PINTEREST AS A TOOL FOR MARKETING
Hopefully this essay gives a deeper view on what is Pinterest, how can it be used to help grow businesses and how to use it. It is written by Iiris Ryhänen, Anni Pylkkänen and Kaisa Oksala
“I’d venture to say that Pinterest can be the most powerful search engine for your blog’s growth after Google!”, says Kim Herrington, an SEO consultant and a Google Ads expert on her blog post “Top Pinterest Categories To Drive Traffic”(n.d.).
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a social media platform that is described by Pinterest itself as a “visual discovery engine for finding ideas like recipes, home and style inspiration, and more” (Pinterest help center, n.d. what is pinterest). According to Statista (7.11.2022), in the third quarter of 2022, Pinterest had 445 million active users. Hayden Beth writes in her book called Pinfluence (2012, p.13) how Pinterest can be compared to a “huge room where people gather with collections of their favorite things-). In Pinterest connects likeminded people and its algorithm makes everyone a specified homepage. Pinterest is a great platform for finding inspiration and romanticizing life but also good for different businesses and for example influencers. No matter if you are just a user or a content creator there are some important terms to learn if you want to understand how Pinterest works.
Pin is basically a singular post that is pinned on a board. It includes the picture of course, but can also include a title, description, destination website and an alt text.
Board is a selection of photos, usually the photos are connected to each other through a category. It is possible to create multiple boards. There can be a board named “my style” that includes pictures of styles that the creator wants to achieve, for an example. Here is an example of what a pin that romanticizes the cottage life in Finland can look like:
(PICTURE 1. Pinterest)
This Pin has no description, but it is posted just for enjoyment, not with marketing purposes.
When you go to the search bar, Pinterest suggests categories that you might like based on what you’ve previously engaged with. It can be said that the algorithm is very sensitive, if you click to a few pins with Moomins, It is very likely for you to see Moomin pins next time you refresh your frontpage. In Kim Herringtons blog (Top Pinterest categories to drive traffic, n.d.) , she tells how smaller subcategories, called interests, are more essential to users than bigger categories. An example of a big category can be “style and fashion” and an interest could be casual outfits, or colorful dresses. Herrington also mentions how for the algorithm categories are not as important as content of the pin (description, links, actual content of the picture etc), where it comes from and how it’s interacted with. To be effective with Pinterest marketing, it is still important to focus on categories as well. With the business account, it is possible to see what categories are most famous.
Examples of a customer journey
What does the Pinterest of a 22-year old woman who is interested in home décor, fashion and cooking look like? The front page is filled with trendy and aesthetic pictures of clothing, cute cakes, ads, cozy homes, basically pictures that are just their style. How can they end up becoming a fan or a buying customer? Let’s imagine a situation where they see a pin of a bedroom and they open it and realize that they want to have the rug in their own bedroom. They save the pin to their board called “home inspo”, then they first see if the creator has added any names for the rug or websites, if not they can open the comments and look for the answer there. One option on how to possibly find the rug is to use Pinterest’s visual search, that finds all the pictures posted there, with the same or similar content.
Another situation could be that they see someone with impeccable style, they click the pin and save it to one of their boards called “my future style”. Scrolling under the pin, they get recommended similar photos and find another great picture of the same person. They realize that they love the persons content and see that their Instagram is written on the title and go follow them there and on Pinterest to keep seeing their content.
Personal and business account
If wanting to use Pinterest as a tool for growing a business, it is suggested to create a business account. If wanting to use the page to just find inspiration, not for posting content, a normal account is enough. With business account you will get the access to Pinterest analytics, Pin stats and to create ads. With Pin stats it is possible to get information on the metrics just by clicking the Pin. Pinterest analytics gives a more specific information about the engagement on your Pinterest. With ads manager it is possible to create ads.( Pinterest business, n.d.) The business account is free, but if an upgrade to be able to use Ads manager is needed, it costs some money.
