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8 Common Mistakes Businesses Make On Pinterest

Pinterest has been growing in popularity month after month, not just by those who love planning weddings or decorating their dream home but also by businesses with many using it to drive considerable traffic and sales. However, many businesses are making some very simple mistakes. Simple in that they just take a little bit of knowledge to avoid and to ensure that your pins and your website are maximising their chances of Pinterest success.

8 Common Mistakes Businesses Make On Pinterest

#1. Not Linking To Website

The beauty of Pinterest is that all of your pins will link back to your website. No matter how many times they are repinned, a pinner should be able to click on your pin and arrive at the original source where they can read the information or purchase the product.  If your pins do not link to your website, you are wasting your time. They are not doing your business any good whatsoever.

This may seem obvious but I am continually surprised by the number of pins that do not link to their website. The pinner has uploaded the image from their computer without adding the link.  To check if your pins do link, either click on them twice to be brought to your website, or click on them once to enlarge and you will either see ‘Image’ or ‘Visit  Site’ above the image. If it says ‘Image’ it means there is no link.

Action

1. Always pin from your website using the bookmarklet tool.

2. Use the Chrome brower – it now has a ‘pin it’ button on every image and they will link to their source.

3. Add the link after you have uploaded the pin. Click on the pencil icon on the top right of the pin and manually add the link to the ‘Source’ box. You can change links on pins in this way too.

#2. Landscape or Portrait

Portrait photographs have more visibility on Pinterest, due to the column nature of the gallery pages. Photograph size on Pinterest is determined by the width, therefore ‘longer’ photographs have much more visibility than wider ones. Ensure there is a variety of portrait and landscape photographs on your gallery pages, website pages and in your blog posts.  Your blog post should contain one portrait image.

8 Mistakes Businesses Make on PinterestYou can see from this screengrab from the Pinterest gallery page that the landscape photograph doesn’t have as much prominence.

Action

1. Use at least one portrait image per blog post.

2. Ensure website pages have a mixture of portrait and landscape photographs.

3. Ensure photographs are 600 pixels wide for maximum clarity.

#3. Not Naming Photos In Blog Posts

  • Do you ever find that you go to pin a blog post or an image and the photographs have obscure names such as 874593.jpg or ‘hibernation’ or ‘two feet’? They aren’t describing the content at all.
  • Don’t you find yourself wishing that the blogger had chosen a more appropriate image and title to aid your pinning?
  • Do you find it a pain having to write in the title of the blog post?
  • Do you ever find yourself cancelling the whole operation because it just isn’t worth the hassle?

I do!  Even social media blogs don’t get this right so don’t feel too bad if you have been making this error.

Always Name Your photos in blog posts

Make things easier for those who pin for your website and you will achieve more pins. Plus, it is unlikely the pinner will alter the description so your title with its keywords should travel with the pins.

Action

1. Always name your images either with the title of the blog post or an apt description (perhaps with a call to action).

2. Use images that reflect your blog post. Text on a plain background for an informational post is fine – as long as the post does what it says on the tin.

#4. No Call to Action

Do_you_know_the_written_and_unwritten_rules_of_Pinterest_When you pin your own images, do you simply describe their content or do you include a gentle call to action? Not every pin has to be a ‘salesy’ type pin but you should be taking some action to compel pinners to click and visit your website. Some pins make the content very obvious e.g. a pin with text ’25 Travel Tips’ show exactly what it is about.  However, adding some text to persuade them to click through will make more of an impact e.g. 25 Essential tips you need to know when travelling to Ireland.

Action

1. Every time you pin from your own website, ask yourself if the descriptive text would compel people to click through. Does it just look like a pretty picture or does it hint at the gem they will find?

#5. No Pinnable Images In Blog Posts

Images are essential in blog posts – they break up the text, they add visual relief, they should relate to the material and they may even raise a smile.  However, some bloggers ignore the images which means their content cannot be pinned to Pinterest. Remember that people are not just using Pinterest for pretty images, they are now using it to bookmark and share interesting information.

