6 Ways to Drive More Pinterest Engagement

social media how toAre you engaging your fans on Pinterest?

Pinterest has been growing at an amazing pace. Recently, comScore reported that Pinterest grew by 4377% since May 2011.

This is because people like to be engaged with images.

The good thing about Pinterest is that every new post is an image around which a lot of engagement can be driven. So there’s great potential to drive a lot of engagement on this social media network.

Here are 6 ways to drive more engagement with images on Pinterest.

#1: Run Competitions

People love taking part in competitions, whether it’s to win a coupon, money, get their two minutes of fame or just for fun.

On Pinterest, you can run competitions where the winner is the user who pins the best pictures or has the Pinterest board with the best collection of pins. You could also do something creative like Peugeot Panama.

Peugeot Panama takes a picture of one of their cars and divides it into pieces. They pin one of these pieces of the picture onto a Pinterest board and ask their followers to pin the rest of the pieces onto one of their boards and share it with Peugeot Panama.

Their Pinterest followers have to go to Peugeot’s Facebook page or website to find the missing pieces of the picture. Usually the first 5 people to complete the picture win a prize.

peugeot panama puzzle

Complete Any Puzzle was a very creative Pinterest competition run by Peugeot Panama.

The example above shows the Complete Any Puzzle board where the picture of a Peugeot 101 car model was divided into 5 pieces and the participants had to locate the 4 missing pieces.

With these competitions, Peugeot Panama encourages people to pin images from their website, Facebook page and Pinterest boards. This drives a lot of engagement.

Also, to win the competition, you need to add Peugeot Panama as a contributor to your board so they can see your board on their profile. This can only be done if you follow them or at least one of their boards. So they’re not only getting a lot of shares on Pinterest, they’re also getting a lot of followers with these competitions.

#2: Add Board Contributors

Fans like it when you recognize and reward them for their contribution. You can either give them something or make them a part of the product or brand they love so much.

This is something you can do on Pinterest. You can add contributors to your board as long as you follow them.

add fan as contributor

Adding fans as contributors to your board can be a great way to engage your fans and promote your board and brand page.

All you need to do to add them is go to Edit Board and type in the name of the contributor in the Add Another Pinner field.

Adding your fans as contributors to your board can be a great idea—this way, you’ll have more people contributing to one board instead of just yourself.

Your boards will be shaped around your audience, which makes your fans and followers like you even more. Your other fans will also start getting more active pinning and repinning your images, hoping that they could be a board contributor one day too.

It can also save your company time as your fans can do your pinning while you focus more on running and shaping your social media campaign.

guest gardening post

Shoots adds several contributors to their Shoot's Guest Gardening Board to enable some of their followers to pin a lot of images.

This example shows Shoot, run by Nicola Gammon, a website to help you create and manage your own garden.

On their Pinterest brand page they have a board called Shoot’s Guest Gardening Board, where they add contributors and let them pin images of plants and gardens.

This helps them promote their board and their Pinterest brand page really well. It also helps them build a better relationship with their fans.

Currently this board has 241 contributors, 1418 pins and 720 followers. You’ll also see that almost everything they pin here is being shared multiple times.

#3: Run Offers

Free, giveaway and discount are magical words that can get people running toward you even if you’re out of reach.

People love offers, especially if they find the product or service useful. Use the image-based nature of Pinterest to promote your offers.

To do this, you can either pin images of offers from your website and detail your offer in the description, or you can create images exclusively for Pinterest where everything about the offer is written on the image.

A good offer that a lot of people find interesting can get you a lot of pins, likes and repins.

pin it to unlock

Pin It to Unlock! is a very creative Pinterest exclusive offer run by Gilt.

One company that’s creatively running Pinterest exclusive offers is Gilt Baby & Kids. These offers are called “Pin It to Unlock!” where they allow shoppers to unlock a special deal on a Gilt kids product by pinning and repinning it.

After the image of the product on the Gilt Pinterest site is pinned 50 times, access to the sale is unlocked and shoppers can buy the product at a 77% discount. This deal is exclusive to their Pinterest brand page and can’t be found on their website.

With this wonderful offer, Gilt encourages people to pin and repin to spread the word to their followers. Followers hope the offer will be repinned 50 times so they can take advantage of the 77% discount. This is probably one of the most creative ways to engage your fans on Pinterest.

