Popular Uses for Pinterest
So then, what do most people use Pinterest for?
As mentioned, Pinterest essentially revolves around mood boards which are designed to provide inspiration or to collect ideas. One of the most popular types of boards that users will create for this purpose as an example are ‘wedding boards’.
When an engaged couple begin planning their wedding, they will often start by creating a Pinterest board and then looking for inspiration. They’ll then look at boards created by other users and search for ideas for wedding dresses, for wedding locations, for table decorations, for cakes, for suits etc. (or they may create separate boards for each of those things).
Either way, they can then find new ideas and inspiration to guide their decisions and they can put all of these ideas into one spot to serve as a reference. Because you can work on boards collaboratively, the bride and groom can both go about looking for different ideas together at the same time and add them to the board so they can both see them. They can also add their own notes to read later, etc.
If you have photos on your computer of a wedding you’ve been to and really enjoyed meanwhile, you can upload photos from there. Or you can write notes and draw sketches and upload those as pins. You can also show other people those same ideas to see what your maid of honor thinks of your ideas so far for example, or you can let other users see your board and get inspiration from you that way.
There are many other common ways that Pinterest gets used. Here are just a few:
- Collecting images that you find appealing/inspiring
- Collating ideas and inspiration for a new web design/app UI
- Getting ideas for interior design
- Browsing products and ‘window shopping’
- Putting together inspirational images to get you into the gym (moves, ‘goal physiques’ etc.)
- Staying updated with your favorite brand in a more visual manner
- Looking at fashion and outfit ideas for clothes
- Researching tattoo ideas
- And much more
Of course what we’re really interested in though, using Pinterest as a marketing tool…
Marketing With Pinterest
Now you know the basics of how Pinterest works, it’s time to look at how this can be used by marketers and why Pinterest is such a powerful tool beyond just being a big platform to reach a large audience. What features in particular make Pinterest a good choice for your business? How do you go about using it to promote your website or company?
As mentioned, a lot of people will use Pinterest primarily for researching ideas and getting inspiration. If they enjoy interior design, graphic design, fashion or fitness, they’ll likely have lots of boards relating to that topic. What’s more, they’ll probably be following some other boards created by big brands in those areas.
As a brand, your objective is to be ‘one of those brands’ that people follow and to use this as a prime opportunity to show off your products, your services and your website so that you get more visitors and more business. This is particularly easy if you should happen to work in one of the industries that is particularly popular on Instagram.
If you create wedding decorations for instance, then all you need to do is to create a board dedicated to these and then let people pin the items they find there or just browse your site for ideas. The more people you can get to follow you, the more people will see your products, will be exposed to your brand and will likely buy your items. This ultimately means you can get a lot of traffic and engagement from a well thought-out Pinterest board.
What will help here is the ability to easily add links to your website and specific articles and blog posts. If you choose to ‘Pin From the Web’, you can then type in an URL and select an image from that website to go along with it. Under the pin, it will then say ‘Pinned from’ and you can click that to follow through to the blog post or article where it was originally posted.
This means that people can follow your boards to stay up-to-date with your new articles and blog posts if they want as well, which they may choose to do if Pinterest is their preferred platform. Beyond the basic features, there are also some more advanced options and tools on Pinterest that are going to be especially useful for marketers.
One example is ‘Article Rich Pins’.
These have been around since September 2013 and they basically take the central concept of posting links to blogs and articles and build on it. These allow you to share links as you already could but the additional advantage is that you can add extra information about the article such as the title, the site name, the description and the author. This makes your blog and article links considerably more appealing and it encourages people to sign up automatically.
Article rich pins are actually just one of the advance types of ‘rich pins’ available for marketers. Another relatively new and big feature of Pinterest that is particularly interesting for marketers is the ‘buyable pins’ tool. This was introduced relatively recently (June 2015) so not every marketer is making full use of it. As the name suggests, buyable pins are pins showing products that are for sale.
So if you should be browsing the site and see an item of clothing, a desktop accessory, or maybe a piece of furniture that you like, then you can simply click to buy it. In the iPad and iPhone apps, the ‘Pin It’ button is now accompanied by a ‘Buy It’ button that lets users immediately buy the products they’re interested in. By the end of the very first month, there were already 2 million of these pins on the site.
Pinterest has long been popular as a tool for ‘window shopping’. When users are looking through other brand boards because they’re looking for ideas for wedding decorations, things to wear or things to decorate their house with, they will often then follow the links to buy the products, or later look up the product. But now with buyable pins, they can buy the product straight through Pinterest itself.
This turns your Pinterest board into an ecommerce store, essentially meaning that anything on your site can now be easily bought. If you imagine that someone has taken a lot of time amassing a selection of items they find inspiring for their wedding, this means they can now eventually whittle that selection down just to the things they want and click ‘buy’.
This creates the barrier to sale and makes it a much thinner line between ‘discovery’ and sale. It’s very simple and easy and it’s a very tempting new option for businesses. Finally, Pinterest also provides a large amount of analytics data. To get access to this you’ll need to convert your personal account to a ‘business account’ and at the same time, you’ll need to verify your account.
From there, you’ll then be able to see what pins are getting pinned from your website or blog. This in turn lets you see which content is really performing well and engaging your audience. That’s right, if you want to take full advantage of the analytics features on Pinterest, then you need to upgrade to a business account. And there are other advantages of making this switch too.
Can you promote your blog or business with a personal account? Of course you can: to an extent. But there are some considerable advantages of making the switch. For starters, Pinterest actually requires you to make your Pinterest account a business one if you intend on using it to profit. While it’s unlikely they’ll clamp down on you for posting links to your website, you should switch if you want to tow the official line.
Their statement on the matter is:
“If you’re using Pinterest as part of how you make a living, whether by driving traffic to a blog that makes you some money or to build your personal brand to find customers for your products or services, you should sign up for a business account and agree to our Business Terms of Service.”
From here, you’ll then be able to display your company or brand name as the title of your Pinterest profile instead of your first and last name, you’ll be able to get insider tips and strategies from Pinterest (they provide a lot of free educational materials) and you’ll be able to verify your website. As mentioned, it’s this latter step that enables you to see which of your photos and images are getting shared on Pinterest, getting repined and getting commented on.
Verifying your URL also has another benefit – it adds your hyperlink to the top of your profile. This now means that anyone who discovers your Pinterest account will now be able to quickly discover your website as well and that means more traffic, more ad clicks, more sales etc. Business accounts are also allowed to host contests through their Pinterest, which is something we’ll be looking at more further on in this article..