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Make Pinterest Your Marketing Secret Weapon

Make Pinterest Your Marketing Secret Weapon written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Alisa Meredith
Podcast Transcript

alisa meredith headshotOn the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast today, I visit with visual marketing expert and self-proclaimed “Pinterest nerd,” Alisa Meredith.

Meredith is a social media consultant and the content marketing manager at Tailwind, an Instagram and Pinterest scheduling tool.

Less than a third of marketers are on Pinterest, but Meredith is a huge fan of the platform, and she knows how to get the most out of it for your small business.

In this episode, we talk all things Pinterest: what it is, how it works, what kind of posts are most successful, and what small business owners can and should be doing on the platform to drive conversions and sales.

Questions I ask Alisa Meredith:

  • How would you describe the state of social media today, and how has it changed over the last decade?
  • Where does social media fit into small business marketing?
  • How do I start thinking about Pinterest in the context of marketing my business?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why Meredith considers Pinterest to be more of a search engine than a social network.
  • Why Pinterest and Instagram, although both visually-based, are polar opposites.
  • How Pinterest can help you meet your business objectives.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Alisa Meredith:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ManyChat.

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ManyChat makes it easy to have automated conversations with prospects and customers through Messenger, SMS, and email. Engage your prospects and build relationships with customers through interactive and tailored content, and drive sales by converting leads with simple, personalized experiences.

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Transcript of Make Pinterest Your Marketing Secret Weapon

Transcript of Make Pinterest Your Marketing Secret Weapon written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by 1.3 billion people use Facebook Messenger every day, ManyChat is how you reach them.

John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Alisa Meredith. She is a social media consultant, also the content marketing manager at Tailwind, an Instagram and Pinterest scheduling tool. We are going to talk about social media in general, but we’re going to focus on one of the platforms in particular, Pinterest. So Alisa, thanks for joining me.

Alisa Meredith: Thank you, John. Thanks for having me on.

John Jantsch: We’ve been doing this social media thing really over a decade now, and how would you describe kind of the state of where we are in social media? Consider I got on Twitter in 2006 and Facebook opened up in 2008. What’s the last decade for social media been like, good, bad, and ugly?

Alisa Meredith: Wow, how long do we have? I think it’s gone from … I remember the days when everything on Facebook was free, and you could assume that when you posted something on your business page, all of your followers would see it. That seems like it doesn’t even seem possible right now, does it?

John Jantsch: I get like 5% reach, maybe, and I have a client that’s a remodeling contractor that everybody just loves these people, and they get like 50% reach. It’s amazing.

Alisa Meredith: That’s wonderful.

John Jantsch: So it can be done, I guess.

Alisa Meredith: It can, but it’s pretty rare. I think that’s kind of what we’re seeing on most social is that ads are becoming more important, and that makes sense. They have to make money too.

John Jantsch: Yeah, I mean I know when we’re recommending social for a lot of small businesses, we are talking about the organic aspect of it, but a lot of times increasingly we’re just lumping paid right into part of that plan.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah.

John Jantsch: So kind of maybe set the landscape for small business owners. Where does social fit in? And obviously different businesses, different uses, but generally where does social fit in today you’d think in somebody’s marketing plan as a small business?

Alisa Meredith: I think it really depends on which network you’re talking about. They all kind of have their own place. Facebook is the place you go because people expect you to be there. If you’re not there, I think there’s some suspicion. Like, “What do they have to hide? Why are they not on Facebook?” Instagram is where people get to know you personally, which is a wonderful thing, and it can be really good for sales. Pinterest, which I do not classify as social, but I understand that it does get kind of lumped in there, is more of a search engine. There’s a place for most people on most networks, it just depends on what you’re trying to get out of them.

John Jantsch: That’s a great distinction. I don’t think I’ve heard anybody talk about it as a search engine, necessarily. I mean, I think a lot of people lump YouTube into the social networks, and I wouldn’t necessarily call YouTube a social network, but it kind of gets lumped in that same way.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, I agree, and I think that they both have some social elements, but primarily the way people use them is for their own information. So I think of Pinterest as more like the introvert’s network. It’s about me, it’s about where I go to plan. It’s not where I am going to present myself in a certain way like you might on LinkedIn, or Facebook, or Instagram. It’s a very different intent, and the way that people use it is different too. So something like 90% of all activity on Pinterest happens in search, which is definitely not the case on other networks.

