Part 2 in our 2018 Influencer Marketing Strategy & Planning Playbook series. 

From product reviews to influencer recommendations, content created by consumers – regardless of where they fall on the spectrum of influence – is the new currency of social capital and brand trust, and it’s critical to keeping (and gaining) market share and competitive advantage in 2018. However, given that 3.2 billion images shared and 3.27 million blog posts are published on average every day, the value of influencer-generated content and user-generated content, as well as the ability to seamlessly adapt to today’s rapidly evolving landscape of new technologies and consumer behaviors isn’t more content. But rather, it lies in delivering influencer-generated and user-generated content on demand when consumers seek it, which accelerates their confidence in making a purchase decision.

Traditionally, influencer marketing success was based on the reach of a social post, dependent on his or her ability to reach their followers. For the algorithmic-based feeds of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, those first 90 minutes determine that post’s exponential visibility and subsequent engagement. However, on Pinterest, Pins lie forever in a state of discoverability – unlike posts on other social networks live and die in followers’ social feeds. Exposure to a Creator’s Pin is not only driven by his or her follower reach, but also by engagement driven over time via search results, category feeds and external websites. Instead of prioritizing social sharing like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, influencer marketing on Pinterest is all about content – and making sure that content is discoverable.

Not only does Pinterest content last 60x longer than the average Instagram post, but Pinterest users actively engage with a piece of content for an average of 110 days after it comes onto the site. Contrast this with Instagram, for which the average shelf life of a post is closer to 72 hours. Because of Pinterest’s extended shelf life, evergreen content outperforms new pins. As such, the ROI of influencer-generated content on Pinterest is higher due to the longer lifespan of the content.

Although Pinterest users represent different stages of the buying journey, the majority (93%) have used Pinterest to plan for, research, or make purchases. Brands can reach users on Pinterest when they’re just starting to shop – before they’ve narrowed their brand or product choices. In fact, 97% of searches on Pinterest are unbranded, leaving ample opportunity for brands to win customers on Pinterest. So how can Marketers operationalize the types of content needed to reach users on Pinterest?

1. Plan Content in Advance

Because Pinterest helps users decide where to shop and what to buy, Pinterest users start searching twice as early as people on other platforms. To stay relevant and top-of-mind to consumers, Pinterest recommends to start saving Pins that are relevant to upcoming trends, seasons and holidays around 45 days early. Then, you can continue adding more Pins daily to maintain steady momentum. Tip: Using Pinterest’s trends guides are a great way to stay ahead of the curve.

Graph of percentage of Pinners who plan content in advance compared to Google and Facebook

2. Choose the Right Image

Given Pinterest’s visual-heavy structure, a marketer’s success is largely driven by a Pin’s visual aesthetic. There are a few features that Pinterest and Pinners favor when it comes to your Pins:

Example of choosing the right image for Pinterest

 Bring Your Best Ideas: People come to Pinterest to find ideas from brands and businesses like you, and they’re actively looking for new ideas to try. Make sure your Pins are actionable and inspiring.

❑ Use Eye Catching Images: Pinterest is visual, so images that stand out and say something about what you offer will give you an edge. Lifestyle images are often more effective than product shots, and high-resolution, high-quality images will always look best. Steer clear of images that are busy – 80% of Pinners use Pinterest on mobile, so make sure your Pin’s message is easy to digest.

❑ Use A Vertical Aspect Ratio: Since Pins are organized into columns, vertical Pins take up more space and stand out more on the platform. The ideal aspect ratio for a vertical Pin is 2:3 – 600px wide x 900px high. Pins that are much longer than that are not recommended as they may be shown truncated in some places, and Pinners will need to closeup in order to see the entire pin.

❑ Consider Adding (A Little) Copy: If your image doesn’t give enough context on its own, add copy to the image to help land your message. Try headers, subheads, or annotations, or take a creative approach on how your type interacts with the image. Just don’t go overboard.

❑ Add Tasteful Branding: Branding conveys credibility and helps people understand who the Pin is coming from. Either include your product or packaging in your image, or your logo (although it’s not recommended to use both in the same image). Avoid logo placement in the corners of the Pin, or it’ll get covered up by Pinterest’s visual search icon.

3. Provide Helpful, Detailed Descriptions

When someone taps a Pin to see it close up, they’ll also see your description. If your objective is to drive clicks, use the description copy to hint that there’s more to see on your website. A strong call to action – like ”shop,” “make,” “find,” or “buy” – will encourage people to take the next steps.

