9 Ways to Market Your Creative Business Using Pinterest

9 ways to market your creative business using Pinterest

I’ve always loved using Pinterest to keep track of personal inspiration and DIY projects to try, recipes, and all the pretty things… but, I hadn’t really been using it to its fullest potential, or making it work for my business, until just recently.

I started implementing some simple changes, and have seen more followers, re-pins and interest in my profile, and now I’m planning on making Pinterest an integral part of my marketing strategy for my own business this year!

I have SO much fun using Pinterest, in fact, that I asked the head honcho here at Aeolidia, Arianne, if she wanted to pass on the reins to me and let me take over managing the Aeolidia Pinterest account.

She said yes, and I have been happily pinning over there for the past few months, implementing some simple changes along the way that have already started to produce positive effects, like more engagement, clicks and more traffic coming back to the Aeolidia site through Pinterest.

It was already a pretty great referrer for us, but our stats are all steadily on the up and up now, which is why it’s important to invest some time and energy into using Pinterest to market your creative business and grow your presence there. It’s by far my favorite social media site to bring more of those dream customers you’re looking for straight to your website!

So, I’m sharing how we’re upping our Pinterest game in 2016 so you can follow the same, simple steps to start using Pinterest to market your creative business!

 1. Consider your customer

The first thing you need to do to go from using Pinterest as a personal bookmarking site, to using it to market and grow your business, is to consider the dream customer that you want to attract to your business.

What are her interests? What are her needs and desires? What do you offer that she wants? Use the information you know about your dream customer profile (and if you don’t know your dream customer that well yet, try out this exercise here!) to create boards and pin around the things that she is interested in, and around the things you can offer to her.

Your taste and interests can and may most definitely intersect with your dream customers’ taste and interests, and that’s great! We have boards like handmade & boutique goods, craft & DIY projectsparty shops, supplies, & ideas, and fun kids’ goods & DIYs because those are things that we’re not only genuinely interested in, but we know that our dream customers are also makers, boutique owners, crafters, often parents or have kids in their lives. These kinds of boards are how you start to flesh out your account and draw in the interest of your dream customer!

Maybe they find you through your wedding planning board that you created two years ago when you were getting married and still pin to, and by way of providing them great content around exactly what they’re interested in at this moment, they’ll likely check out your whole account.

If more boards appeal to them, they’ll follow them too, or follow your whole account, and that’s how you start a relationship with them and start to cultivate interest in your brand, who you are and what you do. The more you find and share things that interest and appeal to them, the more they’ll start to engage with your pins, and start to engage with you. When you mix in quality pins that link back to your own site, they’ll come directly to you through them!

If you want boards that really are just personal and might not appeal to your customer, like for planning specific events or projects or any behind the scenes things, you can just keep those as secret boards instead. That way they don’t clog up your account or confuse your customer, but you can still pin to them like usual and have a dandy ol’ time.

2. Use keyword rich descriptions, everywhere

No longer think of Pinterest just as “social media”- think of it as a visual search engine, because that’s exactly what it is. And because it operates like a search engine, you have to think about some simple SEO in terms of getting more people over to your Pinterest profile!

In Pinterest, any page could be a landing page for someone to gain access to your account- a pin, a board, or your direct profile page. So, you have to appeal to them at all of these stages with clarity, and using keywords, so that your pins and boards and profile show up in the searches that your dream customer is performing.

For your profile:
You only have so many characters so keep it short, direct and use keywords. You want to convey what you do, who you do it for, and put a call to action in there! Tell your visitor what you want them to do – “visit my site for more” “join us here:” “see more of what we have to offer…” etc. That’s your first opportunity to get them over to your site. 
For Aeolidia’s profile description, I edited it to: We’re a friendly design team helping small businesses, artists & crafters set up shop online. Head to aeolidia.com for smart tips & free help to grow your biz!

What we do, who we do it for, and a call to action, using keywords. Simple! You can be creative within this, of course.

*TIP: also make sure to add your site link and get it verified!

