Inbound Now #46 - Marketing on Pinterest with Allison Boyer

Allison Boyer joins us for episode 46 of Inbound Now TV!

Allison is the Community Outreach Coordinator and Blog Features Editor for BlogWorld Expo and a Pinterest mastermind.

Recently, she created ”The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Blog, Podcast, or Videos with Pinterest” and joins us today to share some Pinterest marketing best practices she outlines in the book.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Do all businesses belong on Pinterest?
  • How often should you publish pins to Pinterest
  • Tips on growing your following & community on Pinterest
  • Why pictures are critical to your Pinterest strategy and how to create viral pins
  • How to run contests on Pinterest’s with some real-world examples
  • Which third-party Pinterest tools to help streamline your pinning
  • & her best tip to businesses still on the fence about using Pinterest in their marketing mix

Full Transcript

David: Who are you and what do you do?

Allison: Okay. So, my name is Allison Boyer, and I am the Community Outreach Coordinator for the New Media Expo (formerly BlogWorld). So you might know us by that name. I also right aside with my sister and my mom called the PinterTest Kitchen, where we test all sorts of cool recipes and craft projects and all that kind of thing that we find on Pinterest and we post our results so that we would like them on that.

David: Allison, you wrote the Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Blog, Podcast, or Videos with Pinterest. I downloaded the e-book. I thought it was fantastic. I am one of those people that’s still trying to figure out how Pinterest would work for my business and for my clients’ businesses right? So, why don’t we get you on the dive-in to your extreme knowledge base on Pinterest? Sound good?

Allison: Sounds good. Thanks for having me.

David:  So, right now, the biggest demographic on Pinterest is women, ages 25-34. Is, is it really targeted towards that niche demographic, or can other companies kind of benefit from jumping on to Pinterest?

Allison: That’s a really great question I get all the time, and when Pinterest first started, it was primarily, a lot of women that were going on to plan their weddings and vacations and that kind of thing, because Pinterest is so visual. That’s just the audience they attracted right away.

In the U.K Pinterest is actually over 50% male versus female. So, yes, no matter what your business is, you can use it on Pinterest.

But, something that most people don’t know is, in the U.K, it’s, it is a little more even, it’s actually over 50% male versus female. So, yes, no matter what your business is, you can use it on Pinterest. We’re using it for New Media Expo right now, and we are not a wedding blog. We’re a media blog. So yeah, you can use it no matter what your business is.

David: Okay. Cool, cool. What are some examples of companies on Pinterest that are doing it really well that people should go check out their page, and try to mimic what they are doing?

Allison: So, probably the biggest one that I can think of right away is Whole Foods, and they are the grocery store. And you think okay, so they pin their products. No, they actually don’t.

Whole Foods, what they do, they pin pins that are related to food, and very few of their pins are actually from the Whole Foods site. It’s just kind of a community-building thing… They want to get the word out there, that they’re this healthy company that has all these great organic products, green products. So, they are pinning, like organic recipes, or they are pinning, I have, they have a whole board about cheese.

Mike, you’d believe it or not, people love it. So, it’s more about, not about promoting your links, but promoting your community; and I think that’s where a lot of small businesses are going wrong. They get on Pinterest and they just try and promo all of their links, and that’s not really what it’s about. That’s a really good way for people to say, “You are a spammer, and I don’t want to follow you.”

David: Gotcha, gotcha! So, it’s about sharing that content that’s not necessarily linking back to a blog post on your site, but like finding different interesting things around that topic.

Allison: Right, and you can link back to your site. I link back to my own sites all the time, and Whole Foods does as well, but it’s about mixing those links in, and not focusing on them and rather looking for things that your community will be interested in, and focusing on those things instead, and promoting other people that are in your industry, not just yourself.

David:  So what about frequency of posting? How often should you post on Pinterest? Is there too many times you can post in a day? Is it like Twitter? Like what do you see there?

Allison: Well, I wouldn’t say there’s too many times, you don’t want, it’s, it’s like Twitter, we don’t want to clog up the stream for somebody. So, what I always tell people is, it doesn’t matter how many times in a row you post, as long as you are posting to a lot of different boards, on a lot of different topics.

If you only have five boards, and they’re all about marketing and most of them are about your own brand, you don’t want to post 100 pins in five minutes. People are going to say, “Hey! That person is clogging up my stream. I can’t see all the awesome things I want to see.”