4. Use Good Keywords

Make sure your Pins show up in relevant searches by having an image, title and description that match the keywords you’re targeting. Think about when you want your Pin to appear and who you want to see it. For example,  if you’re a food brand with a Thanksgiving recipe, use words like “Thanksgiving” and “recipe.”

Search can also help you find keywords. For example, if your Pin is a roast chicken recipe, search for “roast chicken” on Pinterest. You’ll see suggested searches for “roast chicken whole” and “roast chicken oven” and search guides like “simple” or “cast iron”. All of these are great keywords you can add to your description (if appropriate!).

5.  Add Relevant Hashtags

Hashtags are also a great way to reach users interested in your content. People use hashtags to discover trending, relevant content.

When adding hashtags, Pinterest recommends being specific and descriptive – with the recommendation of adding no more than 20 hashtags per Pin.  Hashtags should act as broad search terms, not niche humor (#springfashion is great, #ilookterribleinhats is not).

6. Create and Organize Boards

It’s important to create a range of boards that showcase your brand in a thoughtful way, making sure each board is filled with enough Pins. Remember that people can pick and choose which boards they want to follow, so not every board has to be relevant to your entire audience.

Example of a properly curated Pinterest board from Kroger❑ Cover Pin: For each board, choose a cover Pin that can quickly give people insight into what’s on the boards – often the ones with the most saves or seasonal relevance work well.

❑ Board Name: When naming boards, keep names clear and concise so people can tell what’s on them – keeping names under 20 characters or less so it doesn’t get cut off.

❑ Board Description: It’s important to fill in the description, which can inspire people to follow your board in addition to giving Pinterest’s search engine insight into how you categorize products, which will aid in overall visibility.

❑ Board Organization: When it comes to board organization, try putting your most relevant boards at the top. For example, these might be seasonal boards or boards with the most saves.

❑ Secret Boards: Only you (and anyone you invite) can see secret boards. When you save a Pin to a secret board, it won’t show up anywhere else on Pinterest. Secret boards can be used as a staging tool in making sure new boards are ready to go before they are launched to the public.

❑ Group Boards: A Group board is just like a regular board, except the owner can invite collaborators to pin on their board and their activity on your board shows up in both your followers’ and the guest Pinner’s followers’ feeds. As such, these boards are a great way to expand your reach and attract new followers. Tip: partner with a few key influencers and have each curate their own board.

Tip: another interesting way to utilize Pinterest’s boards is to create mood boards when in the strategic process. These can be shared with influencers or any other creative partner to get candid feedback and test content/images before they go live.

7.  Experiment with Rich Pins

 A Rich Pin is Pinterest’s enhanced version of a “normal” Pin that adds an extra layer of information to the Pin, designed to provide pinners with a more in-depth experience and help drive engagement. Rich Pins give marketers the ability to link directly to the product page on your website, automatically populating the Pin with pricing information and other quantitative details, providing consumers with more information and further accelerating the path-to-purchase.

According to Pinterest, Rich Pins have higher user engagement than regular Pins – people look at them longer, are more likely to interact with them and are more likely to click through to a brand’s website. Pinterest also prioritizes Rich Pins in its search algorithms because they have a higher value for users looking to make a purchase.

There are four types of Rich Pins to choose from when building out your Pinterest influencer marketing and relations strategy:

❑ Product Pins: Make shopping easier. They include real-time pricing, availability and where to buy your next product.

❑ Recipe Pins: Get cooks excited with all the right info: ingredients, cooking times and serving sizes.

❑ Article Pins: Help Pinners save stories that matter to them. Each Article Pin shows a headline, author and story description.

❑ App Pins: Show an install button so people can download your app without leaving Pinterest.

8. Be Regular & Consistent

As with any social media strategy, timing is everything. In terms of cadence, daily activity is better than once a week sporadic posting. Aim to add 5-30 Pins per day, instead of 100 Pins once a week. Since Pinterest uses its Smart Feed to deliver content, not all Pins are seen at the origin of post. As previously mentioned, Pinterest’s Smart Feed prioritizes content primarily based on Pin quality, which is largely determined by engagement. With this logic, it becomes important for marketers to post content at times when their audience is most ready to engage with it. As such, varying the timing of your post exposes you to different segments of the Pinterest population and can lead to more exposure and engagement.

Download our latest 2018 Pinterest Influencer Marketing Playbook to learn how to create, amplify and measure influencer-generated content on Pinterest, with a step-by-step guide to creating a Pinterest strategy and optimizing content for Pinterest.