Pinterest is the ultimate visual playground for inspiration and motivation; and it’s not only a discovery tool for you to find and save things you love on the internet, but it’s also a great place to promote your business.

Fast becoming the hottest online content sharing platform, according to a 2013 ShareThis report the amount of content shared on Pinterest grew by 19.22%, beating LinkedIn (at 15.11%) and Facebook (14.78%).

Not only that, but Pinterest images have the longest lifespan of any social media platform. A tweet has a lifespan of about twenty minutes while a Facebook post is lucky to survive the newsfeed for two hours. A pin, however, can have traffic for days, weeks, even years.

This means marketers should include Pinterest as a primary social media platform to share visual content, build brand interest and draw relevant traffic back to a website. Here’s how you can create awesome Pinterest content.

But first, what do people search on Pinterest?

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Here’s what Kevin Knight, Head of Creative and Brand Strategy at Pinterest, says: “Exploring interests is a huge part of how people use Pinterest (interest is our middle name, after all!). We often check in to see how and what people Pin and what we’ve learned is that people’s interests generally fall into five categories:

a passion that’s a core part of who you are, like music, photography or sports
a vocation that’s part of your training, like a teacher using Pinterest to find lesson plan ideas or an architect sharing design ideas with a client
a hobby that you do for fun, like running or fishing
a project that has an end goal, like a wedding or redecorating your living room
a preference that can change, like your taste in colors or types of shoes.

01. Optimize images

Compare the two images below: the first is a search for ‘wedding cakes’ on Google and the second is a search for ‘wedding cakes’ on Pinterest.

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Pinterest largely revolves around visual content and is rich with relevant images. Thus, it pays to spend time optimizing images. Here are some tips on how to boost image engagement on Pinterest:

Portrait – or tall – images get more engagement: The Pinterest layout is restricted by width but less so by height. Taller images appear larger, have more impact than wider images, and get more engagement. In fact, Vernon Ross, a recent guest on the Oh So Pinteresting Podcast, said that changing to larger graphics on Pinterest has increased his traffic by 15%.

Colorful images get more engagement: Images with multiple dominant colors have 3.25 times more repins than images with only a single dominant color; however, very light, very dark, highly saturated or highly desaturated images are not as well liked. Red, orange and brown images get twice as many repins than blue images.

Images with less background get more repins: Images containing less than 30% background are repinned the most. Images with less than 10% background receive between 2-4 times more repins than images with more than 40% background.

Inanimate objects get more repins than faces: Less than 1/5 of images on Pinterest are of faces. Similarly, a brand image is 23% more likely to be repinned if the image does not have a face in it.

Check out Canva’s templates for custom Pinterest images.

02. Make use of GIFs

In other words, GIFs are excellent storytellers. As Magdalena Georgieva explains it:

“The animated GIF is guiding the viewer’s eye along a specific path without being obtrusive… Such eye guidance is the essence of a good call-to-action.”

03. Listicles

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Listicles appeal to human beings for numerous reasons, but suffice to say they make for easy reading. In the same way, top 10 lists do superbly well on Pinterest. And because taller images get more engagement, lists will garner more interaction for being of vertical format.

04. Guides and recipes

Guides and recipes are easy-to-follow references that help other people understand a particular subject matter. They work well on Pinterest because a picture paints a thousand words. Rather than describing something at length, why not show it in visual format?

05. Seasonal content

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Pinterest explodes with seasonal images whenever a major holiday rolls around. Make the most of Pinteresters love of holidays and add seasonal content to the mix.

05. Inspirational

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Dan Zarrella found the most pinned words on Pinterest either indicated a positive emotional attachment to the image posted (love, like, etc) or aspirational imagery (DIY, inspiration, etc). The dynamic duo that really seem to capture the Pinteresters’ hearts are inspiring images paired with actionable and emotional words. So, if you want to move your reader to action, inspire them.

06. Image text and titles

Taking the time to create custom Pinterest images with proper titles can help build website traffic, plus individual pins and whole Pinterest boards can rank well in Google search. When you pin an image we recommend:

  • Adding a 100–200 word description with relevant keywords. Remember people tweet directly from Pinterest so keep it concise and interesting
  • Adding a link to blog or website in the description
  • Editing the pin to add the link in the source

07. Call to Action

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A Call-to-Action is short text directing people to take a next step. Basically, it’s the action you hope will happen. According to Quicksprout, “there is an 80% increase in engagement for pins that contain a call to action.” Some simple call-to-actions include:

  • Share this post
  • Pin it for later
  • Click here for your free download
  • Register today
  • RSVP here
  • Sign up here

08. Build Your Brand

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Make sure each and every Pinterest graphic includes branding, such as colors, logo, and style so that people become more familiar with your visual message. 

09. Use promoted pins

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Promoted Pins are available on a cost-per-click basis and are a do-it-yourself tool for businesses of any size to promote their pins with the goal of reaching more people and getting more website traffic. First step for Promoted Pins is to have a Pinterest for Business account. Then verify your website and enable Rich Pins.

Meta data added to each Rich Pin stays with repins and cannot be changed like a pin description. In the image below, red rectangles around text indicate Rich Pins and the red circles indicate descriptions only.

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Five different types of Rich Pins include recipe, product, movie, article, and place pins, and each includes extra data. Product Pins, for example, include “real-time pricing, availability and where to buy. Pinners also get notifications [via email] when product Pins they’ve added drop in price.” 

10. Create a Pinterest curated website

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Target is particularly adept at using Rich Pins and created an Awesome Shop website with products completely curated by Pinterest featuring ‘top pins’ and ‘most viewed’ items.

TIPS FOR PINTEREST

Pinterest Do’s

  • Stay relevant. Images should be appealing for everyone, not just a limited campaign
  • Use no more than three images in collage Promoted Pins
  • Create a theme for each Promoted Pin
  • Use Rich Pins as much as possible because the extra data is crucial
  • Write compelling, informative descriptions that are interesting and timeless.
  • Minimize text on images. Less is more.
  • Ensure that the text is legible for mobile viewing.
  • Provide inspiration to take action.
  • Be informative. Add taglines and other relevant text.

Pinterest Don’ts

  • Don’t use hashtags in the image or the descriptions.
  • Don’t add borders or rounded corners to Pin images.
  • Don’t include promotional information about prices or sales. Use Rich Pins for this.
  • Avoid time-sensitive info. Pins last forever

YOUR TURN

By using Pinterest to build brand awareness keep these guidelines in mind: a) make sure all pinned images add quality to your Pinterest presence and b) think about the long-term impact of the Pins and ensure they add value to your Pinterest audience’s experience. And remember the saying grinners are winners? Well, in this case, Pinners and winners!

Peg is the head of social strategy at Canva. She's a cross-platform social media passionista, writing on her own website as well as guest blogging for Canva. She's currently co-authoring The Art of Social Media with Guy Kawasaki. Peg has spearheaded successful social-media campaigns for Motorola, Audi, Google, and Virgin as well as having been a brand ambassador for Kimpton Hotels.

Someone bring her a grande skinny caramel macchiato stat or at least pencil in a nap on the schedule.

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