Digital Inbound Marketing Blog

Expert Interview Series: Anna Bennett on Using Pinterest to Grow Your Brand

Posted by David C Aaronson

Nov 1, 2016 4:00:00 PM

Grow your brand

As a Pinterest marketing expert Anna Bennett helps businesses learn how to use Pinterest to drive traffic and sales. She's one of the top 15 Pinterest experts worldwide chosen by Pinterest.

Bennett recently shared her insight on best practices for businesses on using Pinterest to find more customers and grow their bottom lines. Here's what she had to say:

How did you become interested in Pinterest? When did you realize the potential of Pinterest as a marketing tool? After obtaining my certification as a social media strategist, Pinterest was still in its infancy. I became interested in it because of the visuals. MY gut told me that visuals would continue to rule social media. So I focused on Pinterest more closely.

Then, soon as I learned that Pinterest drove massive traffic to websites, I saw the commercial application. Pinterest brought in more than three times the traffic of Google Plus, YouTube, Twitter, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn and Reddit combined. It's a great traffic driver and at the end of the day all businesses want more visits to their website.

What are the benefits/advantages of using Pinterest as a marketing tool? Pinterest will help businesses:

  • Get more traffic.

  • Make more sales.

  • Collect market intelligence, which helps with future content and product development.

  • Raise their brand profile higher.

  • Develop more loyal fans and brand advocates.

Millennials comprise the fast-growing consumer segment in U.S. they also

happen to be the largest audience on Pinterest. So chances are your buyers are on Pinterest.

Over two-thirds of the content on Pinterest is from businesses; so it's safe to say that over 100 million Pinners are saving pins and links of products and services that want to buy someday.

Many businesses don't realize that Pinterest is not just for eCommerce, but also for service businesses like mine. I do great with Pinterest.

As a B2B service company I rank on the first page of Google consistently with my chosen keywords because of Pinterest. What's not to love about that?

The purpose of using Pinterest is to make more money. You do that by ranking higher and getting found more often on Pinterest's and Google's search engines. More eyeballs on your boards and web pages or in your stores leads to more potential for sales. It's as simple as that.

According to a recent study by Millward Brown they claim that Pinterest plays a huge role in influencing purchases and most Pinners have bought something because of Pinterest.

  • 96 percent have used Pinterest to research and gather information

  • 93 percent have used Pinterest to plan for purchases

  • 87 percent have purchased something because of Pinterest

What these stats mean is that Pinners are looking for your products and services.

What are best practices for using the platform? How should businesses be using Pinterest?

Remember, on Pinterest it all starts with the image. If you don't get that right then you will struggle, get frustrated and quit.

Before you start pinning your images, you need to know what types of images do well on Pinterest. Pinning the wrong images is actually harmful to your success on Pinterest. You need to know:

  • The proper size

  • Branding considerations

  • How and when to use text overlay correctly

  • Consistency and timing of pinning is important for success

  • You have to understand SEO concepts for Pinterest because it is a search engine not a social platform like Facebook

  • Plus, you have to understand your target audience and feed them content that helps them as opposed to always trying to sell them

There are a lot of elements that combine to deliver success on Pinterest. It is part science, part art and a good measure of hard work, too.

You will need pictures for Pinterest and loads of them. You might have really great content, but if you're not creating them specifically for Pinterest users then you won't get the engagement you had hoped for.

What are the most common mistakes you see businesses making on Pinterest?

One of the most common mistakes businesses make is they don't realize that Pinterest is not a social media network like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so forth. Think of it more as a discovery tool. Forty-six percent of Pinners use the platform in place of a traditional search engine. Pinterest is a search engine like Google.

This is very important to acknowledge because if Pinterest is more like a search engine then the goal becomes to rank high under the keywords your customers use to search for your services.

This drives more of your target audience to your Pinterest page and in turn back to your website. And it is free traffic. Search engine optimization on Pinterest is one of the main keys to success. You have to learn how to do this to win on Pinterest in order to make more sales.

So two of the biggest mistakes I see people making are: 1. not acknowledging it is a search engine and 2. failing to apply proven SEO tactics on Pinterest to rank at the top of the search under their preferred key words.

