Why Pinterest Hates Faces and Instagram Loves Them

Alisa Meredith, Content Marketing Manager for Tailwind, joins the Social Pros Podcast to discuss the key differences between Pinterest and Instagram and how successful pins can generate leads for years to come.

In This Episode:

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Full Episode Details

Pinning for Dollars

Pinterest has quickly climbed the ranks of social media platforms for sharing and exploring content.

But is it really social media?

Alisa argues that Pinterest is more about self-interest driven searching and shopping than mingling and networking. Tearing away the sales pitch and getting your pins down to a neat, straight-to-the-point call-to-action will do wonders for your referrals and conversions.

The best part of driving leads through Pinterest is that pins have a nearly eternal life. Instead of stagnating, they live on long after you pin; sending leads your way for sometimes years and years. You can reap the rewards of what you may consider to be a terrible pin which makes it a great place for evergreen content.

The key to creating everlasting pins lies in the goal of each pin. Keeping in mind that your pinning audience is more interested in developing their own life means content should be faceless and geared towards how to enrich their life instead of how to make your sale.

In This Episode

  • Why making a strategy for Pinterest doesn’t mean building the same social strategy for Facebook
  • How a perfect pin leads to years of traffic and referrals
  • Why success on Pinterest means a highly optimized page
  • How ego-driven, faceless pins lead to conversions

 

Quotes From This Episode

“The more things I tried with Pinterest, the more I just really loved it because it works.” —@alisammeredith

“Pinterest is really looking to be more of a search engine than anything else, especially with their foray into a visual search.” —@alisammeredith

“You do have to think differently when you’re working with Pinterest. Not thinking about one specific thing that people need in the moment, but what they need overall to make their life better.” —@alisammeredith

Be useful and be inspirational, and that's what works on Pinterest. Click To Tweet

“They’re saving ideas that will make them a better whatever they want to be in the future.” —@alisammeredith

“A lot of people are finding that linking to a blog post with a really strong call-to-action on Pinterest is more effective.” —@alisammeredith

“Make sure that the page, whatever page it is, is really well optimized for conversion because Pinterest traffic tends to be a little bit bouncy. The way people use Pinterest, they’re jumping all over the place so you really have to make sure you draw them in and catch them quickly.” —@alisammeredith

That's the thing about Pinterest, people are planners there. Click To Tweet

“Pinterest wants to become a search, social, and shopping channel.” —@alisammeredith

“People want to be able to picture their life in that pin, so putting a face in there kind of breaks that illusion.” —@alisammeredith

Resources

 

See you next week!

Transcript

Jay Baer: Welcome, everybody, to Social Pros, the podcast for real people doing real work in social media. I am, as always, Jay Baer from Convince and Convert, joined once again by the man, the myth. By way of Tennessee, now in Austin, Texas, he is the executive strategist for Salesforce Marketing Cloud. He is Adam Brown. Adam, what are we doing today? Are you excited to be here?
Adam Brown: Jay, I’m always excited to be here. I mean, to talk to you, to talk to our guests, and the hundreds of shows that you’ve done, and I guess now I’ve probably done at least 100 of these. I don’t know what our statistics are.
Jay Baer: Yeah. We could check and see what your personal count is on Social Pros episodes. You might be in triple digits. I probably owe you a cake or something like that.
Adam Brown: A cake. Ooh, that sounds good. That sounds delicious.
Jay Baer: It does, indeed.
Adam Brown: But yeah, since taking over the reins from Jeff Rohrs, our good friend now at Yext, has been a pleasure and a delight, and it’s great to spend today and this summer with you.
Jay Baer: Oh, it’s going to be amazing. We have tons of great guests lined up. Speaking of cake, I ate I don’t even know how many different kinds of cake this weekend. It was my daughter’s high school graduation recently, as you know, and the thing to do out here in my town in the Midwest is to have graduation parties. That was not a thing when I was in high school in a small town in Arizona, but here it very much is, and so we went to nine graduation parties this weekend. Threw one, and went to nine, and of course at each place they are pushing cake upon you. And so I went through a lot of cake.
Adam Brown: And shrimp, probably. A lot of shrimp?
Jay Baer: I’m just going to cross out the icing and put, “Happy 100th Episode Adam” and send that to you. A lot of shrimp as well?
Adam Brown: It’s the thought that counts.
Jay Baer: And there’s no shrimp like Indiana shrimp. Indiana shrimp is always the freshest. But there was also at these parties a tremendous number of like really cute cookies, and special punches, and amazing decorations. People go all out for these parties, and invariably you ask the host or hostess, “Hey where’d you find the idea for this whatever?” And they’re like, “Oh we found it on Pinterest, of course.” And Pinterest essentially dominated the entire high school graduation party circuit, and so it’s particularly relevant and timely that our guest on Social Pros … Isn’t that right?

Our guest on Social Pros this week is the fabulously talented Alisa Meredith, who is the contact marketing manager at Tailwind, also runs Alisa Meredith Marketing, has been a Pinterest expert since Pinterest actually burst upon the scene. She’s going to give us the lowdown on how to dominate with Pinterest. Alisa thanks so much for being on Social Pros.

