The Ultimate Pinterest Marketing Guide for 2020
Pinterest is an aspirational app—it’s for the busy dreamers who want to plan their ideal lives. It’s a visual search engine and bookmarking tool that allows users, or “Pinners”, to find inspiration for their wardrobes, events, and vacations. Pinners scroll through “Pins”, which can be anything from photos, graphics, and videos, and save them to themed boards. Other users then follow these Pinners and engage with their content by liking, commenting, or re-Pinning.
1. Why use Pinterest?
Now let’s get into a couple of reasons you should market on Pinterest:
- Pinterest has a large user base—it’s used by 335 million people monthly. 28% of adults and 1 in 2 millennials have accounts on the platform
- It’s popular—It’s the 4th most popular social media platform in the US ahead of Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn
- Users are active and engaged—There are nearly 2 billion searches per month and over 70% of Pinterest users search and save Pins. Those who use the app, use it actively to find and discover new visuals.
- Pins are shareable—One of the key metrics you should look at in a marketing platform is potential reach of your content. Pins are 100 times more shareable than a tweet and Pins will show up in your feed for 16,000 times longer than a Facebook post.
- Pinterest has a visual search engine—Visual search is growing in popularity, and Pinterest is the only social media platform to offer a visual search engine. Pinterest Lens can now visually identify more than 2.5 billion home and fashion objects.
- Pinterest offers educational marketing materials—The app comes with interactive workshops, webinars, a blog, newsletter, and other resources for small businesses that want to learn how to best use the app.
And here are some specific reasons you should use Pinterest for business as an online store owner:
- Users are looking to buy—According to a recent study, 75% of users are very interested in new products, compared to 55% of users on other digital channels.
- Pinterest boosts brand exposure—On top of that, 77% of weekly users discover new brands and products on the app.
- Pinterest content is visual—For those looking to use aesthetically-pleasing visuals to add value to their products, Pinterest is the perfect place to go. Whether it’s a DIY-home decor guide or a seasonal look-book, Pinterest users are looking for engaging visual content.
- The app drives traffic to your store—Pinterest has a high clickthrough rate and is second only to Facebook in generating social media traffic to Shopify stores.
- Women, especially moms, use Pinterest—If your target audience is women, then you’re in luck. 71% of Pinterest’s base is women, and 8 in every 10 moms in the US are on the platform.
- Pinterest is great for women’s fashion and home decor—These categories are in the top 5 most popular categories on Pinterest, which makes the app an ideal marketing channel for those selling in these categories.
- Ads on Pinterest work—Pinterest ads integrate seamlessly into user feeds, making them feel less invasive. Around 50% of Pinterest users have bought a product after seeing a promoted Pin.
2. Create your Pinterest Business profile
If you’re using Pinterest to market your online store, you’ll first need to create a business account. Pinterest Business is an account that states you’re a business, which gives you legitimacy. It also gives you access to the Pinterest widget, which allows users to Pin from your website, and gives you more ways for people to shop from your page.
There are three ways to create a Pinterest Business account. You can either:
- Add a business profile to your existing personal account
- Convert your existing personal account to a business account
- Or create a new Business account.
The process is essentially the same for each, so I’ll just cover how to build your business account from scratch.
- Click on your profile in the top right and select create a business account
- In the pop-up, write in your business name and include a profile photo. Your profile photo should be something that represents your brand, like your logo.
- On the next page, choose a category for your account like “Fashion” or “Home” then describe your brand by choosing “Online Retail” or “Marketplace” and hit “next”
- Then decide if you want to run Pinterest ads or not. If you’re not sure yet, there’s an option for that!
- Then click where you’d like to start: Share ideas by creating pins, grow your audience by running ads, or showcase your brand by building your profile.
Since I’ll touch on creating pins and running ads later in the article, let’s finish building your profile.
- Choose your location, language, and add a link to your store website
- Add a description of your business. You’ll want to include some of your keywords here to increase your organic discoverability, so do some keyword research before filling these in.
- Head to the “Claim” page and connect Pinterest to your other social media platforms like Instagram, Etsy, and YouTube. This means you can spread your content across platforms, so that more people can see it.