For board descriptions:
I recommend doing the same: explaining what the board is about, using keywords, and put a call to action in there! All of Aeolidia’s boards are group boards where a variety of us from the team here can pin to them, so they represent more of all of our tastes. So, I edited all of the board descriptions to be from our team perspective and put a call to action in almost every one. Some examples:

Pins need descriptions, too!
Most of them already have accurate and keyword rich descriptions, but for the ones that don’t, be sure to add one! Or edit descriptions to add your own details or what you want your visitors to take away from that pin, if you’d like.

Aeolidia pinterest profile: market your creative business using Pinterest

3. Add & arrange your boards

Another thing I did after taking over the Aeolidia Pinterest page was to edit, delete and add new boards. Any boards that I couldn’t seem to make work from a team perspective, or that didn’t seem to engage a lot of interest so far on their own, I either combined or deleted entirely.

For example, there were boards around clothing, accessories, art, paper goods, etc that all had some great pins, but weren’t too full on their own, and I couldn’t really describe clothing or why we’re pinning clothes as a design team with a bunch of different bodies and tastes, etc. So, I changed one of them to the “handmade & boutique goods” board, moved all the best pins from each of the boards over to that one, thus combining all the different categories into one, and then I deleted the rest of the boards. So now, there’s just one that can hold the combination of all that sort of great stuff we covet, and we can also pin the goods we love from our own clients’ shops to this board.

I also added a bunch of new boards to specifically appeal and attract our dream customer.

For instance, our customer is often on Etsy but ready to grow and wants to build their own site on their own dot com, and we specialize in creating beautiful custom Shopify shops for those types of clients. So I added a “growing beyond Etsy” board with tips on moving to Shopify, or what to do when you feel you’re outgrowing your Etsy shop, and a “Shopify design inspiration” board to house design inspiration for our clients for their online shops.

*TIP: When starting a brand new board from scratch, keep it secret until you have at least 10 quality pins in there, and then make it live and start pinning more to it, frequently!

We have two boards dedicated to Aeolidia specific content where we pin everything from our blog and portfolio, but you also want to create other boards where you’re able to pin a good mix of both other people’s awesome content, and your own. That’s exactly what I do on our “branding tips & inspiration board”, and pretty much every board we have!

I think it’s good to aim for an 80/20 mix- 80% other people’s content, and 20% your own. So, if you pin 5 things a day, only 1 of them should be from your own site, and the rest pins or re-pins of other people’s content.

I also changed the covers and arrangement of the boards, making sure that the first row (first 6 or so) are the most relevant boards for our dream customer and the most likely reasons they’ll be interested in us and what we have to offer. Then, go from there in terms of what would most appeal to your dream customer at the time. I switch things up and put newer boards higher up to draw more attention to them, or draw attention to other offerings that we provide.

I also change covers up every few weeks or so just to keep it fresh and appealing to the more frequent visitors, and rearrange the boards so that they look aesthetically pleasing next to one another, often finding colors that flow from one into the next to connect them and make the account as a whole look visually appealing. That’s often all it takes to gain a new follower. How often have you just glanced at the covers and titles of all the boards on someone else’s account and you immediately click the follow button? This is what you want that dream customer to do when they come across your account, too!

4. Pin & re-pin, often

The next step was to start pinning more often, more consistently. The more often you pin, the more likely people will be to see and start engaging with one of your pins.

I started with pinning 3-5 things a day, and mostly re-pinned awesome things from the home feed, along with original content from our own blog and portfolio. The key is to pin high quality content only – this means vertical (vs. horizontal), clear, visually appealing and, of course, content that’s engaging to your customer! You also want to actually click through to the pin links and make sure they lead to correct, quality sources!

This is still how I pin – mostly a mix of re-pins from the home feed and other goodies I find through searches, and original pins from the Aeolidia site. I also pin original content occasionally through blogs I read, links I follow through other things I found on Pinterest, and often from our clients’ sites. Now, I’m up to pinning more like 8-15 pins a day, and still make sure to keep to that 80/20 mix.

I also pin with a mix of “live” pinning, that I do right in that moment, and scheduled pinning. Yes, I use a scheduler and highly recommend it! That has been the real game changer, I’ve found, in being able to keep up consistently with pinning each day. I schedule around 6-8 pins each day, and “live pin” the rest, playing with different times of day and trying to experiment with what works best and receives the most engagement. Sometimes though, the scheduler will give you information like this to analyze and even recommend the best times to pin! Very handy dandy.

