Pinterest is a search engine just like Google. Luckily for artists, it is a visual search engine. Small businesses can thrive in Pinterest. It is filled with beautiful images called pins that people pin to their boards. While people are repinning pins to their boards, other people who follow them are then able to see the pin. You just have to apply a few key strategies to your pins and you can really make something go viral.
Tapping into Pinterest’s potential for your small business is a smart move as it is projected to continue to grow. Pinterest offers free personal and business accounts that are easy to set up, phone apps that are free and easy to use, and additional features for businesses like promoted pins (paid feature for advertising your stuff) and analytics to track your traffic. Pinterest has over 70 million users largely female and based in the US [Reference: Semiocast July 2013]. As of mid-2013, Pinterest has been aggressively expanding its global reach.
Creating your business account
So how do you get your images on Pinterest in a way that will help your small business? First, you need to signup for a business account. If you already have a personal account, you can convert this to a business account
- Create a new business account
- Convert your personal account to a business account
- Log into your account, go to Pinterest for Business, select Convert Now (find it under the big red box), fill out the information and click Convert.
Use your real name and business name when creating your account. In the description for your business, use keywords that best describes your business and that people are likely to use when searching for your products and services. For your account image, businesses often use their logo, though you are not required to do so. If you are marketing your personal brand and your customers connect better with a photo of you rather than a logo, use that but keep in mind that this image is going to be very tiny (160 x 165px).
Verify your website by following their instructions at https://help.pinterest.com/en/articles/confirm-your-website. This will allow you to track your analytics to your website. If you are using Squarespace, follow the instructions for the Meta Tab. Add this to the <head> by going to Settings - Advanced - Code Injection.
Creating your home feed (skip to the next section if you’re already an avid Pinterest user)
Search for other people to follow by either searching by their name, their business name, or a topic. You’ll be able to follow a person’s entire board portfolio or select which boards of theirs you want to follow. You could also go to Pinterest’s main categories and follow them or a subset of the category. You can always unfollow someone too.
When I searched for “Hand Lettering Tutorial” by typing in the Search bar, Pinterest returned quite a few subcategories that I could choose from to narrow my search like “free”, “videos”, and “DIY”. I can also sort by “All Pins”, “Your Pins” (if you have already pinned or posted some of your own pins), “Pinners” which are other people, or “Boards”. You can also choose to follow one of Pinterest main boards by picking on the little icon to the right of the Search box:
If I select the first pin, a new window pops up. From here, I can pin it to one of my boards, like the pin which just saves it under one large area in your profile not organized by boards, visit the site connected to the pin, send it to a friend, or share via Facebook. If you look below the pin, you can see who posted the pin (Saved By) and where they found it (Via). You can choose to follow one of these people.
As you begin to follow more people and their boards, you’ll have a home feed customized to what you want to look at. When you first login, you’ll be at your home feed. To access it otherwise, click on the big P at the top left corner.
This is what a typical home feed would look like. As you can see by the highlighted image, this pin originated from someone's Etsy shop.
Creating your boards for business
Since you’re using Pinterest for your small business, you’ll want your boards branded for your business. Think about how you want your boards titled and organized. For my account, I placed boards that relate to my business first with a specific Left Side Art board placed at the beginning. The rest of my boards are a bit more focused around what I like to post personally, but they also often relate to creative small businesses who post to Pinterest. By repinning these pins, I’m effectively helping those other small businesses which is my focus. This approach may or may not work for you.
For each board, select a cover page by either scrolling through your pins in that board or by creating an image, pinning it, and then selecting it. Board cover pages are 225 x 150px. The descriptions for each of the boards should use lots of keywords focused around that board, the category should be selected to best represent the board, and the title should be clear and also contain one or two of your keywords. These tips will help your board come up in the search.
Next, you’ll need to learn how to create the best image for your business and for repinning. Your image should have an aspect ratio of 2:3 or 4:5. Rectangular pins get more repins and are easier to see in the feed. PicMonkey has a great article on how to create images for Pinterest. Cavna is a free service where you can design your own images or add text to an existing image.
