Using Pinterest can add a new dimension to your travel marketing, alongside the twin pillars that are Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest pins are far more durable and wider reaching than a tweet or a Facebook post. According to T3Leads, a Pinterest pin is 100 times more shareable than a Tweet and has a longer life than a Facebook post. As Pinterest has 70 million users – this is definitely something you don’t want to miss out on!
Pinterest works particularly well for companies in the travel industry, as it is a visual platform. Whilst it is essentially a bookmarking site, users are looking to bookmark images that are inspirational and play up to their own aspirations, tastes, wants and desires.
Also, as Pinterest is primarily a visual medium there is no language barrier, which allows you to reach audiences in a wide range of markets without needing to spend lots of time translating content for every language around the globe.
We’ve put together this epic guide to explain all things Pinterest to you, so even if you’re a Pinterest pro or just starting out you can find some useful takeaways to supercharge your Pinterest strategy and help to use it effectively in bringing more people to your site and making more potential customers aware of your brand.
Let’s start at the beginning! Pinterest is an online pin board/bookmarking site, where users are able to collate and post images on the network and categorise them.
You can share images you find online (be aware of copyright and citing sources) as well as directly uploading images to share. You can also share your Pinterest images on Twitter and on Facebook.
Here’s all the key Pinterest jargon that you need to know to navigate the site without getting overwhelmed…
Pin – When you share something on Pinterest, it is known as a Pin or Pinning an image.
Repin – When you share someone else’s Pin on Pinterest, it’s called a repin. Repinning is the same concept as retweeting a tweet on Twitter, or sharing a post on Facebook.
Board – On Pinterest you share and collect images and display them on boards, every user has the ability to create their own boards and define categories – for example you can have one board for your dream holiday destinations and another for places you have been.
Likes – Users have the option to ‘like’ pins on Pinterest. This is a way of expressing that they like a pin that has been posted without the need for them to repin it to their own boards.
Pinterest has more than 250,000 active users and attracts more than 10-million visits a month in the UK. 29% of these users fall into a high-income bracket.
In the US Pinterest is the third most popular social network in terms of traffic with upwards of 150-million monthly visits.
Pinterest User and Usage statistics:
- According to Omnicore, 28% of Pinterest users earn more than $100,000 a year.
- The average Pin is worth 78 cents (in terms of sales) and drives two visits to the associated website (Piqora).
- The Harvard Business Review have stated that 21% of Pinterest users have bought an item after pinning, repinning or liking the item on Pinterest. (Business Insider)
- 69% of Pinterest users have found an item they’ve purchased or wanted to purchase (Bizrate Insights)
- Nearly 85% of all purchasing decisions are made by women, 80% of all Pinterest users are women (RJMetrics)
“In theory, Pinterest is a marketer’s dream come true: 70 million users, mostly young affluent women, essentially voting for their favourite brands, products and online content.” – Catherine Shu, TechCrunch Writer
Before you start using Pinterest for your business, it might help to create a personal profile to begin with and learn by using the platform. This will also help you get to grips the terminology used as well as explore what other brands (and competitors) are pinning.
Setting Up Your Account
When you go to Pinterest for the first time, you will need to setup your account. The sign-up process is very quick and simple, the only information you need to enter is an email address for the account, your business name, highlight a category that best fits (for travel companies we recommend either Brand or Retailer). You should also include a link to your website to help people find you via your Pinterest profile.
Your First Boards
Before you share your Pinterest account with your other social media platforms it’s a good idea to add some content first, this way when users make their first trip to your Pinterest page they won’t be greeted by a blank canvas.
Create boards for all the key areas you cover. If you’re a destination specialist then maybe you have a board for each city/location that you visit. If you are an Asia travel specialist then you could create a board for each country in your portfolio.
Rich pins add more value to your pinned content and enhance the user experience. There are six types of rich pin but the most important for travel companies is the Place Pin.
These pins form an interactive map board where you can see the pins by location.
You can create Place boards that reflect your business, for example if your company is a specialist tour operator around Rome, you can select points on a tour route that are of particular interest, take a photo of what a tour-goer will see at that point and upload it with it’s location.
Pins are extremely valuable to you as a business for various reasons. According to Search Engine Watch, on average a Pin on Pinterest:
- Is worth around 78 cents in sales,
- drives two site visits and six page views, and
- is repinned around 10 times.
This level of engagement can be replicated on your pins, if you know how to execute them correctly.
Just like blog articles and Instagram, Pinterest is a highly visual search engine, therefore you need to make sure that your pins are easily searchable. This is something that travel companies could easily take advantage of by promoting great pictures of their accommodation and destinations.
