While perusing through Pinterest for myself or for clients, I’m often stopped in my virtual tracks by some huge mistakes businesses are making on Pinterest. All I can do in that moment is shake my head and think “bless their heart.” (I am in Texas, my fellow Southerners understand.)
It’s time I do more. Time I brought these blunders to light in hopes that the offenders will read this post and amend their ways. I’m sure none of you are making these mistakes but you might have “friends” who are.
Mistake #1 – Not having a verified site
ANYONE can open a Pinterest account under any name and link it to any website they want. There are lots of “fan” accounts out there that do this. Here are just a few of the Justin Bieber accounts on Pinterest.
Notice that little gray circle with a check mark in it on the top left Justin Bieber account? This mark lets Pinterest users know that this a verified account, the others are not.
Sure, it is possible for one of the other Pinterest accounts to verify an account to a website that isn’t the official Justin Bieber site but a quick glance at the URL can let you know if you’re on the right track.
Should you verify your site if you’re not a famous celebrity? Consider this example: while on Pinterest you come across an account for an online boutique called ABC Couture. You notice that the url attached to that site is similar to the business name and verified. You also come across another similar account with an unverified site, which would you be more likely to buy from? Having a verified URl gives the first account a sense of credibility and could be the tipping point for a customer.
Another reason having a verified URL is important is that it gives you access to Pinterest’s free analytics. This will help you monitor and track what is and isn’t working for you on Pinterest. the analytics will show you what people are pinning most from your site and what is being repinned most.
To get a verified site, a bit of code needs to be uploaded to your server and the process varies by hosting company. For more information about how to do this, you can click here to visit the Pinterest Help Center.
If you happen to have a self-hosted WordPress site, my pal Phil Derksen has just developed a plugin to make the process a snap. Click here to learn more about the Pinterest Website Verification Plugin. Now that it’s as easy as installing a plugin, there is absolutely no reason
your your “friend’s” site isn’t verified on Pinterest.
Having a verified URL lets people know that your account really is a part of the site it’s linked to, it gives your account credibility and gives you access to analytics. Why wouldn’t you verify your site?
Mistake #2 – Empty or incomplete boards
The example account below is a bit extreme (somewhat) but I frequently come across business Pinterest accounts with empty boards. It’s like going into a store with half empty shelves.
Empty and incomplete Pinterest boards aren’t the worst thing in the world but they can give a negative impression. It sends the message that the owner of the account isn’t interested in really being a part of the Pinterest community and it seems somewhat unprofessional.
To avoid this mistake, only add boards when when you have at least 5 images to pin to them. If you come across something you’d like to add to your Pinterest account but don’t really have a board that it fits on, you have a few options other than creating a new board for that one pin.
- If you found it on Pinterest Like it instead of repinning it. You can then find the pin in your likes feed and repin it to a board after you have 4 other pieces of relevant content to pin to it.
- Pin it to a secret board and move it to a public board later when you have more content.
- If it’s a piece of your own content, just wait to pin it until you create or locate other relavant content to fill the board.
Mistake #3 – Irrelevant boards
Pinterest is an incredible resource to find DIY projects and recipes. These are two of the most popular categories on Pinterest. If your business has nothing to do with these categories, PLEASE don’t create boards for your business them just to try and get attention.
Case in point, I recently came across a Pinterest account for a car rental business. Included in their account was a recipe board with pins of all sorts of recipes. Why? Do they expect people to cook while driving? It doesn’t make sense.
That doesn’t mean that only food related businesses should have recipe boards. In the case of the car rental business, they could have a board titled “Road Trip Recipes” and use the board’s description to explain what the intent of the board is. This board could include recipes of easy snacks to prepare ahead of time when traveling in a car. See how the board title and narrowing down the focus can make a huge difference? It now makes sense why it’s there and the pins can be useful to their followers.
Mistake #4 – Using hashtags in board titles
Hashtags are everywhere, even on Pinterest. Using a hashtag in Pinterest pin descriptions give people an easy way to find related content. The hashtag becomes a clickable shortcut for doing a search for the same word or phrase.
This handy feature doesn’t apply everywhere on Pinterest and a board’s title is one of those places. Please don’t use hashtags in board titles, they don’t do anything. They aren’t clickable and they aren’t given preferential treatment in Pinterest board search results.
Mistake #5 – No mobile pinning options
If you’re using a computer to read this post you might have noticed that when your mouse hovers over an image a pin it button appears. Pretty cool, huh? Well its not so cool if you’re on a mobile device where there is no mouse to hover.
I’ve visited many sites who have nifty features like floating buttons or hover buttons. Those are cool but if they’re the only social sharing buttons on the site, the site’s owners could be missing out potential social shares including pins to Pinterest from mobile visitors.
Internet traffic from mobile devices continues to increase. Recently, Pinterest CEO and co-founder Ben Silbermann revealed that the day the Pinterest mobile app was released, it surpassed traffic to the site from the web. People are pinning from their mobile devices. If you have the fancy buttons for computer users, make sure to also include options for mobile users too.
I hope this message reaches your “friends” who need a little nudge to amend heir problematic Pinterest practices. Have you noticed any other Pinterest mistakes? Let’s talk about them in the comments below.
Cynthia Sanchez is a Pinterest marketing consultant and expert. Cynthia created OhSoPinteresting.com, one of the early leaders in Pinterest education for businesses. Contact Cynthia on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cynthiasanchezrnbsn