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8 Things You Didn't Know About Pinterest

When it comes to marketing on social media platforms, the more you know, the better you can invest your company’s time and resources. Some businesses have struggled to maximize their return on Pinterest, and been left scratching their heads about the best way to actually use the service. But recent developments and new features on Pinterest mean it might be worth a second look. Here’s a list of eight things you may not know about the image-sharing platform.


8 Things You Didn't Know About Pinterest


1. It goes beyond arts and crafts

Pins are so much more than pictorials on how to crochet drink cozies. When pinning content, it’s important to lead with your company’s natural strengths and choose a good method for showcasing them on Pinterest. There are plenty of business-friendly options to choose from.


Infographics, for instance, are an emerging trend on Pinterest. Pin your company’s most interesting infographics, or pin a SlideShare presentation for a sleeker look.


Humor pins are the fastest growing category on Pinterest. Create a board where you pin your wittiest quips about business or curate some of your industry favorites, as Constant Contact does below.


Marketing humor board


Quotes are another good pinning option for businesses. Pin nuggets of wisdom from your blog, or share quotes from the thought leaders who reflect your company’s values.


There are quite a few tools out there for creating a pinnable quote. I enjoy Pinstamatic, a free and easy-to-use tool for creating quote pins in different styles.


Pinstamatic PInstamatic is a fun tool to make your own quote pins.


Note that the default source for these pins is the Pinstamatic website, so you should edit the source and description of the pins so they link back to your own site.


Tip: Vertical images get more clicks than other alignments and show up best on mobile devices. Check out this handy cheat sheet on Pinterest image sizes to ensure you’re pinning optimally.


2. Pinterest is a major driver of web traffic

Studies show that when it comes to driving traffic, Pinterest is the web’s silver standard. As of third quarter 2014, Pinterest is second only to Facebook for traffic referrals. Pinterest’s dizzying growth has been record-setting: it crossed the 10 million users mark faster than any other site in history and today has an estimated 70 million users.


Online shops take note: Pinterest also accounts for 25% of retail referral traffic online. It has proven especially effective at driving big spenders. Consider that shoppers referred by Pinterest spend about twice as much as those referred by Facebook or Twitter.


By pinning high-quality content and striking images that link back to your website, you can boost your site’s traffic exponentially and grow online sales.


3. Pinterest is for guys, too

If you thought Pinterest was just for women, think again. About 30% of Pinterest users are men, and their numbers are growing. Sure, a couple of years ago Pinterest was typecast as distinctly female-oriented, but since then a growing contingent of male users (like Drew Hawkins’ “Board of Man”) have helped change that.


“Pinterest doubled the number of active male users in the past year,” Jeff Sieh, the man behind the Manly Pinterest Tips blog and videos, told Jimdo. Sieh’s goal is to help guys navigate past the wedding dresses and hair tutorials to find the content that interests them on Pinterest. Efforts like his may be working: “In the last six months,” Sieh says, “male new users are growing faster than female new users on Pinterest.” This reflects Pinterest’s growing use for a wider range of interests (see point #1).


4. Rich Pins make pins more useful

Over the last 18 months Pinterest has been rolling out Rich Pins, which are templates that provide extra information and make it easier for people to engage with them. Additionally, the descriptions for Rich Pins cannot be altered by others, so the original information you post stays put. Rich Pins also rank higher in search results on Pinterest, giving your content a broader reach.


The added information and easier-to-use format encourage click-throughs, and some retailers such as Target have seen a tremendous uptick in traffic from Pinterest since implementing Rich Pins.


Here are the five types of Rich Pins:
  • Recipe Pins showcase ingredients, cooking time, and serving details; pinners can sort them by vegan, gluten free, and other criteria.
  • Article Pins display the article’s title, author, and a brief description of its content. This means that written work is much easier to share on Pinterest than before. Use Article Pins to post content from your blog or other online material your audience will find valuable, and they can use Pinterest to bookmark articles they want to read.
  • Place Pins include a map, address, and phone number, and you can collect them onto boards with map overlays. Brick-and-mortar businesses can create Place Pins to help customers locate their stores. You can also collect Place Pins your customers will find useful or interesting. If you own a pet shop, for example, map out all the dog-friendly parks in your city.
  • Movie Pins are useful to those in the film industry and include ratings, reviews, and cast members.
  • Product Pins are a terrific ecommerce tool. They display the item’s price, whether it’s in stock, and can alert pinners when the price drops.


