On Monday, I introduced you to Pinterest with my beginners guide. Now, I want to tell you how you can use Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog.
Pinterest was small start-up business 18 months ago, yet by the end of last year it had grown seven-fold in the space of a few months. It’s unusual because 70% of its users are women- almost unheard of in the Web Services market. [source] Because it of its visual base, it is a nearly-perfect tool for bloggers, making it likely to grow further and faster, so get on board now.
In simple terms, it can drive traffic to your blog without you doing anything: person A pins something from your blog. Person B sees a pin and thinks ‘I’d like a better look at that’, so they click on the individual pin, and get redirected to your original post.
Being active on Pinterest can therefore drive traffic even more. Pinners see your name, click your details, see what you pin and then follow the link to your blog. As with other social media, if they like what they see, they will follow you. If they like what you pin they will repin it, so your pins, and ultimately your blog, can reach a wider audience.
You can see if people are pinning things from your site by replacing “yoursitename.com” in this link with your URL: http://pinterest.com/source/yoursitename.com/
Pinterest’s etiquette page suggests you ‘avoid self-promotion’ and let your work speak for itself. I agree that it can be very off-putting if someone has only pinned their pictures to their boards. That said, I think that there are ways to promote yourself in less ‘obvious’ ways.
- Set up an “I did it too” board which shows the pin that originally inspired something you subsequently made/did/cooked.
- Have a board for the buttons you use on your blog: this gives followers an idea of your style and branding.
- Watermark your pictures, so that if they do pop up on Pinterest, they are recognisable as yours.
- Join a collaborative board, such as Photographs (A Collaborative Board) or Cool Family Stuff and pin your stuff there (or get the others to do it for you!)
Be Pinterest savvy:
- Add a pin it button to your site, and make it easy for people to repin.
- Encourage people to repin if they like your idea, or to take a look at your Pinterest page
- Tell people when you find an idea on Pinterest, either in a post or by linking your pins to Facebook and Twitter
- Get an app for your phone so that you can pin when out and about.
- Watermark your pictures: it helps promote your brand and also protects them. The downside of Pinterest is that it may be easier to steal your posts and your images, so it’s better to brand them. A Mummy Too has a very helpful post on checking who has used your images.
At the moment there is very little brand presence on Pinterest, perhaps because it has grown so quickly that brands don’t yet know how to use this area of social media to their advantage. One of the key things for business is being able to get a product to the customer: given that Pinterest is effectively a word-of-mouth (if only online) recommendation tool, this is something that could work to their advantage. I see so many people repinning the Duchess of Cambridge’s outfits, for example, or having a board called ‘wish list’ of things they want to own, read, make or visit. Brands have an opportunity to work pinning to their advantage by tapping into this growing phenomenon.
One particular brand who are using Pinterest are Whole Foods, an American food company. They have boards featuring recipes using their ingredients, a board called @we’re used to recycling’ which, whilst posting pins which demonstrate recycling or upcycling, draws attention to the company ethos. They likewise then pin charities, foundations and companies who help them source the ingredients which are so important to their brand.
Another indicator that Pinterest is a growing force in online media this year is the recent article published by respected social media news blog Mashable, on how journalists should use Pinterest. It suggested thatPinterest will have a role to play in the future of journalism and, particularly magazines which rely more heavily on images. Given that Pinterest has live feed, the media gain a sense of what is trending in real time, and can act accordingly. They may see an amazing cake or craft and get in touch with the originator, which leads to new ideas coming from as-yet-unknown sources. Who’s to say that undiscovered talent won’t be yours? .
Where it comes into play for bloggers is with subject matter: as a blogger, you can follow people within your niche, and get from their pins ideas of what would make a popular post, thus driving your traffic.
PR and Media also have another avenue open to them when they are looking for people to promote their product: either they approach you because they found you through a pin, or they approach you because you have a presence on Pinterest that would help promote their product.