Not so long ago, I didn’t get what all of the hype was about Pinterest. In fact, I was militant about taking quite the opposite approach — eff Pinterest and all of the folks who were using this “4Chan for your mom” social site where you “pinned” things to “boards.” Sharing a twin bed with Sarah Palin sounded more appealing to me.
But thanks to the likes of Francisco Rosales over at Social Mouths and Jason Falls over at Entrepreneur Magazine, I changed by tune. Especially when I was being bombarded by statistics like Pinterest driving more traffic than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined.
And I’m on Pinterest. You can check out my boards covering everything from Hedgehog Porn to business smarts. But today, I want to talk to everyone out there with a website — whether you ever decide to give three frog’s fine ass hairs about Pinterest or not.
You Need New Traffic
No one throws up a website or blog hoping no one will visit it. While there are some folks out there with supremely shitty web presences that they really should hope no one visits, most of us are always looking for ways to:
- Get new eyeballs on our sites
- Make it easy for people to share our stuff once they arrive so they can help us get even more eyeballs
- Encourage people to come back for more
So right now — I want you to figure out if your website and every single one of your blog posts and potentially sharable content (whitepapers, videos, etc.) is Pinterest-friendly. Because is your website and social sharing settings aren’t letting people share your content on Pinterest, you’re missing the mark. You’re not only disgruntling (is anyone ever “gruntled?”) your current visitors who use Pinterest — you’re missing out on all those new eyeballs they could help bring back to your site.
What Does “Pinterest-Friendly” Mean?
Shoo-howdy! Am I glad you asked. Well, it means that you have an appropriate image identified for every page or website element that has sharing — or “pinning” potential. The folks using social sharing, and most recently, Pinterest, use either browser toolbar widgets or ones you see at the top of this post through social bookmarking applications like Digg Digg (my plugin of choice). Here’s how it works:
- I land on a web page – like one of the Tiny Desk concerts over at NPR Music. Dammit, I love these.
- I realize — dammit, I love this Tiny Desk concert featuring Bill Frisell.
- I hit the “Pin It” widget in my toolbar on Chrome. And this is what I see:
There isn’t a SINGLE image associated with the video I’ve just fallen in love with that I can “pin” onto Pinterest. And whie you can’t see it, even if I select one of these images, it goes to a completely white image which makes pinning completely pointless.
I LOVE THIS VIDEO.
I WANT TO SHARE IT!
I SUPPORT NPR!
But why does NPR hate me?
What this has done is tell me that (1) I can’t share things on Pinterest from NPR Music easily, and hence (2) I probably won’t try in the future.
So how can you take some simple steps to keep your content from looking all jacked up on Pinterest and being Pinterest-friendly so that the legions of Pinners can pin the living hell out of your site?
Making Your Stuff Pinterest-Friendly
This really hit home for me earlier this week when I launched ErikaNapoletano.com. Having previously been victim to sites like LinkedIn and Facebook refusing to pull my site’s meta data properly, I tested my new site pre-launch. I wanted it to be snuggly, social, and inherently sharable…which meant PINNABLE, too. And wouldn’t you know it? I ran into more issues than TIME Magazine from the get-go. After some diligent work on my web developer’s part, we resolved the issue. Here’s what you can do to make your stuff not just sharable…but PINNABLE.
- Test your web pages and blog. Drop the links into Facebook, LinkedIN, and Pinterest NOW. Figure out if there are problems. Kinda like this one. Which isn’t currently pulling up right using the “pin it” widget. So see how I’m solving it in the 5th bullet.
- If you’re powered by WordPress, check out plugins that can help you fix the problem — on Facebook. Go into your plugin interface and search for “Facebook meta” and read the star reviews and descriptions. These have been immensely helpful for many site owners I know who had Facebook issues (like pulling the proper photo and description for a blog post).
- Assign a Featured Image. Again, WordPress-powered sites give you the ability to assign a Featured Image for every page and post on your site. This image is what sites like Pinterest will pull in.
