26 Ways to Make Pinterest Work for Your Business
Is your business benefiting from Pinterest?
Pinterest is an effective tool for businesses of all sizes and sectors.
From B2B to B2C, there are a number of goals you can pursue—from driving web and foot traffic to increasing visibility with influencers and consumers.
In this article, you’ll find 26 tips, an A-Z guide for making Pinterest work for your business.
#1: Add an On Hover Pin It Button to Your Images
To drive referral traffic from Pinterest, your blog images have to make it to Pinterest.
The on hover Pin It button appears over images on your blog when a user mouses over them.
In the image below, you can see the on hover Pin It button on Social Media Examiner.
The button is easy to activate and Pinterest provides detailed directions for how to do it.
Note: Pinterest cautions that there’s no hover interaction on touchscreens, so if you’re mostly interacting with people on mobile devices, the button will not be helpful for you.
Install the on hover Pin It button for a great visual reminder that makes it easy for users to pin images from your site.
#2: Build Relationships With Influencers
Every platform has influencers who stand out within their industry. Relationships with those influencers can benefit your business.
Nyerr Parham offers advice about using Pinterest to locate online influencers who already have the attention of your target audience. She writes, “Start by following them and repinning the content you like. Go ahead and like their pins and make thoughtful comments. This can be a good first step in relationship-building.”
Take the time and make the effort to comment on influencers’ pins to encourage relationships that result in visibility with new audiences.
#3: Convert Your Pinterest Personal Page to a Business Page
Last year, Pinterest added business pages to their offerings.
Even though there’s no obvious difference in how the page appears to users, business pages provide helpful information via the added analytics features that personal pages don’t.
Take a few minutes to convert to a Pinterest business page and learn about the analytics and metrics you can measure; for example, number of unique users, number of repins, impressions and visits to your site and content that gets the most repins.
#4: Designate Boards to Represent Your Business
It’s easy to get caught up in the casual feeling of Pinterest and lose sight of the opportunity to create boards that are reflective of your business.
Constant Contact is a great example of a business that has created a number of business-specific boards. In total, they have 97 boards and of those boards, 20-30% of them relate specifically to their brand and even have the business name as part of the board name (e.g., Constant Contact Infographics, Constant Contact Guides, Life at Constant Contact, Constant Contact Offices).
Similar to how you share content on other social networking platforms, strike a balance on Pinterest. Curate boards that share information of interest to your target audience and boards that are about your business.
#5: Explore Rich Pins
Want to add more information to a pin?
Pinterest has five types of rich pins that let you add topic-specific details to a pin.
- Article pins include the headline, author, story description and link
- Product pins include real-time pricing, availability and where to buy
- Recipe pins include ingredients, cooking times and serving info
- Movie pins include ratings, cast members and reviews
- Place pins include an address, phone number and map
Use rich pins to give users more relevant information about the pins that interest them.
#6: Follow Other Businesses
Many businesses share content on Pinterest that they don’t share elsewhere.
Find out if businesses whose blogs you follow are on Pinterest by searching for them either with Pinterest search or by doing a Google search (e.g., HubSpot on Pinterest).
Connect with your trusted content providers on Pinterest to see what else they have to offer.
#7: Greet Commenters
Don’t let Pinterest’s casual style keep you from engaging with commenters.
Target is a good example of a business that gets right in there to greet each person by name and offer timely responses. Users take notice when businesses engage in conversations.
Make sure your social media community managers respond to the comments and questions users post on pins.
#8: Heed Image Dimensions as You Pin
To make sure your boards and pins look as inviting as they can, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the size of your images.
Caitlin Muir points out that long, skinny pins are the most clicked-on image sizes.
“They drive traffic because they require you to click on them so you can see the full size [to read them].”
#9: Invite Others to a Group Board
Looking for ways to collaborate with clients and prospects on Pinterest?
One way is to create a group board and invite users to pin to your board.
While others can contribute to the board, as the creator, you will be the only person able to change the board’s title and description. You can also remove pinners and any inappropriate pins from the board.
#10: Justify With the Facts
People want easy, digestible information. This type of information lends itself quite well to infographics.
