• Aleya Harris

Tips for Turning Pinterest Followers into Customers

Spend a few moments scrolling through some of Pinterest’s most popular content, and you’ll be greeted with a seemingly endless array of flawless outfit inspiration, delectable baked goods and almost-professional DIY home décor. Launched in 2010, the graphics-centered social media platform allows users to explore their interests by posting and sharing images and other visuals, called “pins.” Pins are often sourced from external websites, to whose destination link users can be immediately directed by hovering with their cursor. Collections of related pins are saved to specific pages, or “boards,” through which visitors can further scroll for inspiration on any number of topics.

As a Food & Beverage (F&B) business owner trying to grow your brand, you have the chance to turn Pinterest into a powerful tool. The site’s popularity and encouragement of interactivity have shaped it into a unique platform for entrepreneurs aiming to reach new customers—in first quarter of 2019 alone, it boasted over 290 million active users per month. Pinterest’s focus on visuals allows you to immediately share examples of your top products with viewers. Furthermore, its reliance on external content means you can swiftly direct traffic to your website.

Why Pinterest is Great for Food and Beverage Owners

Food and beverage-related content make up one of Pinterest’s most popular categories, as demonstrated by the site’s more than 23 billion posts centered around recipes, meal ideas and more. In fact, as of 2017 Pinterest had become the “largest mobile destination for food.” Users regularly turn to Pinterest for inspiration on anything from tackling the newest breakfast trends, to sourcing the hottest ingredients, to scouting out their vacation destination’s top brunch spots.

It is, thus, a fantastic vehicle for F&B brand growth. You’re able to quickly pin top-quality images and previews directly from your website and accompany it with a destination link so curious viewers can easily learn more. With boards, you can share and highlight your brand’s content through the lens of a specific theme or story.

Your pins are also likely to appear alongside other relevant posts or topics. To make the most of this, pay particular attention to the first 50 characters in your post’s description; according to Pinterest’s upload page, this text tends to be what pops up in search results.

5 Tips to Increase Your Follower Count

Take a look at the trends: Every December, Pinterest posts an article examining the top trends of the year ahead in each category, including F&B. Listings are determined by the percentile of increase in related searches. The topics offered are quite diverse, so consider approaching one by incorporating your products into a related recipe or menu; you could also partner with another brand to do so. If you’re a restaurant owner, consider whether you might want to pin a particular featured dish. Of course, information on F&B trends continues to be published throughout the year, both on Pinterest and off. Continue to keep an eye on, and incorporate pins featuring, what’s popular both in the industry and on the consumer market.

Cultivate brand loyalty: According to 2016 data from the marketing platform Wishpond, 43% of Pinterest users at the time of observation were focused on brand association; in comparison, the rate for Facebook users was 24%. Pinterest gives business owners a unique opportunity to interact with customers both current and potential, thus cultivating a sense of brand loyalty.

An example of a company to have successfully used Pinterest in such a way is Kraft, with its Kraft Recipes Campaign. The campaign “featured a contest asking people to follow them on Pinterest, create a new dessert board and then pin desserts from their site to the board” using a specific hashtag. Not only did Kraft amass new followers, but they also saw heightened traffic to their website, products and social media accounts. Try finding a way to get your own customers excited about consuming, or being creative with, your products. Don’t be afraid to showcase their results.

Re-pin: Of course, your followers want to see your brand’s latest—but don’t just stick to your own content. If you come across a relevant pin from another user and think it might be of interest to your followers, share it. Look particularly for seasonally-themed posts, examples of customers incorporating or enjoying your products, and content from other brands with which you have a working relationship. Similarly, follow and engage with other users; the more interactive your brand is on Pinterest, the more interaction Pinterest will grant your brand.

Install the Pinterest follow button: We’ve touched and will continue to touch, on directing traffic from your Pinterest account to your website. If you’re trying to grow your following, you can also employ the reverse tactic, and send users from your site to your account. Pinterest offers a tool that allows you to create and customize a follow button widget, then copy the code directly to your website. Upon clicking the button, users will be directed to your page.