- Claim your website on the same page by adding a meta tag or uploading an HTML file to your website’s HTML code—this will ensure that your Pins trace back to you. Plus, it allows you to track your website analytics! By connecting your Pinterest account to your store, you can add a hovering “Pin It” button to any image on your site using Pinterest directly.
This encourages Pinners to re-pin your products, which ultimately increases their reach. You can do this straight from the Pinterest app or by using Pinterest’s widget builder for WordPress, Wix, Blogger, and Tumblr. Even if potential customers aren’t immediately ready to buy your products, connecting your Pinterest account to your store can give customers a way to bookmark your products to save for later.
Before you use Pinterest for business, you’ll need to add a profile cover and showcase boards. But to do that, you’ll need content first. So let’s talk about creating content for Pinterest!
3. How to create Pinterest content
There are several types of Pinterest content you can create to promote your online store:
- Product Pins—Photos of products you sell
- Blog post graphics—Graphics that promote articles you publish
- Infographic Pins—Convey information and data that could be helpful to your audience
- Lead magnets—Quality information that could be of use to your audience. You can place this behind an email opt-in
- Videos—Branded videos to promote your product. 75% of Pinners are likely to watch a video about a topic that interests them
- Gifs—Create your own gifs featuring your products.
After you’ve chosen which types of content you’d like to focus on, it’s time to plan topics that you’ll cover as part of your Pinterest marketing plan.
Most Pinterest searches are done organically through keyword searches, so first you’ll want to create content that people are looking for—this involves some keyword research. I’ll touch on this when covering SEO later on.
Different types of Pinterest content work for different niches, so be sure to research what types of content work in your niche. Consider what topics they’re choosing to get good results, what content types work for them, and what topics they haven’t covered that you could.
Pinterest Business image tips:
To hone your Pinterest marketing strategy, you need some insight on what makes a good Pin. So here are some tips to help you throughout the planning, editing, and posting process:
- Create bright, high-quality images—As simple as it may sound, bright, crisp images are the key to being discovered and selling on Pinterest
- Simplicity is key—Think of Pinterest as a window-shopping app. Keep your images simple so they draw Pinners in
- Avoid using excessive blank space in images—Maximize your framing by having your objects and subjects take up most of your photo. Images with less blank space are Pinned the most.
- Capture clothes and home decor in everyday settings—When selling clothes and accessories, use real people to model them in real places. For home decor, capture your products in a residential setting—this will allow users to visualize themselves using your product.
- Photograph your models from the neck down—While you should be taking photos of models using your products, interestingly enough, images without faces on Pinterest get 23% more Pins. So when taking product photos, be sure to get a couple of shots without faces for Pinterest.
Now here’s what to be aware of when editing your Pins:
- Design images at the right size—Pins are vertically oriented and most users are on mobile, so aim for a 2:3 aspect ratio and 736 x 1102 pixels for a typical Pin
- Create images with text—Text overlays are extremely popular on Pinterest for good reason. They add context and information to your images, giving users more of a reason to click and learn more! The best technique is to use collages with four or fewer images.
- Avoid adding borders—Borders on Pinterest tend to interfere with the visual flow of your feed, so steer clear of adding borders to your Pins.
- Brand your images with your logo—Pin sources can often get lost in the Pinterest shuffle, so add your logo or brand name to the corner of your images. Be sure to do this subtly so your watermark is visible, but not an eyesore.
- Lighten your images before posting—Before uploading your images, I recommend increasing the brightness and saturation as Pinterest tends to darken them in the posting process.
And lastly, before you post on Pinterest, here are some tips about writing titles and descriptions for your Pins:
- Include keywords and helpful details in your Pin and board descriptions—Not only do descriptions strengthen your branding, they also improve how discoverable your content is across Pinterest. Descriptions can be as long as 500 characters, but the first 50–60 characters are what show up in people’s feeds, so put your most important information there. However, avoid keyword stuffing and rather rely on storytelling to help your audience visualize themselves using your product.
- Write in full sentences and use correct capitalization and punctuation—This makes your descriptions more user-friendly and readable.
- Use a positive tone—Potential customers want to see your product as something that can add positive value to their lives. For best results, show off the benefits of your product with an optimistic tone.
