The Pinterest bandwagon is filling up quick and the user-base is growing. Over 10 million active users are engaging with visual content on the site. It can be an amazing tool to generate targeted referral traffic, build your brand and help your content go viral. Let’s talk about some basic principles you can use to get the most out of Pinterest as a marketing tool.
Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 9.17.19 AM

Listen to the Social Conversation First

The first step to marketing on Pinterest is identifying your target audience. You can make your content go further if you research what your customers are talking about and what they find interesting. Since the network is very open, this is easy. Millions of people are pinning images, links and videos with specific descriptions and hashtags. Much like Twitter, hashtags tie content together and are readily searchable for anyone to research.
Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 9.22.57 AM

  • Use Pinterest Search to survey popular hashtags and images.
  • Check the biggest brands in your space. Research their boards, pins and hashtags.
  • Use Twitter Search as a research tool as well. Content from Pinterest is heavily shared on Twitter, meaning hashtags and descriptions get posted to Twitter. Search for a keyword with ‘pinterest’ or ‘’ This will uncover some major insights.


Make Your Content Viral

Now that you have a working knowledge of the content your potential customers find engaging, it’s time to execute. There are a few things you can do to make your content fly higher. Think about the behavior of users and where content ends up. For example, a suburban housewife pins multiple images from HGTV on dream kitchens. Most likely, her Pinterest followers as well as her Facebook friends are seeing this activity. There are potentially many eyeballs on any given pin. Make sure you optimize the content to help your brand go viral.
Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 9.53.30 AM

  • Write a compelling teaser or description with each pin and board.
  • Include popular hashtags relevant to your niche as researched via search functions and competitor brands.
  • Create custom images with your website URL and a branded hashtag. This can boost direct traffic after the content has traveled beyond Pinterest.
  • Place logos on your original images. This will boost brand virality.
  • Feed Pinterest content into Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to boost social reach.
  • Ask people to share or comment. Sometimes asking is all you need to create buzz for content.


Form a Content Strategy Based on Real Marketing Objectives

What is the point of social media marketing if you aren’t tying your efforts to specific marketing objectives? The fact of the matter is social media exists simply as a communications vehicle. Without strategic direction, it is just a bunch of sexy buzzwords. This next part is actually really easy.
First, decide how Pinterest fits into to your overall marketing strategy. For example, you may be a flower shop looking to display your products based on category. You may want to create boards for each product type. This would fit into your sales strategy. On the flipside, you may be looking to amplify your video content. You may decide to pin links to your video content. This would be part of your brand strategy. This first step is simple yet effective. By defining your marketing objectives with Pinterest, you can establish metrics for the effectiveness of your efforts.
Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 10.09.28 AM

  • When forming a sales-based strategy, make sure to measure conversions. This can be done with goal tracking in Google Analytics.
  • Measure engagement by social actions such as pins, repins, comments, shares and retweets.
  • Monitor Web analytics to evaluate traffic as a product of Pinterest marketing. Look at social referral traffic and direct traffic.
  • To get really specific, create custom shortened URLs using Google URL shortener. Measure clicks on each pin.

Tell us about your experience with Pinterest. What questions do have? What have you learned? Post your feedback below.