Pinterest is an exploding channel for e-commerce companies and visual startups that can get you a ton of exposure and help build awareness.
In 2019, Dan and I started a Pinterest account for Desige Decors, a blog dedicated to interior design.
In 10 months, we went from 0 to over 893,000 engaged audience and 16M impressions. To date, we’re sitting at 9M engaged audience and 268M impressions.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- How community-driven content promotion can help your business, no matter the niche, if you do it right (jump to section);
- A step-by-step research process on finding where your audience lives and breathes content (jump to section);
- Why followers mean nothing (jump to section);
- A detailed analysis of how we used Pinterest to generate awareness (jump to section);
- The results we’ve achieved so far (jump to section).
Why community-driven content promotion is your gateway to growth
Content promotion is a beast of a topic. It’s something that many marketers don’t take full advantage of. A lot of them tend to focus on creating some fantastic piece of content and then… they forget about it.
Yet content promotion, while not glamorous, can lead to some pretty awesome results for your business.
If you want to promote your content online and build an audience, you usually need to do two things:
- Find communities where your audience spends time;
- Engage with your audience and build relationships.
I’ve seen a lot of SEOs and content marketers take a “shooting in the dark” approach to promotion.
This usually involves a bunch of social media sharing, maybe a guest post or two, and then they wonder why their traffic isn’t increasing.
The issue here is that there is no plan for promotion. Promotion should be an integral part of your content marketing strategy right from the start, and usually, it is what drives your content plan, instead of the other way around.
In our case, we discovered that quantity matters more than quality. We tested different types of pins and while some didn’t get any traction, others were generating 1M+ views and over 800 clicks per day.
A research process to streamline your community-driven content promotion efforts
The obvious reason why you aren’t building an audience is that the people you’re targeting are not the right fit.
It’s challenging enough to drive hundreds, if not thousands of visitors to your site per week — but when they’re not the right audience, it becomes a double-edged sword. You spend even more time trying to hack the platform, and you’re still not generating results.
When we started Desige Decors, our audience was women 25-45 years of age, middle class, that were into interior design and very, very good at DIY projects.
The next step was figuring out where our audience looks for inspiration online. A simple Google or Quora search can give you entire lists of relevant online communities.
For the purpose of our Pinterest case study, we wanted to choose a platform with an already existing community where we could grow our audience and see if it was enough to generate interest.
A Google search for “pinterest for interior design” generated results for blog posts outlining the benefits of using Pinterest for interior designers.
Metrics for success – engagement or followers?
A large number of followers on social media is a direct reflection of the company’s online presence and its popularity.
It shows how efficiently and effectively they conduct business and market their products and services.
Following and engaging with your audience will lead to increased revenue and make the best use of the resources available to it.
If you want to build a successful readers base, then having conversations with your audience should be one of the goals.
Engaging your followers will make them feel like they are part of something bigger. They will feel like they are part of the brand’s success since they are helping you grow by giving their advice or sharing your content.
Here is our followers-to-engagement ratio, proving that the number of followers is not a direct result of our engagement:
People love talking, and they love to show off either their expertise or their knowledge. By engaging in these conversations you will get more feedback on what your target audience wants and you can tweak your strategy according to that.
How we used Pinterest to generate a 9 million engaged audience
Is Pinterest right for your business?
If you run an e-commerce startup, sometimes the best thing you can do is show rather than tell.
A Pinterest search for “interior design” generates millions of results:
On the other hand, businesses like SaaS might not be that well suited for Pinterest, depending on their niche. Just a search for SaaS on Pinterest returned these results:
Of course, this works well for infographics, but people searching for something like “SaaS Marketing Strategies” will be more likely to want to read an article than check out an infographic.
SEO on Pinterest
There are no concrete “rules” when it comes to Pinterest marketing. However, SEO plays an important role in making sure your pins get traction.
Here is what worked for us:
- Creating a relevant account name.
Your username is the URL to your profile. So, as a first step, it’s important to make sure your username is “searchable.” This means it stands out (in a good way) when people search for it.
Desige Decors already implies that our account is all about decors, decorations, and interior design.
- Conduct keyword research.
You won’t be able to use Ahrefs or other SEO tools when conducting keyword research on Pinterest.
However, you can use Pinterest autocomplete to come up with relevant keywords. For example, we searched for “interior design” and came up with a list of related keywords from the autocomplete section:
- Use your keywords in the pin description.
Pinterest uses Keyword Prominence in its SEO algorithm to determine what’s important to the user.
This means that to rank well on Pinterest, you need your keywords higher up in the description area. And it makes sense when you consider that Pinterest is trying to deliver content that’s most in-demand by its users, in order for them to be able to find it in the feed.
- Explore related niches.
We didn’t want to get stuck posting only about bathroom interior design or kitchen decorations. Compared to Google SEO, Pinterest doesn’t actually care about you being relevant to one, single sub-niche.
If you search for “kitchen decorations”, Google tends to reward websites that post content solely about kitchen interior design. On the other hand, on Pinterest, you can create separate boards targeting different niches.
Here’s how the Desige Decors boards look like – hyper-focused on interior design, but also exploring related sub-niches.
How automation took the efforts from our shoulders
The truth is you need to be consistent and post frequently to maximize your chances to build a huge audience. That’s because not all of your pins will get traction.
None of us had the time to curate pictures and post 100s of them daily, so we looked for an automation tool that could do this for us.
We found IFTTT, and scheduled automatic posts from interior design subreddits and other relevant communities. All we had to do is log in on Pinterest once in a while and optimize those posts for SEO.
Here’s how it looked like:
Pinterest case study results – what we learned from growing Desige Decors
We stopped posting on Pinterest a year ago, and it still generates engagement even though our website was discontinued.
Here are the stats for the past 30 days:
And here are the stats for the past year:
Top boards by engagement:
Top boards by outbound clicks:
In terms of outbound clicks, even though the click-through rate might seem low, it’s actually normal for Pinterest. This is because pins generate tons of engagement.
Selling through Pinterest
Social media content, similarly to top-of-funnel content, has its benefits. It generates awareness, introduces your brand to new people, and gets a ton of natural backlinks and traffic.
This is great for startups wanting to grow their overall brand awareness on a visual channel like Pinterest.
But, at Chillital, we think one step past this and also consider what types of social posts and topics would lead to sales and conversions.
For example, in this interior design space, they would be:
- more promotional pins;
- pins featuring products;
- using sales-driven CTAs;
- being more aggressive with advertising.
You should test a few social media channels and see what clicks. Double down on that and create both original and curated content. Don’t be afraid to have a “quantity over quality” approach on social sites like Pinterest.
If you’re curious about how we approach community content promotion, head over to Our Process and check it out.