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Using Pinterest for Business

Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media platforms lately, with estimates of almost 100 million active users monthly. Since the launch of Pinterest, the majority of users have been female but we are seeing a shift in the demographics of new sign ups. One third of users signing up for Pinterest now are male, a huge increase, which means new opportunities for many small businesses that aren’t solely female-focused.

If you’re ready to start using Pinterest for your business, let’s get started!

Using Pinterest for Small Business: a complete how-to guide! BONUS DOWNLOAD: The 10 Pinterest Boards Ever Pinner Should Have! http://jamiedelainewatson.com/using-pinterest-for-your-small-business/

Regardless of your industry, there is an opportunity for your small business to be on Pinterest. If you’re not on Pinterest (or you are, but don’t have a Pinterest strategy) you’re missing out.

But don’t fret. It’s okay! I used to be one of those people. I had a Pinterest account, I used it to pin inspiring words or photos but I didn’t really know what I was doing and certainly not how to use it for my business or my blog. I pinned a handful of times a month and that was that.

Since making a few key changes to my pinterest strategy, 25% of my blog visitors find me on Pinterest. The best part? 86% of visitors from Pinterest were new, meaning they had never been to my blog before. WOW. That’s some crazy results.

So let’s get into it and make these same results happen for you!

1. Create a Pinterest business account

The differences between a business and a personal Pinterest account are simple. With a business account, you receive access to Pinterest’s built-in analytics, rich pins (we’ll talk about those later), ability to verify your account as well as promoted pins. To create a business account on Pinterest, click here. If you already have a Pinterest you’d like to convert to a business account, that’s easy, just click here.

2. Verify your Pinterest account

Go to your profile, click the gear >> Account Settings.

Under Profile, you’ll see a field called Website. Enter in the name of your website or blog and click Confirm Website.

Follow the instructions on the next page. You’ll receive an html file to download or a meta tag. If you’re using a WordPress blog (as I do) the easiest way will be to log-in to your panel. Go to Appearances > Editor and check the right hand side bar. You should see a file called “header.php”

Under that file, you’ll copy and paste the meta tags Pinterest provided in between the <head> and </head> tags at the top of the page. Be very careful here! Click Update File and you’ll be on your way.

If you’d rather do it another way, you can save the .html file provided by Pinterest and download FileZilla, a free FTP client. You’ll need to know your FTP log-in information from your host provider. Upload the file in the main root folder. Root folders are usually called “www” or “wwwroot” or “public_html.” Upload the file there and make sure it’s the exact filename Pinterest originally provided.

3. Apply for Rich Pins

Rich pins give businesses the ability to include even more information in their pin, hence making them “richer” with info. Pinterest currently offers six types of rich pins: apps, videos, recipes, articles,  products and places. For the sake of explanation, we’re going to focus on one type of rich pins, the one I use most often – articles pins. To enable your rich pins, I recommend download Yoast SEO Plug-in for WordPress. Once you’ve downloaded the file in your WordPress admin, you’ll click Plugins > Add New on the sidebar and hit Upload Plugin along the top. Upload the .zip file (be sure to keep it zipped! I’ve made this mistake before) and hit Install Now.

Be sure to check under Installed Plug-ins afterwards and Activate the plug-in. Next, you’ll see a new addition to your sidebar called SEO. Click that and hover right to Social. Under Social, you should see multiple tabs of your social profiles. Click Facebook and check Add Open Graph Meta Data and hit Save Changes at the bottom.

Easy-peasy! If you don’t use WordPress, you can read here on Pinterest’s site about using meta tags to enable rich pins. Once you’ve done these steps, click here to access Pinterest’s rich pins validator. Enter in your blog URL in the Enter a Valid URL box and click Validate.

(Note, if you didn’t go the OpenGraph route via Yoast Plug-In and opted for meta tags on an individual post I believe you’ll need to enter in the exact blog post you applied the tags too. But once you’ve validated one of your articles, all will be validated.)

Your rich pins should be approved within a week’s time… when I applied they were approved within a couple hours! Check out the above board for an example, my pink pin on the left was after I approved “rich pins.” See my pink triangle icon and “from Jamie Delaine Watson” underneath? It adds a professional, credible feel to your pins in comparison to the yellow pin on the right.

4. Organize Your Boards 

Haphazard board titles and lack of organization will no longer fly. Who is your Pinterest board marketing to? Are you trying to send potential wedding clients to your blog or website? Are you marketing mainly education products to small business owners? Let your board reflect your purpose.

