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How to use Pinterest to boost your business

by Team Holly & Co

If you think that Pinterest is simply a scrapbook for garden or wedding planning, a million and one hacks for DIY wallpapering or finding ‘achievable’ twenty-four-tiered cake recipes, then chances are you’re underestimating the power of the Pin. This mighty visual search engine has a lot to offer your business, but it can be daunting to try and convey your brand consistently or even know where to start. You may feel lost in a tangle of Pinterest-specific terms (what even is a ‘board’ when it’s at home?) or, if you’re already juggling social channels like Instagram and Facebook, bringing another one into the mix may feel as fiddly as constructing that showstopping Bake Off number.

Is it really necessary? Is the juice worth the squeeze? Well, according to Pinterest themselves, it takes half as many impressions to convert someone on their platform as it does on others, which means you may see results more quickly than with any of their contemporaries¹. The best thing about it? You don’t even have to generate new content. No need to call in Annie Leibovitz; it’s highly likely you already have all the imagery you need to begin your Pinterest journey (and hopefully boost your engagement and sales, too). So first things first…

What actually IS Pinterest, and why should I use it?

At its very core, Pinterest is a visual search engine. Users (also known as Pinners) can discover content by searching terms (‘floral ceramics’, ‘colourful tablescapes’, ‘Bridgerton inspired hairdos’ and so on) or by searching images. This is because Pinterest will surface either identical pictures or ones that share similarities. This means it’s a gold mine of inspirational content and some might be surprised to know that it’s a place not only for saving beautiful pictures but somewhere users can shop from, too.

In fact, Pinterest has revealed that their shoppers are more liberal with their pennies and pounds than on any other platform, spending a generous 40% more per month². You have to be in it to win it so to speak, so make sure your content is there to be discovered, whether you’re sharing hand-painted lampshades you’ve made, releasing your latest podcast episode or telling people about an event you’re running.

If you’re already generating blog posts, YouTube videos or product imagery (or pretty much anything else for that matter), you need to add Pinterest to your marketing strategy. Their ‘Full Year 2021 Results’ revealed there are 442 million active users, and this number has increased by 37% year-on-year, so you’ll gain access to a huge market of potential customers³. Plus studies by Thermopylae show that humans process visual data more successfully than any other type, a whopping 60,000 times faster than text in fact⁴. So, it makes sense that using images to signpost your content may be more effective at attracting new faces to your brand.

Introducing your Pinterest dictionary

For anyone new to Pinterest, you might find it helpful to have these key definitions up your sleeve when you’re navigating the platform. 

Pins: These are essentially bookmarks used to save the static content that users love. Pins also help convert site traffic. A user can click through the Pin and be directed to your website to learn more or more importantly, to shop.  

Ideas pins: These are an evolution of Pins to work for video, and empower creators to share long-lasting ideas not just stories that disappear (like they do on Instagram, for example). They give people more ways to share inspiration and are often used for things like recipes, crafts or trying an idea. They have shoppable tags which make it easy for users to buy and they also show similar items.

Titles: If you want to attract users, it helps that your Pin is lovely to look at, but it’s equally important to use a concise and compelling headline (up to 100 characters), to ‘name’ your image and help make it more searchable. 

Pinterest has revealed that their shoppers are more liberal with their pennies and pounds than on any other platform, spending a generous 40% more per month².

Descriptions: A detailed description (up to 500 characters) will help provide context for people, provide SEO value and understand what they’re looking at. Only the first 50-60 characters will appear in users’ feeds, so they really need to work the hardest.

Boards: These are the home for your Pins that help you curate your content. It means that users can find and save it more easily. They can follow your individual boards, and you can create as many of these as you like. It’s wise to pull the most relevant ones to the top of your profile to make sure they are the first thing that users see. If it’s Christmas, for example, ensure all your festive content is in prime position.

Board descriptions: Just like Pins, you have the option to add more detail about the content of your boards, so that they get served to relevant audiences. It’s a good idea to include keywords, as well as thoughtful and interesting copy, to make sure it’s discoverable and SEO-friendly. Just think of what you would most likely search for around the topic or start typing something relevant into Pinterest to see the most popular words or phrases that come up and emulate those.

What should I be Pinning?

Why not take a scroll through your general Pinterest feed? What is it that jumps out at you? Why is it worth saving? Is it because the image inspires you? Does it answer a question you have? Is it because it’s video footage not a still image? If the answer to any of these is ‘yes’, then you’ve just hit on the kind of things you should be Pinning. 

On the last point, video always performs best as it appears at the top of the screen and also as it moves, it catched the eye. Can you repurpose story content you have from IG maybe? Think click-baity, enjoyable content that’s easy to digest — a ‘how to’, an introduction, a recipe or even your top products per category or occasion perhaps. Also it’s a good idea to use the Ideas Pins interface on your phone as, much like with Instagram, it has built-in fonts, stickers and filters you can use to really bring your content to life. The main thing is to keep the feel of it consistent so people can easily spot your brand. 

A great way of doing this is to consider how you can use your brand toolkit to tell your story visually. Everything you post should reflect the magic of this. One of the key things to remember is that colourful Pins work well so think how you can surface this within your own style. It doesn’t have to just be bold, bright colours, but those that tonally work well together so you get a clear ‘look’.

As mentioned earlier, you don’t even need to create ‘new’ content. It’s a great idea to repurpose your wonderful imagery, GIFs or videos that already exist. This will help create consistency across your channels and save time. Blog posts, your products or behind-the-scenes insights are all perfect Pinterest fodder. 

Keep the images as simple as you can. The Pinterest platform combines text and copy, so if you imagine a grid of IG photos plus a title and then a mini description, let your image do the talking to grab someone’s attention.

A great way of doing this is to consider how you can use your brand toolkit to tell your story visually. Everything you post should reflect the magic of this.

Stay relevant. Nerd up on trends. Pinners are planners so get all your Christmas content up in July, for example. Post Spring hacks in November and try and get a feel for what people are searching for in general (ie. don’t miss out on seasons, special days or holidays). Visit Pinterest Predicts to find out all their latest insight and trends.

If you’re struggling to work out how to curate your content, you could create your boards around your brand or its unique story. At Holly & Co, we don’t just focus on seasonal events, but the missions that inspire us and our core company values. If it helps, have a browse of our Pinterest to see how we have done it, and look at others, too. 

Finally, here are our five top tips

  1. Use high quality images and video: A blurry picture is a definite no-no. Make sure that the images and videos you use are high resolution, in focus and are the best representation of your brand. Think video-first too as this is most likely to attract attention.
  2. Consider your layout: Pinterest shared that 82% of users browse on mobile devices so vertical images are the best way to go. They recommend a 2:3 aspect ratio to avoid awkwardly cropped images. 
  3. Choose your words wisely: Much like Google, well-worded descriptions can improve SEO, so it’s worth investing extra time to add content to all your images and have a clear call to action (CTA) to encourage users to click on links. 
  4. Ensure all links work: Broken links are very annoying for users so always double-check yours work — it would be a shame to lose potential customers over something so basic and they are usually easy to fix.
  5. Mix things up: The algorithm often prefers video, so try and utilise ‘Ideas Pins’ to engage a wider audience and increase your impressions.

For small businesses, Pinterest can be incredibly useful as you can repurpose content you’ve got to amplify your business, attract new customers and as another outlet for sales. It’s easy to use, a great way to get inspiration for your own content and best of all — it’s free. So if you’ve got a spare five minutes, pop on and have a look. Just don’t get too distracted by the incredible creative cake ideas…

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