Think your business is ready for a Pinterest profile? It's a unique social network with a niche audience that you might not even be reaching if you market only on Twitter and Facebook. But if you don't know how to use Pinterest, it can be a waste of your time and effort. So how do you use Pinterest to your advantage?
Business News Daily asked social media experts what mistakes businesses and brands should avoid on Pinterest. Whether you're just considering joining or you've had a Pinterest account for years, make sure you avoid these 10 major marketing mistakes.
1. Don't skip the description.
"The biggest mistake businesses make on Pinterest is not writing good descriptions for their pins. Many don't even write descriptions. Pinterest is a visual search engine. That makes keywords very important. Keywords are what drive the traffic to your pins and boards. You should write substantial descriptions that include relevant keywords and links." – Rasheen Carbin, co-founder and chief marketing officer, nspHire
2. Don't use the wrong keywords.
"The biggest mistake brands and businesses can make on Pinterest is not utilizing the Guided Search tool to their advantage. When creating descriptions for pins, it's important to understand exactly what the user might be searching [for] when looking for a specific pin. The Guided Search tool allows brands to discover what specific terms a user will most likely search for based on a keyword. Creatively using the key terms that come up on the Guided Search in your pin description will most likely make your pin more discoverable when users are searching for specific pins." – Paige Velasquez, social media strategist and Pinterest specialist, Shelton Interactive
3. Don't forget to engage.
"Just dropping pins is OK, but engaging with other, like-minded pinners is very important. The more you like, pin and share, the more visibility you are going to get to your own boards and pins." – Maciej Fita, managing director, Brandignity
4. Don't ignore tracking methods.
"Not setting up proper methods to measure results. Pinterest is a great source for driving traffic back to your site, and unless you track it properly, you won't be able to measure the value of your investment." – Leyla Arsan, social media and digital marketing consultant and owner, Lotus Marketing Services [Social Media for Startups: Entrepreneurs Share 5 Key Lessons ]
5. Don't promote too much of your own content.
"One of the most common mistakes companies make on Pinterest is not pinning from a diverse range of sources. Although the ultimate goal is to develop new business, strictly pinning your own original content can be a huge turnoff to potential consumers. Instead, think of your Pinterest profile as a holistic representation of your brand. Share interesting, relevant articles, blog posts and images from external media in order to establish your company as an expert on your topic. Show your followers what inspires you. For every one original pin, you should have at least two pins from outside sources." – Logan Peters, public relations and marketing specialist
6. Don't leave up outdated content.
"Pins on Pinterest have the longest shelf life of any of the social media sites. They will drive traffic to a business website often for years, because of this reincarnation feature. This is a great feature, but it can be frustrating to a user if they see an old pin and want to purchase the product, only to find that it is no longer available or in stock. Therefore, brands should clean up old pins for products that are no longer available, or be prepared to offer a similar product to those that click through on it." – Bob Bentz, president, ATS Mobile
7. Don't forget to add calls to action.
"Don't forget to include calls to action in your pins, which are extremely important in getting visitors to engage with your website, products or services. If all you do is post an image, without any messaging about what you want your followers to do in response, then you're unlikely to generate much actual value from Pinterest. Tell them to visit the website for more information, order now, re-pin, etc." – Tim Lavelle, director of SEO and social media, U.S. Interactive Media
8. Don't post boring photos.
"Similar to Instagram, Pinterest is a primarily visual platform. To grow a following and capture pinners' attention, photos curated by brands must stand out and be visually appealing. Simply posting a photo of a product with a blank background, like you might see on a typical e-commerce site, rarely motivates users to re-pin the photo, let alone follow a link to purchase." – Lexie Olson, director of marketing and PR, Above SIXTY Beverly Hills
9. Don't link to your site improperly.
"The point of Pinterest, truly, is to lead traffic to your website, so if you're missing the right link on your pin, you're in trouble. If you are posting a recipe and only leading the pinner to your home page, and not the recipe page itself, leading them to investigate and find it, you've already lost them. Furthermore, the page you lead them to must give options for more pages. With recipes, there should be a sidebar of similar recipes on the Web page you lead them to, because you want to keep them on your page." – Amanda Shepherd, social media manager, Ellipses
10. Don't forget to create a strategy.
"Lack of strategy and measurement for platform [is a big mistake]. Many brands jump onto Pinterest with the '[if you] build it, they will come' mentality, which ultimately fails, and they lose interest in the platform. It takes at least 60 days of consistent posting and commenting to build a small community who you can sell your products to." – S. Lynn Cooper, chief social officer, Socially Ahead