Spend a few minutes on Pinterest and you’ll quickly find that infographics are one of the images people like, as well as repin. They’re also an excellent way to drive traffic to your website.
Andreea Ayers shares how an infographic she created and shared on a Pinterest board received 30,000 repins.
Even if your business doesn’t create any infographics of its own, share the ones you like and think are beneficial to your clients.
#11: Keep Your Pins Inspiring
Inspiration on Pinterest comes in many forms with pins that share quotes, art, movies, books—you name it.
When Pinterest introduced place pins, they described the new feature as a way to “help people turn their travel inspiration into reality” with maps, addresses and phone numbers.
Pin images that will help inspire and dazzle your followers.
#12: Leverage Your Website Images
Steven Van Belleghem makes a compelling case for all companies to use Pinterest: “…it forces you to think visually and it helps you build a strong visual archive on a trendy site. A must for all companies across all sectors.”
Certain industries may be more image-friendly than others, but you probably have more images at your disposal for Pinterest boards than you think. Similar to a content inventory, take note of all of your brand’s image assets (i.e., graphics from white papers, web pages, charts, photos taken of your staff, corporate events).
Want to tell your brand’s story through images? Volkswagen USA is a good example of a business that has created a visual archive. Their board, VW Through the Years, uses old photos of their cars to visually demonstrate brand history.
In addition to traditional images, different types of content can be pinned. We’ll discuss this in #21: Use Different Kinds of Content.
#13: Moderate Your Use of Pin It Buttons
Whether you’re using Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer, add the Pin It button to your browser and make pinning a seamless process.
But just because the button is there doesn’t mean you have to use it all the time.
Donna Moritz advises, “Don’t do a pin dump! Pinterest is unlike Facebook and Twitter where the feed-time is limited. Pins will remain in view for days or weeks due to the cyclical nature of their exposure. Pinning for a few minutes a couple of times per day is enough to get you started.”
#14: Name Images Strategically
Want to make sure your website images are found when users are searching the web for pins?
Jason Stanley suggests naming your images with keywords and hyphens (versus underscores) so search engines are sure to recognize the image name.
For example, use a name such as “custom-home-builder-stacked-stone-entryway.png” instead of the default camera name such as DSC_0166.jpg.
#15: Optimize Pinterest for SEO
Content and SEO go hand in hand regardless of the platform. Pinterest is no exception.
HubSpot outlines 10 fantastic tips for optimizing a business’s Pinterest presence for search that include:
- Choose an optimized company username
- Optimize the “About” section
- Include links back to your website
- Differentiate your inboards
- Speak your customers’ language
- Use your pins’ descriptions wisely
- Make sure the images you pin have descriptive file names and alt text
- Incorporate hashtags
- Leverage the long tail
- “Pinjack” relevant search terms and images
Do what it takes to ensure that your pins are findable, and include a reference link back to your website to drive traffic.
#16: Promote Your Less-Followed Boards
When it comes to pinning, boards that get less of your attention are followed less.
Take advantage of all of the real estate you have on Pinterest and share the wealth of your successful boards!
Repin from boards with fewer followers to boards that have a related theme and more followers.
#17: Quote Comments From Events
An effective way to promote an annual event is to pin notable comments from speakers to an event board.
Pinterest’s scrapbook look and feel make it easy for users to scroll through a board of quotes from last year’s speakers. The event board, in turn, serves as an adjunct to your marketing efforts for this year’s event.
Use a tool like Quozio to format your quotes for easy pinning.
#18: Reap the Benefits of Multiple Platforms
Still trying to decide whether you can manage another platform? Facebook and Twitter are working well? Pinterest is a visual platform that offers a user experience the other platforms don’t. Combined with your other efforts, Pinterest could provide the content balance you’re looking for.
To get started on Pinterest, Jim Yu advises businesses to add relevant boards;
short-list a handful of themes and kickstart boards aligned with some or all of them; pin images that are visually attractive and aligned with the board theme; and don’t aim to sell, aim to inspire your users.
Once you have Pinterest up and running, use Pinvolve to share your pins to Facebook and let your fans know you’re on Pinterest.
