Sure, Pinterest is a visual treasure trove of all things wedding, baking, and fashion-oriented. But don’t write the social network off if your business doesn’t fall into those industry categories.
Even if your brand is lacking an inherently Pinterest-friendly visual product, you can still develop a content strategy to take advantage of Pinterest. Here’s how to do it.
Know your audience—and know who uses Pinterest
Before you begin mapping out a Pinterest strategy, it’s a good idea to cross-compare your existing audience (or potentially the new audience you’re trying to attract) with Pinterest users.
Of all the social networks, Pinterest is perhaps the most clearly skewed in one demographic direction: Pinterest is most commonly used by women ages 19 to 29, who have graduated college and make over $75,000 annually.
Take a look at your own customer demographic information; if you don’t know right away who your customer base is, spend some time doing market research before going any further.
If there isn’t much overlap between your existing customer base (or the customers you’re hoping to attract) and Pinterest’s main demographic, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should forego Pinterest. But, it is worth keeping in mind as you develop a content strategy, and it is possible that you may not find as much success on Pinterest as you would on other social platforms.
Set up a Pinterest business account
Now that you’ve taken a minute to compare your customer demographics with Pinterest’s primary user base, spend a moment setting up your business’s Pinterest account.
Setting up a Pinterest account is very straightforward, but make sure you’re linking it to your business’s website. Pinterest for Business walks you through the process of setting up your account here.
Create Pinterest boards
Once you’ve created your account, it’s time to set up Pinterest boards.
The types of Pinterest boards you create will largely depend on what kind of business you run. As a rule, however, try to create a variety of boards that reflect your company culture, product or service, industry, and topics of interest to your ideal client.
For an example of creative use of boards, take a look at L.L.Bean’s Pinterest page:
The outdoor-focused brand highlights their culture and brand values by featuring boards dedicated to outdoor activities, pets, National Parks, and beyond. It feels authentic and varied, and encapsulates the brand.
Now, you don’t have to create quite so many (L.L.Bean has over 30!), but creating a variety of Pinterest boards is a key part of establishing a Pinterest presence that is multifaceted and captures the feeling of your brand.
Make your website Pinterest-friendly
If you want people to pin content directly from your website, there are two things to keep in mind: you need to make it easy for them to pin your content, and you need to post content worth pinning.
We’ll get to creating Pinterest-worthy content in the next step, but for now, we’ll focus on the easy part—adding Pinterest buttons to your website. The “save” button enables visitors to your site to pin directly to their Pinterest pages, without having to leave your website. It’s well worth adding as ideally your content will be shared on Pinterest by outsiders—not just by you!
Pinterest has a page on adding a save button on their Pinterest for Business guide, and again the Pinterest Widgets page is a good resource if you’re looking for other buttons (such as follow buttons and embedded boards).
Create Pinterest-worthy content
In addition to optimizing your website for Pinterest, it’s important to make sure that the content on your site is appropriate for the platform.
It’s no secret that Pinterest centers primarily around visual content; in fact, it’s not even a question of if visuals do better on Pinterest, but rather what kind of visual content performs best.
Focus on creating interesting visual content
If you want your content to be pinned and repinned on Pinterest, there should be a visual draw.
If you have a product that is visually appealing, you’re in luck—there are tons of resources on how to take great photos of your product for Pinterest, such as this guide by The Mogul Mom.
But, what if you don’t have a highly visual product or service? There are still ways you can make your website content appealing and Pinterest-worthy, but it’s a little trickier and you’ll have to get creative.
Infographics and graphic lists are popular on Pinterest and can be created easily in programs like Canva. You can also look to your customers for inspiration, and focus on curating content that speaks to your brand image, company culture, community, and the varied aspects of your brand identity that make up your business—not just your actual product or service.
For inspiration, look to General Electric:
It’s hard to think of a brand seemingly less likely to have curated a strong, visual Pinterest presence, but GE has managed to create fantastic visual content based around their brand and services.
Take a look at their “That’s Genius!” page, which focuses on “the wisdom of GE founder, Thomas Edison, and other revolutionaries”:
If you’re a B2B company or you lack a visually appealing product, that doesn’t mean you should avoid creating great visuals. It just means you need to get a little more creative.
Size your images correctly
On a more practical level, there is one specific thing you can do to make your visual content more shareable: make sure it is sized appropriately. The basic rule is an aspect ratio of 2:32, which could look like 600x900px, 800x1200px, and so on.