Alisa Meredith: Hey guys, thanks for having me. I don’t know how I get on that list of shrimp and used graduation cake, but sign me up.
Jay Baer: It’s a tortured analogy. It’s really my specialty. It’s the long rebelling segway at the beginning of the show is really what I’m know for, so I’m glad that you got caught up in the slip stream.
Alisa Meredith: I did, I did. I’m buying into it.
Adam Brown: Or the tailwind there.
Jay Baer: Or the tailwind, exactly. Tell us little bit about Tailwind and what you do there?
Alisa Meredith: Oh, Tailwind is awesome. I just got hired there just a few weeks ago. I’m very excited because they are very smart people over there. And their mission is to make world class marketing easy for everyone, which I thought sounded like a rather ambitious kind of mission, but that’s what a mission’s about. What we’re doing right now at Tailwind is helping people with Instagram and Pinterest analytics and scheduling.
Jay Baer: Nice.
Alisa Meredith: So naturally, I’m very exciting about that.
Jay Baer: Right up your alley, no doubt. And then you still do some projects with your own team and your own agency at Alisa Meredith Marketing, working with clients on Pinterest and related disciplines as well, yes?
Alisa Meredith: Yeah. So I have some budding Pinterest promoter pin geniuses on my team, and they are just eating it up because promoter pins, it’s just too much fun.
Jay Baer: I love it. We had A.J. Wilcox on the show a few weeks ago, and he does similar things with LinkedIn advertising. That’s kind of his thing, is promoted LinkedIn, and you’re the promoted Pins person, experts genius. So we’re so rt of methodically, Adam, going through all the social channels and bringing on subject matter expertise. So hope the listeners are appreciating that.
Alisa Meredith: I bet they are.
Adam Brown: I know they are.
Jay Baer: They are. So why Pinterest? You come out of web design right? That was your background, in the original kind of the old school days.
Alisa Meredith: Oh my goodness, you’re going to dig up the past like that on me Jay. Yeah, I was a terrible, terrible website designer.
Jay Baer: I’ve made my bones as a terrible website designer.
Alisa Meredith: That’s right I need to update my LinkedIn to state that. But yeah, I did start in website development way back in, oh my goodness, like 1999, 2000. But I did start in content marketing then as well. I didn’t know that’s what that was. I actually started writing, or rewriting telephone system manuals, which is as boring as it sounds, but-
Jay Baer: That sounds bad, yeah.
Alisa Meredith: Yeah, doesn’t it.
Adam Brown: That’s terrible.
Alisa Meredith: It’s every girl’s dream. But what was fun about it was that they were horribly dry and terrible and terrible to follow, so I would just rewrite them as if I were talking to a human being. And people loved that, so that was kind of my first step into content marketing. Then I got into social in 2010, kind of late to that game. And really into HubSpot in full inbound content marketing in 2012, which is about the same time I discovered this thing called Pinterest.
Jay Baer: And what made you gravitate toward Pinterest of all the different places that you could be spending a lot of time and really building an agency around it. Why Pinterest as opposed to something else?
Alisa Meredith: Curiosity, right. So I saw this thing and I thought, “All right well I’m using it as a bookmarking tool. So how is this going to work for marketing?” So what I did is kind of how I learn is to write. I wrote an e-book about Pinterest marketing, which is kind of embarrassing to look at now, but it worked well. It attracted some attention, and that’s how I got my first interest client. I never really considered Pinterest management, or Pinterest at all as something that I would do for work. But as I started to see the results of it, and even see how it could work in with content marketing, which I wasn’t sure that was going to work either. But the more things I tried with it, the more I just really loved it because it works.
Jay Baer: Let’s talk about that a little bit, this idea of using Pinterest in a B2B context, and using Pinterest to amplify content that you’ve created, whether it’s an e-book, or an infographic, or a webinar, or a video series, or anything else you may have made from a content marketing perspective. Then using Pinterest to get more attention to those things. Talk to us a little bit about how that works, and then maybe some things that people don’t realize about the power of Pinterest in those scenarios.
Alisa Meredith: Yeah so, Pinterest does get lumped in with all the social media networks, but it’s not. It really isn’t. It’s a search and discovery engine. It’s really looking to be more of a search engine than anything else, especially with their foray into a visual search, which can get into later if you want. They’re really staking a claim in search. So that makes sense, right? It’s part science with the search, and part art with the graphics. So the combination of the two was really appealing to me.

And you do have to think differently when you’re working with Pinterest. Not thinking about, not necessarily one specific thing that people need in the moment, but what they need overall to make their life better. Whether we’re talking about a fitness product, or whether we’re talking about a way to make their workday easier, that’s the kind of content that does really well on Pinterest because they’re saving ideas that will make them a better whatever they want to be in the future.

