In case you hadn’t noticed, Pinterest has been in the news a lot recently.
In November last year, Pinterest started courting the business community with the creation of its business-specific accounts and a dedicated business support page.
Then earlier this month, Pinterest quietly raised a cool $200 million at an astonishing $2.5 billion valuation – not bad for a company that has yet to make a profit!
Most intriguing of all though was a study published last week by research center Pew. It suggested that Pinterest has grown so quickly, it’s now on course to catch Twitter in the battle for second place behind Facebook in the US social networking market.
These events indicate that Pinterest is quickly evolving from being last year’s hot new upstart to a legitimate social network that should be part of your marketing mix.
How can you maximize your time on Pinterest?
But how can you maximize your Pinterest activities without spending a ton of time on it? Well, along with scheduling your pins, one of the most effective but underutilized strategies to get more exposure from Pinterest is by using group boards.
Now, if you’re new to Pinterest, you may only know of regular boards that only you can pin to. You may have never have heard of group boards. Or maybe you have but you don’t know how to use them or don’t think they apply to you.
I’ve been dabbling with group boards over the past few months and have seen a dramatic increase in followers since I strategically introduced them to my Pinterest marketing.
So in this post I am going to demystify group boards, explain the advantages of using them and outline a few ways you can get started straightaway with this strategy.
What Are Pinterest’s Group Boards?
A group board works like a regular Pinterest board. The only difference is that along with the board creator, other people are also allowed to pin.
Group boards go under many different names – shared boards, contributor boards, community boards and collaborative boards. Regardless the term, they are all exactly the same thing.
There is currently no directory of Pinterest group boards. In order to distinguish a group board from a regular one you need to look out for the group icon at the top of a board when you are browsing someone’s page.
This snapshot of Jeff’s Pinterest page clearly shows that the board on the left, “For The Home”, is one of Jeff’s own, whilst the two other boards have contributors.
Key Benefits of Using Group Boards
Group boards are not only a great way to organize ideas and bring people together, but they can also have real tangible benefits for your brand and business.
#1. Dramatically boost your followers
If you join a group board with hundreds or thousands of followers they will automatically become your followers too. More followers means greater exposure.
#2. Exponentially increase the number of repins
The more followers you have the more likely they (and their followers) are to see your content, repin your pins and click through to your website. This means more traffic to your site and potentially more subscribers, customers and clients.
#3. Put your pinning virtually on autopilot
Implement this strategy correctly and you could get other people creating content for.
Certainly at the start, Pinterest can be time-consuming but managed well, you could soon have a team of people perpetuating your content for you across their networks.
#4. Increase engagement and create brand ambassadors
Your customers may already be liking, commenting and sharing your content with their followers on Pinterest. But inviting them to pin to your brand’s group board will get them more engaged and involved in your online conversation.
It will also elevate them to the role of brand ambassadors, who their followers are more likely to take note of.
Let’s take a look now at some ways you can harness the power of group boards in your business.
How Can Businesses Use Group Boards?
- Collaboration – are you working with other people, employees or co-workers on a specific project? Use group boards to share industry-specific tips, training materials and resources. Make the board “secret” if you want to keep the information under wraps.
- Planning – are you a wedding planner, interior designer or in charge of an event that requires input from others? Invite the stakeholders to join you on a group board where you can collect and share design ideas, compare menus, color schemes, flower arrangements, room layouts, fabric samples and so on.
- Promotion– thinking of running a contest, raising funding for your big idea or promoting a worthy cause? Group boards are perfect for engaging your audience, getting customers to interact with your brand as well as sharing data, statistics, success stories etc to raise awareness about your brand or a particular issue.
- Networking – why not invite other pinners to pin about a common topic and expand your network at the same time? Bloggers especially can benefit from group boards by using them to connect with other bloggers and actively repinning each other’s content as part of a blogging network.
- Authority – are you knowledgeable about a particular subject area? Create a themed group board and contribute regularly to build credibility and establish yourself as a thought leader to the board’s followers.
How To Create A Contributor Board
Go to the Pinterest home page and click on the Add + tab at the top of the page.
Then select the option to Create a Board.
Next choose a name for your new board, select a category and whether you want to make it a private (secret) board or a public one.
The final step is to decide who you want to add as a contributor.
How To Add Contributors
There are two ways to make someone a contributor:
- You can type their email address into the Who can pin? field. Pinterest will email them an invitation and prompt them to join Pinterest if they haven’t done so already.
- The easier way is to simply add the username of a pinner you would like to invite. The only condition is that you must be following them first.
As you start typing their name, Pinterest will automatically bring up all the potential matches i.e. people with those initial letters in their username.
Just select the names you want to add as contributors, click invite and then save your settings using the Create Board button.
Pinterest will send an invitation from you, the board creator, to the invitees to join your board. When they accept, they can pin on the same board with you and the group board will appear on every contributor’s page.
You can of course make any of your current boards into a group board. Just follow the steps above from How To Add Contributors.
A word of caution.
Pinterest will send you a notification each time a contributor pins to a group board. I recommend you turn off these notifications to avoid bombarding your inbox with unnecessary emails.
Just select the group board in question, click the Edit Board button and turn off the notifications tab.
Keep An Eye On Your Contributors And Group Boards
Remember that you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) accept every invitation you get to join a group board. Be selective.
Check to make sure that the board is on-brand for your business and a good fit for your audience before agreeing to join. The number of followers on a group board is another metric to take note of; the more followers a group board has, the greater the exposure you can expect for your business.
When you follow a group board, you will be able to see all of the content that is currently on that board. Any new pins that get added to this group board will also appear on your Pinterest feed, regardless of the person who is pinning the images.
There is currently no way to filter which pins you can see.
This means that you might see pins from people you are not directly following which could include inappropriate content and spam.
Make a point of regularly monitoring your feed and respond quickly if you spot something undesirable by taking one of the following actions:
How To Remove Someone From A Group Board
If you would like to remove someone you have added to a particular group board just select the group board, and click on the Remove tab next to their name.
You can also delete the board entirely if you created it by hitting the Delete Board on the far right.
How To Leave A Group Board
In the example below, you can see Jeff was added to someone else’s Marketing Infographics board and that he can leave any time.
Pinterest will prompt you by asking if you are sure you want to leave the group board, just click Leave again and you will be permanently removed from that board.
It’s important not to go overboard with this strategy and send out blanket invitations to all your followers. Not everyone welcomes group board invitations especially persistent ones so be careful not to annoy people!
In fact, the Pinterest blog recommends that you should only send invitations to Pinterest users who have expressed an interest in your pins and to avoid sending out repeat requests.
One way of encouraging people to join your group boards is to add a line in the board description. You could state that you welcome contributors and that anyone interested in joining the board should add a comment against a pin.
So there you have it, a whirlwind tour of Pinterest’s group boards.
What do you think? Is this a strategy you’ll be trying out? Or have you already set up a few group boards? Please comment below and share how they are working out for you.
Image by ddatch54