Facebook, Twitter, Instagram \u2013 they\u2019re the go-to social media platforms for entrepreneurs looking to promote their brand. But, are you missing a trick by ignoring the often overlooked Pinterest? Definitely \u2013 and we\u2019re here to equip you with everything you need to know about it \u2013\u00a0 including why you should use Pinterest for your business, Pinterest marketing tips and ideas, and much more in order to create and execute a killer Pinterest marketing and ads strategy.\r\nPinterest Basics\r\nBorn back in 2010, Pinterest is a free social media platform that centers around:\r\n\r\n \tImages\r\n \tSharing\r\n \tPurchasing\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nIt has over 300 million monthly global users and boasts over 200 billion Pins. And it gets better. Research by ecommerce platform Shopify found that it was the #2 source of all referral traffic to their site, that 93 percent of users were using it to plan their purchases, and that the average resulting order value was $50 (higher than any other social media source).\r\n\r\nImpressive stats for a corkboard.\r\n\r\nPut simply, it is a huge marketing opportunity for ecommerce stores.\r\nWhat Is Pinterest?\r\nPinterest is that corkboard you used to own with that tropical beach postcard, that untested magazine recipe, and that photo of Leonardo Dicaprio (or was that just us?) pinned to it, but gone digital.\r\n\r\nCorkboard, moodboard, inspiration board\u2026 it is the digital planning platform (available on both mobile and desktop) for people to discover, share, and organize creative ideas from around the World Wide Web.\r\nWhy Use Pinterest?\r\nAside from the impressive facts already mentioned, there are tons of great reasons that your ecommerce business should be on Pinterest, use Pinterest ads, and have a Pinterest marketing strategy.\r\n\r\nHere are our top reasons why you should be using Pinterest:\r\n\r\n \tTo stay competitive: Two-thirds of all Pins are from a business website. Big brands use it, small brands use it, your competitors use it and, most importantly, your potential customers use it.\r\n \tTo become more discoverable: Pins make you and your products discoverable and since every Pin links back directly to the original source, the potential for driving traffic is huge.\r\n \tEngage with your customers: It provides you with an opportunity to engage with potential and current customers and to gain invaluable insights into their lives, likes, and loves.\r\n \tFor the love of SEO: SEO is essential for driving you up Google\u2019s rankings and making you discoverable; Pinterest is a powerful tool with regards to this..\r\n \tHelps build your brand image: It builds and reinforces your brand image. From regularly appearing on your followers\u2019 homepages, to creating Boards that reflect your brand identity; it is the perfect platform to tell customers who you are and what you\u2019re about, visually.\r\n \tPinterest content lasts longer: Facebook posts and Twitter tweets come and go; Pins stick by you for life. They\u2019re searched for, found, and repinned over time. Pinterest content doesn\u2019t fade like it does on other social media platforms. Simply put, the content lasts longer.\r\n \tFor inspiration: One main reason to use Pinterest is for inspiration. People want to find and share ideas, which shows that there's good potential to find a new brand, concept, or product, through Pinterest.\r\n \tIt's free: For the moment, Pinterest is free to use. Like many other social channels, Pinterest is also exploring options for paid and promoted Pins, but for now, the platform is free to use, which means that your brand can enjoy significant organic reach through Pinterest advertising.\r\n\r\nHow To Use Pinterest\r\nPinterest is fairly simple to use. On Pinterest users can:\u00a0\r\n\r\nCreate Boards\r\n\r\nBoards are used to organize and categorize Pins (don\u2019t worry, we\u2019ll get to these next). People use Boards to collect new bathroom ideas, vacation locations, to help plan their weddings, and to curate their ultimate wish-lists. Boards enable users to gather their Pins\u00a0 logically, and beautifully, all in one place. Plus, Boards can be divided up into sections, to make them even more organized.\r\n\r\nSave Pins\r\n\r\nPins are ideas, images, products, recipes...anything that users find on the web and save onto their aesthetically pleasing categorized Boards. Users can create their own Pins, or repin other\u2019s Pins, and put them on a Board of their choosing.\r\n\r\nFollow\r\n\r\nMuch like other social media platforms, users can follow people and businesses to see what they pin, what Boards they\u2019re creating and what they\u2019re liking so that they can like it too. Copycats.\r\n\r\nDiscover\r\n\r\nThe homepage and feed is the place to discover what followers are doing and what the platform thinks users will be interested in, based on their own Pins and Boards. Here, users can also search for keywords to seek inspiration, re-pin and discover users that they might want to follow, i.e. you.\r\n\r\nClick\r\n\r\nUsers click on Pins to be transported directly to the blogs, product pages, and websites behind the Pin itself, i.e., a Pin is a direct link to your website.