Gary Leland Show Episode 4
Cynthia Sanchez joins me to talk about Pinterest, and how to market, and sell stuff using Pinterest. Cynthia is one of the top Pinterest Gurus in the country. You can find her website at OhSoPinteresting.com, take a look. She offers a ton of information to help you with your Pinterest Page. – Produced By PodcastRepairman.com
Gary: Cynthia, thank you for coming on the show, I really appreciate it and really appreciate you volunteering to be our Pinterest expert. Have you been with Pinterest since it started, since that came up because you know more about it than anyone I know!
Cynthia: First of all, thank you Gary for having me on the show and actually I was a little bit reluctant when it came to Pinterest at first. I was of the mindset that I was already on Facebook and there were already all of those other social networks, so who really needs another. But then I jumped on it and I was just blown away. I was so amazed at how useful I found it. From there it turned into a blog about the things that I found useful about it. I was then approached by local businesses to manage their Pinterest accounts and help them with social media, and that turned into my business, where I do focus on helping businesses use Pinterest as a tool to help them grow their businesses.
Gary: Not only do you help them, but I see you speaking everywhere in the country and weren’t you just in Europe?
Cynthia: Yes, I just got back from Europe a few weeks ago from speaking over there and talking about Pinterest, really exciting stuff. Pretty much coast to coast this year for sure!
Gary: You must know something if people are bringing you in that much, the audiences are liking what you are having to tell them. Where can people find you if they want to dig into this deeper and find out what you have to offer. I know you have a blog, a podcast, and a lot of things.
Cynthia: The best place to go is ohsopintresting.com where I blog about Pinterest tips and how to use Pinterest and the podcast is sharing stories of people who are using Pinterest successfully in the hopes that the listeners will take away some ideas or inspiration of how they can incorporate what other people are doing successfully on Pinterest into their business.
Gary: Everyone needs to go check that out, because I have learned. This is not the first time we have talked by any means, and you are my go to person. This lady knows herself when it comes to Pinterest. Now I want to dig into a question that people may have, because I have seen and heard this before: Pinterest is really just for women.
Cynthia: Oh that is so wrong! Pinterest is primarily used by women, they are the biggest users of Pinterest for some reason or another women of the Midwest were the early adopters of Pinterest. Typically it tends to be that people on either coast who are the early adopters, but for some people of the Midwest, those hard working women out there really took to Pinterest right away. When you do jump on Pinterest you will see a heavy skew towards women related topics like hair dos, recipes, home décor, and that kind of stuff. That doesn’t necessarily that men aren’t there or that they can’t use it in a useful way.
Gary: So for any product, since that’s what we are really talking about here is someone selling and trying to move their products online, Pinterest will work for them.
Cynthia: There used to be some strategy behind that. Of course, they do have their products online, but we do have to keep in mind the images that are used to represent those products. People use Pinterest to solve their problems, be that what they need to buy, a solution to this problem I have at home or work, or whatever it is. It also allows them to explore things that they are interested in. Let’s say they are really involved with what you are, with softball. What am I looking for? I need a bat, a glove, maybe even a training camp to go to, or whatever. That is a real strong passion for a lot of people. Pinterest is all about passions and interests that they can then organize and categorize on their accounts. Within their accounts each image is organized into what are called boards. I like to think of Pinterest as a big file cabinet. My whole account is the file cabinet and each one of those drawers is a category or board and then within each drawer I can have individual pins, which are images on Pinterest that link me back to a website online. I would say that at least 99% of all of the images you find on Pinterest will lead you somewhere online. That can be really beneficial towards business owners. When you get those images that are really eye catching, whether it be a product by itself with a plain background or maybe that product being used in someway that lets people know that they can use the product in a way they were not aware of. People will be interested by that either because they are already interested in it or just through discovery, which people use Pinterest a lot for, and then click on it and be taken to your site where you can make a sale.
Gary: You mentioned how important the images are. There are many people who do not understand Photoshop and may not have enough time to learn it. What is a simple way for them to make creative images? Pinterest itself is pretty easy for anyone to figure out if they just go there. They can relatively put that together without having a bunch of technical stuff to figure out.
Cynthia: Yes, it’s pretty much fill in the boxes and decide what it is you’re going to pin about. If you are going to go beyond the basics, then that is where you need to do some research and get strategy and that is where I help out. Getting the account set up is very easy; it’s absolutely free.
