So, we all know that visibility plays a huge part in creating a brand and getting it out there! But with all the social media channels out there, how do you know which to focus on? Being on every single channel is a surefire way to spread yourself too thin, and that’s why I’ve invited a series of guest experts to let you in on allllll the secrets – so you can make an educated decision about where to show up for your audience!
In this episode, we dive into the world of Pinterest, and Malene Fuglsig is here to tell you about the pros and cons of this platform and what it can do for your brand!
We’re going double Scandi on you today, with Malene in Denmark and myself in Norway! Malene is a mother, an entrepreneur, a dreamer, a passionate leadership expert, an opportunity hacker, and a hygge ambassador. Her passion is to empower female entrepreneurs to be confident in the way they want to lead their life and business. She has been running a Pinterest Marketing Agency in Denmark for the last two years – and is a firm believer that Pinterest is a fantastic platform for entrepreneurs to get more traffic, fans and customers.
TL;DR For those who want to connect with Malene, you can find her here:
Disclaimer: The following transcript has been auto-generated and then edited by me – and while the general flow of the conversation is there, it’s most certainly not 100% accurate.
P: Welcome, Malene. Thank you so much for joining me today.
M: Thank you for having me.
P: I have to say, before we start, I’m really, really eager to learn from you today because I love Pinterest. But I also know that I’m not using it to the full potential for my brand. I use it mostly really to just hunt for inspiration. And that’s just yeah, both my business and my personal life. You know, interiors, cooking, you name it. And then I quite often find myself down that famous rabbit hole. But what I don’t do is utilise it enough to promote my own business. So yeah, this I’m really looking forward to. So for our listeners tuning in today, could you just summarise briefly before we start? What will they be able to take away from our conversation today?
M: I think that a lot of people feel the same way that you do about Pinterest and that famous rabbit hole. And it’s one of those things that when you when you play around with Pinterest, you just that is where you go naturally with it, you could go down a rabbit hole and then as entrepreneurs, that is what we need to lean into. So we need to be there: in the feed where the people are falling into the rabbit hole and they come and find us.
P: So I want to be in the rabbit hole…
M: Yes, you actually want to be found inside the rabbit hole of Pinterest. And that is what’s beautiful about Pinterest. It’s a platform that you can play around with, and then you can be found, and it can give you tremendous amounts of traffic because you’re found inside that rabbit hole that people go down and they start finding more and more and then more things like that. I think it’s a brilliant platform and I’m just so saddened whenever I speak to someone and then they say “no, but I use Pinterest for myself, but I don’t use it for my business.” And to me, it’s just so important that you then also use it for your business. Because if you’re on Pinterest, then I bet you, your clients, your people, everyone that you want to be found by… they’re probably on Pinterest doing the same thing and not thinking about it in that brand way.
P: So how can you go about putting yourself in front of the eyes of those people who are just browsing around on Pinterest? Is there a specific mindset that you want them to be in? Or would you just… Would it be okay to just pop up into their feed as they’re browsing for new recipes to try for christmas? How do you distinguish?
M: A lot of people, when they think of Pinterest, they think of another social media platform that you need to go on. And actually, Pinterest is a search engine. So this is one of the mindset shifts for Pinterest, because it’s one of those things – as an entrepreneur you need to to stop thinking about it as a social media platform and start thinking of it as a search engine with a social media twist. So when you have something that you want to put on Pinterest, you need to put it into that search engine. So you need to think of it in the SEOway that you think of other things. You need to figure out what your people are searching for so that you can place yourself to be found.
P: That’s really interesting. Yeah, because the way I’ve just used Pinterest for myself and for my brand is… okay, I’ve got a very visual profession, so really Pinterest would be probably perfect for getting my stuff out there. But what I’m just doing is I’m just whacking a pin out there whenever I update my portfolio. And that might not be optimal usage of this platform. Am I right?
