Pinterest Extends Your Blog Reach

How to become a Pinterest power user.

By Kevin RR Williams

Page views from Pinterest currently average about 15 percent of the monthly traffic to this site. Could you benefit from a similar increase in site visitors? Follow the tips I learned firsthand to turn Pinterest into a site-traffic generator.

Though I recognize the relationship between blog traffic and site ranking, it's not my goal to join every social network. Most are time consuming and unrewarding. My tendency towards efficiency makes me extremely selective about which social media platforms are beneficial. Pinterest makes the short list.

Pinterest is a social media website based on the idea of themed "boards" onto which a user "pins" images in any of several user-named public or private categories. Twitter supports images but is primarily for text messages up to 140 characters. Few people feel like scrolling through hundreds of tweets. They are more likely to skim through the most current page and see if there are any tweets that mention them by name. Despite having numerous Twitter Lists, I recently created two more — a public one called Foodies and a private short list with Important People. Such lists help to cut through all the Twitter noise and view the tweets you most care about.

The photocentric approach is apparently more appealing to at least 12 million Pinterest members — and pictures transcend language. People actually scroll through hundreds of photos, looking for something that "jumps out" at them. Like Google, people can search to their heart's content. It's possible to search pinners or pins. Both Twitter and Pinterest have hashtags in common.

A key advantage to Pinterest membership is that you can benefit from increased exposure. Because of Pinterest popularity, don't be surprised to see your pins or even entire boards show up in the top spot of major search results. Search the title of this blog, "A Bit More Healthy" on Google or Bing as an example. Such increased exposure can improve your overall Google ranking and site visits.

Anyone having a Pin It bookmarklet in their browser can pin a page with a photo or compatible video from your website to a Pinterest board. But what if you have content that you do not wish to be shared? Simply add a meta data string within the HTML head area of each page on which you wish to suppress pinning. (Example on homepage.)

<meta name="pinterest" content="nopin" />

Who's on Pinterest?

Transforming Pinterest into a viable marketing platform takes a bit of planning. First you should understand the audience. Though the site was conceived by three guys, 98 percent of the 2 million Pinterest Facebook fans are female — talk about girl power. [1] According to a recent Pew study, 19 percent of female internet users are on Pinterest, compared to five percent of male Web users. [2] They pin recipes, diet inspiration, wedding plans, home decorating ideas, fine art, and 57 percent of the images having interaction involve food. Infographics also appear to lend themselves well to the Pinterest audience. If you wish to feature power tools with an anticipation of many followers, you might want to soften up your product a bit like Gabriele did with the inset photo.

Transforming Pinterest into a viable marketing platform takes a bit of planning. First you should understand the audience. Though the site was conceived by three guys, 98 percent of the 2 million Pinterest Facebook fans are female — talk about girl power. [1] According to a recent Pew study, 19 percent of female internet users are on Pinterest, compared to five percent of male Web users. [2] They pin recipes, diet inspiration, wedding plans, home decorating ideas, fine art, and 57 percent of the images having interaction involve food. Infographics also appear to lend themselves well to the Pinterest audience. If you wish to feature power tools with an anticipation of many followers, you might want to soften up your product a bit like Gabriele did with the inset photo.

Getting the Most From Pinterest

Gender disparity aside, Pinterest users appear far more active — relatively speaking — than members of many other social media platforms. Here's an interesting tidbit: According to a BizRate Insights study, 70 percent of Pinterest users say they use the site to get shopping inspiration, and 43 percent say they use it to associate retail brands. [3] When a dollar sign is included within a Pin description, a price label automatically overlays the Pinterest image. So if you have a product, include a price.

Pinners are quick to follow boards with attractive photos and repin images for their followers to see. So here are some tips for those who could benefit from exposure to 9.6 million women and 2.4 million men.

