Pinterest has taken the social media world by storm, proving that visual content is highly effective in the world of inbound marketing. As users, we love Pinterest because it gives us a way to indulge in and organize our interests in a visual way (and boy is it addictive!). As marketers, we love Pinterest because it allows us to create engaging, visual content and has been known to provide some high-quality traffic and leads. Plus, it gives us an easy opportunity to show off a new side of our brand’s personality.
As wonderful as this platform may be, what we don’t love is when we witness improper marketing etiquette on Pinterest. Here are the top 9 Pinterest marketing peeves and how you can avoid them.
9 Ways to Be a Terrible Pinterest Marketer
1) Too Much Text
We understand Pinterest to be a visual platform, am I right? But when too much text is included in the description of the image, the description tends to flood the stream, annoying everyone in its path. Unlike many other platforms, providing too much textual content defeats the purpose of Pinterest, and takes away from the visual content you pin.
If you're pinning an image from an article on your business blog , for example, don't copy the entire article into your description. Instead, include an interesting title or brief description to show more of that exciting brand personality and give a short and sweet tidbit hinting at what the user will find behind the image. Let the original article do the talking via the link you provide as the source. Your followers do appreciate textual information, just as long as it’s in the right context and used sparingly.
2) No Text at All
On the contrary to including too much text in the description of your pin, including no text at all is equally irksome. Let me ask you a serious question: You want potential customers to find your content in Google when they search organically, right? Pinterest should be no different! That's why it's important to make sure you include a few relevant keywords when you describe your pin so it is searchable.
And just as keyword stuffing doesn’t fly with Google, it doesn’t fly with users on Pinterest either. Find that happy medium between too much text and no text at all, and you’ve hit the sweet spot!
3) Linking to an Irrelevant Source (Or No Source at All)
Even though Pinterest is meant to consist of more visuals and less text, links behind the image are exceptionally important. As a marketer, how will your potential leads know where to find the awesome content, product, or service you're alluding to unless you provide a link to more information?
Although links are important, you certainly don’t want to be a Pinterest spammer. Pinterest spammers tend to share popular images and change the source to link to some kind of giveaway/scam or irrelevant ecommerce website. Never link to something that doesn't include the image the user clicked on from Pinterest. If your link does not send your followers to an accurate source for the image, you'll have achieved Pinterest spammer status and annoyed your user base. And you don’t want to turn off your followers -- there are some awesome potential leads in that group, and if you turn them off, they are likely to hit ‘unfollow’ and never show interest in your company again.
Likewise, linking to nothing is just as bad as linking to something irrelevant. By failing to include a link, you'll be giving Pinterest users no way to get more information about the image. What's worse, if the source of the image isn't you, not linking to the source is also copyright infringement. Give credit where credit is due! The best way to generate leads from Pinterest is by linking to your blog or website. So if you've discovered some stellar images, create a blog post using these images (giving credit to the source within the article) so you can link back to your own page when pinning those images. This allows you to give credit while also pointing your followers to the more important information. Just remember: no link, no leads!
4) Not Using Permalinks
A permalink is the direct URL of a specific blog post. For example, the permalink of this post is http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33271/9-Ways-to-Suck-at-Marketing-on-Pinterest.aspx . If you’re linking to a blog post, do not use the blog’s homepage (e.g. http://blog.hubspot.com ) for the source URL. Instead, link to that particular post’s permalink or the specific image URL so your followers can find the image immediately. Pinterest should be easy! Don't make your followers search high and low for an image that you could have easily linked to. When you make your website visitors do the work, they'll get annoyed, giving up on reading that blog article or converting on that landing page that you hoped would turn them into leads.
5) Pinning Subpar Visual Content
Pinterest is all about visual content, but not just any visual content will do. Just as your written content should be high quality, so should the visual content you pin to Pinterest. If the image is too small, fuzzy, or just not compelling, it will stand out from the rest (and not in a good way) and will likely fail to get repinned. And not giving your content a fighting chance to get shared isn't a great way to leverage the true power of a social network.
Even if your images are of fine quality, aggressively pinning your 1-800 number or call-to-action button will not go over well on a social network meant for really awesome visuals. If your company is data driven, try creating infographics -- these are both interesting and informative and will not cause a peeve-induced uproar amongst Pinterest users. For more ideas on various ways to create awesome visual content , check out this blog post for some great tips.
6) Pinning Everything to One Single Board
Effective websites always include some sort of navigation to break up the information provided into categories. Think about it: if you’re simply looking for information in a website's 'About Us' page, you don’t want to have to sift through that website's product pages in order to find it. This same rule also applies to boards on Pinterest.
If you pin all of your images to one board, you'll cause a jumbled mess for your followers, and they won’t have any clue where to find specific types of content. Just as with your text and links, create a brand presence on Pinterest that makes it easy for your followers to find what interests them! Organize your boards in a way that makes sense, and categorize your pins accordingly. You will be much more successful with your company’s Pinterest account if you make several very specific boards instead of a few very general boards. Check out HubSpot's Pinterest page for an example of how we've categorized our own boards.
7) Pinning to the Wrong Board
Were you actually looking for ‘Books Worth Reading?’ Aw, that’s too bad. We’re going to give you images of food instead! Once again, if you want to turn Pinterest browsers into leads , you must create an effortless experience for them. How will your followers find your content quickly if you are pinning to the wrong board? Pinning irrelevant content to a board categorized as something else also undermines your brand's credibility as a social-savvy business.
8) Not Using the 'Pin It' Button on Your Website
Which is easier: copying a URL, opening a new tab, typing in the URL for the Pinterest website, selecting the ‘add a Pin’ option, pasting the URL, and selecting an image, OR simply clicking one button and you’re done? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Make sure you add the ‘Pin It’ button to the visual content on your website/blog so others can easily share your visual content on Pinterest. Not only is it important to create an effortless experience for your followers while they’re on the Pinterest platform, but it's also critical to make it easy for users to pin your content themselves when they’re off the Pinterest platform, too!
To get the ‘Pin It’ button on your blog or website, click here . You can also grab a Pinterest follow button so you can promote your brand's presence on Pinterest via your website and/or blog.
9) Not Measuring Your Success
How will you know if you're successful on Pinterest if you’re not tracking its referral traffic and leads? If you're pinning content from your website or blog, remember to use tracking tokens at the end of your source links. This way, you can see exactly how many visits are coming from Pinterest, and if you have closed-loop analytics in place through software like HubSpot , you can also track how many leads and customers were generated from that Pinterest referral traffic, too.
Using this information, you can evaluate if this particular social network is worth your marketing time . And if your pins aren't generating any clicks, you know you need to turn your visual content creation up a notch and improve those catchy titles and descriptions to prove that your content is worthy of being clicked.
If you remember anything from this article, it should be that searchability, shareability, organization, accurate linking, and interesting visual content are the keys to marketing on Pinterest. Make your Pinterest content interesting and compelling for your followers, and they'll be happy to share it.
What other Pinterest marketing tactics rub you the wrong way?
Image Credit: midiman
Originally published Jun 12, 2012 8:02:00 AM, updated July 28 2017