How to Make Your Brand’s Pinterest Board Convert to Sales

You've already figured out how to use Pinterest to drive traffic to your website. Here's how to convert that traffic into cash.
While visual businesses are the most successful on Pinterest, any business can amp up its page using creative boards, promoted pins and a good mobile platform. (Photo: I AM NIKON/Shutterstock)

For most small businesses, social media marketing is essential. But increasing competition and new algorithms are making it harder to generate organic traffic on Facebook and Twitter. And while Facebook and Twitter are used for sharing opinions and (increasingly) filtering one’s news, Pinterest has more than 150 million monthly users accessing the platform specifically to get ideas for gifts, vacations and recipes to make for dinner.

The company recently announced that 40 percent of new users are men, and more than 50 percent of American millennials use the site.

Ready to take your Pinterest efforts to the next level? Building a great board with a lot of followers is one thing. But here’s how to convert followers to customers.

Make sure your account is set up as a business

There are a number of benefits to setting up your Pinterest account as a business that go beyond just getting verified as a legitimate business. These include access analytics, promoted pins and the ability to place a “buy” button on your pins.

Related: Is Social Selling Right for Your Business?

“Being able to see which pins perform better and understanding why they are performing better than others helps you create pin-worthy graphics for your site so your traffic will increase tremendously,” said ad strategist and Pinterest expert Mara Burkes.

If you haven’t converted to a Pinterest for Business account, click here and follow the instructions. It’s as simple as filling out your business name and verifying your website.

Tailor your board to attract your target customer


Assemble your boards so that they reflect your brand. (Photo: L.L.Bean/Pinterest)

“If you want to see big results on Pinterest, then you’ll need to create an account that is specifically designed to attract the right people,” said social media consultant Melyssa Griffin.

The text of your bio, the description of your boards and individual pin descriptions should contain text that speaks to the customer your business aims to serve.

“I create content for entrepreneurs and bloggers, so my Pinterest name says, ‘Melyssa Griffin | Entrepreneur + Blogging Tips.’ That way, if someone searches for one of those topics, I have the chance to appear in their search results,” she explained.

Furthermore, your boards should be organized in a way to reflect your brand as well as the products or services you offer. For example, outdoor clothing retailer L.L.Bean has “brand” boards called Woodland Creatures, Camping, Take Me Fishing and Outdoor Fun, as well as “product” boards L.L.Bean Home, Great Gifts for Guys, Bedrooms by L.L.Bean and Made in the USA.

Set up Rich Pins

Rich Pins are offered only to businesses on Pinterest. They are like regular pins but include extra information on the pin itself. There are six types: app, article, film, place, product and recipe.

Product pins include real time pricing and availability. Article pins include a headline, author and story description. Which type you’ll use depends on the type of business you run, but according to Kissmetrics, brands that take advantage of Rich Pins will see up to an 82 percent increase in their repin/pin ratio.

Setting up Rich Pins is a simple, two-step process, but you’ll need access to the back-end of your website.

Optimize your pins for search

Good imagery and relevant keywords will help your pins maintain a longer period of engagement. (Photo: Urban Barn/Pinterest)

According to Griffin, Pinterest isn’t social media. “A lot of people lump Pinterest in with other social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram. But Pinterest is far from being a social media site. Instead, Pinterest is a search engine, like Google.”

Griffin urges her clients to implement “Pinterest SEO,” which basically means every pin you share from your website (or upload with Buffer) should have a description that includes long-tail keywords your target audience is searching for and a call to action.

That said, don’t just stuff keywords willy nilly into the description; it could be a turnoff to customers, and Pinterest can recognize keyword stuffing, just as Google can. “Adding a conversational tone will instantly attract your target audience and get them engaged,” said Griffin.

Optimizing your pins does more than engage users: Pinterest pins rank not only on the site, but in Google searches, too.

Pins can have a much longer shelf life than posts to other social media sites because the Pinterest algorithm keeps popular pins alive, and the platform doesn’t reveal the date an item was originally pinned. “So long as your imagery, titles and keywords remain relevant, they will maintain a longer period of engagement compared to other social media networks,” said Chris Miller, founder of Launch Brigade, a Bay Area web design and consulting firm.

The images you pin via your website or a Pinterest scheduling program should be named according to the keywords you want them to rank for in search. So for example, rather than naming your images according to the product number, name them according to the name of the product.

Make sure your website offers a good mobile experience

According to Pinterest, more than 75 percent of their users experience the site on mobile, so if your website doesn’t offer a seamless mobile experience, you could be losing potential customers.

Pinterest also offers a mobile SDK (software development kit) that makes it easy for Pinners to pin from a mobile app on Android or iOS, which the company says will help to increase pins and referral traffic.

Related: 6 Reasons Your Small Business Site Isn’t Mobile-Friendly and How to Fix Them

Repin your own pins


Retail businesses should reuse their pins that can be relevant on different boards. (Photo: Aldo/Pinterest)

Unlike Instagram or Facebook, where it’s an unspoken taboo to “like” your own posts, on Pinterest, it’s perfectly acceptable to repin your own pins to other relevant boards.

For example, if you run a clothing brand, you may have a new green blouse for summer that you pin to your “New Items” board. But that same green blouse would also be appropriate on boards like “Favorite Summer Tops” or “Day to Evening.”

“Some of your followers will only be following one board. And because of Pinterest’s algorithm, your followers won’t see duplicate pins in their feed. So, by pinning your content to multiple boards, you’re increasing the likelihood that someone will see it on Pinterest,” said Griffin.

Promote your pins

Just as you can “boost” a post on Facebook, you can promote your pins on Pinterest.

“Promoted Pins are repinned an average of 11 times per advertisement, which gives companies a lot more exposure, especially when starting out,” said Mike Dane of TruConversion.

Pinterest rolled out promoted pins two years ago, and since then it’s added a number of new features, including ad groups to streamline ad campaigns and make it easier to reach your target customers.

“Test and see how your promoted pins perform. If your cost-per-click is low, then keep running those ads. If you find your cost-per-click high, then modify or delete your ads,” advised Dane.

Don’t discount Pinterest because you’re not the “right” type of business


Even businesses, that aren’t in a visual medium, like Petplan Insurance, can use Pinterest in creative ways that will attract customers. (Photo: Petplan/Pinterest)

Miller said that while retailers and companies who work in visual mediums are generally the most successful on Pinterest, there is the potential for a creative marketing team to make the site work for a more traditional business like a bank or software company.

“We were aware of a tech company who was reportedly killing it on Pinterest a couple of years ago, driving sales of their niche software and hardware products. They used Pinterest to provide employee spotlights and display their philanthropic work,” said Miller. “In this way they were able to relate to their followers through human experience, something we all share no matter what we do for a living.”

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