Pinterest may seem like any other social media platform. After all, you can share photos, videos, and articles just like Facebook or Instagram. But what’s different about Pinterest is that it’s more than just a social media platform- it’s a search engine too.
That might sound crazy, but People come to Pinterest to find ideas, stories, photos, products, and hundreds of other things to save, share, and try. If your pins are optimized, you could be growing your following, creating new customers, and building credibility for your food brand. But how do you get started?
We’ve gathered up some tips and tricks for following the best practices of Pinterest. If you’re a food brand looking to get the ball rolling with your Pinterest account, check out our recommendations:
1. Create a Rockin’ Profile
Obviously, the first step to getting started on Pinterest is to set up your profile. Pinterest has been working to make their platform easier for businesses to use so that they can share those ideas and connect with users. So if you’re setting up your profile for your food brand, you’ll want to sign up for a Business Profile.
The Pinterest Business profile is giving business owners even more control over what Pinners see on their profile. Some of these new control tools include:
Pinterest Business profiles allow you to customize the cover of your profile to highlight the content that you want. This is the first thing that a user will see when they click on your profile, so it’s essential to make a strong first impression.
For example, this is the cover photo on our Pinterest Business profile:
As you can see, we have ours set up to show the latest pins from our profile. However, you can select specific pins or a highlight a board if those are most important to your profile. This is a great way to get Pinners straight to the content you want without them having to scroll through your boards or pins.
Another new element of the Pinterest Business profile is quick access to your monthly views. Views are from Pinterest users who have viewed any of your pins within the last 30 days. The stat shows up on your profile like this:
These views don’t necessarily mean that each of those Pinners has clicked on your pin, but if you want to increase your engagement, you can promote your pins. You can also see more detailed reports on engagement and impressions through your Pinterest analytics. Additionally, just clicking on a pin will let you see analytics on that specified pin.
Don’t leave anything out
When you’re first starting out with your profile, make sure to fill out all of the information that they provide you with. Pinterest will ask you to upload a profile photo, your location, and your website. It’s crucial to complete these parts of your profile, because it may help your targeted users find you more easily, and can help you get traffic back to your website.
2. Follow best pinning practices
After creating your profile, you want to make sure you’re following the best practices for Pinterest. And Pinterest wants to help you do that! Their in-house creative team, The Studio, has studied thousands of pins to understand what makes a pin truly great.
Here are some of the best ways to optimize your pins:
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Post new pins often
Posting new pins on Pinterest is very different from other social media platform posts. Unlike Instagram or Facebook, where your posts may reach their peak engagement in only 24 hours, pins will continue to be saved and shared for long periods of time. Even if you think you have a bad post, just give it time! Some may suddenly become trendy after months of sitting on your profile with low engagement, so continuing to post consistently for months is the best way to grow your audience.
Think like a Pinterest user
When you’re deciding what to name your boards, what to pin, what keywords to use, etc., make sure you understand the Pinners. For example, Pinners will often start looking for inspiration and ideas long before they might need them (i.e., a user probably isn’t looking for Christmas tree decoration ideas on December 20th). If you have seasonal or trendy posts, schedule them to be posted at least 45 days in advance of the time period they’re applicable in.
Consider your pin descriptions
In addition to considering the type of pins you post, make sure you’re considering the keywords you’re using in your pin descriptions. Just like traditional SEO, you have to think about the type of voice your target Pinners are using, as well as some thematic keywords that relate to your description. For example, if you want to pin a recipe for burgers, try adding something like “Perfect for backyard barbecues” into your description.
If you need some keyword inspiration, try just getting on your Pinterest account and searching for the keyword you’re interested in. Pinterest will show you a list of other related search results that are based on real searches. These can give you an idea of what keywords are being searched for, like this:
As you can see, I searched for “burgers,” and Pinterest supplied me with a list of other pins that I might like to look at.
Make sure your board names are clear
When creating the boards you will pin to, make sure they are clear and specific, so your followers know exactly what to expect. You can even let Pinterest help your pins be seen by more users by selecting a Pinterest category for each of your boards. Pinterest will also let you add a description to your board, which can help your boards show up in the search results on a user’s explore page.
Keep your landing page relevant
This one may seem obvious, but you want to be absolutely sure that your pin clicks through to a page that is relevant to the image and description you give it. This landing page should finish the story that was started or provide more detailed information on the basic description seen on your pin.
Hashtags were previously a big no-no for Pinterest, but new developments are changing that. Using hashtags on your pins can help you appear in search results, much like keywords. When deciding what hashtags to use, make sure they’re relevant to your pin, and that they can be related to the theme of your pin.
Optimize your posts with location
If you’re a smaller, local business, you can still use Pinterest to start a larger following! When creating your pins, you’ll be able to add descriptions or hashtags that appeal to and describe your geography. This can help users in your area find your pins and products. You can also add your location to your board description and your profile for even more geographic reach.
