With all the different platforms out there, how do you know which one is right for your business? Pinterest can be an effective tool for all businesses regardless of size and category. Like any platform, it’s all about targeting and strategy.

Choosing stunning photos and making sure people know you’re out there will go a long way to increasing your traffic and getting more clicks. And the best thing that Pinterest has over their counterparts, your pins live on forever. Talk about getting the most bang for your buck!

Pinterest embraces self-expression in a way that other platforms don’t, making it a goldmine for sharing inspiration and ideas, as well as really giving your brand an opportunity to show off its personality. Here it’s not about the numbers in terms of followers, it’s about sharing and engaging small groups, and that is music to any influencer marketer’s ears.

Rich: Alisa Meredith is the Content Marketing Manager at Tailwind, who has more than once been accused of having a Pinterest obsession. Blogger at alisameredith.com, speaker, and author, she is a big believer in the power of visual marketing and is on a mission to help businesses find their creative side in order to appeal to customers in a whole new way. Alisa, welcome to our podcast.

Alisa: Thank you Rich, I sound pretty awesome in my bio.

Rich: Isn’t that great? People should just walk around in front of us all the time reading our bios to strangers on the street.

Amber: We can get them printed on shirts that we just wear.

Alisa: Well it’s much better if you can get someone else to read it for you.

Rich: True.

Amber: We could read it as they were walking by.

Rich: I’m going to buy a shirt that just talks out loud at whatever I record, or I’ll have Amber record something into it. 

Let’s go to our first question. So Alisa, tell us how you found your way to Pinterest.

Alisa: I found my way to Pinterest when I came out and I thought, “What in the world is this?” I kind of started using it myself, instead of using browser bookmarks I would use Pinterest for things I wanted to read later.

But being a marketer I thought there has to be more to this but I’m not sure what it is. So I started doing a lot of research and I wrote a little e-book which is now horrifyingly empty – I don’t think you can buy it anymore – but that opened up a whole new world of possibilities to me about what you could do with it for business.

Amber: So from a wedding planning perspective in the wedding industry, we know a lot of our couples use Pinterest. A lot of people in the wedding market have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest because of that. If I’m a wedding professional and I’m getting started with Pinterest, what are some of the basics that I should cover?

Alisa: Well, your profile needs to be excellent for one thing. And especially if you’re local – which most people or a lot of people in the wedding business are – you need to make sure that you let people know where you are. I know that sounds really basic and you’re thinking you didn’t need me on this podcast to tell you that. But I will tell you that I’ve done some work with several people in the wedding industry and one of the photographers I worked with did not have anywhere the areas which she served. That was a real disservice to her. So you put in your profile where you serve, and then in all the boards you create make sure you mention that as well.

And even on the individual pins, if you’re pinning on your own work or work of other people around you, make sure you mention where this stuff happens because people are searching on Pinterest a lot. So you want to be found when people are doing a search for locations.

Rich: When you mention “you locations” – and obviously this is something that’s really important because a lot of wedding professionals are very locally focused – where exactly are we putting them? Are we putting them in our descriptions, where exactly am I saying, “Portland, Maine” or wherever I happen to be?

Alisa: Anywhere it makes sense. So in your profile you’re going to put it there. In your boards, wherever it makes sense to put it, you’re going to put it in your board descriptions, and also in your pin descriptions.

So if you’re a photographer and you’re taking photos out at Two Lights State Park, you’re going to put that in your description, “Wedding photo taken at Two Lights State Park, Cape Elizabeth, Maine”.

Rich: I was about to compliment you on knowing Two Lights.

Amber: Really impressed.

Rich: Yeah, that was super awesome.

Alisa: I don’t know if you knew this but I lived in Maine for almost 30 years.

Amber: What?!

Alisa: I did.

Amber: Oh, we love you even more now.

Alisa: Thank you.

Amber: So I kind of want to kind of hone in on this again, the descriptions, now those stay – that’s when you upload the photo – those stay with the photo no matter how many times they’re re-pinned, correct?

Alisa: No. People can change your descriptions which is why you also want to use rich pins, And if you’re using a WordPress blog it’s really easy to set those up with a Yoast SEO plugin or an all in one SEO, and then you just apply for them on Pinterest and they get approved and automatically you have that nice, bold heading above your description. And that part can’t be changed unless you change it. So I would highly recommend rich pins.

Rich: First of all I love that idea because it uses my name. I was confused, I was honestly confused. I was like, I don’t even have my own Pinterest, how do I have my own pins already?

So walk me through that again. And this sounds like it’s more for people who have a blog and they’re using Pinterest to kind of promote their blog, correct me if I’m wrong there. And I understand for those of you listening, Yoast is a plugin on WordPress that allows you to do a lot of cool things including search engine optimization as well as control how people share your content from your blog on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and obviously Pinterest. But what exactly am I doing there to give absolute control over the header of my image when I’m ready to start promoting it?

