Beginner’s Guide to Using Pinterest for Digital Marketing
Ask most bloggers or online business owners and they’ll say there are two main areas they get traffic from. One is organic traffic from Google and other search engines. The other is Pinterest traffic.
But why would Pinterest send traffic to your website? And how does it end up being one of the two top traffic sources for so many digital businesses? Let’s dive into a beginner’s guide to using Pinterest for digital marketing and explain.
What is Pinterest?
The first thing to understand about Pinterest is that it isn’t a social media site. It is a visual search engine. While it does have some social features to it, it is a search and discovery platform. It is Google search but with pictures.
Now, this does mean there’s the very occasional business that doesn’t really work so well on Pinterest. The local garage trying to advertise their car servicing might not find Pinterest hugely useful. It isn’t visual and Pinterest isn’t the best for local traffic.
But for any business with an online presence and who can create some kind of graphics for their content, Pinterest is a must-have part of the marketing arsenal. Unlike social media, which doesn’t really like to send people off the platform, Pinterest is about providing users with information that they follow through to the website to explore.
How does Pinterest send traffic to your website?
Pinterest works like a digital version of those old pin board we had on our walls as kids. You know, where you pinned the magazine page of your favorite boy band? Or the latest sports star you wanted to meet?
The idea is that businesses pin images that relate to their content, products, and services. They use keywords in the descriptions they add to those pins and when someone searches the relevant term, that pin appears.
Let’s say I’m looking for a new cocktail recipe to use my tasty gin with. I might search for ‘gin cocktails’ or ‘drinks for gin’ or even a specific gin cocktail. If you have a recipe on your blog that is for a gin cocktail and you’ve pinned an image of it, then your recipe could appear in my search. For more tips on monitering Traffic flow
Getting the click
Appearing in search is one of the key ways you drive traffic to your website. But you need to compel me to click your recipe over the others that appear on the screen. That’s where a few factors come together:
- The pin image – in this case, a photo of the cocktail that looks tasty or maybe a shot of the finished drink with ingredients scattered around it
- The pin headline – the words on the pin that tell me what the cocktail is and pique my interest
- The pin description – the part that tells me more about the drink and prompts me to click the image with a call to action to visit the website
Strategy and tactics
Now there’s a bit more to driving traffic from Pinterest than just popping up a nice image with a headline, a good description, and expecting hundreds of people to click. But they might!
Strategy and tactics are the key things to understand. Strategy is the overall why you are using Pinterest and what you want to achieve with it. Tactics are the things you will do to drive that traffic and get in front of your audience.
Building for success
Pinterest is a great platform to market almost any type of online business. It can be amazing if you create content and also if you have products. Even service-based businesses can find they can drive traffic to their websites from it. But you do need to learn the basics so that you can make the most of it.
What Boards Should You Make For your Pinterest Account?
So you’ve decided to use Pinterest to market your business and you’ve signed up for a business account. But now there’s this big space that is shouting out for some pins. That’s okay, you have a couple of cool templates and have them ready to do.
But what do you call your boards? It is an important part of Pinterest SEO so don’t just jump into something random. Let’s look at what boards you should make for your Pinterest account.
The first five boards
It might seem tempting to make a new board for every single pin you add but this isn’t always ideal. You want to start making the board regularly active, even if that’s a pin every other week in the early days. So it can be an idea to start with five boards.
So how do you pick the five boards? One easy idea is to look at the categories on your blog. You probably have a few of them, maybe a sub-category or two. These are great subjects for your first five boards because you can add pins from the posts to the board that’s the same as your category.
But what about if you don’t blog and have products or services instead? Well, you can work on a similar idea. Use the product categories within your business to help you choose those first few boards. Or think about the overarching type of service you offer and use these.
Naming the boards
There’s the temptation to have a little fun with the names of boards or to try to have something catchy and clever. But resist! Boards need to have keyword-rich names to help Pinterest understand what they are about.
Now you can definitely add words around them to make sense of the board. For example:
- Category: cocktails = board: Tasty Cocktail Recipes
- Category: blogging = board: Blogging Tips and Tricks
- Product category: handmade necklaces = Handmade Beaded Necklaces
What Size Images Should Pinterest Pins Be?
