Social media has evolved into more than just another way to get your brand’s key messages and sales to the public. Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter are all platforms for customer service, driving traffic to a brand’s page, customer engagement, and the list goes on. Many brands, however, fail to realize how these platforms are excellent sources for developing fresh content. Whether your brand is B2B, B2C, sexy, or decidedly unsexy, brands can find a place on Pinterest. If your company has a blog or a website, there is compelling evidence to support the need to be on this channel.
Whether a brand is using Pinterest to sell products or services, build brand awareness, or even gather a mailing list, the possibilities are endless. That’s why we decided to interview a company that successfully uses Pinterest to grow their business.
For the foodies out there, if you haven’t heard of FriendsEAT.com before, you are in for a treat! FriendsEAT is a food and dining social community that helps foodies find other foodies. We were lucky enough to interview Michelle Ignacio, the social media manager team leader at FriendsEAT.
Read on for some tactical tips and takeaways on building a successful strategy on Pinterest.
aimClear: Hi Michelle, thank you for taking the time to chat with us today! To kick things off, tell us, when did FriendsEAT launch its Pinterest page?
Michelle: We launched our Pinterest page in early 2012. We currently have 1,038 followers and 32 boards.
aimClear: That’s great! How many times per day/week do you post to Pinterest?
Michelle: As much as possible, we post on Pinterest multiple times every day. We want to make sure our Pinterest page is updated and active since there is a lot of shareable and pinnable content out there.
aimClear: Tell us, how have you incorporated Pinterest into your overall content strategy?
Michelle: In terms of content strategy, Pinterest has helped shape how we present our articles on our blog. We make sure our images are quality and easily shareable on all social media networks, particularly on Pinterest.
Pinterest also has allowed us to find out what’s already popular within our community and what content people have been pinning from our blog. This helps us come up with future content that our audience or followers would like to see or what they need.
aimClear: What is your content strategy?
Michelle: FriendsEAT is a community of food lovers, so we are focused on writing about food in general – recipes, cooking tips, notable personalities in the food and beverage industry, news and events that impact what we eat in general.
Because of our community and the platform we use, it is important for us to tell stories using various types of media, primarily images, and videos as well.
We listen and observe, mostly on social media, to find out what our community or fellow food lovers are talking about, what they want to know more about or the kinds of information they need. These greatly impact the themes or topics of our articles on FriendsEAT.
aimClear: Are there differences in traffic you see from Pinterest compared to other social sites? If so, what are you noticing?
Michelle: Based on what we’ve seen so far and from our own experiences, people seem to be more inclined to share your content on their Pinterest board because it is different from a timeline on Facebook, which most people consider as personal.
(FriendsEAT tends to see more shares from Pinterest than they do on Facebook. Possibly because some people tend to use Facebook as a personal conversational channel with their friends, and Pinterest is more for “pinning” and archiving something they want to buy, re-create, make, etc.).
Also, since images are the main focus on Pinterest, you can let the images on your articles or blog posts speak for you or tell your brand’s story, and catch the audience’s attention without even looking at the caption or description. People are more likely to click and read when the images they see intrigue or attract them, which leads us to how important it is to choose the correct images for pinning content to Pinterest. Also, while there are men on Pinterest, we’ve noticed that the traffic Pinterest sends our way tends to be composed more of women, which is in line with our traffic patterns.
aimClear: How are you tracking traffic from Pinterest & what are key analytics insights?
Michelle: Aside from finding out what content on our blog is popular on Pinterest by using the site’s search feature, we have our own plugins which track the traffic we get from various social media networks, including Pinterest. Google Analytics is a great little tool for tracking traffic sources.
Though we check all of the metrics on our Pinterest analytics insights, we focus our attention on the Impressions, Follower and Short-term Follower Engagement, Reach, Clicks and top pins.
aimClear: What types of content/topics do you see gaining the most attention in Pinterest?
Michelle: Recipes are definitely on top of our popular contents on Pinterest. We also see many people pinning photos of dishes from restaurants we reviewed, and places we have visited. And of course, Nutella, Sriracha, and Bacon.
Yes, the image had to be that BIG.
aimClear: Those three things are on my favorites list too. How are you tracking engagement in Pinterest?
Michelle: We track engagement with Pinterest analytics. Not just the number of repins, but the interactions and comments on the individual pins.
aimClear: Do you have a different strategy (in terms of images/”update” or “description”) for posting to Pinterest vs. other social platforms?