- Install a social sharing plugin like Digg Digg. See the bar at the top of this post that has G+, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest on it? That’s Digg Digg. Make it EASY for people to Pin your content. You can also see the Ajax floating version of this plugin in action over at SocialMouths.com.
- When all else fails, call a web developer. Would you rather spend a few hundred (at most) bucks on making sure that your website is Pin-friendly or miss the boat on a site that hordes of people are using — even though it might not be your cup of tea?
With a little work (and some shameless asking for help), my new website went from this…
And I’d love to see more of my favorite online destinations take Pinterest to heart. Because the bottom line is–this whole “social media” thing? It continues to thrive because people want to share. As businesspeople, we should always have an eye on the trends and ensure that our website and online strategies give our audiences what they want. And in this case, it’s the ability to Pin your content to a site you might never use and frankly, don’t quite care about. But you should. If for no other reason than to honor your audience.
Yes, good points! Have had similar frustrating experiences with sites that don't have images available for pinning.
Followed... Would it be fair to say, Erika, you don't have shit worth reading? :) Thanks for a great blog.
This is GREAT! I need to do more of this with my http://www.DustBunnyMafia.com guys! Cute Dust Bunnies in fedoras are already a hit with people (pun intended)... if I optimize the images, they can go even more viral. Thanks for the tips!
Good God, the web is NOT like a toaster. Popped in Digg Digg to get some Pinning goddness, and splat. Narrowed it down, it didn't play nice with W3 Total Cache, or so it would seem. Email developers, maybe get an answer? LOL
Informative post for my company and me. We will explore Pinterest immediately. Equally important, I will pass it on to the folks at NPR. (We are the national supplier of logo-imprinted branding products for pubradio – an odd role for a little company in Lyons, CO.) And, we have attended the desk conferences at NPR. They are in person much more fun and crazy than in video.)
Great points on Pinterest. Plus, thanks for reminding me about Bill Frisell. That dude is such a great player :)
Quick tip: if you go to: http://pinterest.com/source/yoursite.com it'll show you how many times people have pinned your content. Pretty neat actually. As for me, I have an account, but I'm still trying to get used to it. The last thing I want to do is be self-promotional (that's not a strategy - that's a quick, sure-fire way to get ignored).
I'm still fighting about with Pinterest. One of their (clearly stated) rules is to not hock your own shit. Why do they say this? Because the URL you post will, in some way, track back to an affiliate link. I posted my own garden photography I've shot, linking back to my flickr or notquitehippie.com project. I go through a few days later and the link has changed to send me over to the Burpee (seed company) website. I'm loosing traffic and getting nothing in return. I've seen dozens of blogs about how every content marketer needs to be on Pinterest, but if they keep doing this, they're likely to close down a valuable resource: original content.
Is it just me or are there no "pinterest friendly" images on this post? I just tried to "pin" this and found that the images available had almost nothing to do with this post other than the great big "P". :)
Great actionable article Erika. I've found using the featured image on Wordpress gets the job done in and of itself without any other adjustments. Just out of curiosity, do you intend on sharing all your blog articles on Pinterest? Also, just an FYI when I used my pin it bookmarklet, worked like a charm, but your pin it button the image didn't pre-populate for me. Great work!
Ok, I'll bite and pin. I have had the same issue with video as well and it's really, really annoying,
Pinterest is using Skimlinks to make a little revenue. Until I knew that I was trying to add direct affliate links to posts and they were getting changed. I get around their relinking now by sending people to my blog post instead of an affiliate link. It's working so far on todaysmower.com and toolboxhero.com
Yes, it's true, Pinterest is swapping out links and some people are in an uproar over it - http://venturebeat.com/2012/02/07/pinterest-affiliate-links/ & http://www.tricia.me/2012/02/08/pinterest-links/
Epically important for me to know -- thanks, Jason. I just installed the Pin button this AM and I'm sending my web dev on it right now. Thank you! And yes, I'm developing a board for my blog posts alone. So if people want to avoid my "vanity" content, they can head on over and check out some hedgehogs.