It’s easy to lump Pinterest in with the rest of the socials…but that would be a mistake.
The first question I asked myself ahead of writing this article was, ‘Is Pinterest a social media site?’
For those that sit out-with the marketing realm and have little interest in definition, Pinterest is simply another of the old-skool apps that we have grown-up with. Many of us signed-up for Pinterest on or around the same time as we did Facebook, and a cursory glance at the site told us there was a wealth of imagery to be reviewed and delighted with, but we didn’t care how we defined it, we barely knew what ‘social media’ was, hell, it was barely a thing.
I recently commented on a Pinterest related post on LinkedIn, another of the old-skool “socials”, only to be politely corrected by Pinterest Marketing Expert, DaLorean Marz, who advised me that Pinterest is not only a social media, it is, in fact, an image-based search engine.
This statement was mirrored in an interview with Fortune magazine, when Pinterest co-founder, Ben Silbermann said of the platform, “I think that’s a very different thing than a social network. The objectives of the two are different. On a social network, you upload photos for other people to like. Pinterest, on the other hand, is self-serving.”
So, that’s one side of this debate put to bed, but there’s more, like, why should I bother with a social that isn’t a social, doesn’t allow me to ‘like’ anything, isn’t even on the radar of most of the brands I’m interested in and isn’t even in the top-ten downloads in the Google Play store?
To understand more thoroughly, the intricacies and value of Pinterest for brands and those in the b2b world, I invited Dalorean Marz to place her stamp on the benefits of this non-social.
When did you first discover Pinterest and what made you decide to make this platform your career?
I first discovered Pinterest nearly 10 years ago when the platform was born. However, like most others back then (and even now), I used Pinterest to pin home decor ideas, recipes, interesting art pieces, cute pictures of baby animals, and travel destinations to add to my bucket list.
Fast forward to 2018 when I started a personal blog and was looking for a way to get some traction to my website while I waited on Google to recognize my diligent SEO efforts. I had tried a couple of other social media platforms and just wasn’t getting the traffic results I was looking for.
To be honest, Pinterest was the last social on my mind! Little did I know that Pinterest was so much more than those cute baby, animal and travel pins I was so used to pinning.
After seeking advice from other bloggers and business owners, the common answer on how to gain EASY, consistent, and free traffic to my website was Pinterest.
I then bought and took Pinterest courses. I read books on Pinterest marketing. I read just about every blog post I could find about Pinterest and how people were using it for their business. I stayed up until 3 or 4 am for countless nights watching YouTube videos on mastering Pinterest marketing for business.
I basically neglected my family for a good month while I hardcore studied Pinterest marketing for business! (Kidding!…*cough*…kinda.)
I put my Pinterest studies into action and in just 1 month, I achieved a 200.2% increase in pageviews to my website. In a matter of five months, I attained a 305.7% increase in traffic. Over 90% of this traffic was coming from Pinterest!
I was soon specializing in Pinterest strategy and implementation with a goal of helping others achieve the same results.
Pinterest has done amazing things for my blog and business and I know there are other businesses out there that can benefit from this platform.
How does Pinterest work?
Pinterest is a social and visual search engine where people can find inspiration, ideas, and answers to their questions.
Every idea is represented by a pin, which is an image that is searched, saved, and/or clicked through by Pinterest users. Pins typically link back to websites, which is why Pinterest is great for driving traffic and sales to your business.
How is Pinterest different from other socials?
There are a number of ways Pinterest is different from other social media platforms…I will stick with just 5:
- Pinterest is not really social at all. Yes, you will have followers, but that’s really the extent of being social on Pinterest. There is little to no follower engagement required.
- The number of followers you have on Pinterest doesn’t matter. You do not have to strive to gain as many followers as you can in order to be successful. Followers do matter, though, but in a much different way than other socials. Let me explain: Pinterest shows your pins to your followers’ feed first and looks to see how they engage with your content. (Engage meaning, click on your pin through to your website and/or save your pin to their boards.) If your followers don’t engage much with your content then Pinterest will not push your pins into the search results. If your followers do engage, then Pinterest sees your content as valuable and will push your pins into the search results where they have the potential to be seen by the millions of Pinterest users who are not even following you!
- Pinterest users are not there to catch up with friends, hear the latest news, and/or mindlessly scroll their social feed. People come to Pinterest for a specific reason – to find information to solve a problem – and they are ready to buy products! 83% of weekly pinners have made a purchase based on content they saw from brands on Pinterest.