Gary: Now, I wasn’t implying that it’s so easy to use that they didn’t need help to be the best they can be. What I mean is that anyone can get on there and start using. If they are using it to the best of their abilities, that is a different story. For people wanting to get on there, they need to have images, they have to be a certain size, and I’m sure you have all of this information on your site. If they are not familiar with Photoshop and are not interested in learning it, is there some easy sites for them to go to and create images that will be great on there?
Cynthia: Definitely! When it comes to, let’s say when you do have your physical product; it all starts off with the image of that product. I always recommend that it leads back to your sales pages so people can click on it and buy. Keep in mind the size and the clarity of that image. Let’s say that you’re selling a softball glove and the picture is kind of fuzzy, you can’t really see the details, it’s just not really clear or sharp, then people might not click through to buy it. We have to establish a lot of trust from that first impression that we make on people. You don’t need a lot of expensive equipment; most smart phones will do a great job on taking these initial photographs. Just make sure you get by some good natural light, everyone has some source to the sun, a window is perfect. Get that product with a bright, clear, background and take that first picture. Now you have that picture on your smart phone, so now what? Download it to your computer and go to two of my favorite sources to edit those photos: Canva and Pic Monkey. They are both free online photo editing sources, that you can use to adjust the size, crop it down, adjust the light, there are even automatic fix button on Pic Monkey. If you want to take it further, you can add text over the product with the name of the person who used it or the year it is from, to help make your message come across. Both Canva and Pic Monkey are absolutely perfect and easy, drag, drop, click, very easy to understand. You don’t need expensive software to create great images. Both have a paid version, Pic Monkey has a subscription of about $5 a month, which is not expensive at all and gives you access to more features and filters. Canva all of the features are free for image editing but let’s say that you are writing a blog post that supplements your online business. Then you might want to use a stock photo and they sell those for $1 a piece, so that’s where the money comes in.
Gary: I have used Canva and it’s stock photos and it’s great! I love that. I also want to go over something while you’re on here that you told me about that I thought was great and I use all of the time now. I have gotten so lazy because of it that I never go to Pinterest anymore! It’s a plug in for my WordPress blog and all I do is click on my image and make my post, it’s how I make all of my posts now. I put up my blog post, have the image in the post, hover over it, and choose Pinterest.
Cynthia: That’s the Pinterest “pin it” button plug in for WordPress. There are a lot of options that you have for that. Pinterest themselves offers codes that you can embed on your site so you can have the pin it button. Those third party apps, like Shareoholic, include the Pinterest option. There is one WordPress plug in that I really do enjoy made by a developer named Phil Deirkson. I have used that since the very beginning, I have tested others out but keep going back to his. I do have the pro version which costs $19, nothing crazy expensive. The pro version gives you more flexibility and more customization capabilities, but even the free version I used for almost a year. The thing I really like about it is I can customize the pin description. When a person comes to your site or you go to your site and pin something, it takes the description with it. The plug in allows you to customize that description so it can include all of the key words you want to use. You really need to see Pinterest as a search tool than a social network and that is what makes it so powerful. It’s because people are there to search and discover things and are not necessarily there to have a conversation. We hope that those things that they discover are your products. Even if you do not want to create a Pinterest account, please put that pin it button on there so people who do come to your site and find your products or blog posts can share it with their followers on Pinterest because you never know where it can go from there. I have heard of run away successes on Pinterest where an image was shared thousands upon thousands of times without the image owner even having a Pinterest account.
Gary: You know, I don’t think I do a good job with having key words. I really haven’t thought of Pinterest in that way as being a search engine, but you are right it is a search engine. Can you use hash tags on Pinterest?
Cynthia: You can use hash tags but they are not used in the same way as they are on Twitter. They really don’t help you; in fact, they can distract people from your pins. Let’s say that from your blog you use #softball. The way they work on Pinterest, and this is only on the desktop version, is that if someone clicks on that hash tag, it will take them away from your pins and account and bring up a search page with everything with the words softball in it. It doesn’t have to be in the same context that you had it in; it will just bring up every image with the word softball in it. Sometimes the word only needs to be included in the URL, not even in the pin description so you never know what you are going to get. So I really don’t recommend using hash tags, unless if you can create a unique one for yourself. For example, if you were to use “Gary’s softball”, that isn’t usually a phrase people put together but that would be something really unique to you so only your stuff would come up in that case. I have heard and kind of rumored that Pinterest doesn’t like hash tags so they might not show your results as often if they are in your pin description.