John Jantsch: Yeah, in fact there’s a lot of content in say LinkedIn and Facebook that you would never turn up organically searching, say on like Google or something, but that’s not the case. I would guess 50-75% of the traffic to Pinterest comes through organic search outside of Pinterest. Would that be true?

Alisa Meredith: I think it’s probably lower than that now. It used to be that Google showed a lot more Pinterest results in their search results, but I think eventually they got wise to the fact that, “Hey, we’re basically sending their traffic to another search engine,” so there are fewer results from Pinterest on Google right now than there used to be. There certainly still are some, but Pinterest itself is very much a search and discover engine. In fact, there are about 2 billion searches performed every month on Pinterest.

John Jantsch: So let’s talk about the social networks, then. You’ve mentioned Facebook, and I think you mentioned LinkedIn already, and Instagram, and Twitter I guess, still out there as a social network.

Alisa Meredith: Yes, it sure is. It’s had a little bit of a resurgence lately.

John Jantsch: Well in fact, that’s what’s kind of interesting. I think LinkedIn has had a huge resurgence in terms of its-

Alisa Meredith: Oh, yeah.

John Jantsch: … usefulness, and in fact I hear more and more people talking about LinkedIn as a search engine. So in other words, not just participating groups and comment on things but actually go there to find articles. Because so much great content is now getting put on LinkedIn.

John Jantsch: If you were advising small businesses, and again I know the consultant answer is going to be, “It depends,” but generically do we need to be on all four of those that I just mentioned?

Alisa Meredith: I think for the most part, yes there’s a use. I think on Pinterest specifically, it can be difficult to get a lot of traction if you are strictly a local based business. If you’re a brick and mortar in let’s say Ontario, Canada, and that’s the only place that anyone can go to buy from you, it’s going to be really hard to get qualified traffic from Pinterest. You’ll probably get a ton of traffic, depending on what you’re selling, but it may not be the place to spend most of your time. Instagram will probably be better for you in that case.

John Jantsch: I had a client a few years ago that was just getting massive amounts of traffic, and we were like, “What?” I mean, they were a local lawn service, and we’re like, “What is going on?” And apparently they had written some blog post that Google decided was like the number one to talk about grass or certain seeds or something, and so like 90% of their traffic was coming from outside of their community, but it was still kind of fun to see.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, well they should probably start selling grass seed or something nationally.

John Jantsch: I know, I know.

Alisa Meredith: Make something of that traffic.

John Jantsch: Something to do something with it. Okay, so a lot of people look at Instagram and Pinterest, or maybe not a lot in your world but a lot in my world, and kind of see them as the same. They’re both very visual, they’re all about pictures. How would you tell somebody how they differ?

Alisa Meredith: Oh, so so different, practically opposite. Instagram really is like a curated view of a person’s life or a business, really, and it’s like showing the best of yourself, showing an intimate portrayal of yourself so people really get to know, like, and trust you which is great, it’s wonderful. That’s kind of external. When a person is on Instagram, they want to know about you. They want to know about your unboxing. They want to know about your company party because that helps them feel more comfortable to buy from you and feel like they know you.

Alisa Meredith: When a person is on Pinterest, they do not care about that. They really do not. So to have a Pinterest board with all of your company photos, it’s not going to go anywhere. What people care about on Pinterest is, “How can you help me make my life better? How can I become a better mom, teacher, marketer? How can I make my house the way I want it, my body the way I want it, my diet?” It really is the introvert’s network. People don’t go on there to share generally. They go on there to collect and then to get inspired to do.

John Jantsch: I’m going to pretend that my listeners don’t really know much about Pinterest other than what you’ve just shared. So break down, if I’m a business owner, how would I start looking at Pinterest? Maybe not just like how do I do it, maybe just how do I start thinking about it in the context of marketing my business?

