Add Pinterest to Your Social Wall

Use it to Drive Traffic to Your Website

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Colourful Pinterest crayons
Image source: mkhmarketing

Pinterest is often dismissed as a glorified moodboard for weddings or a place to collect DIY projects, recipes, and fashion wants. Meanwhile, the social media network has turned into a powerful marketing tool for driving traffic to brand websites.

We’ve recently added Pinterest to the growing list of social media networks that can be hooked into Walls.io.

Today, we’ll give you some background on the social media network, help you get the lingo right, and give you a bunch of information on why Pinterest works as a marketing tool and how you can use it to drive traffic to your brand’s website.

Pinterest Basics & Vocabulary

Pinterest is a social media network based on image sharing, sometimes called a social scrapbooking site. It was launched in 2010 and is currently valued at $ 11 billion.

Like most social networking sites Pinterest has its own lingo: Instead of “publishing posts”, Pinterest users put “pins” on “boards”. A user can have multiple boards for different topics. Pins can be images “pinned” from websites or uploaded directly to the platform. When clicking on a pin the image with its caption opens in a lightbox, another click opens the source link in a new tab.

Users can follow others, as well as like and comment on other people’s pins. Virality happens through “repins”, meaning users can repin an image to their own boards. The link to the original website is preserved on each repin, driving traffic to the original source. Outside of Pinterest, pinning is often made easy via a “pin it” button overlaying images.

Pinterest as a Marketing Platform

Originally, Pinterest was brushed aside by many as a glorified moodboard. I set up an account back when Pinterest started, but I never really knew what to do with it. Like many others I dismissed it as the place-to-be for obsessive brides and interior designers. Boy, have I been wrong!

Sure, Pinterest works especially well for all visual topics — fashion, DIY, design, travel etc. —, and it will always be perfect for all kinds of mood boards, from weddings to interior design to party planning. But, over the years, the social network has also developed into a fully-fledged marketing platform for all kinds of brands, not just those in the visual fields.

Pinterest was even used in the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign, on both sides. First, Ann Romney opened a Pinterest account, followed by Michelle Obama a short while later. Even Barack Obama got his own account, eventually!

Bloggers & Brands on Pinterest

The one’s who’ve been harnessing the power of Pinterest the longest are bloggers and entrepreneurs running online businesses. They’ve been using Pinterest to share and spread their content and drive traffic to their websites.

One shouldn’t underestimate the amount of work that goes into maintaining a Pinterest account. Take blogger and graphic designer Lauren Hooker, for instance. She’s using Pinterest for her brand Elle & Company, but all of her other Pinterest boards look like a well-curated presence to support the look of her brand.

When sharing on Pinterest, it’s not just the content that matters, but also and foremost the imagery that goes with it. The profile of Jennifer Chong, one of the most-followed users on Pinterest, is a perfect example for this as well. One look at her profile allows you to immediately pinpoint her sense of style.

Pinterest User Jennifer Chong

The same goes for designer and blogger Joy Cho’s profile:

Pinterest user Joy Cho

Pinterest for Businesses

But even big brands have been discovering the value of Pinterest. Allowing brands to create and present a cohesive look is exactly where Pinterest excels. Solopreneurs, as well as big companies get a chance to present a lifestyle that goes with their brand.

Pinterest isn’t only an option for brands in industries which are heavy on the visuals anymore. However, images will have to sport an appealing look or they won’t get repinned by other users.

Home Improvement brand Lowe’s is on Pinterest, as are the College Football Playoffs and other major sports franchises and brands. So is Intel, and if you think computer stuff can’t look pretty on Pinterest, think again.

Intel is on Pinterest

The important part with Pinterest remains: Brands have to put some effort into making their boards look great and cohesively styled. That doesn’t mean that you can only use Pinterest if you’re a designer or artist. Buffer has published a great blog post on how to create pinnable content.

It’s All About the Traffic

The main draw of Pinterest definitely comes from the way it drives traffic. No matter how many repins later, pinned images never lose the link to the original source they have been pinned from. That makes Pinterest an excellent social media marketing tool for driving traffic back to a brand’s website.

Nordstrom is pinning to a lot of different boards but, of course, most pins link back to products in Nordstrom’s online shop. Supermarket chain Whole Foods and Kraft Recipes both like to link to recipes on their own websites. Wilson’s tennis-focused Pinterest account links to product both on their own website, as well as other online shops.

Pinterest is fully aware of its attraction for businesses. Back in 2012, they rolled out specific business accounts in addition to the more general personal accounts. The signups for personal and business accounts are separate, but personal accounts can also be converted to a Pinterest business account later on.

While the account types initially don’t look much different, a business account gives you access to a few features tailored to businesses. Pinterest Analytics, for instance, will give you insights into your Pinterest boards as well as traffic associated with your website — once you’ve integrated and authorised Pinterest with your website, of course.

U.S. Only: Promoted Pins, Rich Pins and Buyable Pins

Promoted Pins are simply Pinterest’s version of Facebook ads and Twitter cards. Businesses can pick a pin to promote, target the ad, and choose between paying for engagement or site visits. Promoted Pins are currently only available for businesses based in the U.S., and there’s a waitlist!

Rich Pins are pins that have extra information, one of 6 types, right on the pin. The categories for Rich Pins are apps, movies, recipes, articles, products and places. For instance, an App Pin will include an install button, Place Pins will link to a map, and Product Pins will display real time pricing, availability and where to buy information once the pin is clicked on. The pin immediately shows that this MAC product is currently sold by Nordstrom for $ 22:

Rich Pins on Pinterest for Business
A Rich Pin on one of Nordstrom’s Pinterest boards.