Jay Baer: I love the way you put that. Five ways to allow people’s lives to improve through their use of Pinterest. And you see now people doing a lot of promotion of blog posts and e-books and things like that. Do you feel like that can be effective organically, or does that kind of content amplification in your estimation now given the state of the union at Pinterest require some sort of paid placement program?
Alisa Meredith: You could definitely succeed organically. It’s just like anything else though; it takes longer. So if you have something that’s time sensitive, or it’s real specific to the season, that’s when you really need to promote it. Now I’m seeing a lot of bloggers saying their traffic is way down this month specifically. But, again, that’s a typical cycle for Pinterest traffic, so it definitely still worth doing organically, it’s just going to take a while.
Jay Baer: You’re saying that Pinterest traffic is typically down in June because vacations have started, it that … I want to make sure I characterize that right.
Alisa Meredith: Yeah, yep.
Jay Baer: Yeah, people are out going on holidays and not spending as much time on the computer, or at least that’s the thesis.
Alisa Meredith: Yeah. And really there is so much on Pinterest for teachers and education that obviously this time of year they’re kind of that to some extent right. It’ll pick up again in the fall, and then of course the holiday season is huge on Pinterest. But yeah, it’s amazing the length of a pin, the life of a pin. I should have that number in my head, but I don’t. But it’s incredibly long, so for years and years my most popular pin, I would get this email from Pinterest every week, was this hideous thing I did about creating YouTube profile from three years back. So your old pins can bring you traffic forever and ever.
Jay Baer: That is amazing, it really is like a search engine in that regard even. Like YouTube, which is sort of Pinterest for videos in some ways, and Pinterest is YouTube for photos and illustrations in some other ways. One of the things I find really interesting from a promotional perspective is that Pinterest is by definition quite efficient because most of advertising that goes on there is pay-per-click still, which you can’t get that deal everywhere. In some cases you can get that deal, but it doesn’t really pencil out.

Pinterest is still, at least from the work that we’ve done at Convince and Convert in this area, pretty affordable in most cases from an advertising perspective, in comparison to some of the other options out there. Would you agree? You probably would, since you do Pinterest, but that’s been my estimation.

Alisa Meredith: I would. I do like a bargain, and you can get them on Pinterest. It’s funny, when you’re setting up an ad, depending on the targeting you choose, Pinterest will tell you, “Oh your best bet is …” It will get you a range of suggested bids, and I’ve seen them start out at $4 a click, and that’s insane right. But you can bid … I usually do start super low. I have one brand new account running right now, and her average cost per click is about 15 cents.
Jay Baer: Yeah, that’s cheap.
Alisa Meredith: Yeah. And I have another lady, she’s a teacher, paid teacher seller, and she can get clicks for as low as five cents. Which you can’t even bid that low, but they just come in the low. But it depends on your industry and the competition for those ad spots.
Jay Baer: And are most of those keyword based, where you’re saying I want my pin to show up in these topical categories. Are those keywords plus geography plus some other kind of targeting.
Alisa Meredith: Yes, yes, yes. So you can do keyword targeting, and I recommend that to reach a newer audience, which promoter pins is really great at bringing in new customers for you. But it’s funny the way keyword search works. And I wouldn’t have known this unless I had been doing some exports on the ad data. What I found that even if you target an ad just based on keywords, your ad would show up in the home feed. So I contacted Pinterest, as I like to do sometimes, and said “What in the world? If I’m just targeting by keywords, why on earth would my pin show up in the home feed?”

And it turns out, it’s really not based on that in the moment search. It’s actually based upon that pinner’s behavior overall. So it might be based on board names that they have created, pins that they have interacted with, their profile-

Jay Baer: It’s not like a Google PBC search where it’s actually you type this in, we show you this. It’s an inferred keyword based on your behavior, your profile, what we know about you?
Alisa Meredith: Exactly. And that surprised me and a lot of people who heard about it. But then it started to make sense when they said, “Okay, we’re going to have these new ad groups coming out and it’s going to be Pinterest search ads and one of them will be keywords.” And so we all went, “Wait a minute, aren’t we already doing that?” Well these new ads that are coming out will be guaranteed placement when someone is actually searching in the moment, which I think is probably going to convert a lot better into sales.
Jay Baer: A little more direct response.
Alisa Meredith: Yeah.
Jay Baer: Yeah, Google style. Interesting. One of the things that is of course very powerful with Facebook ads is the ability to upload your email list and do lookalikes and retargeting and things along those lines. That’s now possible with Pinterest as well. You can upload your own email list and create custom audiences. How has that worked with you and your clients so far?
Alisa Meredith: Oh my goodness, so good. What I love about that is the click through rate goes through the roof. Whether it’s a visitor audience, a customer audience, an act alike, or you can even do an engagement audience, which will tell Pinterest, “All right, anybody who’s engaged with any pin to my website.” Whether I pinned it, or somebody else did, I want to target them as well.

So we have all these options for these warm audiences. The challenge that I have found, especially if you don’t have a huge list, is that Pinterest seems to have a hard time matching that with actual pinners. So you might have an email list of 3000 people, but maybe Pinterest only finds 300 of them. I’m finding that it’s hard to spend all your money on those audience re-targeted ads, but that’s where the act alikes come in. If you see that, all right my email list is doing great, then you’re going to start creating act alike audiences, and then get your impressions up, your click through rate will still be pretty good. Not as great as your own audience, but still really good.