But if you have boards about quotes, and boards about humor, and boards about your products, and then boards about whatever you like, then you can post a bunch of times in a row, and it will be seen by different people, and even the people who are following all of your boards, it won’t seem like you are clogging their board, because you’re posting so many different cool things.

With anything, as long as you’re posting quality content, that’s the most important thing. So, if you’re posting quality, post as often as you can, and don’t wait. Get online every day and post on Pinterest.

David: Gotcha!. So, when you first started Pinterest, you started with, I guess, no followers. What are some of the ways to … and if you’re posting different pins and what have you and nobody can see them, it’s, you’re kind of wasting your time, right? So, how did you grow your Pinterest followership, or whatever you call it on Pinterest and how do you kind of see that community?

Allison: Well, it’s a little, it’s a little easier than a lot of social networks, because if you pin something cool, whether it’s your own product or not, it has huge potential to go viral. Just because, especially if it’s an original pin, rather than re-pinning someone else’s content.

If you get online and post something really cool, that no one else is posting on Pinterest yet, you’re going to go viral in a second, and when you go viral, people always see who is the original poster of that pin and they come check out your boards, and a lot of times they follow you.

You do have to make sure as you sign up to get your Pinterest profile populated, with a lot of boards, a lot of different topics, because you want somebody’s that’s new and coming to your profile, to find at least one board that they like, so they’d start following you.

David: Right.

Allison: If your profile is almost empty, or it just has like one board that you’re pinning everything to one board, and you call that board cool stuff, people aren’t going to be as interested in that because cool stuff to you, it might not be cool stuff to them. They might only think one of your pin out of 200 is actually something cool. So, have a lot of boards.

And then the other tip I have, right, I don’t see anybody doing and it blows my mind is go out and comment on other people’s pins. Find people who are in your industry, or in your niche if you’re a blogger, and go out there and see what they’re pinning, and actually comment.

No one’s commenting on each other’s pins and every time I comment on someone’s pin, that person checks me out, and I would say nine times out of ten they follow me or at least one of my boards.

So it does take a little bit of time, but if you do it, if you are diligent about commenting on five or six posts everyday, you are going to get people following you really easily.

David: Cool, and yeah. Another thing that you talk about in your e-book is, in Chapter 3, Advanced Content Promotion Strategies, right? And you say it’s all about the pictures. What do you mean by that?

Allison: Everything on Pinterest is about the pictures. There are people who don’t even read the descriptions. The descriptions are kind of like captions, and some people read them, some people don’t, but you have to have good pictures. If you don’t, no one’s going to re-pin your content and no one’s going to want to follow you.

So, what makes a good picture is a little different than what you might think. A good picture has to be self-contained. So, if you have, if you’re posting something that’s funny, you want that joke to be in that picture. You don’t want them to have to click through to see what the joke is.

If you are posting something that’s not visual, if you aren’t a visual in

[industry visual] niche, you can’t post pictures of food that look amazing or pictures of travel that look amazing. You can do this, by taking just a regular stock photo, like probably what you’re already using with your blog post, or with your podcast, or whatever and just adding the title. It’s that simple.

Just add the title, and people, then it’s a self-contained image. People know if they click what they are going to get. I see people all the time, just pinning a stock photo, and when it’s a logo, or it’s something that they bought from any stock photo site online, it doesn’t tell you what you’re going to get when you click through unless you add those words.

Or even I heard somebody the other day say, add a big great button that says “Click here” because it just reminds people to actually click on the picture to see what’s on the other end.

David: Right, right, right. It’s having that call to action on that. What was the tool? You mentioned a tool in your e-book. I can’t remember the site though.

Allison: Picfont?

David: Yeah, Picfont, where you can easily insert that, that was an awesome tool. I want to recreate something like that.

Allison: Well, the thing is I am not an image person. That’s my least favorite thing. I am a blogger and I am a writer first, and I hate going through and adding images, so I’d always have these like cheesy stock photos that I would find for free online and just post them.

I don’t even have Photoshop on my computer anymore. I was resizing things in Paint. My sister who was like a graphic artist, was like, “Oh my god! She’s using Paint!” But in Picfont, you don’t even have to download the picture on to your computer. You just go [tow] … as long as you find a picture that is very use, it’s free, feel free to use.

Just go and it, you just type in your text and there’s lot of fonts to pick from. Another one if you want a little more control is, and that one allows you to do some really cool stuff with actually editing your picture, and again, you don’t have to have Photoshop and if I can do it, anyone can, seriously.