According to Kim Herringtons blog “Top Pinterest Categories To Drive Traffic”, you can add a category for your board, which makes it easier for users to find your pins. When going to board settings and editing them, Pinterest should force you to select a category for your board. This feature couldn’t be found so it might be available for certain countries only. Content creators can also earn income with Pinterest, but so far that option is only available in The United States.
(PICTURE 2. Picture)
Here is what a board can look like when you have an business account. This account was just changed to business account so none of the statistics are yet available.
Pinterest makes predictions for the upcoming year, 8 out of 10 predictions made in 2020 became true in 2021. Now if the predictions for 2023 are wanted, they can be seen by Pinterest business account owners, if they join Pinterest business email list. The predictions that were made for 2022 included Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Boomers for their audience. They also had predictions for different categories and had beautiful visuals for them. (Business Pinterest)
How to use Pinterest as a tool for marketing?
Pinterest has so many users, but not a lot of companies realize to use it or know how to use it. It is a platform where a company can create a visual story of their brand. It is not as easy as paying for an ad in there. It is more like having ones products placed in aesthetic pictures, without it looking like an advertisement to the consumer. Creating a community on Pinterest is very important as well. There is so much information out there on how to do marketing on Pinterest but here are some tips based on Baker’s blog text (The Ultimate Guide to Pinterest Marketing. n.d.).
- Distribute your content
- build a community
- Educate customers
- Drive website traffic and boost online sales
Distribute your content
In Pinterest the content is mostly visual, but with every post, it’s possible to add links to for example blog posts, Instagram, websites et cetera. Sharing your content from Pinterest to other platforms will also increase the chances of your following growing. Pinterest can be linked to your linkedin, web page, blog, Instagram, Facebook, Google accounts et cetera.
Often times you can see that users in the comments are asking where a product is from, if it’s not mentioned in the posts captions.
Be active, create different boards. What is interesting on Pinterest, is that you can create a board with other peoples pictures, they don’t have to be your own. If you have a company related to interior design, what you can do, is to create different boards for different interior aesthetics. One board could be about Maximalism, one could be Japandi et cetera, and you can add your own pictures in the midst of others. Creating boards can help customers find your products well, and you can show your creative side and connect your products to a certain aesthetic.
If you want someone else to edit a board with you, you can invite them to the board and you can all edit it. Creating group boards increases engagement and interaction. (Baker)
Build a community
According to Barker, Pinterest, like other online communities, brings together people with similar interests. Creating content that you and your followers love, can bring traffic to your websites. Being interactive with others is important, because they might become your customers, whether it’s a customer making a purchase or a new fan following you on Instagram. How to build a community and following then? Engage with others’ posts, comment on them, save them to your boards, see what your competitors are doing, use keywords and ask influencers to re-post your content (Baker).
Pinterest is nowadays full of tutorial videos and pictures, so it’s a great site for educating customers. What is important is to know well the target group (Baker). Examples: if you are a fashion influencer, you could make tutorials on how to create multiple styles with just one sweater. What you should not do, is to post a tutorial on how to make food. Pretty simple, but when creating content, one might get excited and start creating all kinds of content without focusing on the target group. When you want to give something for everyone, it’s actually giving nothing to anyone.
Baker gave some tips on how to make sure your content is for your target group: do good research on the buyer persona and what kind of content they usually consume. Other tips were to create a survey as usual and to do a competitor analysis.
Drive website traffic and boost online sales
On Pinterest, it’s possible to add a link to your content, like previously said. By adding a link of your Pinterest page to your website or other social media platform, creates more engagement that can lead to more sales. Barker explains about a tool called widget builder that allows you to add a link to your profile or a specific board or a pin. She also linked some pages that have more information on how to use the widget builder, it is definitely worth to learn if there is interest in that.