The other common mistakes include:

  • Not setting up the account correctly

  • Not knowing how to figure out what their keywords should be

  • Following too many blogs and getting confused

  • The wrong sized images

  • No consistency in pinning

  • Too much product focus and hard selling efforts

  • Not using group boards

  • Not investing in a course to learn how to manage Pinterest correctly

How can businesses measure the success of their marketing efforts on Pinterest?

There are a couple of ways to see if your marketing efforts are paying off.

1. If you verify your site you have access to Pinterest's analytics, which will provide you some metrics like who is pinning from your site, your best pins, your most popular boards, and so forth. Bottom line, keep doing what works.

2. Your Google Analytics will show how much traffic is being driven from Pinterest to your website. If the amount of traffic is growing what you are doing is working. If not, change something. From the traffic flow increases, you can apply your historical conversion rates from traffic to sales on your website and calculate a dollar value. From that, you can see what your ROI is in dollars.

What brands do you think have done an especially effective job using Pinterest to engage with their customers?

What can we learn from them? BuzzFeed claims that Pinterest is their second largest source of referral traffic and it's no wonder why. Here's an example of a single blog post.

They typically create one image with a text overlay and then they have several images without text overlay in their blog posts. Pay attention to the type of content they share on Pinterest.

Many of them are lists such as:

16 Breakfast Treats To Make For Dad On Father's Day
41 Tasty Breakfast & Brunch Ideas To Save For Later
13 DIY Donut Recipes You Need In Your Life

This is clever because it also shows what kinds of images their audience responds to most based on the number of repins it receives.

In addition, to their visuals they've incorporated Pinterest tools effectively like the "Save" button and board widgets. This gives their readers a nudge to further engage with their content and help build followers.

They also have great content that highlights the most popular categories on Pinterest like Beauty, Home Decor, DIY Crafts, Food, Fitness and so forth. It's not just skewed to one topic.

Sephora does a great job, so does Home Depot and Ziploc.

How has the platform evolved since you first started using it?

Pinterest started out as a DIY space for those who wanted to try a new hobby, craft, recipe and so forth.

Pinterest has evolved into a personalized shopping destination. People go on Pinterest with a wish list of stuff they want to buy. You don't have to force it on them; it's their natural behavior on this search engine like platform.

Every year, Silicon Valley titan Mary Meeker puts together a detailed Internet trends report which provides an in-depth look at Internet growth and consumer behaviors across key marketing touchpoints. The 2016 report revealed that 55 percent of Pinners use the platform to find and shop for products compared to only 12 percent on Facebook and 12 percent on Instagram and Twitter comes in at 9 percent.

Think about that - people on Pinterest are more than 400 percent more likely to shop on Pinterest compared with the other socials. What that means to you is that if you're not on Pinterest selling your products you are missing out big time.

In addition, is has added Promoted pins, a pay-per-click type of advertising.

So it has evolved from a crafty type site to a powerful business building sales and marketing engine.

What are some ways Pinterest is making it easier for businesses to reach their clients?

If you want to reach new and existing customers as quickly as possible on Pinterest then you need to invest in Pinterest ads.

What is the platform doing to reach out to its business users specifically?

Nothing. Pinterest invests in improving their platform. You go to them if you want to use this platform as a marketing driver.

What are some of your other go-to digital marketing tools?

We use Tailwind for scheduling pins. The tool also gives you recommendations when your pins typically receive the highest engagement so you don't have to figure out when to pin.

We also use Traffic Wonker to help pins get more repins. Because Pinterest uses an algorithm to decide when your images show up in the user's home feed there is no guarantee that those that are following you will see your pin.

What piece of advice do you find yourself repeating to your clients over and over again?

First off let me say that SEO (search engine optimization) and keywords are as serious as a heart attack on Pinterest. This is the No. 1 piece of advice I give businesses over and over.

Using keywords is critical to success. You may have the greatest images on Pinterest but if no one finds you and sees them what good are they?

You have to figure out from the very beginning what keywords you want to rank high on in Pinterest's search engine. Don't even think about pinning if you're if you haven't figured this out yet.

What keywords do people use in a Google search to find your type of products?

Think how search engines think. This is just the beginning. Next, test how those keywords are ranking on Pinterest.

If you know this ahead of time you can garnish these keywords in specific areas of your Pinterest account so you get found on the top of Pinterest's search engine.

Get more tips and tricks for using social media to boost your bottom line.
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