So before you start pinning, make sure that you understand what your followers like to search for and make sure that you create popular pins.
Knowing what is in the popular categories on Pinterest is possibly the most useful tool you can use to market your brand on this social media site. This is because you will be able to gauge which boards work best for your business and focus your time and efforts on creating that content.
According to Mashable, travel is one of the top 10 most popular categories on Pinterest. Lonely Planet are currently the largest travel brand on the platform with a little over 700,000 followers.
TOP TIP: If you’re posting on Twitter about a great holiday deal to Tuscany, and you have a board set up on Pinterest full of Tuscany related images – share a link to the board in the tweet!
When you start off on Pinterest you won’t have any followers, but there are ways that you can help increase your follower numbers:
1. Add the Pinterest icon to your website – adding the Pinterest button to your website, along with your other social media icons will help drive traffic from your site to your social channels.
2. Add the Pinterest profile widget to your site – ideal if you have galleries of images on your site, these widgets are a lot more prominent than the icon and can display up to 30 of your most recent pins.
3. Share a lot of content – by sharing a lot of content and pinning a lot of images you will increase your presence and exposure on Pinterest to help give your initial following a boost.
4. Comment on relevant, popular pins – Pinterest has a section, similar to Twitter’s trending section that contains pins that have received a lot of engagement. You can gain some exposure by commenting on these pins. It’s important to remember however that too much commenting is considered spam by Pinterest, so try and limit your comments to three a day, and only do it on relevant pins.
5. Connect your other social networks – Connecting your Facebook and Twitter accounts to your Pinterest will help attract your other social fans to also follow you on Pinterest. Sharing your Pins via Twitter and Facebook is easy and can help boost your reach and followers.
6. Run competitions – A great way to boost followers is by creating a simple, low entry effort competition. One great competition idea is to create a simple entry form on your website that asks a user for their Pinterest username (as well as other information), then ask them to follow you on Pinterest and to repin 3 images from a specific board in order to complete their entry.
7. Share pins in your newsletter – Utilise your newsletter by sending pins to your followers directly. This will help to direct your subscribers straight to your Pinterest account.
As Pinterest is such a visual site, it is important that the images you use both promote your business and attract followers to your specific pins. Stick with these simple rules and you should find that your images are successful on Pinterest:
- Use clear and high-resolution images that are visually appealing and professional.
- Avoid using dark images – these are pinned fewer times than lighter images. (SiteProNews)
- Brand images without faces tend to get repinned more than images with faces. (MarketingLand)
- Simple, crisp photos highlight the message of your pins more effectively.
Although you cannot change the width of your pin, it is up to you what the length is. The optimal size for a pin is 736 x 1102 pixels for a pin because it’s not too big and it’s not too small. Use the size of pin that you feel would be most beneficial to your business – you can work with or without the standard template.
Whilst there is no conclusive, black and white answer to this question – there have been several case studies looking into this answer.
Studies and research has shown however that the best times to Pin are between 2pm and 4pm, and 8pm to 1am (Hubspot)
Ultimately, every brand’s audience is different and as you post more content you’ll begin to see patterns in engagement. Remember to take into account national holidays and long weekends as your audience may very well be busy doing things outside of their normal routine.
In order to ensure you get the most out of Pinterest, you need to optimize your Pins. By following the below steps, you will improve your content’s visibility both on Pinterest as well as within Google search results.
Make it easy to pin to your sites
By adding a hovering pin it button to the images on your site or phone app, will direct your visitors directly to your Pinterest account. This will increase the interaction with your Pinterest account.
Connect it with your other Social Media Platforms
It is important to ensure that your Pinterest business account is connected with other social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, because it will help to gain more followers by tapping into those you already have. You can also spread your content across numerous platforms giving it more prominence.
It is simple to connect your various social media accounts – you simply go into the settings for your Pinterest Business account, click onto the social networks section and connect your Facebook and Twitter. It really couldn’t be any easier!
Although, it’s important to note that you can only connect a personal Facebook account to your Pinterest business account – therefore if you only have a business page on Facebook, you won’t be able to connect the two. Twitter, however is less fussy so there should be no problems connecting the two.
Verify your website
Verified Pinterest accounts have more authority in Pinterest’s internal search. This page has instructions about how to complete the process.
How to optimize for SEO
You will have to use an SEO strategy to get your pins discovered by your target audience. By following these easy steps you can optimise your pins in search engines and Pinterest’s internal search.
Make sure you research keywords. Using tools such as Google AdWords Keywords Planner to find popular keywords related to your business and its pins.