M: You are so right. Pinterest is something that you need to be quite strategic about. And it’s not that like, I think there are rumours that Pinterest is really content heavy and it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t have to be very content heavy, but you do have to show up and be consistent. So if consistency to you is once a day or once a week but you show up for it and keep telling Pinterest – the search engine – what you’re all about, so leaving it clues, telling it the same message, saying “this is another thing about brand identity” or “this is another recipe” or “this is another outdoor…” whatever it is… “gardening tip.” So every time that you post something there, they know it’s within this bubble of gardening tips. I know that this pin that is always about gardening tips, I’m going to send it out to the people that love gardening tips.
P: Right? So it’s all about playing the algorithm there a little bit, and using it to your advantage, I guess. So how? How as a business owner and someone trying to build a brand? How would you know if Pinterest is the right platform for you to be on? Because, like, we all know if we try to be on all the platforms, that’s just burn out waiting to happen.
M: For sure, for sure. So there are a few things that you can look for when you try to determine if Pinterest is a platform that’s worth it for you to go for. You can ask yourself if you’re creating value driven content, so if you’re creating something that is of value, or you solve some sort of a problem. You speak to how a problem can be solved – so that can be a blog post or video, or you have a product that just solves something for the customer. “How to make the perfect kitchen garden.” It’s all of those things where you solve something and that is of value. Pinterest talks a lot about the pinner’s mindset, so you want to do that for yourself. You want to put yourself in the pinner’s mind when you come to Pinterest with your content. So would your content be something that you would look for when you’re in the rabbit hole, that you would be excited about? Then Pinterest would be for you.
P: Would you say that’s the same for service and product based businesses or is Pinterest better for one rather than the other?
M: No, I would say that is for both. You can definitely use Pinterest for both. But for a service based business, you would then think maybe “what is the step that my customer goes through before they come to me?” So if you have a blog post about the step before they come to you, you can link to that blog post from Pinterest, and then it’s like the first step. Or maybe if you have a service based business where you do a lot of wide things and you have a really broad service then you could have people come to you from one angle. And then you can link to your services from that blog post so that you make it worthwhile for yourself. Or freebies. People love them.
P: So I guess if you’re gonna promote your freebie, then you want to make sure that you’re creating a Pinterest friendly graphic to go with it so it will show up nicely in the feed.
M: Yeah, and that is actually my point number two: you need to be sure that you have graphics to share for you to go on Pinterest. If you’re a business that mainly has no photos, you just do your thing… Then it can be hard. You can go on Pinterest and use stock photos, but you need to be sure that you have some sort of a visual thing that you share out into the world. A lot of people have this. They have a lot of pictures for Instagram as well. So if you’ve had some success on Instagram, you probably have some photos that you could merge and adapt to the Pinterest platform.
P: Okay, so if you’re already doing a lot of stuff either on Instagram or other visual platforms, then it’s easier to repurpose what you’ve already got.
M: Yes, for sure. And another thing is that you want to make sure, and I touched on this before, but the pinner’s mindset is really big on Pinterest. So if you speak to someone’s dreams, if you’re in the business of building dreams and that can obviously look very different. But it’s the dream of a brand new kitchen or the dream of a family holiday or the dream of (and especially these days, right!) the bucket lists… all of those dreams that people have about some way they want to enhance their life. Pinterest talks about how they want to be a platform that inspires people to take action in their life. So it’s not just a platform where you are down that rabbit hole. They actually want to be a place where people are inspired to then go out and do things in their own life. So if you speak to that, you then as an entrepreneur, you speak right to the platform, which means that Pinterest wants to bring you out to a broader audience.
P: So we’ve spoken now about why you should be on Pinterest and reasons why Pinterest is a good platform for you. But are there examples of brands and businesses where Pinterest might not be the best choice?
M: Well, there are a few things, and especially as, um as Europeans, we need to be sure that if you have, like a really local business, maybe your audience just isn’t on Pinterest. So you want to make sure that it’s something that is of value to the people that you are trying to reach. And you want to make sure that they are actually on Pinterest. And if you’re super super local in a small town and you’re just selling your local products, I don’t think that Pinterest would be worth the effort for you.
P: Yes, it’s not worth spending your time on.