My target market for Pinterest is small business owners looking to expand and strengthen their online presence. Currently, my top four boards are My Blog Posts, Inspirational Quotes, Social Media Tips + Instagram Tips. Right away, when a new visits my profile, they know what to expect. A good rule is to have a minimum of 30 photos per board so it shows users you’re an active pinner.

5. Curate Engaging Content

You get what you give. You can’t use Pinterest only to share your own work and expect other users will happily jump on your business-train and share away. No! Follow people in your field, click “like” on what they do, comment (this is very underused in Pinterest!) and re-pin to your boards. What you give will come back to you, I promise!

The types of content that typically go viral on Pinterest are checklists, how-to posts, step-by-step tutorials, master list of resources you love. (Lists of resources are awesome – because you don’t even need to write the content! You could create a post and a graphic that says “30 best photography blogs” and upload that to Pinterest.) Pay attention to seasonal content and trends as well… for example, if Valentine’s Day is coming up, you could spend time building a beautiful board in December so when February rolls around, people will be attracted to your board.

6. Join Group Boards using PinGroupie.com

I love this amazing website! Group boards on Pinterest are an amazing feature that allows multiple collaborators to join the same board. When the board is joined, it’s automatically added to your profile. Think about the multiplication potential! So how do you find group boards to contribute to? Enter PinGroupie.com!

Let’s say you’re a food blogger who specializes in gluten free recipes. You’re looking for a way to drive traffic to your blog. You can visit PinGroupie.com and search for “gluten free” in the title and the following groups come up.

I chose to sort by Collaborators (the higher the number, the more likely they are ‘open’ to new people joining – over a board that was perhaps exclusively created by 3-4 bloggers.) The top one says “Gluten Free Group” has 801 collaborators and 38816 pins with 28,754 followers. Not bad! But the second looks like the winner with 619,454 followers and 706 collaborators.

I’m going to open up a bunch of these groups in Pinterest by clicking on their link. Often, you’ll find a description under the title that says Email me at ____ if you’d like to be invited to this board.” Send the user a nice email expressing your interest and introducing yourself! Note, you have to FOLLOW the creator of the board for them to invite you. Plus it’s a courteous step! To find the creator of the board, click the first profile icon on the left side of the page. If you can’t find a description about how to join, you can also click the person’s profile, comment on another photo they have requesting information.

(Note: Don’t ONLY pin your own blog posts. Nobody wants a spammer – be a genuine contributor!)

7. Schedule Your Pins using ViralTag

Phewf, readers, you still with me here? The last step to totally revolutionize your business Pinterest strategy is scheduling pins! Yay! This will change your life. Pinterest is a bit of anomaly in the social media world. Most social media peaks during commuting times, lunch breaks, right after work, whereas Pinterest finds most of it’s traffic late at night and early Saturday morning. Think about it – when are people relaxed and looking to waste a bit of time, scrolling through iPad reviewing recipes and seeking outfit or home decor inspiration?

You need to get your pins seen by your potential customers. The time to pin is not always when we may have time in our workdays to pin. Perhaps really late at night is the best for your audience. Of course, you could always schedule twenty minutes to pin images in the evening… but I’m not a fan of working nights. My suggestion? Using a service like ViralTag or BoardBooster to do the work for you.

Let’s start with ViralTag – the first scheduling tool I used when I started getting serious about Pinterest. Pinterest allows you to select multiple pins to re-pin and schedule what time you’d like them to post. Here’s a preview of my dashboard.

Pretty cool right? You can search for specific keywords on Pinterest, grab about 30 pins to re-pin at a later time and you’re good to go, ViralTag costs $29/month, or if you pre-pay the year it works out to $24/month. Honestly, for the amount of traffic you’ll see being sent your way… it’s pennies to pay for “advertising” your content.

The next tool I want to share is BoardBoosterI moved my scheduling to BoardBooster a few months ago, and although it’s not as user friendly as ViralTag… the learning curve is worth it. BoardBooster has been essential in growing my following and boosting blog referrals. They also have flexible pricing plans. You can start with 100 pins a month for free, all the way up to 5,000 pins per month for $50.

With BoardBooster, you can set an automated schedule allowing the app to search Pinterest for you – for example “red dress, cute couple” and add all images (as many as you want) to your Cute Couples board. You don’t need to do the searching or the exact time scheduling. It’s set it and leave it.

Thanks for reading today!

I hope you’ll put these Pinterest tips into use and see your traffic skyrocket in months to come. If you have any questions at all, I’d love to help you out in the comments below.

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@jamiedelaine

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