Keywords and phrases can be used everywhere on the profile, pins, boards, videos et cetera. Using keywords makes it more likely for the algorithm to pick up the content. For example if you sell beauty products, you might use words like “beauty”, “makeup inspiration”, “party looks” in your profile. Places you can put keywords: bio and profile, pin description, board titles, board description, image alt-text. Remember not to fill everything with the same keywords, to keep it organic, just like on Google search engine optimization. (Herrington, Kimberly. n.d. How to do keyword research on pinterest)
What to focus on when creating a board?
Board name helps your account to be found, the name shouldn’t be too similar to everyone elses boards but also not too strange either. According to Herrington’s blog text called “How to write pinterest board descriptions” (n.d.) the name of the board is one of the main factor in Pinterests search engine optimization. Herrington suggests that you should find out what keywords do your customers use, to find ideas for the name.
Board description helps the users know what kind of content does the board include. It also tells the algorithm what your pins are about. How to add it? Click edit on your board and write the description, that’s easy. What the description should consist of: [What content is featured on the board] + [The problem the content will solve] + [Who the content is for]. Shorter description is often more effective. (Herrington, How to write pinterest board descriptions. n.d.)
What to focus on when creating a Pin?
Pin title, the same rules apply to pins as boards, simple but effective. The title can be up to 100 characters and the description up to 500 characters. In the description there should be keywords used naturally, perhaps a call to action, for example your Instagram name as a suggestions to follow you. Next you can add destination website. The link can be to your website, blog, Facebook et cetera, wherever you want to create more traffic. Lastly there is Alt text. Alt text is a precise descprition of what is happening in the picture, it is meant for the visually impared people and is not seen for others. Be very descriptive when writing it. All these steps affect to the Pinterests SEO.
Who can use Pinterest?
Anyone. There are so many categories there to use. You can find inspiration for your next party, for nice diy gifts, for your next trip, for a new home, for a new renovation project, the possibilities are huge. People and companies that could use Pinterest as a tool for marketing could be for example bloggers, photographers, designers, Interior designers, educators, beauty and welfare companies (personal trainers, cosmetic brands, makeup artists, hair artists etc.), influencers, food brands, clothing brands, accommodation services, real estate businesses and the list goes on…
If you are interested in Pinterest marketing, you should make research if it is a site that your customers use, if it is, make a marketing plan and start creating! Find out what kind of content do your customers consume, make a competitor analysis, find out important keywords and the categories that should be used. After a while of creating you should analyze your results to see if you have done the right things and what could be done better.
Herrington, Kimberly. ND. Top Pinterest Categories To Drive Traffic. Blog post. Read on 2.12.2022. https://kimberlyherrington.com/pinterest-management-services/pinterest-categories
Pinterest Help Center. n.d. What is Pinterest? Web page. Read on 2.12.2022. https://help.pinterest.com/en/guide/all-about-pinterest
Dixon, S. Nov 7.2022. Pinterest: number of monthly active users worldwide 2016-2022. Web page. Read on 2.12.2022
Hayden, Beth 2012: Pinfluence. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Herrington, Kimberly. n.d. Top Pinterest Categories To Drive Traffic. Blog post. Read on 2.12.2022 https://kimberlyherrington.com/pinterest-management-services/pinterest-categories
Pinterest Business. n.d. Web page. Read on 2.12.2022. https://business.pinterest.com/en/analytics-and-measurement/
Baker, Kristen. 17.5.2022. The Ultimate Guide to Pinterest Marketing. Blog post. Read on 2.12.2022. https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/31147/the-ultimate-guide-to-mastering-pinterest-for-marketing.aspx
Herrington, Kimberly. n.d. How to do keyword research on pinterest. Blog post. Read on 2.12.2022. https://kimberlyherrington.com/pinterest-management-services/pinterest-keywords
Herrington, Kimberly. n.d. How to write Pinterest board descriptions. Blog post. Read on 2.12.2022. https://kimberlyherrington.com/pinterest-management-services/pinterest-board-descriptions
Screenshot picture, Pinterest, account of Iiris Ryhänen
Screenshot picture, Pinterest, account of Iiris Ryhänen