There’s been a lot of talk this week about Pinterest and its plans to go public. Since the network is such a valuable marketing channel for travel and hospitality brands, we thought we’d join the conversation by offering a practical guide to Pinterest for travel companies.
In this article, we’ll teach you how to use Pinterest to better market your business.
We’ll discuss what this platform is and why it represents such an amazing opportunity for your company. Then, we’ll help you get started on the platform and walk you through the initial sign up phase. Finally, we’ll share five tips to help you dominate Pinterest and better promote your company.
Let’s get to it!
Unfamiliar with Pinterest? No problem, we’ll start with the basics.
Pinterest is a social media platform that allows its users to share images and browse the pictures posted by others. Sounds a lot like Instagram, right? In fact, the two social platforms are very different.
On Instagram, as well as other networks like Facebook and Twitter, users are encouraged to share their own original thoughts and pictures. Pinterest, on the other hand, is more about curation.
It’s basically a digital bulletin board. Users save images they find on the internet to specific boards. These images, known as “pins”, can then be clicked on to take viewers to the webpage where the image was originally found.
But Pinterest is more than just a digital bookmarking tool. It also gives its users an opportunity to interact with each other through liking, commenting, and repinning — the act of pinning an image found on another user’s board to one of your own personal boards. Users even have the option to follow other folk’s boards and be notified when they’ve added new pins.
Why Your Travel Company Should be on Pinterest?
There are plenty of social media sites out there. Does your travel company really need to invest time into Pinterest? Isn’t a Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter presence enough? You’ll have to answer that question for yourself. But there are legitimate reasons for jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon.
Pinterest has 250 million daily active users. While that number pales in comparison to both Facebook’s and Instagram’s daily actives, it’s still a lot of people. Travel companies on Pinterest also have the advantage of less competition. Not as many businesses use Pinterest as they do the other social networks. Meaning your brand has a better chance of standing out.
Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration. It’s millions of users scour the site looking for products to buy and places to travel to. And when they find something they like, they have a healthy habit of actually making a purchase.
According to eMarketer, Facebook is the only social network that influences purchasing decisions more than Pinterest. And Pinterest’s own research team found that 93% of pinners use the platform to plan purchases.
In a nutshell, Pinterest offers travel businesses access to millions of people, less competition from other brands, and a high probability of positively influencing buying decisions. Win!
Get Started With Pinterest
Convinced yet? Great, let’s dive in and get you started with Pinterest!
1. Sign Up for a Free Pinterest Business Account
Signing up for Pinterest isn’t much different than signing up for any other social network.
- Visit this page and click “Join as a business”.
- Pinterest will then ask you for information such as your business name, its category (travel is one of the most popular!), email address, password, etc.
- Once these details have been filled in and you’ve read the terms and conditions, click “Create Account”.
- Now that you’re inside, you’ll want to legitimize your profile by adding a picture, a bio, a location, and your company’s website. You do this by hovering over the profile icon (upper right) and clicking “Settings”. When all relevant information has been added, save your progress.
Boom! Great job, you’ve just created a Pinterest account for your business.
2. Get to Know Your Profile
Now that you have a Pinterest account, it’s time to dig into your profile and figure out what the heck is going on. There are a few main areas of the site that you need to be aware of:
- Home Feed: The home feed is similar to the feed on Facebook. Here, you’ll see the most recent pins saved by other users that you follow, as well as Pinterest-suggested pins.
- Search: The search bar at the top of your Pinterest screen is your gateway to the platform. Simply type in a word or phrase and the network will display images that relate to the term.
- Explore: If you’re an Instagram user, the Explore feed will feel familiar to you. Basically, this tab displays the top, trending pins on Pinterest. Have a look to see what’s popular on the network.
- Boards: Boards are where you’ll save your pins. And the “boards” tab is where you’ll find each of your boards. We recommend that you create different boards for different topics. For example, a hotel in San Diego might have a board that showcases the local scenery, one that displays pictures of top restaurants, and another that catalogs content published to its website.
There are more areas to explore, but these four are the most important.
3. Start Creating!
Okay, you’ve created your profile and got a feel for how the platform operates. Now it’s time to start creating! The first step is to create a new board.
- First, navigate to your “boards” tab and click the red button with a white plus sign in the middle of it.
- Next, name your board. We recommend using 20 characters or less (so the name doesn’t get cut off) and using keywords when appropriate.
- Your board is now created, but we have a bit more work to do. Re-click on your “boards” tab and select the board you just created.
- Then click the pencil icon to edit your board’s details. Give it a clear description, a category, and invite collaborators if you have any.
