What is Pinterest?
Before we talk about Pinterest marketing strategy, let’s talk about what is Pinterest first. Pinterest is a search engine. It’s meant for discovery. This is where people go to find solutions, ideas and inspiration.
The internet is swarming with new content each and everyday.
Think of Pinterest as “the best of the best on the internet.” It’s a way for users to bookmark what they’ve found to be helpful.
What does this mean for you as an entrepreneur or marketer?
If they pin your content, you are gaining credibility and authority which will strengthen your marketing strategy. Word-of-mouth advertising will always be
effective! If someone is pinning your content, they’re endorsing you so their friends, family and followers can discover you as well. You are increasing your total exposure. Pinterest is the perfect way to drive traffic to your site in order to generate more leads and business.
One way to get the ball rolling is to make sure that YOU are pinning your content.
Currently, I average over 4 million monthly viewers per month on Pinterest with close to a 9% engagement rate! I’ve used Pinterest to drive traffic to my blog, e-commerce site, appointment booking sites, lead capture pages and even Youtube videos. The possibilities really are endless. If you’re thinking you don’t have time to learn about another social media site, trust me, I was just like you but this is where Pinterest has proven to be worth it many times over!
Having a Pinterest marketing strategy is crucial!
How does Pinterest compare to Instagram and Facebook?
In terms of engagement rates: anything within the 1-3% engagement group is considered good on Instagram. While anything higher than 1% is good on Facebook. As you can see, my engagement is over 3x higher than industry standards and I’m not spending a whole lot of time on social media.
Because Facebook and Instagram are social media sites, they’re meant to be social. This includes a great deal of liking, commenting and responding. In order to get engagement, you have to give it with traditional social media sites. With Pinterest, your focus is more on publishing engaging content. Every once in a while, I’ll get a comment on a pin or a direct message but it’s not really the standard.
Paid or Organic Reach?
Unlike many other social media platforms, Pinterest encourages shopping and also leaving the platform. Just think, Instagram doesn’t have a way for you to include an external link in your caption.
Facebook promptly notifies you that you are leaving the platform and going to a potentially dangerous site (scary!). Posts or status updates that include an external link are also known to get lower engagement because the visibility is lower. Social media sites are stingy and want to keep you on the platform UNLESS you are willing to pay.
We’ve already moved towards a pay-to-play marketing environment and it’s only going to get worse. Facebook set the pace and you can expect to see Instagram closely following in 2020. Heads up: look for more ads in Instagram stories.
Though paid advertising is possible on Pinterest, you can still get above industry results with organic Pinterest marketing strategies. Yes, that’s right!
Helps Out Content Creators
As you begin to pin and engage with certain content, not only will Pinterest update your home feed to include your interests, but it will also send you an email with pins and boards that are similar to yours! As a marketer, this is golden! It gives you a way to learn more and get a better idea of how to create pins that your audience finds interesting and it’ll give you some content to curate so all of the focus isn’t on you trying to create 10-20 new pins per day. PLUS, it will also send emails to other users that will include YOUR profile/pins/boards to help you increase your reach.
The Ability to Be Discovered
Pinterest is a search engine so not only can you search for a specific solution or problem, it will find recommendations that you may find helpful. You don’t need to know the exact verbiage to produce results. It will show you what is most common with others who have searched for something similar. Unfortunately, the only way to search Instagram is through the use of hashtags. If you don’t know which hashtag to use or search for, you have no way of being discovered. You can’t search for a sentence on Instagram. Furthermore, you can search a public domain such as Google for a solution and be directed to Pinterest but you won’t be able to do the same with an Instagram post.
Which is better: social media marketing or Pinterest marketing?
I’d be lying if I didn’t say I love Pinterest. I do! It’s the perfect place to position your brand or business where vanity metrics such as followers and likes mean absolutely nothing! When I had less than 1,000 followers, I’d amassed over 1 million monthly viewers! So it is great for people who are creating content and want that content to be seen with the world!
One of the downfalls of Pinterest is the fact that it can take longer to get results. Social media such as Facebook and Instagram are instant compared to Pinterest. If you have an event that’s coming up this weekend, you can quickly get the word out on Facebook whereas the momentum may not begin to churn on Pinterest until a few weeks. It’s possible to have “viral pins” that generate quicker results but as a newbie getting started, it can be a bit difficult.
With that being said, I suggest using both: social media and Pinterest. Social media as more of a short-term strategy and Pinterest for long-term. You can repurpose your social media content and include it on Pinterest. This will allow those who aren’t following your social media profiles to discover your content.
Think of Pinterest marketing as a long-term strategy. While posts usually drown within hours on Instagram and Facebook (minutes for Twitter), Pinterest has been known to still generate traffic weeks, months and even years after it has been pinned.
Now that I’ve talked your ears off about Pinterest, let’s discuss common Pinterest marketing mistakes that are getting in your way.