Include keywords in your ‘About Section’
Your profile about section can show up in Google search engines, so it’s very important that you make the most of the 200 characters available to you.
Carnival Cruise Lines are a good example of how to use this space on your profile, they’ve included their brand name, Pinterest and the word travel in this space:
Add keyword/s to your pin descriptions
It’s important that you add keywords to your Pinterest post descriptions, for example the post below was intended for people looking for honeymoon destinations. This pin has been optimised with the keywords ‘honeymoon destinations’ and the destination they are promoting, the Amalfi Coast.
Add keyword/s to your pin image file names
When you upload images onto Pinterest, you should optimise their file names so that they have a greater chance of appearing higher in Google Image search results. For example, if you have a photo of a luxury beach in Spain but the filename is ‘Image_00012.jpg’ – Google won’t know what it is. However if you change the filename to ‘Sandy_Beach_In_Spain.jpg’, then Google will understand what the photo is and will rank it more prominently in image searches.
Create Boards which match the kind of category keywords you want to be found through e.g. A board for ‘Villas in Portugal’, ‘Villas in Spain’ etc if you offer villa rentals – these can also rank well in Google as well as for searches on Pinterest.
Make sure that you don’t sound too unnatural by trying to force in certain keywords, simply adding a strong keyword in the right context can have a great effect on the success rate of your pins.
“Call to” Pins
A ‘call to’ pin can significantly increase the engagement of your pins and is used in the same way as you would use a call to action in your ad copy. Using phrases such as “Repin to your own inspiration board” can increase engagement.
By featuring customers in your Pins you can appeal to their vanity and empower them by mentioning them. If you run activity holidays, show them in action and compliment them on their athletic/sporting prowess – you can even compliment a customers dress sense and style as they lounge by the pool or dine in the restaurant (all with their permission for the photo to be taken of course!)
A great way to create aspiration and inspiration is to create a very visual itinerary board that other Pinterest users can repin to their own profiles for future reference – or just because they love it! These are especially effective if you are a tour operator or offer bespoke holidays. Even if you only offer guided tours of a city or mountain biking in the mountains, you can collaborate with other businesses (both on Pinterest and offline in the real world) who you already have a relationship with to create a desirable itinerary for a day, a weekend or even an entire holiday!
Instructographics are a Pinterest coined term for infographics. These are highly popular because of their DIY nature. These can easily be turned into itineraries or infographics (such as this example). By adding infographics to your boards you can highlight interesting and useful information that can easily be saved to a users phone camera roll
Conduct Market Research
Using Pinterest to test out the response to an upcoming ad campaign, offer or new products is a great way to get feedback. Pinterest users are actively looking to digest content and contribute to ideas and collectives.
Collaborate with Travel influencers
Reach out to travel bloggers and other travel influencers and ask them to Pin their own images to your board, this is a great way to grow your audience by engaging with theirs. To add contributors to a group Pinterest board, first follow at least one Pinterest board that belongs to the person you’re going to reach out too. Then go to your board you want them to contribute too and click the edit button – you will then be asked to enter the names of the Pinterest users you want to give access too.
TOP TIP: Lacking inspiration? Use Pinterest’s Categories to find businesses similar to your own to see the content they are sharing, just click the drop down menu in-between the search bar and your profile name.
Expedia joined Pinterest in 2012 and to date have amassed more than 46,000 followers. When they launched the UK page, Expedia stated that they see Pinterest ‘as a means to share the passion for travel that drives people behind the Expedia brand.
Expedia also realised very quickly that one major benefit to Pinterest (above other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter) is that language is not essential and isn’t a barrier. The cliché that a picture can say a thousand words have never rang so true.
Expedia have organised their boards into destinations – such as Europe, the Caribbean, Hawaii and Cancun as well as a dedicated board for their blog content, their deals and a blank space board titled ‘Expedia “Find your _____” and have filled it with captioned images filling in the blank, to get people thinking about taking trips.
VisitSweden again joined Pinterest in 2012 as an early adopter. During the early days, the company encouraged its marketing team to use it for personal purposes during work hours in order to get familiar with the platform and learn the skills necessary to use it.
It’s important to make sure that the wider marketing team (and wider business) understands what you are trying to achieve with the company on Pinterest, this way gaining support from other team members and departments will be easier in the long run – there is also the potential for others to contribute ideas.
eDreams have taken the approach of organizing their boards so that their travel tips, infographics and studies and ‘Top 25 things to do in…’ boards are most prominent.
They also have boards showing images from various carnivals from around the world, street food, the different breakfasts of the world and weird food before their boards for countries and cities.
