If you’re not using Pinterest for business already, it’s time to reconsider.

While many brands were busy focusing their marketing efforts on Instagram and Facebook, Pinterest has grown into a powerful platform that you can leverage to set yourself apart from the competition.

Here are a few facts to prove just that:

  • 300 million Global Monthly Active Users (MAUs) (Pinterest, Global analysis, Q2 2019)
  • 83% of weekly Pinners have made a purchase based on content they saw from brands on Pinterest. (Pinterest internal data, US, Feb 2017)
  • Reach 26% of U.S men (comScore, US, March 2019)
  • 8M+ Pinners are actively engaging with auto content on Pinterest. (Pinterest Ads Manager, US, Aug 2018)

These stats suggest that you can tap into the platform’s massive and engaged user base and influence their purchase decisions.

But the question is–how exactly do you do that?

Here’s a quick guide to help you understand the Pinterest best practices you should follow to effectively leverage the platform:

1. Optimizing your Pinterest profile

While it takes just seconds to set up your business profile on Pinterest, that doesn’t mean you should stop there. When people look at your profile, they should be able to get a clear idea of what your brand is all about and what kind of content they can expect from you.

So if you’re going to leverage Pinterest for business, start by optimizing your profile to accurately reflect your brand image. This includes:

  • Having a distinct company logo in your profile picture and optimizing it according to the Pinterest size guidelines
  • Creating an eye-catching cover photo that reflects your brand style
  • Writing a description that accurately defines your brand and what your followers should expect
  • Including your brand URL
  • Highlighting a few of your best boards as “Featured boards” to give people a glimpse of what you have to offer.

Here’s an example of a company that does all of this really well. On Pinterest, brands don’t need to shy away from the fact that they are brands on the platform – users frequently shop, research and engage with brand content that provides value. Anthropologie is noted for their signature visual style, and that’s carried through all elements of their Pinterest profile. Their featured boards, highlighting a mix of product imagery alongside more hands-on content like food and drink recipes, tie into their tagline’s stated mission of “style, beauty and home.”

anthropologie pinterest profile

If you want to go in-depth on how to set up your Pinterest profile’s branding for success, check out our easy to follow 5-step Pinterest marketing guide.

2. Setting clear and realistic goals for an organized approach

What do you expect to gain out of your Pinterest marketing efforts? Do you want to get better brand visibility and increase brand awareness? Perhaps you want to drive more traffic to your brand website. Or maybe you want to maximize your product sales.

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Pinterest for brands can help you achieve all of this and more. It’s a good idea to define exactly what your goals are so you can take a more intentional approach and know what success looks like to you. Your goals will be able to guide your content and marketing strategies on any new social channel you’re looking to expand into, as well as your budget and time commitment toward Pinterest for business.

Like any social network, Pinterest has unique value propositions and can play a specific role in meeting the key goals of your entire social marketing strategy. Since Pinterest has a huge presence as a visual search engine with plenty of organic reach, your Pinterest follower count is just the floor of the potential reach you could attain with highly relevant and engaging content. Plus, the importance of search on Pinterest means that there is a longer-tail effect for both paid and organic content.

3. Developing a powerful content strategy

If you’re using Pinterest for business, you can’t just drop links and post images, hoping for the best. It’s crucial to have a specific idea of what types of content and images you should create to win over your audience, and develop a content strategy accordingly.

Once you have your goals set up, you’ll be able to start developing a content strategy geared toward those goals. What type of content will help you fulfill your purpose? And what kind of content does your audience expect from you?

While there are a ton of options, the following types of images should form the cornerstones of the Pinterest content strategy for your business:

  • Eye-catching imagery – Just like Instagram, Pinterest too is a visual platform. So images that pop and instantly catch the eye should be the essence of your strategy. Color-coordinated images, high-definition photos, etc. are a few examples.Check out this pin from Birchbox, where the rich colors of the featured products from Tocca echo the luxe design of the surroundings.
    pin from birchbox
  • Instructional content – Educational content is the life force of Pinterest. In fact, 84% of Pinners say that Pinterest helps them learn new things. So make sure your content strategy includes instructional visual content that helps people learn how to do something such as how-to’s, tips and DIYs.Real Simple regularly shares recipes and tips to help its followers learn new things at a glance with visually appealing infographics.
    pin from real simple
  • Content that inspires – People also turn to Pinterest to get inspired, where they discover content that gives them an idea of what to do before they learn how to do it. Give your followers a regular dose of visual inspiration that’s relevant to your industry–whether it’s motivational quotes or wedding décor ideas. Apartment Therapy has created several boards to provide home décor inspiration to its followers.
    apartment therapy pinterest boards
  • Informational content – Informational content is another type of educational content that can help you engage your Pinterest audience. Create infographics and factoids that will help people learn new facts and figures relevant to your industry, products, etc.

