New Pinterest Feature: Showcases!

Pinterest Showcases, New Feature Information

What you need to know about the NEW Pinterest Feature: Showcases

If you’re a Pinterest for Business user, you might have seen the new Showcase feature at the top of your Pinterest profile page. I am super excited about this feature, for several reasons:

For one, if you have LOTS and LOTS of boards, this new feature can help bring attention to some of your more obscure boards (towards the bottom of your board organization system). Or you can use it to highlight seasonal boards or more popular boards.

You can ALSO have your “Shop” board appear in the showcase section, if you have Buyable Pins via Shopify, BigCommerce, or Magento. If you don’t have buyable pins, you can still showcase a business based board in one of the available 5 spots (another good reason to have ONE board with ALL of your business’ original content pins on it – in addition to sprinkling the content on other relevant boards of course!)

The new Showcase section is pretty cool, and as I said above, I see a lot of potential creative uses for the space.

What you need to know about Showcases:

1) You have up to 5 slots available for showcased boards, you do not have to use all (or any) of them. The showcase section is a carousel and will rotate through whatever boards you have chosen to feature. You can not showcase secret boards, but you CAN showcase group boards – even if you don’t own the board.

2) If you don’t have Buyable Pins and you don’t place any boards into the showcase slots, the showcase section will not show up to visitors – which is good because you really don’t want a big blank space staring at people when they come to visit your profile.

3) If you DO have Buyable Pins, your Shop board will be AUTOMATICALLY added to the Showcase section. If you want to remove the shop board from the carousel, then you’ll need to click the edit button in the showcase section and toggle the “include your shop” option to off.

My Recommendation: I’d absolutely recommend featuring your business board, along with seasonal or holiday related boards. If you happen to be part of a special community, like a holiday gift guide, blogger circle, etc. I’d recommend featuring one of those boards too! Make sure whatever boards you choose to feature, that they have a beautiful board cover and the first two pins are also visually appealing – since the images will now appear MUCH larger and you really want this area to shine! I’d also recommend rotating NEW boards through the carousel as you create them, just to give them a bit of extra attention.

That all said, go check it out, experiment, and have fun!

Pinterest Changes: Categories

pinterestcategorychanges

You’ve probably noticed that Pinterest has been making some design changes lately. They’ve changed their board cover look twice already, just in the past couple of months!

Well I logged into today to see another new change – board categories!

While the changes seem to be in an effort to make categories less complex, there are a few key changes which may affect they way you classify your boards.

 

 

 

 

Here are the OLD categories we could choose from:

pinterest-categories

 

And here are the NEW categories:

pinterestcategories11-16-16

 

As you can see, Pinterest really tried to make the categories 1 to 2 word phrases, which really cleans up the overall look. Nothing looks too crazy out of the norm upon first glance, and it doesn’t seem that the new browsing categories have yet to be applied to the board category selection options – but if the past is anything to measure by, they will be changed to reflect the new category options.

Once the board category options catch up to the new browsing category selections, here’s what you should note:

  • The Films, Book, and Music category is gone. Replaced seemingly by “Entertainment”. If you were pinning things to a board in this category, you’ll need to go edit your board and choose  this new category, or some other category.
  • The “Nature” part of “Science and Nature” has been dropped. You may want to re-evaluate your boards that were using the old category to see if those boards might better fit in with the “Outdoors” category now (which isn’t a new category, but may be more appropriate for your nature pins now).
  • The “Parenting” part of “Kids and parenting” has been dropped. So all you mommy and daddy bloggers out there, you might want to stay in the “kids” category… but you might also look at “Home”, “Humor”, or “DIY” board categories – depending on your blog’s tone and what aspects of parenting you write about.

There is still no sub-category for “baby”… which I wish they would create!

All in all, the category changes aren’t major. But I do think that by simplifying the terminology used, Pinterest has opened up board categorization to more interpretation. For instance the once “Home Decor” category is now simply “Home”, and thus could include more than just home decor. Arguably, it could be used to categories boards filled with green cleaning pins, home ownership hacks, blogs about lifestyle and living, etc.

Also of note, don’t be confused by the “Shop” vs. “Shopping” options when browsing. While browsing, clicking the “Shopping” category will show different results from the “Shop” tab option.

Pinterest is undoubtedly still testing and changing things. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see further tweaks in the weeks or months to come. Just keep your eyes peeled and be sure to edit your boards as needed to avoid being uncategorized or incorrectly categorized, as that can hurt your search result rankings.

 

How to Run a Contest on Pinterest

 

 Pinterest Contests
Using Pinterest to run contests or giveaways, and the rules to follow!