M: No, if you’re only local and the local people are not on Pinterest, then you won’t reach your people through Pinterest. And if if you’re doing something that you want to have sold really quick like you have a launch and you think yes, and I’m gonna utilise Pinterest, then it’s just not a flash sale. Pinterest does take a while for the traffic to build up to gain a broader audience. It’s just not an overnight success.
P: And I think we can say that about some of the other social media platforms as well, don’t you? Because when you build a brand, you will build a stronger brand if you put in the effort over time. Is that something that Pinterest then will reward you for? If they see that you’re there for the long run, is that something the platform will actually recognise and then reward you for?
M: Yeah, when you post to Instagram or to Facebook, whatever content you place there comes straight out into the feed of your people. So it’s right there. It’s right now. You can get out in front of your people. I have seen on Pinterest that I have pinned something, and then it has ranked maybe 5 to 6 months later. And then I start seeing traffic.
P: A-ha! So it’s more of an evergreen platform than an instant platform?
M: Yes, because then you start getting placed into the search engines for a certain search term – and that’s when it just really gets really fun to play around with Pinterest. This spring, I pinned something that was actually a video pin and it took off, and now it’s getting 100,000 impressions in 30 day periods, and it’s getting a lot of clicks. And that’s the magic of Pinterest. You pin something, it’s not instant, but it will get your traffic down the line.
P: Yeah, I know that you can buy ads on Pinterest, and sponsored content.
P: I’ve never tried this myself. So I have nothing of interest to bring to my audience today. So now I’m turning to you to see if you have some insight on that.
M: Yes. And you can have paid ads like everything else, and that will get you out into the feed right now. So that can be part of your strategy in that way. I don’t really like working with paid ads without it being a part of an organic strategy. And so I always want to make sure that I know where I want that account to go before I place any ads on it. But that is for sure something that you can play around with if you have something that you need out there right now. Then ads are very effective when done right on Pinterest as well.
P: Okay, So for instance… say if you’re regularly promoting content on Pinterest about what you usually do on what what your business is, and then say you’ve got maybe a digital product or a download that you want to promote there and then – would that be like a typical thing that you would then maybe place a paid ad for to make sure that people would see it, or how does that work?
M: Yeah, and I mean, Pinterest ads… it’s a very long strategic way. Like all ads, it’s something that you have to think about. The Pinterest user is usually ready because of the way the platform is set up: they have a problem, and if you come up with an organic pin or a paid pin… Either way, if the user sees you as the solution to the problem, they’re going to click.
P: Yeah, that makes sense as well. I love learning all these different things about these different social media platforms. Which is, I think the reason why I wanted to do this whole series in the first place is because they are also different.
M: Yeah, and I think I do think that’s one of the most important things about Pinterest, is that you look at it as a search engine and not as a social media platform – because that shift within you will change the way that you use it as an entrepreneur.
P: That’s food for thought. So would you say that you’ve got anything else that you feel is really important for people to know about the platform? We’ve already been through the Pinterest mindset a little bit. Um, is there anything else that really people need to have in mind as they start to explore Pinterest for their brands?
M: So one of the things that’s really important about Pinterest is that it is sort of a first step. So when you create for Pinterest, a lot of the time people will go to Pinterest for inspiration. Then when they then come closer, let’s say it’s to the dream holiday. So when you think about how you plan a holiday… First you start off with a dream. Where could the destination be? So to us in Scandinavia, I know that a lot of the time we think of some of the warmer countries – maybe Greece. It could be Spain. Do we want to go to Italy this year? There’s a lot of options open for us and that means that you go on Pinterest and you just find the pin. So you find something about Greece. You call it all holiday inspiration for 2022. And so you go on Pinterest and you find Greece. You find pictures from Italy, you find all of these gorgeous pictures, then you come a little closer and then you sort of narrow it down. Now we’re sure we’re gonna go to Greece. So then you look at more pins from Greece. You pin more things about the places in Greece. It could be what do we maybe want to see? Then you start googling. So then you leave the Pinterest platform. You’re no longer on Pinterest. You go to Google, you find things, you maybe ask friends on Facebook. “Hey, friends were thinking of going to Greece. What does anyone have in mind?” You might then come back to Pinterest and pin a few things about those, to look for those specific places that people mention. And then you go to Instagram once you’re there – and then you tell them “Look, I went to this place.” And so in that sense, Pinterest comes first as a platform. That’s the first place you go for inspiration.
