If you’re a business owner or a blogger who uses Pinterest to drive traffic to your website, you may be interested in creating a Pinterest business account.
There are several benefits to creating a business account. First, you’ll be able to access Pinterest analytics. Also, with a Pinterest business account you can use your business name vs. first and last names. And if you’re interested, you’ll be able to create Rich Pins, and get access to upcoming business features such as advertising.
If you already have a personal account that you have been using for a while and have built up a following, don’t despair – there’s no need to start over and create a new account (unless you want to– some people prefer to use two separate accounts). You can convert your existing personal Pinterest account to a business account in just a few clicks. And in case you’re curious (I was), Pinterest business accounts don’t look any different than personal accounts.
To convert your account, login to your current Pinterest account. At the top left corner of the page, click on the red button with the three little lines (that’s the best way I can describe it) and select Businesses.
On the new screen, you’ll see a prompt right below the red Join as a Business button that says “Already have an account? Convert now“. Click that!
Pinterest will ask you to choose a business category and request a few other pieces of info. Then… shazam! Your account is now a business account!
[NOTE: I’ve heard from a reader who was unable to convert her page until her page description was less than 160 characters. If you are having trouble converting your page, you may want to try shortening the description.]
Your Pinterest page will look the same as before but now you’ll have fancy analytics to obsess over and all of the other benefits I described above.
In order to see your analytics, there is one more step to take, if you haven’t done this already with your personal account.
Verify your website on Pinterest. Pinterest provides instructions on how to do this. However I found these instructions a bit easier to understand when the metatag method didn’t work for me: verify your website on Pinterest. Note: I followed those instructions but it was even easier for me than she describes – I was able to upload the HTML file to my public_html folder via my Hostgator cpanel instead of having to use an FTP client like FileZilla.
There you go!
Well, almost. You’ll need to wait a bit for Pinterest to start calculating your analytics, and the stats only begin from the day you verify your website. While you wait, you can watch this Pinterest Web Analytics Walkthrough video to learn how to use your analytics features.
Running Pinterest contests are getting more complicated every day and with Pinterest’s new contest guidelines you’ll find you can no longer run a simple giveaway using pins as entries. Now Pinterest contests have to be about quality over quantity, and they need to showcase Pinterest and its love of pretty pictures.
I just ran my first Pinterest-based giveaway for my blog and it was definitely more tricky than running a normal sweepstakes. Here are some tips on running a Pinterest contest that complies with their rules and that won’t make you crazy.
1. Run Your Contest Exclusively On Pinterest
A lot of giveaways have multiple ways to earn an entry, but it’s clear that Pinterest wants no part of this. Don’t have entries through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Either run your contest entirely on Pinterest or exclude Pinterest from your giveaway altogether.
2. Asking For a Follow Is Still Okay
Following you on Pinterest shouldn’t be an entry in and of itself, but you should make it a prerequisite for entry. One great perk of hosting a giveaway on your blog or website is getting more traffic, readers and followers, so if you want to use it to increase your Pinterest followers, go for it.
3. Have a Simple Way to Organize Entries
As I mentioned, hashtags promised to be an easy way to find entries but it didn’t work the way it should. Having contestants create a board is probably your easiest bet for both your readers to put their entry together and for you to keep track of and judge the entries. It also works best with Pinterest’s goal: to have users pin great content.
You have two easy choices: 1) Using your website or blog as “base”, either have entrants leave a link to their board in the blog comments or use a tool like Rafflecopter to collect this information; or 2) Require the repin of your giveaway pin. While Pinterest doesn’t want people to be limited in what they can pin, having a single pin you can use to track down other pins is great. Plus it will help raise the visibility of your giveaway. Just beware: Pinterest does not want people pinning giveaway rules. So make the pin you’re basing entries around something pin-worthy by itself.
