Are you about to create a Pinterest account for your business? Do you already have an account on this visual social network but feel frustrated because you have not attracted followers or had content repined by others?
Whatever boat you are in, read on to check that you aren’t making one (or more) of these 10 most common Pinterest mistakes.
Not Creating A Business Account
When I first created my account, Pinterest did not distinguish between business and personal accounts. As a result, I operated under a personal account for a while. Pinterest soon realised the value of its business community (and vice versa) and developed business accounts in November 2012. The creation of business specific accounts was to enable brands to use the platform and, at the same time, take advantage of the free tools and resources that have been designed just for businesses.
Have you converted your account? If not, now is the time to do so. Pinterest states that any account that wishes to use Pinterest for commercial purposes must create a business account and sign up to their business-specific terms of service.
There are many advantages of having a business Pinterest account. For a start, you can use your business name without having to segment it into a first and last name box. In addition, you can take advantage of the many tutorials to help your business make the most of Pinterest.
You may question whether you should convert or just create a new business account. The answer to that question lies behind what you have achieved so far. If you have an active account with lots of followers and mostly business-appropriate pins it is probably better to convert rather than lose what you have worked hard for thus far.
Not Making Your Website Pinterest Friendly
One of the awesome things about Pinterest is that people will often pin images from your website without you realising it. I have heard many business owners cite their surprise when they have looked at their website analytics (more of which later) to find that Pinterest has become one of the biggest drivers of traffic to their website.
In order to get in on this exciting action, take a look at your website and have a think about how Pinterest friendly it is. Have you verified your site? Have you used attractive images on your pages or blog posts? If not, I would suggest you update your site with some pinnable visual content. Do you have a Pin It button on all your images? This will enable your visitors to click and pin right from your site.
Meanwhile, is your Pinterest presence clear on your website? If a new visitor arrived at your site, would he or she know that you are pinning great content on Pinterest? Have you made it easy for that visitor to then follow you or your boards?
Pinterest has developed a series of widgets that you can embed on your site to help you alert and attract new followers. For example, you can embed a Pinterest board on your website or include a box showing a number of your most recent pins or repins. I have done this on the home page of PicPresents.com.
Finally, have you included Pinterest in your bank of social media share buttons? A quick audit of your website to ensure that it is Pinterest friendly will lead to great results!
Not Linking Back To Your Site
As I mentioned above, Pinterest is an amazing driver of traffic to your site. However, many businesses are not taking full advantage of this benefit despite it being so easy to do. Whenever you pin an image to Pinterest, go back to that pin and click edit. Then check the link that is there or enter a link. This will mean that if that image is clicked it will take the viewer straight to your website.
It is also worth considering the link that you use. Don’t always use your home page URL. Instead, use the URL of the blog post that the image relates to or, if you have pinned a product image, take your viewer directly to the web page that gives them more information about that product and the ability to purchase it!
Another great idea is to link your images to a special Pinterest page on your website. This might give your viewer access to a special discount or give-away. You can be really creative with your links and get fantastic results in return!
Not Being Consistent
Pinterest is highly addictive and it is easy to spend hours browsing through all the wonderful pins on display. It is very easy to get carried away at the start and pin hundreds of images in the first week. However, this pinning rate ccan be hard to sustain and activity often falls away. However, in order to achieve success on Pinterest you have to be consistent.
Consider devoting a set time each day or week to pinning content. Slowly and steadily your time investment will repay you in terms of traffic, followers and engagement.
Pinning Rubbishy Images
Another easy mistake involves the actual images themselves. If you take a look at Pinterest you will see that images that are tall and thin tend to stand out. This makes sense when you think that you have a fixed amount of width to play with and much more space lengthwise.
As with all things, you will need to experiment to see what works best for you. However, the pins that engage are those that stand out in terms of quality and design. Now, we are not all graphic designers. I hold my hands up and admit that I have no training in this area either. Well not if I can’t count hovering over the shoulder of the head of design at the magazine I used to edit (how I wish I had paid more attention!).
