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Pinterest remains an important force in social media marketing.

If it isn’t part of your internet marketing strategy, you could be missing out on some important opportunities.

Don’t believe me? Here are some interesting statistics that make the case for Pinterest being a valuable asset for your internet marketing strategy:

150 million active users – The number of Pinterest users has consistently increased over the years, and these users spend an average of 98 minutes on the site each month.
2 Billion monthly idea searches – these are people using the social media to find several possible ideas that are relevant to their needs, not just a single answer to a question.
Pinners follow brands – 83% of users said they would prefer to follow brands over celebrities. 73% said they would rather follow their favorite brand of beauty products than their favorite makeup artist, 70% would rather follow hair care products that the stylists, and so on.
Pinterest users buy more – 93% of Pinners use the platform to plan purchases. Pinterest users are also more likely to make a purchase on e-commerce sites than users of other social networks. And, it seems, people coming from Pinterest spend more than twice as much as Facebook users.
Like I said, Pinterest is proving its seat at your marketing round table.

pinterest page.png

Follow SEO.com on Pinterest.

I.  Thou Shalt Understand The Pinterest
Pinterest is more than just an online pin board of beautiful images. It is an explosive social network.

Pinterest is the third most popular social network behind Facebook and Twitter, and it is driving more referral traffic than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn. (Note that this chart includes YouTube and Reddit above Pinterest, but those are only social networks in the strictest, most technical definition, and we won’t be counting them for our statements here.)Hitwise-2016-sept-multi-platform-social-network-sites-and-forums.png

To succeed in pinning, one must understand the basics. Learn about the definitions and lingo in this post, but remember that understanding is more than just definitions, it is demographic, too.

According to Pew Research Center, the demographics have been shifting on Pinterest. Their research suggests that around 31% of online adults use Pinterest. While women continue to dominate the social network (44% of online women use the site), the number of male users is growing (around 16% of online men). In in post on the site, Pinterest says that 40% of the people joining are men. It is still appealing to the 18-30 year olds, as that’s the highest demographic (at 37%), but it only nudges out the 30-49s by a single percentage point.

Bottom line, Pinterest is still growing and still attracting an important demographic.

II.  Thou Shalt Define, Then Start
Before any image is pinned, board created, or brand started, there needs to be some planning.

Pull out the whiteboard, and define your purpose, your goals, and your client base.

What are you looking to accomplish? Are you just building more links or developing brand awareness or increasing online sales? What are your success metrics?

Planning-Your-Pinterest-Strategy-250x220.jpgOnce everything is properly planned, the real fun begins.

Create your profile, build your boards, and start visually branding your business. Leverage the site to introduce new products, show off best sellers, and present your business directly to your customer.

Etsy excels at this. They have developed their page to really be “the marketplace where people connect,” showcasing 120 boards (up from the 55 they had when this blog was originally written), and featuring guest pinners, editors’ picks, and organized products from international sites.

III.  Thou Shalt Curate Thy Brand
Once your profile is created – curate.

To get the most from your boards, categorize correctly, add a unique description, and set a board image. Then curate your content through the images and pins.

Like all social media marketing, content is king. Curate your brand by featuring content that is applicable, pleasant, and shareable so you can consistently add value to your brand. It is essential to share content from sources beyond your website and your brand.

Re-pin images that flatter your brand and provide a diverse mix of images from your industry. Your boards should be a commemoration of things that embody your business, your best services, and specific stylistic representations of your brand.

Whole Foods Market does an excellent job of curating their Pinterest boards:

wholefoods page.pngIV.  Thou Shalt Understand the HOW of Pinning
Nothing is more aggravating than poor pins. Pinterest is an exhibit of beautiful images relating to basic human needs: making them healthier, happier, or richer. A grainy, out of focus JPEG isn’t going to cut it.

The most compelling images are simple, understandable, and related to trends.

The next offender after a poor image is the deplorable description. As appealing as “Awwwww” or the nonchalant period may seem as captions, it does not add to credibility or creativity of your brand.

Instead, utilize keyword-rich captions with a call-to-action (CTA) for your pins. For example, Reachli A-B tested two pins: one with a call-to-action within the description, and one without. Not surprisingly, the pin with the CTA saw an 80% increase in pins versus the pin without. A CTA description can be as simple as adding, “Tutorial on how to…” or “19 ways to…”

V.  Thou Shalt Understand the WHEN of Pinning
Like every other social network, knowing “when” is key.Pinterest schedule.png

Pinterest is no different. It definitely has high and low activity points throughout the day. The goal is to pin at the least competitive and most effective time.

