Like me you probably read tons of studies about Pinterest being a women’s network full of wedding, recipes, and home decor pictures.
Well that’s true.
At first it was kind of hard to see where we could fit with our unsexy live chat software. We can’t really post pictures of the product and pin our articles. It wouldn’t really be engaging, would it?
The question was also to know if anyone on Pinterest could actually be interested in our product. We don’t target moms or women about to get married, but we do target businesses selling to them. With the quick growth of the network lots and lots of businesses are getting started with Pinterest Marketing, a great opportunity for B2B businesses like us.
So we thought, why not be super active for 2 weeks and grow a following there. Here’s how the idea of hacking our way to Pinterest Marketing growth was born.
However 3 weeks after we only have 12 followers and very few repins. In other words we failed. We read every article we could find about Marketing on Pinterest, and followed their guidelines.
But still the result is the same, we don’t have any big success to report.
Now we could just give up and decide that Pinterest is not a good fit for our brand, but that’s not how we roll.
We developed a video chat software because growth can be fast but can also be built one small step at a time. Or rather one human connection at a time. The idea is that those connections last and help bringing more connections building a solid base to base a business on. So why not apply that for Pinterest?
The truth is that’s not the only reason that pushes us to go on with our Pinterest Marketing action. The network is truly amazing when it comes to SEO which means that the content posted there can bring growth in the long term.
But enough talking let’s get to the point.
Here’s why you should at least look into Pinterest (even if you have a boring product like us, or even worst like General Electric):
First of all, some super useful stats to sell Pinterest Marketing to your boss (or yourself, or your team, or anyone really)
– In August 2012, Pinterest became the 4th source of traffic after Google (organic), direct traffic and referral traffic from Facebook. To give you a quick idea Pinterest brings more traffic than Youtube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined (yep that’s huge!)
– Pinterest users are 10% more likely to make a purchase than those from other social networks
– And they can afford it! According to an infographic from Modea 28.1% of Pinterest users have an annual household income of more than $100,000.
– A study by BlogHer shows that 47% of american women made a purchase based on Pinterest recommendations (against 33% for Facebook et 31% for Twitter)
– And last but not least, a very interesting infographic on Visual.ly compared Pinterest’s audience in the US and the UK in 2012. Turns out there were more males than women using Pinterests in the UK (56% males).
Therefore popular topics are slightly different:
Note: From what I saw on Pinterest, the UK crowd seems to be posting a lot more girly content lately but I still found more “marketing” related content than among the US crowd. An interesting factor to take into consideration…
Localized feeds let you target less competitive markets
If you’re a global business like us you probably try to target the world (or at least english speaking markets) on social media. Being global turned out to be a bit harder on Pinterest.
Basically you are asked to select a country as part of your settings. When you then decide to go to the “popular” feed or any other category, you’ll see pins from pinners from the same country. Which means that your pins will also appear to people from your country only.
I couldn’t find any studies or articles about it so I base this on my observations. Let me just provide you with some practical examples:
First I set the country to Poland (since that’s where we are located) and here’s what I got:
When I realized that there were an awful lot of Polish names in the popular feed I decided to try and change our location to the US, and here I got a brand new feed:
I tried with few countries and am pretty confident about what I’m saying. Therefore as an international business, that’s an important factor to take into consideration. We ended up going with a UK location because of the time difference and the stats discussed above but I still intend to test out different english speaking locations and see which one works best.
I see localized feeds as both a problem and an advantage. For now I mainly pointed out the bad side of localization but here’s one awesome thing it can do for you. It gives you access to less competitive markets.
Needless to say that the US market is the most crowded and therefore highly competitive. You might have a bigger audience but you pins will get lost.
Smaller countries like the UK have far less Pinterest users therefore increasing chances your pins will be shown in the categories or even the popular feed.
When I started with the polish crowd, I saw all my pins features in the “technology” section, giving it a lot of visibility but to a very restricted crowd.
It’s definitely worth testing which country works the best for you and adapt your strategy accordingly.
Pinners are starting to get a little more social, it’s the perfect time for you to get in and build connections
We published an article a while ago about how marketing automation often left out the more human side of business. I love interacting with people and often feel social media doesn’t even allow us to do that anymore. Let’s look at Twitter for example, it looks more like a bunch of people screaming their ideas to a bunch of followers too busy also screaming theirs to actually listen. Well that’s how I see it most of the time, but it doesn’t mean it’s always like that.
