Pinterest is the only social network your grandma understands; it’s also the one your mom jumped on before you did.
A once-obscure image board platform with a mere 5,000 users, Pinterest has taken the social web by storm. In just three years, 70 million people—80 percent of whom are female—have pinned over 30 billion items. With these numbers, Pinterest has become the discovery platform that brands have always wished for.
One brand that has found major success on the platform is Tiny Hands, a super-small business making big noise with its food jewelry. Founder Mei Pak has proven that she knows Pinterest, successfully using the platform to build an audience and sell her quirky creations.
For those still trying to get a grasp on that perfect Pinterest strategy, Pak shares what works for her business on a platform that is just beginning to realize its earning potential.
1. Pinterest is your virtual storefront
While Facebook and Twitter offer brands a voice, Pinterest helps them craft the perfect image.
“Pinterest serves as a visual display of your brand’s culture,” Pak says. “My pins are what I would be proud to have on display if Tiny Hands had a brick and mortar store.”
This rings true even for brands with a large physical presence. Last year, Target launched an “Awesome Shop” designed to highlight their most popular pins. In addition to Awesome Shop, Target regularly maintains over 40 boards, with categories ranging from seasonal products to the latest fashion.
2. Likes are irrelevant
In a social world dominated by Facebook, Likes have become the standard signal of success for brands. While Pinterest does allow users to Like pins, placing weight on this metric is a mistake. Much like favoriting tweets, “Likes on Pinterest are an acknowledgement, not an endorsement,” explains Pak. “Repins are your goal.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the best practices on getting repinned, don’t sweat it. First and foremost, focus on your content. If you are sharing images of beautiful jewelry, make sure the images only display that beautiful jewelry. Once you’ve found the perfect image, add a description that is relevant and includes popular keywords.
For more helpful tactics, check out what’s popular on Pinterest.
3. Mobile matters
With an estimated 75 percent of Pinterest’s traffic coming from mobile devices, it is a safe bet that horizontal images will fare poorly. By using vertical images, you’ll be taking full advantage of screen real estate and will not break the flow of the user experience on the Pinterest app.
Additionally, images should not include block descriptions. Keeping descriptions crisp is essential to respecting a Pinterest user’s browsing time.
For further tips on optimizing for mobile devices, Rocket Post has a number of excellent tips to make sure your images are ready for mobile.
4. Pin consistently
Gaining followers on Pinterest takes serious commitment. In three months, Pak grew her audience by 300 followers by sharing nearly 50 pins a day. “Followers on Pinterest value regular activity,” Pak says. For power users, this number can sometimes reach an upwards of 100 pins per day.
While posting regularly is essential, users should also be aware that their pins need to be relevant to the Pinterest community. This means making photos pop with color, posting at opportune times (between 2 and 4 p.m. EST), keeping up with what categories are popular, and maintaining a diverse set of boards.
For a detailed overview on how to optimize your pins, check out the Pinterest scientific guide by Buffer.
5. D.I.Y metrics
Currently, Pinterest offers few tools for brands to track the success of their campaigns. As with Pak, for a one-person operation with limited time and resources, committing to Pinterest can be taxing when its competitors offer in-depth metrics and sales data. To make matters worse, what little data Pinterest does offer tend to be unreliable, according to Pak.
While this issue is being worked on at Pinterest, it’s a factor to consider before diving in.
6. Run a contest
“If you want content that sticks, run your own contest on Pinterest,” Pak says. “Unlike other social networks, content that I’ve used for contests has a long shelf life. I’m still getting repins months later.”
While running a contest on Pinterest can be a lucrative tactic for your brand to employ, it should be done with a plan. In an attempt to maintain high-quality pins and posts, Pinterest has a list of contest rules brands are expected follow. For examples of brands with great contests that play by the rules, High Point Market is one to take note from.
Each year, “Style Spotters” at High Point Market pin their latest take on trends and fashion. Each Style Spotter is awarded points based on the number of repins and likes they receive. Once the competition is over, the winner receives a free trip to one of High Point Market’s events. This contest encourages quality pins, and makes the community feel directly involved. HubSpot points out some other awesome contest ideas.
Success on Pinterest is becoming important than ever for brands as the visually driven platform nips at the heels of social networking behemoths once deemed untouchable. Prevent being stuck on a supplanted social network and get your brand active on your mom’s favorite social network now. It’ll even give you something to chat about with grandma at the next family event.
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