If there’s one social media platform that’s perfect for creative geniuses and digital marketers looking to find inspiration, it’s definitely Pinterest. The idea-sharing social network defines itself as an “online pinboard” where you can “organize and share things you love.”–so you know that it’s not just your average social media platform. Its purpose is to drive ideas and deliver them to its over 20 million loyal users across mobile and computer screens.
So many of us have had this particular situation–coming across a product, recipe, or image while browsing the internet. This is where Pinterest comes in handy. It allows you to create collections or “boards” of ideas which you can share with other Pinterest users on your network.
Since its humble start in 2008, Pinterest has been used for a wide range of purposes, such as:
- Planning events (parties, weddings, etc.)
- Planning holidays
- Sharing recipes
- Lesson planning
- Creating lists (books, movies, television shows, bucket list)
- Interior design (decor and home furnishing ideas)
- Design Inspiration
- Art Inspiration
- Compiling gift ideas
- Planning workout programs
Through our Desima account we are able to drive 30,000 to 35,000 page views to the Desima website. However, this success is not merely based on luck. There’s planning and strategy behind it.
Desima on Pinterest
Gardening had always been a hobby of ours and in the course of time, sharing our love for the craft, we have developed an assortment of products and techniques to make gardening even more fun and interesting. We started Desima in 2015, where Pinterest was one of the world’s leading social media platforms.
Meanwhile, Pinterest is an incredibly powerful and highly unique social media platform. It stands aside from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and turns the idea of content marketing around. Instead of following people, you follow content and topics that piques your interest. This content may be featured in hundreds or even thousands of different contributors. The social media platform allows people to curate their own ‘boards’ of content and collect or ‘pin’ important items on topics and subjects that interest them. This makes it a very powerful tool in driving traffic to your website.
Recent research has shown that Pinterest is the number 2 social media traffic referrer after Facebook, which makes it even more powerful than social media giants, Twitter and Instagram. So perhaps it’s time to finally realize that Pinterest is not just about scrapbooking or arts and crafts. Moreover, it is a powerful search platform capable of transforming your business.
With the help of Pinterest, we’ve been able to drive 20,000 – 35,000 visitors to the Desima website each month! We’re not talking about your average one-off traffic or traction from one viral pin, which then slowly trickles and dies away. This traffic is organic and its linear growth is completely stable. In addition to that, Pinterest users are medium income earners who earn an average of $70k a year, so you’re confident that you’re working with a platform with truly remarkable potential.
The Humble Beginnings of Pinterest
Pinterest, like many other online-based businesses began as a small Silicon Valley startup founded by college buddies, Paul Sciarra and Ben Silbermann in 2008–in the midst of the great recession. It spiked to popularity only three years after. Many believe it’s the upshot of Facebook buying social media favorite, Instagram, for a billion dollars. Speculations of how much the idea-sharing platform is worth have also soared.
Today, Pinterest is loved by over 20 million users across the globe–from stay-at-home mothers looking to find a new hobby to creatives looking for design inspiration.
Here’s a great little video I found that gives a brief overview of the history of pinterest.
How Pinterest works
The correct way to use Pinterest is not to think of it as social media. Even if it’s branded as a platform of such, it is actually more of a visual search engine where people can view and collect content. In a platform where relevance is given more regard, content is much more evergreen. This platform is not about making friends or being notified when a certain birthday is coming up. Pinterest is about timeless content that serves purpose.
Another interesting characteristic that’s exclusive to Pinterest is that–it’s not about how many followers you have. Unlike in Facebook where more page likes correlate with more link clicks, the number of followers on Pinterest is not the actual key to success. If our Desima profile had 50,000 followers instead of 10,000, I really don’t think that it would’ve made a difference to our traffic. The key is to simply create awesome content. People go to Pinterest to save images they like, learn new things and look for inspiration–essentially, the Pinterest landscape is a content marketer’s dream.
The Power of Repinning
Pinterest is not about ‘likes’ or ‘shares’– it’s about ‘re-pins’. Getting repinned is the best way for your content to drive traffic. Desima has had quite a few pins go viral, with one pin getting over 140,000 re-pins, and many others reaching up to 10,000+ user engagement stats. That means a whole lot of traffic because when people click on a pin they’ll be redirected to the website where it’s hosted. So create awesome content in a visually exciting way, get it re-pinned and watch the traffic roll on in.