Alisa: You’re going to pull out all your SEO stuff on me. Yeah, it pulls out only the title of the blog post and that goes in your rich pin heading. And I think there are other options you can use to customize what will show up in the rich pins, but the easiest way is to use Yoast or an all in one SEO because you’re using it anyway.

So when you see your rich pins in the feed you’ll notice which ones are rich compared to plain because they’ll have that bold heading, and that’s the part that people can’t change as they’re re-pinning.

Rich: I just Googled “what does a rich pin look like”, and I’m totally seeing what you’re talking about.

Alisa: Oh good, good. It has nothing to do with Rich Brooks, but it’s still awesome.

Rich: It should.

Amber: Sadly, he really believes all things should. Ok, I’m finding them too, I just went on my daughter’s Pinterest page because she’s logged in and I’m seeing the difference between rich pin and a not rich pin.

Alisa: Yeah, they do stand out more and they actually perform better.

Rich: What does that mean to you, Alisa, that they “perform” better?

Alisa: That they get more clicks and they get more re-pins. I think it’s mostly because they stand out well. Sometimes when people re-pin your pin they’ll take out the description or leave a couple words and it doesn’t make any sense, so you always have that good description.

Amber: Ok, so they perform better.

Alisa: Yup. Now one thing to think about is that I worked with Jill Fratianne – who you interviewed for her Granite Ridge Estate – and I worked on her Pinterest account for a while and the thing with her is she is Norway, Maine, but most of her brides come from away. So if she just uses “Norway, Maine” in everything, she’s probably not going to be found by those people form New York, New Jersey, California.

So she needs to think about what locations they are searching for. It’s not going to be “Norway”, it’s probably going to be “Southern Maine”, or “Maine mountains”, or “rustic Maine”. So not just the city or town but think about how people describe the region that you serve.

Amber: Ok, so we should also put in the description – or in our blog post – because we want rich pins, then we should have really strong headers that will attract what we think the clients are going to be looking for. Which is kind of SEO 101, but that’s really interesting. 

Rich: And this is great because Amber is very good at Pinterest and despite the number of times I’ve interviewed you and other experts, it just doesn’t click with me, so I can ask all the dumb questions. How do people find me on Pinterest, or do I go out and find them?

Alisa: They’re going to find you because they’re searching for you. They’re searching for a wedding barn in Southern Maine, or they’re searching for floral arrangements in Eastern Maine, they’re going to find you.

You can also promote pins, which don’t even get me started there unless you really want to talk about it.

Rich: I think we’re going to get you started there.

Amber: We’re going there, we’re jumping in, hold on tight.

Rich: And I’m glad that you mentioned florists, but I’d love you to also give us some other ideas too, like a videographer. Let’s skip around to a couple other wedding professionals, and like how would a photographer or videographer or even a wedding dress shop, how might they use

Alisa: You can use promoted pins and target them to geographical locations. So if you serve people in your local area that’s great, target your local area. If you know that a lot of your customers are coming from New York, then target people in New York with your ads, but I wouldn’t do the same ad.

So someone that’s looking for a florist in Portland, Maine and who lives in Portland, Maine might use different terms and resonate with different images than somebody who’s coming from New York. So keep your targeting separate and just think about your customer that way

Amber: Ok, so now I want to know about promoting pins, I really do. Can you give us.. so is that “201”?  I want to stay on “101”, I know a little about Pinterest. Can anybody promote pins or do you have to have a strong strategy behind it like with Facebook ads? Like anybody can boost a post but it seems ridiculous to spend your money if you don’t have an actual thought process behind it and you’re just flushing your money down the toilet. So is it the same kind of thing like you should have  a strategy behind your promoted pin?

Alisa: You should, yeah. And you know, this kind of is “201”, bit on the other hand when you’re talking about local businesses on Pinterest, you can organically pin and have success as a local business. However, it’s going to take a lot of work because you’re going to be generating so much traffic from unqualified leads that I would really think seriously about how much time you want to put into it as a local business unless you’re also going to do some promoted pins, because that’s where you can target people according to area. So yes, you need a strategy.

Rich: I’m definitely seeing a lot of similarities between Pinterest and Facebook now where it used to be you were just putting stuff up and things worked then it gets more competitive. And now really it sounds like for many businesses if you’re going to succeed on Pinterest you’ve got to have an ad budget. Is that what you’re hearing or is that what you’re feeling, Alisa?

Alisa: I think there’s a lot still to be done with organic Pinterest, especially if you’re a national business. So with promoted pins, because you can target so closely, it depends. It depends on your niche and how competitive it is.