Pinterest also appeared to be lacking the “social” part of social media. As I see it, it’s more about building your own inspiration boards, sometimes getting inspired by others but mostly pinning on your own with little to no interactions with other pinners.
There are still ways you can try to reach out to other users:
The comment rate on pins is quite low but it makes commenting a great opportunity to get noticed by the poster and other commenters. Keep in mind that Pinterest will also notify you is anyone comments on a pin you commented on. This means that if you comment on a post with already 10 comments, 10 people will get notified about your comment. Since the commenting rate is low, people are not buried under comment notifications which means they could actually notice you.
In theory, commenting on others’ pins could be a great way to connect with other users. In practice, most comments look like that:
Those were comments on a popular infographics about social media marketing. Most business related popular pins look a bit like that: people saying “thanks for sharing” and people posting links to their website. I don’t think I’ve yet seen any kind of conversation on business related pins.
However, this is starting to change for more casual and popular pins like fashion / DIY were people don’t hesitate to ask for advice or just discuss the pin.
Here’s a funny conversation posted on a “gameboy halloween costume” pin where the caption described it as “slutty”.
Click here to see the rest of the comments (and the “slutty” costume, not that slutty if you want my opinion)
Posting 3-4 useful comments a day on popular pins from your industry can help growing your following. But instead of just saying thank you for sharing or linking to your website, ask a question or link to content that could be of interest for the poster because it complements the pin.
And finally, in a great article Donna Moritz recommends to thank users who repinned your content by leaving a comment on the repin.
Just beware of “heavy commenting”. Pinterest is fighting hard against spam and bots which resulted in strict limits. To not loose your commenting privileges, space your comments and limit yourself to 5-7 comments a day.
Pinterest introduced a system that lets you mention other users like you would on twitter.
The principle is quite simple, to mention someone, you just need to follow at least one of their boards. You can then type “@” followed by their user name and Pinterest will show suggestions. The user mentioned will then receive an email AND a notification on Pinterest about it.
There are 2 main ways you can use mentions to attract your target’s attention:
– Mention your sources in your pin’s description. Let’s say you found a great image to pin on Zappo’s website. You can then post a description mentioning them. It’s always a good practice to link to your sources but in that case it can also help you stand out of the crowd.
– Mention someone in a comment. This feature seems to be quite popular among Pinners who use it to recommend pins and products.
Basically you’ll often see comments like the one at the bottom in the image bellow, simply mentioning another user.
If you don’t know the pinner you want to mention that well, just add a simple message explaining why you think the pin could interest them. The mention feature can help you build stronger connections with other users rather than purely growth hack your presence on Pinterest
3) Direct Messages
A feature added recently let you send direct messages to your followers and people you are following. The system is a lot better integrated to the network that what’s on Twitter. And the marketing potential of it is a lot greater. The fact that you can send messages to people you follow opens a whole field of possibilities for marketers.
Tom Watson, the product designer, describes it as “more of a conversation around an object than just a quick hello”. The fact is that you can send pins and boards to people that can then like or repin them directly from your message.
Here’s what the messages look like:
The feature actually comes as a complement to the pre-existing “send a pin” feature that let you send pins to friends. Now people you send pins, boards or profiles to will actually be able to reply with a simple text message or another pin.
This is in my opinion the most exciting feature of the network. It’s still in a quite early development stage and yet is better than most messaging tools you can find on other social networks. I didn’t yet get a chance to try and use it for marketing purposes but I’ll definitely do soon and keep you updated in our newsletter (Click here to sign up).
Pinterest’s new love for videos and other rich formats is a great opportunity to get your rich content noticed (and even sell!)
Pinterest users are still mainly pinning photos and other static images. However, the network is investing in new richer formats like video or what they call “gifts”.
There are now 3 sections dedicated to rich pins that aren’t crowded with content yet and therefore represent a huge opportunity.
1) The video section
Right now pinning a video is as simple as pinning an image and the great thing is that Pinterest dedicated a whole feed to videos!
Users like Shep Hyken have made a great use of the format by dedicating boards to their video content.
If you have previously made videos, go ahead and create a board for it! If you don’t (like us) curate videos on a particular theme related to your industry.