- Because of Pinterest’s great search functions, the pin images you share remain relevant for longer and can be discovered by users at any time (months, even years!). On other socials, such as Facebook or Instagram, your post is only shown to your audience for a short period of time before it is shuffled down the feed to make room for new content – usually never to be seen again.
- Pinterest requires a lot less time to manage than other social platforms. Most of this time saved is because of the aforementioned lack of need for follower engagement.
What benefits does Pinterest hold for b2b companies and why should they add it to their overflowing social media programs?
As I mentioned earlier, people come to Pinterest to solve a problem. And businesses want specific issues solved for specific problems. The search and discovery functionality that Pinterest specializes in allows businesses (and consumers) to search that problem and find an instant solution.
Additionally, unlike other social platforms, Pinterest’s goal is to get the user OFF of their platform and onto your website. Create the eye-catching pin with an irresistible call-to-action, and the user clicks through your pin and lands directly on your website, right into your great content, sales funnels, email lists, etc. Targeted leads handed right over to you!
Top 3 practical tips on what to do and how to manage a Pinterest account
To get started with Pinterest:
- Make sure that you have a Pinterest Business account vs just a personal account. A business account is free and, if you already have a Pinterest personal account it is really simple to convert it to a business account. Simply head into your settings and tell Pinterest to switch it over! A business account allows you to claim your website, gives you access to analytics (very important!), shows more detail on your profile and pins, and gives you access to promoting pins.
- Create your niche-specific keyword list. Because Pinterest is a search and discovery engine, keywords are very important. (Note: The keywords that you use for Google for your website and content creation, may or may not be the exact keywords you’d want to use on Pinterest. Therefore creating a Pinterest-specific keyword list is highly recommended.)
- Create a Pinterest business profile that stands out and is keyword-rich. That includes keywords in your profile name, ‘About’ section, board names, and board descriptions.
Managing your Pinterest account is actually quite easy. Two of the main things to remember are:
- Pinterest favors fresh, new content, so make sure you are creating and uploading new content regularly – weekly if you can. Note: Fresh, New Content can mean anything new to Pinterest. So this could mean a brand new blog post, landing page, or product listing with a brand new pin, or an old piece of content with a brand new pin linked to that same old piece of content. In other words, New Content doesn’t necessarily have to mean creating brand new pieces of content to your website. You can (and should) create multiple pins for one piece of content.
- Pin consistently – daily pinning is highly recommended. You can use a pinning scheduler to do your daily pinning for you. The number one Pinterest-approved scheduler that I use myself and highly recommend is Tailwind (aff. link). Tailwind is amazing because you can even schedule out daily pins for weeks, even months!
Any other thoughts? …pet hates, loves for the platform…
One important thing that I’d like to note is that Pinterest requires a bit of patience! We all want results now, but similar to Google, Pinterest can take some time for the analytics to catch on. It can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to start seeing that steady flow of targeted traffic to your site or store. A lot of people give up before that 3-6 month point, claiming Pinterest was a bust and didn’t work for them. But I encourage you to stick with it and be patient!
Pet hate? Hmm…Oh, I’ve got one! As you can already guess, I love Pinterest. I love how easy it is to use. I love how it doesn’t take up hours of my week to use for my business marketing purposes. And I LOVE that it is visual! – I love seeing all of the different Pins other creatives have made. But…
…One thing that can be challenging is that Pinterest is constantly changing things up!
One minute we’ve got the ball going on a good and steady roll and then, bam! Pinterest will come out with a new “Best Practices,” change up the look of the platform itself, and/or have a complete algorithm makeover. This is nothing new; most apps and socials are continuously updating and changing. Just be sure to keep up with Pinterest’s “new and improved” (which can sometimes be confusing!) to keep afloat in the Pinterest marketing game. This is where outsourcing to a Pinterest Marketing Strategist can be beneficial in that it will give you back the time you need to focus on other things within your business.
For a number of businesses that have had or are thinking of adding a Pinterest social button to their website, alongside FB, Insta and Twitter, the value for consumer brands should be clear – this is a wonderful repository for your inventory.
Imagine it as an online catalogue – an SEO optimised suite, requiring little daily attention and linking to your online sales cycle, with a high amount of credential, as attested to by any ‘Pinner’ worth his or her salt.
So, there you have it: Pinterest – Not a Social, but a damn good place to invest little time for BIG results!
Look-out for other social and marketing related articles from me @WingDigitalMarketing