By now you’ve probably heard about the hot new (or not so new) social network Pinterest. You may have taken a guilty pleasure sneak peak and found yourself immersed in a vast wonderland of images.
Like all social networks, Pinterest is designed to suck you in and keep you there as long as possible. And it’s working…
Pinterest has been growing like wildfire. We’ve seen statistics suggesting that it drives more referral traffic than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined. You’re probably also aware that the majority of Pinterest users are women — 83% in fact, according to the latest survey results. But I’m not here to bore you with statistics.
I’m here to show you a few best practices to drive traffic and leads to your website using Pinterest — from how to set up your profile to what to pin about and how to build your following.
Before we get started, let’s go through a quick rundown of what Pinterest is and how it works. If you’re already a seasoned user, feel free to skip this section.
Pinterest is a social network that allows users to visually share, curate, and discover interests by ‘pinning’ images or videos to ‘pinboards.’ Pinboards are a collection of pins usually falling in a common theme or category. You can upload images from your computer or use a URL from images you find on the web. You can also browse images that other users have pinned and interact by liking, repining, or commenting on them. Being a very visually appealing site, you might find yourself spending hours browsing gorgeous photographs of things you never knew you wanted.
Now let’s go over how to optimize your Pinterest profile for business. Under the [Settings] tab, choose your company name or URL as your username and complete your profile information, including a company description, logo, and link to your website. I also recommend connecting your Facebook and Twitter accounts so that other users can easily click through while viewing your profile.
IMPORTANT: Be sure to keep “Prevent search engines from including your profile” checked OFF, so your profile can get indexed in searches.
Once you have your profile set up, it’s time to start building your following. But before you do that, I recommend that you create a few pinboards and post images on them so that new followers will have a reason to follow your pins.
One strategy for creating awesome pinboards is to base each pinboard on a specific topic. By doing this you increase the chances of your board attracting followers who are passionate about a shared topic. For example, our board “Mind-Blowing Internet Info Graphics” has over 200 followers who actively engage with the pins on that pinboard.
After you get a few pinboards up, the best way to jumpstart your presence is by promoting it on other platforms. A fast and easy way to do that is by adding a Pinterest follow or pin it button to your website or blog (I have a “pin it” button on the left column of this post, in addition to a Pinterest follow icon in the footer of my website). You can also link to a related pinboard from a blog or guest blog post to drive traffic from your blog to Pinterest.
Just like any other social network, it is a good idea to start following users and engaging with them through liking and commenting. Don’t forget to add links back to your website in the descriptions of your pins and use hashtags when relevant.
Unless you carry a lot of products or have a photography business, you might not have much visual content to post. Not to worry, the great thing about Pinterest is you don’t need your own. If you’re creating custom images just for Pinterest, it’s important to note that the maximum width is 600 pixels by whatever height you want to make them.
Here are some ideas for content you can post to your business Pinterest account:
Visuals from Blog Posts – Our board “From the Blog…” uses the evocative creative commons images found on our blog posts with a short excerpt from the post itself to highlight our written content. Each pin has a link back to our blog, allowing users to find our blog who might not have otherwise.
Infographics – Infographics are extremely popular and common on Pinterest. They’re a great branded way to have content related to your topic go viral.
Visual Quotes – Thought-provoking or inspirational visual quotes against a visual background are also super popular. Whether you’re quoting from literature or the legends in your industry, these are a great way to get a share. I’ve created a short series of “Quotes that Inspire Me” with the Live Your Message logo at the bottom, to make sure they trace back to our website.
Report and Book Covers – If you have released ebooks or reports, Pinterest is a great place to feature your work. It can help you establish your credibility and attract potential customers.
Visual Content About Your industry – Since we help experts and entrepreneurs build their websites, we created a pinboard that features awesome examples of great expert websites. Our board “Websites That Convert: Best Home Page Design,” showcases effective home pages in the expert entrepreneur space. We’ve also created a pinboard called “Crazy Internet Stats” tracking trends in the internet marketing world.
Things You Like – People want to know the real you. Have fun with it!
Remember, the goal with Pinterest is to pin visual content that attracts visitors back to your website, where you can turn them into subscribers and ultimately clients.
How can you creatively feature your products or services to appeal to your target audience?
Take a moment now to share your favorite pinboards — your own or someone else’s. Happy pinning!