Gary: That’s a good tip to have. Is it more important to have your keyword in your description vs. the title, or just in one or in both?
Cynthia: Anywhere you can have keywords, I would put keywords. It will help out with your Google ranking overall and also with your Pinterest search results. You should put keywords in your blog post title and also your image file name because different pin it buttons work in different ways. This is more of an advanced topic but if you also have rich pins, which is a code that is put onto your site that carries metadata over to Pinterest. It brings over the blog title, the product price, description, if it’s in stock or not automatically. Then you can add additional keywords and information into your regular pin description. Every one of those places it is important to have key words.
Gary: So use them liberally, don’t use them conservatively.
Cynthia: Exactly, but don’t get spammy. Don’t put crazy descriptions that are jam packed with key words; make it make sense. It is still social, there are people reading these descriptions so make it flow naturally.
Gary: Is there any benefit to frequency? Like posting 4 things a day instead of 1?
Cynthia: Definitely. When it comes to Pinterest you want to expose your content to as wide of an audience as you can. We are talking about multiple time zones around the world. Let’s say that your optimum time to pin is at noon of whatever time zone you are in. That could be dinner time or commuting time for other people, so they may not see those pins in their feed, depending on how many accounts they follow. If they only follow 10 accounts, then they may be able to scroll back and probably catch it, but if they are following hundreds or thousands of accounts they may never see your content. So you may want to pin a little in the morning, a little in the afternoon, and a little in the evening. You can get those things organized in the time that you have, let’s say you do have an hour to dedicate to Pinterest a week, then you can get all of your pins organized that you want to pin over the next couple of days. Like you said it only takes 30 seconds to hit “pin it” and get it on the board.
Gary: Is there a way to schedule pins?
Cynthia: There are some scheduling tools available out there. Right now they are really intended for bigger businesses. There is one out there that is about $200 a month, so it is a bit of an investment. I hear that there are more coming out, I’m not sure what their price point will be. Right now it is a little expensive but it is possible.
Gary: But there is not a way to do it like on Facebook, where I can use the calendar on my post to schedule it to post every month for the next 6 months?
Cynthia: Not at this time. It would be nice if they added that to Pinterest the platform itself, but right now they really want you to be there and be involved in the community.
Gary: What is the name of that tool, do you know?
Cynthia: Viral Tag. If you are really serious about Pinterest and are really building an audience there, then I would say it would be worth the investment to have the capability to schedule out content. When it comes to Pinterest, you don’t want to pin just your own stuff. Nobody like sit when they go to a cocktail party and it’s “me me me”; you want to become a resource and build you account to be a resource around the community of your product.
Gary: I appreciate you so much coming on the show to talk to me today. Is there any other tip or anything else we need to know about Pinterest?
Cynthia: When you are creating or managing your Pinterest account, you need to make a business account. According to Pinterest terms of service, if you are going to use your Pinterest account to promote or represent a business, then you need a business account. To do that you just have to go to business.pinterest.com and that is where you would get a brand new account, or convert a personal account. If you convert a personal account, you don’t lose any followers or anything like that, but you do have access to Pinterest analytics, which can be very helpful. It can show you what is being pinned from your site or what is being most repined. So make sure you do have a business account if you are selling online products and you want to have a Pinterest presence. If Pinterest catches that you are selling products without a business account, they can shut down account, you’ll lose whatever followers you have grown, all of the pictures you have pinned and other people have pinned will be taken down, so don’t risk losing your hard work.
Gary: So when you search on Pinterest for say softball, does it show results in order of how many pins they have or which one is the newest or oldest?
Cynthia: I wish I had an answer to that! It seems to be very random. You can search for keywords, individual pins or links, groups, boards, and even pinners. You would hope that your content would show up in each one of those categories. If I were to search that right now, I am probably going to find your account because you do have so much information on that and I know you do have fastpitch softball boards. There isn’t really any ranking system here though.
Gary: Thanks for that information, I learn a little bit every time I talk to you. That’s the wonderful thing about doing this show. I’m not only providing free information for people, but I am learning at the same time, which is so wonderful.
Everybody, make sure you check out Cynthia’s website, ohsopinteresting.com because it is very informative.
If you have a question send it to me at GaryLeland@gmail.com
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