Jay Baer: How important would you say pins are versus boards at this point? Is it more important to have a series of really good pins, or is it more important to have a series of really interestingly curated boards that kind of make sense as a collective? I sort of think of this as the question between do you want to have an album or a hit single. And I just wonder if that’s changed philosophically amongst Pinterest professionals over the years.
Alisa Meredith: Well, I think both, but that’s kind of a cop out answer. So you definitely need both because they can also show up in a Google search result. But, I think the individual pins are more important in search. So when you a search, the default feed you’re going to get is full of pins. You can change that to be just boards that match your search, but I don’t think most people’s do that. So I would focus more on the individual pins.
Jay Baer: Yeah, that would make sense. What is your recommendation to clients from a cadence standpoint? Should they be pinning once a day, once a week, five times an hour? What do you think is the sweet spot? Obviously it’s different per social channel, but at this point for Pinterest, what is your recommendation?
Alisa Meredith: Well, at Tailwind our average member pins around 28 times a day.
Jay Baer: Wow.
Alisa Meredith: I know.
Jay Baer: That’s not just their own content right? That’s curated as well.
Alisa Meredith: Right, absolutely. And so, I mean the risk of sounding like a Tailwind ad, they do make it pretty easy. So inside Tailwind, you can discover content so you can put in our SS Feeds of blogs you like. But the really big one now is Tribes, so that’s where you have a group of people who contribute pins. And that way you know, “Okay, I know these people. I know their content is good.” So you can just … A couple clicks and it’s scheduled. It really doesn’t have to take that long.

There are some pinners who pin 50, 100 times a day, which I don’t know how anyone would do that and have their pins be any good. But that is definitely not necessary. Even if you wanted to start at five to ten, you can make progress there.

Jay Baer: When you just pin something from a feed like that though, isn’t the visual likely to be not optimized for Pinterest? And therefore not as effective as a pin?
Alisa Meredith: Well the way that it comes into Tailwind, it has the image. It pulls in the image for you.
Jay Baer: Right, but Pinterest is formatted so vertical, sometimes I find that the images when they just pull the images directly off the page into Pinterest, it’s just not quite cropped quite right. Is that not an issue?
Alisa Meredith: Sometimes that happens. You can still pin those anyway, but … I mean the vertical ones obviously are going to be better. But some of those do show up as vertical.
Jay Baer: Okay, fantastic. I have one more question, I’m going to turn it over to Adam. I have heard that when you’re doing promoted pins that you should not link those to a customized call to action rich landing page the same way you would with a Facebook ad or a Instagram ad, that in the Pinterest world it’s much more common and actually works better if you send people from the pin to a “regular webpage” and then let them navigate from there to whatever email collection purchased form you’re looking for. Would you agree with that?
Alisa Meredith: Sort of. So you definitely can promote a pin to a landing page. And it used to be that you really weren’t supposed to, but now as long as you say in your description, “Sign up here,” or “Download your …” making that implication that yes there will-
Jay Baer: So they know something’s going to happen.
Alisa Meredith: Yeah. And I think not only is that a good user experience as far as not feeling like it’s a bait and switch, but it also prepares people to take that action once they get there. So if you can put that in your image as well as your description, I think you’re going to have a lot better results than if you just send them there and hope that they sign up.

But that said, a lot of people are finding that linking to a blog post with a really strong call-to-action there is more effective. So I would say definitely try them both, and make sure that the page, whatever page it is, is really well optimized for conversion because Pinterest traffic tends to be a little bit bouncy, right. Because the way people use Pinterest, they’re just jumping all over the place, so really gotta make sure you draw them in and catch them quickly.

Jay Baer: That’s good advice, thanks.
Adam Brown: You know this is great advice. And Alisa, I’m going to kind of continue this because I’m actually copiously taking notes here on Pinterest. Jay as you a little bit about kind of the cadence, and of course you blew us away with the volume of pins that typical Pinterest users are sharing. Want to know a little bit more about scheduling as well. Is there … You know with some social platforms, there’s kind of good times of the day to post to get the most visibility, whether it’s organic or paid. Any suggestions you have for kind of time the day pins on the Pinterest platform?
Alisa Meredith: Oh, okay. I love this question. Coming into Tailwind, that was one of the first things I asked the team because Pinterest does have an algorithm, it has a smart feed. So that what you pin today, yeah it’ll get seen by your followers, but it may not be right now. It may be in a month. Right, so does timing still really matter? The answer is yes it does. And the reason why is because if you pin when your followers are most likely looking for you content, and it starts to get that engagement right away, then it’s going to get seen more and more. That’s going to impact their smart feed algorithm and tell Pinterest, “This is a great pin, so share it more.” And part of that is figuring out when people are going to be on, and when they’re going to see it.

So what the Tailwind does, it has a smart schedule, which looks at your account and your industry even, and figures out when is the best time to publish your pins for the greatest exposure immediately, which will then increase your exposure over time.

Adam Brown: So for example if you have a board on movies, you may see that that gets more traffic as you get closer to the weekend, and more afternoon, early evening type traffic. Whereas if you have morning workout board, logically you’re going to see more kind of early day part type traffic.
Alisa Meredith: Or I would say probably with workout, it would probably be even in the evening, right. They’re planning their next day. That’s the thing about Pinterest, people are planners there. Monday afternoon evening is really great for recipes, so yeah. Know your industry, know your people, or use a tool that will help you figure that out.
Adam Brown: Sure. I love, Alisa, the analogy you used of Pinterest being a search and even kind of a visual search platform, and almost being more of that than a social one. It reminds me … It harkens back to the days of the old, old Yahoo, where it was actually a curated, almost card catalog of websites.