So I work with teacher sellers and they can gets clicks on their promoted pins for $.05 – $.15. You have to bid $.10 so nobody apparently is bidding and they get great results for cheap. But other industries like marketing I find a little bit more expensive but you still do not have to bid that they suggest.

I find when I go in and I start up a campaign and set the targeting, most people are bidding around $4.27 a click, and I think you’ve got to be kidding me. I never bid that much and you can still get clicks. So I mean obviously the issue is are you going to get the impressions that you want to get the clicks you want. But I start low and just kind of move up until it starts to catch.

But like with Facebook you can boost a post, you can do pretty much the same thing on Pinterest just right on the pin you can promote a post, but your options are very limited and it starts you out at I think $100/day by default which you can change.

Amber: So then for new pinners like me who are more mid-range to more advanced, a lot of people want to know the etiquette of pinning. So should I ever re-pin or pin a competitor’s stuff? Like what should be mine – as a business owner’s – pin policy?

Alisa: That’s a good question. I do.

Amber: You do pin other people’s stuff? I do, too. I have an entire board that I just call “Maine vendors I love”, and I just pin people onto that board and I respect. So venues or cake people that I like, so it’s a way of me showing pin love without necessarily…but I’m re-pinning.

Rich: But you’re not necessarily pinning – and I’m not judging you – this is a judge-free zone. But those aren’t competitors of yours, per se. LIke you’re not pinning wedding planners.

Amber: Well some of them are because they’ve had other wedding planners plan it.

Alisa: But if it’s vendors you work with and locations you work with, that’s promoting you as much as them really.

Amber: Right. So do you pin… you re-pin, I’m assuming? You don’t go to their website and make a pin from their website onto yours?

Alisa: Yeah, I’ll do both. And the reason why is because I don’t have the capacity to create as much content as Pinterest needs from me so I need to find it somewhere else. Actually in a local business you have an advantage in that you can go and find inspiration from providers all over the country who aren’t direct competitors of yours and you can create mood boards that show this is your style or this is what you can do. Not necessarily what you did do but the things that you could do.

Amber: Ok so it’s a content issue. So can you explain when you say that you can’t produce enough content that Pinterest needs. How much content does Pinterest need to make you a noticeable pinner?

Rich: Yeah, why is Pinterest so needy?

Alisa: It is very needy, it’s a hungry beast. Well they all are.

Rich: Feed me, Seymour! Feed me!

Alisa: That’s right. But the great thing about Pinterest is that they’re not stingy with the traffic so Facebook really wants you to stay on this platform – most of them do – Pinterest is not like that. If you can give them more of your own content, that’s wonderful. If you can only blog once a week but you can create 5 different interesting pins for that one blog post, pin 5 times. But if you can’t, pin other people’s stuff because they will come back and find your account as well.

Boards and pins and accounts can show up in Google searches as well. So keeping an active account is a way to tell Pinterest that yours is a good account to follow and your pins will show up more in the feed.

So while you can get away with taking a little break on Pinterest – because pins last forever – it is good to start at 10 -15 pins a day if you can.

Rich: That’s a lot of pins, which actually makes me wonder. Let’s talk about caterers for a second as an example. If I’m a caterer, what does my typical day of pinning look like? What’s my facetime with Pinterest on a typical day of marketing?

Alisa: I always schedule my pins because you could get lost if you head into Pinterest like that and pin everyday.  So in about an hour and a half or so you can do about 10 pins a day for the week.

Rich: So in an hour and a half you can do a week’s worth of pins, not that you have to spend an hour and a half each day?

Alisa: Right. You definitely need to schedule them. And then a couple times a week I’ll go on the platform and interact on the their because I like to see that too. So I’ll follow some accounts, re-pin some stuff.

Rich: Alright, so you get a baseline of stuff and you’re saying 10 pins a day is a good number. And then also you’re being there live which makes a lot of sense, and that’s similar to what we do with Twitter for our flyte new media account. We’ve got regular stuff being tweeted out there, but then sometimes I’ll go and engage with anybody who may have shared or liked our stuff, or just if there’s something that flyte new media might want to say that Rich Brooks wouldn’t.

Alisa: Yeah. And Pinterest is funny because it’s not really social, so while you can comment, 99% of the comments out there are spam. So that’s not really super useful on Pinterest. But definitely re-pinning, following people, and creating new boards as you have the need to do so is effective. Also joining group boards.

Amber: Oh, group boards. So I have another question before that. So scheduling pins, is that pretty self explanatory? Like if a person goes onto Pinterest they’re going to really quickly see what that means and be able to do that?

Alisa: On Pinterest you can’t schedule so you have to use a program like Tailwind.