\r\nHow to Get Started With Pinterest\r\nSo, we\u2019ve sold you on the basics and you\u2019re keen to create a Pinterest marketing strategy and learn more about Pinterest ads, but first, you need to pin the tail on the donkey and get started by making\u00a0 a profile.\r\nStep 1: Signing Up\r\nSetting up a new profile is super simple. Head here and enter your email address, password, business name, website, and business category.\u00a0\u00a0\r\n\r\nChanging an existing account into a business account is also super simple. Click the Convert your existing account button and then complete the steps as above.\r\n\r\n\r\nStep 2: Creating a Profile\r\nNext up, you need to create your profile, which you can find under settings. Upload a profile photo (165 x 165), fill in the about you section, add your business location, turn on your notifications, and connect to your other social networks.\r\nStep 3: Claim Your Website\r\nThis is a very important step. Confirming your website will allow you to see what other users are pinning from your website, it adds your logo to your Pins (maintaining brand identity), and it boosts the ranking of your Pins in the search results.\u00a0\u00a0\r\n\r\nShopify users \u2013 this is really simple to do. Select the Add HTML tag option, copy the full meta tag, head over to your Shopify admin > online store > themes, then, on the appropriate theme click actions > edit code, click on the layout section, click theme.liquid and then paste the full meta tag onto a blank line directly under the opening <head> tag. Then save. (More detailed instructions here).\r\nStep 4: Create Boards\r\nYou\u2019re now ready to start creating Boards and begin pinning: giving users the opportunity to find you, and giving them a reason to follow you. But hold that thought. Like any social media platform, this requires a well-thought-out, strategic approach in order to successfully increase reach, followers and, ultimately, sales; it requires a Pinterest marketing strategy.\r\nCreating a Pinterest Marketing Strategy\r\nWhat\u2019s the plan, Stan? Consider the following when creating your Pinterest marketing strategy:\r\n\r\nSMART Goals\r\n\r\nSpecific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-limited. What do you want to achieve and when do you want to achieve it by? Do you want to increase your followers to 100 by the end of the quarter; or do you want a Pinterest ad to generate at least five bathroom tiles sales by the end of the month? Being specific gives you a goal to aim for. It focuses your Pinterest marketing tools, and it helps you to monitor (and learn from) your successes.\r\n\r\nRegularity\r\n\r\nPin too little and people will lose interest in you; pin too much and you risk being unfollowed. Pinterest suggests 10-12 Pins per day in order to appear more often in your followers\u2019 feeds and search results. Of course, this also depends upon the time of day you are pinning. Peak time is between 8-11pm on weekends. These are great numbers and times to start with and to later tweak according to the analytical insights gathered from the Pinterest marketing tools you\u2019ve used (discussed later).\r\n\r\nPlanning\r\n\r\nRandom Boards full of an assortment of different things might be great for the uninitiated user \u2013 but you\u2019re better than that. Your Boards and Pins need to be relevant and inspiring. Take a look at Sew Over It\u2019s account to see how they have arranged their Boards, not just by product line, but by collections of Pins that will attract and motivate their customers:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAlso, keep ahead of key seasonal dates and celebrations by starting to pin occasion-related Pins at least 45 days in advance and then continue pinning right up until the event.\r\n\r\nPromotion\r\n\r\nPromotion doesn\u2019t stop at Pinterest. Cross-promote your Pins on other social media channels in order to drive traffic and increase followers.\r\n\r\nTactics\r\n\r\nNow that you\u2019ve grasped the basics, set up your account, and have a goal-driven Pinterest marketing strategy, we\u2019ve got ten top Pinterest marketing tips to get you on your way.\r\n10 Pinterest Marketing Tips\r\n1. Get the Pin Button\r\nThe pin/save button appears directly on your website\u2019s product pages, making it easy for browsers to Pin (and share) a link to their own Boards. Five times\u00a0 more easy to be precise. With the addition of a pin button, you immediately make it effortless for potential customers to engage with you. In doing so, you gain knowledge of who has pinned content from your website; providing you with an opportunity to directly engage with your potential customers..\r\n\r\nYou can see on the website of Shopify user, Halo Coffee, that the save button appears as an icon, directly below their products.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nClicking on the icon lets users quickly save the product directly to an existing Board, or to add it to a new one, straight from Halo\u2019s website.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nDetails of how to add this button to your website using HTML can be found here, or alternatively, most Shopify themes include this integration by default, making the button both prominent and easy to use.