Rich pins


In order to use this service, you must have Pinterest for Business activated and then apply for the type of Rich Pin you want. You also need to add metatags to your website. There is a Pinterest tutorial on how to get Rich Pins, and your webmaster or website support team can help you out as well.


5. You can leverage group boards

By setting up a group board and collaborating with pinners who have a high number of followers, you can broaden your reach on Pinterest considerably.


Inviting a contributor to a board is simple. Go to the board and click Edit Board. Type the name of the contributor under Who can add Pins, click on their name when it appears, then hit Save Changes.


Group boards


As the creator of the board, you’ll still be in control. You can edit the board’s name, remove pinners you invited, and delete inappropriate pins.


Another approach is to follow other group boards, or join one if you’re invited. Following group boards increases the likelihood of being followed in return, and joining a group board can help build your brand’s reputation as a trusted authority. The key is to find group boards relevant to your business. There currently isn’t a way to search for group boards on Pinterest, although you can identify group boards by the symbol to the right of the board name. Try using PinGroupie to filter through nearly 50,000 group boards and find what you’re looking for.


Group boards The little icon in the top right indicates a group board.


6. You can send direct messages to pinners who follow you

It can be easy to forget that Pinterest is a social platform, perhaps because sharing and collecting images doesn’t always feel interactive. But with the introduction of direct messages just a few months ago, Pinterest got a lot more social.


Consider the following ideas from Social Media Examiner for building relationships through Pinterest messages:


  • Invite a popular pinner to collaborate on a group board.
  • Kick off a group discussion based on content you shared recently.
  • Keep track of your most engaged followers and send them pins you think they would enjoy along with a link to your board or website where they can find more content like it.


Outside of messages, you can interact with fellow pinners in the comments. Monitoring the comments section of your pins is an excellent way to get feedback on your content and give your audience the personal interaction they crave.


7. SEO matters on Pinterest

Pin images of striking quality and high interest, and your job is only half done. You can pin a great picture, cross your fingers, and hope it goes viral—but optimizing your pins and your account with relevant keywords and compelling descriptions will greatly increase the chances that pinners discover, share, and click on your content.


Consider the following ways to optimize your Pinterest account with keywords and descriptions:


  • First and foremost, make sure your pins and boards are visible to search engines. You can do this in your account settings under Search Privacy by selecting "No" (as in, "no, don't hide my boards from search engines!")
  • Optimize the file name of the image you upload. Instead of using generic file names such as UPLOAD_0006.jpg, customize the file name with words relevant to the picture, like oatmealcookies.jpg.
  • When writing the pin description, balance keywords with readable, descriptive language. Avoid cramming in a lot of generic search-optimizing words, because you want the content to be appealing enough to be clicked on.
  • Customize your About description and names of your boards to optimize search impressions.


8. Promoted Pins are coming soon!

Pinterest is conducting paid pilot tests on Promoted Pins, which are the company’s first foray into paid advertisements. Once they’re available, Promoted Pins could be an effective tool for enhancing your brand’s visibility on Pinterest and increasing click-throughs to your website.


Promoted pins


Pinterest stated that they will offer Promoted Pins self-serve style to small businesses. They will operate on a cost-per-click basis, meaning you only pay when a pinner clicks on your content. (Pinterest is charging larger brands by impressions, not by clicks.) Similar to Google AdWords, there will be an auction component where small and medium businesses can bid to place ads alongside search terms and categories.


Pinterest is yet to announce when Promoted Pins will be available or what they will cost, but for now you can join the waiting list, and you’ll receive a notification when they are ready to roll out the carpet.


As a relative newbie and rising star on the social media stage, Pinterest has evolved rapidly over the last year or so. It can be hard to keep up with all the potential out there, but hopefully this article gave you a few tips to help boost your business’s engagement.


What are some lesser-known Pinterest features that have worked for your business?


Jane Douglas-Jones

Allison Guilliom


Allison is an American blogger with a Pinterest obsession currently living in Japan. She has a monster appetite for travel, music, Detroit coney dogs, and random acts of derring-do. Oh, and pasta. She can eat her weight in pasta.