Tailwind offers this, which is what I use for scheduling my own personal Pinterest account. I also use Viraltag to schedule client accounts, including Aeolidia’s (psst: these are not affiliate links). I prefer Tailwind, but the cost is absurd to be able to add and manage another account, and Viraltag is only $12/mo to manage multiple accounts! They’re very similar in their offerings, but Tailwind has a few more bells and whistles that make it worth it, I think, if it’s for your individual use only. I also know Buffer has the ability to schedule Pinterest, but I haven’t tried it.

Google it up and you’ll find even more scheduling options to check out! Try ‘em out and see what works for you.

5. Use your likes as a tool

So often I think people don’t know why to “like” a pin vs. re-pin it, but I think likes can be very helpful in a few ways!

First off, I use them for pins I’m attracted to but want to read/check-out first before I re-pin them to make sure it’s good stuff.

I also use them to cull the stuff I want to schedule out, because with most schedulers you’re able to select any pins from a particular page, so I go to our “likes” page and schedule stuff out from there! Makes it really easy to go through your feed when you have the time, re-pin some stuff right then, like some stuff to schedule to be re-pinned later, and you can get a whole week’s worth of pins set up and scheduled in one sitting.

They can also be good for the stuff that you want to keep track of, but you don’t think is “pinnable,” like a really helpful post with a craptastic graphic. Or for the stuff you like that just doesn’t really fit in with any of your boards, but it could be something to keep track of for a future board you could create.

I use likes as an organizational tool, really!

6. Follow more people

Once you’ve gotten your Pinterest account pretty dialed in with boards set up and you’re starting to pin more often, it’s time to get in there and really use Pinterest power to its fullest, with the SOCIAL part of things.

Yeah, remember that search engine thing I said? That’s true, but it’s still a social tool, too, which is what makes it so awesome for your business! Because there are other people on there, YOUR people, people you will jive with, have things in common with, people who BUY things, and will buy YOUR things!

And the best part of Pinterest, by far, for introverted folks like me, is that you can socialize on Pinterest really without having to get very social at all. All it takes is clicking “follow,” and letting your natural tastes and curiosity lead the way in liking & re-pinning the things from their feeds that you see that you love. That’s really the whole social part of it. You basically get to stay in your own dreamy little world and just look at interesting things the whole time. SO easy and introvert friendly!

When you follow or re-pin from someone, they see that you re-pinned from them and might notice, check you out, like the sort of things you pin too, and start following you back. And that’s how connections and relationships get formed. And the ones you forge here can certainly spill out into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – you know – they’re the same people. Follow them in the other spots that you use, too!

The more connections you form, the more followers you get, the more people start to like and re-pin and click and check out the things you’re pinning. And, of course, some of those things will be your products and other content leading back to your site, and that’s awesome! That’s how you use Pinterest to market your products and start to gain traffic and sales!

So, start following more people! Who?

  • Follow the blogs you love or want to pitch to someday.
  • Follow customers/clients.
  • Follow the recommended boards that come up when you are actively in there pinning things.

It’s impossible NOT to start following more people when you’re really getting in there and using it, honestly. That’s why Pinterest is so powerful – it leads you to connect with the right people based on your interests, which means it’s also leading people to you based on their interests! It feeds and grows itself and leads your right customers to you in a really cool way.

Also, once you’re following a good amount of awesome, high quality pinners, you’ll start to curate your home feed to have a wealth of vibrant, high quality pins that are all catered toward your dream customer! Then, when you come onto Pinterest, instead of, “oh hmm, what should I pin today?” you’ll have to start to hold yourself back from pinning almost everything you see on your home feed. And, actually, you don’t have to hold yourself back at all, if you don’t want to!

7. Re-pin older (still awesome & relevant) content

Yet another reason why I think Pinterest is the most fun, powerful and effective social media tool out there is that it helps your old, still awesome and relevant content, live on and on! Like it should!

You want your content and your creations, the things you’re putting out there, to live on more than just a week, a day, a moment, right? Think of how much hard work each post is! To me, things on Twitter live but for a moment. Instagram, a day or so. Sometimes in Facebook you might go back up to a week. But on Pinterest you see things pinned, daily, that are from YEARS ago. And they’re still getting shared, still inspiring people, still leading folks back to those old links!