\r\n2. Add the Follow Button\r\nThe follow button informs people that you\u2019re a Pinner and diverts them directly to your profile, encouraging them to follow you. Include this button everywhere you connect with people: your website, newsletters, emails, blogs, or pop-ups \u2013 just like Modern Citizen have:\r\n\r\n\r\n3. Tell Stories\r\nStorytelling captures the attention, makes an emotional connection and changes how people see you. Humans buy products based on emotion > storytelling is a great way to trigger emotions > stories have pictures > Pinterest was made for storytelling. It\u2019s the modern fairytale.\r\n\r\nCreate Boards that tell a story or create a lifestyle \u2013 don\u2019t just create product Boards. 72 percent of users say the platform helps them to find ideas for everyday life: Use\u00a0 insights (below) to understand what stories appeal to your target audience and utilize this knowledge to fuel your Board ideas, giving your followers the inspiration they\u2019re after. Stay true to your brand, get creative, and have fun.\r\n\r\nTake for example Baking Time Club\u2019s Pinterest account. They created an autumnal story including images of pumpkin spice lattes, cozy fires, and heartily baked goods on their Bonfire Night Treats Board.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEven though they are a baking subscription supplier, they didn\u2019t just post Pins of their own products. They pinned images that would create feelings of warmth and indulgence, whilst also providing recipes and thus, indirectly encouraging the purchase of baking supplies. This approach is much more subtle, but much more effective.\r\n4. Imagery\r\nVisuals are what makes Pinterest, what defines your brand, and what tells your story. Your images need to compel people to share them to their own beautifully curated Boards.\r\n\r\nHigh quality images are a must, as is size. Vertical Pins (2:30 \u2013 600px x 900px) work well because they take up more space, making them stand out. Contrast these with square images (600px x 600px) to make your content eye-catching on the discovery feed. Be sure that your images (and website for that matter) are mobile-friendly: Over 85 percent of Pinterest searches take place via the mobile app.\r\n\r\nPinterest has provided us with some useful insights about what works with regards to product photography:\r\n\r\n \tLifestyle shots have an 18 percent higher engagement rate\r\n \tFashion works best when someone is wearing it\r\n \tHome decor photos stand out when the focus is on the product (rather than the person)\r\n \tHair and beauty photos pop when photographed against a plain background\r\n \tDIY products work well when photographed in context\r\n \tImages on their own work as well as images with a text overlay (Canva is great for this)\r\n\r\nSee how FlyAway BlueJay\u2019s clean and clear background reflects the all-natural selling point of their beauty products:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nUsers are also encouraged to link multiple Pins to the same destination, so consider taking different photos of the same item to appeal to different consumers and thus, increasing your reach.\u00a0\u00a0\r\n5. Descriptions\r\nWhile it is all about the images, words also play an important part; especially with regards to SEO. Keywords are important for the Pinterest search function (making it easy for people to find you) and also, for Google rankings. Google sees your Board titles, your image descriptions, how frequently you post, and your popularity \u2013 and takes note.\r\n\r\nPlan well-thought-out keywords (preferably long-tail)\u00a0 for each of your Pins (use the search bar and analytics to help) and be sure to:\r\n\r\n \tInclude the keywords in your Board/Pin titles, descriptions and images\r\n \tInclude the price in your descriptions (to be included in the gifts section)\r\n \tHave a clear and strong call to action for each Pin\r\n \tInclude the URL\r\n \tKeep descriptions to a manageable length, whilst also setting the scene and engaging your readers\r\n \tAdd a \u201c#\u201d so as to appear in the \u201c#feed\u201d\r\n\r\nThis will help Google, whilst also improving your SEO within the app itself.\r\n6. Engage With Your Users\r\nIf you want people to engage with you, you need to engage with them, and Pinterest offers a lot of opportunities to do so:\r\n\r\n \tRespond to messages promptly\r\n \tThank people for pinning your content\r\n \tFollow your followers and like their Pins\r\n \tFollow your competitors (to see what they\u2019re up to)\r\n\r\nNot only does this foster positive interactions with your customers, it provides you with valuable insights into what else they like, what they\u2019re interested in, and what they\u2019re using your products for. You can use this information to further fuel your Pinterest marketing strategy.\r\n\r\nAnother great way to engage Pinterest users is to invite followers to collaborate on one of your Boards, allowing them to pin content. When in your Board, click on the plus icon to invite people to contribute:\r\n\r\n\r\n7. Pinterest Ads\r\nPinterest ads give your Pins more exposure \u2013 60 percent of users have discovered new brands or products via Pinterest ads, and one out of two have made a purchase after seeing a Promoted Pin.