How to Use Pinterest to Market Your Home Staging Business: an Interview with Kate Ahl
This interview originally aired as a podcast episode. If you would prefer to listen, you can find it here.
Cindy: Hey, Kate, thank you so much for being on the show. Before we get started, can you tell us a little bit about your background and what type of work do you do?
Kate: I run a company called Simple Pin Media and we're a Pinterest management company. What we do is we really help our clients by taking the Pinterest marketing piece totally off their plate so they can really focus back on their business, whether it's creating content or selling services or even physical products.
I also have a teaching side of my business, which is the Simple Pin Podcast. So I help people who are not quite ready to hire us, but they really want to DIY their Pinterest marketing. I really try to break it down into simple, actionable steps because we all know in business we can be super overwhelmed with information and I want it to be one less person that's just throwing a bunch of stuff at people.
Cindy: That's great! And what is Pinterest exactly and how does it work?
Kate: A lot of people would call it a social media platform, but we actually refer to it as a search and discovery platform. It's a place where people go to save their ideas. The best way to understand it is that before we had social media, before we had computers, we would take images out of magazines or whatever it was, and we put them into binders and sometimes we would categorize them. Maybe — let's say you're decorating a house — you would put them into kitchen, you would put them into bathroom.
Pinterest is like a virtual binder. It's a place where you can save your ideas to particular boards so you can revisit them later. You're not utilizing the bookmark tab on your computer anymore, but you're categorizing your ideas so you can buy products, do activities, or even dream into your future plans.
Cindy: Why is Pinterest so important in today's marketplace?
Kate: I think one of the things that Pinterest provides for marketers particularly is that they provide a way to connect the pinner, the dreamer, the doer, the person who's going to take action with their products or services. It's basically that you're solving a problem for the pinner.
So let's say I'm trying to design the ideal bathroom and I have a style that I like or I want to purchase lamps or I want to look for anything that's going to add to the style of my home. You as a marketer or somebody who can help with either the services or the product piece, you putting your content on Pinterest helps match you up with a person who is already ready to purchase.
Whereas when we operate on a platform like Facebook, that's really very timely. And even on Google, people can search, but there's no image component to it. So Pinterest is very heavily image-based, so it's a really important place to really connect with your future customer.
Cindy: When it comes to marketing on Pinterest, I think one of the main issues for small business owners is that it feels like running an extra business. It takes a lot of time to build a presence. And I think a lot of business owners aren’t sure if they’re using the right strategy. So how can we leverage this platform to really market our business and drive more sales?
Kate: That's such a good question. I think one of the interesting things that we've seen with a lot of our other small business owners is that you really have to think critically about where you're going to spend your time. There's a lot of talk in our industry about all the different platforms, and you can get caught up in that. There's a marketing piece to your business and then there's obviously the serving clients part of your business.
I also think Pinterest can be done in as little as an hour a week. I don't think it has to be all-consuming. Number one, I think Pinterest is really important simply because if your thinking about how many people are making decisions to design their homes or to create the home they love, that's where they go first. There's really no other platform where you can save all your ideas and curate this dream if you will.
The other thing to know is that we often refer to Pinterest as a slow burn. The fire has to be tended over time and that involves investment of probably six to nine months or even over a year before you really see massive growth.
Cindy: What are some fundamental things that people need to be doing on Pinterest?
Kate: One of the first ones is that your images need to be vertical. And that's a 2:3 ratio. It's the only platform [right now] that takes the vertical. So that's number one. On top of those images, the text gives context. So if you put text overlay using a program like Canva or even Photoshop, you can give a context to maybe it's 10 ways to update your kitchen or 10 of the best kitchen appliances. This encourages me as a person who is looking at redoing their kitchen to click over to your website. Images are what makes Pinterest to go round. So don't pin anything that's square or you can't see very well because pinners need that instant engagement with an image. That's really what drives their curiosity to click.
Number two is your profile on Pinterest. Your page should be all about your business. I should be able to hop onto your profile and know instantly what you're about. So for me, I have a page that's all about Simple Pin Media: Pinterest marketing, and then my boards that I have curated for my audience are all around Pinterest tips or Pinterest marketing strategies, social media strategies.
Cindy: As business owners, how can we use Pinterest to our advantage?
Kate: I would say if you are using another social platform — let's say Instagram is already really working for you — try to cross-promote and get those Instagram users to hop over to Pinterest to share some of your content or to even just follow you. I really like to tell people that if they're going to start exploring Pinterest because they've mastered another social platform, to try to kind of cross-pollinate and you can do the same with your email list. So if you have an email list, remind them or tell them to follow you on Pinterest. Put that in front of them. We sometimes feel like, “Well, that's annoying. I don't want to say follow me on Pinterest,” but honestly if you're don't remind your audience, they'll never know.
Also having it really easy to pin something for later on your website — having social share buttons on the blog portion of your site so that if I am coming across your particular website or service, even if it's via Google, Facebook, or Instagram, I have the vehicle to save it to my board for later. So those are really, really important.
Cindy: What are some of the common mistakes that you see that people make on Pinterest?
Kate: One would be giving up too soon. I hear from a lot of people who feel very frustrated with the platform because it doesn't make sense to them or no one's ever told them that it is a search and discovery platform. Just gear up with your mindset and know you're going to be investing for at least six to nine months. Very actively daily pinning.
Number two would be that they're not using a scheduling service. Pinterest does offer approved marketing partners that can schedule your pins for you and all you do is you'd go in there and you decide which pins you'd like to have them schedule out and then you decide the boards that you want them to go to.
The number three mistake would be misinterpreting the data on Pinterest. You can see right under your name is your monthly views. And this number is a combination of impressions, saves, profile visits, clicks within the last 30 days. It kind of rotates. So a lot of people misinterpret the word views for clicks. It's just simply people saw your content, saw your profile, or they interacted with it. You want to really utilize Google Analytics for what's actually happening and how many clicks you're actually getting to your site.
I hope you learned a lot about Pinterest from my conversation with Kate! Is there anything that you’ll be utilizing for your business? Let us know in the comments below!
Kate Ahl is the founder and owner of Simple Pin Media, a Pinterest management company helping businesses increase their reach on Pinterest. She also hosts the weekly Simple Pin podcast teaching you how to DIY your Pinterest marketing.