#4: Get Into Your Fans’ Heads

People follow you for a reason—because they want something from you that might help or entertain them. So it’s your job to find out what they like and want, and you need to provide it. Usually it’s because they want to know more about something you offer.

A recent study by Facebook found that the images that are most shared, liked and commented on are related to the brand. So only share images that revolve around your brand and the lifestyle it provides.

Starbucks is a company that gives their audience what they want. They pin images relating to coffee and the other products they sell.

On their brand page, they have a board called Coffee Moments where they pin images of recipes of various drinks based on coffee, creative pictures of coffee and pictures of people enjoying coffee.

starbucks coffee moments

On Coffee Moments, Starbucks pins images of coffee recipes, creative pictures of coffee and pictures of people enjoying it.

On another board called Beautiful Objects, they pin images of coffee-related objects like coffee mugs, coffeemakers and coffee holders.

starbucks beautiful objects

On Beautiful Objects, Starbucks pins images of coffee products.

One of their boards is called Real Food where most of the pictures they pin are recipes of cakes, tray bakes, croissants and bite like sandwiches and wraps.

What I love about this board is that they stick to pinning images of foods that are similar to the ones they sell in their stores.

starbucks real food

On Real Food, Starbucks pins images of food similar to the food they sell.

These pins not only help drive a lot of engagement, but they also help promote the Starbucks brand as a pioneer in coffee and coffeehouses.

#5: Add Several Images to Every Page

Pinterest only lets you pin pages where there are images (the images need to be a minimum size of 110 x 100 pixels). If there are no images of the appropriate size, your pages can’t be pinned and people who visit your site won’t be able to share them.

So make sure you add at least one shareable image to every page. A better option would be to add many wonderful images to every page, so your readers get to choose their favorite image to pin.

Someone who does this really well is Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman. Her blog posts usually contain several images, which gives blog visitors a variety of images to choose to share on Pinterest.

If you visit the Pioneer Woman you can check out all of the images being shared from her website.

shared from pioneer woman website

Lots of images get shared from The Pioneer Woman website.

An example of a Pinterest-friendly blog post is Strawberry Sparkle Cake—just visit the page and take a look at all of the wonderful images in that one post.

choice of images on pioneer woman

You can pin a wide range of images from each post.

If you click the Pin It button, you will see a large selection of images to choose from. This allows you to pick your favorite image and pin the recipe on Pinterest.

This works well as people will choose different images to share. People have different tastes and different people will like different images.

If you only have one image and your readers don’t like that image enough to display it on their Pinterest profiles, they might not pin it.

However, if you give them a choice, they’ll pick their favorite one and pin it. It also shows that you’re doing something extra for your audience.

#6: Analyze Pins and Images

As mentioned in #4, you need to get into your readers’ heads and share images that interest them. Find the most shared images on Pinterest and get to know who’s sharing them. You need to do this regularly to improve your own Pinterest marketing strategy.

You can do this by several methods:

  • Check out Popular pins: One option would be to visit the Popular page on Pinterest and check out what types of pins are being shared the most. You can then pin similar images onto your boards or create similar themes for your website or blog.

    popular page on pinterest

    The Popular page on Pinterest displays the most shared pins on Pinterest.

  • Use Google Analytics: Using Google Analytics, you can find out which of your website pages Pinterest refers the most traffic to. Then analyze these pages and images and publish similar images on your other pages.
  • Check out what’s being pinned from your site: You could also use the link http://pinterest.com/source/domainname.com/ (just replace “domainname” with your company’s domain name) to check what’s being pinned from your site. This will help you find out what the most popular images from your site are so you can work on creating similar images for your other pages and blog posts.
  • Use an analytics tool: Another option is to use a Pinterest-specific analytics tool like Curalate. I have had the pleasure of trying out Curalate recently and I have found it very helpful. Curalate is a Pinterest-only tool that tracks analytics based on image recognition.

    curalate website

    Curalate is a Pinterest analytics tool.

With Curalate, you can:

  • Find out who’s pinning, repinning, liking, commenting on and tweeting your pins.
  • Track referral traffic—which content is driving the most traffic.
  • Find out who’s sharing your pins—this can help you identify your best fans and add them as contributors to boards.
  • Monitor your competition—track what’s being shared from your boards and monitor keywords.

Another important point to keep in mind is to add the Pin It button to every page so that your website pages and blog posts are easy to share.