How to come with ideas for your own pins
Based on our experience with Desima, a good way to get an idea of what sort of content gets repinned is to do a search for pins that have over 5000 re-pins then save these to a secret board for reference and learn from them. Ask yourself; what sort of content is this? What images have been used? How has the content been delivered? Can I find inspiration in existing pins and produce content that’s even better than the competition? You don’t need new original ideas, find things that are already popular and put your own spin on them. Look for content that has been repinned atleast 1000 or 5000 times. Also, remember creating imagery such as info graphics is something you can always add onto your blog post.
Benefits of Using Pinterest
Now, let’s take a look at the many benefits that you can reap when you launch your company into this unique social media platform. These are based on our own experiences with Desima.
Pinterest is a great way to expand your company’s audience. In our case, it is way more effective than any other platform on the internet. Also, each pin contains the link to the image source, which drives website traffic so much quicker. Can you imagine how much traffic your website can reach with just a few pins? The fact is–Pinterest has over 150 million users and that data alone is enough reason for you to get started on using the platform for your business.
With Pinterest, you can easily see which kinds of posts generate the most traffic. You can also see what’s trending every day. We use these insights to formulate marketing strategies that would appeal to our target market.
User engagement within Pinterest will help you solidify your online presence. By producing creative and helpful infographics that relate to gardening, we were able to build a name for ourselves and increased our visibility. With the help of many other bloggers and websites that have re-pinned and shared our original infographics, other audiences get the chance to be redirected to our website, increasing our regular traffic.
Building and Amplifying Your Audience on Pinterest
Before getting cozy in this relatively new social media platform, it is crucial for you to ask the questions, (1) “Is Pinterest really the appropriate social media platform for my brand?” and (2) “Will Pinterest be able to help me reach my brand’s goals?”
Pinterest, while continuously growing in number, happens to have much more female users, a staggering 85% in fact. Taking a look at other key figures, we understand why the social media platform is not one to be ignored in terms of marketing:
- 30% social media users in the US use Pinterest.
- 40% social media users outside the US use Pinterest.
- The average time per visit spent on Pinterest is 14.2 minutes.
- In 2014, its growth in social media users not from the US is 135%. (Mashable, 2014)
In answering the two questions, a business owner should consider the following approaches of driving Pinterest traffic, and use Pinterest Analytics (to get data about average daily impressions and viewers, audience location, number of repins, amount of clicks, number of likes, etc.)
DRIVING PINTEREST TRAFFIC USING VISUAL CONTENT
As soon as you start your blog or website, produce and publish content straight away. It took us 6 months for our content to go viral. It was then that we realized the platform’s potential and started aiming higher.
Producing high-quality content plays an essential role in driving Pinterest traffic. The more visually pleasing and informative your content is, the more likely it is to capture one’s attention and ease the flow of user engagement. You’d be surprised to know that how many Pinterest users are already spreading out word about your brand or blog.
We don’t pin things on a strict day-to-day basis. In fact, it’s been a couple of months since our last pin; but mind you, the traffic to Desima’s site remains constantly successful. That’s how we know we’re producing high-quality content.
Non-visual oriented brands can take on a more innovative approach to communicate their information with Pinterest users. Even if your brand doesn’t really have opportunities to produce visual medium, such as those in the service sector, you may still generate user engagement by introducing visual content that somehow relates to your brand.
Almost any type of content can be made visual for Pinterest. Let’s take a look at some examples:
- If you’re a product-specific brand, you can pin articles that talk about its benefits, or photos of accessories and complementary products.
- If you’re a travel blogger, you can pin travel pics that link to your blogs on travel destinations.
- If you’re a health and fitness instructor, you can pin articles about weight loss, vitamins and supplements.
Bear in mind that Pinterest is not solely for photographers, bloggers and brands that sell visually appealing, tangible products. Think about how you can market your content visually through use of photos, infographics, interesting typeface and more. People on Pinterest want informative visual content so it is also a good idea to add text and a little bit of graphics to your photos. This will increase the chances of your image being repinned.