4. Following creative best practices to create pins that stand out

While eye-catching imagery should be a vital element in your Pinterest for business content strategy, it’s a bit challenging to create them.

If you want to create more visually compelling pins, make sure you follow the creative best practices from Pinterest. These Pinterest best practices include:

  • Maintaining a 2:3 aspect ratio
  • Including your brand logo
  • Adding text overlay with concise, targeted copy to tell better stories
  • Choosing images that show context – this includes showing a product or service in a lifestyle setting or showing a use case in action that brings it to life.

5. Publishing at the right time for increased engagement

Like with every other social media platform, timing is everything on Pinterest. However, unlike some super fast moving platforms like Instagram, the visual content you’ve put so much effort in can have a much longer shelf life on Pinterest.

Seasonal and occasion-related content is huge on Pinterest, with plenty of ways to source ideas for everything from recipes to decor. Pinterest’s own seasonal research shows that many Pinners start engaging with occasions months in advance – such as summer-themed Pins gaining traction in early spring, and winter holiday Pinning starting in June.

As with almost any form of content, though, posting at the optimal time to get in front of an active audience can help your Pinterest content get off to a running start. Sprout’s ViralPost technology is available for Pinterest posts, using your own account’s data about your historical top times for engagement to suggest the best times for future posts.

After you start publishing on Pinterest, you can start analyzing your post performance at different hours and on different days of the week. Use Sprout’s Pinterest integration to see how your content is performing and continue to refine a posting strategy that works specifically for your brand.

Sprout publishing behavior pinterest analytics

6. Planning ahead to enhance productivity

Once you have your content strategy and desired posting schedule in place, you’ll be able to plan your content ahead of time. This not only helps you manage your social media more effectively, but also frees up time for other important tasks.

You can dedicate a day in the week to plan and create content for the rest of the week. Or you could even spend several days planning your content for the entire month.

The Pinterest integration from Sprout makes this easier by letting you create and schedule our pins ahead of time. You’ll be able to plan your upcoming pins using a calendar view of your social activity and automatically post them at the time of your choosing.

Sprout publishing calendar

With a visual preview of how your future pins will appear on your boards, you get an accurate picture of how your board will look and fine-tune your calendar for that all-important seasonal engagement. You can also duplicate Pinterest posts to Instagram or repurpose brand-approved images from the Asset Library so you can fill out your content calendar with your brand’s best visual content across multiple channels.

7. Add Pinterest save buttons to your site

Regardless of the Pinterest goals for your business, you need to encourage more people to pin your content to their boards. This not only helps more Pinners learn about your brand, but also compels more people to visit your site and buy your products.

That’s why you should make it easier for people to take the desired action i.e. pin your content. One of the Pinterest best practices to do this is to add save buttons to your site so they can complete the step in just a click.

Make the most of the Pinterest Widget Builder to create suitable save buttons to add to your site.

Pottery Barn allows you to easily pin their products to your board using a save button.

pottery barn product page with pinterest save button

8. Using Shop the Look Pins to improve shopping experience

If you want people to take a certain action, make sure it’s easy for them to do so. Just like you added save buttons to encourage more content pins, you can also use Shop the Look Pins to drive more sales. This is one of the best features that make Pinterest so powerful for brands.

These pins make it easier for Pinners to find and buy the products from a certain post, as you can tag each product with the relevant product URL or affiliate link. They don’t have to go through a lengthy process of visiting your site, searching for the product and then completing their purchase.

9. Tracking your performance to see what works

Pinterest for brands cannot really deliver value if your strategy is based on assumptions. Instead, take a data-driven approach to optimize your efforts. Use performance analytics to identify what’s working and what isn’t, so you don’t waste your time on content and tactics that don’t have an impact.

Make the most of native Pinterest analytics as well as the Sprout Pinterest integration to get a 360-degree view of your performance. Find out which pins are getting the most clicks and impressions and which ones are driving the most traffic and sales. This will give you an idea of which types of content are resonating with your audience and how you can enhance your efforts.

Sprout Pinterest performance report

Start pinning like a boss

Establishing a Pinterest presence for your brand doesn’t have to be intimidating. Follow the platform’s best practices and keep in mind its unique benefits for brands to get the most out of your content.

This quick guide should help you find your feet if you’re just starting out. And with some practice coupled with data-driven insights, you can find new ways to optimize your efforts and enjoy the full benefits of Pinterest for brands.

What’s your experience using Pinterest for business? Any specific challenges or success stories? Share them with us in the comments.