Pinterest: Comprehensive Overview for Beginners

PinterestI’ve created a comprehensive overview for beginners, which includes brainstorming and some creative ideas.  This is pretty much a goldmine of great ideas, so dig in!

For starters, Pinterest’s About page tells us it is:

A virtual pinboard — a place where you can create collections of things you love and “follow” collections created by people with great taste. People use Pinterest to collect and share all sorts of things — wedding inspiration, favorite T-shirts, DJ equipment. You name it, people are pinning it.

For The Newbies…

First things first, you’ll start by setting up your profile page.  You can join as an Individual or a Business.  If you accidentally join as an individual, you can convert your account to a Business account (just click For Businesses in the dropdown under About)

Your profile shows your display name, a profile picture, a bio/description, and how many followers you have as well as how many you are following, plus how many Likes you have.

tipImportant Note: There is an option that says “Hide your profile from search engines (ex: Google). Learn more”.  Be sure this is set to NO or else the engines won’t be able to spider your material and you’ll miss out on some exposure.

At the top of your profile page, in the right-hand part of the screen, you’ll see various drop-down menus to help you navigate your own settings and boards as well as discover others on Pinterest.

If you are logged into Pinterest, you can hit the Pinterest icon in the top left-hand corner of your screen to go to your Pinterest home.  Just like going to your home page in Facebook or Twitter, this will show you your feed. Here you will see all of the recent pins of the people you follow.

Remember that everyone who follows you will see everything that you pin in their feed (unless they are only following certain boards and then they will only see everything pinned to that specific board).  The only exception is secret boards that Pinterest.  Those are for things like party planning, wedding planning etc, that you may want to share with on invited guests and not the general public.  You could also use those to share pictures with clients only and not the general public.

tipBeginners Tip:  Start by just poking around to see what others are doing. This will help you to see what kinds of things people are pinning, what kinds of boards others have created, and just give you a general feel for what Pinterest is about.

When you are done that, it’s time to start building your Boards and then you can work on building followers.  Much like a new Blog, you don’t want to drive people there before you have something for them to see.  So build some boards that have interesting pins (take note of which pin you choose to be the cover of a board – people decide at first glance if they are interested in delving further and having an interesting cover will encourage them to click and see all the pins on that board).

Pinning:

You can use the “Pin This” bookmarklet  to pin things or you can upload from your hard drive (see the Pin This tool plus other topics here: http://pinterest.com/about/help/)

OK great, now what??

There is etiquette to be followed and one of the leading guidelines is not to be too blatantly self-promotional. That ruins it for everyone.

Remember the name Pinterest comes from pinning about Interests.  So you can use Pinterest to create a personality and connection for your company that potential customers and clients can relate to.

You can share things of interest to your target audience – things that show how your product or service is used in their lifestyle.  Pin things they can relate to, things they will find interesting.  That will pay off – it’ll help them see you as a resource and a source of interest in their life.

You can post pictures of your products sparingly and creatively – using a balanced approach.  You could have a product catalog board, as long as you have other interesting and helpful boards as well.  Or sprinkle product photos within other boards.

Here are some examples of integrating lifestyle imagery into your pins:

adorbsIf you sell shoes, post pics of the shoes and then pics of the types of places people would wear those in everyday life.  Show beautiful hiking trails for hiking boots.  Show cocktail parties and great outfits that go with fancy heels.  Take what you sell and create imagery of that product being used in life.  You can also post images along with text in the descriptions on how to care for the shoes etc.

blanket-fortIf you sell baby blankets, show pics of babies in beds and playing on the floor.  Show baby showers and gift giving to plant the seed.  Show your products.  Show all things baby related.  Moms or friends and family members of Moms are more likely to become interested in your products if they see your board as an interesting or fun resource. Also pin adorable baby pics and product photos, you can also get creative and look for images of kids using blankets in play (as a cape, as a fort, to drag their sibling around, as a bag of their stuff when they threaten to “run away” etc.)

If you sell kitchenware, pin images of great recipes (share the recipe under the photo), show pics of moms & kids cooking together (they are always funny and cute), create images of great quotes from famous chefs (like Julia Child etc).

If you sell accounting software, show images of people saving money, show images of paperwork and frustrated people, show screenshots of your software with smiling people.  Show image of tax and financial tips (remember it could be just words designed a graphic, that is so popular on Facebook right now).  Create an infographic that shows common tax issues, or deductions people often miss.

