If you think Facebook and Twitter are the most important social media channels for school marketing, think again. Pinterest offers a huge opportunity for school marketers to take advantage of the rapidly growing and highly engaged audience found on the network.
Every day, Pinterest search drives millions of visitors to sites through referral traffic. Every time someone saves one of your Pins, their followers will see it too, exposing it to even more people.
Pinterest is a great place for your followers to see your Pins and an outstanding place for new customers to discover your school and what you have to offer.
Some cool stats associated with Pinterest (Pinterest Business) include:
- Active user base – 250 million
- Pins – 175 billion+
- Businesses – 1.5 million
- Women – 85% (mothers, aunts and grandmothers)
- Millennials – 67 % (parents)
Some schools tend to struggle with how to successfully establish themselves on Pinterest. If your Pinterest presence is stalling, don’t write off your account just yet. There are ways to improve your profile for better outreach. The tips below will help you develop a more Pinterest-friendly presence for your school.
Step #1. Make sure your account and profile are set up properly.
Set your account up as a business account.
Business accounts include extra features, like ads, analytics and regular email updates. If you are using a personal account, don’t worry, you won’t lose any pins or boards. Click here for information on how to set up a business account.
Get your website ready.
Having your website Pinterest-friendly will make it easier for people to save your content and for you to track the success of your account.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Confirm your website to ensure your school logo appears on any content someone might save from your site and to improve your analytics. Click here for directions on how to confirm your website.
- Add a Save button so people can easily save things they like to Pinterest. Click here for directions on how to add a Pinterest Save button to WordPress.
- Install a widget to display Pins, boards or your Pinterest profile on your site. Click here for info on how to build Pinterest widgets.
- Use the Pinterest tag on your site to gather valuable conversion insights and build audiences that you can target in the future. Click here for info on how to install a Pinterest tag to help you measure your success.
- Make sure you include a link to your website on your main profile page. This can drive more traffic to your site.
Step #2. Build boards your audience will love and follow.
Your boards should be relevant to your audience. Your Pinterest strategy should be focused on highlighting your content in order to drive people to your site. It is a popular misconception that every Pinterest account should have certain boards whether those topics are in their niche or not (i.e. fashion, food & drink, DIY & craft, home décor, health & wellness, etc.) Your boards should be relevant to your target audience and focus on highlighting your school.
Include general topics and specific topics.
Once you start building boards and tracking your metrics, you will notice that some topics can be broken down into more specific topics.
Use Pinterest analytics to research trends before naming new boards.
What Pins are floating to the top? What are people looking for? After searching for terms, use the best keywords in your board descriptions.
Seasonal boards are always popular.
Just move them lower on your profile during the off-season. You can use the same board every year. You can continue to pin to a seasonal board all year but as the season gets closer move it back up to the top of your account and start pinning more often.
It’s OK to pin the same Pin to multiple boards.
This is where general and more specific boards are helpful. Pinning to multiple boards allows for more views of your Pins, and opens up more options for your account.
Start new boards properly and schedule pins.
Start new boards with at least 10 pins so it doesn’t look like an abandoned board. Schedule 10-20 Pins to that board (at least 1-2 Pins per day). Tailwind and Viraltag are two popular Pinterest tools that allow you to schedule your Pins.
Curate valuable boards for your audience by pinning and repining others’ content.
Pinterest is a relatively inclusive community; brands that come in the space solely to promote themselves are always welcome. Schools should pin from within Pinterest to signal they are on the platform to develop genuine relationships. There’s no “magic ratio” of how many pins should come from the Pinterest community compared to your own.
Consider setting up and managing your own Communities.
If you’re looking to connect with other Pinterest influencers, consider creating a group board (called Communities) and inviting others to collaborate and share content. This is a great way to make connections and expand your Pinterest reach.
Step #3. Design attractive Pins.
After all, Pinterest is a visual platform. If your Pinterest account is stagnant, consider the look of your Pins to determine if they’re appealing to your Pinterest audience.
Here are some tips to help you leverage your visuals for Pinterest.
Use the right dimensions.
Vertical pins that appear taller perform better on Pinterest. While Pinterest automatically scales all images to match the exact width, users determine the height of their images. It’s recommended that you use image dimensions from about 2:3 and 1.3: 5. According to Pinterest, the ideal dimensions for perfect pins are 736 pixels wide x 1128 pixels high.
Include text overlay on images.
Descriptions matter, but images reign supreme on Pinterest. To better catch the attention of users scrolling quickly through feeds, add text overlay directly onto your images to make them stand out and explain why your pin and content are valuable. In most cases, text should not take up the majority of space on the pin. It can, however, be helpful to show step-by-step tutorials, listicles or a few words telling pinners about the pin. Keep the text simple, short and easy-to-read. It’s recommended that the text contrasts in color to the rest of the image.
Choose light over dark images.
Research shows that lighter-colored images are consistently repinned more often than darker images. Warm colors (reds, pinks, oranges) are also more likely to be repinned than images with predominately blue tints, getting an average of double the number of repins.