Like with a lot of things, Pinterest is a bit different from social media sites when it comes to image size. While many favor either square or horizontal images, Pinterest wants us to create pins that are vertical – taller than they are wide.
But what size images should Pinterest pins be? And does this mean you can’t pin other size images?
The ideal pin ratio
Let’s start with what Pinterest says. In their best practices, they say that the best ratio for a Pinterest image is 2:3. The most common example of this is 1000 x 1500 pixels. If you were a user of Canva a few years back, their image size was 735 x 1105 pixels, again 2:3.
The same size is good for video pins. So you can make an Instagram Story video and this will be roughly the right size to use on Pinterest without needing to crop or alter. YouTube is more of a problem as their classic horizontal image doesn’t easily translate to the taller vertical images that Pinterest likes – but more on a workaround in a moment.
Taller ‘Giraffe’ pins and infographics
For a long time, certain niches such as food bloggers have used longer pins that became known as ‘giraffe’ pins, although no one really knows why! These are typical dimensions such as 750 x 1500 pixels or 1000 x 2200 pixels.
If you are going to test using these taller pins for some situations, the key thing to remember is that they may be cut off in the Smart Feed. That means only a portion of the pin will appear, usually about the top two-thirds. So make sure your headline or most important information or images are clearly visible in that section.
Infographics are a slightly separate class of pins and Pinterest knows these will be longer than any other pin. They do tend to do well so if you can make them or have ones you have the rights to use, definitely try pinning them.
What size should Pinterest Story images be?
The final category of pin images you might want to make is Pinterest Stories. These are relatively new but are rolling out to most areas. Pinterest has said the ideal size for
How Do You Know If People Are Going To Your Website From Pinterest?
There’s lots of great things about Pinterest but one area that’s a little lacking is the analytics. It has improved in the last year or so but it is still a little unreliable, especially those on pin stats! So how do you know if people are going to your website from Pinterest and your marketing is starting to work?
Outbound link clicks
The first place you want to go is into the analytics section on Pinterest itself. Remember one of the reasons for a business account was to get analytics? Well, this is where you start using it.
In the Analytics menu option, select Overview. Now you’ll see a snapshot of all the information for your account. Along the left-hand side menu, there’s an option to select just your own website – select that to cut out any content from other people. Because it is nice but we don’t need it for analysis.
Now you will see your impressions for all of the pins associated with your account. But that’s not telling you about people going to your site. For that, we need to change the option on the drop-down menu to ‘Outbound clicks’.
The figure that appears and the line on the graph shows how many people are going to your website from Pinterest each day. That’s the most important metric to track!
Which pins are being clicked?
The other interesting area to look at is down below this graph. First, there’s the boards and that’s good but it is the actual pins that are worth looking at next.
Again, there’s the default to impressions and a drop-down menu to change this to outbound clicks. Then you will see your pins and which ones are getting clicks in the last 30 days (or whatever time period you select at the top of the left-hand menu).
It also shows you if the image is a normal pin, a video, or a Story pin. There’s also information if it is yours or other peoples – this means if the traffic is coming from a pin that someone saved to their boards. As opposed to pins saved to your own boards, which counts as yours.
Exploring Google Analytics
Now Pinterest has some useful information in the analytics section but it is always worth having Google Analytics set up too. It is free to use and adding the code to the header of your website is a simple process.
Once this is done, you start to get a lot more information about the people coming to your website. One area to check is the Acquisition section. Select ‘Social’ then ‘Network Referrals’ to get a snapshot of your Pinterest traffic alongside other social networks. Select the Pinterest option and you can see which posts are getting that traffic.
There’s a ton of other information you can get here too so it is worth learning Google Analytics for all of your traffic sources.
The on-pin stats
There is a third area where you can get stats about your pins but it is probably the least reliable at the moment – that’s the pin stats. Every Pinterest pin will have stats available on it and these relate directly to that pin.
Or at least, that’s the theory! The reality is that there’s a bit of confusion around this. For example, if you add a pin via a scheduler like Tailwind, it doesn’t always aggregate with an original version added straight to Pinterest. So that means two sets of stats.
Plus because it is a rolling 30 day stat, the number constantly changes. This is okay once you get the hang of it as there’s more data when you click the link to the stats inside the pin. But it can be a bit confusing when you first start!
