How to Use Pinterest to Drive Traffic

Ben Farrell


Pinterest is an incredibly powerful and highly unique social media platform. It stands aside from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and turns the idea of content marketing around. Instead of following people, you follow content and topics that interest you. This content may be from hundreds or even thousands of different contributors. Pinterest allows people to curate their own ‘boards’ of content and collect important items on topics and subjects that interest them. This makes it a very powerful tool in driving traffic to your website.

Recent research has shown that Pinterest is the number 2 social media traffic referrer after Facebook and in front of the big boys like Twitter! So, it’s time to realise that Pinterest isn’t just about scrapbooking or arts and crafts, it’s a powerful search platform capable of transforming your business.

I’ve been able to drive 20,000 – 30,000 visitors to my garden blog each week, just from Pinterest! This isn’t just one-off traffic or traffic from one viral pin that then slowly trickles and dies away. This traffic is organic and its linear growth is completely stable.

The way to use Pinterest is not to think of it as social media. You see, it’s not actually social media (even if it’s branded as such). It’s a visual search engine where people can view and collect content and this also means that it’s evergreen. Pinterest is not about making friends or watching your friends Pug video. It’s about content. People don’t care about you; they care about what your content can do for them.

The interesting this is that it’s also not about how many followers you have. Unlike Facebook where more page likes correlate with more link clicks, the number of followers isn’t actually key to success. If my account had one million followers instead of 20,000, I really don’t think that it would’ve made a difference to my traffic. The key is to simply create awesome content. People go to Pinterest to save images they like, learn new things and to get inspired… essentially, the Pinterest landscape is a content marketers dream.

These days everyone including your grandma has a Facebook. However, Pinterest is different. Pinterest users are medium income earners who earn an average of $70k a year, so you know that you’re working with a platform with some great potential.

Stick with quality content, however, it doesn’t have to be original. Part of the Pinterest community is the idea of collecting and sharing. You will attract more people on Pinterest if you mix your own original content with other curated, quality content. For your business account, keep it business. If you’re a travel blogger, follow travel, photography and the likes. If you’re also renovating your home and looking for nursery ideas, don’t combine this with your content marketing account. Have a separate private account or, have a secret board where you pin your private cutesy things!

Pinterest is not about ‘likes’ or ‘shares’ it’s about ‘re-pins’. Getting repinned is the best way for your content to drive traffic. A good way to start to get an idea of what sort of content gets repinned, is to do a search for pins that have over 5000 re-pins then save these to a secret board for reference and learn from them. Ask yourself; what sort of content is this? What images have been used? How has the content been delivered? The trick with Pinterest is to remember that it’s a visual platform, so visually appealing content is king. But, what if I don’t sell a visual product I hear you ask?…

Almost any type of content can be made visual for Pinterest. If you’re a travel blogger, post travel pics that link to your blogs on travel destinations, if you’re a health and fitness instructor, post pins to articles about weight loss, vitamins and supplements. Remember, Pinterest isn’t just for photographers, bloggers and those selling appealing tangible products. Think about how you can market your content visually through the use of photos, infographics, interesting typeface and more.

What worked well for me is creative infographics. Infographics are a great way to turn ideas and concepts into visual ‘how tos’ and these do go viral on Pinterest. So instead of just using one nice feature image followed by a blog of text, think about how you can turn your idea into an infographic or a step-by-step ‘how to’ guide with images. This is the sort of content that, in my experience, will get you thousands of re-pins. Choose images carefully. Just like having a great blog title can create enough intrigue and interest for a user to click the link, a good image is the difference between someone clicking your pin or, scrolling right on past it.

Include a watermark with your website logo and web address on all your images to ensure that when your content does get re-pinned, there’s no questions about where it originally came from and people can find your website easily.

Getting re-pinned is your goal. I’ve had quite a few pins go viral with one pin getting over 14,000 re-pins. That means a whole lot of traffic because when people click a pin they’ll go to the website where it’s hosted. So, create awesome content in a visually exciting way, get it re-pinned and watch the traffic roll on in.

However, don’t just pin all your content, then let it sit there festering away while you wait for followers. The key to Pinterest (like any social media) is to post regularly, be patient and let your followers and pins grow organically. If you think that this is time-consuming, then you can use the awesome app ‘Buffer’ to schedule your pins and spread them out.

Following like-minded folks is another way to generate followers. So, go ahead and follow other people in your industry and start re-pinning their content. When you follow someone, they will get an email saying that you’ve followed them and most people (if you have good content) will then follow you back. If you find a board that you like, you can speed the process up by clicking ‘followers’ on the board and then clicking ‘follow’ next to the users who follow that board. This is a quick way to find and follow people who are interested in the same topics that you are.

So, you’ve got great content, you’ve followed some pretty cool folks… but how do people find my pins? Well, it’s simple SEO. You need to make sure that your pins include relevant keywords so that they can be found by people searching. A good way to get an idea of what keywords to use is to just start typing into the search bar on Pinterest as it will then offer suggestions. For example, if I type in ‘Garden’ I also get the suggestions ‘garden suggestions’, ‘garden ideas’, ‘garden edging’ etc. Use these suggestions as ideas to build into the description of your pins.

Another tip for generating re-pins is following seasonal trends. Create a Christmas board in Christmas, and NFL board in football season (if you’re into that), or any other trends that you can follow. Remember the key is to be active so keep your boards current with the times.

Pinterest has been a huge success for me and continues to grow and grow. The key is not to think of it as social media but a visual search engine and pin regularly. Don’t forget to blend your original content with that of others and make everything you post visually exciting and intriguing. Use the right keywords and before long you too can be driving tens of thousands of visitors to your website from Pinterest alone. Good luck!