The newest addition, Buyable Pins, was added in June 2015. Buyable Pins are only available in Pinterest’s iOS and Android apps, and currently also only in the U.S. They allow users to buy products directly from the app, by clicking on a button and paying via Apple pay and other secure payment processors.

The interesting part is that Pinterest doesn’t take a cut from the sales made via its platform. Instead, Pinterest is partnering with established ecommerce sites and integrating with those. Again, there is a waitlist. They really are making sure they’re handpicking the brands for their business solutions!

How Hashtags Work on Pinterest

There is one thing that is a little different on Pinterest than on other social networks, and that’s hashtags. Forget everything you think you know about hashtags. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Hashtags are overrated: Hashtags do work, but they’re not an effective way to search for content. Hashtags only work in pin descriptions, but not on profiles or board descriptions.
  • Hashtags send people away: Hashtags on Pinterest turn into links to search results for that keyword. So, by using generic hashtags, you may be sending users away from your own pins by letting them click on the links, instead of getting what you wanted, which is more searches leading to your pins.
  • Unique hashtags are good: What you can and should do is create a unique hashtag for your brand, so that clicking on the hashtag will lead users to all of your other pins. The same rules as for creating a unique campaign hashtag apply.
  • Less is more: Too many hashtags could even have an adverse effect and your content might get demoted. Your hashtag behaviour on Pinterest should be the opposite of the best practice for Instagram.
  • Keywords > hashtags: Using the right keywords in pin descriptions and some other tweaks can also help you get found on Pinterest.
  • Keep your boards clean: It’s also important to categorise your boards accurately and keep them organised, e.g. don’t pin your recipes to your interior design board. 😉

Put Pinterest Posts on Your Social Wall

With Pinterests having become such a powerful tool for marketing, it makes sense for Walls.io to include the platform in the list of accounts you can integrate in your social wall. And, now that you know how to Pinterest, we can move on to how you can include Pinterest on your social wall.

First off: Unfortunately, Pinterest doesn’t have a Public Search API. That means that while you can use the search on the platform, you can’t tap into it “from the outside”, so you can’t search for a specific keyword via an app using the Pinterest API. Neither does Pinterest allow developers to query all pins by a specific user.

However, by using the existing API, we have found a way to make it possible for you to display pins on your social hub. Our integration has already been confirmed by Pinterest, and you can start using it right away.

Add Any Pinterest Board and Filter by Keyword

You can add any Pinterest board you’d like to add by URL and then further limit which pins are pulled from that board by adding keywords to filter.

In your Walls.io settings, go to “Channels”, scroll down and connect to your Pinterest account. This will not yet automatically pull any pins, but will speed up how quickly new posts are fetched from Pinterest.

Connect your Pinterest account in the Walls.io setting to speed up the fetching of posts
Connect your Walls.io social wall to your Pinterest account to speed up the fetching of posts.

Grab the URL of a specific board you’d like to show and add it. If you want to further narrow down which posts are displayed, you can enter keywords to the filter and tick the box next to “only posts with…”.

Decide which pins from Pinterest boards are shown on your social wall
Add specific Pinterest boards by URL and set up a keyword filter to influence which pins are shown on your social wall.

You can add as many boards as you like and toggle the filter for each one separately.

Optimise How Pinterest Looks on Your Social Wall

Nowadays, every social media network has their own best practice when it comes to sharing images. Most networks prefer horizontal or square images, but on Pinterest portrait images, or even long infographics, are the norm.

Pinterest users like to use infographics and portrait images.
Lauren Hooker’s Elle & Company Pinterest board sports some infographics.

By default Walls.io focuses on an image’s center when displaying it on a social wall — which works well for other networks, but might not show the most valuable information for images pulled from Pinterest. It really depends on the design of the images.

If you’re adding your own Pinterest board to your social wall, you can make sure everything fits nicely together by creating Pinterest images that also work for your wall’s theme.

Make It Pretty With a CSS Tweak

However, when the board you’re adding isn’t your own, you have fewer options. But you can still make sure pins look great if you feel comfortable adding a little CSS in the design settings.

For instance, if you’re adding a Pinterest board with lots of infographics and using a Walls.io theme that shows square previews, it might be worth it to tweak the settings a little to make sure the titles, which are usually located at the topmost part of an image, are shown.

To do this, simply add the following code snippet in the CSS design settings:

.checkin[data-type=”pinterest”] .checkin-image {

   background-position: top;


Check out our CSS code snippet to make Pinterest posts look great on your social wall.
Comparison of what the Elle & Company board looks like in the Walls.io Fluid theme — without a CSS tweak (left) and with the code snippet added (right).

Are You Ready To Get Pinterested Now?

Whew, that was one monster of a blog post. I hope you enjoyed learning about how to use Pinterest as a marketing platform and as part of your social wall.

If you want even more input, have a look at some Pinterest success stories to see what others have done. Buffer has done some experiments on how to use Pinterest to your advantage. Just don’t let the fact that you should be pinning 5 times per day deter you. 😉

Once you have Pinterest down pat, head over to your Walls.io settings and hook up your Pinterest integration to start showing off your pins on your social wall.

Have you been using Pinterest for marketing or did you see the platform as a “glorified moodboard” so far? Let us know in the comments!