Hold contests: A popular way for brands to increase their social media following is with contests that require a “like” or “follow” for entry. You can certainly apply this to your Pinterest account, asking participants to follow your account to take part. Consider giving away items such as coupons, product-related swag or packaged samples/ full-sized products.

All Roads Lead to Your Website

It’s encouraging, as a business owner, to watch the interaction with your social media platforms increase. It can be a sign that awareness of your brand is growing, and that you are making a place for yourself in the industry. To achieve success in sales, however, you’ll need to rely on more than just re-pins. Your goal here is lead generation, or, as HubSpot explains, “attracting and converting strangers and prospects into someone who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service.”

The process of lead generation is commonly likened to a funnel, as each of its steps is predicated upon the pool of remaining individuals becoming further concentrated. At the top of the funnel, or the first step, lie those individuals who’ve visited and are aware of your site, likely via social media, SEO or marketing. Some of these people will simply click off; others, however, will continue to engage. They might sign up for email newsletters or digital freebies (recipe e-books and product coupons work great here).

Once they’ve volunteered their information, they become potential leads or people who have demonstrated an interest in what you’re selling. A certain number of leads will continue to engage with your company until, continuing down the funnel, they become customers.

As a Pinterest user, you can supplement your lead generation funnel with Pinterest Ads, the site’s advertising tool. Prior to using it, you’ll need to make sure you have a business, rather than personal, account, more about which will be discussed below. Pinterest Ads allow you to promote your best pins to a targeted audience, thus increasing the likelihood your content will reach the strongest potential leads. Author Alisa Meredith has written extensively on how to make the most of promoted pins and offers a step-by-step guide for entrepreneurs just beginning to interact with the feature.

5 Ways to Get Your Pinterest Followers to Your Website

Keep keywords in mind: As mentioned above, keywords are important in determining whether your pins appear in a particular search result. If your aim is to redirect traffic to your website via pins, the keywords you add to each description matter. Try to accompany each linked post with a few strong keywords to ensure the most visibility. Don’t be afraid to reuse keywords for multiple posts, as higher frequency may increase pin visibility. Language is also important when naming your boards; the more obscure a board’s title, the less chance it has of appearing in a recommended feed.

Incorporate Rich Pins- Rich Pins allow you to incorporate extra information about a product directly on a pin itself. There are four different types, however, the Product and Recipe Pins will likely be of most use to those in the F&B industry. Including details about a new product, or ingredients for a seasonal recipe, may encourage users to visit your website and learn more.

On a related note, make sure you’re using a business account: Using features such as Rich Pins and Pinterest Ads requires that you have a business, rather than a personal, account. These tools are essential in maximizing Pinterest as a catalyst for website traffic. A business account also lets you view analytics on engagement and pin popularity. Business accounts are free to set up; converting your pre-existing personal one comes at no cost as well.

Take the focus offline- Using Pinterest to advertise what your brand is up to offline, can actually help direct the traffic online. Say, for example, you’re featuring at an upcoming local Restaurant Week. Using pins to promote your involvement can certainly encourage followers to come to support you in person. However, curiosity about the event can also drive more people to your website.

Clean up your pins: Your goal should be to not only attract followers to your website but anyone who might happen to come across your content. Focus on particular elements of your pins’ aesthetics, so as to make them more attractive and eye-catching. ContentStandard suggests using taller images, and ones with particular color schemes. And, try to avoid human faces; research shows they are less pinnable than those images without them.

How to Convert Website Visitors to Customers

Now that you’ve directed traffic to your website, you’ll want to inspire visitors to feel invested in your product. There are a variety of methods you can employ here, but one that can work particularly well for F&B business owners is offering digital freebies.

You may not automatically associate food and drink with digital material. However, content such as recipe e-booklets, coupons and more can be a massive push in converting leads to customers who purchase your product. Say, for example, you create a small-batch hot sauce. You might offer, in exchange for signing up for your newsletter, an e-booklet of recipes that incorporate your sauces into various summer barbeque dishes. Each recipe can be accompanied by a professional photo and a little information about the particular sauce used. In the end, include a coupon for a portion of a full-sized version of your product.

Best of luck, and happy pinning!