Alisa Meredith: I think the best way is to get an account and use it. You might have zero interest in Pinterest, you think, but everything that you’re interested in is on there. Trust me. I would choose something that really gets you excited and just create one board and look around. Search for ideas that get you excited, and see what is it about a particular article, or topic, or what is it that made you click this pin over that pin? How are you behaving on Pinterest? Just get inside of the mind of a Pinner because marketers, we always look at things a little differently. Sometimes you just need to be a consumer for a while.

John Jantsch: So in a lot of networks that people might be used to, and again you’ve already pointed out that that’s not what Pinterest necessarily is. The point is to build a following, but that’s not really the behavior on Pinterest, is it?

Alisa Meredith: No, it’s not at all because like we talked about, most of the activity is happening in search, about 90%, and so your content is potentially going to reach way more people than ever will follow you. Followers are important in the sense that Pinterest serves up your new pins to your followers first because those people should be the ones who would be most engaged with your content.

Alisa Meredith: So then they watch like how your followers engage with that content as it comes out, and that has an impact on how far it will be distributed, or how often it will show up in search, or how high up it will be in search or related pins. So that’s where they’re important which is why it’s even more important on Pinterest than maybe anywhere else to make sure you’re attracting the right followers rather than going for numbers.

John Jantsch: Let’s face it, it’s getting harder and harder to reach our prospects and customers, and we have to be a lot of places. We have to communicate using the tools that they want to use. Did you know that 1.3 billion people use Facebook Messenger every day? Would you like to know how you could reach them? Get a free one month pro trial by going to and click Get Started, enter the code DUCTTAPE, that’s D-U-C-T-T-A-P-E for your free one month pro trial. It’s such a great way to engage prospects, build relationships with customers through interactive, tailored content in the place that they want to get it., enter the code DUCTTAPE for a free one month pro trial.

John Jantsch: So if I’m building some boards, and I’m posting some things, and maybe Pinterest is showing them for certain types of searches. How do I make business objectives there? I mean, ultimately we want customers, so how does Pinterest allow me to do that or help me do that?

Alisa Meredith: Pinterest is all about the traffic. It’s the one place that I know of that is very happy to send you off of their platform to yours. It can be a huge traffic driver, and sometimes I’ve had people call my agency and say, “Hey, I wasn’t doing anything on Pinterest, and I just happened to notice that I’m getting a ton of traffic from Pinterest so I feel like maybe if I put some effort into it, I would get more,” and yes usually that is the case. It is already the number two driver of social traffic, right behind Facebook. If people put more energy into it, it could be a lot more.

Alisa Meredith: But among content marketers, anyway, only about 28%, 27% of content marketers are using Pinterest which is kind of amazing to me when what we want really kind of all starts with traffic, and that is where Pinterest is incredibly powerful.

John Jantsch: Would I be incorrect in assuming, though, that you’ve got to show up with some visual chops there, that that’s what people are looking for, or can you have a checklist of things as long as it meets something I’m looking for?

Alisa Meredith: Well you know, I have seen some ugly pins do really, really well. I have one from an old agency of mine that I still get emails about it being my most popular pin, and it is ugly. It has like Lego characters on it. It’s bad. So sometimes that happens, but in general you do want high quality, professional images with some compelling text on the image, which partially works to help people know what the image is and to click through. It also helps with search. So Pinterest actually reads the text on your image, Pinterest can actually tell what the items in your image are, and they assign keywords based on those items.

Alisa Meredith: You do need to give some thought to your images, but you don’t have to … There are apps out there that will help you. There’s Easel, there’s Canva, there are all kinds of things. You don’t even have to know Photoshop to make a beautiful pin.

John Jantsch: So I’ve written a book recently called The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur, and every day it has a new page and new entry, and I anchor all of those daily pages with quotes from some mid-19th century literature. Just using myself as an example, this is my way to get free consulting by the way.

Alisa Meredith: It’s brilliant [inaudible 00:13:49].

John Jantsch: But would quotes taken from some of those pages be a good Pinterest?