What worked well for us in Desima is creative infographics. Infographics are a great way to turn ideas and concepts into visual ‘how tos’, and these often go viral on the social media platform. Ping Design is also one of the many Pinterest-hosted companies that regularly churn out infographics to increase their traffic and online presence. So instead of just using one nice feature image along with a substantial amount of text, think about how you can turn your idea into an infographic or a step-by-step ‘how to’ guide with images. This is the sort of content that, in our experience, will get you thousands of re-pins.
It is crucial for you to choose your images carefully. You want it to instantly capture a person’s attention and make him click on the link as soon as he sees it, rather than simply scrolling right past.
Include a watermark with your website logo and web address on all your images to ensure that when your content does get re-pinned, there’s no questions about where it originally came. This also makes your website easier to locate. Polite bloggers will take your images and link back to your site. Moreover, this will improve your SEO. It’s also a great idea to have your website url and logo on your images.
Driving Traffic By Following Good And Responsible Pinterest Practices
What makes Pinterest so popular is that it drives compelling content. It keeps the users interested and most of all engaged. By following good and responsible Pinterest practices, you can achieve peak user engagement. These practices promote fascinating and factual content.
In this section, we have compiled some of our proven and tested Pinterest habits that will not only make you a responsible Pinterest user, but will also help you drive legitimate traffic.
Pinning good quality images
What makes a Pinterest-worthy image? Generally, we are aiming to create visual content that could easily capture a person’s attention and initiate shares to further widen its reach. To our advantage, social media pioneers have come up with survey-based research that reveals which properties make up the perfect image for the Pinterest audience. It includes the following:
- Minimalist background
- Moderate lighting and color
- Touches of red (complementing Pinterest’s interface)
- Portrait orientation, 735 pixels wide
- Text on images
These characteristics should be proportioned equally, otherwise it could turn into a total eyesore.
Pinning on a regular basis
In social media marketing, absence DOES NOT make the heart grow fonder; it makes your followers forget you, so you always want to keep them interested and engaged.
Frequent and consistent posting and sharing is the key to expanding your audience, encouraging social media engagement and migrating traffic to your own website or blog. You should be able to know the peak hours when most traffic in your target demographic is achieved.
The recommended frequency for daily posts is five, but some digital marketers find 15-20 posts a day more effective in generating user engagement. For small companies and start up brands, on the other hand, digital marketers could take on the consistency approach–posting in smaller numbers but with a higher regard for regularity and coherence. This would keep your followers tuned in and bracing for more pins.
It’s also important to note that this practice is especially considered necessary in the first stages of building your Pinterest following. When you’re just building your website reputation, you need to be able to draw viewers with consistent and quality content.
To make sure that you drive compelling, factual and trackable content, you must include the source, whether it’s from a different blog or website or from your own. Pinning responsibly entails giving credit and an appropriate caption to describe the post.
This is great for businesses with media publications and online businesses, especially if it features products for sale. Other users who are interested in the product could easily check it out and purchase it. Fun fact: 87% of Pinterest users have purchased a product through the platform (Shopify, 2015).
Every single one of our original content pins will take you to the Desima.co website in a single swift click, and it contributes greatly to our daily website traffic. In the early stages, we found that it’s important to pin other people’s content and mix them with your own. As our audience increased, we settled with just pinning original content.
Creating meaningful, keyword-rich descriptions
Pinterest has a higher regard for relevance compared to its fellow social media platforms Facebook and Twitter, where content is driven chronologically. This is why you should incorporate keywords in your descriptions to optimize your visibility. You don’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about what to write in your descriptions. Consumer behavior studies reveal that most people type in general keywords to find what they are looking for.
Since Desima is a company for gardening enthusiasts and hobbyists, we make use of both general and specific tags, such as ‘aquaponics’, ‘herbs’, ‘indoor plants’, etc… We want to offer our products and how-to infographics to those who are already lovers of the craft, and those who want to learn more about the craft.
One of the more recent features of Pinterest is the Smart Feed. This was incorporated to replace the social media platform’s chronological way of pinning. It is quite similar to the search results of leading search engines like Google and Yahoo, where the most relevant are featured on the top. To measure a pin’s relevance, certain criteria should be met: (1) pin quality, (2) source quality, and (3) Pinboard Organization.
