It’s not going to be any surprise to any regular readers of our websites that I’m a fan of Pinterest, but what may surprise most people is that even though we are mainly blogs and not really selling specific products, we have a Pinterest strategy to promote the brand that is our blog. We are here to prove that even if you are “just” an individual pinner or a blog, that it’s important to use Pinterest to curate the image that you project to the world, which is, in short, your brand.
Today, we’re going to talk about the strategies we employ in building and promoting our Refined Side brand on Pinterest and how you can use them to build, expand and improve your Pinterest presence.
The first step in promoting your brand on Pinterest is knowing what your brand is. If you’re struggling with identifying your brand and what makes you unique, check out the articles on the importance of branding and building a brand in the #WeDo series that will help you figure out what makes you you. We identified what makes us and our brand unique and turned it into a tagline and statement which helps us remember what it is that we are all about – and most importantly what our readers were coming to us looking for.
We then set about creating boards that circled around the core tenets of our brand: boards that were personal and yet tied in with the categories on our blog, full of ideas and creative paths we want to pursue as well as the overall lifestyle that our brand enables women to achieve. We have boards covering home décor ideas, fashion inspirations, holiday decoration examples, fitness motivation, future plans… and then we spent hours selecting cover photos to mesh with each other so when someone comes to visit us on Pinterest, they get a quick visual idea of what we’re all about. If you visit our boards, you’ll note that there aren’t boards covering the antics of celebrity jailhouse coverage, actors we think are handsome, jokes we find funny or before and after pictures of our fitness regimes – things that while we might be interested in looking at, are not reflective of our brand. Be intentional in what you pin – and if you have content that is personal or that doesn’t jive with your brand, use the Secret Board feature to not clutter your feed.
And then you get onto the actual content itself, which is where the real art of the pinning strategy starts. Many brands when first starting out on Pinterest believe that they should just pin their own items or products – but people following that plan are missing out on the larger point of Pinterest as an inspiration and curation tool. There is an unspoken rule that 80% of your content should be lifestyle or inspirational while allowing 20% of your content for your own proprietary pins or products.
Let’s look at two case studies, one for a traditional brand for a major department store and the second for a blog.
Nordstrom was one of the first companies to truly embrace their brand on Pinterest and the community has rewarded them with over 4 million followers. Sure, they actively pin items that are sold in their stores – data shows 17% of people will click through on a pin meaning a large spike in traffic to their online store – but they also have boards covering things like their favourite quotes, DIYs, wedding ideas and the colour pink – and their most popular board, their favourite things. They embrace the key notion that it’s OK to pin your own content but that you also have to give love to the wider community as well and repin items that are in tune with the kind of customer they are looking to attract. Great case studies written about their strategy if you’re interested: here and here
Ok, sure, we’re biased. But since it’s our article, I’m going with it. While we have a board which covers content from our blog (Refined Side Features), the vast majority of the content we pin is not our own content. We pin items from websites of blogs we follow that inspire us, we pin clothing items we are lusting after and we pin the places we’re looking to travel to. You’ll note that none of our content shares content about subjects that we find counteractive to our brand: we don’t show vulgarity, we minimize celebrity mentions to only cover refined fashion and we are cautious in the remainder of the content we pin to not be offensive or inflammatory. We currently generate approximately 61% of new traffic from Pinterest pins.
Pinterest images without faces tend to get repined more often (23% more) and appropriately aspected vertical pins tend to be more visually appealing and repined as well (60% more)- so take care in crafting images that are visually engaging when a user sees it in their feed with thousands of other images. We also like to add meta data to our images and stick a small watermark of our logo on our proprietary images. Check below in the tools section for our favourite online resources for photo editing and sourcing.
- You don’t need to clutter your Pinterest descriptions with hashtags – Pinterest will automatically include all text in an image description in its search function. People who use all kinds of hashtags are not normally received as being genuine, which can be bad for your image
- Revisit old content from time to time to add in new Pinterest images that can then enable you to put a fresh face on some old, good content that may have gotten buried in your feed. Here is a great article on some tips specific to that
- Feature your most popular pins or have a timeline of your most recent ones featured somewhere on your blog. You’ll note that we have ours featured prominently at the top right of our page showcasing our newest pins. Here is a video how-to if you’re not sure how to get this started
- Pin regularly, in short bursts. This way you’ll remain relevant at the top of people’s Pinterest feeds more often and thus more likely to be engaged with
One of the most important things to get out of Pinterest is the analytics on what people are engaging with. What are your most popular pins? What are people liking? Are people following you? When are people pinning your content? Who is pinning similar things? Here are some of our favourite tools:
The gold standard is, of course, Google Analytics. Using this you can easily pin down the amount of traffic coming to your site from Pinterest and even drill down into what content brought them to your page. We review this often and have found that going back to our most pinned images and ensuring that the article they link to remains updated on a regular basis has been a great source of traffic, referrals and even affiliate revenue.
The next thing you’ll want to do is install a “pin this image” feature to images for your site. If you’re running WordPress, many easy plugins are available to allow people to pin your content directly to their boards without having to leave your site and often capturing the metadata off your image as well. For other site types, here are some resources: HTML code here and Blogger FYI here
The second is a trick you can use on Pinterest itself. Enter this into your browser: www.pinterest.com/source/yourdomain.com. Using this will allow you to see everyone who has pinned content from your webpage, leaving you with great insight into your popular content as well as giving a gold opportunity to interact with people who visit your site and like your content.
We are currently using Tailwind Pinterest Analytics to get analytics beyond what is available on Google Analytics or Pinterest itself and have been quite impressed with the level of information available even on the free plan. Here’s an example of the information available about our brand page (the homepage on Pinterest) You can get engagement stats, rate and vitality score.
The last thing you want to do is incorporate your boards into your overall brand strategy. We use our boards for revenue generation (we do pin affiliate links) and we also embed them into articles frequently to provide our readers with additional context, depth and resources for their visit. We’re striving to promote a refined and sophisticated lifestyle, and there are many other sources out there that we can draw on and not naively think our readers will not also explore them. Plus, it’s sharing the internet love!
There are lots of bloggers on Pinterest who all use it in different ways. This is why we love to collect all their advice in a board and refer to it when we’re looking to start a new strategy or plan and are looking to think outside of ourselves.
It is advisable to always use professional images as well, but let’s face it – this is not always feasible for small bloggers or brands. We use two sites for professional images: Fotolia and DeathtoStockPhoto. Fotolia is a pay-per-purchase site but many domain registrars will provide free credits when you purchase your domain and if not, the images are relatively low cost. They also offer free images weekly that you can download and use as per the licensing agreement. Death to the Stock Photo is a newer concept of two creative photographers who are looking to make professional photography available to small brands and bloggers of their reuse, all you have to do is credit them. There is also Reusable Art, which features vintage art in which copyright has expired free for use.
I hope that this has been helpful in sparking at least a couple of ideas on how you can better promote your brand on Pinterest. It’s truly a great forum to showcase yourself and gain new followers and engagement for your brand – whatever it may be.
If you are still unsure of how to work with your brand and Pinterest, check out our services page – we offer branding services with Social Media specialization!
The Ranting Latina: What to Blog and What Not to Blog About
The Charming: Business & Branding 101
The Alisha Nicole: How to Start an Online Shop
Effervescence Media: Pinterest Branding
Life with Amberly & Joe: Building a Brand
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