Be sure to avoid these top 12 mistakes when creating and implementing your Pinterest marketing strategy:
1. Treating Pinterest as a social media network
I know, I know. Just about every source you pull up considers Pinterest to be a social media site or network; however, it is indeed a search engine — a visual search engine. Think about times where you’ve searched Google or Bing and a Pinterest recipe/image popped up. Look at Pinterest as the visual equivalent of Google. This is why it is so important to carefully consider how you name your pins. Descriptions such as “dope”, “oh yea” or the other captions you’d use on Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat don’t work on Pinterest. No one Googles “oh yea” unless they’re looking for a gif or hilarious meme but they do Google “how to lose belly weight.”
2. Your profile isn’t optimized for search engine optimization
Going back to my last point about changing how you view Pinterest. Unless you have a larger, well-known brand, most people won’t be searching for you by name. The good news: over 97% of the searches on Pinterest are unbranded meaning they’re not looking for a specific person or company, they’re looking for a solution. Use this to your advantage. Tell people you have what they’re looking for. This will make your pins and profile more discoverable.
The good news: over 97% of the searches on Pinterest are unbranded meaning they’re not looking for a specific person company, they’re looking for a solution.
3. You haven’t researched your target market
We no longer live in the world where you can be an effective marketer by yelling at people to buy from you. Instead, you have to consider the buyer’s journey. What are they looking for? How can you help them? What are other things they struggle with? How do they speak/communicate? Are they formal/informal? Once you start to create and curate content with your target market in mind, they will look at you as the trusted authority and will be more likely to purchase from you or sign up for your next course.
4. Your pins aren’t pin-worthy
Over 80% of Pinterest users are scrolling the platform using their smartphones. You want to make sure that your image is optimized for smartphones. Vertical pins are known to perform better than square and traditional social media images because they take up more real estate on the user’s phone. Also, make sure the picture and message are visually clear. If you want people to engage with your content, you have to draw them in. A random picture of a black background (unless part of a photography project) usually won’t draw people in. They need to know what’s in it for them on the other side of that click.
Design tip: experiment with the different pin formats: video, Shop This Look and Standard.
5. Your profile is boring
Now this ties back into #3. If you haven’t researched your target market, you haven’t created an “experience” for them. You want people to come to you at different stages in the buying process. Your Pinterest feed shouldn’t be filled with random things that your audience won’t be able to relate to. This makes it easier for them to choose not to follow you. Keep it fun. Look for color. Remember, you want to be helpful but you can only help someone if you have their attention. Give them some eye candy (up to your interpretation).
6. Not pinning your own content
I can’t begin to tell you how many profiles I’ve seen that only have blogs from other content creators, they also have their own blog or website. Of course, you want to mix it up. No one likes a person who only talks about him/herself but at what point are you introducing them to your content?
7. Not directing traffic to your site
I’ve run across quite a few people who are uploading their own content such as pictures but they don’t have any website attached. Therefore, when someone is interested, they click on the photo to learn more only to be directed to a larger version of your picture. Make sure you are always directing traffic somewhere. Pinterest loves this! The more people engage with your content, the more they show your content to others!
8. Not being consistent
Yes, you can still drive traffic weeks, months and even years after you’ve pinned content; however, as with time, we become better. We learn how to finetune, optimize and adapt to recent changes. As you become better or gain more experience, you’ll attract a new audience who hasn’t been exposed to your earlier content. Pinning one time and calling it quits doesn’t give your audience confidence or reason to return.
9. Not setting up a business account
Business accounts are free. They give analytics so you can better understand your viewers. With analytics you can see other topics that your audience likes to view. If you are considering paid ads, you’ll need a business account. Make sure you completely set up your business profile!
10. Not hiding irrelevant content
Because Pinterest is a wonderful source of information, it is natural to want to pin ideas for yourself; however, if your interests are vastly different from your target audience, hide the irrelevant boards. When people visit your profile, it should be clear what you do. If you have that you are a beauty consultant and then have a board for baby goats, it is going to throw your audience off! You can still look up cute goats and pin them. Just make sure it’s not getting in the way of your personal brand by hiding that board.
11. Not preparing for trends
Going back to the statement earlier with Pinterest being a long-term strategy, it may take weeks or months for content to begin to circulate. Don’t wait until the week of Christmas to start pinning Christmas ideas. Even with a significant following this can be a disaster because people were already looking aka discovering new ideas weeks or even months ahead of time. Give people time. Set ideas in their minds before it happens so they have enough time to do research. They will then learn a little more or put themselves in the position to afford it.
12. You fell victim to the follow-for-follow
In quite a few Facebook groups and maybe even on other platforms, I’ve noticed the opportunity for someone to leave their social media handle or profile so another member can follow them. Once they follow you, you return the favor. If you can’t connect with a person or brand’s content, do not follow them. Following them but not interacting, kills their engagement rate which means their content is less likely to be discovered. If you don’t find it valuable or helpful to either you or your audience, do both of you a favor and not follow.
They need to know what’s in it for them on the other side of that click.Natalie Butler