Up until recently, I had never really thought about using Pinterest as a serious marketing tool. I dismissed it as just a platform where people posted recipe ideas, pictures of clothes and pictures of cats and dogs.
The truth is it’s a highly effective marketing tool that savvy marketers are using to drive large amounts of traffic to their websites to sell their products and courses or to get affiliate sales.
I started investigating further into what people were doing with Pinterest, and I was astonished to find how effective the platform can be in driving organic traffic to websites.
There is an ever-growing number of users which currently sits around 250 million. Additionally, what was perhaps considered as a platform mainly used by women is now seeing more men signing up regularly.
One of the interesting things about Pinterest is the fact that it’s a very visual environment where information is organized by humans not just by a computer-based algorithm.
If you’ve never used Pinterest before we’ll take you through the key steps of getting everything set up correctly how to use it to drive traffic to your sites.
Create a Free Pinterest Business Account
If you are serious about using Pinterest as part of your company’s marketing strategy, you should create a free Pinterest business account. However, don’t worry If you’ve already been using a personal Pinterest account and have built up a following because you can easily convert this to a business Pinterest profile.
Why you should use a business account:
- Get access to Pinterest analytics which gives you information about how many impressions, clicks and saves your pins have had.
- You can include information about your business in your profile and use your branding.
- Your Pinterest account can be verified against your website.
- Use Pinterest widgets on your website such as save buttons, follow buttons or even embed Pinterest boards on your site.
- Take advantage of Rich Pins so the title, keywords and description you want to appear when somebody pins one of your blog posts to Pinterest.
- Advertise on Pinterest using promoted pins.
Pinterest will also ask for a location for your account. Depending on who you are marketing it might be worth setting this to the United States if that is your target market.
Claim Your Website
If you claim your website, the URL of your site is shown at the top of your Pinterest account profile page. This helps with branding your company on Pinterest especially if you add your company logo or profile picture.
The link is clickable so people can easily access your website if they are interested in your products and services.
One of the main benefits of claiming your website is that it gives you access to additional analytics information. It also allows your logo to be displayed on pins which will help with your company branding on the Pinterest platform.
In your Pinterest account, go to ‘settings’ and then look in the ‘claim’ section. Click the button to verify your website and choose the option to download an HTML verification file. Make sure you place this file in the root folder of your website.
If your web hosting uses cPanel for administration, you should be able to use the file manager to upload this file. The other option Pinterest offers to verify your website is ‘Add HTML tag.’ If you select this, you will need to copy the tag and then add it to your site. If you are using a WordPress site, you can use a plugin such as ‘Insert Headers and Footers’ to add this tag to your site.
Remember, you only need to use one method or the other, not both.
It will take about 24 hours for Pinterest to verify your website. They will send you an email to confirm your site has been verified and you will also see a checkmark next to your site name in the settings section.
Create A Relevant Selection Of Boards
Before you get carried away creating pins to promote your content to start getting traffic to your site you should take some time to structure everything correctly. If you have already been blogging for a while, you will probably have created categories for any posts you have published.
Categories make it easier for your blog readers to find posts about a particular topic. If you have not been using categories, this might be a good time to start!
In the land of Pinterest, you can then create ‘boards’ that can be used to mirror the categories on your blog. Any visitors to your Pinterest account will be able to look at boards that group pins on specific subjects quickly.
You can also add sections to your boards which will organize your pins even further. In addition to creating boards on specific subjects, it’s also a good idea to create a board that will only have pins that link back to your blog’s posts.
Make sure that each board is given a suitable title with a description of the board. The description should provide clear information on what the board is about and include relevant keywords. You can even add hashtags in the description to aid with a board’s discoverability.
Remember that Pinterest will look at this information to return suggestions to Pinterest users who have searched for specific terms, so it’s well worth spending some time on this even if your board names are self-explanatory.
You will also notice that there is a selector for you to apply a category to your board. Select the most relevant category from this list, so Pinterest knows how to categorize your board. It might not match your board name which might have a category from your blog, but it’s something that Pinterest will use to help users find your boards and pins.
Another thing you should consider doing is creating a board ‘cover’ that is a pin with a 600 x 600 image that will be the main image that people see for that board. It’s also worth creating a hidden board so you can add pins to it and work on them before you make them visible to the public.
When you create or edit a board, you will see there is an option to make the board ‘secret’ which keeps your board hidden. We use a board called ‘Staging Board’ to add our pins to before making them public so we can make sure our new pins look the way we want them to before showing them to the world. Once we are happy with a pin, we simply edit it and change the board it is shown on.
Add Some Pins From Other People to Your Boards
Now you have your boards set up you should pin about 10 to 15 things from other Pinterest users on each of them. This will make your profile look lived in before you undertake the task of creating and promoting your pins.
It’s very tempting at this stage to re-pin anything that has a decent looking image. However, I would make sure that you check everything you pin to see where it links to.
Most pins on Pinterest link to an article on somebody else’s website so have a quick read of the article, and if it’s something you would recommend to somebody else to read about a particular topic, then it’s worth pinning to your board.
If you find that the pin links to a poorly written article or doesn’t go to a relevant website, then don’t pin it. Try to only re-pin quality content from other people as you don’t want content on your boards that will damage your reputation.
Create Compelling Pin Images
Images are essential when creating Pinterest pins. You can make them using software like Photoshop or Sketch, or use online tools such as Figma.com or Canva.com. If you are a beginner with image editing, then we would recommend using Canva.com because it provides a wide selection of free Pinterest templates for people to make pin images.
Most people aren’t sure what size images to create when creating images for Pinterest. One of the most common sizes is simply 600 x 900 pixels which are a 2:3 aspect ratio. As previously mentioned cover images for boards are usually 600 x 600 pixels (1:1 aspect ratio).
