How to Use Pinterest to Grow Your Business

If you're not using Pinterest for your business yet, why not? Are you thinking, ah, not another social media platform? Or that you don't sell products or create recipes so it's not relevant for your business? 

Here's the deal - more people use Pinterest than both Instagram and Twitter* and Pinterest has steadily become the largest source of referrals for many bloggers, online shops and solopreneurs.

If you're not sure how to use Pinterest for your business, keep reading, by the end of this post, I hope you'll be ready to up your Pinterest game!

how to use pinterest to grow your business

In our visually driven society Pinterest has become a go-to search engine for many. In fact, where we used to start with a Google search, many are now starting with Pinterest. When I need a recipe for dinner, I search Pinterest. When I need home decor inspiration, I search Pinterest. When I want some business advice, guess what? I search Pinterest!

There are a few things that make Pinterest an amazing social media platform and traffic generator.

  • Most pinners are women. This is great news for many female entrepreneurs, because generally our ideal customers are women. Pinterest users are actively looking for ideas and inspiration for everything from their next meal, to their home decor, to how to grow and online business. That means that no matter your niche, you'll likely find your tribe is on Pinterest looking for what you do. They are also more likely to buy, in fact, 93% of Pinterest users use the platform to plan purchases**. Now this is great news if you sell products, but it's also relevant if you sell digital courses and services. Unlike Facbook where users are there to catch up on the daily happenings of friends, Pinterest users are primed to buy or research things that interest them (i.e. more likely to click on your pins and end up at your website). 

  • Pins link directly back to your website. Unlike Instagram - where you can upload on-brand images but can't use live links to drive traffic - each image on Pinterest directly links back to your website. Now this assumes that is has been pinned correctly, but we'll talk about ways to increase your chances of a direct link-back below.

  • Other people do your promoting for you. If you make it easy on your blog followers by adding a Pin-it button to your blog, they can pin your images to their boards and in turn help you to promote your posts. When other people re-pin their images, this instantly promotes you too, without you having to do all the work!

  • Pins last longer. Social media moves quickly. With the decline of organic reach on Facebook, Tweets lasting only seconds, and with Instagram feeds moving a mile-a-minute, Pinterest images have the most longevity. Users boards are constantly available to view, and with the search feature, older pins can be easily found. Not only that, but as people pin and re-pin content, blog posts from months ago can bring in continual traffic.

  • Pins can go viral. As followers of your blog pin your images, their followers on Pinterest are exposed to your content. Each time someone re-pins one of your images, their followers see the pin on their feed and so your reach grows. The majority of pins on Pinterest are re-pins, and many pins have been re-pinned thousands of times! With the addition of Related Pins, your images have an even higher chance of being discovered by people who are interested in your subject matter.

  • Pinterest analytics can help you create better content. By using Pinterest analytics, you can see what which of your pins is most popular and which have been driving traffic to your site. You can also look around to see what boards your followers are pinning your images to, and what their related interests are.

Top Tips for Using Pinterest to Grow Your Business

  • Start by creating a Pinterest business account. This gives you access to all kinds of analytics not available to those using a personal account. If you already have a personal Pinterest account, you can switch it to a business account. For more info, click here.

  • Create pin-worth images. This is SUPER important! I have so much to say about creating gorgeous graphics for your social media (more on that in another post) but for now, what you need to know is that Pinterest users are attracted to light, bright, and beautiful images. Vertical images also get more re-pins on than horizontal images. So my top tips are:
    • Optimize your images by making sure that your initial post image is vertical orientation

    • Add text to your main image - this allows Pinterest users to quickly decide if your image interests them so that they can hopefully a) re-pin b) click through to read your post

    • Add your website address to the bottom of the main blog image (or all your images). That way, even if someone doesn't link directly from your blog, readers will still know where the image came from and how to get back to your site.
    • Use an image on all of your blog posts. If there's no image on your post, there's nothing for people to pin! Even if you simply create a graphic such as a vertical rectangle in a solid color with a text overlay.

    • Be consistent with your images. Use images that are on-brand and high quality, always. Your visual content is part of your overall branding strategy.  If you need beautiful on-brand images for your website or blog, you can find them here.

    • Always pin from the actual post and not just from your main blog. When you do this, your pins will link directly back to the original post, that way when people land on your site, they're taken to the content that they actually want to see. Hopefully they'll like what they read and stick around for a while!

  • Install a Pin-it button.  If your blog readers can't easily pin your images they're going to get frustrated. Make it easy for your followers to share your images by installing a pin-it button on your blog. If you're on Word Press, you'll find more info here. If you use Squarespace, it's as simple as going to Settings > Marketing > Pin-it Button. You can select the option of having all the images on your website pinable or just the images on your blog.  

  • Name your images. This is the most under-utilized tool to get your content found - both on Pinterest and in Google searches! Yes, it takes time to name your images, but it's totally worth it.When you're naming your images, make sure that you use keywords related to your content. The name of your images appears in the pin description when users pin directly from your site. Essentially, by naming your images you've done the description work for them. This is great for two reasons a) it makes it easier and faster for them to pin your content and b) there's less of a chance they'll change the description, ensuring that it's relevant to your post and searchable. 

  • Create boards that are relevant to your business and interesting to your followers. My recommendation is to create a variety of boards. Some which are directly inline with your business and that you can pin your content to, and some that are related and are of interest to your followers. Don't just simply pin your own posts and call it a day. No one will find that interesting! The best Pinterest accounts are those that are a mix of the user's content, as well as relevant pins from other sources that support and enhance their brand story. For example, I have one board for my Styled Stock Library photos, but my other boards are a mixture of business, branding, design, and styling pins.

  • Pin carefully. While it's ok to pin things on Pinterest that are of personal interest to you, not everything that you see on Pinterest is going to be inline with your brand. Use your discretion while pinning and pin only images that are a reflection of your brand story. For everything else, create secret boards or use a personal account.

  • Pin Often. Like any social media account, Pinterest needs a strategy, commitment and nurturing. The good news is, it's a pretty easy account to maintain. You don't have whittle your words down to 140 characters, stand on tables to take pictures of your coffee, or think of witty captions to entice your followers. On the other hand, simply pinning when you have new content on your blog won't work either. Try pinning everyday - pin interesting and relevant posts from people you follow, pin your current blog posts, and go back and pin older posts as well. Install the Pinterest app on your phone, and re-pin content from people you follow. 

The point of adding Pinterest to your marketing mix is to increase traffic to your website or blog. Once readers are there, it's up to you to use compelling copy and gorgeous graphics to get them to stick around!

3 Things You Can Do Today to Use Pinterest for your Business

1. Switch to a business account if you haven't done so already. This will give you valuable analytics data and the ability to verify your website.

2. Add a Pin-it button to your blog. This is the easiest way to let your readers do your marketing for you!

3. Look back at your last 10 blog posts and make sure the images are pin-worthy. If they're not, take some time in your favorite graphic design program to change the orientation to vertical on your main image, add text and your web address, and rename images to an appropriate description.

Are you using Pinterest for your business? If so, let us know why you love using Pinterest for your business and link to your account so we can follow you! Find inspiration and check out my pin-worthy account here.

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