For Pinterest, the highest activity tends to be between 5-7 a.m. and 6-10 p.m. EST. That means the best time to submit content is an hour or so prior to these times to ensure higher visibility.

Additionally, don’t submit everything at once. It’s okay to spread out your pinning. If nothing else, it will help you look more helpful and less spammy.

VI.  Thou Shalt Engage with Customers
Engage your customers. Respond to comments, feature their boards, run contests – the possibilities are endless.

Pinterest is another venue for customer interface, so interact, socialize, and connect. One of the best ways to engage is to promote others’ pins through likes, comments, and re-pins.

As far as contests go, reach beyond the typical “Pin It to Win It.” Harness the creative power of your Pinterest followers. Engage them by asking for their opinions on the next marketing strategy, comments on the new office designs or votes on the trends they most want to see in your next collection. Choose the winners by awarding points based on likes, comments and re-pins.

One final way to engage your customer base: add the “Pin It” button to your product pages. Etsy includes the “Pin It” button on all listing pages, alongside the usual “Tweet” and “Like” buttons, allowing their 950K followers to actively participate in content distribution.

VII. Thou Shall Understand the SEO Benefit
Pinterest is often forgotten for many SEO strategies, but just like the other social networks, it can be an important piece of the puzzle.Pinterest-Guide.png

Yes, it helps diversify your backlink portfolio and increases the traffic referrals to your site. Yes, it can help make your creative content go viral. But, the real SEO benefit is not in the link or traffic, but in the community.

In March 2012, Pinterest went from dofollow links to nofollow links – shifting the focus for SEOs from link acquisition to community creation. Like any other social network, the more engagement with your brand, the more time people will spend on your site. That can have indirect value on rankings, but very definite impact on your bottom line.

Furthermore, Pinterest is a visual representation of your brand. It connects you to people that are interested in the brand. This is an opportunity to build connections for link building and focus on creating an interested audience. Pinterest isn’t the place to build links. It is the place to find opportunities to get links from other Pinterest users.

VIII. Thou Shalt Use Pinterest Constructively
As I mentioned previously, Pinterest is a tool. As it is such, let’s use it constructively.

Here are some effective ways to use Pinterest:

Use it as a source of link building outreach.
Optimize your boards according to the Third Commandment of Pinterest.
Expand your brand controlled search results (make sure the “Hide your Pinterest profile from search engines” is turned off).
Focus on brand-friendly pins with high click-through rates. Don’t forget to optimize the landing pages, too.
Curate content around your industry to build brand authority and add to discussion.
Remember trending topics and stay ahead to ensure constant relevancy.
Use hash tags in descriptions to “tag” your pin around trending topics.
IX.  Thou Shalt Create
Pinterest is a strong source for generating and creating content ideas.

Explore and browse, note the details and images that pique interest or are strong brand representations that could be recreated for your site. Look for trends and themes that frequently show in the feed, and whether they are relevant to the brand’s content.

Do any pins stand out in terms of color, content, or style?

Look in unexpected categories for inspiration and blog post ideas. Use the search bar to find more specific ideas. Search for places, trends, peoples, and events.

Lastly, follow the rabbit hole for the original source of content. It can produce new ideas, and new blogs to follow.

X.  Thou Shalt Learn from Pinterest
Pinterest also provides ways to do some quick research that relates directly to your customer base.

Every pin displays consequential information such as comments, “likes,” other images in the same board and more. Go one step further: type http://pinterest.com/source/“sitedomain.com” into your browser, and replace “sitedomain.com” with the web site URL . This will quickly show you the images pinned directly from that site with additional information like re-Pins and comments.

Furthermore, you can use these results to understand how the customer perceives the product. Even if they don’t say anything in the comments, a simple pin/re-pin shows general interest. Use this free information to your advantage.

One final way to learn from Pinterest is to follow the source. Pinterest has a selection of Success Stories where you can see what others have done and you can decide whether or not those strategies would be effective in your own industry.

(This blog was originally posted on January 14, 2013 by Hilary Biggart. It has been updated on November 14, 2016 for data accuracy and new developments.)

Are you social accounts fully optimized? Are they contributing to your online success? Download your social media checklist and take a closer look.

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