People are visual beings. When offered a photo or a block of text, our eyes are drawn to the thing with pretty colors. So, is it any surprise that the visual bookmarking site Pinterest has taken the e-world by storm? Not in the least.
Actually, that’s a bit of a lie. The traffic-referring phenomenon seems to have snuck up on quite a few people. Even though pinboard-style social sharing site launched over 2 years ago, many businesses and blogs are just now waking up to the Pinterest possibilities.
Don’t you want your blog or website to be where people are spending that much time? Who wouldn’t? Before you jump on the pin-wagon, you need to know what works and what doesn’t. For a successful Pinterest marketing strategy, put the following 7 tips in your noggin:
1. An Image for Every Article
First and foremost, your article can only make it on Pinterest if there’s a relevant image on the page. The key here is that the image speaks for itself; users can (and are encouraged to) change the description text as they pin and re-pin it, so don’t count on that to explain your image.
What type of image should you post? Most images populating the pin-world fall into one of two categories: photos readable graphics. Depending on your blog content, one of those will probably work better than the other:
Photos – If your articles focus on creating or appreciating something visual, photos are where it’s at. Think recipes, do-it-yourself projects, home decorating ideas, hairstyles, or even outfits. If it’s a tangible “thing” that people can take interest in based on a picture alone, go forth and post photos. Just remember that quality matters — so put effort into creating the most professional image possible.
Readable Graphics – If readers go to your article to gain knowledge or inspiration on a more abstract concept, like running tips or web design humor, opt for a readable graphic. This can range from a complex infographic to simple text on a plain background. The text should entice readers to seek the source of the image (your blog) to learn more, so don’t give everything away in the image. A compelling hook with a corresponding photo can do wonders.
2. Back-Pin your Older Blog Posts
Even if you’re a little late to Pinterest Party, you can go back and add photos or readable graphics to your old posts. After you’ve added graphics, turn them loose on Pinterest by pinning them to your own boards.
3. Consider your Audience
Businesses and blogs are jumping at the chance to gain link referrals, but remember that this social tool is still powered by real individuals whose agenda is to gain and share useful ideas, not get advertised to. If you can offer something of instant value (ideas, advice, or entertainment that can be used right now), you’re far more likely to have success.
The most important consideration is whether your content will appeal to the Pinterest audience as a whole. The demographic is led by females between 25 and 54 years of age, according one estimate by Mashable.
4. Follow and Pin Content from Others
As with all forms of social media, it’s not just a one-way funnel that you dump your promotional stuff into. Folks catch on to that game really fast these days, and they don’t like it. Pinterest is meant to be used socially, so be social! Comment on, pin, and re-pin relevant content from other users. Follow other industry Pinners, and check out their boards – you might find some helpful articles or inspiration for your own business!
5. Caption or Watermark Images
You can’t rely on the comments under your pinned images to state their source. Before you post pictures to your pin-worthy content, add a small watermark that directs users to your website, or at least states the name of it so you can be located via search engine.
To integrate watermarking into your image-posting workflow, free online programs like WaterMarquee can useful. If are knowledgeable in Photoshop and prefer to have more control, create an action to place your watermark over the image, then play it for individual images or use it in Batch processing for a multitude of images.
6. Pin it on Your Site
The Pinterest social media buttons, that is. Along with the standard “Follow me” icon linking to your Pinterest page, you should ensure the convenient “Pin it” button appears at the top and/or bottom of each article or page that contains pin-worthy content. The code to do so is readily available on Pinterest’s own Goodies page, or make use of the many plugins available if your site is on WordPress. If you’d really like to get fancy, some of those plugins will even display featured pins to your visitors!
7. Track it
The most helpful advice on successful Pinterest marketing comes not from this article, but from your own data. After all, every brand and audience is unique, and what is true for most cases may not be true for yours (or vice versa!).
If you run analytics on your site through a plugin or Google Analytics (you should be), keep track of referrals coming in from Pinterest. For the most specific data about your Pinning campaign — click-throughs, repins, and so on — then try Pinerly, a Pinterest-specific analytics application. Though it is free, Pinerly puts new users on a waiting list to get started (sound like someone else you know?).
Had Success with Pinterest?
Facts are fine and dandy, but now it’s time to hear about your experiences marketing with Pinterest. Has it had a positive impact on your traffic or sales? Share your comments below.