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The Ten Commandments Of Pinterest

Jan 14, 2013 / by Hilary Biggart


Pinterest is escalating.

If it isn’t part of your business’ internet marketing strategy, you could be falling behind.

Don’t believe me? Here are some interesting statistics that make the case for Pinterest being a valuable asset for your internet marketing strategy:

How about brand awareness? Pinterest users have increased 145% since January 2012[1] attracting a humble 1,090 visitors per minute[2].

Need further proof? Pinterest is highest network for both brand awareness, and visitation with 36% of online consumers aware, and 19% visiting[3].

Can it help the bottom line? Pinterest buyers spend more money, more often than the other top 5 social media sites[4] with 47% of U.S. online consumers making a purchase based on recommendation from Pinterest[5], and 21% of users having purchased directly from a website[6].

Like I said, Pinterest is proving its seat at your marketing round table.

I. Thou Shall Understand The Pinterest

Pinterest is more than just an online pin board of beautiful images, it is an explosive social network.

Pinterest is the third most popular social network behind Facebook and Twitter; and it is driving more referral traffic than Google+, Youtube, and LinkedIn.

Top Social Networks

To succeed in pinning, one must understand the basics. Learn about the definition and lingo in this post. Understanding is more than just definitions, it is demographic, too.

Pinterest is becoming more and more gender equal, with a shift in female usership from 74% in September 2011 to 65% in March 2012. The age range is also balancing out with a 5% increase in users between the ages of 35-54. In May 2012, Pinterest began its journey as a global conqueror by looking to add French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Bottom line, Pinterest is growing and balancing at historic rates.

II. Thou Shall Define, Then Start

Planning Your Pinterest StrategyBefore any image is pinned, board created, or brand started, there needs to be some planning.

Pull out the whiteboard, and define the purpose, the goals and your client base. What are you looking to accomplish? Is it generating more links, building brand awareness or increasing online sales? What are your success metrics?

Once everything is properly planned, the real fun begins.

Create your profile, build your boards, and start visually branding your business. Leverage the site to introduce new products, show off best sellers, and present your business directly to your customer. Etsy excels at this. By purpose, they are, “The marketplace we make together,” showcasing 55 boards featuring guest pinners; editor’s picks, and organized products from international sites.

III. Thou Shall Curate Thy Brand

Once your profile is created – curate.

To get the most from your boards, categorize correctly, add a unique description, and set a board image. Then curate your content through the images and pins.

Like all social media sites, content is king. Curate your brand by featuring content that is applicable, pleasant, shareable, thus adding value to your brand. It is essential to share content from sources beyond your website and your brand.

Re-pin images that flatter your brand and provide a diverse mix of images from your industry. Your boards should be a commemoration of things that embody your business, your best services, and specific stylistic representations of your brand.

Whole Foods Market does an excellent job with curating their Pinterest boards:

Whole Foods Market Pinterest Boards

IV. Thou Shall Understand the How of Pinning

Nothing is more aggravating than poor pins. Pinterest is an exhibit of beautiful images relating to basic human needs: making them healthier, happier, or richer. A grainy, out of focus JPEG isn’t going to cut it.

The most compelling images are simple, understandable, and related to trends.

The next offender after a poor image is the deplorable description. As appealing as “Awwwww” or the nonchalant period may seem as captions, it does not add to credibility or creativity of your brand.

Instead, utilize keyword-rich captions with a call-to-action (CTA) for your pins. For example, Reachli A-B tested two pins: one with a call-to-action within the description, and one without. Not surprisingly, the pin with the CTA saw an 80% increase in pins versus the pin without. A CTA description can be as simple as adding, “Tutorial on how to…” or “19 ways to…”

V. Thou Shall Understand the When of Pinning

Best Time To Pin With PinterestLike every other social network, knowing “when” is key.

Pinterest is no different, and has definite high and low activity points throughout the day. The goal is to pin at the least competitive and most effective time.

For Pinterest, the highest activity tends to be between 5-7 a.m. and 6-10 p.m. EST, as this is the case the best time to submit content is one hour prior to ensure higher visibility. Additionally, don’t submit everything at once. Pinterest has limited every user account to one piece of content on the category pages per hour in an attempt to control spam. It is best to not pin anything up to 4 hours prior to pushing your content.

