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Pinterest Marketing Myths and Mistakes to Avoid

Written by Angela Tempest

May 7, 2019

As a Pinterest manager, I hear a lot of stuff about Pinterest.  People hear something from someone who heard it from someone – you know how it works.  It isn’t anyone’s fault but suddenly there’s this absolute sure-fire system to get viral pins or a complete certainty that group boards are banned.  Pinterest marketing myths are part of life, but they often lead to mistakes or certainly, time wasted.  So here are a few of the most popular myths I’ve found or heard and what the reality is.

Big Pinterest marketing myths

Let’s start at the top with those big myths that people often seem to come out with as a reason not to use Pinterest.  Now there’s nothing compulsory about using Pinterest to market your business, you don’t have to use it.  But don’t avoid using it because of these myths.

Myth 1 – it is just for people looking for recipes

Reality – food is huge on Pinterest, there’s no doubt.  Add any possible food-related search term into the search bar and you will find tons of recipes, how to’s and other content.  BUT that’s not all that is on there.  I work with a variety of accounts from travel to mom bloggers to photographers and have three different accounts of my own.  All work on Pinterest.

Perhaps the only time I say that Pinterest might not work is if you are marketing to a specific local audience – geolocation on Pinterest isn’t a thing the way it is on Google or Facebook.

Myth 2 – only housewives use it

Reality – Back when Pinterest started, there was no doubt that it was quite a specific audience that took to it.  But the days of it only being the preserve of the housewife or the stay at home mom are long gone.  Take stats from the US for example – 23.5% of the entire population use Pinterest which is over 77 million people.

Women are definitely the bigger audience on there with 83% of women in the US aged 25-54 using it.  However, in 2018, 50% of new signups were men and the platform expects to have a 30/70 gender split by 2022.

What about outside the US?  80% of new signups are from outside the US.  The top five countries in terms of user numbers in 2018 were the US, Brazil, India, Turkey and Russia.

Finally, 98% of users try the ideas that they find on Pinterest versus an average of 71% on social media platforms.  So while Facebook may want to make us more engaged and stay on the platform, Pinterest inspires us to get up and do stuff.

Myth 3 – it takes loads of time

Reality – this one is a semi-truth.  It can take longer to see results on Pinterest than if you post content on Facebook or Instagram.  But that’s a little like comparing apples to oranges.  In truth, what you should do is compare it to organic traffic from search engines.

I find it takes at least three months for Pinterest to view your account as credible and offering good quality.  That’s when you start to get seen more.  There can be seasonal fluctuations, even if your content doesn’t seem seasonal.

Compare that with Google – it takes 18 months for Google to trust a new site, according to Mike from Stupid Simple SEO.  By then you have been working away, creating content, building backlinks and then suddenly, the organic traffic starts to flow.  But by then, a solid Pinterest strategy could already be having a substantial amount of traffic to your website.

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Basic mistakes

Okay, those are three of the biggest myths assessed.  Now let’s move from Pinterest myths to mistakes that people make.  And don’t get me wrong, I’ve made some of these in the past too!

Start without a strategy and then quit within a couple of weeks

We’ve all seen the comments on Facebook groups from people who have been pinning for a couple of weeks and are really demotivated because nothing is happening.  And while I understand it, it comes from a lack of awareness of what Pinterest is and how it works.

As I said, I think it takes at least three months to really start to gain credibility with Pinterest (I’ve heard it called Smart Feed juice which is a cool term).  Once you get between 3-6 months, you should see a growth in your stats but even then, seasonal factors can still come into it.

Pinning the wrong type of stuff

For most of us, if we create blog posts, we will have a horizontal image that is the featured image on the post.  And most of the time, people pin this.  While it is cool to use these images on Twitter and even Facebook, they don’t work on Pinterest.

It is important that you use the right kind of images in the right format for Pinterest.  Images should be a 2:3 ratio such as 600x900 or 1000x1500 pixels.  You can pin just images with no text overlay, but it can be a good idea to create specific Pinterest images as well.

Also make sure every image has a link to your website, blog post, page, shop or even another social media site.  The point of Pinterest is to get them to pin your content but also to click it and if it doesn’t go anywhere, it can’t be clicked.  And it isn’t helping you get traffic!

Treating it like social media

This is an easy mistake to make because Pinterest tends to get lumped in as social media with other sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  But it isn’t – it is a visual search engine.  That means it is closer to Google search than Facebook.

This means the aims with Pinterest are very different to those with Facebook.  For example, Facebook and Instagram are great for community building, getting to know potential customers and building relationships.  But Pinterest isn’t the place for photos from your home office – unless it is a post about your favourite desk or accessories.

Worrying about follower count

With Facebook and co, followers are the only people that see your content but with Pinterest, this isn’t the case.  So while followers are important, they aren’t crucial.  If someone searches a term and your pin has the answer they need, Pinterest will show it to them regardless of whether they follow you or not.

In fact, trying to boost your follower numbers can get you in Pinterest spam jail.  Any behaviour that seems inauthentic or like a bot could land you with an account shut down.  So those threads on Facebook that say follow everyone – bad idea.  They are fine if they say follow anyone who shares your niche or whose content you are interested in but not everyone.

Not converting to a business account

Even if you don’t think of yourself as a business, Pinterest will.  And that means you should have a business account.  Not only that but it does gain access to analytics (which have just improved) and the potential for promoted pins.  There’s a myth that you lose traffic when you convert to a business account, but it is just that.

Other Pinterest basic tips

There are a few other bits I want to mention that don’t fall under the heading of either myths or mistakes but that you may hear mentioned and wonder about.

Don’t have loads of random, off-niche boards

It is perfect to create boards on topics relating to your content that your audience will be interested in.  For example, I have boards for things like being a Virtual Assistant even though I’m not or don’t plan to be.  But my audience often includes VAs, so it is logical to have a board of content for them.  However, I don’t have a board on how to breastfeed your first baby because that’s just too far away from my niche.

Just pinning product photos

If you have products, don’t just pin photos of the products.  Try to get some lifestyle shots as well such as a necklace on a person or a candle on a mantlepiece.  Figures show that lifestyle images convert 170% better than product photos so mix it up!

Pin one pin to one board once

We won’t dive into the world of pin ratios (myth) but I will mention that you don’t just have to pin a pin to one board, once.  In fact, Tailwind has created something called Smart Loop that is specifically designed to recycle content to your boards – and it was developed with Pinterest so you know it is okay.

Just using your blog post headline

While it is good practice to have a pin that matches the headline of your post, it doesn’t hurt to make additional pins and to use different headlines.  As long as they are relevant and accurate to your content, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t mix it up a bit.  It is only clickbait if it doesn’t deliver on the promise of the headline – so if you create a pin with 10 ways to cook chicken, make sure you have at least 10 suggestions in that post!

Battling Pinterest myths and mistakes

It is true that the internet is wonderful but also terrible for spreading stuff and along that stuff is a lot of myths and mistakes about marketing with Pinterest.  That’s why I rely on certain sources to get the best information and be confident in what I tell people.  And if you want to myth-bust yourself, come along to my Facebook group Pinterest for Lady Bloggers and Business Owners and tell us what you heard – we’ll tell you if it is true or not!

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