Social media marketing might have once seemed like a supplementary channel to a brand’s main site, but nowadays it’s a massive industry in its own right.
Social media marketing spend is worth billions each year, so brands should keep it top of mind for their affiliate marketing strategies. And one social media channel well worth considering is Pinterest.
A bit about Pinterest
Pinterest launched in 2009, preceded by an app called Tote that was based on the idea paper catalogs were unable to survive in the digital world. Tote users naturally started saving their favorite items and sharing them with others. Based on this, Tote founders developed Pinterest, a social media platform that served as a central place of discovery and sharing of ideas and content.
The site allows users to ‘pin’ or save ideas to different boards and create customized collections they can share with others. While Pinterest is a social media platform, the brand itself has placed more emphasis on its role as a visual search and ecommerce platform. This makes it a fantastic opportunity for affiliate marketing and worth having a Pinterest marketing strategy you can draw on.
Five tips for a Pinterest marketing strategy
1. Leverage your community
Pinterest really champions the power of community and sharing is at the core of its brand. When you use Pinterest as an advertiser, remember that you first and foremost are a user. Engage with the platform, like things, share things and don’t think of it as a them-and-us situation, where users come to you for content but where you can’t enjoy the content of others. This is something that applies to many social media platforms, where engagement is also rewarded. Make sure you:
- Promote your Pinterest account on your other social media channels and vice versa
- Follow as much as you are followed
- Keep an eye on competitors and the sort of users they interact with to inform your activity
2. Have a complete profile
Social media is the perfect carousel of marketing if you do it right. One channel can lead to another and then another. Considering the average user has seven social media accounts, with older generations having at least four, there’s every reason to think that once you capture customer interest on one, they’ll be interested in following you on others. So make sure your profile is complete with links to all channels.
You should also ensure you have a full description with keywords that help users find you. Describe your brand, what you offer and have a profile picture that proves you are the real deal. Like we mentioned above, make sure your profile is full of your own boards and collections and you maintain constant interaction with others. If customers land on an empty profile or one that seems like a marketing outlet, they’re not going to stick around.
Unlike other visually-led social media channels, Pinterest lets users click through on live links. That means your content doesn’t have to be tailored to Pinterest to perform on the platform. You can link to blogs and written content, landing pages, videos, and images. Just make sure to give them all a visually interesting thumbnail — 80% of Pinterest users start with visual searches.
4. Bring value
Every social media has its own draw and Pinterest has made a name for itself as a place of education and entertainment. Over 80% of Pinterest users also use Instagram, so give them reason to come to Pinterest. Things like tutorials, how-to guides and recipes have found a natural home on Pinterest because they can be saved on a board and referred back to later. Tap into this ability to make content that is both useful now and in the future by encouraging interactive engagement through crafts, cooking, fashion styling or anything that means users can directly contribute and react to.
5. Be consistent
Variety of content is one thing, but your overall offering and identity should always be consistent, sincere and authentic. Pinterest users are largely in the millennial bracket and this demographic prizes genuine interactions from influencers, brands and other users. If you present yourself as a minimalist eco-friendly account, for example, don’t drop this persona because maximalism is suddenly a new hot topic. Decide what your defining values are and stick to them rigorously.
Why should Pinterest be used for affiliate marketing?
There are plenty of reasons why Pinterest naturally lends itself to affiliate marketing, but here are some key statistics that prove you should start building a Pinterest marketing strategy:
97% of the top Pinterest searches are unbranded
Pinterest users are open to discovering new ideas and concepts from anywhere — you don’t need to be a massive brand or brag about your business to capture their interest. Even small businesses and entrepreneurs can target their audiences with ease.
Most users say the platform makes them feel positive
This may not seem like a big deal considering most social media users are active daily visitors, but with studies showing that some social media platforms may do more harm than good, Pinterest has something of a wholesome reputation. It’s a great foundation of positivity to work off of, so keep those good vibes going by shaping your Pinterest strategy to deliver real value and not just an empty sale. Incorporate links into pins that encourage education and valuable interactions and make sure the values of your brand shine through.
The majority of moms use Pinterest
According to one study, eight out of every 10 US mothers use Pinterest. Add to that the fact moms are the most likely to react to word-of-mouth referrals and Pinterest is the perfect platform for reaching this audience. The ‘mom’ customer base also gives you a primed audience for all sorts of market niches, from childcare to family travel, as well as general female-led segments like beauty and wellness.
How to get started with Pinterest affiliate marketing?