I’m curious … I think there’s so many kind of preconceived notions of who the Pinterest user is from a demographic standpoint. And that the consumer brands of course have an easy way of it on Pinterest. But I would love to hear your thoughts on how B2B brands can leverage both Pinterest as well as Instagram in your opinion.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, so it is tricky right. Pinterest is kind of built for retail and I think the more features that get added, it’s clear to me that Pinterest wants to become a search, social, and shopping channel. So I think that there is a challenge for B2B. It can work, I mean case in point for AlisaMeredith.com, Pinterest is the number one social traffic referring source.
Adam Brown: Wow. So from professional services standpoint.
Alisa Meredith: Absolutely. Absolutely it can work. And obviously, Pinterest is important to me, so I put some time into my own images for Pinterest. But it just … I don’t know how else to prove it other than, “Yeah, it works for me.”
Adam Brown: And do you think individuals like us, like our listeners and the three of us, can we leverage Pinterest for self marketing and promotion. I mean would you tell digital markers that are hesitant to us Pinterest kind of for that self promotion to kind of get past that and to use it?
Alisa Meredith: Well it kind of depends on what your content is, right. So Pinterest is so different from Instagram, which you mentioned Instagram. Instagram is really about behind the scenes. People want to see what’s working behind those curtains. On Pinterest people do not care. Pinterest is kind of a little bit of a self centered platform. We want to know what’s in it for me, how can I make this work for me. So if you can promote yourself, while at the same time helping somebody out, absolutely. Just be useful and be inspirational, and that’s what works on Pinterest.
Adam Brown: Inspirational. Yeah, it’s very much kind of going back to the tenants of marketing and engagement. With both Pinterest and Instagram, you’ve got great deep experience in visual marketing. And I’m curious if you’re finding any types of visual content that is working better than others. Is it a … For so long on Instagram, it was a style thing with it being highly produced, very much curated type of content. Is it a people versus no people, or product hero shots, or product shown in context? Are you finding any type of visual content that kind of is the trend de jour now on both of those visual platforms?
Alisa Meredith: Yeah. So I think that there’s at least one similarity I can think of between Pinterest and Instagram, and that’s that lifestyle images work really well. I know on Pinterest, if you use a lifestyle image organically or promoted, it will increase your sales rate from that pin by I think it’s 170 percent, as opposed to-
Adam Brown: Well lifestyle’s better than product you’re saying? That surprises me.
Alisa Meredith: Oh yeah. No I think-
Adam Brown: Is it product in the lifestyle, or lifestyle not necessarily related?
Alisa Meredith: Product in the lifestyle. So show it in a real life setting.
Adam Brown: Interesting.
Alisa Meredith: Pinterest especially, people don’t really want to see faces. If you look at the maybe let’s say fashion because that’s an easy one, fashion images on Pinterest, you’re going to see people a lot of times cut off at about the chin. So you’re going to see from chin down. You might see them turn mostly away. And the reason for that is they’re similar to when you’re trying to sell a house, you’re trying to stage it for selling. People want to be able to picture their life in that home, or in that Pinterest pin, so putting a face in there kind of breaks that illusion.

The difference is Instagram love faces. So you have to get in a totally different mindset as far as image creation. Pinterest likes warm colors, although I’m seeing a little bit more success with cool colors now. But Instagram has always liked cool colors. It’s just it’s funny. It’s a totally different mindset of the user.

Adam Brown: This is the type of stuff that really gets me interested, is the art and science of … Especially when you start talking about visual content. And in certainly visual content right now is huge, and I think we’re seeing another kind of transformation of visual content right now as we begin to see AI and artificial intelligence and image recognition and these types of things happening. Whereas the non-textual content is going to be able to be tagged so that we can not only target against it or target to it, or track it, or begin to as Jay alluded to kind of lookalike audiences and things like that based upon just visual content that has not textual content associated with it.

I’m curious Alisa if you are seeing any of this and any thoughts about that kind of image recognition taking place on Pinterest? Or is it less important on Pinterest because almost all images have a pin and they have already textual data that’s attributed and attached to the picture.

Alisa Meredith: Well, there are kind of two different parts to that. As far as image recognition, Pinterest is making huge moves to get us to do that, right. So with their Pinterest lens product, you can do a visual search from mobile. You can take a shot of the meal you’re eating and it will try to match it up with recipes on Pinterest. Unbelievably powerful, if they can get people to use it.

So I think right now most of the searches that are happening are people, and they’ve even said this, people taking pictures of themselves and seeing how it matches up. I had one … Oh, the first time I tried it on myself, it crashed the program, which I found incredibly insulting. But I had one friend do it and it came back with Bigfoot. It’s hilarious. But really-