We created 2 video boards “Create killer events” and “Advertise with cute animals”. Turns out they are among boards getting the more clicks (just after our “Customer Service Infographics” board) but video pins also typically seems to get more exposure.
Bellow is a screenshot of our 10 pins with the most impressions (first column). 4 out of those 10 pins are videos. That’s 40%! Which is a great number knowing that videos only make up for about 10% of our total pins.
2) The gift section
This section is perfect for brands that are looking to sell their products on Pinterest. Of course we’d all love to do that but I don’t think this section is adapted to all brands yet. The content is pretty much targeting the feminine audience so you’ll find a lot of women’s wear and home decor products.
Yet the concept is very interesting and deserves some attention. For now Pinterest chose to focus on “gift ideas” but seeing how fast the brand is evolving, this could soon become something bigger.
Here’s what the gift section looks like right now:
It’s still quite basic at the moment with a possibility to sort products by price ($ = less than $25 / $$ = $25 to $50 / $$$ = $50 to $200 and $$$$ = more than $200). The section only features products you can buy, meaning pins that have “product meta-tags”. Those meta data then allow to show price and availability of the product once a user clicks on a specific pin.
For those of you comfortable with a little coding, you can take a look at the Pinterest guidelines concerning meta tags and what they call rich pins (including product pins, recipe pins…).
Pinterest launched the gift feed earlier this year as an experimentation and we can hope for some changes in the future enlarging the range of products shown and the browsing capacities of the section. Definitely something to look after.
3) The place boards section
Reserved to boards using the Network’s “Add a Map” feature, this feed features entire boards in opposition to others which feature pins only. It works really well for the tourism industry but I have yet to find others uses to it.
Here’s what a Place Board looks like:
I love the design of the map and definitely like the idea behind it but I am having a hard time imagining how it fits into the largest Pinterest logic. It’s definitely a new way to browse pins.
Another interesting fact is that the “travel” section is considered by the Pinterest staff as growing but still not that competitive. A good reason to explore it now if it fits your product.
If you have infographics, you need to be on Pinterest!
The easiest way to start Marketing on Pinterest as a business is to pin infographics. You don’t even need to have your own, you could just start by creating a board dedicated to infographics on a specific subject.
We for example created a board named “Customer Service Infographics” and got content from other Pinterest users, other websites and finally our own website.
For now it’s by far the board that’s getting the most views, the most repins and the most likes:
And the best part is that it’s really easy to manage. You can even pin infographics as you go through content as part of your daily routine (I suppose you do to find content to share on other social media anyway).
Infographics are great to generate some action around your Pinterest profile but it’s also an awesome way to rank high on Google for the “infographic” keyword. Keep that in mind when creating your board and include your main keywords in both the board and the pins descriptions.
But don’t take my word for it, let me show you what I mean when I say it’s a great way to rank high on Google.
Here’s a Google search for “infographic”:
And for “marketing infographic”:
And why not try “social media infographic”:
I think you got my point. Pinterest ranks insanely high for that specific keyword. So why not take advantage of that and try to grab a piece of the cake. I don’t have the formula to have your board rank on Google but from what I observed you’ll need a high number of pins. Makes sense right?
What if Pinterest became the new search engine for visual content? A closer look at Pinterest SEO
Few days after I started using Pinterest for Customericare, I received my first email from their newsletter and guess what? It was about how to rank on Pinterest search engine.
There are of course the basics: verify your website, insert keywords in descriptions…
But few points are very interesting and a little less known to the general audience.
For example Pinterest looks at your website’s credibility by seeing how many pins come from there. This means you’ll need to make your website Pinterest friendly by adding pinable pictures in your articles and by making sure you have a “pin it” button.
The author also speaks about categories like tattoos, art, sports, humor and travel being less competitive but still bringing large amount of traffic. According to her it’s all about finding your niche! For example if you have a wedding dresses business (really competitive keywords on Pinterest), you might want to focus on mother of the bride’s dresses.
Hubspot wrote a killer guide to Pinterest SEO that I could never top. I invite you to take a look at it before you start your Pinterest Marketing efforts.
I asked a really serious question in my title. There are things that Pinterest does better than Google Image today and that might just boost its traffic. Buzzfeed wrote a really interesting article about it, comparing Pinterest and Google search results.