Step #4. Use the right content to stimulate engagement.
Pinterest is a visual social media platform, but your written copy matters too.
Use the right content.
The type of content you are pinning is important. How-to and step-by-step tutorials are perennial favorites. Images that show how to do something and step-by-step tutorials often receive a high amount of engagement and clicks on Pinterest.
Answer questions with dedicated explanatory boards and pins. Anticipate the questions your potential families may have and use that information to name your boards and pins, and write content that answers those questions.
Spotlight student success stories.
Parents love student stories, especially success stories. Create content that will help potential families envision themselves attending your school. Highlight events and show pictures of happy students. Be sure you have parents’ permission before using a picture of a student.
Want more topic ideas for Pinterest? Click here for 304 appealing topics for school marketers…
Write short descriptions.
Research has found the ideal description is 150-300 words long. Of course you can experiment to determine what will work best for your audience. Descriptions provide additional information about the pin, and will help persuade people to click through to your website / blog. It’s also an opportunity to add searchable keywords.
Include Links in pin and board descriptions.
Adding a link to your pins and board descriptions will make it easy for viewers to link to your website / blog. They can also roll over the link and see where the link leads. Remember to keep your link short.
Use calls-to-actions (CTAs) in your pin descriptions.
Adding CTAs encourages people to take the desired action. CTAs should always be brief, clear and to the point. CTAs that work well on Pinterest include:
- Average monthly viewers
- Average monthly engaged
Add hashtags to your pins to improve search visibility.
Hashtags on Pinterest were once hotly contested. Today, we know that hashtags can help your Pins get found. Pinterest recommends that you add no more than 20 hashtags per pin.
Step #5. Optimize your pins and boards using keyword research.
The Pinterest search function is a powerful tool for finding boards, pins and other users. The good news is that optimizing for Pinterest is much easier than optimizing for Google search.
Start typing your target keywords in the Pinterest search bar.
Pinterest will suggest keywords people have searched for. These can be good keywords to include in your boards and pins.
Check search results to see which boards and pins show up.
If they are relevant to your school, the keywords you used may be good ones to incorporate into your boards and pins.
Pinterest will rank active accounts higher than non-active accounts.
Use Google’s Keyword Planner.
Google’s Keyword Planner is a good tool to use to research keywords and boost the visibility of your Pinterest account. You’ll need a free Google Analytics account that’s connected to Google Ads. You don’t have to advertise on Google to use Keyword Planner. Use Keyword Planner to get new ideas and find out how many times people search for that keyword or phrase each month. Consider using long-tail keywords (a keyword phrase that includes three or more words) to help your pins and boards get found by your target audience. Click here to learn more about keyword research
Step #6. Use Pinterest Analytics to gain valuable insight.
The data provided by Pinterest Analytics can give you valuable insight into your target audience and fine-tune your Pinterest efforts. It will help you see what people pin from your website and blog, as well as what your audience enjoys pinning outside of your own content.
Get started with Pinterest Analytics.
Get started by clicking on the Analytics tab in the top left corner of your account. You can also log in directly by going to analytics.pinterest.com.
Access useful metrics.
Here are some metrics you will find in your Pinterest Analytics:
- Average monthly viewers
- Average monthly engaged
The Overview tab is a great way to get a snapshot of the segments Pinterest is capturing data from: your Pinterest profile, your audience and activity from your website / blog. The Overview tab will also give you a look at the top-performing Pins from your website / blog.
The Profile tab offers an in-depth view of the performance of your Pins. You can filter this information by date ranges, Impressions/Viewers and device-type.
Top Pins is a great way to look at how individual pins are performing in terms of impressions, clicks, saves and likes.
Similarly, you can look at Boards data to see which of your topics/categories is generating the most interest.
People You Reach
The People You Reach tab will help you understand your Pinterest audience.
Pinterest is also granting early access to the new Audience Insights tool, which offers audience insights that are more powerful and intuitive than People You Reach.
More than demographics
Aside from demographics, Pinterest Analytics provides a look at your audiences’ interests, the boards your Pins are associated with, and the brands your audience engages.
The Website tab will provide you with insights about the content from your website / blog that is performing on Pinterest. You can view data for all of the Pins that link back to your website. You can use this data to help determine which content your audience is most interested in.
Pinterest remains one of the most popular social media platforms; people continue to use the network to search and aggregate new ideas into their life. Pinterest requires a complete paradigm shift from channels like Facebook or Twitter, but it offers fewer opportunities for brands to speak to people one-on-one. For this reason, you should present your school as a leader in education and offer answers to the questions your potential parent might have. If you’re willing to think critically about what parents may find appealing about your school, you’ll find the right content for engaging with Pinterest. If you can be useful to parents by answering the questions they have in their mind, they will reference you again and again, and you will generate inquiries about your school.
Have you had success using Pinterest for your school marketing efforts? Please share your thoughts and insights with the rest of the school marketing community in the comments below.