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, quotes on Pinterest are unbelievably popular. I was just looking this morning at audience insights and looking at what the general Pinterest user is into. Quotes, let’s see, 26% of the general audience on Pinterest is interested in quotes. So we have 322 million monthly active users. 26% of those people are engaging with quote pins.

Alisa Meredith: So yes, I would do that. However, I would also say that infographics can be very popular on Pinterest, but they don’t always get clicks. I’m suspecting the same thing might be true of a quote pin. So what I would say is, “Yes, absolutely you should try this,” but also put some kind of call to action on your image itself. So like, “see how to use this in your business,” or just like whatever, you know. I don’t know what the quotes are exactly, but.

John Jantsch: Well, so it’s like Thoreau, and Emerson, and some of that kind of writing that people would be familiar with, but what you’re saying is don’t just leave them as eye candy, make them something more useful to the user, or at least [inaudible 00:15:07].

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, like how to use this in your everyday life, yeah.

John Jantsch: All right, so are there some tips and tricks for getting organic traffic then? So in other words, just like there are tips for Google. Are there tips for showing up higher in Pinterest searches?

Alisa Meredith: Yes, absolutely. Something that has changed fairly recently, and people are noticing it, is that it used to work that you could pin the same image to the same blog post over, and over, and over again to the same boards, and that worked to increase your traffic, but Pinterest doesn’t want that. They want every time you or I go back to Pinterest, they want us to see something new and exciting so that we want to keep coming back. Makes sense.

Alisa Meredith: So with that in mind, that’s not working anymore, to pin the same thing over and over again. So what a lot of people are doing is making multiple images for the same blog post. Right? So more opportunity to show up. I asked around to some of my friends, “Have you done this? What are the results?” and a friend of mine who has a Teachers Pay Teachers store where they sell writing checklists for third grader teachers, for example, she had a pin, it was a couple years old, and she was still getting almost 2,000 link clicks a month from it, which I’ll take that from one image on Pinterest.

Alisa Meredith: But she thought, “Let me make a new image, just freshen it up.” It’s a very simple image with just some text overlay on it, probably took five minutes to make. In the same month where she got 2,000 from the old pin, she got over 10,000 link clicks from the brand new pin.

John Jantsch: Hm, wow.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah. Yeah, so this is working.

John Jantsch: Does video work in Pinterest?

Alisa Meredith: Yeah.

John Jantsch: That sounds like a really basic question, but.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, native video is fairly new to Pinterest. It seems to be most effective for awareness and engagement as opposed to traffic. There are ways to get it to work for traffic, but kind of the intention is that people will watch it on Pinterest and learn more about your business. So especially if you’re looking at ads on Pinterest that are video, a lot of them are the bigger brands. So they’re paying for that awareness, but yeah they’re very prominent in search on Pinterest right now because they’re new, and Pinterest wants people to use them. So they’ll be right at the top of your search results. Of course they’re very eye catching as you’re scrolling through on mobile. Like one of the videos in the frame will be moving, which is pretty great.

John Jantsch: Yeah. All right, so let’s move to the inevitable: paid Pinterest or promoted pins, I think is the term for that one.

Alisa Meredith: Promoted pins, yes.

John Jantsch: How does that work?

Alisa Meredith: The coolest thing, to me, about promoted pins is that when you advertise a pin on Pinterest, even after that promotion is done, that pin lives on, and then people because your distribution has been so much greater because you paid for it, people will have been saving it all this time, right, so now it’s on their boards, and their people are seeing it, it’s showing up in other searches. People keep clicking on these secondary pins that came from your promoted pin, and you’re not paying for that. You stopped your ad, but you’re still getting more traffic because you promoted the pin. It’s pretty cool.

John Jantsch: Yeah, absolutely. How does the function of purchase, how does the targeting work, how does the bidding work? Again, I guess I’m really saying, “How does it work?”

Alisa Meredith: How does it work? Well, it’s somewhat like Facebook Ads, although the targeting options are not as extensive. It’s a smaller platform, it’s a newer platform, but they are pretty cool. You can do things like you can instead of a lookalike audience, you can do an act alike audience which is similar, but instead of having similar demographics it would have similar behavior patterns. Like Pinterest would look at say your paying customers and say, “All right, these people tend to be interested in this sort of thing, they tend to pin this sort of thing, they have boards about these sorts of things,” and then they can target those people.