This sets up an amazing system of sharing evergreen content that you want your stuff to be a part of! If you invest the time and energy into Pinterest, it could become one of your best traffic sources for years to come!

I’ve been going back and pinning old blog posts from the Aeolidia blog, portfolio pieces, and even re-pinning popular pins from older boards to relevant new ones that I’ve been creating. You want to keep your old, good stuff out there, circulating!

Think of what an incredible source of information this is for people, like a storehouse of your favorite magazines and encyclopedias and everything you could ever want to know or try in your life, all in one spot. That is why your customers are on there, daily, using it! And that is why you should be using it to share not only your latest, greatest stuff, but also dig into the archives into your best stuff from the past.

If it’s still awesome, relevant content – PIN it, sista!

8. Delete older pins with no re-pins

So, theory goes, there’s an algorithm that Pinterest uses that helps determine what gets shown on a user’s home feed. Rather than showing anything that a user pins to their followers on a real time basis as they pin it, like it used to, Pinterest now shows a mix of pins culled through this algorithm to show only the “best,” most pertinent content to you based on what you like and pin.

So, the “best pinners,” the ones who consistently pin high quality content that receives a lot of engagement, get their pins seen more often on their followers’ feeds, and are also the ones more likely to become the recommended pins and boards to follow that Pinterest suggests (pretty much every second while you’re in there using it – you’ve noticed this, yes?).

The higher ratio you have of high engagement pins to low ones, the “better” pinner this algorithm determines you to be, and will start showing your pins more often to your followers. This is when you’ll start to notice more and more engagement happening. So, you want to become one of the “best” pinners, showing only the best content on your feed, and ditching the rest.

I’ve been doing this with our Aeolidia account. First, I deleted any really old pins (year +) that had received no likes or re-pins – that was an easy decision.

This is also a great way to start assessing and figuring out what sort of things your audience really likes. What didn’t get any action, and why? Can you tell now? Is it the visual that’s not appealing? The topic of the content itself? Is it a good pin that could’ve just gotten missed?

I deleted the ones that were obviously not re-pinned for a reason I could see now (for example, any small, horizontal, not so flattering images). I re-pinned a few goodies that I thought may have just gotten missed when the account had less followers, to try them out again. And now I constantly, regularly clear out, or re-pin, any pins that don’t receive any engagement, to keep us at a high ratio of good stuff people seem to like. Makes sense, eh?

*TIP: This does not apply if you’re just starting out! If you’re starting from scratch, or basically, still building up followers, creating boards, following people and really starting to create your presence there, then pin pin away and don’t worry about deleting any just yet. Until you start to get a more steady stream of re-pins/likes/engagement on most of your pins (it’ll happen, if you do all of the above!) then don’t worry about this at all.

Aeolidia pinterest stats: market your creative business using Pinterest

9. Pay attention to your analytics

This I did not start doing until after I had made the initial changes to the account. If you’re cleaning up an old account that you haven’t really kept up with, or are changing a personal account into one oriented to your business and ideal customer, than you’re bound to delete some things.

When you delete entire boards, you WILL lose any followers who were following those boards only. This happened to us when I deleted a bunch of boards and is something to be aware of. Though, if someone was only following the clothing board I deleted, then it’s highly likely they weren’t going to become our customer, anyway. So, no loss! Just don’t let the hit on your stats alarm you.

Once you’re in the building up phase and starting to follow new people, that’s when you want to start paying attention to those analytics!

Pinterest has some powerful analytics built in to itself, and that’s the best place to start. I’m not sure how reliable it is on the traffic back to your site, so I’d refer to Google Analytics for that stat, but to see who’s poking around your Pinterest profile and boards and what they’re pinning, what their interests are, etc., the Pinterest analytics are great!

I like to pop into “Your Pinterest Profile” and check out which pins and boards are getting the most impressions. It’s valuable information to see what people are engaging with most! What type of pins are they digging? Pin more of that sort of content! Which boards are they digging? Maybe the top 6 there can be the first 6 you place at the top of your profile.

