How to Use Pinterest to Promote your Online Business

How to Use Pinterest to Promote your Online Business

Pinterest is a big hit with bloggers and businesses everywhere. It can be a goldmine for driving traffic to your website and boosting your page views. With the right strategies, Pinterest can really help to grow your business.

1 What is Pinterest?
            1.1 What is a Pin?
            1.2 What are Boards?
            1.3 What are Group Boards?
            1.4 What are Rich Pins?
            1.5 How Pinning Works
2 Why do Businesses like Pinterest?
            2.1 What Businesses Work Well on Pinterest?
            2.2 What Businesses Don’t Work on Pinterest?
3 What’s the Difference Between a Business Account and a Personal Account?
4 Manual Pinning vs. Scheduled Pinning
            4.1 What is a Scheduler?
5 The Magic Ratio of Your Own Pins to Third Party Content
6 Using Keywords on Pinterest
7 Advertising with Pinterest
8 Developing a Successful Pinterest Strategy

1. What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a popular visual search engine, which makes it different from other social media platforms. People use Pinterest for ideas and inspiration; it allows people and businesses to share images from their website, or upload them directly to Pinterest. Those images will always have a link attached, which makes it a really effective way to drive traffic to your website or blog.

A typical user on Pinterest scrolls through their feed, finding articles that interest them. They will either click through to the website attached to the image, or “pin” (save) the image to one of their boards to keep for later. People can also choose to pin directly from a website, to bookmark the article to refer to another time.

What is a Pin?

A ‘pin’ is simply an image that has been saved (or pinned) to Pinterest. You may hear people talking about a ‘pinnable image’; this is just an image designed to do well on Pinterest.

A pinnable image is generally tall (although square images seem to be making a comeback). Pinterest’s recommended ratio is 2:3, so an image size of 600px wide by 900px tall works well. You can upload either PNG or JPG images. PNG images tend to look better but are larger files. Pinterest attaches these images to the URL of a blog post or product sales page, though you can link them to any URL you like, including your Facebook page or group, PDFs and many more.

Pinnable images sometimes have a clear text overlay explaining what the article they link to is about.

What are Boards?

Boards are the places that people save pins to. They are like a visual storage box. Your Pinterest business account can (and should) have multiple boards. Ideally, your boards will all relate to the overall theme that your target audience is interested in.

For example, if your website is about gardening, you may have boards called “Seed Sowing,” “Vegetable Gardening,” “Gardening Tools,” “Summer Garden,” “Herb Garden,” and so on. It would NOT be helpful to also have boards for “Ball Gowns” and “Wedding Hairstyles.”

The aim of the game is to build a niche following that love and engage with your pins and boards. Adding non-relevant boards to an account or non-relevant pins to a board simply dilutes your overall effectiveness.

If you don't have a separate personal account for Pinterest but have pins you want to save for your own use, you can set up secret boards for non-relevant topics. These can only be seen by you and won't affect the keyword optimisation of your Pinterest profile.

What are Group Boards?

When you’re creating or editing a board, you have the option to add contributors. A board with two or more contributors is called a group board. Group boards can be used to your advantage in a good Pinterest strategy, as they increase your reach to include all the followers of the board, instead of just your own account’s followers. Group boards are getting less reach in the algorithm in 2019, but good, active, niched down group boards are still worth being a part of.

What are Rich Pins?

If you have a website, and are planning on creating pinnable images to upload to Pinterest, you should enable Rich Pins. Rich Pins are simply rich snippets that add additional information to your pins. You’ll be able to recognise Rich Pins in your feed, as they have bolded titles and the website’s logo in the description.

To apply for Rich Pins, you must have a Pinterest business account. Then, just follow these three steps:

1. Go to the debugger page

2. Enter the URL for ONE of your website pages that contain additional rich data - e.g., a product, recipe or article (not your homepage) into the debugger.

3. Push the “debug” button. Once it has reloaded, scroll down and push “apply to Rich Pins.”

For Rich Pins to work, you’ll need to have the rich data available for your product, article or recipe. The way to get the rich data on to your site varies depending on what platform you are using for your site, so it’s best to check with your website provider.

How Pinning Works

Visitors to your site can use a social sharing button that you have installed, or a Pinterest extension they have in their browser to save (or pin) an image from your site to their own boards on Pinterest. It will automatically point to the page that they saved it from, and you won’t immediately know that they’ve done it.

To find out what has been pinned from your site you can go to: - just replace “yoursitename” with your own website’s name.

2. Why do Businesses Like Pinterest?

The amazing thing about Pinterest is that it is (for now) free for businesses and bloggers to set up and run an account. Pinterest actually relies on other websites to produce the content that it uses to drive the whole system. Without those websites, Pinterest would just be a bunch of people’s ‘Nailed it’ photos.

But why is Pinterest such a great marketing tool?


For the most part, the majority of businesses and blogs that use Pinterest to drive pageviews do so for free. Even if you do decide to use a paid scheduling program or choose to promote some of your pins, Pinterest is still a very low-cost way of promoting your website or products.

Potential Reach

Pinterest boasts more than 250 million active users per month, and that number is only growing. That is a LOT of eyeballs that could be looking at your content.

Like any social media platform, the more popular your content is, the more people will see it. In the past, your Pinterest feed was simply filled up with a real-time view of what the people you followed were pinning.

These days, there are two feeds you can choose to see on Pinterest:

The Smart Feed - this relies on an algorithm influenced by the people that you follow and related pins. More popular pins will show up first, and it’s what you see when you first log in to Pinterest, or click on the little (P) icon at the top of your page.

