Pinterest has gone from an unknown to a behemoth within the social space in just a few short years. To point, in 2012 Pinterest saw a whopping 1047% increase in unique PC visitors! There is no question Pinterest is here to stay, just take a look at this infographic and I’ll stop blabbing about Pinterest growth.

Assuming you’re website or company aligns nicely with the heavily female demographic and highly visual content, then Pinterest is an absolute gold mine to drive traffic and revenue through your marketing efforts. With every big brand imaginable rushing to take advantage of this huge opportunity, here are a few tips to help you better leverage Pinterest to accomplish your goals.

Shared Boards

While big brands have the brand clout and recognition to quickly build up a massive audience to market to, it is much more difficult for a smaller brand or individual blogger to have such reach. Much like other social networks, increasing this audience can be a slow and painful process. Enter shared boards.

Shared boards, or group boards, are Pinterest boards that let multiple Pinners contribute to the same board. This often leads to much bigger and more authoritative boards that more quickly accumulate lots of followers. A small brand or individual blogger need only gain access to these shared boards to tremendously increase their reach instantly. For someone new to Pinterest this opens the door quickly to be seen by way more than what your own Pinterest account will allow.

Of course, to use these shared boards you have to find them and then gain access to them. Here are a few tips on finding them:

Advanced Search Queries

Use advanced search queries on Google – many of these boards have similar verbiage in the board description such as ASQ_pin_boards“email me to join”, “email me for an invite”, “join this board” etc. A simple search on Google along the lines of “[topic of interest] + [Pinterest] + [“board description verbiage”]” will usually bring up shared boards in which you can then ask to pin on as seen in the the image to the side. Ultimately, the number of search queries you can use is only limited by your creativity.

Pinterest’s Pareto Principle

Often times the best way to find shared boards is to click on the owner of any shared board you have found. Once you’re on their Pinterest page scroll through their boards and more often than not you’ll find many, many shared boards. Oftentimes, they’ve created other shared boards open to be joined and/or have joined shared boards themselves. I have no data to back this up but anecdotally I would guess that the 80/20 rule (aka the Pareto principle) applies with shared boards. Meaning that 80% of the shared boards are created by 20% of actual Pinterest users. The challenge is to find that 20%!shared_boards_user's_board

Paid Services

If neither of these “manual” methods appeals to you, or you are short on time, then there are also companies now dedicated solely to Pinterest marketing. These companies often have knowledge of many shared boards and have the expertise to drive big results in Pinterest. One example is Dilly Marketing, who offers custom Pinterest campaigns for clients big and small. (Full disclosure: I know the owners of this business but was not asked to mention this nor have any ownership or affiliate relationship with the company.)

Once you’ve found your boards your mission is to get accepted. Getting on shared boards can range from sending a simple email, to leaving a comment on an “Add Me” pin, joining a special Facebook group, or just commenting on any pin on the actual board and tagging the owner as you ask nicely to be added. This will typically be detailed in the board description. As with many other things, the harder it is to get on the board often the more valuable the board is.

BONUS TIP: Once you get on these boards make sure to pin first to your board and then repin to the shared boards. This way every time it is repinned by others there is a note that says you (or your brand) originally pinned the image. More brand visibility!

Know Thy Pinners

Like any other marketing channel there is a best time to market to your potential customers. While there are a plethora of paid tools and Pinterest analytic services, including Pinterest’s own very basic Analytics platform launched in March 2013, I’ve found using Google Analytics to be just as useful (and much cheaper) to determine both the best day and time of day to push your content.

Day of Week & Time of Day

For both of these insights you’ll simply need to pull a report from the “Audience Overview” screen. The only difference is that for one you’ll need to select “hourly” for your table plot and the other by “day”. By pulling an Excel report from Google Analytics it only requires some simple manipulation to get your averages for day of the week and time of day. For example, the data below is from a crafting blog by a stay at home mom. visitors_by_day

One can quickly see that traffic from Pinterest starts to build on Saturday and peaks on Monday. It then falls off until Saturday. Thus, pinning on these three days is going to bring the best results for getting traffic to click through.

The hourly chart shows that traffic peaks during the evening hours – presumably as kids go to bed and the demographic of this crafting blog, women with children, begin to have free time and browse Pinterest.


In both cases you’ll want to remember that this data is always going to be skewed to a certain extent as you push your own content. Meaning that if you’ve always pinned on Tuesdays at 4pm then most likely your Analytics will show this to be the time when visitors most often come to your website. Assuming you have a large enough data set, and a varied Pinning history this shouldn’t be too much of a worry. If you’re just getting started you will want to experiment for both day and time to see which produces the most results. Continue to monitor this over time as your Pinterest account grows to see just what really is the best day and time to push content.

BONUS TIP: Make sure you have a Pinterest plugin or button installed on your site. The best ones can ensure that every individual image shows a “Pin It” button over each image for easier pinning for your website visitors. This will increase your Pinterest audience faster and make this type of analysis all the easier.

Finding and Creating New Traffic Generating Content

Another great way to drive more traffic and ultimately revenue to your website is to continually evaluate what content is producing the most click through traffic rather than just repins. This can be found by drilling down in the referrals section then clicking on Pinterest to see the actual Pinterest URL that sent traffic.

indv_pins 2

Once you are at this point you can click on the individual Pins to see which content has sent traffic (and revenue where applicable) to your website. Look for patterns or certain types of content that drive traffic. This can be a great way to brainstorm new content for your website to be pushed on Pinterest. It is also helpful to look for people who seem to pin your content regularly. Are they influential? If so, find ways to engage them and make sure they are aware of future pins that you think they would be interested in. Lastly, you can also look for popular boards, individual or shared, that your content is pinned on to. This knowledge will help you get on to new shared boards, or again, to properly promote your content by reaching out to the board owner and notifying them of future content they could pin to a board with a big audience.

BONUS TIP: If you’re pretty confident that a certain influencer will pin your content then create content that both achieves your business purposes and is specifically geared towards them. Then tag them in a comment when sharing your content on Pinterest to ensure they both see it and hopefully repin it. You can also email and/or ask them via other social channels for a pin. Just don’t abuse this or no one will want to help you.

There is little doubt leveraging Pinterest can add a significant boost to your business by sending qualified traffic that converts. It’s just a matter of marketing wisely and remembering that while it is a great opportunity, being too promotional or salesy is going to be more detrimental than helpful. Happy pinning and good luck!