This article was written for Canva. It is written in American English.
As an endlessly engaging and interactive application, Pinterest is fast becoming the most important social media stream for marketing your brand or website.
Just think about how addictive Pinterest can be; how many hours you can spend scrolling through enchanting images of your next holiday destination or DIY tutorials which make that craft project seem so much less daunting. Much like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest can keep you engrossed for hours. Whether you’re searching for recipes for a dinner party or looking at ideas for a new tattoo, Pinterest has a gargantuan archive of images from the web, most of which can be linked back to their original source content. Just a few simple adjustments to the way you use Pinterest can result in more people engaging with your brand and content, whether it be on your website, your blog or any other social media sites.
Use an appealing color pallet.
Pinterest is all about visuals. Users go to the site to plan, research, and visualize; using aesthetic as the trigger to engage. They do this by pinning the image to one of their own boards or clicking through to the relevant article. Soft colors seem to win out here in general; however, strong colors can be just as eye-catching if done right. The most important thing is to use complimentary tones and pick a palette that will appeal to your audience.
It also helps to consider your topic. Does the pin link back to a blog post about cars? Perhaps don’t go with pastels in this case. If there is a particular image that you want to use which doesn’t suit the mood of your post, use Canva to edit the contrast and saturation.
Likewise, make use of infographics.
Any designer will tell you, infographics are a simple yet effective way to convey information. Most designers will also use muted and complimentary color pallets but more importantly, the information is easy to absorb because of the way it’s laid out. Rather than presenting a chunk of text, infographics support succinct information about your topic, using percentages and graphs or even simple illustrations. This has the benefit of keeping the reader interested in the topic because it’s visually appealing. Canva has a number of templates for creating infographics, which are easy to tailor to your content.
Create an appealing cover image.
There are two ways of going about pinning something that will eventually lead back to your content. You can pin an image within your article, blog post or website to one of your boards; or you can create an appealing cover or introductory image which you can upload to Pinterest with a direct link to your content. The latter, in most cases, is vastly preferable because you get to control what the reader sees first.
In order to do this, however, you need to specify the source after you’ve uploaded your image. To do this, use the edit button (the small pencil icon) to access the feature and paste the desired URL in the box that says website. As with other social media sites, you can create a custom image for profile pictures and pins using basic templates with an app such as Canva. This also eliminates issues with your images not displaying correctly, which can come across as unprofessional.
Make your pins vertical.
Because of Pinterest’s grid layout, it’s important to orientate your images correctly, especially on mobile. No matter whether they are landscape or portrait, images will always display at the same width. You can make your image much longer than it is wide; however, Pinterest won’t automatically show the entire image past a certain length. Readers will have to expand the pin the get the full effect. A 2 x 3 ratio on a vertical or portrait image is recommended and while cropping an image might not seem wise, it might actually be more effective if it means your pin displays vertically. You can use Canva to crop and resize your images before uploading them.
Use multiple images in a pin.
Creating a small collage of three to four images is a great way to illustrate progression. If your content is a how-to segment, for example, you could show some of the steps as a means to prompt the reader to click through. Even on a feature article or blog post that might contain a lot of images, this method can help engage more readers by acting as a preview for the content. A little transparency with regards to your link can go a long way with your pinners.
While click-baiting might sometimes work, many readers find it off-putting and it may ultimately result in less traffic heading to your site because it’s viewed as dishonest. Let your readers know exactly what they’re clicking on; ultimately your content should be good enough to warrant the engagement.
Craft your descriptions wisely.
Depending on how you word it, only about 80 words of your image description will show up in the grid view. This means pinners scrolling through the front page have only a few lines of text to decide whether your pin is something they might be interested in or not. Of course, you can add more text than this but be careful to tailor your description to engage the readers within the first line before going on to expand on the nature of the content. You can also use your description to highlight keywords, which will be picked up by search engines, including the search function within Pinterest. Hashtags aren’t widely used on Pinterest but you can tag other pinners by using the @username convention where applicable. This can be a great way to collaborate with other users and cultivate online relationships with other brands.
Use text on your pinned image.
If you create your own image to upload to Pinterest, which naturally I suggest you do, consider adding a short amount of text overlaying the image. Even if it’s just the title of the article or blog post, this can serve as a hint or teaser for the content of your article, which may catch the pinner’s eye even if the image doesn’t.