#19: Stay Informed of Pinterest’s Business Updates
Like most social media platforms, Pinterest introduces changes as it evolves.
Pinterest’s resources will help keep you updated on Pinterest news, tips and features.
#20: Title Boards With Keywords
Pinterest boards are more discoverable via search when the board name contains keywords.
Of the boards found in Pinterest’s search results for “Pinterest for business”, the ones that appear on the top of the list have the keywords directly in the board name. Make your boards more findable.
Optimize your boards for Pinterest search and you’ll get higher placement in results.
#21: Use Different Types of Content
Want to stand out from the competition?
One of the greatest, and perhaps most underutilized, features for creating a business presence on Pinterest is posting different types of content—video from YouTube, slideshows from SlideShare and audio from SoundCloud.
Pinterest is a wonderful way to collect your marketing messages all in one place:
- Share an audio pinboard with your clients and prospects (e.g., http://soundcloud.com/entrepreneuronfire).
- Or, send them the link to a particular podcast pin (e.g., http://www.pinterest.com/pin/222857881534637391/).
- Take them directly to a slideshow (e.g., http://www.pinterest.com/pin/15621929930219062/).
- Share the link to a video from one of your events (e.g., http://www.pinterest.com/pin/281756520408477354/).
#22: Vary Board Position With the Seasons
Pinboard traffic is affected by seasons and holidays.
Jennifer Evans Cario writes, “The great thing about seasonal boards is they can be revamped and reused each year with no need to delete them. These boards can be relocated to the bottom of your profile page while you quietly add content to them as you run across it.”
Apartment Therapy has a Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas Exchange board that they’re currently showcasing on the top of their Pinterest profile. As you move through their profile, you can see other seasonal boards for Thanksgiving Decorating, Christmas Decorating and The January Cure.
As you plan new Pinterest boards, think about the seasonal impact on your sales and marketing cycle and plan your board display accordingly.
#23: Write a Good Business Description
You have up to 200 characters to describe your business in the About section. Melissa Megginson suggests using them carefully. When in doubt about keywords or phrases to use, she says, “Check out your Google Analytics to see what drives people to your site… Make sure to keep it easy to read and not overly ‘keyword-y’.”
Organik SEO uses the following description of their business on their website: “Organik SEO is an online marketing company in San Diego specializing in local search SEO and social media marketing. We increase a business’ online exposure.”
On Pinterest, their description reads, “Organik SEO is a green friendly online marketing company specializing in social media and SEO.”
When restricted by the number of characters, their focus drills down to the keywords SEO, social media and online.
Add a clear and relevant business description to take advantage of SEO on Pinterest.
#24: e(X)amine Pinterest Statistics
Is Pinterest right for your business?
There’s no doubt that Pinterest has made an impressive entrance into an already crowded list of social networking platforms. Before you jump in, you need to know that Pinterest can help you meet your goals.
#25: Your Company Values and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiatives
Pinterest can help you communicate what matters to your company.
Victoria Lennon offers tips about ways that B2Bs can use Pinterest. “If you’re running CSR initiatives, then create a compelling board that shows the work you are doing, reflecting the wider issues. Many companies develop values, which then sit on a website or intranet.”
The key here is to use the board to reflect the issues and values important to your business and remain visually interesting for your followers.
#26: Zero-in on Your Pinterest Followers
Who’s seeing, commenting and sharing your pins? Can that information help you to engage with individuals and businesses that may not have been an intended target in your Pinterest strategy?
For example, this pin from Toms’ Eyewear Giving pinboard was pinned to a number of users’ pinboards with names such as Giving, Giving Back, A Cause Worth Pursuing, One for One, Inspirational.
When your followers repin, read the comments the repin generates to help you find other like-minded users and possibly some good brand ambassadors.
Over to You
We covered a lot of territory in this article and these are just a few ways you can be strategic with Pinterest and make it work for your business. Social Media Examiner publishes many useful articles about Pinterest. Be sure to check those out, too.
Check out the tips and try a few. See which ones resonate with your target audience and adjust your Pinterest strategy accordingly.
What do you think? Do you see any tips that you’ll consider using soon? What other business Pinterest tips can you share? Please leave your comments below.