Keep your content fresh
Pinterest really loves to see fresh content on your profile. And guess what- Pinners love it too. Hashtags and the following tab (which we’ll get to in just a bit) are ordered by the recency of your posts, so continuing to add new content to your page will help your pins get seen more easily and more often.
3. Optimize How You Use Images
Pinterest users may see thousands of images a day while scrolling through the app- how do you make yours stand out? Well, there are a few ways to catch a Pinner’s eye in their feed or explore page.
Use images that show real-life uses or experiences for your product or idea. For example, if you’re pinning your burger recipe (we’ll continue with our example from earlier), don’t just post a picture of your burger on a plate. Instead, try posting a picture of your burgers on a grill in a backyard, or being enjoyed during a picnic at the park. This will give Pinners an idea of how they can use your product in their own lives. Here’s an example of a real-life image:
I searched for backyard lights, and each of these posts shows me examples of how I can use them in real life.
2. Make sure your images are creative, but not too busy. A pin image needs to be original to stand out, especially if there are lots of other pins like it. That doesn’t mean you should overwhelm your image with too much going on, or a lot of text. 80% of Pinners use Pinterest on their phones, so an image with too much going on may not be very aesthetically pleasing.
3. Add your brand, packaging or logo to your images. If the image itself doesn’t say much about the product, try adding something brand specific, like your colors, or your logo. However, be careful not to overload your pins with your logo, and avoid putting it in the corner of your pins, because it will be covered by the Pinterest search icon.
4. When sharing pins with images, keep them on a vertical aspect ratio. The ideal ratio for Pinterest posts is 2:3, or 600 x 900. Anything longer may be cut off by the app, or lose engagement because a user won’t want to click on it to expand the full image.
4. Know the Secrets to Getting Found on Pinterest
Just like other search engines, Pinterest has an algorithm that decides what pins a user sees in their home feed. And, like those other search engines, there are best practices that you can follow for Pinterest SEO.
Pinterest has been doing its best to help content creators get in front of their followers, like with the development of the following tab. But even without the help of Pinterest, there are some other ways that you can be found by new users on the platform. However, let’s discuss the following tab before we get into these practices.
The Following Tab
In previous years, Pinterest has used a Pinner’s feed to recommend users, boards, and posts of users that they don’t already follow. While this can be convenient for being seen by new users, it can fill your followers’ feed with content that’s not yours.
The following tab is a dedicated space to distribute your content to your followers. This tab clears out a Pinner’s feed of everything except those specific users and boards that they follow and allows them to see updates to your profile in virtually real-time. Here’s what my personal following tab looks like:
As you can see, I can easily switch between the following tab and the usual home feed. This will make it a lot easier for businesses to get their content in front of their dedicated followers, but there are some things to remember:
The first five pins you post in a day are the first that will be seen by your users, so really think about what those pins are
If your follower’s other content creators post new pins around the same time, your follower will get a mix of the posts, ordered by the most recent
The more that your followers engage with this pin, the more likely it is that Pinterest will recommend it to other users
The following tab has built-in ways for users to discover new profiles that they don’t already follow, but it doesn’t fill their feed like the usual home feed
How else can I be seen on Pinterest?
1. Don’t focus on the typical
One of the mistakes that a lot of brands make on their social media platforms is creating content that’s expected of their type of brand or product. Finding ways to be more creative and show up in unexpected (but relevant) places can help you grow your reach on your pins, profile, social media platforms, or website. Especially because 98% of Pinners have reported trying something new that they found through Pinterest.
If all you’re targeting is the ordinary, safe bet, you may be missing out on new customers and engagement. If you need some help, Pinterest has interest targeting tools that you can use to bring your pins into new sites of relevance that you may not have expected.
2. Sell more than your product
Another problem with some social media marketing is the way that the product is being sold to the consumer. Learning to tell a story rather than sell a product can help you seem more authentic and capture a Pinner’s attention. Research conducted by Pinterest has shown that the best-performing pins lead a user from the pin to other content with a new idea or story they can engage with.
One way that you can create this storytelling element is by using an idea-first pin. Idea-first pins stage your product or the benefits of your product as the hero of your story. This type of pin should show the Pinner your idea clearly, right away. It should also have some call to action in the description of the pin, i.e., visit, shop, try. The pin description and image begins the story, drawing in engagement, and the landing page of your pin completes the story.
3. Make your website Pinterest-friendly
Your website doesn’t always have to be the ending point for your Pinterest engagement- it can be the other way around too. While you want to make sure that you’re the first to share your fresh content on Pinterest, there are significant benefits to pins coming from other users.
To make your website Pinterest-friendly, add your Pinterest follow button on your website so that a user can follow you without having to leave your website. Also make sure to include a Pin button on posts or images, so that users can save and share them straight from the site.