This criteria pertains to the substance and quality of your pins. High-quality images are more likely to earn a spot at the top of Pinterest’s game-changing Smart Feed. High-quality content doesn’t have to be original. For one, the Pinterest community loves the idea of collecting and sharing. When starting out, it is a great idea to mix original with curated content. By doing this, you are also supporting fellow Pinterest brands.
Most pins that reach the top of the feed are from credible sources. While it is also necessary to pin content from your own website, it’s also a good idea to come up with related content from other external websites. Citing from credible sources is a good way to establish trust for your followers.
No one likes a cluttered workspace. Similarly, you won’t get a lot of traction if your brand’s Pinterest profile is not properly organized with the appropriate pinboard descriptions. People use the social media platform to get new ideas and design inspirations. If users can’t find what they’re looking for due to the lack of coordination and helpful descriptions, they’ll be itching to make their way back to the Pinterest homepage.
Following like-minded folks
Following Pinterest profiles that belong to your industry and/or share the same interests as you is another way to generate followers. When we were just starting out, we were tempted to use automated followers or bots to boost our brand’s profile, but we soon discovered that we can, in fact, build our following organically by using this technique. Sure, it requires more time and effort, but it would generate completely organic and not to mention, legitimate Pinterest followers and engagement.
When you follow someone on Pinterest, they will receive an email notification regarding this activity, and if your content is good and relatable to them, they’re likely to follow you back. If you find a specific board that you like, you can speed the process up by clicking on ‘followers’, and then clicking ‘follow’ next to the users who follow that board. This is a quick way to find and follow people of similar interests.
Making your website Pinterest-friendly
Launching your brand on the social media platform means having to incorporate Pinterest features on your website. Pinterest and your website will work hand-in-hand in achieving your brand’s goals and ambitions, so it is necessary to let your audience know that your brand is accessible in both platforms.
It is also important to remind your Pinterest followers about what’s on your website every now and then. The simplest way to promote cross-engagement and traffic migration is to provide Pin it and Follow widgets. This will make it so much easier for your website visitors to pin your content to their Pinterest boards and drive traction.
At Desima.co, we have incorporated a ‘Follow me on Pinterest’ notification bar which redirects to our Pinterest page. In addition to that, we also made a sharing widget available to all our website posts, making it much easier for our website visitors to pin our content.
For WordPress-hosted websites, you can use various Pinterest plug-ins like the social media sharing button, and the Pinboard widget. The Desima website is built on Squarespace, and I use App Sumo, wich seems to be decent enough.
Building a community
Communities are built by establishing relationships with people of the same industry and those who share the same interests as you. You can start by looking for boards, contributors, and brands that fit your niche. You can also take advantage of boards that allow multiple contributors. This way, you can extend your brand’s online presence to your target demographic.
Maintaining a Pinterest Profile
Trust us–if you’re thinking about launching your brand into this social media platform, it is best if you have a constant stream of visual content ready to be published at any time. More published content means more chances of user engagement as well as external website traffic. But this is easier said than done. Moreover, having more images on your blog posts means more chances of getting pinned.
Creating original content and coming up with marketing strategies and gimmicks that could put your business on the map require focus, time, careful thought and attention to detail. While this is true in most social media platforms, launching your company on Pinterest is a task you can manage single-handedly. All it really takes is setting up the right boards and pinning meaningful content.
Setting Up Your Boards
Setting up a Pinterest board is very simple. You just have to go to your profile, and choose ‘Create a Board’. Then, you’ll only need to fill up the basic information when prompted.
Pinterest boards differ from profile to profile, depending on what individual users find interesting. In the time you’ve spent on Pinterest, you’ll find yourself pinning content of varying topics and niches, no matter how specific your profile can be. This is why it is important to set up boards.
As you can see, we are very pleased and satisfied with our marketing experience with Pinterest. We highly recommend it to businesses who are just starting out and established corporations.
Launching Desima on Pinterest has been a huge success. It also played an important part in the growth of our company. It has opened our eyes to fresh new content marketing options and opportunities to make Desima a recognized brand, not only to the members of our niche, but also to all Pinterest users looking to find gardening inspiration. Pinterest has contributed greatly not only in our growth as a company, but also in our mission to bring nature to more people’s lives.