Pinterest isn’t about knowing everything. It is about fulfilling a creative itch that leads to the formation of personal goals — and reaching those goals. Pinterest gives users a way to connect with others who have similar interests. And unlike any other form of social media, people turn to Pinterest specifically to go shopping. This means Pinterest is highly useful for any business-to-consumer company selling things that are visually appealing.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a visual social medium that works as a kind of online scrapbook. Users establish a profile, on which they create themed “boards” to which they can “pin” interesting visuals they come across while surfing the internet. For example, someone interested in sewing might “pin” patterns for projects they’d like to try, fabrics they like, or sewing techniques they’d like to learn. The board will then display the photo associated with the internet content, and links to that content — so it’s a great way for people to save links they find interesting. If that person is planning a wedding, a home renovation, or even a luxury vacation, they can establish boards devoted to those pursuits, too. Users can create as many different boards as they like, with ideas relating to fashion, decorating, cooking, celebrating holidays — the possibilities are endless. People then can “follow” like-minded users, and will receive notifications when the people they follow pin new material. The whole concept is to see what others are doing and working on.
Pinterest is especially popular with women, and with people who like to craft or engage in any kind of do-it-yourself project. But what’s most important for businesses is that it is the only social medium people turn to specifically to shop. So Pinterest is potentially a great marketing tool for business-to-consumer companies.
Business tools for Pinterest
Pinterest is now providing businesses with more options to showcase their services and products with the use of Pinterest for Business. These tools are broken into two categories, “On Pinterest” tools — that is, your business profile on Pinterest — which include Pinterest Analytics, Rich Pins, Buyable Pins, and Shop the Look. “For your site” tools, which are designed to help Pinterest users direct traffic to your website by pinning your products and information on their boards, include a save button and a widget builder.
Let’s begin with the “On Pinterest” tools available for business users.
These are similar to Google analytics in that they give you information about visitors to your profile, based on three categories:
Profile Analytics. This gives you info about your Pinterest Profile.
Audience Analytics. This tells you about the customers/Pinners interacting with your account, pins, or boards.
Website Analytics. This provides details on how users are interacting with the pins between Pinterest and your website.
Within those three categories you can see:
Impressions. In Pinterest terms, this is when your pin(s) appear on any user’s home page.
Repins. This is when anyone pins a pin that you created, so that it appears on their Pinterest profile in the board they select.
Clicks. This is just what it sounds like — information on how many people click on your pin(s).
Original Pins. This provides metrics on the pins that users create from content on your website, blog, etc. In other words, it gives you information on how well your website is resonating with Pinterest users.
All-time. As the name suggests, this is a complete history of the impressions, repins, clicks, and original pins for your account.
Rich pins provide more information within a pin. The content is meant to draw users in and get them to click, repin, or go to your site for more information or to create an original pin. For example, a rich pin for a recipe would provide the ingredients to make the dish. If the user finds this dish appealing, they can then click on the pin for the full recipe.
Rich pins can can be created for:
Apps. Note that at this time, only apps that run on an iOS system can be used.
Buyable pins allow users to shop directly from your pins, which of course is highly desirable if you’re selling!
Buy It Now means customers don’t have to leave Pinterest or search for the products they want to buy — they can simply look for the blue price tag, “add to bag,” and check out from there. Merchants have to apply to be eligible to place buyable pins. Be mindful that certain products (tobacco, weight loss products, pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, etc.) cannot be sold on Pinterest.
Shop the Look means a user can literally recreate the look they see on a model with one click. For example, a clothing company may upload a pin of a model in jeans, t-shirt, and flats. Each piece may be called out or accented with the use of a blue dot. This allows customers can to have an easy link to find more information or buy a specific piece of the outfit.
Pinterest tools for your site
These are tools you can use to increase and improve the interactions Pinterest users have with your website, which will help drive traffic to it. Your website developer can assist you with these.
Save Button. This allows pinners and customers to market for you! By placing a Pinterest save button on products and images on your website, you encourage customers and users to create original pins and organic content on their Pinterest boards — in the same way that Facebook and Twitter share buttons allow users of those social networks to share website content.
Widget Builder. Commonly used for Facebook or Twitter, a widget allows a social media feed to appear on your business website. The widget builder enables this for Pinterest, and gives your customers a connection between your website and your Pinterest account. Depending on your goals, several different types of widgets are available: pin, profile, and board.
Follow Us button. As the name suggests, this encourages Pinterest users who visit your website to follow your Pinterest profile.
Best practices for Pinterest
Lastly, let’s discuss best practices of Pinterest for business users and everyday users.
Always have an image that is appealing/ relevant/ realistic/ and most importantly, appropriate. This avoids what users call a Pinterest Fail, which is when a user attempts a project or recipe and it turns out nothing like the original picture that they pinned.
Always think about your customers or fellow pinners, so don’t be offensive, rude, or vulgar; have respect for others. Foster a good neighbor mentality to keep Pinterest user friendly, and bear in mind that Pinterest users are as young as 13.
Make sure your pins lead somewhere. For example, if you’re posting a picture of red velvet cake, make sure users can get the entire recipe from the pin or are linked to your website where they can buy the product or receive the recipe, rather than just having an empty picture. People will not follow you or repin your material if it doesn’t provide them with the valuable information they are looking for.
Stay up to date & post regularly. Like all social media, Pinterest will only work for you if you use it. People go onto Pinterest to find NEW ideas and products.
Look out for trademarks and copyrights. Don’t take what isn’t yours without giving credit, as that content will be removed. Continued offenses may lead to account deactivation.
New: I’ve tried it! Have you? This relatively new feature lets users indicate via a checkmark that they’ve actually tried something on Pinterest, anything from a new cocktail recipe to a Halloween craft to a gluten-free recipe. They can then provide feedback on the pin that other users can see. This allows pins to become more relevant and relatable, which can translate into more traffic.
So, if you are looking for a new way to promote your business or find a new way to connect and share ideas, consider giving Pinterest a try. If you wish to create a Pinterest for Business account, just select that option in account creation process and then confirm your website. Also: if you already have a Pinterest account, you can convert it to a Pinterest for Business account in your settings.
In 2023, Innovative Tomato was awarded a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program. We are grateful to the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for this opportunity!