Are you wondering if Pinterest marketing is a good investment for “serious” marketers? According to a Social Media Examiner study in 2018, only 27% of marketers are using Pinterest.
That might be because you’ve heard that:
- “Pinterest is just for weddings and cupcakes.”
- “Pinterest is just for women.”
- “My business niche wouldn’t work on Pinterest.”
But is this true?
Is it all about cupcakes and cute shoes? And, what’s wrong with cupcakes and shoes, anyway? 🙂
I will show you how you can drive thousands of visitors a month to your website with Pinterest.
1. The truth about the potential of Pinterest
Pinterest can easily become a substantial contributor to your website traffic. In fact, for a long time, Pinterest has been the #2 driver of social referral traffic, right after Facebook.
If you’re active on Pinterest for a long time, the traffic will really add up. For example, the food blog Pinch of Yum shared that they get about 500,000 visitors per month from Pinterest.
Even if they stopped being active on the network, they would still get a large portion of that referral traffic for the foreseeable future. Compare that to other networks, like Facebook and Twitter, where your traffic would take a nosedive shortly after you stop posting.
Notice this trend chart from Shareaholic.
Even before the Business Page announcement would further decline, there was a steep drop off of social referral traffic from Facebook – while the percentage of referral traffic from Pinterest rose.
Now that we are post – “Facebook Apocalypse,” has Pinterest traffic overtaken Facebook?
And then there is the way people use Pinterest.
- 98% of Pinterest searches are unbranded, meaning your small business has the same potential for discovery as do those who’ve spent millions and decades on promotion.
- 77% of Pinners have discovered a new brand or product, with 84% purchasing because of something they found on Pinterest.
A recent study by BuzzSumo and Chris Penn found that for top B2B content, being shared on Pinterest had more impact on traffic potential than content length or format. That’s incredible!
Can you imagine the potential impact of Pinterest on B2C content?
2. Why some people give up on Pinterest?
When you start marketing your business on Facebook or Instagram, you may not see huge follower growth initially, but you WILL see some likes and comments.
That feels great and makes it easier to continue. With Pinterest, it can take a little time to see the results. Because people compare Pinterest to “social media” platforms, expectations for instant gratification are often high and unrealized.
Pinterest is not a social media platform – it’s a search and discovery platform – meaning, what you have done with great success elsewhere doesn’t directly translate.
Another challenge for many marketers is that they want to transfer all they know about social media platforms and repurpose that on Pinterest. This is a recipe for disappointment!
For instance, on Instagram, people want to see behind the scenes of your business. They want to see your product unboxings, your latest speaking event. They want to feel connected to you and your brand.
On Pinterest, everything is through the lens of, “How will this make MY life better?” or “How can this help me with this project?” In that way, it has a lot more in common with a search engine like Google, and we all know how powerful Google is at driving organic traffic!
Try to think of your Pinterest marketing as being more similar to your search engine optimization efforts than your Facebook strategy. To that end, think content, think keywords, think quality. And think long-term investment.
That simple mindset shift is the first key to a successful Pinterest strategy.
And while it can be difficult to commit to something that takes a while to deliver the results you want, realize that, like a successful SEO strategy, the work you put into your Pinterest strategy today and tomorrow can pay off by way of website traffic for weeks, months, and even years ahead.
3. Tracking the traffic from Pinterest
The most reliable way to measure your traffic from Pinterest to your website is with Google analytics. Navigate to Acquisition > Social > Network Referrals and look for Pinterest. Click on Pinterest to see the pages people are visiting Pinterest.
Traffic from Pinterest fluctuates for all sorts of reasons – from a slowdown in your content creation to seasonal search trends to real life!
That’s right – when the weather starts to warm up, you will likely see a drop in Pinterest activity as people start getting out and doing all the things they’ve been Planning on Pinterest.
When holiday shopping picks up, all that traffic come back!
For an easy way to see which content is getting the most Pinterest traffic, download Kristie Hill’s fabulous Google Analytics dashboard for Pinterest.
4. The Key to Pinterest Traffic
So, if Pinners don’t want to see your Instagram behind-the-scenes sneak peeks, and they don’t want to see your cat sitting on your computer, what DO they want?
Pinterest is a place for inspiration and aspiration.
Pinterest is also a place built for action – Pins are made to direct people off the platform to your website. So, if you can tap into your followers’ aspirations, you’ll see that reflected in growing traffic.
If you’re wondering how to support aspiration and inspiration in your Pin design and description, think about encouraging and empowering your followers.
For example, if your blog post on “10 Mistakes You’ll Make On Your Taxes This Year” did great on Facebook and LinkedIn, you could change your Pin just a little bit to be “10 Ways to Save On Your Taxes This Year.” Lest Pinners get confused when they reach your site and notice a mismatch between the text on your Pin and the title, give your post a subheading!
So, when they go to the site and see “10 Mistakes, You’ll Make On Your Taxes This Year,” add “And easy ways to save,” so they’ll know they’re in the right place.
