Topic overview

Pinterest

Pinterest

Pinterest is a visual search engine for ideas and inspiration that allows businesses to promote their brand and products by posting attractive and compelling images.

This bookmarking website allows users to create themed collections of images and videos and browse those of others. Although Pinterest offers many of the features of sites like Facebook, it doesn't consider itself a social media site - instead it describes itself as "the world's catalogue of ideas".

Pinterest currently has more than 150 million monthly users. Female users make up the majority of the Pinterest community and access is predominately via mobile devices. It's great for retail and lifestyle businesses - fashion, food, weddings, travel, arts and crafts, gardening, and home decor are incredibly popular categories.

How Pinterest works

Activity revolves around creating "boards" on a particular topic or theme and saving (pinning) images or videos to those boards. The pins work like a bookmark - you pin images and videos and gradually curate your own themed content for inspiration or even future online purchases.

Other users can look at your boards, and if they see something they like they can re-pin it - which means they pin your image to their own board(s). If you were selling bridal tiaras, for example, a bride may find one she likes on your website and add that to a "wedding ideas" board she has created to collect ideas for her upcoming wedding. Each pin links to its original online source, so it's a great way to generate traffic to your website and convert interest into sales; it can also help improve your visibility on search engines.

Pinterest users can also follow boards or pinners (users) they like and they can like and share a pin - so the viral nature of your pinned content is very powerful. Boards can be public or private and group boards can also be created for collaboration. Group boards are perfect for event or special occasion planning, and for working with clients on ideas and styles for a project.

Unlike other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, where posts lose visibility very quickly, Pinterest activity tends to have a longer shelf life. Browsing is the Pinterest norm and pins continue to be discovered for weeks and even months after they are first posted.

Making pins work for your business

The key to success on Pinterest is posting engaging images and using relevant keywords in your board titles and pin descriptions so that you connect with your audience and get found when people search.

The more regularly you add pins, the better the results you will achieve. Like any social media activity, ongoing analysis of how your pins perform and exploiting that knowledge for future pins will help in building a following. It's also well worth testing how new pins perform at different times of the day, particularly if you want to appeal to global audiences. Another good tip is to re-pin old pins. Not everyone will have seen all the pins you've ever added, some followers may have only just discovered you, so old pins can be very useful.

The more re-pins and click-throughs your pins generate, the higher they will appear in Pinterest search results and the more attention they will get.

Written by Sarah Orchard of Orchard Marketing Associates.