The Followers Feed - this is a feed of Pins that have been pinned ONLY by profiles that you have chosen to follow.

What Businesses Work Well on Pinterest?

Pinterest works really well for businesses that:

Sell products (particularly to women aged between 20 and 50)
Have a blog or publish articles
Have “evergreen content” (content that’s always relevant) on their website
Share recipes
Have DIY tutorials or “How Tos”
Are Crafty/Artistic

Demographics provided by Pinterest: 70% of Pinterest users are women, and 50% of them are in the United States. 60% of the users are parents of young children, and 40% of users have a family income of over $100,000 USD per year.

The topics that do best, according to Pinterest, are:

Home Decor/DIY

What Businesses Don’t Work on Pinterest?

There are some instances where Pinterest may not work so well. Examples would be short-term products, giveaways or current events. As pins can take up to a year to build momentum, and can keep driving traffic even after a year, you need to be sensible about what you choose to put out as a pin. Unlike Facebook, there is currently no way of choosing when to stop showing a pin in people’s feeds.

To help you figure out which Social Media platform(s) will work best for your business, check out this article.

3. What’s the Difference Between a Business Account and a Personal Account?

There are two types of accounts on Pinterest, a business account, and a personal account. If you have been using a personal account for your business, you can swap it over SUPER easily by visiting:

The extra features of a business account are:

You can have a custom Pinterest URL
You can link to your own site in your profile
You can access Pinterest analytics
You can enable Rich Pins
You can promote pins (paid ads)

If you currently have a personal account and you’re using it for both personal and business pins, you’re better off starting a business account from scratch. This way, you can be sure that you are getting engaged followers that want to see your business-related pins, not the ones that were following you for your personal pins.

4. Manual Pinning vs. Scheduled Pinning

As with all the other social media platforms, Pinterest rewards you if you actually engage with it. Accounts that use schedulers are not penalised, but if you manually turn up and pin from Pinterest at least a couple of times per week, you will get better results.

What is a Scheduling Tool?

Like any social media these days, there are ways to automate your Pinterest profile. The main scheduler that people use is Tailwind. It is one of the few that has approved API access to Pinterest.

Some people also use Buffer for this, but their features are quite limited.


Tailwind’s advanced analytics are worth paying for on their own, even without the other features that it offers. Tailwind is the only scheduler that’s approved by Pinterest, and it uses Pinterest’s API (an authority code) to pin your pins, meaning Pinterest can’t tell the difference between Tailwind’s pins and its own.

Tailwind’s features include:

Daily Schedule - you can choose to set up your schedule yourself, or even better, let Tailwind set up a smart schedule for you. You can also choose how many times per day to pin, and at what times.

Tribes - these are like group boards on steroids. You can share your pins to a tribe and other tribe members will then add your pins to their own schedules. This is a great way to expand your reach with other pinners in your niche.

Board Lists - to make sharing out to your own boards and group boards faster and easier, you can add your boards to board lists. Then, when you are scheduling a pin, you simply choose the board list from the dropdown and Tailwind will add all the boards in that list to the schedule for you.

Pin inspector - this is one of the more powerful tools that Tailwind offers. Here you can see which pins are doing the best, so you can make more that are similar. You can also reschedule pins from here.

Board Insights - here you can find out which group boards are doing the best or worst for you. Boards that are not performing well will be dragging down your overall reach, so it is good for you to keep track, that way you can leave the poor boards.

Tailwind’s price plans are quite affordable, starting from $9.99 USD/month. They also offer a free trial, so you can test it out before you decide to commit. Honestly, the amount of time you'll save each day and the amazing insights it gives you through its analytics make it worth the price.

5. The Magic Ratio of Your Own Pins to Third Party Content

So how many pins should you share from your own website, as opposed to pins leading to other people’s URLs?

I hate to say it, but there is no magic ratio. You will hear people saying 50:50 or 80:20, but that’s not always the case. As long as you’re pinning a mixture of your own pins to your own boards and group boards and third party (other people’s) pins to your own boards, then you will be ok.

6. Using Keywords on Pinterest

As with Google, people use Pinterest to search for terms, so it’s helpful to add keywords that you would like to appear in searches for in the following places:

Image Titles
Image Alt text (this is the default place to pull a pin description from)
Pin descriptions
Board descriptions
Profile description
Board names

If you'd like to know more about using keywords to help your business get found on Pinterest, click here to check out our post on Pinterest SEO.

7. Advertising with Pinterest

Pinterest has developed its own way of boosting a pin so that more people see it. They call it a “Promoted Pin.” You can pay a small (or large) amount to ensure that your pin is seen in targeted searches, as well as in the top of targeted Smart Feeds.

This feature is fairly new, and it is presumed by many that, like other social media, in the future, it’ll become more and more important to have promoted pins as part of your Pinterest strategy.

8. Developing a Successful Pinterest Strategy

Pinterest is a long game. There is no quick solution, and to be most effective on Pinterest you need a strong, winning strategy.

To start with, think about who you are targeting, what interests they share with your brand and what keywords you should look to rank for within Pinterest. If you want to learn more about Pinterest (from getting your account set up right through to advanced strategies to maximise your Pinterest profile), we have affordable Pinterest courses available for every level (click here to find out more).

Pinterest is a phenomenal way to get free traffic to your site or products; you just need to get the basics set up correctly and adopt a winning pinning strategy.

Do you use Pinterest to promote your online business? Let us know in the comments, and tell us what Pinterest strategies have worked best for you.