In addition (and just to plug Canva one more time), Canva has a template specifically for Pinterest, which will allow you to create a perfect image easily.
If you want a more detailed look at what goes into the ideally-sized pin, check out this cheat sheet, as well as this guide to image sizing from Buffer.
Repin other content to your boards
When it comes to building a strong presence on Pinterest, creating your own original content is only half of the equation.
Pinterest is a unique social platform in that its beauty comes in the form of curation. Think of your Pinterest boards as organized collections of content that will inspire, help, or otherwise positively benefit your customers and followers.
To augment your own original pins on your Pinterest boards, spend some time curating content from other sources, and repinning this content. This will add richness to your boards, and help position you as an influencer, someone who keeps up on their respective industry, rather than someone who is after a cheap marketing tactic.
Think of it this way: When you follow your favorite brands, do you only want to see information about their product or service, or their own blog posts? Probably not.
Personally, I prefer to follow accounts that post not only their own original content but also content they source from other businesses and influencers. I might love a certain skincare brand, but if all they pin are links back to their own product or articles from their blog, I won’t continue following them. Why should I? I can find all that information by visiting their website!
Think of how you can add value for a follower, and what you can do to create a unique experience for them, and make them enjoy following your boards on Pinterest.
Enable rich pins
Pinterest is a social network that relies on sharing and resharing content. As such, great images and posts can sometimes circulate without proper attribution. The last thing you want is one of your pins going viral without users knowing that it came from your business!
Rich pins have your website name and icon displayed beneath the pin so that users know where the pin came from. You can find out how to enable rich pins through this guide from Pinterest, and Melyssa Griffin details another easy way here.
Consider promoted pins
The beauty of social media marketing is that beyond the labor and time you and your team devote to developing your social presence, social media marketing can be a completely free endeavor.
That being said, there are ways to throw money at the problem. Promoted pins are exactly what they sound like: they are pins that you’ve chosen to pay to promote. The benefit of promoted pins is that you’re reaching a new, wider audience. The downside is, of course, that it’s going to cost you.
This article on creating a promoted pin campaign by Social Media Examiner will help you learn how to create one if it suits your business’s needs and financial situation. It’s worth noting, however, that a free strategy is a perfectly good place to start.
Tell your customers about your Pinterest page
There are a number of tactics you can employ to tell your existing customer base about your new Pinterest page.
If you have a physical storefront, consider creating a small sign to hang in your window, a stack of cards to keep at your front desk or reception area, or similar signage prompting your customers to find you on Pinterest. Check out my article on finding great offline marketing materials for suggestions on where to source these materials.
Beyond letting your customers know in person, make sure you lead customers to your new Pinterest page via your website. Check out Pinterest’s Website Widgets page for information on setting up a “follow us” button on your website, in addition to your pin buttons.
Don’t forget to utilize your email marketing to draw people to your Pinterest page, too. Consider sending out an email to your customer list, announcing your new Pinterest page and urging them to follow you, and you can also add a “follow us!” prompt to your email signature as well. You can also use a client like WiseStamp to add a Pinterest button to your signature as well.
Keep track of key metrics
As your Pinterest strategy starts to take shape, don’t forget the importance of establishing and tracking indicators of success.
Now, what these success indicators are will vary depending on what you want to track for your business. Maybe you’re interested in gaining as many followers as possible, or tracking which content gets the most repins, or tracking clicks back to your site. Whatever metrics you’re tracking, find a tool that will help you measure your success, and check back at a designated time to determine what is working and what isn’t.
Pinterest itself has an analytics function which will allow you to track certain aspects of a Pinterest page, but it’s also worth looking into third-party tracking tools, such as the 12 mentioned on this list by Brandwatch.
The exact tool you use is up to you, your business, and your particular needs and budget. What matters most is that you don’t just pin blindly, but that you determine what success looks like for your Pinterest page, and enable yourself to measure your success.
Ultimately, creating a Pinterest marketing strategy is all about thinking creatively. Furthermore, it’s about tapping into what makes your brand unique, memorable, and valuable to customers—not just what product or service you offer.
Have a question about Pinterest marketing, or a strategy you’d like to add?
We’d love to hear from you. Share this article and tell us what you think—and don’t forget to follow Bplans on Pinterest!