Think Like a Pinner
When you fully understand the way Pinners use the platform, those small tweaks will become second nature.
If you’re not currently using Pinterest personally, try it! Choose one topic that really excites you and start saving that content to a Board. As you do so, notice what you choose to Pin, how you organize it, and what makes you click to visit a website.
If you’re using your business account to do this, create a secret board, so you don’t end up attracting followers who are not necessarily interested in the business content you’ll be sharing soon!
5. Content strategies that build traffic
5.1 Content Planning Ideas – From Pinterest!
Go to Pinterest Analytics and view your Profile analytics. Select the “Clicks” tab. This shows you your Pins with the most clicks. And while the header says “visits to your website from Pinterest,” this is actually to click on all your Pins, so it will almost always include Pins that link to other people’s content as well.
Where’s the use in that, you ask?
Well, these are priceless insights into what people are clicking on Pinterest – exactly what you need to know to increase your traffic!
You can also circulate content about you on other people’s websites and track those clicks too.
Visit your Pinterest profile analytics by going to Analytics > Profile from the main menu. Then click on “Link clicks” to see the Pins you’ve save that get the most clicks.
- Is there a topic that you haven’t covered that appears over and over?
- Or maybe a different angle on a topic?
- What about the designs of the most-clicked Pins?
- Can you try some of the colors and text on those?
5.2 Set Up Your Pinterest Boards for Success
Your Pinterest Board titles and descriptions give Pinterest context for every Pin you save there. Help Pinterest get your content into relevant searches by being clear with the content you provide.
Your Pin for “Mama’s Pecan Pie” might belong on several of your Boards.
- Fall Dessert Recipes
- Pie Recipes
- Thanksgiving Recipe Favorites
But it doesn’t belong on your “Living Room Ideas” Board!
When it comes to Board titles and descriptions, think function over form. Some Pinners create Board titles with spaces between each letter because they like how it looks on their profile.
However, those Board titles are not at all legible to Pinterest. Skip the spaces!!! Some have also gotten clever with their Board titles, using titles such as “Stuff I Dig.” Again, this doesn’t provide Pinterest with any context.
Help them help you!
What about using your business name or branded terms in Board titles? Well, recall that 98% of searches are unbranded, so opt for mostly unbranded terms. You could certainly have one or two Boards that include your brand name, though.
For example – a Board with all your blog posts saved to it might be a great play to include your business name.
Oh, and here’s one that won’t HURT you but will take up your valuable time – don’t spend time on creating Board covers or rearranging Board orders.
For the most part, people are not browsing your profile, and you’re likely to find that the dimensions change so often you’re spending way too much time redoing them when you should be creating content instead!
6. Pinning strategies that boost traffic
6.1 Save to the Most Relevant Board First
Remember, Pinterest is counting on you, the content creator, to supply context to your Pin. When you’ve verified your site, Pinterest pays special attention to your first Pin of that new content.
To help them get the most relevant distribution, save your Pin to the most relevant Board first.
You may have one general, branded Board, where you save all of your content. That’s fine, but that’s NOT the first place you will save new content. Get as specific as possible with that first Pin.
What if you don’t have a Board that is a great fit for that Pin?
Make one! Especially if you are going to be creating more similar content, this will be a good investment.
Wondering if you should “fill” a new Board, so it doesn’t look empty?
Chances are, no one is going to notice since they’re likely finding your Pin via search. But, if you can’t stand having a Board with one or two Pins on it, go ahead and add other relevant content to it – we won’t judge.
6.2 Use Hashtags
If you’ve been in marketing for any length of time, you’ve heard it all: use hashtags, don’t use hashtags. The thing is, hashtags do work on Pinterest to help surface newer content. Check out a hashtag search, and you’ll see the content displayed in reverse chronological order.
Don’t use hashtags the way you do on Instagram, though. #throwbackthursday, while a fun one for Instagram, is a terrible hashtag to use on Pinterest – but #pecanpierecipes or #pecanpie is perfect! Again, we’re talking about the difference between social (Instagram) and search (Pinterest).
The best way to get a feel for how hashtags can boost your content distribution is to try a relevant hashtag search. Click on some of the results to see other hashtags you might want to try.
6.3 Take Advantage of Keywords on Pinterest
Since Pinterest is a visual search and discovery engine, the words you use can be as powerful as the images you share. Pinterest does read the text on your image in determining how to distribute your Pin in search, related Pins, and feeds.
Where else might Pinterest look for these clues?
They’re looking for keywords on:
- Board Titles
- Board Descriptions
- Pin Descriptions
- Metadata on the linked content (i.e., title and description as setting up on your blog or website)
This does NOT mean that your Pin description should be a list of keywords. Write for your followers, but include keywords naturally, putting them (as well as your most compelling copy) near the beginning of the description.
Pinterest looks for keywords in Pin Image Text Board Descriptions, Board Titles, Pin Descriptions, and Meta Data on LinkedIn Content.
