To use Pinterest, you first have to sign up for an account. Importantly, using the main sign-up page creates a personal account and for businesses, it’s really important that you make sure you specifically sign up for a business account. It’s important to make this distinction because business accounts, whilst remaining free like personal Pinterest accounts, give you access to great features to help your business thrive on the platform, one example is the analytics tools.
To sign up for a business account, you need to sign up at specific business sign up page and enter your email address, a password, the name of your business and your website (though this last one is optional). You also need to select what type of business you run from a drop-down menu. From there, you will then be directed to set up your profile. When you log in to your Pinterest account, you’re taken to your home feed. This is where the most recent pins from the other Pinterest accounts you follow are displayed and features endless scrolling for seamless browsing. Across the top of each page you visit on Pinterest, there is a large search bar. To the left, you’ll see the Pinterest logo (clicking this will take you back to the home page), as well as menu options for Ads and Analytics. To the right, there is a drop-down menu, which displays links to all of the categories you can browse through on the platform. Alongside that, you’ll see a “+” button and a chat bubble button. The + allows you to quick-add a new pin or create a new ad, and the chat button pulls up a drop-down menu with three options: News, You and Messages.
- News: displays trending pins and other information such as updates
- You: shows your notifications from when other users interact with your pins
- Messages: displays your messages with other Pinterest users.
Clicking on your profile picture will show a drop-down menu with options to go to your profile to see all your boards and pins, access your settings, billing, ads support, the platform’s Help page, and to log out of your account. Pinterest is all about pins and boards… so what exactly are they? Simply put, Pins are the content you share on Pinterest, and Boards are how you organise and categorise that content. Before you can start pinning anything, you need to create your boards.
Creating Your Boards
To create your first Pinterest board, go to your profile and you’ll see a red Create Board button. Once you click, a box will pop up with the information you need to fill in. You can enter a name for your board and a description of what your board is about (these are optional, but by no means leave them blank), and select a category for it (also optional, but again do not ignore this). In addition, you can choose to keep your board secret, so that only you (and any others user(s) you choose, if any) have access to it. At the bottom of the box, you’ll also see an option entitled “Collaborators,” with a text box where you can invite other Pinterest users by username or email to contribute pins to the board. Adding other users to your board creates a group board, which will show up on both your profile and the other users’ profiles. Once you’re done filling out your board’s information, click Create and you’re done. From there, you can start adding pins. To create subsequent boards, simply go to your profile page and in the space to the left of your existing boards, you’ll see a rectangular grey space with a Create a Board button. From there, simply follow the same steps. Adding Pins You can add pins to your Pinterest boards in several different ways. To add your own content to Pinterest, go to the board you want to pin to (or use the + button from the top of the page) and click the Add a Pin button. A box will pop up with the options to add a pin from the Web or from your computer. If you decide to add a pin from the Web, Pinterest will prompt you to enter a link to the page you’re wanting to pin from. Once you enter the link, you’ll be taken to a page that shows all of the images from that website, as well as existing pins that were created by others from that website’s domain. You can then select the picture you want to pin by hovering over the image and clicking the Pin it button. This will open a box that allows you to enter a description and choose a board for your pin. You can also create a new board to pin it to, and choosing this option will let you name your new board, and select whether or not you’d like to add collaborators or keep the board secret. You’ll have to go back into this board later to edit it if you’d like to add a description and choose a category. When you’re done perfecting your pin, click the Create button. Pinning content from the Web will ensure that your pin links back to the website it came from. If you choose to add a pin from your computer, Pinterest will prompt you to select and upload an image file. From there, the process of adding a pin is the same as above. Regardless of the way you choose to add your pins, you can always go back to specific pins at a later date to edit their descriptions, move them to different boards or delete them altogether. To pin from the mobile app, go to your profile tab and click the + button. This gives you the option to create a new board or pin from your phone’s photos, the Web, your clipboard or to pin your location if you use the maps feature (part of Pinterest’s “Rich Pins”). All pins must include an image or a video in order to be added to Pinterest. You can also “re-pin” content from other Pinterest users, in addition to adding your own content, and it’s good to do a mix of both. Re-pinning is an easy way to be more active on Pinterest when you don’t have your own content to share, plus it can get other Pinterest users to notice your brand. To find content to re-pin, you can browse through your home feed, look in specific categories or search certain keywords in the search bar. When you want to re-pin an existing pin, hover over the image and click the red Pin It button. You’ll then be prompted to select or create a board, and you can either leave the previous user’s description or write your own. Rich Pins Rich Pins are a specialised type of Pinterest pin that make using the platform more straightforward and seamless. These pins include extra information beyond just the image, click-through link and the pinner’s description. Currently, there are six types of Rich Pins:
- Place Pins: Allow users to create a map with the content they share. To enable place pins, you simply check off the “add a map” option when you create or edit a pinboard. Selecting the map option overlays your pins onto an actual interactive map. You can then add places to your existing pins and pin new places as well. Place pins include important details like addresses and phone numbers — this feature is perfect for mapping out restaurants and other attractions when you’re planning a trip.
- Article Pins: Pinterest is highly visual in nature, but written content also performs well. So long as an article features an image, it can be pinned to Pinterest.
- Product pins: Product pins make shopping via Pinterest a lot more seamless. These Rich Pins show where the product you’re pinning can be purchased, the current price and a direct link to the product page. An added benefit is that product pins prices’ are updated in real time, and if a user pins a product pin to one of his or her boards, that user will be notified when the product’s price is lowered. Since many Pinterest users create boards that serve as wish lists for things they want, product pins are a great way to convert pins into purchases.