P: I never thought of it in that way before, but that’s really useful to keep at the back of my mind. That’s exactly what I do. It’s like my first point of inspiration. And then to dig deeper I most often just move on to Google like you said.
M: Yeah, so in that way you can as an entrepreneur, get out in front of all competitors, because if you start by being on Pinterest, you’re ahead of them already when they go to Google, because people have already found you.
P: Well, that’s a really, really useful point for people to remember. Would you say that you think that’s going to change as more and more people kind of catch on to Pinterest as a way of promoting their brand? Or do you think this is going to be an opportunity that’s open, like forever? Or is it wise to just go in there and grab it now?
M: I think with all social media, it’s really wise to go in and grab it while it’s there – because they’re gonna change, and Pinterest is going to change as well. But the basis of this platform is to be that dream platform, which means that is what they have built themselves around: counting on you going down a rabbit hole, dreaming about your holiday of 2022 and then you can be found within that rabbit hole by your ideal client because you were there. And so to turn that on its head… because then in turn, you need to be looking for what search phrases are they actually using? What can I write in my descriptions and on my pin that makes sure that Pinterest knows that I am all about the Greece Holiday of 2022 to stay on that story. When you start now to speak about your things… you don’t start right now speaking about the holidays of 2020. Actually, holiday 2020 started on Pinterest in April. That’s when people started searching for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, Hanukkah, all of those. Usually it’s in July where people start getting inspiration, but this year it started even earlier.
P: So really, it’s about keeping an eye on the bigger picture. In the longer term.
M: Yes, so really as a brand, keep in mind that it takes a while for Pinterest to get to know you and knowing what your pin is about. So you can’t go to Pinterest and expect to pin something today to be found about the best autumn holiday things to do – because that time has gone. Maybe you will be found on that next year. But you need to be ahead of it, right?
P: So if someone, not gonna mention any names here, if someone has not been very good at optimising their pins for those searches and those search terms, is that a lost cause or does it help to go back and edit the descriptions of your pins and add those words in? Or is that pointless?
M: No. Don’t spend time on that. Pinterest loves new things, so just say okay, so I’m just learning and I’m doing something new. And so add new pins… if you have a pin that you were just really proud of and you think “OMG, but I want my audience to see this pin again” is there a way that you could make it just a little bit different? Could you add a border to it? Could you change the dimensions of it? Could you change something up on the pin so that it becomes a little bit of a different look. And then you can pin it again. You don’t want to keep pinning the same pictures over and over. That is not good for anything on Pinterest. So you want to make it a new thing that you pin every time, because Pinterest is a visual search engine. So they actually look at your pictures as well. They can see. What do you have in this picture? What’s going on here? But it might even be if you then make another pin, but with a picture of it, and then you make a really good description. It might even pull your old pin out to be as a related pin to that pin. Do you understand?
P: Yeah, I think I got you. So now I’m interested in hearing how we can translate all of this into something actionable for the people listening today. So if they’re not already on Pinterest or they are there, but maybe just dabbling a little bit and they want to really up their game. Something that’s kind of easy to implement, so it’s an easy win for people. Do you have any tips for our listeners on how to level up their Pinterest game?
M: So one of the things that I would do is just simply do a search on one of your main topics and see what comes up. There are probably others on Pinterest, so don’t be discouraged if you see other people there with your topic – you should actually be encouraged because if people are there, that means that there’s traffic there for you as well. Another thing that you could do is to just create a board on Pinterest on your favourite topic and with a pin that is already there. Not one of your pins, but something that you like, something that’s visually appealing. Just pin it to a board and get started and start telling Pinterest that whatever pins come to this board will be about this topic.
