Pinterest Marketing for Skeptics

Pinterest Marketing for SkepticsThis is a guest post from Kevin Espiritu of Supreme Strategies.

I’ve got a confession that I suspect many of you might relate to.

For years, I thought Pinterest was stupid.

It’s probably no surprise — I’m a 30-year-old man, and when Pinterest first launched, it was clearly targeting women.

So it slipped under my radar.

I’d see articles about Pinterest or talk to friends of mine, only to hear, “Yeah, it’s OK, but the traffic is terrible. It’s like Reddit traffic — everyone leaves as soon as they get to your site.”

Marketers seemed to agree with my feelings about Pinterest. From 2015 to 2016, the percentage of marketers using Pinterest dropped from 45% to 40%. It’s clear that there is a lack of appreciation for site by many who aren’t either female, in a highly-visual business, or maybe both!

Here are some quick stats to paint the picture for you:

  • 81% of Pinterest users are females
  • 40% of new signups are men
  • Men account for only 7% of total pins on the platform

Both marketers and men are underrepresented on Pinterest, so it comes as no surprise that I overlooked it as a marketing platform for years. It was only after talking to another friend of mine — a middle-aged man who runs a network of home and garden websites that receive a million sessions a month (150,000 from Pinterest) — that I finally saw the light.

He took one look at my meager Pinterest strategy (which at the time consisted of randomly Pinning images to a hodge-podge of boards) and said these words:

“You can easily 10x your traffic from Pinterest inside of a month.”

I decided to deconstruct Pinterest and update my strategy in hopes to achieve the same results my friend was enjoying – results that were making him a great living doing something he loves.

First – The Results

In two weeks, I:

  • Completely revamped my Pinterest strategy
  • Systemized it so it’s replicable
  • Put it on autopilot, using a combination of software and team members

And here’s what happened:

Pinterest 30-Day Clicks – Up 250%

Pinterest clicks - traffic to your website

Pinterest 30-Day Impressions – Up 125%

Pinterest impressions

Pinterest 30-Day Saves – Up 250%

Pinterest Pin Saves

Pinterest Referral Traffic – Up 130% and climbing

Pinterest referral traffic to your blog

What You’ll Need to Get Started

Despite “seeing the light” in regards to the value of Pinterest, I still don’t want it to take up much time in my day. So, I rely heavily on two pieces of software to do much of the heavy lifting.

  1. Tailwind Plus – This is the lowest-priced option, and I would recommend buying the annual plan as you save 2 months of fees. If you’re investing in Pinterest, you’ll be using Tailwind for > 1 year anyways.
  2. Social Warfare – Allows you to set Pinterest-specific social share images along with a wealth of other sharing options.

Step 1: Clean Up & Optimize Your Pinterest Profile

The first thing you need to do is some cleanup on your Pinterest account.

A quick clean up can go a long way towards making your boards and Pins more relevant to the topic of your account – something that Pinterest does notice and reward. If you have boards that are irrelevant or inactive, set those to Secret.

You could delete them, but setting them to secret will keep your follower count up and besides, even if “Male Style Icons” isn’t relevant to your business, you might still enjoy Pinning to it!

Optimization Checklist

Create a board for all of the content you create – and ONLY for that content. Pinterest now allows you to feature five boards at the top of your profile. The most successful accounts I’ve seen are only using one of these five boards, and that board is one that houses the best content from their own blog. By creating this board, you’re making it easy for Pinners to find and pin your content – the key to increasing traffic from Pinterest.

Create new boards based on what you’re missing. Chances are high that you don’t have anywhere near enough boards. There are two ways to solve this problem:

  1. Go to the interests section of your Pinterest analytics and see what else your audience is interested in. Then, create boards based on those interests. You’ll find opportunities to create boards that are interesting to a large percentage of your audience that you would never have thought of.
  2. If you’re in a large niche, explore some other popular Pinterest accounts and make a list of boards they have that you don’t. Then go and create all of those boards as secret boards so you can fill them up before you release them. In my case, I ended up creating 40-50 new boards, but only create as many as you know you can keep active. Make sure you write a keyword-rich description and choose a category for each of these boards.

Step 2: Fill Boards and Join Tailwind Tribes

By this point, you’ve got an optimized Pinterest account on all three levels: profile, board, and Pin. But now you have a bunch of great, but empty boards!

Pin at least 20 pins per board before you turn them from secret to public. Choose pins that are already performing well for that particular sub-topic so your boards start out as strong resources for anyone who comes across them.

Now, schedule at least 10 pins per board over the next week or so.

Join Tailwind Tribes

One of the best ways to fill boards and build relationships is to join a Tailwind Tribe. As of the time I write this, Tailwind Tribes is in open alpha and is extremely popular, so get in while it’s still easy to join a tribe.

