How To Use Pinterest for Business: The Definitive Guide

This is an updated version of a post originally published in October 2014 by Olsy Sorokina.

Pinterest was supposed to be a simple visual bookmarking tool, but morphed to fill a need as a catalog and community of creativity. Today, more than 100 million active Pinners discover new ideas and inspire others every single month—a majority of whom are outside of the U.S.

Businesses used to scoff at the idea that Pinterest could drive sales or improve marketing efforts. At a glance, the platform is full of Pins depicting beautiful home decor, incredibly appetizing food, and fashionable women roaming the streets. But just under the surface, businesses will find a visual discovery network with the potential to be the best social e-commerce tool yet.

How To Use Pinterest for Business: The Definitive Guide | Hootsuite Blog
Pinterest shares what people around the world are searching for in December 2015. Image via Pinterest.

According to Pinterest for Business, 40 percent of Pinners discovered a new product and saved it on the platform. After discovering a fashion or home product on Pinterest, 30 percent made a purchase. Similarly, nearly 25 percent have discovered and purchased health, fitness, or entertainment products thanks to Pinterest.

For example, DaWanda, an online marketplace for handmade products, followed best practices and increased Pinterest referral traffic by nearly 100 percent. This is generating sales for the business as well. The average order value from Pinterest is 13 percent higher than referral traffic from any other social network.

Pinterest may be one of the best ways to showcase your business’ products and services. We want to help you get the most out of Pinterest to drive website traffic, increase reach, and tell your brand story.

How To Use Pinterest for Business: The Definitive Guide | Hootsuite Blog
Pinterest’s top most Pinned products of 2015. With a link back to your business’s website, what’s to stop you from driving sales? Image via Pinterest.

10 Tips on how to use Pinterest for business

Tip No. 1: Make your offerings visible on Pinterest

Include your brand’s name and official website address on Pinterest’s profile page, and connect your Facebook and Twitter profiles for increased visibility. Pay attention to your Pin captions: whether you are pinning content from your site or repinning it from somewhere else, explain why this content would be useful to your brand’s customers—and mention your brand’s name and website URL in the caption.

In addition to mentioning your brand’s name when making a new Pin, try to include a call to action (CTA), as well as other links, in all Pins that contain original content from your business. The CTA can be linked to an ongoing campaign, or simply redirect users to your website.

Tips to help Pinners find your products:

  • Get your Pins to stand out by following creative best practices (creative tips below)
  • Invest in Promoted Pins to increase brand awareness, engagement, and traffic
How To Use Pinterest for Business: The Definitive Guide | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Pinterest.

Tip No. 2: Make your website Pinterest-friendly

Before you start Pinning original content on your business’s Pinterest account, you want to make it easy for other Pinterest users to Pin articles and images from your website using a Pinterest browser extension. Add the Pin It button to your website for people to easily save ideas and products to Pinterest.

Beside the Pin It button, you can also add a Follow button in a prominent position on your webpage, so your customers can easily find you. There are other widgets that you can easily add to your site, including Pin, profile, and board features for easy access. Take a look at Pinterest’s guides on how to create buttons for your website.

How To Use Pinterest for Business: The Definitive Guide | Hootsuite Blog
Martha Stewart’s website makes it easy for people to Pin images that link back to her site. Image via Martha Stewart.

It might also be helpful to optimize your website to allow Rich Pins, or Pins that show more information about the link you want people to click on. Pinterest currently has five types of Rich Pins: movie, recipe, article, product, and place.

Tip No. 3: Create appealing content you can Pin

In a similar fashion to most social networks, you want your business’s Pinterest profile to be a mix of original and found content, with an emphasis on articles and photos pinned from your site. Great Pins are ideas. Make sure they’re helpful, beautiful, and actionable, so that people will easily discover, share, and save your ideas for things they want to do.

As you are already an expert on social media images, finding high-quality images shouldn’t be a problem. But being on Pinterest should give you extra incentive to create original, visually appealing content. After all, an image is the first thing someone sees in a Pin.

A few tips for creative best practices:

  • Feature compelling images that people will want to share
  • Try text overlays to help people browse and discover faster
  • Create detailed descriptions of your content
  • Consider adding lists or how-tos in the text overlays
  • Tasteful branding goes a long way on Pinterest
  • Have a clear call to action 

Tip No. 4: Know Pinterest’s image requirements

Pins need to get noticed in order to get clicked. Because most people use Pinterest on mobile and feeds are organized into columns, vertical Pins tend to perform best. Taller Pins also take up more space in people’s feeds. If you have optimized your site for the network, but Pinterest still doesn’t show your images, check your dimensions. Vertical images can have an aspect ratio of 2:3 to 1:2.8 and must be at least 600px wide.  