Action

1. Ensure that all of your blog posts have at least one pinnable image.

2. Ensure the image is related to the content. All too often, the only pinnable images are from the sidebar, ie. the blogger’s picture and one sidebar image.

#5 No Text on Photos for Informational Articles

8 Mistakes businesses make on PinterestIf your blog contains informational articles rather than including a series of beautiful images as in photography or interior design blogs, you may need to make that clear using text on the photograph.  Look at the screengrab of the cat above – by adding a single word ‘Pinetiquette’, viewers know that it isn’t just a photograph of a dressed up cat but it will lead them to information about Pinterest etiquette.

People scan the Pinterest pages quite quickly – you need to ensure your pins are really clear and that they stand out amongst all the others.

I don’t always look for appropriate photographs for my informational content, hence I tend to use Picmonkey to add text to a plain background. I always add my logo too for continuity and to build recognition. We all know that blogging does not end now when we hit the ‘publish’ button as we have to use social media platforms to share our content – make it easier for yourself with good clear images.

Action

1. Add text to a plain background with your logo.

2. Add text to a photograph that isn’t overly busy – so the text is clear.

#6. No Repinning – Too Much Self Promotion

Pinterest is about sharing good content, finding beautiful images and useful content so you can pin them to your own boards and share them with your followers.  Pinning only your own pins smacks too much of self promotion.  It is immediately obvious to potential followers who will decide not to follow. Followers like to see a good mix of valuable content rather than a pinner who is Me Me Me.

As with other social media platforms, Pinterest is about being sociable, sharing and building relationships.

Action

1. Take time to pin good content from other websites.

2. Repin good pins (remembering to check the validity of the links first).

3. Repin and follow your followers  – build on those relationships.

#7. Pinning for Yourself Only?

As a business owner on Pinterest, who are you pinning for? Yourself or your target audience?

You need to be mindful of what your target audience are interested in if you wish to be followed and seen as a curator of excellent content, as someone who is worthy of following.

If your business is a hotel, you will be pinning photos of the hotel’s facilities.  You should also be finding content that is of interest to your audience; for example, local places to visit, travel tips, wedding advice, things to do with kids, the best golf courses, relaxation, scenery pictures from your area.  By convincing followers of the beauty of your location, it will persuade them to use your hotel as the base.

Action

1. Define your target audience.

2. Pin for their interests.

#8. Not Using Shared Boards

The creation and use of Shared Boards on Pinterest can be used to collaborate with others as well as many other advantages. Creating or contributing to a shared board that is active and busy with quality content means that you are building your reputation well plus your pins will receive more repins and shares. Become seen as a thought leader in your field by creating and moderating a good shared board.

Action

1. Create an individual board and populate it with good content.

2. Invite quality pinners to pin to it, thereby creating a shared board. Establish your rules from the outset.

3. Moderate it.

4. Pin to it regularly.

As you can see, all of these ‘mistakes’ are easy to fix and often come about because of carelessness or not knowing that it is an error. I hope you find this useful in checking your own Pinterest account and working for maximum pinnability in the future.

Images: ”LISBON – JANUARY 20, 2014: Photo of Pinterest home page on a monitor screen through a magnifying glass. Gil C / Shutterstock.com

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Lorna Sixsmith is a social media trainer at Write on Track, providing mentoring, training and content creation services to SMEs. Particularly passionate about blogging and Pinterest, Lorna also teaches these courses online at We Teach Social. Married to a dairy farmer in SE Ireland, Lorna recently self published her first book 'Would You Marry A Farmer?', a humourous look at life married to an Irish farmer. http://www.writeontrack.ie

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Comments
  • sianmaloney

    Great article Lorna. Haven’t used Pinterest yet but looking at it for a new website we are launching at work. May need to pick your brains!

  • Lorna Sixsmith

    Thanks Sian, have lots of posts on Pinterest over at Write on Track too and this Pinterest board has lots of useful articles too. http://www.pinterest.com/lorna_sixsmith/how-to-use-pinterest/

    Feel free to ask questions 🙂

  • Excellent points from the Pinterest guru as always. Thanks Lorna




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