You can create longer pins for things like infographics but bear in mind that this kind of content will be truncated on mobile devices, so use longer images wisely.
Look for examples of other people’s pins that catch your eye as inspiration for your own designs. If you’re not the most creative type then the free templates on Canva.com is a perfect place to get started.
Essentially, what you need to do is create an eye-catching image with a headline that grabs the attention of the viewer in the hope that this will make them want to view the content on your website.
Make sure that your pins are consistent with whatever you are linking to on your site to make sure the users are getting what they think they are getting. If you start linking to content on random websites, Pinterest users will probably avoid anything you pin if you’re not linking to valuable content.
Once you have created your images, you can then click the button in Pinterest to create a new pin. You should now be able to upload this image to one of the boards you have already set up. Click the plus button on your board and choose the ‘create pin’ option.
You can either drag-and-drop your image into the grey area or left click on it which will open the file selection dialogue, and you can choose the image you want to upload. You are now ready to start adding titles descriptions and keywords as explained in the next section.
Use Video Pins to Create Greater Interest in Your Boards
If you want to add an extra dimension to your pins you can also add video pins. You can add videos using .mp4 or .mov filetype that range from 4 seconds to 15 minutes. However, remember that your main objective is to get visitors to your site so we would recommend that you use shorter videos that link to your website where they can access your content in full.
The videos that you add will autoplay in users feeds, and you can use a variety of aspect ratios such as widescreen (16:9), square (1:1), vertical (9:16, 4:5, 2:3). For those of you trying to get traffic to e-commerce stores short videos of your products will make you stand out from the crowd if you use good quality video content.
Add Titles, Descriptions, Keywords and Hashtags
If you are linking to a blog post on your website, then it’s a good idea to make the title of your pin match the title of the post. The description should match the ‘meta’ tag you have used to describe your blog post.
If you are using Yoast or the SEO Framework plugins on your WordPress site, then you should be familiar with the meta tag description. A good meta tag will give a brief description of your blog post and contain the keyword(s) you are trying to get your post ranked for.
We usually copy this from the website to the description field on the pin you are creating. We then add some hashtags on the end so Pinterest can use these to help with searching for terms on the platform. Make sure the hashtags you add are relevant to the post you are linking to.
Set Up and Use Article Rich Pins
The next thing we would advise you to set up is Pinterest Rich Article Pins.
The main reason for this is that if you have a social sharing plugin on your blog and somebody chooses to share your post to Pinterest, it will automatically populate the title and description fields on the pin from the blog post’s title and meta description.
This makes it easier for the pinner to add a pin from your website easily and ensures that the title and keyword rich description are displayed on the pin.
Additionally, depending on the social sharing plugin you are using, you can choose which image gets put onto the Pinterest pin that gets created. The best free plugin we found to do this is called ‘Scriptless social sharing’ as it allows you to use a specific image for Pinterest.
The means you don’t have to use your blog post’s featured image and can use the ‘pin’ image you have created to promote this post on Pinterest.
You’ll have to make sure your blog is configured correctly, so the correct metadata is used for each type of Rich Pin. You might also need to invest in some additional plugins if you want the correctly formatted metadata to be used on your posts. The most common metadata formats are Schema.org and Open Graph.
Don’t worry if you are not familiar with either of these as all you need to do is install a plugin like Yoast or The SEO Framework and that will make sure your metadata is formatted correctly for article pins.
We’ve mainly been talking about Article Pins, but bear in mind that you can also have App Pins, Recipe Pins, and Product Pins.
The App Pins allow you to add a pin that links to the Apple iOS App Store which will display an ‘Install’ button on the pin.
Rich Pins for Recipes allow people to share recipes from your site to Pinterest with the click of a button. If you are sharing recipes, then you’ll probably want to look at the plugins from WPTasty as this will generate more detailed metadata about your recipe that search engines and Pinterest can use to understand what your recipe post is about.
If you are using Shopify as your eCommerce platform and you enable Rich Pins, you can sync your products straight to Pinterest. You can achieve the same with WooCommerce, but you’ll need to add the required metadata manually or use additional plugins to sync your products to Pinterest as product pins.
Build Your Following and Follow Others on Pinterest
Now you have boards, pins, descriptions and rich article pins set up you should follow some other Pinterest accounts which are related to your area of interest.
Some will follow you back and helps add to your overall number of followers. Over time your follower count should increase organically as more people find your content. Your followers will be notified when you add new pins to your profile, and hopefully, they will come to your website and increase your traffic.
The secret is to consistently add new pins regularly so people will want to keep following your account.
Promote You Pins With Social Content Promotion Tools
You should look at social media promotion platforms such as Viral Content Bee or Tailwind.
If you have limited financial resources, then you can get started with Viral Content Bee for free. Sign up for an account, and you’ll be able to add the Pinterest content that you want other people to share.
All you have to do in return is share other people’s content on your Pinterest account.
Tailwind works similarly but is a paid solution where you can join so-called ‘Tribes’ that will share your content and expose your content to even more users. Tailwind also offers a lot more features that you’ll probably need further down the line to make the overall management of your Pinterest and Instagram accounts a lot easier.
What We Have Learnt About Getting Traffic With Pinterest
You’ve probably realized that there are quite a few steps to get everything set up, but after you’ve done the initial configuration steps and your Pinterest account is up and running, you’ll soon get into the habit of creating a Pinterest pin for each of your blog posts.
Just add it to your checklist of things that needs to be done each time you publish new content on your blog. If you do this consistently, you should see more and more traffic coming from Pinterest to your website over time as you produce more and more content.