Understanding your traffic flow
Understanding the basics of Pinterest analytics, how to see where your traffic is flowing from and to, and making the most of Google Analytics is a key part of Pinterest marketing. Once you understand what’s working, you can keep doing more of the same!
How To Add A Pinterest Image To A Blog Post
When you start working on Pinterest marketing, it becomes a habit to create a Pinterest optimized image for every post. You finish the blog post and share the image on Pinterest. But there’s one more step you need to add to your job list – let’s look at how and why to add a Pinterest image to a blog post.
Why add your pins to posts?
Adding a pin to your blog post isn’t compulsory but it can make good sense. The reason for that is that people might want to share your post on Pinterest to save it for later – and an optimized image had a greater chance of being reshared in the algorithm.
By making it easy for people to pin the image, you can even prompt them to do it. Something as simple as a ‘Pin for later’ call to action under the pin image can make people remember to save that image. This may bring them back to your post later and also helps reinforce your blog as a source of good stuff for Pinterest.
How to add a Pinterest pin to your post
The simplest way to add a pin to your post is just the same as you would normally add any other image. Make the pin in your favorite graphic design tool, download it and upload it to the post. You can test putting it in different places but sometimes, at the end of the post works best.
Now one thing people notice is that sometimes the Pinterest image looks a bit big and awkward. There’s a couple of ways to handle this. If you are using WordPress, you can show it at 50% or 75% of the original image. Then it retains the dimensions but isn’t so big on your page.
Another idea is to force the image to be smaller by adding it to the middle block of a set of three columns. With the Gutenberg Blocks editor, this is easy to do and you can either make them as three even columns or even make the middle one bigger so the image is a little larger.
Using a plugin
Another way to handle the Pinterest image is to add it with a plugin. There are a few out there, mostly paid but generally not too expensive. They work by hiding the Pinterest image until someone either uses the Pinterest save button, a social share option, or something like Tailwind.
Then the image will appear among the images available to pin. Another benefit of these plugins is that you can also add your Pinterest description. That way, when the image is pinned, it takes the description you have created with it. Otherwise, it will often default to either your meta description or a repeat of the post title.
Some plugins even let you add more than one image. That’s a great way to test to see what people like – a bit of an A/B test! You can monitor your analytics and see which pins are showing up the most often as being pinned by other people.
If you do use a plugin, you might still want to add the image to the post as well. Then you can have that CTA to prompt people to share.
Extra Pinterest SEO juice
Having people pin your pins from your website can help give your account a bit more SEO juice or credibility. It tells Pinterest that you have good stuff and that people visiting your site want to pin it.
Using social sharing buttons and the Pinterest save button are easy to add to most types of websites and are another visual prompt for people to share and save your content. And we can never get too much social proof for our blog posts.
Can You Make Money From Your Pinterest Account?
If you dive into a Facebook group or other place where bloggers and online business owners hang out, it won’t be long before you run into someone asking the question. Can you make money from your Pinterest account? Now the answer to this isn’t a yes or no so let’s take a look at what’s what.
How do you make money online?
Before you can consider if you can make money from Pinterest, it is worth thinking about how you make money online. There’s tons of ways but here’s a few of the most popular:
- Services such as content writing, being a virtual assistant, a Pinterest manager
- Digital products such as eBooks, courses, printables, checklists
- Affiliate income where you promote other people’s products for a commission payment
- Ad income where you make money from people being on your site
Now there’s one thing that most of these have in common (or at the least the last three, the first one is a little different). They all need the traffic to succeed. Whether that’s people to see and buy your eBook, people to click affiliate links, or just people viewing your page to generate ad income, traffic is essential.
How you can make money from Pinterest
So it is clear that no matter what route you are taking to make money on your blog or digital business, there’s a good chance that traffic will play a big part in it. And that’s where Pinterest comes in.
As a visual search engine, Pinterest has the potential to be a top traffic source, if not your top one entirely. That means you can use your Pinterest marketing to drive traffic to your website to get those ad revenues, affiliate clicks, product sales, and more.
So while you don’t directly make money from Pinterest, you can make money from the traffic that you get from Pinterest.
Strategic pinning to make money
You can also take your pinning strategy a bit further when you get your account to start working for you.
One example is to create pins that lead either straight to your digital product or to an email freebie that has a tripwire product after it. By getting people to see your product or freebie, you can either make money directly or increase your email list, with a side order of potentially making money on your tripwire.