More Ideas For Pins

  • Use any visual content and images you already have
  • Create new ones – either design images in Photoshop or Canva or have a photoshoot in the office one day and catch some great candid shots
  • Look at Blog posts and see what visuals you can pull from there
  • Create or use infographics and charts
  • Use covers of ebooks or books
  • Show product photos
  • Show photos of happy customers
  • Allow users to pin to your boards, doing some of the work for you
  • You can also create video galleries.
  • Try hosting a contest. Ask people to create a board on their own account that shows why they love your product and/or service.  Ask them to show pics of then doing fun/crazy/interesting things with your products.  The coolest board wins a prize OR you can ask them to re-pin their board to your profile and get people to vote on the one they like best.
  • Create special boards just for clients/customers that include resources and ideas tailored to their individual situations.
  • Offer exclusive Pinterest promotions. Create pins that give special promotions for following you on Pinterest.
  • Run a Pinterest contest. Invite your readers to pin links and images from your site that inspire, motivate, move or entertain them. Then judge the winners by creativity or ingenuity and offer a juicy prize. Offer to promote the winners’ Pinterest boards on your site as part of the contest.
  • Create boards for referral sources, affiliates and strategic partners, and let them add to the boards. Engage with the partners so they know they are included and appreciated.
  • Create quick-start guides or owner’s manual boards for your products. Or if you’re primarily a service provider, create a “How to Get the Most Out of Working with Me” board with ideas and suggestions on maximizing your service relationship.
  • Do you have a number of different ideal client personas? Create a separate board to represent each client persona, then use those boards during your sales cycle and embed them into your website pages so people are clear about the kinds of clients you’re trying to attract.
  • Pin videos! Pinterest has a special section just for pinned videos, and there are far fewer videos than images on Pinterest at this point, so use them to distinguish yourself. Any YouTube video is easy to pin.
  • Consider creating “thank you” boards for current or past clients that send special appreciative messages. Could you create a holiday thank you card? Or one that celebrate the launch of a new client’s big project with your company?
  • Create a special board to highlight your company’s team members. Use the description under each photo to write a bio of each person.
  • Become an information curator for your niche. Gather the newest and best resources on your boards. Become a trusted source of information on Pinterest, and your following will grow by leaps and bounds.

Following/Unfollowing

When you begin, Pinterest will help you find friends on Pinterest using your email, Twitter, or Facebook. That’s a great place to start.

You have the choice to follow all of someone’s boards or follow individual boards they have created. If you follow all, that means that you will follow every board they have at present AND all future boards they will create.

It’s easy to unfollow.  Simply click on whatever board you don’t want to follow (from your feed) then click the Unfollow button from the top right-hand corner of that board.  Easy!  Now that board will no longer appear in your feed.