Even though the company offers discounts, this is only apparent in their profile biography. They don’t force a sales message through their boards, instead they opt to build brand awareness and share great content with their audience.
One great way to win at Pinterest is to produce content focusing on the lifestyle, not the product. Holiday Inn’s Pinterest is a great example of this, they have boards such as ‘Fall (Autumn) Travel’, ‘Wanderlust’ and ‘Traveling with kids’.
They do have a board for their hotels, but instead of pinning their own images taken by professional photographers that you’ll also find on their website and in brochures, the ‘Our hotels as seen through our guests’ eyes’ board exclusively consists of photos taken by other Pinterest users that Holiday Inn have gone out looking for to then repin on their own board.
This method is a great way to build a relationship with a customer, by repinning their image you’re sending a message to the user that you recognise them as an equal, and hopefully help to turn them into more of a brand advocate.
Pinterest, much like Facebook and Twitter, boasts it’s own free web analytics dashboard. It provides valuable insights into how your content is performing on Pinterest and if that content is generating traffic to your website (so there is no need to get this data from Google Analytics).
The Pinterest web analytics platform is quite limited in terms of customisation and features. It does however offer:
- Historical data, reaching back to the very beginning of your Pinterest account
- Ability to export data to Excel (or equivalent)
- Breakdown of activity by number of Repins v Unique Number of Repinners
- Ability to trace spikes (and troughs) of activity to their respective pins
- Website traffic information
Pinterest web analytics’ shortcomings however are that the tool is overly focused on the traffic and activity towards your company website (or associated website) rather than your Pinterest profile.
Because of this, there is no information on how many followers/subscribers that you have and no way to measure whether or not your Pinterest community is expanding.
The platform does however make intelligent recommendations based on your account data and suggests articles that are relevant and outline how you can improve your various engagement scores.
On the whole, the platform is easy to navigate and doesn’t require extensive analytics knowledge.
3 metrics worth measuring in Pinterest web analytics are:
- Pins from your website
One of the most important metrics to monitor in Pinterest Web Analytics is the number of Pins created from your own sites content. This gives you the (daily) average number of pins from your verified site and can help you determine whether or not the visual content being published on your site is interesting enough for your website visitors to pin to their (and your) boards.
If you’re not getting a lot of pins (or less than you hoped for) then this might be a signal to introduce some more visuals to your site, either by adding more imagery to your blog posts or news articles, or even creating new blog headers.
When making any changes to your website’s visual content, be sure to keep records of dates. This way when you look at the percentage change over a given time period, you can ascertain if a certain day or week saw an increase or decrease in the number of pins.
If you notice an increase in the number of pins, you can look to attribute this to the addition of visual content on your site (if the dates match up) and you should then look to create content similar to this in the future.
However, if you notice a decrease in the number of pins in a given time period and you’ve added more visual content, it may indicate that this content may not be appropriate for your audience.
TOP TIP: After you post visual content such as infographics to your website, allow two weeks for it to gain traction before reviewing your analytics.
- Repins From Your Pinterest Account
When a Pinterest user sees a Pin in their feed from one of the accounts that they are following then can choose to Repin it to their boards, which then in turn adds it to their followers’ feeds.
Monitoring the Repin metric will help you determine the daily average number of Pins from your website that have been repinned. The number of Repins can help you determine how well your visual content is being received by your Pinterest audience.
TOP TIP: Whilst it is important to get content from your website Pinned, it’s also important to see how many of those images are being repinned by other users.
- Determining Your Reach
Determining the reach of your Pins is an indicator of how successful your content has been. Reach lets you know how many users have seen your content (pins and repins), giving you a better understanding of how effective your content is.
TOP TIP: Hover over any point on your graph in the analytics dashboard to see your reach for that day.
Boards – this is the number of boards that you have on your Pinterest profile.
Pins – this is the number of pins you have across all of your boards.
Likes – this is the number of likes your pins have collectively gained.
Followers – this is the number of followers your Pinterest account has.
Following – this is the number of Pinterest accounts you are following.
List of great Pinterest resources
We’ve aimed to give you all the key information that any travel company will need to gain a good following on Pinterest, but there are many more fantastic resources out there which you can read to get further tips…
Pinterest’s Business Blog
Pinterest has it’s own official blog that provides great advice, news on updates as well as guides on how to use Pinterest more effectively as a business.
Pinterest Official Blog
Pinterest’s other official blog is not focused on business, but is a great place to find news about updates as well as articles surrounding trends that can give you some great inspiration.
Great Pinterest Images
Canva is a free tool (with some paid features) that enables you to upload your own images onto a canvas that is the size of an ideal Pinterest image and add text over the top.
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