Make sure you’re using a business account
Business accounts let you use your Pinterest profile for commercial purposes. If you already have a strong presence on a non-business account then don’t worry, you can switch it to a business profile with a few clicks. Business profiles open up useful tools to track your marketing efforts, including analytics and deeper audience insights. While they are called business accounts these insights are useful for publishers too, so you may want to encourage your affiliate partners make their accounts business profiles as well.
Your brand may also want to consider joining the Verified Merchant Program. It’s free, helps your brand stand out from the crowd, and businesses in the program typically see a conversion rate increase of 17% compared to brands that aren’t involved. Verified merchants get an exclusive eye catching badge – signaling a stamp of approval from the Pinterest team – and are able to appear in ‘related pins’ helping you further increase the reach of your brand.
Pay attention to the data
Pinterest’s tools help you understand how your pins and affiliate links are performing, essential for brands looking to build a Pinterest presence. Pin Stats allow you to see which pins are gaining the most clicks and generate new ideas from them. The Pinterest Trends Dashboard provides insight on what Pinterest users are looking for so you can adjust your marketing efforts accordingly and Pinterest Analytics gives you a closer insight into how your page is doing and what you might want to try next. Can you spin-off new content from your highest-ranking pin? Make additional supporting pins? Copy the format for another successful post? Pinterest’s marketing tools help you create the perfect formula for marketing success.
These features are extended further if a brand claims its website. Claiming your website will mean that your brand’s name is generated alongside every pin that Pinterest users create from your site. This is a great way to make sure you’re able to capitalize on user generated content and provide people with a direct line back to your page, even if the pin they see doesn’t have an affiliate link. Enabling Rich Pins will automatically update your pins with information from your site, making your pins more informative and more enticing to potential customers. You can also add Pinterest Widgets which will allow users to save pins directly from your site or follow you on Pinterest without needing to leave the page. Both of these features will help you become easier to find on Pinterest and more attractive to potential publishers as a result.
Connect your catalog
With Pinterest Catalogs, you can upload your entire ecommerce product feed directly into Pinterest – where each item will be displayed as a Product Pin within a Shop tab on your profile. This will allow potential customers to find your products much more easily than they would be able to otherwise. To use Pinterest Catalogs, you will need a business account, a claimed website, and a product catalog that Pinterest can take this data from. If you are a Shopify or WooCommerce user, you can do this by connecting your shopfront to your Pinterest business account. Your product catalog will then automatically be imported into Pinterest. Merchants with exceptionally large inventories, or catalogs which see frequent updates throughout the day, may instead opt to connect their catalog with the Shopping API.
Brands who connect their catalogs typically see five times more impressions than those who don’t. This gives merchants a huge boost in discoverability in terms of both customers and potential affiliate partners.
Add multiple pins per piece of content
The more pins, the more traffic. So for a blog post, you can have one pin that is text based, another that is visual, another that has typography, one that’s a listicle, and so on. Encourage your publishers, and challenge yourself, to be creative with pins and get as many eyes as possible on your content. This will all lead to your brand’s site and products.
If you and your affiliate partners have access to a social media scheduler, you can automate your pins, helping you plan dozens of posts well in advance and keep up with any competing brands. This helps you stay consistent as all your content will be created at once, following a natural sense of curation and flow rather than hurriedly created on the spot as and when you think you should post a new pin. However, relying purely on automation and not logging into the app itself may cause the Pinterest algorithm to no longer recognize you as an active user, so logging in and liking and sharing is still key.
Make the most of promoted pins
In addition to affiliate marketing on Pinterest, you can also pay for increased visibility with promoted pins. This can help you target a specific audience segment and promoted pins will appear in the most common feeds for them. Like any paid activity, it’s important to do your research and implement a test-and-learn strategy to ensure your budget is optimized.
Get visually slick
As mentioned, Pinterest is a very visual platform, but that doesn’t mean just any old visuals will do. Like any social media channel or any site for that matter, quality will draw in more users. Don’t settle for poor images that suffer from blur or poor lighting. Put some real effort into creating something that looks as professional as your brand.
Show, don’t tell
On the note of visuals, make sure you’re really showing what your brand stands for. Don’t just tell your audience what you’re good at. For example, if you’re eco-friendly, show those products and their plastic-free packaging. Pinterest is a showcase of ideas and you should be prepared to show off.
ShareASale and Pinterest affiliate marketing
ShareASale has a huge database of Pinterest and social media affiliates that brands can work with to generate more sales and revenue. ShareASale’s powerful tools allow brands to see how these key collaborations are performing and make the most of their affiliate marketing strategy.