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3 Biggest Mistakes Businesses Make on Pinterest

Pinterest is the fastest growing, stand-alone site in history with more traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. It is the second highest source of website referral traffic, trumped only by Facebook.

What are so many people doing on Pinterest? Shopping! Pinterest is more than just a place to share images and recipes: it’s a marketplace. Companies are catching on, using their images as click-throughs to their websites where customers can make purchases.

Pinterest caters to an audience that makes 85% of all consumer purchases,  spends an average of $199.16 per order (more than twice that of Facebook) and makes up 17.4% of all social media revenue for eCommerce sites.

Who are these people? Women. Eighty percent of Pinterest users are women, the vast majority of whom (80%) are between the ages of 25 and 54.  With a market this large and eager to shop, it’s no wonder why 60% of major brands are using it.

Discover how you, too, can use Pinterest by learning from some of the biggest mistakes businesses make when getting started.

Setting your business account up incorrectly
Get the most out of your Pinterest account by signing up as a business. If you have a personal account that you would like to convert into a business account, it’s as simple as point and click. Visit business.pinterest.com to get started.

What’s the difference between a business account and a personal account? A business account gives you access to Pinterest analytics, which you will need to determine what types of Pins your audience is interested in. Your account is also verified, letting everyone know you are a trusted, legitimate business.

When setting up your account, use your logo as your profile image so people can easily recognize your business. Pinterest suggests a size of 160 x 165 pixels. It’s also important to provide a description that includes your website (so people can find you), introduces your business and shares things that inspire you.

Why share your inspiration? Because 70% of viewers go to Pinterest to get inspired by new ideas. They also visit to track and collect things they like (67%) and keep up with trends (67%).

Pinning without a strategy
Now that you have your account ready to go, what pinboards should you create and how should you organize them? According to RJ Metrics, the top seven popular Pins are of food and drink, do-it-yourself crafts, home décor, holidays and events, hair and beauty, fashion, and design. Keep in mind that these are the most popular Pins overall. Your target market’s online behavior may vary in comparison because it’s more specific to your audience and industry.

Get started building your page by choosing board categories that make sense for your business. Then assign each a clear name using a maximum of twenty characters to ensure that it’s viewable. Include descriptions for each of your Pins, as these words are what show up in searches. It’s also important to include pricing information, because Pins with prices get 36% more likes than Pins without prices.

When choosing images, be sure to select interesting visuals with inspirational messages or engaging content. Your images should be high-quality, in focus and eye-catching.

Use Rich Pins that keep information nested within your Pin (see below for explanation). There are currently five types of Rich Pins: place, article, product, recipe and movie.

  • Place Pins: a map, address and phone number
  • Article Pins: the headline, author and story description
  • Product Pins: real-time pricing, quantity available, where to buy and notifications when prices drop
  • Recipe Pins: ingredients, cooking times and filters to narrow searches by dietary preference
  • Movie Pins: ratings, cast and reviews

For more on how to use Rich Pins, visit developers.pinterest.com.

Underestimating the importance of Pinterest’s tools
Pinterest offers its own free analytic tools. Use them to track everything from the number of Pins, Pinners and repins to the number of impressions, clicks and visitors your boards get. This information will help you better understand how much traffic your content is generating and any gaps you need to fill.

For example, are users pinning content directly from your website or are they referred by another site? Identifying where your traffic is coming from will help you understand where you need to concentrate your pinning efforts.

You can also use the Most Recent, Most Repinned and Most Clicked tabs to learn what content is most interesting to your viewers. If you’re finding that certain Pins or boards aren’t generating any traffic, you should consider changing them or even choosing a different theme or category.

And pay attention to the number of click-throughs your Pins are getting. For example, if your Pin is clicked on, leading back to your website, then people are looking to get more information and possibly make a purchase. If this isn’t happening, take another look at your image and assigned title and description. Make sure the imagery and content are clear and relevant to each other. You can try revising the information or swapping out the image to see if it performs better after the changes. You will quickly learn what your viewers are interested in, which will help you with future Pins.

People are on Pinterest because they’re shopping for ideas, products and services. Sixty-nine percent of visitors find what they’re looking to purchase on Pinterest, compared to only 40% on Facebook. So put in some time to learn what your viewers are interested in and Pin it. For more ideas on how to create engaging Pins, view Pinterest’s Best Practice Guide for Businesses.

Don’t make the same mistakes so many other businesses do. Implement these tips and use Pinterest’s free tools to start building boards and Pins that will attract the most avid shoppers: women. They want to spend their money. It’s up to you to give them a good reason to spend it with you.

For more ideas on how to market your business with social media, read our blog or visit our resources page.

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