John Jantsch: So going back to my quoters, people that typically pin quotes could be an act alike.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah.

John Jantsch: Yeah.

Alisa Meredith: Well I mean, an act alike would be more like you have an audience.

John Jantsch: Oh, I see. I see.

Alisa Meredith: Like your website visitors.

John Jantsch: So you provide that, you provide that. Got you, okay.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, or your email list. But you can do also what I think is pretty cool is an engagement audience where if I pin something, and then you pin it. Like you pin something that goes to my website, and someone else clicks on your pin that goes to my website, I can then target that person because they have engaged with content to my site even if they don’t know me at all, but I know that they’re interested in my content.

John Jantsch: Are there industries or types of businesses that this is just a no brainer for, that do really well in Pinterest? What would those be?

Alisa Meredith: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, so travel does really well. We have a lot of recipe bloggers that get a ton of traffic from Pinterest. Fashion and beauty, bloggers, even finance does really well. I think it all comes down to if you can frame your product or service the right way, like the Pinterest way, just about anybody can make it work. Because like with finance, I use this example like on Facebook it might be something like, “10 Things That Will Get You Audited This Year,” right? That works on Facebook, but on Pinterest you want it to be aspirational. So it’s going to be like, “10 Ways You’re Going To 10x Your Business This Year.” It’s different content. Sometimes you can reframe existing content to have it work on Pinterest, but it’s just a very different feel.

John Jantsch: So Alisa, I’m going to give you the advertising moment for the show today.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah.

John Jantsch: How would I use a tool like Tailwind to make this job of … I know Tailwind also does Instagram, but specifically for Pinterest how would I use a scheduling tool like Tailwind to make that job smoother?

Alisa Meredith: Pinterest really wants us to be consistently adding new content. If you are creating multiple pins to your content, and we should be if we want to get the most out of the traffic we can get from Pinterest, it’s great for scheduling. We have what we call Smart Schedule which looks at when your followers are most likely to be engaged on the platform, and we’ll send your pins out at that time, just to increase the changes that they’re going to see and engage with your pins.

Alisa Meredith: Life happens, right? We could go a while without pinning anything, but Pinterest really wants to see those consistent signals that you are a reliable content creator, and they will boost your distribution in the search and in the feed.

John Jantsch: Yeah, and while I think we want to stay in the moment and do things that are interesting that happen in the moment, I do think if we have a plan for our editorial, we should schedule things out. I remember when social started, people were like, “Oh, that’s robotic. You’re not being truly social,” but I think if we’re looking at social media and we’re looking at search engines and platforms like this as just a part of our overall marketing plan which is what we should be looking at them as, I think then scheduling just makes sense because it’s basically our editorial plan. So we stay focused, and we stay on track.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, and really, I don’t know how you do business without batching anymore. If I created five pins, and I had to try to remember, “Oh, I want to add a new one every week so that Pinterest knows that I’m creating great, consistent content,” I’m not going to remember. What, did I pin that? I don’t know.

John Jantsch: Well, you do like a lot of small businesses and you go find a Gen Z person to-

Alisa Meredith: Oh, is that what we do?

John Jantsch: … tell them to do that.

Alisa Meredith: I guess you could have a Gen Z person or you could have Tailwind. Whichever you prefer.

John Jantsch: So where can people find out more about Tailwind? And I’m pretty darn sure there’s a free trial, even.

Alisa Meredith: Oh, there is a free trial. It’s or the blog is where you can learn a whole lot more about Pinterest and Instagram marketing. Yes, and there is a free trial. If you sign up, you get 100 free pins to use as you would like, and you can try all the cool features of Tailwind.

John Jantsch: Awesome. Well Alisa, thanks for stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Hopefully we’ll run into you again out there on the road. I know we spoke at the same conference in Maine a few months ago, and maybe we can do that again.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, I’d love that. Thanks for having me, John.