- Include a call to action—However, avoid promotional information (15% off or two for $39.95), sales-y calls to action (Get it today!) or references to Pin functionality (Pin now!). While hard sells like these work well for other social media platforms, they tend to be off-putting for Pinterest users, so try a softer approach!
- Use hashtags sparingly—While Pinterest allows you to use hashtags, using the right keywords in your description can be enough for people to organically discover your content.
Design tools for Pinterest
There are some great free tools you can use to design content for Pinterest. Here’s a shortlist of the most popular and user-friendly apps you can try:
- Canva—Canva allows you to create pro images for Pinterest with over 1 million images, graphics, templates and icons.
- Pablo—With Pablo, you can quickly create images for Pinterest with easy-to-use effects and templates.
- PicMonkey— This app allows you to create and edit images with advanced editing tools like masking, mirroring, and double exposure.
4. Optimize your profile and Pins
Add a profile cover
Now that your profile is all set up and you’ve got some content ideas pre-planned, it’s time to add a profile cover. Profile covers show non-clickable Pins from that board at the top of your profile. Think of them like a cover photo on Facebook or Twitter.
Profile covers give users a general idea of what your Pinterest profile is about. So include your best branded content, like infographics, style guides, product shots, and new designs. The colors and fonts you use on your cover board should match your general branding.
Include feature boards
Feature boards also aim to showcase your theme and best content. They appear underneath your name and bio and present like a slideshow. They’re a great place to feature your products and give people an opportunity to quickly learn what you’re about.
Make it easy to buy from Pinterest
One of the biggest perks of using Pinterest as an ecommerce store owner is how easy the app makes it to shop. Here are some of the ways the app encourages buying:
Shop the Look Pins allow users to click on a specific item on a Pin that interests them and directs people to buy right through the app. Adding buyable Pins is free and Pinterest doesn’t take a portion of the sales. However, some limitations exist—Shop the Look Pins are only available for Android and iOS in the US, and only for select platforms like Shopify.
The Shop Tab for Business profiles are a feature of business profiles and lets users shop your products right from your profile.
Rich Pins gives users real-time information about your Pins. There are 5 types of Rich Pins: movie, recipe, article, product, and place. They showcase information like price, brand, product description, price drops, and calls to action. However, Rich Pins is an advanced technique, as it involves adding meta tags to your website and being validated by Pinterest.
Increase discoverability by using SEO
97% of Pinterest searches are non-branded, which means everyone has a fair shot of getting discovered on the app—as long as you use the right keywords in your Pin titles, descriptions, boards, and image file names. This involves a little search engine optimization (SEO) magic.
Hop on Pinterest and Google AdWords Keyword Planner and search keywords people would use to find your business. If you run a store that sells African art prints, your list could include “Kenyan art” and “African woman canvas.” Then type your shortlist of words into the Pinterest search bar and jot down any new terms that pop up in the suggested results. Use these keywords to then come up with topics to cover.
After you’ve discovered your keywords, you’ll then need to use them to optimize your profile and content for maximum discoverability. Here’s how to do it:
- Optimize keywords in your profile—Use keywords in both your name and bio. Your goal should be to appear in the search result for popular terms related to your brand. If your store sells metalhead clothing, add something like “Metal Tees” at the end of your profile name, and integrate other related terms like “music,” “band,” “concert”, and others to your profile
- Optimize keywords in your Pin title and descriptions— Focus on your main keyword in your Pin title, and include that keyword and other secondary keywords in your Pin description. This will make it easier for the Pinterest algorithm to show your content to the people who want to see it.
- Optimize keywords in your boards—Your boards should have your main keyword in the title as well as your main and secondary keywords in the description. Again, this will make it easier for your content to be discovered by the right people.
- Optimize keywords in your images—Your images can pop up in a Google search result, just from your image files being saved with a keyword-focused name. So don’t skip out on taking the care to name your image file.
To learn more about SEO, check out our beginner’s guide to SEO.
How often to Pin on Pinterest
Pinterest suggests Pinning something once per day. This is easier to do when you’ve created a stockpile of content and is more effective than posting a board all at once. Pinning often ensures that your content will get more traffic.