VI. Thou Shall Engage with Customers

Engage your customers. Respond to comments, feature their boards, run contests – the possibilities are endless.

Pinterest is another venue for customer interface, so interact, socialize, and connect. One of the best ways to engage is to promote others’ pins through likes, comments, and re-pins. ModCloth shares pins from bloggers and websites that share their mutual admiration for all things eclectic, and vintage.

As far as contests go, reach beyond the typical “Pin It to Win It”. Harness the creative power of your Pinterest followers. Engage them by asking for their opinions on the next marketing strategy, comments on the new office designs or votes on the trends they most want to see in your next collection. Choose the winners by awarding points based on likes, comment and re-pins.

One final way to engage your customer base: add the “Pin It” button to your product pages. Etsy includes the “Pin It” button on all listing pages, alongside the usual “Tweet” and “Like” buttons, allowing their 55 thousand followers to actively participate in the content distributed on Pinterest.

VII. Thou Shall Understand the SEO Benefit

Pinterest GuidePinterest is not an SEO strategy, but it is a necessary cog.

Yes, it helps diversify your backlink portfolio; provides a profile link back to the site; increases traffic referrals, and it’s a route to take creative content viral. However, my opinion is that the SEO benefit is not in the link or traffic, but in the community.

In March 2012, Pinterest went from dofollow links to nofollow links – shifting the focus for SEOs from link acquisition to community creation. Like any other social network, the more engagement put in will directly correlate in the success of the social media presence.

Furthermore, Pinterest is a visual representation of your brand. It allows you to gain followers that are interested in the brand, build connections for link building, and focus on building an interested audience. Pinterest isn’t the place to build links; it is the place to find opportunities to get links from other Pinterest users.

VIII. Thou Shall Use Pinterest Constructively

As I mentioned previously, Pinterest is a tool. As it is such, let’s use it constructively.

Here are some ways to effectively use Pinterest:

  • Use it as a source of link building outreach. (SEO.com is hosting a webinar about using Pinterest for your business as a marketing tool. Check it out!)
  • Optimize your boards according to Commandment number Three.
  • Expand your brand controlled search results (make sure the “Hide your Pinterest profile from search engines” is turned off).
  • Focus on brand friendly pins with high click-through rates. Don’t forget to optimize the landing pages, too.
  • Curate content around your industry to build brand authority and add to discussion.
  • Remember trending topics and stay ahead to ensure constant relevancy.
  • Don’t forget about your other social networks. Facebook and Twitter are extremely powerful too!
  • Use hash tags in descriptions to “tag” your pin on Twitter around trending topics.

IX. Thou Shall Create

Pinterest is a strong source for generating, and creating content ideas.

Explore and browse, note the details and images that pique interest or are strong brand representations that could be recreated for your site. Look for trends and themes that frequently show in the feed, and are they relative the brand’s content? Do any pins stand out in terms of color, content, or style?

Look in unexpected categories for inspiration and blog post ideas. Use the search bar to find more specific ideas. Search for places, trends, peoples, and events. Lastly, follow the rabbit hole for the original source of content. It can produce new ideas, and new blogs to follow.

X. Thou Shall Learn from Pinterest

Pinterest also provides ways to do some quick research that is directly corresponding from your customer base.

Every pin displays consequential information such as comments, “likes,” other images in the same board and more. Go one step further: type http://pinterest.com/source/“sitedomain.com” into your browser, and replace “sitedomain.com” with the web site URL . Quickly see the images pinned directly from the site with additional information like re-Pins and comments.

Furthermore, you can understand how the customer perceives the product. If nothing is said, a simple pin/re-pin shows generated interest. Use this free information to your advantage!

One final way to learn from Pinterest is to see who is doing it right.

West Elm is a home decorating source with color palette, spatial area, and pattern themed boards. By featuring items together, West Elm makes it easier to up-sell their client base, and resonates with customer needs.

What other brands are doing well and how can you increase your own effectiveness on Pinterest?

Topics: SEO Blog Content Marketing Social Media

Hilary Biggart

Written by Hilary Biggart

Passionate, detail-oriented contributor with a strong customer success record. I thrive in a challenging, fast-paced environment where teamwork, productivity, and operational excellence are fundamental to the organization’s culture.

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