Say the word “Pinterest” to most people, and they’ll likely think of moms searching for party ideas or friends hunting new recipes to try. 

When I hear “Pinterest”, I think “website traffic”! 

You read that correctly. In my agency, we use Pinterest to drive more people to my clients’ websites. By “more people”, I mean more than the number of people who come to those sites through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram—often significantly more. And the people are not just consumers for residential products; I’m talking commercial specifiers, tradespeople, and business-to-business target audiences. I hear similar reports from fellow digital marketers all the time, in relation to a wide range of business types. 

Why is Pinterest so effective in this way? Search friendliness is the short answer. Not only is Pinterest used as a search engine unto itself, but Pins from the site often appear high in Google search results, as well. Because Pinterest has structured its content to link to the website of origin for whatever is featured in Pins, it’s really common for people to ultimately click through to those original websites to get more information, see more pictures, or…just maybe…to make a purchase.

Considering how effective Pinterest is at driving traffic, I’m quite certain it could mean the same thing for your business, as well. Here are key ways to make Pinterest a valuable tool in your arsenal of digital and social media marketing tactics.

Go Pro with a Pinterest business account.

If you haven’t already, convert your Pinterest account from personal to business. With a Pinterest business account, you’ll have access to useful functionality and insights that can be of help. It will also enable you to advertise on Pinterest if you decide to do so down the road (note - none of my clients does paid ads on Pinterest, and we still get great results). 

Audit—and augment—the photograph on your website.

An effective Pinterest program is directly aligned with the images you have on your website. Yes, you can pin to Pinterest using images you upload from your computer, and then you can add the correct webpage link in the Pin information and write your caption accordingly. But that system is clunky, and we need to go with the easiest paths of success whenever possible. 

When you pin directly from your site to Pinterest, you’re able to do so via the Pinterest extension that’s typically super-easy to add to your web browser. With this approach, your webpage link appears immediately with your Pin, and the caption content defaults, as well (though you may want to edit or fluff that…but more on this later). In providing links back to your website with every Pin, you’re building the traffic-driving foundation that makes Pinterest so effective from which the content was originally shared. 

At this point, I can hear the collective groan from all of you out there who know what a slog it is to get photography and maintain it on your site. I feel your pain, but there is gain on the other side! Good photography is lifeblood for all the marketing we must do for success in our industry. 

Use brand-supplied images: Of course, you should max out and make the most of all photography available from the brands you sell. Add all those images they provide you to your site—on product pages, your blog, wherever! Don’t hesitate to repeat images in multiple places if it helps tell the right product stories. 

Constantly collect customer images: Make it standard operating procedure to constantly request and acquire new images from customers, designers, and installers you work with. I know, I know—this is way easier said than done. But it’s worth the ceaseless drumbeat of effort it takes. Offer incentives if you must. Set aside a pro photography budget to go out and get completed project pics directly. We often find that real-life project photos earn more engagement than manufacturer marketing shots on all social platforms, including Pinterest. 

  • As you acquire your photography, keep in mind these interesting stats.
  • Pinterest users are known to re-pin tall, vertical images more often than horizontal ones.
  • Images of medium lightness are repinned 20 times more than dark pictures.
  • Marketing/brand photos without faces are 23% more re-pinned than those with faces.

Treat Pinterest as more search engine than social platform.

Though Pinterest was born—and is still categorized—as a social platform, the site has long reinvented itself to be viable amidst the photo-friendly world dominated by Instagram. Today, Pinterest’s success is grounded in its role as a hub for finding and collecting resources, products, ideas, information, etc. The interactive functionality is minimized—except for the all-important re-pin, of course. There’s no need for hashtags. It’s all about seek-and-find these days.

That’s why I recommend treating Pinterest as a search engine in order to garner best results. Skip the flowery or cutesy captions for your Pins and focus on use of search terms instead. Because people go to Pinterest with searches in mind, you want to use words and phrases they’ll be searching to increase the likelihood that your content will be found. Ditto that approach to your Pinboard names, as well. Think like your potential customers and employ the search terms they’ll be using the most. 

Seek out your best search terms: Wondering what your best search terms are? Don’t rely on you and your team’s presumptions about what your customers are searching; do your homework. Reference the findings of automated tools powered by data to make those determinations. Google’s keyword tool is a foundational resource for you. Likewise, SEMrush can be a good, additional option for vetting your audiences’ core search terms. At a more manual level, you can also observe popular hashtags on Instagram as a way to determine keywords that can apply to Pinterest (and other digital marketing efforts, too).

Encourage re-pins with collaborative tactics.

The more your original Pins appear on Pinterest through the wonder that is the re-pin, the better your odds of original website content receiving clicks. Nurture this kind of engagement by tagging influencers who might have interest in your Pins. Collaborate and participate in shared Pinboards that other Pinners can post to. You can even Pin coupons if you are focused on a timely sale or special event. These tactics can be useful supplements to the foundational, search-focused approaches that give Pinterest its best mojo for your biz. 

Always up for more digital marketing ideas? I’ve launched as I prepare to offer more digital-social-mobile learning for biz leaders like you. Hope to see you over there!