Social media has made it easier than ever for businesses to advertise their brands and reach new customers. Most businesses today have, at the very least, dedicated Facebook pages and Twitter accounts which they use to interact with consumers and to promote various goods and services.
But Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only networking games in town. There are other social media platforms available that offer ample opportunities for online retailers and real world merchants who are looking to improve their brand recognition, increase their customer base, and frankly shift more product.
Why Pinterest Works for Merchants
Since its launch in 2010 Pinterest has grown into one of the largest and most successful social media networks. With more than 250 million users worldwide it has a reach that is only exceeded by its market leading cousins Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But more importantly for retailers, Pinterest is uniquely suited to the marketing of brands and products to an ever growing pool of potential customers.
While most people are happy to use other networking sites to simply stay connected with family and friends, Pinterest users (or Pinners) are actively searching for something different. They’re looking for inspiration. They’re looking for homemaking tips, recipes, and (most importantly) new and exciting products to purchase. That’s why Pinterest has become such a valuable tool for retailers who want to reach a customer base that is already primed and ready to buy.
A Quick Overview of Pinterest Terms
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of setting up your Pinterest business account, it will help if we go over a few key Pinterest terms and their definitions.
- Pins – A Pin is simply any image or video that is uploaded and/or saved to Pinterest. Pins contain links to the image’s originating source, and that is gold for retailers who want to generate a reliable source of referral traffic for the ecommerce sites.
- Rich Pins – Rich Pins provide more context for the image, showing extra information on the Pin itself. There are four types of Rich Pins – Article Pins, App Pins, Recipe Pins and Product Pins. Product Pins are the most important for retailers as they provide real time pricing and a direct link for purchase.
- Boards – Pinterest is all about organization. Pinners save and organize content in collections called boards. Pinners have the options of following entire accounts or just the specific boards that they find interesting. New Pins will appear in their saved boards as they are added by the account holders.
- Feeds – In this respect Pinterest is like any other social media network. A Pinterest feed is simply the collected content and links generated by the boards and users the Pinner is following.
Now, on to the meat of the matter – setting up and activating your Pinterest account.
Setting Up Your Pinterest Business Account
If you want to use Pinterest to promote your business and its products the first step is to set up a Pinterest business account. Some people mistakenly try to leverage their personal accounts to market their business, but in the long run they’re missing out on some important features. Most notably Pinterest advertising and business-specific analytics.
If you already have a personal account you can easily change it over to a business account. Simply log-in to your current account and click on the three dots at the top right hand corner of your profile page. Select the ‘upgrade your account’ option and follow the prompts to change your profile to a business-specific account. If you are changing an existing personal account to a business account you can skip ahead to step 2, otherwise let’s get started.
Step 1 – Create Your Account
Pinterest has made it quick and easy to set up a business account.
- Go to the Pinterest for Business sign up page and click on the ‘Join as a Business’ icon
- Enter the required information according to the prompts. This will include your business name, email address, password, and primary website address. You will also be asked to choose the category that best represents your business such as retailer, online marketplace, local business or non-profit organization.
- Review the Pinterest terms of service and privacy policies. I know we all tend to skip over these things, but as a business owner you should take the time to do your due diligence.
- Finally, click the ‘create account’ icon
Once your account has been created you’ll be directed to your home page. This is your dashboard and work interface. Your Pinterest followers won’t see this. To see how your profile appears to the site’s users simply click on the red thumb tack icon at the top right of the screen.
Step 2 – Fill Out Your Profile
Now that your account is in place it’s time to fill out the company’s profile information. Give this some serious consideration. Remember, everything you put into your profile is meant to represent you and your brand. So choose wisely.
To fill out your profile simply log in to your Pinterest account and find the profile icon on the top right of the page and click on settings. A pop up will appear, and it is here that you will fill in your company details. Again, be precise in what you enter here.
Your Pinterest profile should consist of the following:
- Profile Picture – Ideally this should be a photo that best represents your brand, It could a photo of you, your company logo or the business mascot. For best results choose a photo that is at least 165X165 pixels.
- Username – Typically your company name.
- About You – A short description of your business and your company’s mission statement. For best results use as many keywords here as possible.
- Location – Where your offices are located or where your company does business.
- Website – http://your companywebsite
Once you’ve filled in all of the pertinent information simply click ‘Save Settings’.
Step 3 – Confirm Your Website
As you are filling out your profile details you will notice a ‘Confirm Website’ icon. Do not ignore this part of the registration process. Confirming your website allows to see what other users are Pinning from your website and adds your company logo to any Pins made from that site. Confirming your website will also help boost your Pins’ rankings in Pinterest search results.
To confirm your website go back to the settings form and follow these prompts:
- In the profile section of Pinterest settings scroll to the bottom and click ‘Confirm Website’.
- Copy the highlighted text and past it into the HTML of your website’s index page.
- Click ‘Finish’ and your done.
Take a moment here to double check that your website has been confirmed. To do this simply try Pinning a link from your website. When the Pin appears you should see your company profile pic below the Pin.
Step 4 – Create Boards
With your profile filled out and your website confirmed your account is ready to go. Now is the time to start sharing and organizing content, and that means creating specific boards for your featured Pins.
On your Pinterest profile page find the ‘Boards’ tab and click on the red plus sign. This will allow you to create a new board. Again, Pinterest keeps it fairly simple so just follow these guidelines:
- Name Your Board – You’re limited to 20 characters so be careful how your name your boards. You don’t want the title to get cut off. Be as descriptive as possible and keep your keywords in mind.
- Describe Your Board – On the boards tab click the pencil icon to enter a detailed description of the board. Again, clarity is key. Be precise in your description and use keywords to boost search results.
- Categorize Your Board – Choose the desired category for your board and hit save.
If you want to save your board without it going live simply hit the ‘secret’ switch on the board tab. This will prevent users from seeing your boards until you are ready to go live.
Step 5 – Pinning
Now that you have your account registration completed and you’ve created some boards it’s time to start Pinning content. The quickest and easiest way to save content to Pinterest is to install Pinterest Browser Button on your preferred internet browser. The button is compatible with Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge. Once the browser button is installed you’ll be able to Pin anything you like with just the click of your mouse.
To Pin content to your account follow these simple steps:
- Click on the Pinterest icon on your browser’s toolbar
- Select the image you want to Pin and click save.
- Add an appropriate description for the image using searchable keywords.
- Choose which board you want the image to appear on and click save.
Once you’ve accumulated a variety of images for your board you can select a featured image from the boards tab.
Using Your Pinterest Business Account
Now that you’ve successfully created and launched your Pinterest for Business account you can begin to leverage it to promote your brand, advertise products and drive traffic to your website or real world locations. As with all social media ventures, however, the key is consistency. Don’t let your account lie fallow. You’ll need to maintain an active presence if you’re going to get the most out of your Pinterest account.
Pinterest for Business offers online retailers and real world merchants a creative way to engage with customers. Properly administered your Pinterest account can deliver real dividends for your business, and that’s good news for your bottom line. So, stop reading and get Pinning!