Pinterest is more than a resting place for wish lists of fashion must-haves, crafting how-tos and scrapbook recipes. It’s a tool used by consumers to hone their buying intentions. Pinterest is used to extend awareness of what is available, it enables users to investigate trends and it places products in a lifestyle environment. Pinterest has a role from the first inkling right up to the final purchase decision – indeed research shows that more than half of Pinterest users consult the app in-store.
Pinterest users have been shown to buy more than users on any other social network, spending more money and shopping more frequently – nearly double the amount of money spent by Facebook users. And the latest figures show that there are more than 70 million people on Pinterest – that’s quite an audience for any business to miss out on.
Pinterest marketing has the potential for a much greater ROI than on any other network. Researchers have discovered that for blog posts with over 1,000 shares a staggering 90% were shared through Pinterest. This impact extends well beyond the life of other forms of promotion such as a Facebook post or a tweet. While other social networks might create a sharp spike in traffic, content on Pinterest can generate visits for months or years to come. And most important of all, information on Pinterest has clout with consumers – 47% of US online shoppers made a purchase as a direct result of a Pinterest recommendation.
For all the above reasons, if a business is producing a blog post it’s worthwhile serving it up with pinnable content.
Adding pin-it buttons to your website is the first step but it won’t guarantee that your content will even appear on Pinterest – the majority of content on Pinterest is repins of existing material from other accounts rather than new direct pins from the web. In order for your own material to generate leads it will first have to be uploaded to Pinterest by you.
Material on Pinterest is grouped into albums or ‘boards’. ‘Pinners’ may choose to follow an entire account which means that everything published by that account will appear on their stream, they may choose to follow only an individual board or they may simply pin a single item to one of their own boards.
Organise your content into boards that are meaningful to your target consumer on Pinterest. This may not mirror how you structure the products or services on your website. What you should be creating on Pinterest is not a product catalogue but a space for ideas, curated in line with the lifestyle and interests of the people who will visit you there. So include boards for lifestyle subjects that may not be directly related to your products, such as general style guides, social topics and helpful how-tos. You’ll get an idea of how it works in the post Use fun and imagination to widen your brand appeal.
Pinterest is a visual platform. To achieve success with Pinterest marketing the most important element in anything you promote is the images. You have to make the imagery worth sharing, which may not have been an important factor when you originally promoted the item on your website. Consider updating images that accompany a blog post in line with the guidelines below. If you don’t have the budget or design workflow in place, check out these suggestions for online resources:
When you upload an image change the default name to something more search-friendly. For example, an image named 035-10-2014.jpg offers no clues for search engines, while it’s easier to deciper an image with the name ‘Firework display.jpg’. Use clear titles and alt text that your customers will identify with. Avoid obscure terminology in favour of a potential keyword search term.
There are no restrictions on the height of an image, but it must be at least 554 pixels wide (with a recommendation of 750 pixels or more).
- Tall images get more repins – probably because they take up more space as people scroll through their stream. The 2:3 aspect ratio works best.
- Reddish-orange images are repinned twice as often as blueish images.
- Images with medium lightness are repinned 20 times more often than very dark images.
- Images without faces get 23% more repins than those that include faces (which also happens to be much cheaper to shoot as it reduces the model fee).
Larger images are more attractive for sharing but this may have a negative impact on page load times. So point to a larger version for Pinterest marketing by using the following code within the image tag: data-pin-media = “http:// LARGER VERSION .jpg”. So when a visitor clicks on an image on your website the resulting pin would be created from a different image altogether (you could take advantage of this fact by creating a version specially watermarked with your logo or website to avoid the image being used illegally).
The description should hold the SEO information intended to generate leads back to your website. Include usage information, image credits, hashtags or relevant keywords. Studies recommend the description be kept short, between 100 and 200 characters out of the maximum 500. Aim to leave space for users to add their own notes.
Pinners have no incentive themselves to complete the Description section of a pin. In fact for a visitor to your website the simplest action is to click on an image without any thought to the text whatsoever. Any comments they do add may be notes personal to them with little value for your promotional goals. For this reason it’s recommended that you pre-populate your pins with the details that you want people to share. This can be achieved by inserting the following attributes into your image tag:
- data-pin-description = “DETAILS FOR SHARING” – this populates the description included along within the image
- data-pin-media = “http:// OTHER IMAGE .jpg” – this enables linking to another image, useful for using a larger image on Pinterest
- data-pin-url = “http:// URL .html” – otherwise the pin links to the most likely URL it can find on the page
The description is the place to include a link back to your website. In the past Pinterest links were ‘dofollow’ which passed SEO authority back to your website. Although the links are now ‘nofollow’ they do still serve to promote brand awareness. Links also enhance user experience by providing a route back to the site that created the image. It should be noted that Pinterest treats pins containing shortened links as spam so it’s necessary to use the full URL in the source field – only the description should contain a shortened trackable URL.
Pinterest marketing across digital channels
Uploading your pins to Pinterest will open them up to potential pinning but for improved visibility you should consider promoting them elsewhere too. Pinterest makes it easy to display your pins on your own website too. Visit the Pinterest widget builder to explore specific options.
It’s possible to embed individual pins or an entire board that updates as you add content on Pinterest. Some people display an embedded pin below a blog post to give visitors a clear call to action – but please bear in mind that the end of a post is often the location for the primary call to action and a ‘call to pin’ may dilute that impact.
Pinterest marketing should aim to create an environment where consumers can explore ideas around your product. Upload your pins and leave it to the user to seek out what the market has to offer, and how it fits into their own lifestyle. So forget detailed product specs, aim to create an atmosphere.
You can find more Pinterest advice with a seasonal angle in the post Why every business needs a Pinterest Halloween.