Do not worry as there are some truly amazing free tools out there that will help you to create awesome and share-worthy designs. I have a blog post all planned to cover this subject in detail but, until then, I would recommend that you take a look at Canva, PicMonkey and WordSwag (app).
Not Connecting With Twitter and Facebook
When you use social media marketing for your business, it can be hard to strike a balance between reinventing the wheel every time you produce a new piece of content and posting the same thing everywhere with no adjustments for the platform’s particular structure or context.
However, Pinterest does allow you to repurpose your content in a effective way if you link to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. If you do, Pinterest will post (or give you the option to post) on Twitter and Facebook every pin that you pin or repin.
This is a great feature, particularly if you are new to Pinterest but have many followers on Facebook or Twitter. If your followers on other social media platforms see that you are pinning interesting content on your Pinterest boards, chances are they will follow you over there!
Not Producing Quality Content
There are many social media platforms out there and each has its own set of characteristics. To be successful on Pinterest, your pins should be of a high quality – both in terms of the image itself (as discussed above) and also in terms of the content that lies behind it.
Your Pinterest strategy should enable you to pin three different categories of content. First of all you need to educate and inform your followers. Remember it is not about you and your products, it’s about what troubles or challenges your ideal clients.
Secondly, you need to inspire your followers. You can do this by finding a quotation that is relevant to your industry and placing it over a stunning image.
Thirdly, you need to entertain your followers. Show your human side and have a little fun. You will be amazed at how effective this can be and how much engagement it can generate.
Not Using Analytics
The answer to the question of what really works on Pinterest can be found in your analytics. However, all too few businesses make time to check out their analytics data and this is a big mistake. Having written that, I do completely understand. It all comes down to time. However, checking your Pinterest analytics will actually save you time in the long term.
Pinterest has its own analytics and has recently upgraded this feature in response to requests for more detailed insights. In addition to seeing what people are pinning from your website, you will now also be able to see how pins from your Pinterest profile are performing.
Pinterest’s new analytics tool will tell you which of your pins and boards are driving the most impressions, clicks and repins. The feature will also show you the pins that are driving engagement across different platforms. You can see Pinterest’s new analtics tools at analytics.pinterest.com. The platform is rolling them out slowly “to make sure everything works” but all business accounts should get access soon.
You can also use the analytics tools from other providers such as Piqora,Tailwind, PinReach and Curalate. Whatever route you choose, the important thing is that you make time in your weekly schedule to look at your analytics. You need to know what works so that you can do more of the same!
Not Using Your Keywords
Pinterest gives you several opportunities to use your keywords to enable you to be found by other users. A few simple additions to your Pinterest profile, pins and board descriptions can make all the difference.
For example, you have 200 characters in your ‘About’ section – make sure that you use your keywords at the same time as making this section readable. Rename all of the images that you pin to include your keywords. If you have saved your image as, for example, design100.jpg rename it with words that allow people to find you when they search.
Meanwhile, each board that you create has space for a 500 character description – make sure you include those keywords that will enable you to be found.
Creating Generic Boards
Pinterest is not just a social network, it is a discovery engine and you want people to find you and your business. One mistake that is often made in this regard is the creation of boards that are too generic. You need to be as specific as possible. I am guilty of this myself. I created a board called ‘Social Media For Small Business’. However, I now feel that I should narrow my boards even more to focus on individual social channels and strategies.
You just don’t want people to have to work too hard to find you. If it is an effort, they will look elsewhere or, even worse, not be aware of you and your business at all. Figure out what your ideal clients might search for and create boards that meet that desire exactly.
I know I’ve used this analogy before but I think it illustrates my point perfectly – don’t have a board dedicated to celebration cakes. Instead have one about chocolate cakes, one about carrot cakes and one about vanilla sponge cakes. Don’t have a board about shoes but have one about pumps, one about wedges and one about stilettos. The more specific you are, the more likely you will be found.
Thanks for reading. I hope that this helps you to navigate around the common mistakes made on Pinterest. If you have any other tips, tricks or cautionary tales, I would love to hear them. Just leave a comment in the box below.
Take care, Jane x