  1. Create a variety of boards with different themes
  2. Repin others but also include original pins from visited websites
  3. Include uniquely great images on your blog
  4. Add a Pin It button on appropriate pages
  5. Include price within description
  6. Start or become a member of a group board

By all means, begin a board that features things that interest you personally, but don't forget to have boards with a broader appeal. Avoid the temptation to pin everything on your site as soon as you join and then vanish into obscurity, hoping to reap a constant stream of site visitors. Having a hundred pins within the past hour will not give you the appearance of stability.

A trickle is better than a flood. Though you're more likely to pin many when first starting out, a few pins each morning keeps your content within easy view of followers. Unless you're a celebrity (literally or figuratively), it would be a mistake to assume that pinning everything you photograph or blog about will appease a mass number of followers. Show some humility and sprinkle your personal posts or marketing messages among great content by others. In other words, repin.

Did you know ClinicalPosters currently curates about a dozen Pinterest boards. Highlighting a few: there is one with the same title of this blog. Another includes pins related to health awareness months. There is a board with medical office decorating ideas. Most popular is one that features fine art. The second most popular includes exotic vegetarian recipes. You are welcome to follow any or all of these boards.

You'd be surprised to learn how many people visit a pinner's site out of curiosity. Even though less than 5 percent of the ClinicalPosters pins link to pages on this site, 250 Pinterest followers average 10 page views each on this site per month — that's over 2500 steadily growing monthly visits.

Include a mixture of original pins with repins. Each time you repin someone else, they are more apt to visit your boards and reciprocate. Pinterest also includes keyword driven search and discovery features. So include captions that accurately describe the pinned image. Credit the author; specify the colors or even price of a product.

Making it Easy for Others to Pin

A Pin It button is different from a 'follow me on Pinterest' button that merely links to your boards. Adding a Pin It button on site pages is bit challenging if you don't have a Word Press blog for which there are simple plugins. Pinterest has yet to introduce official code for a dynamic-page-generating Pin It button.

Two universal options are for users to add a Pin It bookmark to their browser or content providers can visit Pinterest Goodies to generate code at for individual pages. Something less tedious than page-by-page generation may require custom javascript programming and integration into PHP or Perl code. Store.ClinicalPosters.com includes custom code to produce appropriate social media buttons.

I found unoptimized but effective code by Ari Krzyzek and Jeremy Mansfield. It activates a dynamic Pin It button compatible with IE9+, Chrome, FireFox and Safari browsers. The pin count is not supported. It's a viable compliment to the browser bookmarklet used by most Pinterest members. I recommend hosting standard or custom Pin It button artwork on your own site since Pinterest is subject to change the file name or path.

<a href="javascript:void((function()%7Bvar%20e=document.createElement('script');e.setAttribute('type','text/javascript');e.setAttribute('charset','UTF-8');e.setAttribute('src','http://assets.pinterest.com/js/pinmarklet.js? r='+Math.random()*99999999);document.body.appendChild(e)%7D)());" title="Add to Pinterest" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://assets.pinterest.com/images/PinExt.png" width="43" height="21" /></a>

A more comprehensive solution (with a centralized script for cached, hence faster, page loading and customizable text options) has since been provided by the same author. [4] In the references section of this page are links to this update and sites that offer code for specific implementations like Pin It hover buttons for more tech-savvy coders. [5,6] If you're not a programmer don't despair. Pinterest will eventually release a dynamic Pin It button. According to their FAQ page it has is a high priority. You can still begin gaining followers by starting some boards and adding quality content that others would like to repin. Aim to progressively acquire 100 to 300 pins per board in order to attract attention of new followers. This allows them to determine whether you consistently pin quality content.

Gain Thousands of Instant Pinterest Followers

Some Pinterest boards are curated by dozens, hundreds or even thousands of pinners. Such Pinterest Group Boards are invitation-only — you either invite others or someone else notices your great content and invites you to join. Each pinner doubles as a follower so joining one of these groups gains you instant access to many followers. Simply repin something from one of your regular boards to the group board for increased exposure. Some of the members of the group board may begin following one or more of your personal boards. If the group becomes unwieldily or off target you can remove yourself. Even your short time as a pinner will net rewards.