David: Nice, nice. So, let’s see here. So, you also talk about running contests on Pinterest and I know that’s a really great way to kind of get up and running, get a lot of followers, get a lot of re-pins. What tips can you give people on running pinterest contests? And what are the different types of contests that you’ve seen?

Allison: So, contests work the best when you do have a very visual product, or industry or something that the picture right away is going to attract people’s attention. And there’s a few different ways to do contests on Pinterest.

I think the one I see the most often is “pin it to win it”, where you just pick one of the products that you, you sell, or service, or whatever, and create a really cool image of that product. It’s got to be cool and then you just have everybody pin it, and who, you know then choose a winner.

You do have to do some tracking. Usually, I’d see people, they say you have to use a specific hashtag, or whatever in your description, or you have to tell them that you re-pinned it, or sometimes you have to re-pin it from their board, like you can’t just go to their site and pin it, you have to actually re-pin it from your board. That’s the most common one.

And then there are a lot of really unique Pinterest contests people are doing and probably the best one I saw is from a site called Jetsetter. I don’t know if you have ever heard of them, but they are a travel company and they have people pick from one of our categories. One of them was like an escape or getaway, one of them was a cosmopolitan or whatever.

You can pick any of the categories you liked the best and create a board and you have to pin a certain number of pictures from Jetsetter, but you could pin from whatever you wanted, and they just picked the four boards that they liked.

And then, later I read Mashable, I’m sure you do too, and I just happened to see Mashable profile them because they increased their traffic from Pinterest like a 100%, they increased their own page views like a 150%,

they lowered their bounce rate, it was crazy. All from just running this contest, they gave away four trips and that’s all they did, honestly.

You can give away a few products, or a few hours of your time if you’re a consultant, or whatever you do, if you can give something away, do it on Pinterest. People love free stuffs.

David: Nice, nice. Are there any third-party Pinterest tools that you couldn’t live without, or that you’d recommend other people checking out?

Allison: So, Pinterest is still new and there are some tools, but Pinterest, I mean, I think some of people who make these tools are having problems with the APIs and just … there's a lot of people who went do scheduling in the future. So, I would definitely check out on [re-pinnery],

which is a really cool tool that doesn’t have scheduling yet, but they’re going to as soon as Pinterest allows it.

And then I also use That’s a really good one. There’s a is a really good one. They give you scores that are kind of like clouds, so you can see how well you are doing. I don’t quite a lot of stock into them, no more than you’d actually put into cloud, let’s put it that way.

But, it’s really cool to see which boards are performing well, because then you can try and replicate your success and kind of find out which boards are doing so well, so you can try and figure out what the problem is.

And then there is also, which that one isn’t the monitoring tool. That one’s actually, you can pin a web page, you can pin sticky notes, so you can like, write yourself sticky notes and put it on Pinterest, you can pin quotes, you can pin Twitter accounts. Lots of cool stuffs you can pin from Pinstamatic that you can’t otherwise pin just using the regular pin button.

David: Okay. Cool, cool. See, as I mentioned a little bit earlier in the interview, we’ve been using Pinterest in Inbound Now. We’re trying to figure out exactly how to get more and more traffic from it. Thus far, we haven’t seen too much traffic from Pinterest, and one of the tips in your book that you mentioned was, and this is what one of the things I think we’re getting wrong was, you mentioned putting your content, don’t just put all your blog post into a board called blog post, but instead putting that together into different content categories. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Allison: Right. So, if you have a blog and you have a board called blog posts, someone who comes to your Pinterest profile and they’re brand new, and they don’t know what your blog is, and they don’t, they have no idea what Inbound Now is. I mean, hopefully some people do. But the general Pinterest user might not know what Inbound Now is.

So, if they see Inbound Now blog post, they probably aren’t going to follow your board. On the other hand, if they see, WordPress blog post or WordPress tips, they know what WordPress is and they know they’re interested, or they’re not interested.

David: Right.

Allison: Any topic you could have. So if you are a food blogger and you say, “I am this food blog and this is my blog post board.” People have never read your food blog before, they’re probably not going to be super interested in just following you, because you don’t have any credibility with them yet.

But if you have boards that are called diabetic recipes, somebody who has diabetes is going to say, “Hey! I really need to follow that board, that looks great!” or dessert recipes or even go a little bit further into chocolate recipes.