Pinterest doesn’t recognize background images, images embedded in iFrames or within Flash websites. Having accurate dimensions will help your Pins get noticed better, hopefully leading to more clicks to your business’s site.

Tip No. 5: Study Pinterest’s categories  

Pinterest users can search the network for content in many different categories. Get to know the ones that apply to your business; and no, I don’t mean the Everything category. See if any of your content fits in one of Pinterest’s most popular categories.

Some of the top pinned categories include home decor, food and drink, weddings, and DIY and craft. Once you figure out the categories that apply to your business, remember to categorize any Pinboard you create—this will make it easier for users to discover your content.

How To Use Pinterest for Business: The Definitive Guide | Hootsuite Blog
Keep an eye on popular categories and find Pins that are relevant to your business and its followers. Image via Pinterest.

Tip No. 6: Pin useful content

Pinners love learning new ways of doing things, and you have a unique opportunity to share knowledge about your area of expertise, straight from the source. Share tutorials and how-to articles in order to teach users something new, or help them find a life hack to solve an old problem. According to Pinterest, 75 percent of people say it’s the best place to find new interests, and 67 percent said it’s the place they come to express creativity.

Another type of content that often makes it to the top Pinned lists is infographics. Start by finding and repinning well-researched and well-designed infographics on the topics relevant to your field. Eventually, you’ll want to carve out some time in your content creation calendar to make some pinnable infographics of your own. Not only do they display helpful and sharable content, but they are highly visual and often take up the space you need to get noticed.

How To Use Pinterest for Business: The Definitive Guide | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Pinterest.

Tip No. 7: Pin about your customers

Pinterest is a great tool for recognizing your customers—you can do this by creating Boards that tell customer success stories, or share a common customer experience. These Pins can make up their own Board or be a part of your how-to category, for example. If your customers find unique ways to incorporate your brand’s products or services into their everyday life, what better way to celebrate them?

How To Use Pinterest for Business: The Definitive Guide | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Pinterest.

These customer-centric Boards are a great non-intrusive way to show off customer testimonials and amazing designs in a way that welcomes sharing from anyone who can benefit from the advice.

Tip No. 8: Pin as a team

Pinterest allows users to add contributors to  Boards, so encourage your employees to add content they find interesting, or even curate their own Board. Not only are your employees your brand’s best advocates, they often share similar interests with your brand. Include your employees in the discovery process, and @mention them in the captions of the Pins they selected.

Pinterest can also help your business promote company culture, to celebrate current employees and attract new hires. If your company held a fundraiser or a fun team bonding event recently, why not create a Board to share it with the world? This is a great way to add some personality to your brand and build loyalty among customers.

Tip No. 9: Create themed Pinterest Boards

How To Use Pinterest for Business: The Definitive Guide | Hootsuite Blog
With only 25 Pins on their How-To Pins board so far, Home Depot has earned 214,400 loyal followers who wait for the brand’s next great how-to Pin. Image via Home Depot on Pinterest.

Is there a holiday or a big product release coming up? Maybe your business is expanding or needs to reach new audiences and you require a creative way to tell your current and potential customers about it. Why not create a themed Board for the reveal?

Pinterest allows you to connect written, photo, and video resources all in one place, and in a sharable way. Remember that Pins created for themed boards should make sense independently as well, in case someone wants to repin them to their Board with similar themes.

Tip No. 10: Keep a close eye on your Pinterest numbers

How To Use Pinterest for Business: The Definitive Guide | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Pinterest.

Whenever your business joins a new network, it’s crucial to take regular temperature checks to refine your content strategy for that network. Pinterest Analytics allows you to see what Pins and boards get the most likes, comments, and repins. You can easily gather new data about your audience such as who they are, what they like, and what devices they use to Pin your content. Pinterest Analytics also shows how the Pin It button is performing on your website—and whether it’s directing referral traffic or not.

How To Use Pinterest for Business: The Definitive Guide | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Pinterest.

To save time, maximize your reach, and work more effectively on Pinterest, try the Tailwind for Pinterest app in your Hootsuite dashboard. It allows you to easily create and schedule new Pins, as well as Pin to multiple boards at once. Read more in our blog post on how to effectively manage your Pinterest activity from Hootsuite and try it today.

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