Another example is affiliate pins. Some programs allow you to pin an image to Pinterest that leads straight to affiliate products. If someone clicks these and makes a purchase, you can make your affiliate commission. You do need to make it very clear on the pin that this is an affiliate product and ensure your disclosures are in place.
Promoted pins to make money
The final way you can make money with Pinterest actually involves spending a little. Promoted pins or Pinterest ads are the way to pay money to have your pins seen by a specific audience or people with certain interests.
While promoted pins are a whole different topic, let’s just say you have that digital product. You can promote a pin that leads to it using keywords that people would use when searching for what the product is about. That way you could increase your sales – just remember to balance it with any ad spend to see what you are really making!
Making money from Pinterest marketing
While you’ll never see Pinterest as a source of money in your bank account, you can use it to make money by boost traffic to the ways you make your money. From affiliates to ads, services to products, there are lots of options and ways to use Pinterest smartly to get more eyes on them.
Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Growing Followers on Pinterest
If there’s one thing that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and almost all social media sites have in common, it is the emphasis on followers. Without them, people can’t see your content, interact with your business or even know you offer the great things you do.
But it is important to remember that key fact – Pinterest isn’t a social media site. While it does have followers and you should cultivate them, there’s also solid reasons why you shouldn’t worry about growing your followers on Pinterest just for number’s sake.
Why followers don’t matter on Pinterest
Let’s start with why followers don’t matter on Pinterest – or at least not on the way they do on social media sites.
For starters, when someone searches for a keyword, Pinterest will serve up the best content. That’s from anyone, not just from the people they follow. So if my post on gin cocktails is the top-performing post and someone searches for this but they don’t follow me and have never interacted with my content before, they are still likely to see my pin.
The same with the Home Feed, the first place you go when you visit Pinterest. Yes, you will see pins from people you follow. But you’ll also see pins from people you don’t because Pinterest thinks they may be of interest to you. The Smart Feed is the name for the algorithm running things in the background and it learns from what you like – and shows you more of the same.
When followers can help
Now that’s not to say that you shouldn’t try to get followers but it is definitely more about quality than quantity. Ehre’s why.
As best we know, the current Smart Feed works by taking a pin you have created and showing it first to your followers. If they pin it, engage with it or even click it, that’s a good positive sign for Pinterest that the pin is good. It also helps to add context with the boards they pin it to.
But if followers don’t pin it, that doesn’t mean it is dead. It might just take a bit longer to get some speed. There are a few reasons this might happen:
- The pin image isn’t eye-catching
- The pin description isn’t enticing enough or is unclear
- The image and the text don’t make sense together so people are confused what the pin is about
- You have too many of the wrong followers who aren’t interested in your content
The wrong followers
So what do we mean by the ‘wrong followers’ who arent interested in your content? Well, let’s take the classic follow-for-follow thread we see on Facebook. You follow everyone in the thread, regardless of what they pin about. Their pins appear in your feed but they aren’t in your niche so you have nowhere to pin their stuff. You ignore them and carry on.
Here, you are the wrong follower. You might have added a 1 to their follower list but you have no intention or way to interact with their content. You can’t give them that thumbs up by pinning or clicking the pin because it isn’t your niche.
In a sense, you are a wasted follower. Pinterest can see that account as being lesser quality as many of the followers don’t interact with it. But that’s just because they are the wrong followers!
Cultivate the right followers
That means it is important to have followers but the right ones. So if someone in your niche wants to increase their followers, engagement and help share each other’s content, that’s not too bad.
But the best followers are your real audience. So ask them to follow you! Add your profile link to emails and prompt them to follow you. Have a widget in the sidebar that calls out your Pinterest account and gets them to hit that follow button. They are the right followers and you want them to be following you.
The follower puzzle
Pinterest followers are one of the most confusing topics for beginners to the platform. Because we are conditioned to grab followers by the likes of Facebook, it is natural o think Pinterest is the same. But it is definitely a lot more subtle and worth cultivating those right followers to get the best benefits from them.
5 Mistakes Marketers Make with Pinterest
One of the big problems with Pinterest is that there’s lots of well-meaning but not always accurate information out there. That’s why experienced marketers turn to specific people to get the best information and be sure that they are following best practices. There are also some really common mistakes that people continue to advise beginners to make. Here are 5 mistakes marketers make with Pinterest that you can easily avoid.