4. Choose Winners Based on Merit
No more random winners. Say goodbye to random.org, now you need to reward someone for their awesome board. So make sure you set clear guidelines. What should they pin? What should their board look like? How will you judge the winner? Leave room for individuality and awesome pinning skills. Don’t require them to repin a bunch of stuff off of your own board or a brand’s board.
If you’re a blogger who knows your readers well, I’d recommend you bring in a 3rd party to judge. If you’re working with a brand, bring the brand in to pick a winner. This was definitely the hardest part of running my giveaway. I opted to narrow the entries down to 3 and then send those off to the brand. But just picking 3 was very tough.
5. Make Sure the Prize is Worth It
Pinterest giveaways take work, you shouldn’t expect as many entries as you would in a giveaway you run through comments or Facebook. So make sure your prize is something people will be willing to work for.
My giveaway was for a pair of glasses from Fetch Eyewear, something a lot of people need and something worth a decent amount of money. Going with Pinterest was a way to highlight the unique and classic style of the brand, a big part of why I reviewed them. And if you’re talking style, Pinterest is a great fit.
A good fit is really important. Pinterest is a great place for food, clothes, home decor and so much more. Giving away a great kitchen appliance? Have people pin the dishes they want to make. Giving away a high-value gift card? Have people pin what they want to buy. If you’re giving away a set of toothbrushes… maybe go another route.
6. Run Your Giveaway For Over a Week
Because people have to work harder to enter, they won’t all enter right away. Post a lot of reminders on Twitter and Facebook, remind people in subsequent posts, and make sure they have enough time to get it done. It’s not always easy to walk the line between being annoying and encouraging, so make sure you don’t push too hard or too easy.
7. Model Your Own Board
Your rules need to be clear and easy to understand. The easiest way to do that: make a board of your own to show your readers what you’re looking for. Since you’ll be judging on merit, having your readers create a board will make your job easier. And don’t be too strict when it comes to what they have to call it or what has to be on it. Give them a lot of room to play and use your own board to show them just how inventive they can be.
My contest had readers pin 2 pairs of glasses and then show me their style through the board they built. Here’s what I told them: “I built myself a nice little Fetch Style Pinterest Board and that’s going to be your mission, should you choose to accept it. Finding the right frames means finding something that fits your style, or maybe the style you want to have. Here’s a peek at my Fetch Style board. I pinned the Alex and the Sadie and then went crazy in all directions. Not just clothes and shoes and jewelry, but where I want to go in my frames and the puppy I’d like to take on a walk in them.” By going a little crazy myself, I was telling my readers that there were no real limits, just to do some awesome pinning and to give themselves a basic theme through the glasses. Great exposure for the brand, easy for the contestants.
And make sure whenever you run a giveaway you have a clear set of official rules.
Finally, keep in mind the Pinterest guidelines give you an overview of what they want. The biggest thing to remember is to make your giveaway use Pinterest as it’s intended: to be a showcase for images. If your giveaway keeps that in mind, you’ll definitely be Pinterest-friendly.
My friend Isra Hashmi is the blogger behind The Frugalette, a popular frugal living blog. And as most successful bloggers are, she is also a savvy content marketer. Her top traffic driving channel is Pinterest, where she has over 4,500 followers. She pins strategically, specifically for her brand and with the intention to drive blog traffic. And it works.
I asked Isra to share some of her favorite Pinterest strategies with my readers. Whether you’re a blogger or a business owner, Isra has some great tips to turn your Pinterest account into a traffic driving machine.
The Social Craft: What inspired you to change your Pinterest strategy? Talk about what happened, numbers-wise, after you did so.
Isra: For the first year I was on Pinterest, I looked at it as a great way to curate all those fabulous posts I find online and keep them in one place to check out later. I had boards dedicated to each child and their interests and places I would love to travel and things I would like to buy. It was all about me and my family. I didn’t quite understand how it would bring my blog traffic and it painfully took a year to gain 1,500 followers that were probably not even sure why they were following me either. Two years after Pinterest came out I still kept hearing how much traffic it was bringing bloggers and decided to invest more time in it and figuring it out. In one month of applying all the strategies I learned, I doubled my followers.