Note that if you host a group board for your company, you lose control of content to a large extent; there may be duplicate pins, links to competitors or sometimes messages more strongly worded than you might like. If this is a concern, you may prefer to join a group rather than moderate one. It's less complicated to leave.

Follow Pin Etiquette

Review the Pinterest etiquette page. Pinning works of art does not obliterate copyright issues. The pinned image does not become yours to use wherever and however you like so accurate attribution is proper. When pinning photography or artwork, the author should if at all possible be credited with a link to the originator's website. Photos of food should in most cases link to the recipe, restaurant or chef's website. When I see an attractive uncredited pin I may "Like" it rather than repin it. You can view all your "likes from your personal Pinterest page. After having an opportunity to research it on Google, I may repin a "Like" page later with a properly credited description.

How can you find the author? With a desktop computer, visit google.com and click "images." Then click the camera icon within the search field to open another field. Browse your computer directory or drag the image file directly into this field to begin the search. Most times the artist home page is listed along with other instances.

How to Reorder Pinterest Images

With a major update in private beta, another popular feature request soon to become reality is the ability to reorder pins. You might wish to space out pins to your own website among other repins. I find that image order contributes to visitors' inclination to follow. It is good to intersperse color between black-and-white photos or break up a series of images with similar dimensions. Long vertical images have more impact than horizontal since the latter are scaled to the same narrow column width.

A workaround until the official solution is available is to move a Pin to the top of the board's stack. Simply press the Edit button for an image and change the board. Then press Edit again and change it back. By doing this for several pins, you can get the layout you desire.

How to Crop Images

Since vertical images have more visual impact, you may wish to crop images differently than they appear on the source website. Pinterest allows you to upload images from your computer or select an image on a webpage. A mobile app is also available. When you upload an image from your computer, no link is included.

On March 5, 2013, Pinterest began previewing their next update. With a bit more sluggish performance, the immediately obvious distinction is larger images. There are also cosmetic differences in buttons. More subtle changes include different behaviors when clicking on elements of a pin.

Sometimes you want to link to a web page but the images there are not optimally cropped. If you have an image editor, you may first download the image to your computer; crop as desired using your image editor. Then upload the modified image. Right afterwards, click "Edit" and paste in the appropriate URL. Some pinners use this technique to create very long columns of photos that are difficult to miss by others. Be advised that some photographers may be a bit uncomfortable with recropping or photo editing. Use such applications judiciously without altering the integrity of the original image. Always attribute proper credit.

Start or Join a Pinterest Mailing List

Keeping up with the content on every social media site could literally occupy every waking moment. Some people may love what you have on Pinterest but fail to visit regularly to see your latest pins. Pinterest encourages frequent visits by emailing members whenever something on one of their boards is repinned. But followers are not alerted when you add content to a board. By means of an RSS feed, it's possible to send periodic updates to your mailing list subscribers. In fact, ClinicalPosters has begun a monthly email that features recent pins on the Mouth Watering Veggies board. This supplements the primary A Bit More Healthy newsletter. Subscribe to get it all.

     

What do you think? Could you benefit from a sharp increase in page views on your website as I have seen over the past couple of months? If so, you have just been empowered with tips to make you a bit more successful. Within a few short months, you too may see many positive results.

Tags: demographical data, great tips and suggestions, SEO, social media tools

References
  1. Where The Ladies At? Pinterest. 2 Million Daily Facebook Users, 97% of Fans Are Women. techcrunch.com ^
  2. Social Network Demographics: Pew Study Shows Who Uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Others. marketingland.com ^
  3. Study: 70 Percent of Pinterest Users Are There For Shopping Inspiration. marketingland.com ^
  4. Add a Custom Pinterest Button to your Website (Part 2) brandaiddesignco.com ^
  5. How to add Pinterest Button to Website? techably.com ^
  6. Pinterest Pin It button on image hover. bloggersentral.com ^
  7. Article images credited on Pinterest. pinterest.com