Michelle: Since Pinterest puts more focus on the images, we are more careful with image selections. We make sure we grab people’s attention when we pin our contents to Pinterest while making sure the images reflect what the blog post is all about. The ultimate goal is click-through, and if the image is not eye catching enough, the opportunity for traffic growth is lost.
For the description for each pin, we also ensure that we use important keywords that will help direct people searching on the site to our pins or content.
aimClear: Any tips for getting visitors on your site to post content to their boards?
Michelle: We see many blogs or sites that don’t have easy sharing features. Installing a plugin (WordPress) or a script for social media sharing will definitely help a lot because people are more encouraged to share your content like pinning to their Pinterest boards.
For Pinterest, we recommend you add a Pin It button on each image so people can take a pick among all the images you used in your article / blog post rather than having a pre-selected image for pinning.
aimClear: Who is responsible for posting/maintaining/monitoring your Pinterest presence? Is it just you or do you have a team? I noticed you have added additional people to some of your pin boards. Are these trusted friends/colleagues?
Michelle: Everyone in our team is a contributor to our pin boards. We also have a select few bloggers and the most active people in our online community who we allow to post to our pin boards. This allows for more variety in our pinned content, which is very important to us since we want to make sure there’s something there for everyone.
aimClear: As a brand, are there any Pinterest functionalities you desire that don’t exist?
Michelle: Because of the platform we use, we think Pinterest has, so far, given us what we need to help us with our content strategy, content promotion and connecting with our community as well.
aimClear: What have you found to be most helpful in growing your Pinterest page? (i.e., Contests? Publishing pins?)
Michelle: Actively sharing our own content and repinning others’, and interacting with other Pinterest users and brands has been very helpful in growing our Pinterest community.
aimClear: What kind of things do you look for when repinning content? (i.e., image quality, Pinterest influencers only, etc.)
Michelle: Definitely image quality is the first thing we look at. We’re not really particular about the amount of followers of people we pin content from because we believe everyone has something interesting to share. Sometimes the content just need a little push to get the attention it deserves.
We also consider what our community would be interested in. However, since we have a couple of contributors on our pin boards, anything that suits our current pin boards usually gets a pin from us.
aimClear: Great tip! You have a wealth of repinned content on your boards. What is the ideal mix, for you, of original content vs. repinned content? Which tends to get the most engagement?
Michelle: Since Pinterest is a social media network, it is important for us to not just share our content but others’ as well. We also follow many engaging Pinterest users and boards, so we have a mix of original and repinned content. We don’t have a fixed percentage of original vs. repinned, but we focus on what we know our community or followers would appreciate.
Both original and repinned content seem to receive the same amount of engagement. We believe it really depends on the quality of the pin (meaning the image) and the content itself.
aimClear: Awesome stuff, Michelle. And that will wrap it up! Thank you very much for taking the time to share your Pinterest strategy with us today.
To re-cap, here are a few things we think others could takeaway from Michelle’s responses with a dash of our own two cents mixed in.
- Posting at least a few times a week is a great way to build presence and make your brand look like somebody’s “home”.
- Make sure to create cohesiveness across channels. Yes, each channel has a different format, but post the same image, and similar description. The last thing you want to do is confuse people by sending multiple different messages out.
- Images! Big, Bold, Beautiful images, people. Pinterest is a visually-based platform, therefore your images need to stand out and grab attention in order to attract people’s attention and make them want to click on your pin. Make sure images are quality and easily shareable on all social media networks.
- Use Pinterest to find out what others are already pinning from your website and blog. This will help guide future content. Give the people what they want! Listen and observe.
- Install a plug-in or script for easy social media sharing. Add a pin-it button to each image.
- Interact with other pinners. Re-pin, comment, have conversations and make friends!
While lots of brands are on Pinterest, many B2B brands have not yet warmed up to this social platform. Most brands fail to realize the opportunity for content creation and miss out on the abundance of fresh content ideas that are being shared every day. B2B brands, take note: Pinterest can offer your content strategy additional perks outside of the social platform itself!
We hope you enjoyed the interview and gathered some new ideas for your own brand’s Pinterest page. Do you have any fun or different strategies to set your brand’s Pinterest page apart from it’s competition? Sound off in the comments below!