So, no matter what your business is, you want to try and think of how your community is, how they think of themselves and what topics they like, and not what categories you want to put them in, but what categories they put themselves in, and those are the types of boards that you want to try and create.

And even if it is not super, super-related to your niche, for example, on the New Media Expo blog we have boards about e-mail marketing, boards about blogging, podcasting web-TV, all these are from boards, but then we also have boards about coffee, because we need coffee in the morning.

We have a humor board, we have a geek board. So, all those boards, when someone comes to the New Media Expo profile, they can see that not only our we promoting our own stuff, but we’re also a really fun profile to follow, so they’re more likely to click that “Follow all” button, rather than just follow like one board. And the goal is always to get them to follow all of your boards of course, so.

David: Cool, so you kind of interject personality into the New Media Expo Pinterest account.

Allison: Yeah. You have to because that’s what Pinterest is all about, and that’s what I think is setting it apart from, from Twitter, even from Facebook, and definitely from Google plus, is that this is a place to tell people what you’re like, personally.

One of the examples I always give, Jay Bear, he has a pretty cool Pinterest account. I wish he was there more, so, if you are watching Jay, get on Pinterest more. He has a tequila board, which is really cool, because he likes tequila.

I have seen people who have all their marketing stuffs posted, or other blog stuff pinned, and then they have a board called “what I want for my birthday”, and it’s just really personal way to get to know somebody.

I don’t know about you, but when I am buying something from somebody, especially for the first time, I like to buy something from someone I think is my friend, even if they’re are, even if we don’t really know them. It’s just I want to see that and say, “Hey! I like tequila too. Jay Bear and I, we could be best friends.”

So I am more likely to read his blog, or buy a product from him, because we have like that kind of personal connection. So, yeah, put your personality in your boards definitely.

David: Right, cool. And you guys use a lot of humor and stuff on that too. Do you try to find an existing name, and tweak it to fit in your company or how does that work?

Allison: Well, Deb Ng is actually our Community Manager, and she did a really funny … she is [Jason Falls] and I had all of our community make which is one picture into like [memes], that was really funny, so we pinned that.

But what I like to do is go out and find people in our community who are already posting really cool, funny stuff and I follow them and then I re-pin their stuff, and they’re so thankful for the re-pin that they all follow back a lot of the time.

And then, if something gets super, super popular, don’t be afraid to spin it off into its own board. It might not be popular, but it might something you’re re-pinning a lot because you like it. And if you like it, other people would probably like it too.

So, good example of that is we just had a general humor board at first, and we started posting lot of like, really geeky humor because that’s who we are. We’re all geeks who sit online all day, and so what we did with, we did a spin off board, so now we have just a humor board, but we also have a geek board. So it has all sort of stuffs about Star Wars and Star Trek, and anything geek related. So yeah, definitely spin-off boards, and have more boards rather than fewer boards.

David: Okay. Cool, cool. So, one last question. What would be your best tip to give a business still on the fence about Pinterest? What tip would you give them so they’ll see most of the bang for your buck?

Allison: Okay. So, the best tip I have, get on Pinterest, and use it for yourself. Stop thinking about marketing and just use it and enjoy it, bookmark things you find cool, follow people you find interesting, and just start to use it that way.

Get on Pinterest, and use it for yourself. Stop thinking about marketing and just use it and enjoy it, bookmark things you find cool, follow people you find interesting, and just start to use it that way.

And then, once you start to build a following, then start adding in your marketing boards, start pinning your own products, because I think once you learn how to use Pinterest and start really enjoying it, just because you’re bookmarking cool stuff that you want to do in your own house and cool stuff you want to do on your own site, then you can kind of start to see the benefits.

And you can start to get about a handle on what people like on Pinterest, and why certain pins get popular and certain pins don’t. So yeah, that’s my biggest tip is go on and use it for yourself and forget the marketing at first.

David: Cool. Allison, where can people find you online?

Allison: Everywhere. So, I blog for New Media Expo and right now that blog is A new site is coming soon. The site I have with my mom and sister is, and if you want to follow me on Pinterest, or on Twitter, it’s allison_boyer.

David: Cool, cool. All right, yeah, I am going to dive in Pinterest, give it another go around and implement some of your tips and we’ll see how it goes.

Allison: I hope it changes your mind, and you start to love it.

Are You Using Pinterest for Your Business? What tips would you share? Leave them in the comments below!