How is Pinterest driving your blog traffic now? You mentioned that Facebook was formerly your top traffic source.
Pinterest used to hover around in my top 10 referral sources. Since I switched my strategy it’s by far my #1 source and Facebook, formerly #1, is now #3. Also, the amazing thing about Pinterest is that if you hit just one great pin from your site, it could potentially keep generating traffic for months to come because it keeps getting repinned.
Explain the importance of pinning for your brand vs. for yourself and what steps you took to do so.
The first thing I did was to take myself out of it personally. I re-named my kids’ boards to appeal to others — instead of using my child’s name, I named a board “For Preschoolers” and started pinning things that would be great in that age range, regardless of gender. I deleted boards that followers of my blog would probably not be interested in. For example, a board dedicated to celebrity gossip, while fun to look at, was not something the readers of The Frugalette would be coming to me for.
What is your board positioning strategy? How did you choose which boards to put in the top row?
I focused on what my boards look like on the Pinterest app. The Pinterest app for iPhone is downloaded 200k times a day! Seeing that so many people are using the app, I saw that when you look at a profile only the 2 left-most boards are shown at the very top, so those are critical. I wanted to make sure one of them was a board filled with my blog posts.
How do you choose a cover image for your boards?
I try my best to pick a cover with words. While pics are great, reading the board cover is still the easiest way to figure out what other pins you’ll find inside.
How do you name your boards? Describe what happened when you renamed one of your boards.
A lot of tips I read said to name Pinterest boards according to searchability, but I don’t think that’s true. While I like it to be clear what the board is, I also want it to feel unique and catchy. I changed one of my boards from “Blogging Tips” to “How to Rock Your Blog”. I still pin exactly the same things I did before, but many more people regularly follow that board now simply because it sounds more exciting. Who doesn’t want to rock their blog? (Of course it helps to have a good blog to begin with, before you start giving out advice!)
How often do you pin, and how much? What advice do you have for someone who is pressed for time?
Set your timer for 15 minutes. That’s it. The key is consistency. You must pin at least one a day. Pinning too much will leave your followers frustrated. Not pinning at all, or enough interesting content will leave them bored and you won’t get new followers.
How do you find great content to pin? Do you pin content within pinterest or from the web, or a combo of both?
I work very hard to find original content from the web, that is the kind that does the best in terms of building a following. Re-pinning is great too, if it’s a really great pin, but my first choice is to pin organically from a site.
How do you balance sharing your own content with sharing others? What is your ratio?
At least 6 out of 10 pins are others’ content versus my own. Even with my own content, I am very selective to make sure it’s a good fit for Pinterest.
How do optimize your blog content for Pinterest?
If I know the post is good fit for Pinterest — a recipe, a how-to post, etc. — I make sure to add a great Pinterest-friendly image to the post with a text overlay on it. To do that, I use my own photo and add text with PicMonkey. I’ve gone back to older posts and added an image with text and pinned it and they’ve done really well. Again, scrolling through a page with pictures is nice, but when you see big bold text it’s much easier to pin and know what you are pinning instead of looking at that tiny caption under the image.
What is most interesting to me is to see how people described the pins and read any comments that were posted. I’m even curious to see how they categorized them. From a brand perspective, this is yet another way to monitor what is being said about you, get feedback and even join the conversation. It’s also a nice way to find people and boards to follow (who will likely follow you back).
Note: You can also get to this page by clicking on the link at the bottom of any pin that links to your site. But typing in the URL is probably quicker. You can even bookmark the URL so you can check in periodically to see what parts of your site are “pin-worthy”.
[Update, April 2013:Pinterest business pages can now view this information through Pinterest Analytics by clicking Analytics > Most Recent. However, clicking “Most Recent” simply directs you to the URL described above. So the URL trick is a still a good one for those who have not changed their personal page to a business page OR (perhaps better yet) for those who want to peek at what is being pinned on their competitors sites.]