Mistake 1: Treating Pinterest like a social media site
This is the easiest mistake to make because there are some social media elements to Pinterest. There’s comments and followers and even group (boards). Google Analytics even lists it under the social tab but it is always important to remember that Pinterest isn’t a social media site.
Instead, it is a visual search engine, a search and discovery platform. It is more like Google search than Facebook, despite those social media style features. Therefore, it is important to approach it like a search engine with things like keywords being front and center of what you do.
Mistake 2: Focusing on monthly views
The monthly views figure is prominently featured on your profile when you look at the saved or created tabs. So it is logical to think it is an important metric that you should track. Lots of people get excited by reaching a million or other milestones with this figure.
But the reality is that it tells you little about how your account is really doing. That’s because it is based on the whole account including any content from other people. And the view is like an impression – it means the pin has appeared on someone’s screen. But it doesn’t mean they took notice of it, clicked it for a closeup, or clicked the pin. Because we are focused on clicks o the website, the monthly views figure doesn’t tell you anything useful.
Mistake 3: Stressing about follower numbers
This is another carryover from social media marketing – being stressed about follower numbers and focusing on growing it, without any context. After all, more followers are good, right?
Wrong! Followers who are interested in your stuff, will repin your pins and click your links are good. People who save your pins to their boards are brilliant. But just random people who inflate a number but never interact with your content aren’t helping at all. So don’t stress about increasing followers, focus on improving your SEO and getting more clicks.
Mistake 4: Not doing keyword research
This one applies to both Pinterest and organic traffic. If you don’t do your keyword research, you run the risk of using the wrong words, and that people can’t find your stuff. Now there are no dedicated tools to do keyword research on Pinterest like there are for Google search. But you can look at terms in the search bar and see what long-term and associated keywords appear.
Plus if you are researching keywords for SEO, there’s a good chance these will work on Pinterest just the same. Remember, visual search engine!
Mistake 5: Expecting quick results
With SEO we are taught that it takes 12-18 months at least for Google to trust our sites and start to send consistent traffic. But people often expect Pinterest to be much quicker. While it can be, it still takes a good amount of time to get that consistent traffic.
Most experts will say that you need at least 3-6 months of consistent pinning with quality pins and content to start to see good results. Sometimes it can be longer if you are in a very saturated niche. But lots of people get disheartened when they’ve been pinning for a few weeks and nothing happens.
Don’t fall into that trap – start with the knowledge that it takes time.
Avoid these common mistakes
Mistakes are a natural way of learning and there’s nothing wrong with them. But you can avoid these common mistakes with Pinterest marketing and you can enjoy the benefit of others who have made them and bounced back to get ahead with your efforts.
How to Use the Pinterest Trends Tool to Help with Content Research
Pinterest doesn’t have a keyword research tool but it does have a handy feature that can help you with content research, planning your content calendar, and deciding what to pin and when. Let’s look at how to use the Pinterest Trends tool to help with content research and more.
What is the Pinterest Trends tool?
Pinterest Trends is a feature within Pinterest designed to help you understand what is working and when on the platform. It can be used alongside other tools such as their monthly and seasonal updates to help decide when you should publish content or how to handle seasonal topics.
Most all accounts have access to it and to find it, select the Analytics drop-down menu within your Pinterest profile. At the bottom there’s the ‘Trends’ option – select this for the tool to open.
Researching a topic
Trends will default to either your location if available or to the US. You can change this if you want to research a topic for somewhere else. For example, someone in the UK might want to see when Mother’s Day content is popular in the UK and then compare this to the US as they are at different times.
Below the search bar, there’s a load of current popular topics. These aren’t based on your account but on Pinterest as a whole so some may be irrelevant to you. If you do want to know more about them, select one to open the trends search.
Otherwise, pop the search term you want into the search bar and hit to search.
Using the information
As long as the term is in the keyword database, you’ll open up a screen with a graph on it. The graph always starts from your current date so the information will seem to move as you go through the year.
Hi here’s how to access your Pinterest templates:
If you experience any problems, please message me on email@example.com
Social Media / Meta descriptions + Quote Graphic Text
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