- Recipe pins: Pinterest a hugely popular hub for foodies. Recipe pins take sharing food on Pinterest to a whole new level. Unlike a regular pin, which would show an image and a description that is manually entered in by the pinner, these recipe-specific Rich Pins show users important information like the necessary ingredients and their amounts, cooking times and serving info. Recipe pins also display details about whether a recipe is vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, paleo, etc., making searching for – and determining which recipes you can make – a lot richer and simpler. Users can still click-through to the website from which the recipe came to see detailed instructions and more photos of the recipes they’re pinning.
- Movie Pins: Great for film fans, these Rich Pins show more details about the movies you pin. Information includes, the year a film was released, its rating, the director and the main stars of the film. When pinning from different movie websites like Netflix, Flixter and Rotten Tomatoes, pinners will also see how those websites’ users ranked films as well.
- App Pins: Allows you to share and download apps directly from the platform. Currently, app pins only work in the United States, and with iOS apps but they will be rolled out to more countries in the near future.
To use Rich Pins, you need to follow a simple two-step process. Add the appropriate metadata to your website content. This metadata is different for each type of Rich Pin, but you can add multiple types to your site, and Pinterest will prioritise them. Validate your Rich Pins and apply to get them on Pinterest. Once you’ve completed step one, you have to enter your site’s URL into Pinterest’s validator page to make sure there are no mistakes with the metadata. After everything is finalized, you can click Apply Now.
Interacting with other Pinterest users
Pinterest is, unlike other social networks, much more focused towards sharing content than it is about interacting with other users. Having said this, it is still a social network, and as such offers users ways to connect with other people.
Likes: Liking a pin is the easiest way to interact with another Pinterest user (and to save a pin for later, if you don’t have time to pin it right away). Simply hover over the pin you want to like and click the heart-shaped button. Doing so will notify that user, and you can access your liked posts from the “Likes” tab on your profile page.
Comments: To add comments to other users’ pins, click on the pin you want to comment on and this will pull up a larger window with the pin and more information about it, under the pin, you’ll see a comment box where you can type in and share what you want to say.
Sending Pins: You can also send pins you want to share with other users (or non-Pinterest users, even) by hovering over pins and clicking the send button. A box will pop up that allows you to search for other Pinterest users by username, or type in an email address to mail the pin to.
Tagging Users: Just like on Twitter, you can tag users using the @ symbol on Pinterest. When you’re writing a description for your pin or adding a comment to someone else’s pin, just type in the @ symbol and the username of the person you want to tag, and they’ll be notified.
Messages: You can send private messages to other Pinterest users by clicking the Messages option in the notifications box at the top of the page. Simply select “New message,” type in the user you want to talk to, and hit “Next.” This will open a small chat window at the bottom of your screen where you can drag and drop pins and send instant messages.
Hashtags on Pinterest
Pinterest users can use hashtags when sharing their pins, as with other social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. However it is worth noting that there is a lot less emphasis placed on the importance of Hashtags on Pinterest and they are really only to be seen as a bonus on Pinterest, rather than on Twitter for example where they can make or break how successful your posts are. Pinterest has its own unique search system and hashtags are not the most effective way to make your content searchable on this social network. Hashtags on Pinterest only work in pin descriptions, so if you put them elsewhere, you’ll only waste your time and look like you don’t know how to use the platform. Hashtags are more effective if you use your own, brand-specific hashtags, and less effective if you were to share a pin with the hashtag #recipes, for example. What’s more important on Pinterest is that you use proper keywords when describing your pins and boards, keep your boards organised and categorise your boards correctly.
Personalising your Pinterest Profile
Unlike other social networks, Pinterest does not give you many profile customisation options, allowing you only being able to upload a profile picture, use a custom username, and write a summary about you or your business. Whilst you can’t change the layout of your Pinterest page like you can on Tumblr or upload a banner image like on Facebook or Twitter, there are other ways to make your profile unique and to stand out from the crowd You can name your pinboards with clever phrases and keywords that are both searchable and relatable to your brand. You can also enter a short description of each board that explains what that board is about and how it aligns with your brand. Additionally, you can choose cover photos for each board that relate back to your brand and are visually stimulating. There may not be much you can customise about your Pinterest profile, but you can still successfully represent your brand with the options the platform gives you if you are clever enough and get creative.
Trending Topics on Pinterest
To see what’s trending on Pinterest, click on the drop-down menu in the search bar and select “Popular.’’ if you’re on mobile, go to the search tab and select the same category. The Popular page will show you a feed of the most popular pins on Pinterest at that time. Above the popular pins, you’ll see a banner of the top interests on Pinterest at that time. You can click these interests and see the popular pins in those topics in addition to related topics. Knowing what’s trending on Pinterest can help you decide what types of content to pin. Any time you can relate trending topics back to your brand, you make your business more discoverable on Pinterest.
Advertising on Pinterest
Promoted Pins are a paid advertising option for businesses. Promoted Pins are just like regular Pins, only you pay to have them seen by more people. In doing so, you can target specific audiences, choose to pay for either pin engagement or visits to your website, and track how your ads are performing. So far this feature is only available in the United States so for now, to access Promoted Pins, you’ll have to sign up for the wait list.
To access your account’s analytics page, simply click Analytics at the top of the page. This will pull up a drop-down menu with three options: Overview, Profile and Audience. Selecting Overview takes you to a dashboard where you can see several boxes containing statistics about your profile, audience and more. In one box, you can see data on your profile’s average daily impressions and viewers; and in another, you can see your average monthly viewers and average monthly engagements. You can click More in either of these boxes to see graphs of all your data. Selecting Profile or Audience will take you directly to this data as well. Below those boxes, you’ll see data on how many impressions your pins are receiving. Through Pinterest analytics you can learn valuable things about your audience demographics, like gender, location and other interests, what devices visitors to your page are using, along with what your most popular pins are. All of which will help you guide your future Pinterest strategy to maximise its effectiveness.