Social Media Breakfast Madison
Jess Bahr

Jess Bahr

If there is one rule that will help you be a successful marketer on Pinterest, it is this, Jess Bahr told us Wednesday at October’s Social Media Breakfast:

“You want to be the answer people are searching for.”

That’s because, unlike Facebook or Twitter, Pinterest really is a search platform rather than a social platform, said Jess, who is Lead Senior Strategist for SocialFlow, a New York based social media optimization platform for leading brands and publishers.

Pinterest is about the future, Jess said. People on Pinterest are planning things: weddings, vacations, etc., rather than checking the latest news or friend updates.

“People are there with the intent of taking an action,” she said.

“The golden rule of Pinterest is to be helpful. If you are the answer to their question and provide value, then they are going to be clicking through to your content.”

JessBahr_VacationPins_200pxJess showed two beach pictures from Pinterest: only one of which had descriptive information. The one with the description, she said, received 20 times more re-pins than the simple photo. Part of that is that people come to Pinterest for information, and part of it is because the search engine recognizes the information provided, which makes it easier for people to find your content.

And here is a big advantage of Pinterest content over Facebook or Twitter content: It keeps its value a lot longer! The lifespan of an average pin is 3.5 months, which 1,600 times longer than that of a Facebook post. The pin you posted months ago is still there for the search engine to find. And people quite possibly are still re-pinning it. So your best value is from “evergreen” pins – those that are just as valuable and relevant months later as they were the day you posted them.

So, the key then becomes, how do people find your content on Pinterest?

Of course, you need to be visual and you need to be informative. It helps to organize information with lists and to have text overlays that help your image speak to the user. And those tips apply equally to organic and promoted pins.

“The better your content performs organically the better it will perform when promoted,” she said.

Sure, you want to brand your promoted images but don’t overwhelm people with branding, she said. “Keep it clean and don’t look too advertorial.”

Your objectives with promoted pins, Jess said, should be threefold:

  1. Awareness
  2. Intent
  3. Action

Promoted pins can be structured as CPM (cost per thousand impressions), CPC (cost per click), or CPA (cost per acquisition, using conversion tag on your website to measure conversions).

Helping people find your content starts with using the right keywords, she said, suggesting that you target 30+ keywords per pin. You can use Google Adwords to help identify your best keywords. Balance longer, specific keywords with broader topic keywords, and include close misspellings of your brand and major keywords. (Targeting capabilities on Pinterest also include terms, location, language, device and gender.)

How much you spend varies greatly depending on the nature of your business and your budget, Jess said. Experiment. If your pin is showing too low in search, add some money to the budget to see what it will take to bring it up to where you really want it.

Frequency of pinning is different than Facebook or Twitter where your audiences might be expecting a regular flow in their news feed. Because Pinterest is more of a search platform it’s not as important that you post continuously, Jess said.

“The bottom line, she said, is “pins should be useful.”


Bill HurleyWritten by , (@billhurleymedia / billhurleymedia.com / beachmaniac.com) Editor, writer, social media strategist, website developer, digital publisher.  BillHurleyMail@gmail.comBill@smbmad.org.


Here is the video, thanks to Geekazine:

Jess’s presentation:

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