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How companies are using Pinterest

Pinterest has broaden its reach to businesses, making it much more than just a place where young users, mostly women, post pins about their passions, projects, crafts, and hobbies.

6 min read

Brands & Campaigns

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Pinterest once had the reputation of being a place where young users, mostly women, could post pins about their passions, projects, crafts, and hobbies. But it has become a much broader tool that many companies also use — including those not in retail — to promote content such as blog posts, infographics, videos, whitepapers, and more.

Here are a few examples of the types of companies to which I refer:

  • Farmer’s Insurance pins help customers make safer and smarter decisions. Pins include topics such as home improvements, road trips, holidays, and even one call “Cattitude,” which, of course, contains pictures of cats.
  • Act-On, a software company, devotes its Pinterest account to employees.
  • SmartBrief (Yes, this SmartBrief) has an account dedicated to keeping business professionals informed and prepared.

And, 13% of Pinterest users are men, according to research from Pew Internet.

If you’re thinking about using Pinterest for marketing, consider these ten tips.

  1. Focus on Customer Interests

“Nobody cares about your products and services except you,” said well-known Internet marketing strategist, David Meerman Scott.

That may sound harsh, but it’s true. There are exceptions to that rule but, by and large, people come to be inspired, not to glom onto your pins and boards, to fawn over your content.

Therefore, if you want to be successful in using Pinterest for marketing, focus on your customers and provide content that interests them.

  1. Optimize Pins for Search

Pinterest has more than one billion boards with 50 billion pins so finding useful information can be difficult.

To remedy the problem, Pinterest recently updated its search functionality with a feature called Guided Search.

“Now when you search for something (road trips, running, summer BBQ), descriptive guides will help you sift through all the good ideas from other Pinners,” Pinterest said. “Scroll through the guides and tap any that look interesting to steer your search in the right direction.”

Guided Search aside, with the numbers of pins and boards growing at an ever-increasing rate, search becomes the primary means for Pinterest users to find your business. One of the best ways to improve your prospects of being found is to optimize your pins for search, in much that same way you optimize content for search engines, such as Google.

Here are two ways to go about it:

  • Make pin descriptions as specific as possible. Instead of saying “sweater,” say “red wool sweater.”
  • Pre-populate pin descriptions on your website. Include thoughtfully-written descriptions on the content people pin from your site. You can use Pinterest’s widget builder to add pins.
  1. Optimize Posts to Boost Repins

Success in using Pinterest for marketing is less about growing a massive follower base and more about creating pins that that generate lots of repins. Pinterest emphasizes the content on its site rather than the person who posted it, so make yours shine.

A blog post from social sharing platform lists several ways to optimize Pinterest posts to boost Repins.

These include activities such as posting at the right time, creating the correct pin size, including a call to action, and using Rich Pins, which are pins that include extra information on the Pin itself. There are six types of Rich Pins to choose from: app, movie, recipe, article, product, and place.

  1. Reach Mobile Customers

More than 80 percent of Pinterest usage takes places on phones and tablets, says VentureBeat, so make your content more mobile-friendly.

The best way to do that is to download the mobile app and acquaint yourself with how pins and boards look. Also, make sure your website is mobile-friendly, as mobile users may access it from time to time.

  1. Use Pinterest Analytics to Improve Conversion

Pinterest analytics contain lots of data, including:

  • What people are pinning from your website;
  • How pins from your Pinterest profile perform;
  • Which pins and boards drive the most impressions, clicks, and repins.

To use analytics, you must first verify your website. Once verified, a checkmark will appear on your Pinterest profile, confirming to users that the site is yours.

  1. Advertise Using Promoted Pins

Any business can advertise on Pinterest via Promoted Pins using the DIY ad platform. Promoted Pins are available on a cost-per-click basis.

  1. Participate in Pinterest Group Boards

Pinterest group boards are a quick and effective way to grow your follower base and expose your content to a broad range of users.

Group boards are mini-Pinterest communities, where groups of people create a board around a similar theme.

Collaborating on group boards with influencers in your niche gives you access to their audience, which can raise your Pinterest presence and draw pinners and prospects to your website.

A site called PinGroupie contains a directory of group boards, to which you can refer.

  1. Optimize Images for Pinterest

Pinterest is driven primarily by imagery, so it’s crucial to optimize your images specifically for the platform, to make a good first impression. Here is an image dimension cheat sheet that can help.

Optimizing an image isn’t only about getting the right dimensions but about making a favorable first impression. For that, use only high-quality images that, where possible, include people. However, text-based graphics, such as infographics or charts, can also work.

  1. Link to Your Website But Not the Home Page

Since most of the content you share will likely come from your website, be sure to include links, but not to the home page. Instead, link to the page where the content lives, such as a blog post or product page (if you’re pinning products for sale).

If conversions are what you’re after, don’t lead visitors down a primrose path, forcing them to search for your content once they arrive at your site.

  1. Include “Pin It” Buttons on All Pages

It’s likely you already have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Instagram share buttons associated with your content. Why not add the “Pin It” button as well? Many social sharing button platforms include it as an option, or you can go directly to Pinterest and configure one.. If you plan to use Pinterest for marketing purposes, consider these ten tips. They can help you get a head start on the competition, or catch up with competitors if that’s the case.

Paul Chaney is a staff writer for Small Business Trends where he covers industry news, services, and trends affecting small businesses. Formerly, he was editor of Web Marketing Today and a contributing editor for Practical Ecommerce.