Pinterest is more than just a social media platform full of inspo-boards of Harry Styles fan pics and dog Halloween costumes (though we’re not complaining about any of that, we cannot stress this enough). It’s also an opportunity to make some serious cash.

With 416 active global users monthly and 200 billion-plus saved pins to date, the revenue opportunities are undeniable.

For businesses and influencers looking to monetize their Pinterest channel, read on for foolproof money-making strategies you can start implementing today.

Bonus: Download your free pack of 5 customizable Pinterest templates now. Save time and easily promote your brand with professional designs.

How to make money on Pinterest

You can’t sell directly on Pinterest (there’s no checkout function at this point in time). However, there are plenty of other ways you can leverage your pins into sales opportunities.

Drive traffic to your ecommerce site

For brands with an e-commerce offering, Pinterest is a natural opportunity to drive traffic — and sales. Use pins to showcase your goods and direct followers back to your website to shop, like a digital trail of breadcrumbs.

For added reach, throw some ad dollars behind your pins. Promoted Pins can be optimized to meet different goals, like increasing traffic or growing your Pinterest followers.

Step 1. Create pins that link to your ecommerce site

Upload eye-catching product photos, or craft stand-out images using graphic design templates created by Hootsuite’s in-house designers.

Bonus: Download your free pack of 5 customizable Pinterest templates now. Save time and easily promote your brand with professional designs.

Ideally, link these images directly to the specific product page on your website, so followers can proceed directly to purchasing. The fewer clicks someone has to do to follow through with a sale, the better.

Step 2. Practice good SEO

Help Pinterest users find your pin with strategic keywords that describe or define the product or style.

Use these in the description of your pin, but also in your profile, and ideally, in your URL as well.

These will help your pins appear in Google search results, too, so be descriptive.

Glad has a whole selection of pins highlighting the features of its Press ‘N’ Seal cling film. If you’ve been meal-prepping all week and have been waiting for just this sort of product suggestion to come into your life, clicking on the pin will take you directly to Glad’s website to buy some for yourself.

Become an affiliate marketer

Affiliate marketing offers the opportunity to make money when people make a purchase from a link you supply. No need to stockpile inventory, or run your own e-commerce shop — just share a tracked link and claim a percentage if someone clicks through and shops.

Step 1. Sign up to be an affiliate

To successfully sell a product, you need to get it in front of the right audience. Instead of signing up for any and every affiliate program you can find, pick brands or products that will specifically appeal to your followers.

Big brands and start-ups alike offer affiliate opportunities, so do some research to find what’s available in your preferred field.

Step 2. Track clicks even more specifically with a URL shortener

You’ll receive a special tracking code to add to links to track all the sales that come through you, but to collect your own data, try using URL shorteners.

These are (often-free!) tools that track click-through rates. Use one for posting sweatpants on your “Lazy Sunday” board, and another shortened URL for your “Work From Home Outfits” board, and compare which gets more action.

Step 3. Promote products on your board and use affiliate links

Share those products via pins (make sure they pop), and get those affiliate links out there into the world!

The good news is that if someone else repins your pin, your affiliate link has been shared, too.

Step 4. Keep a close eye on Pinterest’s rules and regulations

Every so often, Pinterest decides that affiliate links are too spammy for their liking, and cracks down on affiliate marketing. Keep up to date on Pinterest’s changes and attitudes so you don’t get penalized.

Pinterest user @Krystin_Lee linked this lifestyle photo to her Like To Know It page, where followers can click on affiliate URLs to shop the products in the picture. If anyone else buys this coffee table book, Krystin will earn a little cash, which presumably she’ll spend on more cute props for her photo shoots.

Help people shop your look

Shopping is a top priority for 48% of Pinterest users — so don’t miss an opportunity to merchandize your digital storefront.

Show off a styled outfit or a sleek space to spark inspiration. Then, tag the specific products in that photo so your followers can shop that look themselves.

This example from Pinterest features a chic living room (side question: can I move in?) with individual products tagged in the photo.

Source: Pinterest

Step 1. Create a Pinterest Business account.

Only Business accounts can use catalogs and Shopping ads. You can either upgrade your existing personal account, or sign up for a fresh Business one.

Step 2. Upload your product catalog

For most ecommerce websites, Product Pins can be automatically created for your whole product catalog.

This special format of pin features real-time pricing information, as well as a product description and availability. Users can click through to finish the transaction right on your site.

