This is a guest post by Larry Alton
If you’re a ‘picture paints a thousand words’ kind of person, then Pinterest may be a great option for you.
Its tight-knit community and visual focus make it an ideal board for circulating and popularizing your ideas. And while it may not be as popular as Facebook and Instagram, it still has more than 150 million active users each month.
Pinterest also has a number of advantages:
- All content is publicly visible.
- Content can quickly ‘go viral with far less effort than other platforms.
- It provides monetization options for businesses and stores (e.g. buyable pins).
People use Pinterest in many different ways. But let’s say you want to create a business or personal brand account on it to build an audience and ultimately drive more sales. What’s the best way to maximize its popularity?
Creating the Account
First, you’ll need to create your brand’s account.
- Find a target audience. There are millions of users on Pinterest. So what makes you unique? Decide on your target audience, and how you’re going to appeal to that niche.
- Optimize your profile. With your target audience in mind, optimize your profile so it will appeal to that audience. Include keywords they might search for, and describe your brand as accurately as possible.
- Plan a content stream. You’ll need some ideas for an ongoing content stream. What types of images will you post? Will they be photos or digital designs? What’s your primary subject matter?
- Integrate your account. Like any social media platform, you should integrate your Pinterest account with the other communication channels you have in place. For starters, you’ll want to announce your new Pinterest presence on your company’s blog and other social media platforms.
Once you’ve created your account, you can focus to optimizing and popularizing your individual posts, known as “pins.”
Post regularly, but don’t spam
Your pins should be regular without being overwhelming. Pinterest users like a steady stream of new content, but not as much as high-volume platforms such as Twitter. Pinning once a day is fine.
But while you may only be pinning once a day, you should check in regularly and be ready to communicate with your followers. It may be worth investing in a mobile hotspot so you’re never disconnected from your audience.
Sephora has nearly half a million followers, and is a great example of how to time your pins. They’ve pinned close to 12,000 items, and yet they never flood or spam their users. They generally post post once or twice a day with things like “Today’s Obsession” and “Makeup of the Day”. They’ve clearly worked out a pinning schedule that’s perfect for their audience.
Pinterest lets you store related pins in folders known as ‘boards’. You can create as many boards as you like, and give them whatever name best describe the pins inside them (“Recipes”, “Interior Design”, etc.) You can make a board public or secret, and even create boards containing both your own content and content shared from other sources.
Whole Foods is one brand that’s exceptionally effective at creating and managing boards. They have more than 60 independently developed boards, each showing off recipes and ingredients in specific categories such as “summer recipes” and “Paleo”.
Pay attention to what your top competitors are doing, and learn from their actions. But don’t just take inspiration from their most popular pins. Look at what they’re not doing as well. If you want your pins to get attention, they need to show people things they’ve never seen before.
Take Japanese brand UNIQLO’s campaign to dominate the infinite scroll. They created elongated vertical images and posted them in just the right way to present the illusion of animation when users scrolled past. It was never tried before, and immediately caught the attention of thousands of users.
Create tall, defined images
Most of Pinterest’s users are on mobile devices, so your best bet is to create high-definition, vertical images that mobile users can access easily. Tall pictures that fill up the entire space offered by the newsfeed are more likely to outcompete images in the same feed. The effect becomes even more powerful when the image is dominated by a single color.
Limit the text
Pinterest is a visual board, so keep any text on your pins to a minimum. Include a few words if you need to explain what the image is about or announce the date of an upcoming event, but otherwise keep the focus on the image.
Offer practical information or tips
Pins have space for text as well as images. This is a great way to give your audience practical information or tips. And because they’ll want to share that information with their friends and family members, they’ll be more inclined to share your pins.
The “Build It!” board set up by Lowe’s is a great example. Its thriving is almost entirely outsourced, giving independent bloggers and DIYers the chance to contribute their own projects, complete with how-to guides, for all their shared followers.
Repin other high-quality pins
Generate more attention for your own brand by repinning high-quality or popular pins from other brands—preferably ones that would also appeal to your target audience. This will increase your visibility in other Pinterest feeds, and help you define what your brand is and what it stands for.
You can even create boards specifically for user submissions. Anthropologie has been extremely successful with a board called “Your Anthropologie Favorites”. Fans are encouraged to tag pins with #AnthroFave, resulting in even more visibility. And with 768,000 followers, it’s a brand you can learn a lot from.
Once you’ve created your account and have a stream of optimized Pinterest content flowing, it’s only a matter of time before you start attracting followers. And once you have your audience, you can nurture and tweak your strategy to grow your business – and your sales.