If you don’t have a Pinterest business account set up for your website you are missing out on free traffic.
If you have evergreen content in pretty much any niche, Pinterest could drive a huge amount of traffic to your site.
There are a few sides to Pinterest marketing that you need to learn about to generate traffic, including creating pinnable images, joining group boards and pinning strategically. But the very first step is to set up a Pinterest business account. This allows you to use the business account features of analytics, rich pins and promoted pins.
You do have the option of changing your personal account into a business account, but I prefer to open a new account as it is very unlikely that you will be pinning the same type of content to your business account that you were to your personal account.
If you want to drive free traffic to your site, it’s important that you set up an optimised business account to give yourself a strong foundation for Pinterest domination. There are six steps to setting up your Pinterest business account like a boss:
- Define your target audience and research keywords.
- Open a Pinterest business account.
- Optimise your Pinterest profile.
- Verify your website.
- Create boards that fit with your brand.
- Pin to your new boards.
This will take a while to do, but it’s well worth it! So grab your favourite beverage, and let’s get cracking!
1. Define your target audience and research keywords
When you have a Pinterest business account, Pinterest is no longer about pinning outfit inspiration and recipes. The whole purpose of your existence on Pinterest now is to reach your target audience.
Pinterest is known as a social network, but it is really much more like a visual search engine. So the keys to Pinterest are attention-grabbing visuals and effective use of keywords.
But you don’t have to blindly guess at your keywords. Pinterest has an incredibly useful tool built right into it. If you start typing in a search term, smart search suggestions appear underneath showing the most common searches, sorted in order of popularity.
Once you’ve searched, more options for refining keywords appear in boxes at the top of your search- this is an absolute goldmine for keyword research.
So brainstorm a few ideas about what your target audience is likely to be searching for, then find out what keywords they actually use. You should end up with a list of words and phrases that you can use in your profile.
The Jam Sandwiches Pinterest business account is targeting solopreneurs and bloggers who are interested in Pinterest marketing. [Is this you? Have I succeeded? Let me know in the comments!].
2. Open a Pinterest business account
Go to Pinterest. You’ll be met with a sign-up box. Enter your email address and a password and you’ll be taken to a screen where, at the bottom, you can click on the option to continue as a business.
Your Pinterest business account name can include your full name and your brand, but this is also where you want to be using 1 or 2 keywords or phases. If you include keywords in your business name, you can show up under ‘people’ in the smart search suggestions.
For my business name, I’ve used my name @ Jam Sandwiches then added my two main keywords ‘Pinterest Marketing | Blogging Tips.
Don’t worry too much about getting it perfect first time, it can always be changed later.
After entering your business name, select which category best describes your business. Add your website too.
Next, Pinterest gives you options of different topics to follow and asks you to pick three. I don’t think it really matters what you choose here, I think it is just so that Pinterest has some pins to show you when you finish setting up your account.
Pinterest then gives you the option of installing the Pinterest browser button. I would recommend doing this as it makes it easier for you to pin any awesome content that you find when you’re going about your business elsewhere on the web.
3. Optimise your Pinterest profile
Go to your account settings and scroll down to the profile section. Now you’re going to be strategically using the keywords you defined in #1.
First, upload a branded profile picture, ideally the same one that you use for all your social media accounts. This should be at a decent resolution (so it isn’t pixelated) and 150 x 150 px square. It will automatically be put into a circular frame so make sure this won’t be cutting off any important details.
You can also change your username to something more memorable, so your pinterest.com/username profile page matches your other social media handles.
In the ‘About you’ section you have 160 characters so make sure they count! This is another place to be adding your keywords, but don’t do ‘keyword stuffing’- make sure your bio is human readable too or your risk looking spammy.
You also have the option to connect to your other social networks so you have the option of sharing pins and boards to other social media.
4. Verify your website
Lots of people avoid doing as they worry it would be too technical.
But this is a vital step because it makes your Pinterest business account look more official, adds your logo to any pins from your site and allows you to apply for rich pins (which you will definitely want to do!- read more about them in my Ultimate Guide to Rich Pins). And it’s not as hard as it seems.
In your account settings, next to your website url, click the button that says ‘confirm website’. This generates some code for you to copy and paste into the <head> section of your website’s index.html file [don’t panic if you don’t know what that means!].
How to add the Pinterest verification code to your website
[These instructions are for self-hosted WordPress, if you are on a different platform it is probably a similar process but maybe have a quick google because I don’t know!]
Install the Yoast SEO plugin. Go to the features tab of the plugin’s dashboard and make sure the advanced settings page is enabled.