For example, this food blogger has not one, but two Pinterest-sharing options for one of her recipes:
4. Encourage engagement from your users
If you want your posts to be seen by more users, encourage your followers to engage with your posts. If you’re pinning a recipe, leave a note in the description for your followers to post pictures and comments with their own attempts. You can also encourage your followers to leave comments on your pins or follow you from other social media platforms and your website.
Pins with comments and pictures are often more likely to be recommended to new users by Pinterest. They also show your followers that your content is credible and interesting.
5. Use Pinterest promoted video
While Pinterest promoted video isn’t new, there are new changes coming that can step up your video game. 67% of pinners say that video has inspired them to try something new, which is much higher than the 32% that say the same of videos on other platforms. With the new developments in promoted video, businesses will be able to use max-width for their videos. Max width fills the screen width of the user interface, which means your video will be shown larger than other pins around it.
Whether it’s a storytelling video or an instructional how-to, videos have already been helpful for brand favorability and building credibility.
Just like traditional SEO, there are some myths about building Pinterest traffic and clicks that have developed. Many of them may sound like they’ll help with pin engagement or creating customers, but they aren’t really worth your time and energy. So let’s bust those myths, shall we?
There’s a right time to pin
Nope! While your followers may be more active on the platform during certain times of the day, your time of posting doesn’t really matter in the long run. Instead, you should think about the first five pins you post in a day. These are the posts that will be shown first in the following tab, meaning those are the pins that appear to your followers.
You should pin as much as possible
Well, sort of. While pinning a lot can help you grow your audience, the number of pins isn’t everything. For one, if you’re posting 100 pins a day, a user may get tired of your pins all over their feed and unfollow you. Additionally, Pinterest is more likely to share your pins to new users if they have lots of engagement, even if you have a small amount of followers (lots of followers doesn’t mean quality engagement!).
What you should do is stay consistent with your posting. Instead of a blast of 20 posts on Monday, post four times a day, five days a week.
Backlinks are important
False. If your pin leads to a post on your website with lots of links, sorry, but those links aren’t measured on Pinterest. Pinterest will only track the landing page of your pin, so don’t spend time worrying about your non-landing pages.
You should edit underperforming posts
Not worth it. If an old pin on your profile isn’t getting the traction you want, don’t stress. Pins will sometimes sit with little to no traffic for a month or more, and then explode in popularity. You also don’t need to spend time editing the keywords or hashtags of your posts, because Pinterest really wants to see fresh content. So if you want your post to get more engagement, share it in a new pin with up to date descriptions and hashtags instead.
You shouldn’t post content from other people
Not true. When starting your Pinterest profile, yes, you should start with your own content. And yes, sharing your own is good to attract engagement and new customers, but ordinary people probably aren’t going to be adding ten blogs a day to their site. So, of course, you’re bound to have some gaps in your own content sharing, and it’s totally okay to fill those with content from other creators.
Your boards have to be product specific
Not entirely. Your boards should definitely fit in with each other, but that doesn’t mean you have to be rigid in what you post. If you’re posting about recipes and food, think of some other boards that could fit in with that theme. For example, adding a travel board will give you some variety in your profile, but you can still post about things that are relevant to your brand, like the best places to eat in Italy. Take a look at our collection of boards:
While we have boards specific to marketing, we’ve also got boards that are related to other aspects of our business and our values.
Food Brand Specific Strategies
While you as a food brand should be following all of these other practices, there are some strategies that can help food pinners specifically.
Since 3.4 billion food and recipe pins have been saved by 46 million people, it seems clear that Pinners like food (I mean, who can blame them?). 79% of these pinners say that Pinterest has influenced the food that they purchase, so connecting to them is important for creating new customers.
Here are some ways that you can develop an even more specific strategy for your food brand on Pinterest:
Show your food in context
As we discussed previously, whether it’s a recipe or product, show your food within the context of a real-life situation. Food in real-life situation images have up to 8% higher click-rates, and 13% higher save rates
Including step by step instructions for your recipes in your description can get you as much as a 90% higher save rate.
Explain the benefits or characteristics of your product
Add text to the pin image that explains your products more specifically. These types of food images have seen 23% higher click rates and 31% higher save rates.
Make sure your pins represent your brand
This helps associate your pin with loyalty and credibility, which can build trust between you and your customers. If your brand isn’t clear, adding your logo can get you up to a 28% higher save rate.
It’s Not an Exact Science
Remember, just like with any other social media platform or search engine, best practices aren’t an exact science. Following these tips can help your pins get more engagement and create new customers for your food brand, but it takes more than some good images or a hashtag to create a real following.
Keep your posting consistent, create fresh content regularly, and think about the Pinners. Additionally, you can watch this video for more tips on optimizing your Pinterest Business profile.
Still have questions? Contact us, and we can help you get started on your social media marketing. Good luck!