With over 70 million active users on Pinterest, some are bound to be making mistakes. Some of the mistakes we make can be pretty bad, though not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. Let's say you try your hand at a double rainbow cake and end up with a tie-dye mess. It's not the end of the world -- you can throw out the ruined cake (or eat it, if it's still edible) and move on with your life.
But make a rookie Pinterest mistake when pinning on behalf of your business? You could be losing out on traffic, leads, and (potentially) customers. These missteps aren’t always as obvious as a typical Pinterest Fail, but luckily, they can be easily corrected with a closer look at account set-up, pin optimization, and ROI tracking.
So put down the recipe for Nutella brownies and the DIY beer bottle glasses and take a hard look at your company’s Pinterest strategy. We'll walk you through the most common mistakes people make on Pinterest, and give you tips on fixing them.
1) Avoiding Pinterest Because You're a B2B Business
B2B companies often count themselves out of Pinterest before even giving it a shot because they think it only works for the B2C model. Yes, Pinterest is a wonderful land full of recipes, gardening ideas, and home renovations you may someday attempt, but that doesn’t mean B2B companies can’t get their own kind of crafty.
In fact -- that’s why we wrote How to Master Pinterest for B2B Marketing. Check out that post to get ideas for B2B brands trying to find success with Pinterest. Tips include pinning infographics and ebook covers.
2) Not Using Your Page’s "About" Space
The “about” area of your profile tells users what they can expect to see from your pins, and also contains 200 search-engine-optimizable characters for your company to take advantage of. Make sure your description is concise and includes a few of your core keywords to properly set expectations and get pinners excited to interact with your company. While this may not be the biggest lever for you to pull in your SEO strategy, it could help get more people to visit your website from your Pinterest profile.
3) Using a Personal Page
Companies who have not yet switched their accounts to a Pinterest business page are definitely missing out on some key Pinterest features. With a business page, you’ll get access to valuable analytics, DIY promoted pins, and information about how to better incorporate Pinterest into your company’s website and marketing strategy.
Gaining the attention of your prospects through Pinterest is not something that is going to happen overnight -- you've got to be actively and consistently posting to see results. Don’t start a new board and pin two items and then forget about it, or worse, leave it empty forever.
If you’re nervous about not having enough to pin, start a secret board and convert it when you’re ready to commit to the topic. At the very least, you should make sure your board has five pins -- enough to fill the board preview.
5) Posting Sporadic Bursts of Pins
The opposite of the one-and-done posting strategy is also problematic. While you shouldn't post once in a blue moon, you also shouldn't go through periods of sporadic, intense pinning.
Why? More pins the better, right?
Not exactly. Like on Twitter, every time you pin something, it goes into your followers' feeds. So if you end up pinning 10 different pins in the span of five minutes, people who stumble on them in their feeds could end up blocking them all out -- it comes across as a little bit spammy. Plus, if that's the only time you're pinning in the day, your content will get lost in the feed pretty quickly as other people start pinning.
Instead, spread out your pinning activities to short little bursts throughout the day. Try posting two pins here, three pins a few hours later, one an hour after that, etc. That way, you'll have a much better chance of getting your content noticed, liked, repinned, and clicked on.
6) Misusing Individual Pin Descriptions
Too many marketers will make pin description fields “interesting!” “new product” or “love this!” -- but those are all company-centric descriptions, not user-centric. Your descriptions should be optimized to let your followers know what's in the pin.
Your description doesn't need to be long -- it just needs to quickly and accurately describe what the pin link goes to. A study of 11,000 pins found that best practice is 100 to 200 characters. Also, don't stuff this area with keywords. Like in blog posts, always write first for your audience and second for the search engines or the result will be awkward and insincere, and drive poor results.
7) Not Adding Original Content
Pinterest should be an integrated component of your marketing strategy -- not a platform to be on because you "need to" be. One mistake companies often make is only re-pinning other people's content within Pinterest and never adding original content to their boards.
If you're already developing a robust inbound strategy, you should have plenty of original content to pin -- so try making boards around the types of content you create. Include a mix of lead gen and non-lead gen content, too, so that people in all stages of the buying process can find content they enjoy. For example, on HubSpot's Pinterest account, we have separate boards for blog posts, ebooks, templates, data, etc. that all highlight our content.
Also, make sure you’re up-to-date with industry news and are actively pinning from external sources, too. No one wants to see only your content -- so try pinning links to industry news, partners, and influencers. The Pinterest “Pin It” browser extension is a great way pin original content as you come across it.
8) Using Short Links
In most other social networks, short links are a must -- having a long, bulky URL takes up too many characters and looks unprofessional. But on Pinterest, you don't need them -- and Pinterest frowns upon using them.
When you try to upload or click on pins with shortened links, you'll see a warning: “Suspicious Link: This link redirects to another site, it may link to spam or other inappropriate content.” Sometimes, you'll be able to click through anyway, but other times, Pinterest will block you from posting or clicking on shortened URLs altogether.
Don’t let this happen to you -- simply use the long URL as a pin source. It doesn't matter if you have shortened links since Pinterest doesn't display full URLs on individual pins anyway.
9) Forgetting to Track Results
You may be following all of the best practices but still may not know if Pinterest is actually bringing in the return on investment for your company ... and that's something your boss will definitely want to know.
Enter UTM codes -- a clever way to understand if Pinterest is directing prospects to your website, landing page, or product page. Basically, they're little strings of text that you add to the end of a URL to help your analytics program recognize which sources and pieces of content are driving the most traffic, leads, and customers to your website. Here is a full guide to how they work. You can also use this same guide to set up UTM tracking within Hubspot -- it's a fairly similar process in most other marketing platforms.
Once you affix those little codes to the end of a URL, post that URL to Pinterest, and get people to click on it, your analytics program will start tracking it all. To see how your pins are performing, all you need to do is dive in, segment out those URLs with UTM codes, and it should be easy to tell which URLs are working, and which aren't.
These are just a few of the most common mistakes we see in businesses using Pinterest. What other mistakes do you see companies make?
Originally published Jun 16, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017