To increase your followers, post between 5–30 new Pins per day, throughout the day. Given that it’s difficult to create 5–30 pieces of new daily content, plan your content in advance and save your pre-created Pins on a secret board. Then, when you’re ready to post, grab them from your private board and repost that content on your public boards. Think of it as bookmarking your Pins. You can also use an external scheduling tool to automatically post your Pins for you.
When to post on Pinterest
The best times to post on Pinterest depend mostly on your target audience’s habits, so look at your analytics to see when your audience is most active. However, Pinterest users are less active on weekdays during work hours, and more active on weekends.
In general, the optimal times to post are 2–4PM and 8PM–1AM EST, with Saturday morning being the best time. Although there’s no formula to pin timing, I’d suggest pinning at different times throughout the day and observing how your audience responds.
Pinterest scheduling tools
If Pinning manually seems like a chore, you’re in luck. There are some great tools out there that simplify the process of Pinning:
- Tailwind—Probably one of the most comprehensive Pinterest tools, Tailwind can help you schedule your Pins and post at the optimal times
- Hootsuite—Using one of Hootsuite’s many functions, you can schedule and publish Pins and new boards
- Buffer—With Buffer, you can Pin from anywhere on the web, upload your own images, and create unique daily Pinning schedules
5. Engage and collaborate with Pinners
As much as Pinterest is a visual search engine and bookmarking tool, you can’t forget that it’s a social network, too. So get social!
You can build an online community on Pinterest by doing the following:
- Follow accounts in your niche or industry who seem like they would enjoy the content you post
- Comment on your followers’ Pins to build relationships with them and so that their followers will check out your page
- Respond to your followers’ comments and messages with personalized responses
- Monitor your competitor’s pages and see which techniques improve their following
- Ask accessible and relevant followers and influencers to re-pin your content so it can reach their followers
- Do giveaways, offer discount codes, coupons, and product updates for interacting with your brand and creating content featuring your posts
Another tip is to join community boards, which are collaborative boards where multiple Pinners share content about a specific topic.
Here’s the general technique to join existing boards or create boards of your own:
- Follow popular boards—Find out what kinds of Pins that popular boards in your niche are posting and observe what their engagement looks like
- Engage with popular boards—Comment on the Pins of popular boards to build a relationship with the board owners and to increase brand awareness
- Ask to join community boards—Most community boards will have a description of the board, contact information for the owner, rules, and some will include a link to apply. Reach out to the owners, build a relationship, and apply to the board!
- Create your own community board—If you have an idea for a unique community board that doesn’t quite exist yet, create your own and invite popular Pinners or influencers in your niche who you’ve built relationships with. Make sure you have a clear description of what sort of content you’d like to see on the board, a list of rules, and a link to apply to join.
6. Track your analytics
One key to any successful social media strategy is to watch your analytics closely to see what sort of trends emerge over time. Pinterest Analytics allows you to see information such as:
- Who your demographics are (gender, location, interests)
- What pins, boards, and website content people enjoy the most
- Metrics to see how people interact with your pins on desktop and mobile
Be sure to use Pinterest Analytics and Google Analytics to track your success each month. Pay special attention to which Pins give you the most impressions, which Pins fail to receive clicks, and which Pins give you likes vs. saves and shares.
Pinterest Analytics tools
- Hootsuite—As mentioned above, Hootsuite is a scheduling tool that can also be used for analytics. Use it to learn how your followers interact with your content, get recommendations to improve your reach, and discover new audiences.
- Sprout Social—With Sprout Social, you can have access to platform analytics, engagement tools, post scheduling, and information about your best performing content
- Tailwind—In addition to being a scheduling tool, Tailwind can also be used to help you determine what’s doing well, and advice about the best days and times to share your pins
7. Promote Pins on Pinterest
Once you’ve mastered your organic Pin strategy, consider advertising on Pinterest. Pinterest’s native ad format makes ads feel uninvasive so try out Promoted Pins! They help you get to the top search results, give you access to keyword information, and details about your conversions.
Pinterest lets you target your target audience around keywords, interest, location, and age. You can also target people who have engaged with your Pins or similar content, people who have visited your website, and email lists like newsletter subscribers.
Whether you want to post a style guide or videos of your design process, using Pinterest for marketing should be on your ecommerce marketing bucket list, so get Pinning!
Do you have any Pinterest tips or ideas we missed? Share them in the comments!