Jay Baer: It’s hard to not take that personally, even you’re not … I know you’re like, “Wait a minute Pinterest.”
Alisa Meredith: No, and Pinterest Lens has an awesome Twitter account where people are sharing what’s happening with them. It’s very funny if you need a laugh.
Adam Brown: Well it reminds me of the big … It’s almost like the turing test for image recognition is the, “Is this a chihuahua or is this a muffin?”
Alisa Meredith: I just saw that the other day. I was-
Adam Brown: Yeah, same issue. And-
Jay Baer: Feel like I’m Ellie, not Hotdog.
Alisa Meredith: Right. Yeah.
Adam Brown: I’m still watching season 5 of Silicon Valley Jay, so don’t-
Jay Baer: Okay so when you get to that one, you’re going to remember this episode of Social Pros and you’re going to laugh yourself to sleep.
Adam Brown: I’m going to laugh laugh laugh.
Alisa Meredith: But there was another part to that, which was text on images. Pinterest has been experimenting with something that I really don’t like, and that is to show in your feed just images, no descriptions. I think it’s a terrible idea, but they’re going to do what they want to do. So I think that makes it even more important that on Pinterest, you include text on your image so someone doesn’t have to read the description to know what they’re going to get if they click on the pin. Now if it’s a recipe or just a product, maybe you don’t need that. But I think for most of us, especially in content marketing, you do need that. Those work well.

On Instagram, less text is better. So again, completely opposite.

Adam Brown: And it’s going to be interesting to see what both platforms do kind of around this artificial intelligence and image recognition thing. Of course Instagram has really said, “We’re locking this down. Our terms of service do not allow any image recognition technology other than presumably what Facebook and Instagram are working on themselves to scrape and search those images.” And it’s going to be curious to see if Pinterest kind of goes down the same track.

Alisa one last question before I hand it back over to Jay. I mentioned early on kind of the stereotype that I think Pinterest has from the user and their approach, and I think you’ve certainly broken completely through that. But, I’m curious your opinion of what you think Pinterest needs to do in order to kind of continue their mainstream push. Or do you believe that they are really comfortable kind of in this category and this niche that you articulated in terms of their growth and in terms of their ability for marketers and communicators like all of us to be able to use Pinterest to draw paid social activities? And then thus ROI.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, so I think that they’re being smart. They’re promoted pins team in particular is pretty small. So when you submit a promoted pin for review, it’s actually a room full of people looking at it. And I know that because I’ve had quite a few rejected because I like to try things. And when I email them back and say, “Okay, this isn’t really breaking any rules. Can you explain it to me?” An actual human will reply to me. And I even had one person say, “You know what, I was just talking to someone across the hall, and they said they thought it should be fine.” So it’s a really tiny little team.

So their focus really has been on retail, and that’s where the money is in a lot of social advertising. So I think that that makes sense. I know as a marketer and my friends who are marketers, we wish that they would give us a bit more. It’s kind of like pulling teeth to get information out of them. Marketers are not their focus, which I guess makes sense, it just hurts our feelings a little bit. But, if you look at the interest you can target, or even the categories you can choose when setting up your account, it is very obvious that they’re not interested in promoting marketers at all. Because there’s nothing that fits.

Jay Baer: Adam, you and I just need to make some sort of a store where we sell stuff.
Adam Brown: I’m telling you. Yeah.
Alisa Meredith: You do.
Adam Brown: We could sell reused graduation cakes.
Jay Baer: We could sell graduation cakes.
Alisa Meredith: With a side of shrimp.
Adam Brown: Slightly used.
Jay Baer: You could sell allergy medicine. You’re always sneezing because of the pollen in Austin.
Adam Brown: Yes.
Jay Baer: I could sell used pontoon boat parts now that I have my boat. We could actually come up with a pretty terrible store if we work at it.
Adam Brown: Tequila moonshine, other things.
Jay Baer: Yeah, now we’re talking.
Adam Brown: Don’t want to get the ATF involved though.
Jay Baer: Yeah. Can you put up ads for booze on Pinterest, because now all of a sudden-
Alisa Meredith: Yeah.
Jay Baer: Yeah, maybe I should do that because a fun project is to do a tequila thing on Pinterest. Maybe I’ll do that.
Alisa Meredith: Yeah, you know what, originally you couldn’t, but now you can, as long as you’re not linking to a page where you can purchase right there. You sure can. So I want to see all your recipes.
Jay Baer: That’s my new project. Tequila drinks. I may have to do that.

Hey, one question for you about video. So we talk on this show about the rise of video as they cornered the realm in content and how social is manifestly moving toward video and etc. etc. etc. Pinterest of course is primarily photos, or illustrations, or flat images. How do you feel about that? Do you feel like some point Pinterest is going to have to get into video in a big way, or do you think they can hold the line and continue to be two dimensions and sort of flat images?