If you have a WordPress blog, you can easily add the Pin It button by using the Digg Digg plugin run by Buffer. Otherwise you’ll need to add the button separately on every page. You can learn how to do this by reading this post by Charlene Kingston.

These are just a few creative ways you can engage your audience on Pinterest. Use these techniques or build on them to come up with your own innovative ways to engage your audience.

What do you think? How do you engage your audience on Pinterest? Have you got any techniques you would like to share with us? Please leave your comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Mitt Ray

Mitt Ray is the author of the book White Paper Marketing and the founder of Social Marketing Writing, where you can download his free Pinterest Marketing Video Tutorial. Follow him on @MittRay. Other posts by »




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  • Deepika Gumaste

    Awesome post! Helps much :)

  • http://www.brandyousocial.com/ Megan

    Great post! It is amazing how quickly Pinterest has become an important marketing tool.  I still remember the days when it was primarily crafts and recipes – and that was probably only about 8 months ago!

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Megan, it is interesting to see how quickly things move on social media!

  • http://twitter.com/DannyAlanHall Danny Hall

    It is no surprise that Pinterest contests are picking up steam. It is so much easier to run one on that site than on everyone’s “favorite” Facebook. No need for third party apps or worrying over tons of ambiguous rules and regs. I just finished up my own article on running social media contests. I placed a deal of emphasis on FB, but that was mainly because there are many folks still hung up on FB being “the spot” to run one.

  • http://twitter.com/favorsunlimited Wedding Favors Unltd

    Great information here! This was incredibly helpful. We launched a Pinterest contest last week where brides would create a fall wedding board with our hashtag #FavorsUnlimitedFallinLove – But the strategies you pointed out here are really interesting, and definitely a different approach than what we’re all used to. I learned a lot here!

  • Carly Dorogi

    Anyone understand how Gilt is making their “Pin It To Unlock” image actually “unlock” when they get 50 pins? I’m wondering how that works….Thanks! :)

  • http://twitter.com/CRPRestaurant Central Products

    Great information! I’ve been really trying to learn more about Pinterest. Are there any other free Pinterest analytic sites out there? I’ve used PinReach, is there anything else? 

  • http://www.DevaniAnjali.com/ Devani Anjali

    All great points! I’ll keep this in mind for when I’m “pinning” or giving clients suggestions for their Pinterest accounts! 

  • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

    Thank you @681c0852dc7c5ea7e882b90045585bcd:disqus !

    Yes it has grown quite quickly. Hopefully it will continue this growth in the future. 

    Mitt

  • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

    Thank you for your comment @twitter-305063498:disqus !

  • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

    Thank you @twitter-81882392:disqus ! That sounds like a good competition. Hope it did well. – Mitt

  • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

    Hi @google-2ec6853474bcc4fe5bc065ac351d0b32:disqus ! My guess would be that they have someone who constantly checks that pin and when it gets 50 repins they change the description and add the link to the page where they can buy it with the new discounted price. – Mitt

  • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

    Thank you @twitter-26219348:disqus ! Pinsights is another Pinterest analytic tool. Maybe you can check them out. – Mitt

  • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

    Thank you for your comment @DevaniAnjali:disqus !

  • Jan Udlock

    Can you tell me how to set up two Pinterest accounts? One for personal use and one for my virtual assistant business.

  • Carra

    Good points, I agree with #2. I think creating a shared board is a great way to engage fans on Pinterest. We’re hoping to get our fans involved by creating a shared board and then inviting our top customers to pin images. – Carra at Marketo

  • http://twitter.com/ManuelaYush Manuela Yush

    Thank you for this great post, I was also wondering how they “unlock” the pin and now I will definitely try.

  • http://twitter.com/bethmcrae Beth McRae

    Mitt, thank you for the amazing tips!

  • http://www.beachcandynow.com/ Earl

    I’ve seen these tactics used on Facebook – “Get us to 50,000 Likes and we’ll unlock ” which leads fans to share it to their friends and getting them to Like it. I’m liking how you can do a whole lot more with Pinterest. Thanks for this!

  • http://tekkbuzz.com Deborah Richmond

    Thanks for a well-though-out article on Pinterest.  Some of my clients know this network could be great for their marketing, but are trying to figure out exactly how to do it.  These are great ideas I will be sharing!