A Tribe is a collection of people who all have Pinterest accounts around the same topic. You can submit your content to a Tribe and everyone within that Tribe can pin it to their boards. The Tribe dashboard keeps a log of who’s shared the most content from other Tribe members, so being liberal about your pinning will go a long way in getting others to pin your content.

There are a ton of benefits to joining a Tailwind Tribe:

  • Build relationships with other website owners in your space
  • Get fresh, high-quality content to share to your own boards
  • Get access to the audiences of your tribe members when Tribe Members share your content
  • Get access to the group boards your tribe members have access to when Tribe Members share your content

All of these benefits end up creating a flywheel effect for your site traffic. As long as you have fantastic content and attractive pins, adding them to your Tailwind Tribe will only spin the flywheel faster.

Step 3: Optimize Your Site For Pinterest

Now that you’ve cleaned up, optimized, and begun to fill up your Pinterest account, it’s time to look at the other side of the equation: your website.

There are two main things you need to do here:

  1. Create a high-quality Pin for each post
  2. Optimize your posts for Pinterest sharing

Creating New Pins

This is simple and I won’t get into the weeds on this one. Look at popular accounts in your niche and develop a Photoshop template (or hire a designer to do so), then hand that off to a graphic designer on Upwork. If you’d rather go the DIY route, you can use a free and simple tool like Canva to get the job done.

To make it easier for them, paste all of your blog posts into the BuzzStream Extractor to get a sheet of your URLs, titles, and meta descriptions, and add a Yes/No column to track their progress.

Once you’ve got Pinterest-specific images for each of your posts, it’s time to optimize your site.

Optimizing Your Posts For Pinterest

Before I figured Pinterest out, I used to embed a Pinterest-specific image to my articles. I’d put them at either the top or bottom of my posts, hoping that they would be pinned often by readers.

This turned out not to be the case, and I concluded that having a large, long image in my articles just to be Pinned wasn’t a good experience for my visitors. However, I still wanted a nice, Pinterest-specific image to be selected when someone clicked the “Pin” button.

This is where Social Warfare comes into play. Along with being one of the best social sharing plugins I’ve ever used, it has a handy feature that allows you to set a Pinterest-specific image that is not visible on your post, but will trigger when a reader clicks the “Pin” button.

How perfect!

Now, all you have to do is:

  1. Get your Pinterest images back from your designer
  2. Attach them to each article in the Social Warfare WordPress backend, making sure to add a custom Pinterest description (I use my meta description for the article).

And voila! You now have a site that’s set up to share amazing images along with optimized descriptions to Pinterest in one click. This makes it all the more likely people will share your content, driving more and more traffic to your site.

Step 4: Putting It All Together

If you’re following along, you’ve done a lot of work already:

  1. Cleaned up all of the trash on your account, signaling to users and Pinterest that you’re a high-quality account.
  2. Created new, relevant boards and used Tailwind to fill them up with high-quality pins.
  3. Joined a Tailwind Tribe and started to fill your boards with content from other influencers, building goodwill and your reach on the platform.
  4. Created incredible Pinterest-specific images for every post on your site.
  5. Made sure those images are only visible when someone clicks the “Pin” button

Now we’re at the final step, the piece that ties it all together: scheduling all of your new pins.

Log back into Tailwind and schedule all of your new images on the following boards:

  1. Your site-specific board
  2. Relevant new boards you’ve created
  3. Relevant group boards you’re a member of (here’s how to get in group boards)
  4. Tailwind Tribe(s) you’re a member of

Now, a single Pin for a single article on your site is now going out to 15+ relevant boards, some of which you own and some of which are group boards. That’s not even counting how many times it’ll be shared by Tailwind Tribe members!

If you have good content and attractive pins, you’ll start seeing a glut of repins and your social referral traffic from Pinterest will explode.

Pinterest will reward you for this engagement, because you’re increasing engagement on their platform as well (which is what they care about). They’ll boost prominence for your account, pins, and boards and everything will start to compound.

To summarize, here’s the “big picture” of the system we’ve created:

Go Forth and Create a Pinterest Empire

If you’ve made it this far, I hope I’ve impressed upon you how mistaken I was in the past to dismiss Pinterest. Don’t make my mistake — dive in and figure out how to make it work for your website with this article as your guide. Get your free trial of Tailwind now!

*No credit card required

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Pinterest Marketing for Skeptics

Pinterest Marketing for Skeptics. For years, he thought Pinterest was stupid. He was wrong. Here's how guest writer Kevin Espiritu increased his Pinterest traffic 250% in one month.

About Kevin Espiritu

Kevin Espiritu is a website builder and investor and gardener. He loves figuring out how systems work and then using them to grow his websites. When Kevin's not working, you can find him rock climbing, gardening, skateboarding, reading, or traveling.