Alisa Meredith: Well, by the end of the summer, we are all going to be able to promote videos and promote-
Jay Baer: Do they have rules on that in terms of length or size, or …
Alisa Meredith: Oh I’m sure they will. It hasn’t been released, at least to my knowledge. The big guys are already doing it. What’s cool about it is in the home feed on mobile, it’s going to show up as you’re scrolling as a gif file, however you want to say it.
Jay Baer: However you choose to say that yes.
Alisa Meredith: Right. And so when you click on that, it’s going to pull up the whole video to watch. And then underneath that video will be more promoted pins. So if it’s … In the one I’ve seen, it was a makeup tutorial, and underneath that it would have promoted pins, including buyable pins. So you could order the makeup itself, the brush, whatever, as you’re watching the tutorial. I think they could be really powerful. I think it remains to be seen how effective and how widely adopted video no Pinterest will be, because like you said it has traditionally been just still images that you collect. I don’t know that people are going to stick around and watch a long video.
Jay Baer: That’ll be an interesting opportunity just to experiment with to see if you can … I mean if you think about it, the way Instagram video used to be, right, 15 seconds. Or the way Vine was, six seconds. Maybe something like that would be a possible, and Pinterest can keep attention for that long. But I’m not sure I’d put my 45 minute, full-length keynote on Pinterest. That might be a little much.
Alisa Meredith: Oh no. No probably not. I think a teaser would be good, you know, to direct them to your website.
Jay Baer: A teaser. I like it. I’m going to tease on a couple things that you should download, ladies and gentlemen. Two things this week. One from our friends at Yext, we mentioned them earlier. Our pal Jeff Rohrs is the CMO there, formally cohost of this program. Jeff and I collaborated recently on a brand e-book called “Becoming an Everywhere Brand.” And “Everywhere Brand” is about the hundreds, literally hundreds of places that your brand is represented online. Many of them you don’t even think about. And how to keep your brand consistent and viable in all those different places because the reality is, more and more and more of your customer interactions are taking place on places that are not your website and not your app. So you’ve gotta be strong everywhere, not just with your home base. And so this e-book is all about how to do that, and how to manage your knowledge everywhere. Take a look at it, I think you’ll like it. It’s going to be an important topic in the next year, in my estimation. You can get it at Offers.yext.com/EverywhereBrand. That’s Offers.yext.com/EverywhereBrand.

Also this week, an e-book from our friends as Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Adam and his team put together some research that uncovered 50 stand-out best practices for social media marketers. Things about social listening. Things about social advertising. Things about how to create content that stops the thumb in the newsfeed. Really great tips in there. Grab it at CandC.ly/GetSocialEBook. That’s CnadC.ly/GetSocialEBook. And as always, if you missed any links, or you want to make sure you get the content, just go to SocialPros.com. We have archives of all 275 episodes of this program across six years. Full transcripts and audio files of every single guest we’ve ever had and every single ad download link. You can find it all at SocialPros.com.

Adam, back to you.

Adam Brown: Jay, thank you. And I do want to kind of double click on that, pun intended. I was on the Social Pros site a few nights ago, and it is a rich tapestry of not only all the shows that you have done, but there’s some really great content there. And the transcripts and the links are all very helpful to kind of understand what you want to put in your queue in terms of some of our archived and legacy podcasts. It’s just a great site. So congratulations Jay, to the Convince and Convert Team that has continued to curate that site so well.
Jay Baer: When they’re listening to this episode for editing, they can take a bow during that period of time.
Adam Brown: That’s right. Take a bow. And Alisa, you should be taking a bow too because this has been fantastic. Alisa Meredith, content marketing manager for Tailwind. It’s so great to have you on the show, and you truly are a Pinterest and Instagram guru and expert. I wanted to kind of harken back to something that you mentioned earlier, that you got your start writing kind of operators and instruction manuals. Owner manuals for phone systems. And kind of the evolution that you have had in doing that. That is nothing short of phenomenal.

My question for you is, you know, with Pinterest, and this is one of the things that you mentioned, it’s a lot about kind of creating evergreen or long tail content. Content that may right this very moment be interesting, or actually drive whatever action that you’re trying to capture. But it may happen days, weeks, months, years later. That’s just kind of the concept behind pins and boards and things like that. And I’m curious if because that goes against all of our kind of tenants as a marketer to not create something that’s not an immediate gratification, how do you kind of wire yourself as a content marketer in thinking about content that may have it’s big punch days, weeks, months later?

Alisa Meredith: Patience. Oh my goodness, this is so hard when talking to a new client trying to set the expectations. They’ll say, “Yeah, yeah. I know, I know.” But I’m telling you after a month, then they’re saying, “Oh we only have a 200 percent increase in our traffic from Pinterest. I don’t think this is working.” And it’s oh, it’s frustrating. And I understand. It does take a change a real change in thinking to get there.
Adam Brown: And as you talk to your customers and to your clients, how do you preface that? Kind of, how do you manage your expectations, and how do you kind of structure a kind of a return on the investment plan that makes sense to them? As they are typically used to a CPM or a click campaign that is indeed going to be driving almost immediate traffic that can be measured almost immediately to their website, or to a buy button, or something like that. How do you create those ROI plans, when that ROI and that investment may not pay off for a little bit longer?
Alisa Meredith: Well, ideally you’re going to do organic pinning and promotive pinning at the same time. And that promoted pinning is going to give you that feeling that yes, it’s working right now, right. So having kind of both ends set up, and then just continuing to reiterate that is a long term investment that you are making. I had a client that I pinned for for about two years. We brought in, he was getting about 10,000 page views a month, and more than half of them were from Pinterest alone. He didn’t really have a system to nurture the leads we were bring in, which was about a hundred or so a month from Pinterest, which was a lot for him.

So eventually we stopped doing that because it just wasn’t paying off for him. He wasn’t set up for it. But I still have access to his Google analytics. So I went in there recently, and of course no one has pinned there for two years or more, and Pinterest is still his number one refer. So if you can share actual things that you’ve seen, or like my experience with that three year old pin returning over and over again, eventually hopefully people will understand. But it’s a totally different mindset, and I get that.

