Previously at Shutterstock we explored how to develop an effective Pinterest strategy. Now, discover these six practical tips to apply your new strategy so you can learn how to use Pinterest for business.

Visual content is the best way to separate the look and feel of your brand from your competitors. Compared to written text, visuals are processed faster by the brain, more likely to be remembered, and often evoke an emotional response. But, it’s a double-edged sword. Content that invokes positive feelings and a sense of community encourages people to remember the good times with your brand. A poorly run campaign, on the other hand, sends people running for the hills.

Without a focus on quality, brands run the risk of both failing in their stated strategic objectives and delivering long-term harm to their brand. We’ve gathered six highly-effective tips that can help any business increase the impact of their campaigns.

Include Aspirational Lifestyle Visuals

Pinterest users are looking for more than a specific product. They want to be inspired by a vision of a lifestyle that’s realistic, authentic, and achievable. Simple product shots are useful, but they’re most effective when organically incorporated into lifestyle settings.

Focus these visuals on selling a way of life as opposed to simply selling a product. For example, if you’re selling designer handbags, you can use visuals that show someone using your handbag in a real-life situation. The model in the visual should be stylish, popular, and clearly having fun. Depending on your target market, they can be in a professional situation or out and about with friends.

These visuals work because you’re selling more than just a handbag. You’re selling a vision that your customers aspire to achieve. Selling that vision of what your customers could have in their own lives is a completely natural way to use Pinterest for business. Promote the aspiration or the intangible as much as the tangible product itself. To be successful, these visuals must:

  • Use models that represent your target demographic
  • Select a setting or environment that naturally suits your products
  • Include props or showcase product in use to promote the experience

Brands that are great at this include: Salt & SundryLevi’s

Try Multiple Products in a Visual

Don’t limit your visuals to just one product. Multiple products in one visual can outperform single-product visuals. Pinterest reports that multi-product Pins have, on average, 30% higher click-throughs and 20% higher checkouts.

Best practice includes:

  • Ensure each product in the visual has its own individual Pin on the same or a related board
  • Use products that work in a group such as variations of one product or a collection (i.e. outfits or style guides)
  • Use an original, eye-catching design when arranging your products. Flat lays are ideal for this

Brands that are great at this include: Le Creuset, Bare Minerals

Integrate Branding Tastefully

Your Pins will be more effective if your branding is clearly visible on the content. Your objective is to raise brand awareness while guiding Pinterest users towards a potential purchase, all without compromising the user experience. That being said, you want to keep the branding subtle so as to keep the focus on the content and the aspiration you’re promoting.

It’s not just about the Pins you upload yourself. For example, Forbes recommends using software and add watermarks to visuals. This helps generate more brand awareness when a user re-pins your content to their own followers.

Best practice:

  • Use branding tastefully. It doesn’t have to dominate your visuals
  • Use a small logo or watermark when product shots are impractical
  • Avoid placing essential branding information in the bottom right corner as Pinterest’s visual icon may obscure it
  • Keep the colors and compositions within the content consistent with your brand colors

Brands that are great at this include: Sonos

Pay Attention to Color, Composition, and Size

The most effective Pinterest content makes good use of brand colors, styles, compositions, and saturation. A study on Pinterest consumer engagement, conducted by Curalate, found some interesting correlations:

  • Brand visuals without faces receive 23% more re-pins than those that show faces
  • Colors have a big impact on success. Reds or oranges receive double the re-pins of blue visuals
  • Very dark and very light visuals performed poorly compared to visuals with medium colors and tones
  • Multi-colored visuals received more than three times the engagement than visuals with one dominant color
  • Color is good, but don’t oversaturate. The best-performing Pins used 50% saturation. These visuals performed four times better than visuals with 100% saturation and ten times better than desaturated visuals
  • The less whitespace, the better the engagement. Consumers re-pin content with less whitespace more often
  • Avoid overly tall visuals. The ideal aspect ratio is vertical and between 2:3 and 4:5

Brands that are great at this include: Dollar Shave Club

Use Simple Text Overlays

Text overlays are incredibly easy to apply and an effective way to provide context to your brand’s message. Keep the messaging pointed so that you add appropriate context in the fewest amount of words. Consumers aren’t here to read an essay, so provide any additional information in the Pin description.

Best practices include:

  • Use text that is short, straight-forward, and helpful
  • We recommend using a font size of 20pt or longer
  • Your text overlays and descriptions work in tandem. Text overlays should guide readers to the description
  • Use the pre-made Pinterest sizes included with Shutterstock Editor to add text overlays

Brands that are great at this include: Chase, Lonely Planet, Whole Foods

Use Effective Descriptions

Your visuals might be front and center, but your Pin descriptions play an essential role in how to use Pinterest for business. Pinterest is often dubbed as a search engine for products for consumers to select. The text and keywords in your descriptions help consumers find your Pins.

The descriptions should help you achieve three key objectives. You need to:

  1. Increase the views of your Pins
  2. Provide further information about the products or opportunities advertised
  3. Provide an opportunity to take the next step

Best practice includes:

  • Keep your description easy to read and free of jargon and abbreviations
  • Use hashtags that will increase reach and visibility
  • Stay within the max length of 500 characters (75-100 for grid view)
  • Cross-promote other lines and products
  • Rich Pins allow you to provide extra information on the Pin itself

Brands that are great at this include: Pinch of Yum

Putting These Tips Into Practice

Each of these tips should be taken as guidelines. You always want to customize your strategy to your brand’s unique needs. For example, don’t rebrand just because your branding is blue and you read that red or orange content performs better. You don’t need to rebrand your visual identity to increase the potential reach of one specific Pinterest post.

These tips and strategies draw on historical data to guide you on how to use Pinterest for business. Collect data on your own Pinterest content as you go along by analyzing the performance of your Pins. Analyze how your audience engages with your Pinterest content. Over time, this data will help you develop your own tips and best practices.

Top image via Daria Minaeva