6.4 Be Consistent
Pinterest wants content creators who are active and consistent. Saving content to Pinterest daily, rather than a once-a-week Pinning frenzy will provide the best opportunity for content distribution.
There is no magic number of Pins to save each day. Aim for quality over quantity. Using an approved partner tool to batch schedule your Pins for the week (or month) is a great way to do this.
6.5 Pin Content That Engages Your Audience
Pinterest distributes your content to your followers first. Based on their reaction (or LACK of reaction), Pinterest determines how widely to distribute that Pin. Before you share any content to Pinterest, ask yourself, “Will this content help me attract the people who are likely to engage with the content that is most important to me?”
In other words, saving content to a fitness or recipe Board may grow your followers and provide engagement on those Pins, but are those the same people who are likely to be interested in YOUR content? They could be – only you can answer that.
Your content takes precedence on Pinterest.
In fact, depending on how much content you create, you may not ever need to save anyone else’s content at all. However, most Pinners do enjoy supporting other creators in their niche.
Pinterest distributes your content to your followers first. Based on their reaction (or LACK of reaction), Pinterest determines how widely to distribute that Pin.
Before you share any content to Pinterest, ask yourself, “Will this content help me attract the people who are likely to engage with the content that is most important to me?”
6.6 Make it easy for people to pin from your website
While your Pinterest activity will likely contribute much to your Pinterest referral traffic, you can let others do some of the work for you by making it easy to share content from your website to Pinterest. Pinterest sees this as a vote of confidence and may expand the distribution of your content.
With that in mind, make sure that every piece of content contains a Pinnable image. If you have older content that is still relevant, go back and add Pinnable images to them and save them to Pinterest!
Make sure to fill in the Pin description, so your readers don’t have to write one for you! It’s best not to use the Alt text tag for a Pin description (here’s what to do instead).
You can also install the Pinterest save button on your site, making it easy for people to save as they read. Once installed, the Pinterest logo will appear on your website images. Readers can click to save your content right to their Boards.
Some people prefer not to have a Pinnable image visible on their blog posts or content listings. If that’s you, try a plugin such as Social Pug, which allows you to upload images specifically sized for Pinterest and social media.
6.7 Reuse and Repurpose Your Content for More Traffic
What takes you longer – writing and publishing a blog post or product listing – or creating a new image?
For most of us, the answer is clear – creating a new image often involves much less time. The good news for hard-working content creators, then, is that using multiple images to link to the same content can massively increase the traffic you get from that content.
This is a strategy Pinterest has long suggested. It helps them build a more vibrant, exciting platform, creates a more interesting experience for users, AND’s extremely beneficial to content creators. WIN-WIN-WIN!
Here’s how this works:
Save your Pin to the most relevant Board first. Pinterest distributes your content, people engage, and it’s distributed more. Please create a new image for your existing content and Pin it. Pinterest again distributes your content like a brand new Pin, people engage with it, and the distribution grows.
No one Pin design will appeal to every one of your followers or searchers. Sometimes, the same material presented in a slightly different way will catch the eye of someone who previously overlooked it.
Using multiple images to link to the same content can increase the traffic you get from that content.
6.8 Reshare Intentionally
It used to be that content creator and Pinterest marketers could repeatedly share the same image linking to the same URL and often for a big boost in traffic. Now that Pinterest is prioritizing new content, though, it’s time to rethink mindless resharing.
Why might you reshare your content on Pinterest?
Suppose your follower count has grown. Sharing can get your Pin back into the Following tab for new followers who may not have seen it and for existing followers (who may have missed it the first time). Consider sharing the same Pin back to the same board every 4-6 months or so.
When it’s seasonally relevant, resharing a Pin to the same (relevant) Board can also help surface your content more effectively at the time when people are likely to be searching for it. Save this seasonal content 30-45 days before the holiday or season. People tend to start their planning early!
So that’s it! Follow the steps above to build your website traffic with Pinterest! Let’s put it all together into a Pinterest strategy you can execute today!
7 Pinterest strategy
When starting out
- Get a feel for how people use Pinterest by using it for yourself – just for fun.
- Determine how you will measure your success. Set up a spreadsheet or other method for recording results.
- Optimize your profile and Boards with relevant keywords.
Save relevant, engaging Pins to Pinterest
- Create new content ( A new blog post, A new product listing, A new image)
- Create and share a new image for 1-3 pieces of existing effective content.
- Review your progress, note high-performing content.
- Check Pinterest analytics for content that generates clicks. Use these insights to plan your new website content and/or try a new Pin design
The key to more Pinterest traffic lies with your content. Engaging content that inspires and motivates. Since most people are on the platform to discover new ideas, your small business has a great opportunity to reach new customers.
You can help Pinterest help you get more distribution for your content in part by:
- Using keywords strategically,
- Sharing to your most relevant Board first, and
- Making it easy for others to share content from your website to Pinterest.
Pinterest is a unique social network with a lot of aspects that make it a great marketing channel.
If you follow the steps in this post and stay consistent with the process, I guarantee that you will be driving thousands of visits to your website every month with minimal effort at that point.