Practical Ecommerce

4 Pinterest Marketing Mistakes

Pinterest is a fun social media service that lets users post images and videos, organized into topical boards. The site has great potential for driving traffic to online stores, but it is important not to misuse this potential or alienate users and would-be customers.

What follows are four Pinterest marketing mistakes that online marketers should seek to avoid.

1. Posting Spam

Social media marketing’s mission should always be to add real value to the social communities where customers and potential customers are engaged.

In the context of Pinterest, this means that the images and videos pinned should seek to improve Pinterest, not serve as a sort of visual classified ad for a merchant’s entire inventory.

Spamming Pinterest with unwanted and uninteresting images of coupons is a great way to get folks upset.

Some Pinterest spammers use the site to post endless boards full of coupons, these bland images undermine Pinterest.

Some Pinterest spammers use the site to post endless boards full of coupons, these bland images undermine Pinterest.

Pinterest’s visual nature means that links like coupons are probably not suitable.

2. Never Showing Off Products

Moving from one extreme to another, a second serious Pinterest marketing mistake is not ever showing products. Remember, one of the site’s greatest attractions for marketers is its potential to attract site visits. So don’t be afraid to present products. Just present those products in a way that benefits the Pinterest community.

Take, as an example, Nordstrom’s Pinterest account. The company recently added a board featuring Spring fashion trends with “Nautical Vibes.” The board includes attractive images from several different sites that actually show current nautical fashion trends. A few of the images on the board include links back to Nordstrom’s online store, where visitors could purchase one or more of the items show in the pinned image.

Nordstrom's Pinterest boards are a great example of including product likes and images on Pinterest.

Nordstrom’s Pinterest boards are a great example of including product likes and images on Pinterest.

3. Expecting New Customers

The statistics and projects associated with Pinterest can be staggering. For example, recently reported that Pinterest — with its 11.7 million active users — was driving more site traffic than Twitter with its more than 100 million users.

There have also been reports of users spending many hours on Pinterest daily. But Pinterest still does not have a lot of users, and most of those users tend to fall into a fairly narrow range. Modea, a digital agency, reported that some 68 percent of Pinterest users are women and that most simply repin others, meaning that the total number of influencers could be low.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that a given set of customers is going to be on Pinterest and that by posting a picture or two, a marketer will be prospecting for new shoppers. Rather, think of the site as a way to further engage customers that may already be familiar with a merchant or the products that merchant sells.

As an example, craft retailer Michael’s has a pin board devoted to pictures of projects current customers created. The board is a way for Michael’s to praise its current customers while increasing its engagement with them.

Putting the emphasis of deepening relationships rather than necessarily attracting customers helps Michael's.

Putting the emphasis of deepening relationships rather than necessarily attracting customers helps Michael’s.

4. Expecting Overnight Results

As with any good marketing plan, a Pinterest strategy should look at the long term and big picture. Posting a few images on the site will not immediately double traffic or necessarily send sales soaring.

Instead, Pinterest marketing is an opportunity to increase engagement with some customers, building trust over a number of shared experiences — such as repinning each other’s images or exchanging comments.

Patience will be key with Pinterest marketing.

Summing Up

After reading a list of potential Pinterest marketing mistakes — especially when that list includes items about not expecting overnight results and new customers — it is possible to be a little discouraged about taking the time to get a Pinterest program running. Don’t let that be the case. Just avoid these mistakes and be patient. Pinterest has the potential to be an invaluable part of a social media marketing campaign.

Armando Roggio

Armando Roggio

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  1. Sebastian Guilermo April 2, 2012 Reply

    I agree with you. beside posting spam, Pinterest lets some of their users to post spam comment on pins.
    I love pinterest, that’s why I want Pinterest do take a step forward.
    I bet you love Pinterest too that’s why you post this article.
    by the way, have you heard about ?
    It’s a great site where you can submit your favorite pins, vote up great pins and vote down bad pins.
    Beside, it has giveaway like every weekend.
    If your pins have the highest vote, then you’ll win a $15 amazon giftcard.
    Awesome, right?
    It’s worth the try, I think. :)

  2. Eric Bulmer April 3, 2012 Reply

    Meh…this article is really not helpful…anyone who has spent any time at all marketing socially knows these precepts like they breathe. "Expecting Overnight Results"? Really? Won’t happen?

  3. Aline Machado April 3, 2012 Reply

    Great article! I recently joined Pinterest and loving it so far. As a small company one thing I’ve being debating is: should you use your logo and company name for the profile or your personal picture and name with company bio? What would you do?

  4. Armando Roggio April 3, 2012 Reply

    Hi Eric. I do not believe you can get overnight results from Pinterest for any social media marketing campaign. It takes time.

  5. Lisa Suttora April 3, 2012 Reply

    Along the lines of Pinterest spamming, online merchants also need to pin throughout the day rather than pinning 25 things in an hour.

    People who flood Pinterest with pins take over the "Pinners You Follow" page. And there’s no faster way to annoy your followers (and get them to unfollow you) than to flood the boards.

    Another mistake online merchants make on Pinterest is to solely use it for self promotion without becoming part of the community. Keep in mind, Pinterest is a curated content site, not a classified ads site.

    It’s important to keep a balance between your marketing pins and being part of the community. (i.e., re-pinning, commenting on and liking other people’s pins).

    This is easy to do if you theme your boards. Let’s say you sell wedding related products. Create a board called "Spring Weddings" and include some of your products as well as complimentary products and tips from other brands/sites.

    Ultimately the more content value you bring to Pinterest, the more brand recognition YOU will have on the site.

    One final note, Google indexes all pins and boards, so be aware of SEO when creating your boards and writing your pin descriptions.

    Pinterest is a visual social media platform. And will continue to grow. Once they open up the API to 3rd part developers, it will go in many new directions.


  6. Lisa Suttora April 3, 2012 Reply

    Hi Aline, you want to brand your business on Pinterest the same way you are branded on Facebook and Twitter in order to have consistent branding across the web. That way people will recognize your brand/logo where ever they find you.

    Additionally, your Pinterest URL will be consistent with your FB and Twitter URL format so they’ll all be found in Google.

    As long as you balance the marketing pins with adding other valuable content to Pinterest, you’ll be set!


  7. Sara Comte April 3, 2012 Reply

    Great article. I just started a Pinterest account for my company. Any helpful information I can get is great! Thanks.

  8. Ryan Abulon May 2, 2012 Reply

    When you post images of your own company make sure the images are watermarked, and the link is an actual link. As well as also notify users of Pinterest and your followers that your account is the official account, and all other accounts are fraudulent. I have seen quite a few marketers mask their links, and be weary of fake accounts. Just a word, to all users.

  9. PinterestMarketingPro August 6, 2012 Reply

    Great article! Another HUGE mistake I’ve seen people do is buying fake traffic! So many sites advertise buying followers and all they’re doing is soliciting fake traffic. A really good resource I’ve come across that’s helped me from making Pinterest mistakes and done a really good job is PinLeague They’re one of the most reputable Pinterest Interest Networks out and there and I highly recommend them. Hope this helps, thanks!