Pinterest Tips

  • For every pin, there is a space for a description. You’ll see everything from “want this” to “love this” but you can also go into more detail. It’s a great place to include a link back to your site/Blog/landing page etc. Note that when repinning, the description from the person who pinned it before you appears in that space by default.  This is also a great area to use hashtags.
  • To tag another Pinterest user when you pin something, use @ just like on Twitter or Facebook.
  • Promote your boards via email, your site and Blog and all your other social media profiles.
  • Engage with other users – like and comment on their work. Much like on Twitter if you are active with them, they are likely to reciprocate.
  • Be focused on specific topics on your Boards – that allows you to create a strong area of interest for people passionate about the topic.
  • Remember the key here is thinking about your target audience and how your products/services fit into their lifestyles. Capture imagery they can relate to and will respond emotionally to.
  • Participate in community boards on Pinterest for more exposure.
  • You can easily find out what’s being pinned from a website by using the URL http://www.pinterest.com/source/websitedomainname.com/.
  • http://pinplugins.com/pincount/ – shows you the pin count for any page on your site or Blog
  • Find out when you’re getting the most repins, likes, comments and referral traffic by regularly analyzing both your Pinterest profile and your site traffic stats.
  • Recognize your best pinners by sending out a weekly “Best of Pinterest” email that includes spotlighted boards and pins from your clients’ profiles.
  • Tag other Pinterest users in your pins by using “@username” in your descriptions. Network with other professionals and vendors in your field by using this feature.
  • Pin from lots of different sources, instead of just from one or two sites. Variety is important on Pinterest.
  • Mix pinning your own unique finds with doing lots of “repinning,” which is repeating someone else’s pin to your followers (just like a Retweet on Twitter). The person whose image you repin gets notified via email, and they also get a credit on your pin, which increases their following.
  • Use Pinterest’s embed option to publish pins as content in your blog posts and website pages.
  • Optimize your website content for Pinterest sharing, use images in every single post you write, so your post can be shared on Pinterest.
  • Consider watermarking your images, or adding text to them.
  • Create seasonal or holiday boards that relate to your brand. Example: New Year’s Resolutions, Fourth of July, etc. Users love these.
  • Your Pinterest page has its own RSS feed! Find your Pinterest feed by clicking on the RSS symbol under your profile photo, then use it anywhere you can use a feed (Facebook, LinkedIn, for syndication on other sites, etc.) Advertise your Pinterest feed to your readers and ask them to add you to their RSS feedreaders.
  • Tips
  • People who pin items from your competitors’ websites are probably people you’d like to have pinning from your website. Pinalerts (http://www.pinalerts.com/) is a simple application that lets you set alerts for when items are pinned from any domain – like your competitors’ websites – so you can find those pinners.
  • Using Pinterest group boards is an excellent way to reach more people to get repins, followers and traffic. But it’s extremely hard to find good group boards on Pinterest because there’s been no search feature to help you out. PinGroupie (http://pingroupie.com/) is an easy to use and free tool that finds group boards. Go to PinGroupie’s home page and fill in the search fields. First, choose a category. These are the same as the categories on Pinterest. Then choose the order in which you would like to see the boards – you have the options pins, collaborators, repins, Likes and followers.  I recommend you go with the repins option as the more repins the board gets the more engaging it is. Once you’ve filled in all your details hit ‘Filter’ and a list of relevant group boards along with their details will appear below.
  • Include a screenshot of your Pinterest Pin(s) in your newsletter. Place a clickable link on the image that links to the Pinterest Pin. When newsletter readers click on the image they’re taken to that pin on Pinterest where they also browse your pinboards to see what else you have.
  • Publish a blog post, then pin an image from the article to a board. Copy the url of the pin. Use that same image for a post on your Google+ page. In your Google+ post, include both a link to the blog post for those who have the time to read the article then and there, and a ‘Pin it for later’ link back to the pin in your Google+ post. I’ve found that this works best if included at the bottom of the Google+ post.
  • Start a conversation in the comments section by adding a question to your pin’s description. It could be as simple as, “Guess what this is?” or an open-ended question about your business like, “Tell us what you think about . . . ” By giving pinners an opportunity to comment, you’re far more likely to create an engaging environment. And while I’m on the subject, remember your manners and comment back. The goal here is to be a hub of interaction for pinners and potential clients.
  • Post Frequently: To get more Pinterest followers, you should post between 5-30 new pins every day. Make sure you are not just repinning the content of others, but also pinning your own unique pins with your own content. Tip! You can create a Secret Board and collect pins to save time. Load up your 20 or so pins in the morning, and keep them on your secret board. Throughout the day, return to the board and grab the pins you want to pin on other “live boards.”
  • Don’t have physical products? Learn to either create or commission infographics. They are all the rage, and if someone on your team cannot make one in Photoshop Elements, then consider shopping around on Fiverr or Elance.
  • Screen capture tutorials: Use Camtasia and record a screencast. Upload it to YouTube and then pin it to Pinterest.

Pinterest As A Search Engine?

Pinterest-as-search-engine

 

Canva’s Pinterest template is this size and makes sizing your images a lot easier.  For longer pins, Pinterest added a “Expand Pin” at the bottom of pins that are longer than that, and that “Expand Pin” happens on both desktops and mobile.

The best times to pin depend on your target audience’s habits, so you should always test for your specific optimal posting times. But, for your general information, according to SocialFresh, on average, the best times to post are 2PM – 4PM EST and 8PM – 1AM EST; and, research by HubSpot says Saturday morning is the best time to post.

SEO for Pinterest: Research keywords.  Add your keywords to your pin descriptions.  Add your keywords to your pin image file names (which should happen naturally if you are pining from your site or Blog).  As with any SEO you use, make sure not to sound too “keywordy.”

Pinterest Rich Pins: A normal pin is an image with description text below it.  With Rich Pins, Pinterest will pull in other data from your website to make the pin more robust and to make it easier for people to take action on that pin (meaning make a purchase or get more info).  Note: For now, rich pins are only supported in Pinterest’s Web-based site, not in its app.

Product pins include real time pricing, availability, and where to buy.

To get started, you’ll need to add tags to your site and then test out your Rich Pins.  Note: If you aren’t technical, you may need the help of your webmaster to get this up and running.  You add Meta tags on your product pages that include the data you want pulled into the Rich Pins.

Pinterest offers developer information and a tool to test the pins:

http://developers.pinterest.com/rich_pins/

http://developers.pinterest.com/rich_pins/validator/

Note: if you have pins already on Pinterest, you just need to go add the tags to the originating product page and it’ll pull the data into your existing pins.

Pinterest is looking for feedback from users about what types of pins they would like to see this enhanced data on.

Email & Pinterest

Sony began sending out dedicated emails highlighting its Pinterest presence, integrating its own boards and pins into the email and driving traffic to its page.

Integrating Pinterest has led to a 70% higher average open rate for Sony and an average 18% higher click-through rate.

Many companies are doing similar Pinterest email integration. Either just by advertising its Pinterest page or by providing incentives to follow their boards and pin their products.

Phew! That was a lot!  Now get to work – and invite me to check out your Boards, I’ll give you feedback and follow them!

Connect With Me On Pinterest:

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