I also like going into “Your Audience” and the “Interests” tab where you can see information about your audience and the subjects they’re most into, which can help you discover perhaps new boards you might like to create. It’s also there where you can see WHO is pinning lots of stuff from you! That’s so cool! Then you can go check those people out and maybe even follow them, or a few of their boards, and lookeethere you just interacted with a real potential customer. Easy peasy!

The key with analyzing your analytics is to not get stuck just on traffic numbers. Yes, you want to see growth, but I personally don’t believe in fixating on or targeting a specific number, because it’s the level of engagement and interest that matters. Is it increasing? Keep it up and keep at it!

And don’t just look at the information in your analytics. Use the knowledge you gain to pin more of what your audience is interested in, and you’ll see your engagement grow and grow!

So, these are all simple steps, I promise. I tried to break them down as much as I could, but I know there are still likely some questions out there!

So, if you’re noodling around in Pinterest and are like, huh? How? But, what? Then pop over here and let me know your questions and where you’re struggling in the comments. I’d also love to hear if you’re already using Pinterest for your business and if you have any other tips to share!

Here’s to using Pinterest to bring in more business this year!

{psst: There are also some important things you need to do on your own website to make sure it’s Pinterest-friendly so that more and more people start sharing what you do! See our post, Make Your Shop Pinterest-Friendly for that.}

Download our free checklist

Arianne here! We know this was a lot of information to absorb – that’s why Jena’s put it all together into a simple checklist for you. How to edit your current account, what to do on an ongoing basis, and how to keep active. Just join our mailing list from the form below for instant access to this checklist (and many more small business tools!).

Shipshape Collective Freebie

Market Your Biz Using Pinterest

How to market your creative business using Pinterest, and bring more of your dream customers to your site!

7 comments
  1. I enjoyed this post. There is some really up to date and relevant advice here. Thing I wish I had read years back.

    What I like to add is that as useful as I find Analytics, I wish I had more insight into where my pin views are sourced. I want to know if people respond to search results, picked for you pins, home feeds, related puns or browsing through boards.

    I also would like to know how many followers are introduced via recommendations from Pinterest, email or after a repin.

    Pinterest does not provide a follower metric I can track over time. This would help me to measure the results of my efforts.

    I find that pin quality can be guessed by the interaction it receives, yet the same image may receive completely different result if pinned at a different time.

    Sometimes when a pin starts gaining traction it continues doing so, whereas others reach a ceiling pretty quickly. It is strange when a single pin goes viral once pinned on someone else’s profile while that same image achieved little traction on your own profile. What makes that strange is when that viral pin surpasses everything the repinner has achieved with any of her other pins.

    If the pin quality can be assessed by the popularity of a domain. How is it that a single pin from a new blog has climbed to over 5000 repins over the years without slowing down?

    It is hard to measure results if you don’t really have a clue what caused engagement or what prevents it. Sometimes it is impossible to recreate a method that proved particularly successful other times the success does not recur.

    In a nutshell besides good practices, there are also random events at play.

    I enjoy reading these instructional roadmaps. One size definitely does not fit all and there is alot to be learnt from the individual experiences of others.

    Thank you.

    • Jena Coray says,

      Yes, completely agree- luck and randomness definitely play a huge factor. I still have no idea why some of my pins have gone viral and others don’t. At least there are ways to try to improve the odds in your favor! Thanks for your comment :)

  2. denise12 says,

    Excellent job Jena …. I need to really sit down and concentrate on each item you highlighted. My most viral has been a Robin Williams quote I did on one of our photos, I have no idea how people are finding it!!! We are launching new products soon, so I had better get my act together with all your great advice! Thanks for posting this.

    • Jena Coray says,

      Hi Denise,
      Awesome, thanks for reading! Glad you found it helpful. I know, isn’t it weird what goes viral? I’ve had that happen to a couple random quotes as well! If only there were a secret formula… Good luck with the launch of your new products!

  3. I am in the process of starting to build a business and have just begun to explore Pinterest and how it applies to business. This article has appeared at the perfect time and contains so much useful information. Thank you for sharing.

  4. fabulous post! so informative and written in a way I don’t tune it out after 5 minutes ;) thank you!

Leave a Reply

Or discuss this post in person by joining our Facebook group for creative product-based businesses.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more like this