At this point, your board is ready to rock and roll. Now what? Now it’s time to start pinning! Here’s how:
- Do yourself a favor and install the Pinterest browser button. This will allow you to easily pin images you find on the internet.
- When you discover an image worth pinning, click the new Pinterest icon in your browser. Then select an image from the options listed and hit “save”.
- You’ll then have the ability to add a description of the image and choose which board you want to save it to.
- Back in Pinterest, you’ll want to choose a cover pin for your board. Navigate back to the “boards” tab and click the pencil icon to edit your board.
- If you scroll down, you’ll see a “cover” section. Click “change”. Then select the image you want to be your cover pin.
Note: Pinterest also allows you to upload original photos from your computer. To learn how to do this, check out this guide.
Pinterest For Travel Companies: 5 Tips to Help You Succeed
Getting up and running with Pinterest is pretty easy. But how can your travel company really take advantage of this social network? We have a few tips for you:
1. Invest in the Platform
To really get great results out of Pinterest, you have to invest in the platform. Meaning, you need to add a Pinterest save button to your website so that internet users can easily pin your site’s content to their Pinterest boards. This is done with the Pinterest Widget Builder.
You also need to be active on the network. Dormant profiles don’t benefit anyone. So make sure that you pin consistently—at least once a day. Studies tell us that the platforms peak hours are in the evening. If you only pin one image a day, do so in these later hours.
And lastly, make sure that you’re, you know, sociable, on this social network! Interact with the Pinterest community. You can do this by liking, commenting, and repinning pins from other users. Another way to foster engagement is to use group boards. These are just collaborative boards that the owner allows other users to pin images to.
2. Quality Visuals are a Must!
Pinterest is a visual platform so the images you pin need to be clear, professional and inspiring. Fortunately, this isn’t all that hard to do. There are amazing stock photos out there just waiting to be pinned to your boards. There are also plenty of easy-to-use photo editing apps to help you ensure your original photos are top notch.
In regard to beautiful images, it’s useful to know that lifestyle images tend to outperform product pictures. So, pin an image of people enjoying your hotel’s pool rather than a wall of text announcing a sale.
Also, remember that many Pinners (80% of them to be exact) access the network on their mobile devices. The images you pin need to look great on small screens. An image ration of 2:3 and 600 x 900 pixels is ideal.
3. Make Use of Keywords
The images you post and pin need to look great. But that doesn’t mean that you can neglect the captions altogether. The words you attach to your pins are important for two main reasons:
- They give viewers a better idea of what kind of content they’ll see should they click through and visit your brand’s website.
- They also give you the chance to include keywords and make your pins discoverable. Just don’t stop to keyword stuffing!
Pro Tip: Mention your business name in the first line of your pin’s text. Pinterest tells us that this seemingly small tactic can double awareness.
4. Take Advantage of Analytics
Because you signed up for a Pinterest business account, you get access to analytics. We definitely recommend that you take advantage of this perk.
You’ll learn a lot of useful information such as which of your pins are the most popular, which drive the most click-through traffic to your travel company’s website, and which boards your followers are repinning your pins to.
To access your analytics dashboard, simply click the “analytics” tab at the top left of your Pinterest screen.
5. Try Promoting Your Pins
Pinterest has its own ads platform that allows you to promote your pins and get them in front of more eyeballs. The data tells us that promoted pins produce an average of 20% more organic clicks. So they’re definitely worth it if you know what you’re doing.
Creating amazing Pinterest ads is beyond the scope of this article. But Hootsuite has a great guide on the topic. We suggest you give it a read if you’re interested in promoted pins.
Start Pinning Today!
Pinterest is a fantastic social network, especially for travel companies! Once you’ve set up your brand’s business account, you’ll have access to 250 million daily active users and have to compete with less competition than on other social sites.
As you begin to use the platform, remember our tips:
- Invest in Pinterest: Include a Pinterest save button on your brand’s website, stay active on the network, and engage the Pinterest community.
- Pin Quality Images: Make sure that all of your pins are excellent and easily viewable on mobile devices. Also, pin more lifestyle photos than product images.
- Use Keywords: Visuals are important on Pinterest but so are the captions you give your pins. Include keywords when appropriate and make your pins discoverable.
- Take Advantage of Analytics: Pinterest business accounts give you access to an analytics dashboard which will tell you what pins are most popular and more.
- Promote Your Pins: Finally, promoted pins are a great way to get your content in front of more people and boost awareness for your travel company.
Good luck and happy pinning!