related pins.
There are other demographics to choose from including gender, age, location, language and device. If you don’t know who your audience, do your research for. You can find out by testing different audiences in the ads, but prepared to spend some money to get some useful results.
If you haven’t already set a budget, you’ll need to do so in the next step. You can select a daily budget or a lifetime budget if you plan to run the ads for a set period of time.
When planning an advertising budget, you should consider either how much you are able to reasonably spend, or work out your goals and deduce how much you need to spend in order to achieve those. Again, remember that a bit of testing and adjusting may be needed while you run your ads in order to get the best results.
In this section, you can also set a time period for your adverts, or else leave them to run indefinitely (you can manually turn them off when you choose).
The next step is optimisation & delivery and, while most of the entries here are optional, you should add a target CPM rate. That’s the maximum you want to spend on an action (such as a click).
Choose your pin
This is what you’re actually going to show in your ad. You can choose either an existing pin, or create a new one specifically for the ad. You can also choose an entire board here, or select more than one pin.
That’s an ad group created! You can duplicate this and tweak it to make a second ad group, start a new ad group from scratch, or leave it at that and publish your ads.
It’s all very well putting in the work to get your Pinterest page up and running and to keep it going, but how do you know how well it’s doing? That’s where analytics come in.
It’s important in any marketing work to monitor progress so that you can adjust your strategy as required.
Pinterest Analytics has lots of information to analyse. It’s a good idea to get in there and have a proper look through all the options before deciding which figures are important to you. If you’re most interested in brand awareness, then see your number of impressions. Or, if you want to see how successful your ads have been, you can choose to see only results for your paid pins.
If you’re doing well, then it’s good to keep on doing what you’re doing. But it’s always worth experimenting and try new things, at least now and again. Would a different pin layout encourage more engagement? Does video get a better save rate? You’ll never know what works best for you without trying something different!
Like any social media platform, Pinterest has lots of potential if that’s where your target audience hangs out. It needs patience and consistency, and results can take time to come in. Keep experimenting, keep learning the platform, and keep at it. You could see big results for your business.