Next click social on the left hand side. In the Pinterest tab you have a box where you can enter the code that Pinterest gave you.
Go back to your Pinterest account settings where you had the pop-up with the code open and click ‘Finish.’ Pinterest should then fairly quickly verify your website. You’ll end up with a little tick next to your url with ‘site confirmed’ next to it.
BONUS: I can set up rich pins for you for free (’cause I’m nice like that). Check out this post for more information >> The Ultimate Guide to Rich Pins
5. Create boards that fit with your brand
Now, your profile is looking awesome, but a little empty. It’s time to start creating some boards! For those new to Pinterest, boards are like folders that allow you to organise your content.
When you first open your Pinterest business account, I would recommend creating at least 10 boards to fill up space in your profile.
The very first board should be exclusively content from your website. This is the first board you want people to see when they go onto your profile so they can see what you are all about. Mine is called ‘Jam Sandwiches | The Best Blog Posts from jamsarnies.com.’
On your profile, click onto the boards tab and then the big plus button that says ‘create board’.
You are then asked to give your board a name. Can you guess what I’m going to say next?
You guessed it, keywords!
This is another place to add all those lovely keywords your target audience is going to be searching for.
Some people think it will make their boards stand out if they call them cute names, but what are you more likely to search for ‘get in my belly!’ or ‘easy recipes’?
As well as the name, you are also given the option to keep the boards secret meaning that they will be hidden from your profile and no one else will see them. This is useful in two instances:
- When you first create a board you should keep it secret until it has at least 10-20 pins. A half empty board will not look good in your profile.
- Personal boards that don’t fit with your brand. My target audience is looking for blogging, social media and business tips, they are not necessarily going to be interested in crochet patterns and vegan recipes- so these are private boards on my profile.
Once you click ‘create’ you are taken to your new board. Next, click the pencil icon in the top corner which gives you the option to edit your board.
There you can change the name, add a description of up to 500 characters (do I need to say it again? Keywords!) and choose a category for your new board (which you should always do as it helps Pinterest know who to show your board to). You also have the option to invite people to join your new board and make it into a group board. This isn’t something you will need to do at the moment, but it is an important feature of Pinterest to be aware of.
Click save and you are taken back to your board.
You have the option to add board sections. This is a new feature for 2017 and allows you to create sub-boards within your main board.
This is a great feature for established accounts with large boards as it makes it much easier to find pins within the boards.
6. Pin to your new boards
Now the fun starts, it’s time to start pinning to your new boards!
Work your way through each of your boards and find good quality content to pin to them.
If you have your own content, you should absolutely be pinning that. But you also need to pin other people’s so you don’t look like a spammer.
I’ve read different things as to what sort of ratio you should have your pins/other people’s pins. I think part of it depends on how much of your own content you have. You don’t want to just keep pinning the same three blog posts over and over again. If your website is as new as your Pinterest business account, then you will mainly be pinning other people’s content. But if you’ve been blogging for 7 years, you’re probably going to have a fair bit of your own content.
What makes good quality pins? And how do you find them?
Good quality pins are:
- Attractive, vertical pins that fit with your brand.
- Pins that lead to high quality articles.
- Relevant and useful to your target audience.
You can find pins for your new boards by:
- Using the smart search function on Pinterest for your keywords.
- Following other people who pin good quality pins and re-pinning their content.
- Searching for content off Pinterest and using your Pinterest browser button to pin it to your boards.
You should use a variety of these techniques to curate the best possible content to pin to your boards.
Oh, and make sure that anything you pin has a keyword optimised description- you can edit it if you need to.
Always check pins before re-pinning them to your own boards
When you search for your keywords on Pinterest, you can click ‘save’ and re-pin it to one of your Pinterest business account boards. However, it’s really important that you click through to the website (where it says ‘visit’) for every pin. This is for two reasons.
The first is to make sure the article the pin is linked to is good quality content. You should only be pinning the highest quality content in order to establish yourself as a pinner worth following.
The second is to make sure it actually links to the article it says it does. Sometimes you will find it’s a broken link or leads to the homepage of the blog instead of the specific article.
There are also a lot of pins that have clearly been stolen by spammers. They have hijacked a popular pin and used it to generate clicks and traffic to their own site. Clearly you absolutely do not want to be helping these people get traffic. You can often tell it is a stolen pin when it says it was pinned from a different website to the one on the pin, like in the image below (I have reported this pin to Pinterest).
And that’s it!
Congratulations on your brand spanking new Pinterest business account. You now have an optimised profile and a collection of high quality curated content to get you started on your Pinterest journey.
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