I’ll be completely transparent and say that Pinterest marketing had never crossed my mind since I started my candle business, Gold Soul Candle Co. In terms of marketing, I was prepared to use the more traditional ways of marketing my business. I signed up for local trade shows, partnered with other local businesses for pop ups, and used what I considered “social media.” In the business online space, the term social media tends to only be reserved for the most prominent platforms, which are Instagram and Facebook.
My Journey with Social Media Marketing
In February 2020, I started my social media marketing journey on Instagram. I note the date as significant, because at that time, I did not know when I would actually launch my ecommerce candle brand, and was still “figuring everything out.” I hopped on social media however, as soon as I made my business, in order to create buzz.
What I quickly learned was that starting from zero on Instagram would prove to be extremely difficult. What I learned from using Instagram to market my business in 2020 was that the algorithm, the community, and the platform itself were not necessarily business friendly.
Intuitively, this makes sense, people are logging onto Instagram to see friends and family, see what their favorite celebrities and influencers are doing, get some news about world and community events and maybe stalk an ex or two.
The average person is not logging onto Instagram to find a new product that they have never heard of. It literally took me a year to come to his realization.
Why I switched strategies
While I did have some success, and plenty of sales from Instagram, I knew that there had to be more. I truly believe in my product that I claim to be the ultimate candles for fragrance lovers, and knew that in the right market, it could really soar.
So when the new year hit and I had ample time to adjust strategies, I came across an article that really intrigued me. I had never “really used” Pinterest, because to be honest, I’m not much of a social media user and didn’t know how to use it.
What I did know however, was that whenever I wanted to see a new hairstyle that I wanted to try, it was the first, and probably the only place that I looked online. While it may seem that my search for the perfect braided look, is simply a personal anecdote, this will actually become more important as I later set the stage to how powerful Pinterest truly is.
So after reading this article, I set my sights on Pinterest. In the first few days of my revelation, I read as much as I could on the power of Pinterest and it’s marketing opportunities. I watched youtube views, read reddit forums and even spent nights scrolling Pinterest to notice the patterns of the algorithm.
Why this is Important to Know
Before I get into what I learned from all of the Pinterest information that I put into practice to reach 111k views in less than 20 days, I want to first tell you why this is significant at all. The answer is twofold.
First, as a small business owner attempting to build a brand solo, Instagram marketing is a lot of work and the ads are significantly more expensive and less effective in my experience. I could list at least 10 ways in which Instagram makes it quite difficult to grow your small business, but that may be a blog post for another day.
Secondly, it’s because the tips about Pinterest actually work. What an amazing concept right? Contrary to a lot of the Instagram growth tips that I read, due to the Pinterest algorithms favoritism towards the “new and fresh,” it is much more simple to follow Pinterest growth tips and actually see growth.
Where I Started
So before I started the Pinterest marketing journey, I already had a Pinterest page that I had made when I first started securing my social media handles.
It was quite bare and the only people that followed me were a few people in my family and friends. I didn’t take an initial photo, however I believe that my monthly page views were around 100 views per month.
Strategy Number 1 – Optimize your Profile and Boards
My first strategy that I learned and implemented was that the algorithm loves to “match make” in a sense. So for example, if a user likes to search “cute summer outfits” on Pinterest a lot, Pinterest will take note of that and attempt to give that user more of what they like.
However, just like SEO it takes a while for the engine to understand if a post is “good” or not. So instead it heavily relies on what it considers a reliable profile and reliable boards to match users with what they want to see.
This means that a profile or board that mentions “cute summer outfits” as its focus, will have a much higher chance of being matched with this user and have its posts come across their page.
Branding is Key
But here is where you have to get smart and separate yourself from the pack with branding. There are a ton of different products on Pinterest, and lets be honest most people are going to opt into buying products that they’ve heard of before they by a random product on Pinterest.
What I did was instead of competing with Yankee and Bath and Body Works by trying to optimize my boards for “candle” or “candle scents.” I thought instead I should align myself with a community, earn their trust, and then get them to buy my products. While it sounds more difficult, this is the way that brands are truly made.
Anyone can sell products online but it takes a lot more time and creativity to actually build a brand and a brand story.
If this isn’t convincing enough, we can also see how this was done in the building of Nike and Ugg.
Instead of just attempting to sell to anyone that needed shoes (because we all do clearly), Phil Knight took the tougher route of selling his Japanese imported shoes to the community that not only relied on running shoes the most, but tended to be the pickiest, college track and field athletes.
Similarly, the creator of Ugg Brian Smith took his products to the surfing community first to build up trust and name recognition.
Strategy 2 – Consistency and Imaging
The second strategy that I implemented was consistency. I started by uploading at least 10-15 post a day, and scheduling them to come out at night time, since that is when most Pinterest users are actually using the platform.
What I did however, was I made sure that each of these pins were of quality and something that people would actually like to see. As I mentioned earlier about wanting to find hairstyles on Pinterest, the great thing about this platform is that people are actually seeking information.
So if you are using Pinterest to actually answer questions that people have and producing images that people want to see, the algorithm will reward you tremendously.
Strategy 3 – Link Everything to Your Website
The last strategy was to link everything to my website. This is so that people would at the very least, be exposed to more of my branding and maybe take a peek around. Typically, most people do not by anything on their first exposure to a brand.
By first getting them exposed to your Pinterest images, then getting them to click on those images and get exposed to your website gives you two organic impressions with minimal effort.
To do this however, the most important thing that you can do is limit the amount of posts that you repin. Repins will boost your monthly viewership, however they will severely hurt your click through rate.
If you see pins that you think would be great for your boards, try instead to recreate them with your own branding style.
After implementing these three strategies I saw a huge surge in the amount of traffic that I was getting not only to my Pinterest page, but to my website.
Now, my Pinterest is actually the number one source of traffic to my website daily. It takes time and effort, however I’ve noticed that it is a much better option for the longevity of building a brand in the age of social media.
As I learn more about Pinterest, I will provide updates and more helpful tips and tricks that you can also use for your small business marketing.