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  • http://seoeguide.blogspot.in/ shashi kumar

    Really great post. Now pinterest is doing well in social media marketing and i think this is very necessary for every one to use it  more and more and get the whole knowledge about it.

    Thanks for sharing such a useful and informative stuff and now i can use it frequently.

  • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

    Hi Jan!

    You will need to set up both of them as you would set up any other account – the only difference will be the details you add. You can add your personal details to your personal account and business details to your business account. – Mitt

  • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

    Hi @CarraManahan:disqus ! 

    Thank you for your comment. – Mitt

  • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

    You’re welcome @twitter-325573287:disqus ! Thank you for your comment. – Mitt

  • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

    You’re welcome @twitter-17143817:disqus ! Thank you for your comment. 

  • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

    Hi @dbb3d869bdac092b017688ed73e0e83c:disqus , 

    Yes there have been similar competitions on facebook too. Thank you for pointing it out. You’re welcome.- Mitt 

  • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

    You’re welcome @deborahrichmond:disqus . Hope your clients find these tips helpful. – Mitt

  • http://www.foodassault.com/ Trent Carpenter

    Great article Mitt. Really interesting and valuable steps to try out. Thanks!

  • http://webwarestudios.co.za/ Mispah

    Great article! I particularly like your use of real examples that we can use and emulate. It always makes things easier when you have an idea of how other people are doing it. I am a huge fan of Pinterest personally, but am still struggling to apply it to Business. Thanks for the tips!

  • Breann

    All very great tips! At Zoomingo, Inc., we allow Pinterest users to “watch” items they pin, and then they get notified when that item’s price drops. A competition is a great idea too–maybe we’ll try that one out next! :)

  • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

    Hi @ShashiKumarseo:disqus !

    You’re welcome. Thank you for your comment. – Mitt

  • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

    Thank you @2d3d91096aa29dcaee5f2d27e6b43998:disqus ! You’re welcome. – Mitt

  • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

    Thank you @179d3448738f2421cd65647739ef6a31:disqus ! I am glad you like the way I have written it. Hope you can apply these tips to your business. Good luck. – Mitt

  • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

    Thank you for your comment @2e4b977746b80cfd4fff489631f22374:disqus ! I will check Zoomingo out. – Mitt

  • http://picturesdeal.com/ PicturesDeal

    Amazing job Thanks Mitt and very accurate question Carly. I would love to hear about automation of this process.

    And one thing from top of my head. Pinterest is actually the most fun (not fan ;-) oriented social network. Use it.

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  • Belinda

    Fantastic information, just wondering how you go about the pin it to unlock exercise??? Thanks

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  • http://www.bridgetwillard.wordpress.com bridgetwillard

    I was just giving #5 as advice today (which I basically morphed into a blog post).  Nice ideas.

  • RoZ

    I used someone on fiverr.com to create a collage of my Pinterest boards for my personal facebook cover photo. I’m loving it.Thanks for a great article. Do you think I should have a separate board for My OWN PRODUCTS or keep blending them into other boards?

  • RoZ

    I used someone on fiverr.com to create a collage of my Pinterest boards for my personal facebook cover photo. I’m loving it.Thanks for a great article. Do you think I should have a separate board for My OWN PRODUCTS or keep blending them into other boards?

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  • Wendy

    Great article. Looking forward to using some of your ideas.

  • http://www.promarketingtips.in/ Mariawilliams672

    Great post.. have got to learn many things from here, and loved the concept where it tries to show how things have quickly moved on to social media 

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  • Arjit

    Gr8 Post. I was wondering if the order of the images play any role? Will it be advisable for a firm like starbucks to display images of coffee products in a certain order ?

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  • http://www.fudoweb.com/ Sneha Agarwal

    Starting a new blog and this post helped answer my question… thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1241782030 Jen Shutwell

    Hello, We’re new to Pinterest and appreciate your help lists. Q

    Question for you. We typically have pictures in our blog, however, when we pin on Pinterest, the pin is stuck on using the main website default image which is our logo.  Can you describe how to unhook pinterest from using the default image in the blog, to using the image in the post on the blog?

    Thank you in advance! 

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  • Leah

    hi Mitt,

    Thanks for sharing this with us, it helps a lot. I’m new with pinterest and with just 30 followers, so I have a question for you, how you go about the pin it to unlock exercise without such little followers?? thank you for your answering.

  • Ashutosh R

    Great!







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