Amber: Oh, well then that is a beautiful segue for you to explain and tell us all about Tailwind.

Alisa: Well it does scheduling and analytics for Pinterest and Instagram now.

Rich: Oh wow.

Alisa: I’ve been using it for many years and it’s just really easy. They have great ways to find content. Now we have “tribes” which is where you get into a sharing group with other bloggers that you like and you trust their content. It’s a great way to increase the reach of your own content as well.

Rich: When you’re saying “bloggers”, does it have to be bloggers or it could be “wedding professionals”, in this particular example?

Alisa: Absolutely. Anybody who’s putting out good content.

Rich: Is it for content creators and that’s why you used the word “blogger”, or could it also be for content curators, people who may just be sharing other people’s content?

Alisa: You certainly can curate content to a “tribe”, but the main benefit is to get people to share pins that will then drive traffic back to your website.

Rich: Cool, so if you could find other wedding professionals – perhaps that you don’t directly compete with – who are also blogging or creating videos or something like that, that might be something that you use Tailwind and create a “tribe”.

Alisa: Absolutely, yeah.

Amber: So interesting. So what are some of the biggest mistakes wedding professionals might make on Pinterest?

Alisa: The biggest one I see all the time is that people upload an image to Pinterest and they don’t link it to anything.

Amber: Yes. I’ve seen that too and it drives me crazy.

Alisa: It hurts my heart when I see that.

Rich: So this kind of brings up this interesting question because for the longest time I thought you could only pin things that were already online. I didn’t realize you could upload directly to Pinterest. And again, this is not my area of expertise. So if I have an image that has nothing to do with something that I’ve already posted, I can still share that on Pinterest but you’re saying best practices I should link it back to something probably on my own website?

Alisa: Yes. There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing “image uploaded by…”, and you have no idea how to get that floral arrangement you wanted. So other things I see are giving up too soon, that’s probably actually the biggest one. Because it takes a while.

Rich: It takes a while to what, build a following or start seeing some real traction?

Alisa: To start seeing some real traction. And by traction I mean in this case traffic. So follower count doesn’t matter that much on Pinterest anymore, because if you look at the home feed so much of it is picked for you and promoted and based on interests you follow rather than people you follow. So really what we’re talking about it getting traffic, and you’re not going to get that instant gratification like you do on Instagram with the likes and comments, so people feel like it’s not working and they give it 3 months and then give up.

But I like to use Pinterest and Instagram both because you get that instant gratification and then you get that long term gain from the Pinterest pins that they last forever. And I get traffic from pins that are many years old which would never happen on any other platform.

Amber: So I guess that’s my follow up question to you, so how do you see that it’s working? Like how do you follow those numbers, do you see it in your Google Analytics, how do you know it’s working?

Rich: She mentioned Tailwind has some analytics as well.

Alisa: Yeah they do. So you can see your clicked pins, you can also see your analytics right inside of Pinterest. But I prefer to use Google Analytics as far as just to see the overall traffic trends because you can compare it to everything else.

So yeah, you can see traffic coming from Pinterest, there are different dashboards you can find around the web that will show you which pins are generating the most traffic, which again is something you can do right inside Tailwind as well to see where the clicks are coming from.

Rich: Well I think the last few minutes have been especially fascinating because I’m always wondering how can I measure if things are working or not on Pinterest. And just to hear you say that follower count is less important because of the way that Pinterest is now organizing content for people on the front page of Pinterest is really interesting.

And as a small business owner I’m all about driving traffic to my website so I’m glad you brought it back to this and I love the fact to hear that you’ve got these pins that are continuing to perform year after year. So all this stuff is actually very interesting, not just for wedding professionals but really or anybody that needs to market stuff. 

This has been great and I feel like on some level we’ve only really scratched the surface. Alisa where can we find you online?

Alisa: You can find me blogging at Tailwindapp.com, and then I blog about promoted pins at alisameredith.com.

Rich: Very cool. Alisa, thank you very much for coming on and sharing your time with us.

Amber: Thank you so much. I’m writing everything down.

Alisa: Thank you. Good, I’m glad to help.


Show notes:

Alisa Meredith knows how to get the most out of Pinterest for your business. You can find her blogging about all things Pinterest as well as a blog dedicated to promoted pins, so check them out.

Amber Small makes a living by making wedding dreams come true. Make sure to reserve your spot now for the Streamline Marketing Workshop Conference that she – along with Rich Brooks – have created specifically for wedding professions, with the goal of helping them reach, connect & engage with their best customers.

Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, a web design & digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine. He knows a thing or two about helping businesses grow by reaching their ideal customers, and he puts on a yearly conference aimed at that as well. Head on over to Twitter to connect with him, and grab a copy of his brand new book geared towards helping businesses generate more leads.