\r\n\r\nYou can create targeted Pinterest ads that build awareness, drive engagement, and increase your sales all through the Pinterest Ads Manager. Simply pick your Pin, create a goal, choose your target audience, set your bid, pay for results, track what\u2019s working, and alter your tactics accordingly. There are currently five different Pinterest Ads Manager campaigns available:\r\n\r\n \tTraffic \u2013 sends people from your Pinterest ads to your website (pay per click)\r\n \tAwareness \u2013 displays your Pinterest ads to new people (pay per 1,000 impressions)\r\n \tVideo awareness \u2013 as above, but using video Pins\r\n \tEngagement \u2013 encourages users to engage with your Pinterest ads (pay per click, save or closeup)\r\n \tApp \u2013 increases the number of app installs (pay per click or install)\r\n\r\n8. Rich Pins\r\nRich Pins are like normal Pins but with extra detail, such as real-time pricing, stock availability, and your logo. They make it easier for users to find you, recognize your brand, and be more compelled to click.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nSince implementing Rich Pins and Buyable Pins, Modern Citizen saw their orders from Pinterest increase by 73 percent.\r\n\r\nThey require some website prep, but luckily, with Shopify, your store is already set up to use them, you just need to enable them on Pinterest. Copy and paste a specific product URL into Pinterest\u2019s Rich Pin validator, type \u201c.oembed\u201d at the end of the URL, click validate, and then click apply. Your product Pins will then become Rich Pins within 24 hours.\r\n9. Buyable Pins\r\nBuyable Pins are just that: Pinterest Pins that allow users to click on the blue buy button and buy the product without leaving the app or website. All products pinned from your Shopify store automatically become Buyable Pins. A seamless buying experience makes buying from you effortless..\r\n\r\nHandmade and eco-friendly candle seller, FlyAway BlueJay, saw Buyable Pins drive 20 percent of their overall sales and 28 percent of their overall traffic during the holiday period.\r\n10. Content Curation\r\nDon\u2019t. Pin. Everything. Pinterest is a collaborative platform; curate content from other brands and people to build your Boards. It adds variety (it\u2019s not all about you), enables you to pin more regularly, and makes users look upon you more favorably.\r\n\r\nSouthern California company Shophearts is an online clothing boutique but that doesn\u2019t stop them creating Boards and Pins about hairstyles and wanderlust. These reinforce their free-spirited lifestyle brand and encourages followers to engage with them on a different level to just purchasing.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nOne great way to include additional content and users is to connect with bloggers and Pinfluencers. Asking them to create guest Boards for you provides you with a variety of content, as well as having someone else distribute your content for you. This will help to grow your network and reach a wider audience.\r\nShopify Apps for Pinterest Marketing\u00a0\r\nFor those of you selling on Shopify, there are some great apps to help you with your Pinterest quest. Some of our favorites are:\r\n\r\nSocial Media Stream \u2013 Allows you to insert a live Pinterest stream feed onto your Shopify website so people can see what you\u2019ve been pinning.\r\n\r\nOutfy Social Media Promotion \u2013 Automated Pinterest posting, linking product collections with your Pinterest Boards.\r\n\r\nSocial Autopilot \u2013 Automatically Pins new products to your Boards.\r\nPinterest Analytics and Pinterest Ads Manager\r\nAll of this is great, but it means nothing unless you track it. Analyzing your Pinterest marketing and Pinterest ads performance is important:\u00a0\u00a0\r\n\r\nPinterest analytics and Pinterest Ad Manager provides you with a whole host of information, from Pins with the highest clicks, impressions, and repins; to your highest search ranking Pins, and what people are pinning about you. It also provides demographic information and more. A full user guide can be found here.\r\n\r\nThis information should be used to understand what you\u2019re doing right and to test what you could be doing better. Ultimately, you need to be sure that what you\u2019re doing on Pinterest and what you\u2019re spending on Pinterest ads, is working for you and your brand. If it\u2019s not, use the tips above to alter what you\u2019re doing and gain better results.\r\nHas The Pin-ny Dropped?\r\nAs a dropshipper and ecommerce entrepreneur, you\u2019re responsible for marketing. Like all social media platforms, Pinterest and Pinterest ads require understanding, effort, and time on your behalf, but with 93 percent of Pinners using Pinterest to plan purchases \u2013 if the penny hasn\u2019t dropped yet, we\u2019ll make it simple:\r\n\r\nGet on Pinterest!\r\nWant to Learn More?\r\n\r\n \tHow to Use Instagram Stories Like a Pro to Build Your Audience\r\n \tFacebook Stories: The Complete Guide for Businesses\r\n \tSnapchat Emojis: What Do the Emojis on Snapchat Mean?\r\n \tHow to Use Twitter Analytics to Improve Your Engagement\r\n\r\nLet us know your thoughts about Pinterest marketing in the comments below!