I created this one in just a few minutes for free using the images and text templates they have available. If I was really going to post this to Pinterest, I might washout the background a bit more and add a website address to the top or the bottom of the image. As an artist, you can use the image of your art (with a watermark) as your background. The text can be the title of your work, or maybe a famous quote that best represents your work to draw people in.
Notice on the image above I have a clear call-to-action: Click for Discount. You’ll get more clicks if you have a call-to-action or some incentive like a free download clearly displayed on your image. Also, when you load your image to Pinterest either directly or from your website, be sure to have a short description filled with your keywords to help with ranking higher in the search. Repeat these keywords in the image title and in the URL linking back to your website.
Now that you have a great image pinned on Pinterest, you better have great content on your site if you’re linking back to a blog article. Your keywords used in your Pinterest pin should have been used throughout your blog content, title, mega descriptions, and URL. Alternatively, you can link back to a store like Etsy or ArtPal.
Understanding your analytics
Pinterest analytics are enabled for business accounts. Analytics are split into three main categories: your Pinterest profile, your audience, and activity from your website. Over time, you’ll be able to see how well people are responding to the pins you repin. This will help you strategize what is working for your business. But don’t get hung up on the numbers. As you can see below, the numbers fluctuate often. There are several reasons for this such as how much and what you are posting, during what times, and how well you have designed your images.
Under each of these three main categories, you’ll be able to see details about which pins are being repinned, clicked on, liked, and how many people they have reached. You will also be able to see details about which boards have top pin impressions and where your audience is located. By viewing this detailed information, you are able to realize which pins and content are doing better than others. If pins and boards are doing better than yours, check them out and try to see what might be causing them to do better.
Using Promoted Pins
It’s becoming more common for social media platforms to offer paid advertisement. Twitter and Facebook are probably the most well-known. Pinterest only recently started their program and you may need to wait to be approved, but the application is simple and quick. With promoted pins, you reach more people than a regular organic pin would.
There are currently two options for promoted pins: Engagement or Traffic. Do you want more repins or do you want people to go to your site? For example, if you sign up for Traffic to drive people to your site, you set you max daily budget and your bid (pay per click) which they give you a range that is suitable for your ad which is only a guideline, not a requirement to be used. Then you set the timeframe for your ad, hit submit, and wait for it to be approved which is usually the same day. You can go back and make edits to adjust your budget, timeframe, or bid.
You are required to have a business account and have a verified website. Basically, you create a pin like you normally would, link it back to your site with your promotion, and that’s it! You will then be able to track your ads analytics to see how many people it is reaching and how much is being spent out of your total daily budget.
Automate your Pins
There are a few ways you can automate your pins. BoardBooster, Buffer, and Hootsuite are probably the most common. You have to pay for each of these services, but if you are utilizing Pinterest and other social media platforms, it is worth paying a small monthly fee to save hours of your precious time each week.
BoardBooster was specifically created for Pinterest users. It uses private boards to sequence posting to your public boards. They also have looping where old pins are continually moved to the top. There’s a lot more to it than this, but it is something that you will want to look into after you get use to how Pinterest works. Regardless of what other scheduling program you use, BoardBooster is a must!!
Buffer and Hootsuite are similar, but Hootsuite definitely has a better interface, in my opinion. You can schedule your posts or pins ahead of time to minimize the time you spend on social media. In order to use Hootsuite with Pinterest, Hootsuite will walk you through a quick sign-up process through Tailwind. After logging into Hootsuite, go here https://hootsuite.com/dashboard#appdirectory and then search for Pinterest. Follow the directions until your Pinterest account is connected. All of your scheduled posts that you established through BoardBooster will appear.
For more information on how you can push your reach with Pinterest, here are a few great resources to refer to:
Very “Interesting” tips for Small Business Owners! - Pinterest Board to follow
Follow my Pinterest board where I regularly post these types of articles that are either written by myself or by others in our industry.
Your next steps are to create you Pinterest board to a business account (or create a new account), verify your website, and start branding your boards. Try promoted pins and automation to further advance your small business.