Pinterest: Developing your business strategy

It’s time for a refresher and some additional insights on how to use Pinterest as part of your social media marketing mix. Since I wrote a blog post titled “Pinterest — visual asset accelerator” a couple of years ago, Pinterest has continued to grow and offer marketing benefits for sharing visual media assets with a wide array of Pinterest users. On its fourth birthday this March, Pinterest claimed to have 70 million active users, with a growing number of them located overseas.

For Pinterest, the name of the game has become how to monetize its millions of users without turning them off to the scrapbooking site’s appeal. According to The Wall Street Journal, four years after its launch, Pinterest is readying the introduction of Promoted Pins. The article notes that Pinterest has been experimenting with a beta group of advertisers — including home décor site Wayfair, hotel chain Four Seasons, and Unilever brands’ TRESemmé and Hellmann’s — with all of them reporting positive results. This has led Pinterest to announce the launch of Promoted Pins later this spring. The ads will be sold on either a CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) or CPC (cost-per-click) basis, depending on advertisers’ objectives, and will reportedly be initially limited to large-scale consumer advertisers. 

The Promoted Pin ads will show up in relevant search results and in higher positions on trending topics on Pinterest and clearly be labeled with a Promoted Pin tag. 

As I was writing this blog post, Pinterest was accepting inquiries about Promoted Pins but did not have any specific information about the program on its Pinterest for Business resource pages.

Your account

Outside of Promoted Pins, Pinterest offers a number of benefits for marketers. To capitalize on these benefits, your organization needs to take action. Among the first steps: Be sure that your Pinterest account is a business account. If you have a Pinterest account that isn’t a business account, you can convert it here. If your business doesn’t have a Pinterest account, it can create one here. Once you have a business account, be sure to verify your site with Pinterest.

Your visual assets

To maximize the value of your Pinterest account, make sure that your website is effectively using visual images as part of your content strategy and that you have facilitated the sharing of these visual assets through a Pin It social sharing plug-in.

Some examples of visual content assets you could promote through Pinterest are the following:

  • The cover of a whitepaper or “how-to” guide that your company has created
  • Photos of products or services you are promoting
  • An infographic detailing steps in a process or background information on some facet of your industry, company, product, or service
  • Photos of socially responsible activities your organization supports or is involved with
  • An educational video or replay of a webinar that your company has hosted
  • Behind-the-scenes photos or videos
  • Historical photos of products, plants, storefronts, etc.
  • Pictures of employees and executives
  • Photos of customer events
  • Digital images of print ads, shareable video ads, logos

The opportunities are endless and will vary based on the nature of your business and your marketing objectives. The key is to think visual! 



For ecommerce site product pins, Pinterest has introduced Rich Product Pins that not only display products but also include inventory availability, price changes, and logos all within the pin. Creating these Rich Product Pins requires technical skills to code the data that Pinterest needs. Pinterest uses its rich pin validator service to help validate that your Rich Product Pins have the correct data. In the clock image below from Wayfair, you can see that when the screenshot was taken, the product was in stock and there had been no price changes. 

The Rich Pin enhancement was followed up with Price Drop Alerts, where individuals are notified via email when prices drop for priced products that they pinned on their boards. The assumption is that pinning a product is an indicator of an interest in that product, hence justifying the notification. 

Your story told through Pinterest boards

Don’t just show images; tell a story with them. The best Pinterest boards develop a strategy for how your visual assets will be leveraged into a story on your Pinterest boards. While product and service boards can be creatively displayed on your account (for a retailer, these might include boards showcasing merchandise by colors, season, vendor, consumer type, designer, top sellers, holiday occasion, etc.), your brand stories should include an array of boards like the one below that support your positioning:

Behind the scenes at your company or industry GE

Your Pinterest metrics

The value of a pinned image is in the re-pinning or sharing of that image over a wide range of accounts and the potential click-throughs on the image to the source Web page or image. Analysis of more than 1.1 billion impressions on Pinterest shows that the rate is averaging about 1.1%, according to a recent MarketingLand article. Stay tuned for a future blog post in which I’ll explore additional metrics that should be part of the tracking and analytics of your Pinterest strategy.

To learn more about Pinterest, follow my board with infographics, whitepapers, ebooks, and tips on this valuable social network. For additional insights on other social and digital marketing strategies and tactics, add me to your circles at my Google+ page, follow me on Twitter @theWebChef, or follow my boards on Pinterest.

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