Adam Brown: That is so I think impressive, and it shows again that the quality of content is paramount, no matter what you’re doing in social media. But again it is kind of a rewiring. Last kind of question for you before I had it over to Jay. We’ve talked about promoted pins, Pinterest promoted pins, and the success that you’re having. And I think almost everybody is having, especially with the cost and the CPMs that you were talking about. I mean some case, 5, 10, 15 cents per click, that’s just nothing short of incredible. When you’re working with your customers and your clients, how do you have them prioritize and kind of look at their media spend? How much are you saying, “Okay, of your budget here, you should spend this amount a month on actual content curation, this amount on kind of account service, and this amount on promoted activities.” Love to hear kind of your thoughts on how to do that for Pinterest, and then kind of how do prioritize Pinterest versus all the other social or digital activities that a brand may be doing or want to do?
Alisa Meredith: Well that was a lot of questions.
Adam Brown: Sorry about that. That was a loaded machine gun of questions. I apologize.
Alisa Meredith: It really was. Okay, no. No problem.

Okay, so I think the first part of that was how do you allocate the budget. If someone comes to me and they just want to do promoted pins, they don’t want to do organic, that’s okay. Because sometimes you might look at their website and realize that their blog content is not going to do well on Pinterest organically. And I might not even want to do organic pinning for them for that reason because I know it’s going to take changing their whole content marketing scheme. It’s going to take finding a ton of curated content that’s of good quality. It’s probably going to cost more than it’s worth for them. So I would be happy to do just promoted pins for them. Does that make sense?

Adam Brown: That makes complete sense.
Alisa Meredith: Okay. And then the second question was …?
Adam Brown: Second question was in terms of the media mix of Pinterest activities … And again I know that is your wheelhouse and that is your area of expertise, but where does Pinterest fit in the overall marketing mix for a retail company that’s doing other activities in social?
Alisa Meredith: Right. So take all your money and spend it on Pinterest instead. That’s what you wanted me to say. No, I love to see what people are already doing on Facebook. So that’s one of the questions we’ll ask, “Are you advertising on Facebook? If so, what is your cost per customer acquisition? What’s your cost per lead? What are you paying per click?” And we’ll take all that and use those as a goal. So we’re going to try to stay at or below that rate on Pinterest.

Now if they’re spending say $2000 a month on Facebook, I might suggest we start at about half that while we’re trying to feel out what works. And kind of the fun and frustrating part about Pinterest promoted pins is that it is, it’s art and science. It can be so surprising what works and what does not work. I think I have it figured out and I never do because it’ll surprise you. One image will do great in one ad group, and the other will do great in the other ad group. It’s just so much testing tweaking. So I like to kind of get down what’s working before I have them invest more money.

Jay Baer: I think that probably good advice for everybody. Let’s kind of figure out what’s working before you put all of your money on a certain social channel. But I love the ins and outs that you’ve shared with us today on Pinterest and Pinterest advertising. It’s been really educational. Thank you for taking the time. We’re going to close it out with two questions that we ask every single guest here on Social Pros every single time. Are you ready?
Alisa Meredith: I think I’m ready.
Jay Baer: Okay. First question: what one tip would you give somebody looking to become a social pro?
Alisa Meredith: I would say choose a specialty. There are 90 million generalists. May be a slight exaggeration. But if you can choose a specialty-
Adam Brown: Not much.
Alisa Meredith: Not much? No maybe not.
Jay Baer: Maybe 98.
Alisa Meredith: Yeah right. Then you can become known for that, to steal Mark Schaefer’s book title.
Jay Baer: Yes. I love it. So figure out something that you really want to go deep on, and become the expert in that. In your case Pinterest. A.J. Wilcox we had on the show a few weeks ago on LinkedIn ads, etc. I think that’s terrific advice. And even more now than perhaps even five years ago. And the last question for you Alisa Meredith from Tailwind and Alisa Meredith Marketing is: If you could do a Skype call with any living person, who would it be and why?
Alisa Meredith: That would be Ben Silverman, who is the co-founder and CEO of Pinterest, because I want to know what he sees for the future of Pinterest. I know what they publish, but I want that cone of silence so that we can really get into it. I want to know what’s coming.
Jay Baer: I love that. That would be a fantastic conversation because you’re right, Pinterest doesn’t get out there as much as some of the other social networks. They kind of stick to their knitting, they’re fairly quiet over there and it would be great to hear from Ben directly on the direction that they are headed. If you can hook that up, you let us know. We’ll be happy to have that on the podcast.
Alisa Meredith: Definitely will. I’ll record it for you.
Jay Baer: Thanks so much. Congratulations on all the great work. We really appreciate you taking the time to join us here on Social Pros. Ladies and gentlemen, if you want more like that, make sure you go to SocialPros.com. And always don’t forget to email Adam or I if you have any questions. We love to just kind of find out who you guys are, what you’re doing, what you’re working on, how we can help you. Just email me directly, jay@jaybaer.com and we will get right back to you.

Adam, more great episodes coming up. Next week is Aaron from Great Clips will be on next week’s Social Pros. So we’re going to get into the social media haircut business, or the haircut of social media, or something along those lines. It’s going to be terrific.

Until then, I am Jay Baer from Convince and Convert. He’s Adam Brown from Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and this has been Social Pros.

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