Pin it to Win (It) contests were very popular circa 2012. However, Pinterest has since really cracked down on their contest rules and considers many contest practices to be spam. So is there a way to still run a contest on Pinterest to attract new followers/traffic? Well, yes, but you’ll need to be creative about it. Below is my recommendations and “work around” for running a Pinterest Contest while adhering to the official rules.

First thing’s first..

What are the Rules?
  • You can not suggest that Pinterest sponsors or endorses you or the promotion
  • You can not use the Pinterest wordmark, only the submark which must remain unaltered, in Pinterest Red, be accompanied by your Pinterest URL, and remain smaller than your Brand Logo.
  • You can not ask users to pin a specific pin
  • You can not call the contest a “Pin It to Win It” contest.
  • You can not require participants to pin the contest rules
  • You can not allow more than one entry per participant.
  • You can not ask participants to comment on a pin
  • You can not ask participants to vote with pins, boards, or likes
  • You can not require a minimum number of pins
  • You may not use the phrases “Trending on Pinterest” or “Trending Pin(s)”

Whew, that’s a lot to remember! Some of these rules are contest specific, some are Pinterest’s “brand use guidelines”. Regardless, you DO have to follow ALL of them.

Okay, so with that all in mind. How do we create a contest that people can enter, without being spammy, and have it provide any value to us, as entrepreneurs needing to grow their Pinterest presence, at all?

Here’s my step-by step guide, but you’ll need to customize the actual contest part to your unique audience and brand.

Step 1) This is pretty obvious, but first decide what you want the Prize to be. Make it something substantial and appealing so people will want to get involved in the contest.

Step 2) Decide on where you’d like to promote your contest. My advice is to NOT promote it ON Pinterest. Utilize your other social platforms. Here are a few ideas of how and where to promote – but make sure you are adhering to the TOS of whatever platform you decide to use!

  • Make a Facebook Page post and boost it
  • Post in your FB Groups where allowed
  • Create a Facebook Event and invite your friends to it
  • Do a Facebook Live and announce the contest
  • Create A Graphic (with the contest info) to accompany all your posts and ask your friends to share it
  • Create a contest announement graphic for Instagram
  • Snap/Periscope about the contest
  • Send an email to your subscriber list, and be sure to include a graphic with the details
  • Blog about the contest: again include a graphic!
  • Post the link to wherever you are primarily focusing your promotion of the contest on your website, in your social media biographies, in your emails, etc.

Step 3) This is the important part, and you’ll need to think about this before actually doing any promotion – in order to have all your info together to present in graphics, videos, and what-not.

Decide how to run the contest.

Well, duh, right. I mean, that’s why you are reading this! Okay – here’s my two cents. Because you can’t require people to pin a specific pin as an entry, and because you can’t allow people to make more than one entry, and you can’t do other things which make it difficult to track who actually has entered the contest without traipsing ALL over Pinterest to check if people have entered, here’s my easy peasy way to run a Pinterest contest.

Create a group board on YOUR own account.

That’s right. Don’t ask people to pin to their own accounts. You can’t control what they pin anyway, which means they don’t even have to pin your content or your product to enter. So if they pin on their own accounts, something that doesn’t relate to your business, how will that bring you traffic?

BUT, if you OWN the board that the contest particpants need to pin on, then YOUR account name will show up anytime anyone pins to that board – regardless of whether the pin is relevant to your business or not. And that does have the potential to bring your Pinterest account traffic, which in turn can bring your business traffic.

Ask people to pin quality images on a certain topic.

According to Pinterest rules, it is OK to ask them to pin from a selection of pins or website – so in theory you can even have them pin from another of your boards or your website, as long as there is more than 1 pin to choose from. Ideally, there should be lots of pinnable images to choose from to avoid having the same image pinned over and over and being flagged as spam. This is why pinning on a topic instead is ideal.

Put the contest rules and contest deadline in the board description.

Be clear on the contest rules, that it is not endorsed or sponsored by Pinterest, and that only 1 entry counts, etc. Also, include how to get an invite to the group board.

Send invites to the group board to your Pinterest contacts

Invite anyone you want. They may or may not join, but it’s a start!

Do NOT pick a winner at random.

Since Pinterest aims to provide high quality, beautiful pins to users, ask for quality over quantity (remember more pins can’t get a participant extra entries). Choose a winner based on some other requirement: Best Layout, Best Photo, Most Valuable Content, Most Inspirational, etc.

Clean up after the contest

Once the contest is over and you’ve selected a winner, you have to figure out what to do with the contest board. You can:

  • leave the board visible as a group board
  • remove all contributors and convert the Group Board to a permanent board on your page
  • delete the board
  • toggle the board secret

Each option has it’s own Pros and Cons…

Leave the board as a group board.