P: Because you can utilise other people’s content like that? And not just your own. Definitely very interesting. I hadn’t thought of that
M: No, but it’s because it’s a search engine. So if you find the pins that are ranking in search for that search term and group them all together, that will tell Pinterest that everything that is on that board is about this topic.
P: Okay, so then when you start to drop your own pins on that topic into that same board, those pins from the other people are going to sort of help you along. Amazing. That’s aha! moment for me, that’s for sure.
M: Yeah, and one of the things that people don’t think about is that those boards are often searchable in a Google search. So sometimes you get found… your traffic on your website will say that you got found on Pinterest. But since the boards are searchable on Google, maybe you got found on your board through a Google search to then bring you traffic through Pinterest. That means that you can use it to your advantage in the searches because Pinterest is such a strong candidate to rank in searches. So when you have something that you’re like, I really want to rank for this topic. It will help you as well, in the Google searches, that you are strong in Pinterest on that topic. That was a side note.
P: Yeah, but a very interesting side note, because that’s not something I had ever considered. That you know, you could have third party pins helping you along.
M: And so another thing that you can do is just try it out. Don’t really think about it. Do a pin. The dimensions of Pinterest are so that you need to make them long. It’s 1000 pixels by 1500 pixels, but as long as you make long pins and then just try it out, try and put something out there and see what happens. I’ve talked about it now as if it’s some sort of a science and obviously it is, but at the same time, Pinterest is made for the user. So as long as you put something out there that is from your heart to your people… just try it out and see what happens.
P: Yeah, I find that with everything that you do in branding really is as long as it comes from your heart and you’re doing it consciously and with purpose and grace then eventually what you put out there will find its way somehow, magically, to the right kind of people. Yeah, so just just having a little bit of fun with it, is that what you’re saying? Just get started?
M: Yeah, and as a bonus, I really want to encourage everyone that is from Europe to get on the Pinterest train like we talked about before. Right now, is just such a unique time on Pinterest because they’re branching out, they’re making… and this is again a bit of a technical thing, but they’re making all the .no/.se/.dk, all of the endings from the European countries. They’re adding to the Pinterest platform, but that means that they don’t have enough content to fill out those platforms. So they’re driving in content from America from all over. It’s being dragged into whatever your top-level domain of Pinterest is.
P: But what they really want is content from those specific countries. They’re really hungry for that?
M: Yes. Which means that you can utilise your own country and be like, Yes, this is original content from Norway, Denmark, Spain, Germany… and then that will be pushed to the people of your country first, before the content of the big machine.
P: Now that’s really useful to know if you’re really targeting people who are in the same country as you. Will it have a negative impact on your rankings if, for instance, you are trying to reach an international audience or is it just like a win win situation?
M: It’s very much win win. I’ve found that being from Denmark I can rank things really quickly, even in America, because I then rank maybe number one in Denmark, and then they want to try to push it the other way as well, seeing if this pin is doing so well on the Danish platform, then they push it to the other countries as well. So it’s not. It’s not that you’re only pushed to your own country’s audience. But there is just really a lack of content all over Europe, so you can really quickly become the go to person for that if you do it right
P: Would you need to keep in mind what language your pins are in to take advantage of this or does it work with any language? So if you post mainly in English, would you need to create, say, a pin in Danish and/or Norwegian or Swedish or Spanish to make it work for you?
M: No, Pinterest says that they’re the same, that it’s one big search engine. As we’re speaking right now, I have found that it’s not the case. It’s several search engines, and you get ahead by being from these countries. Even if you do everything in English, it’s just really good because you’re filling out an empty void, so to speak. But you can try it out. If you have an audience in your native language, you can try and make a pin with your own language as the description, but keep it going to the English site. It’s only that you are targeting broader keywords because you’re also targeting your own language.
P: Yeah, it’s pretty obvious that I was asking for myself there, wasn’t it? Let’s hope that someone else out there listening also finds that helpful. I certainly did. This has been so awesome. Thank you so much for being here today, Malene. I can’t wait to dig a little bit deeper into the rabbit hole that is Pinterest.