Here’s for example what you get on Pinterest and Google when you search for the word “cookie”:
Turns out Google can be a little too “literal” sometimes bringing up picture with rather low quality. Pinterest shows a lot more diversified results that can be a lot more inspiring.
Pinterest might have a really bright future in front of them if they keep working on their own search engine!
You don’t need to be a graphic designer to create great Pinterest ready pictures
I believe that anyone can create visual content for Pinterest. If you choose to share your articles there for example, you’ll need to create a great cover image to attract attention.
Here are few really valuable tips from Curalate to help you get your pictures Pinterest ready:
If you don’t feel comfortable with using Photoshop or any other graphic creation software, Canva lets you create great Pinterest ready images.
They use a 735×1102 image format that’s known to have been performing really well. I used Canva to design the first image that appears on the right at the beginning of this post. It took me 10 minutes (sign-up included) and the design is completely copyright free.
In addition to creating covers for our posts, we designed special covers for our boards to fully tap into the graphic potential of Pinterest.
Here’s what our profile looks like today:
Creating original images for board covers is absolutely not needed but, being a bit of a visual freak I thought I’d have a little fun with it.
In case you’d like to take advantage of the different Pinterest image sizes and layouts, Author Media put together a really useful size guide for Pinterest to help you make sure your content will fit well everywhere:
I would just add that on the mobile version, boards only show 3 of the latest pins thumbnails instead of 4 so if you decide to play with the display, don’t forget to take it into consideration (we had to adapt this with our arrow in our “category title” boards).
That’s all fine and dandy, but what about driving traffic back to your site?
There are basically 2 ways you can link to your website on Pinterest:
1) Pinning an image from your site
You can do it directly from a blog post or webpage if you have a “pin it” or “share on pinterest” button. Or you can add a new pin from one of your pinterest boards and choose the “Add a pin from the web” option.
You’ll then just need to choose which board you want your pin to appear on and add a small description:
When your pin is posted, a “pinned from [your website]” mention will appear under it, linking back to your blog post or webpage.
2) Linking to your website in the description section
If you want to be a little more aggressive, you can add a link to your website in the description of your pin, telling people to click to learn more or a similar call to action.
It makes it a little simpler for the user to reach your website since they don’t have to expand your pin first. I am just not entirely sure what Pinterest’s policy is on links included in the description so this might affect your SEO.
Also refrain from adding shortened URL as the network might deemed them as “not safe” warning users who click on them that the website might be dangerous.
Now you only need to find conversion oriented content to post. For that you’ll need to have some content available from your website. This can include blog posts, ebooks, product screenshots.
Take a look at what the competition is doing and try doing even better.
When we studied out competition we noticed that 20% of the first 30 top search results for “customer service” boards featured links to articles. It was the second most popular kind of content to post after Infographics.
However the images promoting articles were not really adapted for Pinterest which gives us an opportunity to stand out of the crowd.
In addition to basic traffic generation content we decided to try and create boards that would appeals to businesses in industries popular on Pinterest. We started with the Wedding Industry and recently started a board for the Travel Industry.
We studied a few very popular brands on Pinterest and noticed that most of them had very original ideas to adapt their content to Pinterest.
Here’s what Sony did for example:
Boards like “Gorgeous Rooms and Tech” or “I can haz gadget” clearly adapt to popular topics like home decor and pets but in an original way. It might not be the best way to bring traffic to your website but it will bring attention to your profile and other boards. Like Sony, nothing keeps you from putting your most product oriented board in first place then!
So let’s see why do we love Pinterest Marketing so much again?
It’s all about finding your niche
It’s becoming easier to connect with other members
It’s a long term investment through SEO
You don’t need to have insane design skills to succeed there
It’s a great way to increase your traffic in the long term
Pinterest is full of customers who love visual products and are not afraid to spend some serious money. It might not work for every brand but it’s definitely worth a try, especially when you see how fast the network is growing and changing.
For B2B brands like us, Pinterest is an unexplored gold mine as more and more businesses start pinning expecting to get new customers. Yep, it’s all in the last words “expecting to get new customers”, and that’s exactly what we can offer them with our live chat solution.
On to you!
Are you marketing on Pinterest or thinking about it? Share your thoughts and experience in the comments! (And don’t hesitate to come say hi to us on Pinterest as you get started 😉
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