Pro: you can still pin to it and everyone on the board and their followers could then potentially see your added pins

Con: Contributors have continued access to pin to the board whatever they’d like and you’ll need to moderate these pins

Remove all contributors and convert to permanent board.

Pro: You can still pin to it without having to allow others to pin to it as well. All added pins by contributors STAY on the board. *I’d recommend deleting duplicate pins if you choose this option*

Con: Your potential pin reach for this board will be the same as your potential reach for all other boards, no additional boost by having collaborators.

Delete the board.

Pro: You won’t have a potentially unbranded board hanging out with all of your other boards

Con: You lose the pin content that was on the board and the potential reach of those pins to bring traffic to your account.

Toggle the board secret.

Pro: You won’t have a potentially unbranded board hanging out with all of your other boards. You can toggle it public again in the future for other contests and simply continue to add to the board’s pins.

Con: You lose the pin content that was on the board and the potential reach of those pins to bring traffic to your account – UNTIL you toggle it public again.

The method I’ve outlined above isn’t the ONLY way to run a contest on Pinterest. You can always ask participants to pin to their own boards, but again then the burden of finding these pins and tracking entries is a lot greater with little to no added boost in traffic to your own account (depending on what they decide to pin to enter the contest). You’ll need to decide whether this method or some other variant is best for you, your brand image, and your target audience.

However you decide to run the contest, DO keep in mind the rules listed at the top of this article, and I DO highly recommend you take the promoting OFF Pinterest and find other ways to get the word out about your contest.

That all said, be creative, have fun, and good luck!

how-to-run-a-contest-on-pinterest PIN FOR LATER!

 

 

7 Board Ideas for 7 Major Pinterest Categories

7 Board Ideasfor 7 Major Pinterest Categories.png

Trying to tell you exactly what boards you should have is rather impossible, as the kind and combination of boards highly depends on your personal style, your target audience, what you are promoting (service/product), etc. However, if you just don’t even know where to start and find yourself pinning recipes because “everyone likes to eat”, then maybe the suggestions below will get some ideas flowing!

**For the record, I absolutely do NOT recommend pinning food/drink pins unless it somehow directly appeals to your target audience – as in you blog about food, sell food, or are  trying to reach party/event planning people, moms and dads with kids, or health/exercise conscious people.**

Baby/Maternity:

(Technically this would be encompassed under the Kids and Parenting category – but I do feel it is different enough to warrant it’s own list. I pray for the day Pinterest adds a “Baby” category!)
  1. Baby Clothes
  2. Newborn Photography
  3. Mom-To-Be Tips
  4. Parenting Hacks
  5. Sensory Play/Developmental Activities
  6. Baby Shower Inspiration
  7. Nursery Decor

 

Beauty/Fashion:

  1. Makeup Tutorials
  2. Color Palettes
  3. Closet Organization
  4. Hairstyles/Updos
  5. Outfit Inspiration
  6. Stylish Accessories
  7. Specific Style Inspiration Boards (Boho, Evening Wear, Grunge, Street, etc.)

 

Food:

  1. Meal Specific Boards (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks)
  2. Diet Specific Boards (Vegan, GF, Vegetarian, Paleo, etc.)
  3. Decadent Desserts
  4. Party/Special Event Menu Ideas
  5. Holiday Specific Recipes
  6. World Food Boards (Mediterranean, Indian, Mexican, Italian, Asian, etc.)
  7. Specialty Drinks

 

Home Decor:

  1. Tablescapes
  2. Paint Palettes
  3. Kitchen Make-Overs
  4. Bathroom Make-Overs
  5. Storage/Organization Ideas
  6. Seasonal Decor Boards
  7. Specific Style Inspiration Boards (Farmhouse, Boho, Shabby Chic, Industrial, Etc.)

 

Kids:

  1. Age Specific Activities
  2. DIY Crafts
  3. Parenting Tips
  4. Seasonal Crafts/Activities
  5. Bedroom Inspiration
  6. Educational Tips/Activities
  7. Kids Snacks/Meals

 

Photography:

  1. Couples Poses
  2. Family/Kids Photo Inspiration
  3. Wedding Photo Inspiration
  4. Birthday/Event Photos
  5. Inspiring Photo Art
  6. Black and White Photography
  7. Photography Challenges/Tips

 

Wedding:

  1. Bouquet/Floral Arrangements
  2. Wedding Dresses/Bridesmaid Dresses
  3. Style Specific Inspiration (Boho, Outdoor, Fairytale, Country, Non-Traditional, etc.)
  4. Guest Book Ideas
  5. Bridesmaid Gifts
  6. Honeymoon Destinations
  7. Wedding Preparation Tips