As important as it may be, not everyone pays attention to the description below the pin. Also, if you add the text to the image you get to use your own font in your own color, which can help with the aesthetic appeal of your pin and to keep the visual within your brand identity guidelines.
Ensure your profile is well compiled.
This may seem obvious but it’s where a lot of companies fall down. Pinners may come across your pins without ever having heard of your brand or website and this is where they’ll go to get further information. It could be the very first impression they get of your company or brand. Make sure your profile is named for your company, not for an employee, and use Pinterest as a business where applicable (this is, in fact, a requirement for businesses). Tailor your tagline to suit your style; if you’re an individual, keep it casual and if you’re a business, use a tone that reflects that fact i.e. use we rather than I. Be sure to include your website URL and make sure your profile picture is your logo rather than a product.
Connect to other social media sites.
Connecting to your other social media accounts will add links on your profile directing pinners to these sites, which can be a key way to gain followers for these social media streams. For example, many pinners may prefer to check out your Facebook page rather than your website in order to learn more about your company or to send an enquiry. Websites can be seen as stagnant in terms of immediate feedback or overwhelming in terms of basic information in comparison to social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook.
As with all online marketing, frequency is incredibly important. Readers will quickly lose interest in a blog or social media site that is not active. There may be hundreds of relevant pins with good keywords and descriptors that your content has to compete with. If you only pin once a week, there is much less chance of your pin being seen in search results. Don’t worry too much about repeating content every few weeks or months either. Pinterest’s catalog of images is so vast at this point, that it’s unlikely that a repeated pin would ever be considered spam. In order to get your pins front and center, you need to promote them more than just once. Thankfully, pinned images have longevity; they often stick around on Pinterest even after they’ve been deleted from the original source.
Use your boards correctly.
Let’s say you’re marketing a company that runs an online clothing store and you’d like to create Pinterest boards for the various types of clothing you offer. You may be tempted to just create one for women’s clothing and one for men’s. Perhaps even one for shoes and accessories. But why stop there? For Pinterest to suggest your boards to other pinners, they need to relate directly to the search terms in common use. It’s much more likely that someone will search for summer clothing or ankle boots when searching for pins. Be specific when naming your boards, there’s no limit on how many you can have so get creative. You can even have a board for a specific promotion, which you can later repurpose or even delete when it’s no longer applicable.
Pin from or to your own sources whenever possible.
A lot of companies will hop onto Pinterest and immediately start pinning things that, while relevant to their brand, don’t link back to their own website or content. This is fine to a point but in order to promote your website or blog, you need to prompt readers to follow the pins back to your own content. As mentioned before, this could simply be a pin from the article’s gallery or you can create a custom cover image which links directly to the post. That said, it’s also important to promote others’ content where applicable. A sponsor, for example, would benefit from pins that link directly to their content and this could be key to the partnership.
Use your secret boards.
Secret boards are a great way to store pins in batches that you’d like to use later. In much the same way that you might create a folder on your computer for upcoming posts, you can pin things for future use without anyone else seeing them until you’re ready. Even if they’re just for your own personal inspiration or things that you’d like to check out in the future, you can use secret boards to bookmark items and sort them into relevant categories.
Be aware of the terms of service.
Unfortunately terms of service matter enough that you need to take them seriously and while they should generally be a matter of common sense, it can’t hurt to have a read through to ensure you’re not accidentally violating any of them. Whether by misunderstanding or accident, it’s no fun to have your account suspended because of an oversight.
Make use of analytics.
A fairly recent addition to Pinterest (and only available on Pinterest for business), analytics can give you a great overall view of what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. While not an exact science, you can use analytics to track pinners’ interest and click-throughs on your posts, thereby tailoring future pins to be more appealing or relevant. Make note of your most popular pins, there’s usually an obvious reason why they worked when others didn’t.
Of course, there are more ways than just these few to promote your business or brand on Pinterest. From my own use and advice from others in the design industry, I have found these to be the simplest and most effective ways to change the way you pin for more effective marketing. Let us know in the comments if you’ve discovered any new Pinterest tricks and tips which you’d like to share.