As a designer and visually minded person, I’ve always loved Pinterest. Before I started my design business, Pinterest was my go-to source for outfit inspiration and DIY project ideas. And while that’s still true today, I eventually discovered that Pinterest wasn’t just for hobbyists–it’s a powerful marketing tool for all kinds of businesses.
Pinterest has helped me increase my website traffic, grow my email list, and bring more leads into my sales funnel. It can do the same for you if you learn how to use Pinterest for business and not just a place to find new recipes.
How to use Pinterest for business marketing and growth
The strategy outlined in this post is the exact strategy I used to skyrocket my Pinterest reach and engagement over the past few months. And just to show that I walk my talk, let’s take a look at an actual analytics report.
I started to take Pinterest more seriously as a way to grow my business in September. As you can see, my audience and impressions have since grown by over 100%. But more importantly, my Pinterest engagements have increased by over 200%.
Pinterest engagements are important because they’re ways that your audience is directly interacting with your content. On Pinterest, engagements refer to saves, closeups, link clicks, and carousel swipes. It doesn’t matter how many impressions you get if your audience isn’t engaging with your content. With that in mind, the number one thing you need to do if you want to succeed on Pinterest is create high quality and share-worthy content. Once you have that down, you can implement the following strategies to grow your Pinterest reach and engagements.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the seven strategies on how to use Pinterest for business.
1. Create a Pinterest for business account
Good news–the first lesson on how to use Pinterest for business is quick and easy! You can either convert your existing account into a business account, or create a new account for your business. It’s best however to keep your business and personal pins separate.
I opted to convert my personal Pinterest account into a business account and set all my personal boards to “secret,” aka private mode. Converting to a Pinterest for business account is free and as simple as clicking a button in your settings. Doing so will give you access to analytics and the ability to create ads.
Once you’ve created or upgraded your Pinterest for business account, you’ll want to claim your website. This will help “brand” the pins from your website by adding your name and profile image next to them. You can also claim your Instagram, Etsy, and YouTube accounts if they’re relevant for your business.
2. Optimize your Pinterest profile
If you’re using Pinterest for business, it’s important to optimize your profile in order to make it clear to your audience who you are and what you do. Why should they engage with your content? What do you have to offer? The number of followers on Pinterest doesn’t matter as much as it does on a social platform like Instagram. But gaining more followers will help you grow your reach even faster.
Here’s a breakdown of the different Pinterest profile elements and how to optimize them:
Your display name should include the name of your brand, but don’t stop there. Display names are searchable, meaning it’s best to incorporate relevant keywords. As an example, my Pinterest display name is “Steph Corrigan | Strategic Brand + Web Designer” because I want my profile to come up when someone searches for brand designer or web designer.
Your Pinterest profile includes space for a short bio (2-3 sentences). This space is perfect for your mission statement or a brief description of your value proposition. Again, this text is searchable, so you’ll want to include relevant keywords. Another tip for your bio is to include a link to a landing page for your lead magnet. You can use a service like bitly to shorten the URL so that it fits in your bio.
Upload either your logo or a professional, on-brand headshot as your profile photo.
The custom cover image is a relatively new feature on Pinterest. By default, Pinterest will display a collage of your most recent pins. Now, you have the option to upload a custom graphic or video to make your profile look even more branded. I’m still using the default display, but will likely experiment with this at some point.
3. Follow pin design best practices
To get the best results on Pinterest, it’s important to follow a few best practices for your pins. Here are the main best practices you need to know:
- Create vertical pins, ideally with a 2:3 aspect ratio, to increase the chances of your pin being seen in the feed
- Use high quality images
- Include your logo
- Add text overlay with clear and concise copy (i.e. the title of your blog post)
Another tip for your pins is to make sure they’re on-brand and cohesive. That means using consistent colors, fonts, and imagery. If you’re not design-savvy, you can use Canva to create beautiful pins for your content. And if you don’t have the time or patience to DIY your pins, a graphic designer like myself could easily create them for you.
The below pins by Pinegate Road are great examples of pin design best practices and cohesive branding.
4. Write descriptions with keywords for SEO
For each pin you upload to Pinterest, you have the option to write an accompanying title and description. The more descriptive you are, the higher the chances your pin will get discovered in search.
While you should definitely use keywords in your descriptions, too many keywords could actually backfire. Search algorithms today are simply too smart to fall for keyword stuffing. Instead, write out actual sentences that naturally incorporate your keywords.
At the end of your description, don’t forget to include a call to action. Typically, this should incentivize the viewer to click through to your website (remember those engagements I mentioned earlier?).
5. Schedule pins at optimal times
Ideally, you should pin at least 15-20 pins per day. However, it’s best not to pin them all at once in one spurt of activity. Just like any other platform, Pinterest rewards consistency. This is where a scheduling tool comes in handy.
If you’re serious about using Pinterest for your business, I highly recommend signing up for Tailwind. Tailwind is officially affiliated with Pinterest, meaning it’s the most reliable tool for Pinterest optimization. Where Tailwind excels is with its ability to calculate which times of each day are the optimal times to publish your pins. The scheduling is taken care of for you–all you have to do is upload your pins and descriptions.
Another great Tailwind feature is their tribes. Tailwind tribes are niched groups where you can share your pins in order to get them re-pinned by other users and thereby reach a wider audience. For example, I’m currently in three different tribes for branding, website, and graphic design.
An important note about scheduling pins is to keep in mind the ratio of how many of your pins versus other users’ pins you’re pinning. The sweet spot for me has been about 3:7. In other words, for every three of my own pins, I share seven pins from other people. I’ve heard some people claim that the opposite ratio is better, however my reach only skyrocketed after I started pinning more of other people’s content than my own.
6. Track Pinterest analytics
If you’re new to Pinterest, you’ll have to rely largely on guesswork to figure out what type of content will perform best for you. But over time, you’ll start to gather data on your Pinterest performance, which will help you strategize what to share more of.
For instance, after tracking my own analytics, I discovered that color palettes consistently outperformed all my other pins. Knowing this, I intentionally started creating and sharing more color palettes, and as a result my overall reach and engagement increased even more.
Tracking Pinterest analytics is easier than it sounds, and can be done through both Tailwind and Pinterest itself. On Pinterest, simply hover over the Analytics tab and explore the Overview and Audience Insights. Tailwind’s Insights tab provides data on your pins, boards, and overall profile.
7. Optimize your website for easy pinning
Wouldn’t it be great if other people shared your content for you, without you even asking? Of course, right? Make it easy for them by optimizing your website content for Pinterest.
This tip is especially relevant for blog and podcast posts. Somewhere in your post, include a pin graphic that incorporates the best practices outline in strategy #3. I personally add them to the bottom of my posts so that they’re out of the way. Next, if you’re on WordPress, I recommend installing a plugin that automatically adds a “pin it” button to each of your images (scroll down and hover over my pin graphic to see an example of this in action–I use the jQuery Pin It Button for Images plugin). You can also add regular share buttons to your posts that include other social media outlets as well.
Another place that I use the “pin it” plugin is on my portfolio pages. In sum, the more shareable your content, the better.
Who should use Pinterest to grow their business?
Pinterest is an excellent marketing tool for e-commerce and service-based businesses alike. If you’re a service provider, you’ll get the most bang for your buck if you’re consistently creating content, typically in the form of blog posts and podcast episodes. Pinterest is also a great platform to share your portfolio work and attract new potential clients who are drawn to your work.
Need help creating a cohesive visual brand identity for your business that attracts your dream clients, on Pinterest and beyond? Click here to learn more about my signature branding package for coaches, consultants, and creatives.