I've used Pinterest for personal use for a long time but had never delved into the world of Pinterest for business; that is, until the past month. I was approached by an incredible business rep from Pinterest to gain some traction for a third sector client in the run up to International Women's Day. After playing around with the platform and getting some amazing advice direct from the source, I've realised that Pinterest can be an amazing tool for the third sector when it is used right. I wanted to share some of my advice after spending some time talking to my rep and learning about the platform for myself.
What is Pinterest?
I understand not everyone will be aware of Pinterest. Pinterest is a social media platform with over 400 million monthly users around the world. Rather than creating status updates and following a timeline, Pinterest allows users to upload content as a pin which is saved to a board. Think of a pin as a file and a board as a folder; you can use boards to organise your pins into different categories such as 'quotes' or 'shop'. Each pin can be linked to a web page to direct traffic to your site without the need for bulky links or URLs. It's a neat and totally customisable way to show off your brand, both with your own content and by interacting with other users' content which aligns with your message.
Pinterest's user base has grown rapidly during lockdown as people have been searching for much needed positivity in such a dark period. From inspirational quotes to project ideas, it has helped a lot of people find the light in the dark. As well as being one of the most rapidly growing platforms, Pinterest is having it's own internal push on working with organisations which wouldn't usually use Pinterest, including the third sector, helping charities and not for profit organisations get their voice heard by a whole new group of people. The platform is popular with e-commerce sites due to its shopping functionality, but this could easily also be used by charities selling merchandise and interactive experiences in order to raise money; with a simple click, shoppers could be whisked away to an on-site shopping portal to buy your products, which are easily updated with a simple spreadsheet. If shopping tools aren't for your organisation, Pinterest also have the opportunity to place ads on site, which unlike some other platforms, sit incredibly naturally among other content. Ads look just like other pins and are likely to be interacted with, especially if the content fits with the positive elements of the platform. Pinterest aims to educate and inspire its users, making it the ideal platform for most third sector organisations.
There are two main types of content on Pinterest, with another currently being tested with white labelled users. Standard pins use an image, text and a link to grab the attention of users and direct them to your website. Short video clips can also be used as video pins to do the same, it is recommended that videos are no longer than 60 seconds in order to achieve the most traction. The newest form of content is a story pin. Unlike other platforms, Pinterest's story pins do not disappear after 24 hours, but work in a very similar way. Images and videos can be added to a carousel to tell a story or introduce an idea, accompanied by stickers and text to make the most impact. I have been fortunate enough to test story pins and think they will be an amazing tool for all types of businesses to have fun with their branding and message.
When creating content, it is worth remembering the content that works well on Pinterest already. Quotes are the backbone of Pinterest, so utilise all those testimonials and press quotes you have collected over the years to create something amazing. Food, fashion and interior design are also very popular among Pinterest's users, so if your organisation has any expertise in these areas, make the most of it!
Visuals are one part of the content creation process on Pinterest, but you will also need to consider the wording of your accompanying captions. Pinterest works just like a search engine, so make sure your captions are full of key words likely to be searched on Pinterest. Keep it simple and save the jargon for LinkedIn.
After being coached on the best practice for Pinterest as well as finding out more about the platform for myself, I am thrilled to be able to share some top tips for beginners on the site! Here are my favourite and most useful tips I've learnt as a beginner:
- Use strong and simple keywords
- Vertical pins get much more engagement than horizontal and square pins
- Pin content from other users to gain more profile views
- Integrate Pinterest with your own website for others to pin (all this takes is copying and pasting a piece of code)
- Upgrade to a free business account to get more content views
- Have fun - the more visually appealing your content the better!
Why Are You Avoiding Pinterest?
I will admit I avoided Pinterest for business use for years. I didn't see the potential for any of my clients and had no idea where to get started if I were to take it on board. To me, Pinterest was for recipes, fashion brands and bloggers. I was so wrong! Now I am a regular business user of the platform, I am seeing so many possibilities for all types of clients and finding new ways to utilise pins to send a positive and important message out in behalf of my third sector clients. It's time to stop burying your head in the sand and give Pinterest a go!
If you're interested in utilising Pinterest for your third sector organisation, feel free to send me an email at email@example.com!