For any non-compatible ecommerce products, you can create Rich Pins. These also display product info, but you need to create each one individually, and you can’t use them for Shopping Ads.

Step 3. Create a collection to make your products pop

With Pinterest’s Collections format, you can now upload a lifestyle image and tag your products within it, so users can shop your look right then and there.

Partner with a brand

You don’t need a product (or even an affiliate link to a product!) to make money on Pinterest. You can also sell access to your audience.

Maybe it’s fitness-focused moms, maybe it’s teen vegans. Once you’ve got a quality following, you’ve got something valuable other brands might want, too.

Step 1: Compile your stats

You can’t just waltz in off the street and expect Lululemon to hand over some money (trust me). To get a brand interested, you’ll need some hard numbers.

Collect data on your followers — the demographic, the engagement, the shares, the views.

When you reach out to a potential partner, you’ll be prepared to tell them exactly why your audience is a great fit.

Step 2: Approach appropriate brands

There are many different ways brands support Pinterest influencers, whether curating a shared board, sponsoring specific pins, or coordinating “takeovers.”

Reach out to brands who might be interested in your audience with your collaboration ideas. (Use our brand pitch template if you don’t know where to start.)

It could be a good idea to include contact information for partnership requests in your Pinterest profile, too, to remind the world that you’re open for business.

Instagram Influencer Oh Joy partnered with Smuckers Jam to create recipe content for her followers. Now she’s rolling in that sweet, sweet jam money.

Become a virtual assistant

If you’ve honed your Pinterest craft, why not try to go pro?

There are companies out there who see the value in Pinterest audiences, but don’t have time to manage an account in-house. Offering your services as a Pinterest Virtual Assistant could be a good money-making opportunity.

Virtual Assistants might schedule posts, create pins, or manage ads. This role could also involve community management and outreach — it’ll vary from brand to brand.

Step 1. Make sure your own account is looking fresh

It’s going to be hard to get hired on as a Pinterest expert if your own boards aren’t looking their best.

Pinterest’s suggestions for top-tier pinning including using eye-catching images and adding a text overlay. Check out Pinterest’s guide to creative best practices here.

Step 2. Let the world know you’re open for business

Reaching out to your own network to spread the word is a great place to start, either in real life or on social.

You can also post on job boards or freelancer pages like Fiverr to reach companies looking for help.

Tips for earning money on Pinterest

There are a variety of ways to earn income via Pinterest, as you just read, but all ultimately rely on the power of an audience.

Draw in the eyeballs, and the clicks (and revenue!) will follow. Here’s how.

Be part of the community

You get out what you put in. (Or should we say… you get out what you put pin?) (Sorry.)

Embrace the “social” part of this social media platform by liking, commenting on, and repinning others’ pins.

Following accounts or specific boards is a great way to encourage follow-backs as well.

Pineal Vision Jewelry is turning on the charm, commenting on this DIY post from Pinterest influencer Almost Makes Perfect.

Embrace the social part of Pinterest by liking and commenting like Pineal Vision Jewelry

Source: Almost Makes Perfect on Pinterest

Create eye-catching images

This is a visual medium. If you want to catch users’ attention, you’ve gotta get graphic.

Photos should be high quality, and vertically oriented. (Pinterest recommends a 2:3 aspect ratio.)

Graphic design tools like Over are great ways to overlay text or add distinguishing graphic flourishes to really make your images stand out from the feed.

One great recent example of visuals done right: subscription box company Birchbox posted dozens of text-only pins, featuring beauty tips in pretty, Millennial-friendly colors.

Birchbox creates eye-catching images using text-only pins

Source: Birchbox on Pinterest

Airbnb, meanwhile, sticks to sharing gorgeous travel photography on its feed.

Airbnb shares photography on Pinterest feed

Source: Airbnb on Pinterest

FastCompany gives all of its images, whether illustrated or photos, a similar stylized color treatment to brand its content clearly.

FastCompany gives all images similar stylized color treatment

Source: FastCompany on Pinterest

Do your keyword research

Keywords help people discover your pins, both through direct search, and through Pinterest’s recommendation algorithm.

Keywords are like a meddling matchmaker, bringing content and users together for a love connection.

Needless to say, it’s critical to incorporate the right keywords into any text field that’s appropriate. This could include your pin description, the text overlay, the board title, the board description, or your profile description.

To figure out the best keywords, start with something broad. Type your target keyword right into the Pinterest search bar, and below, you’ll see colored tiles that suggest related keywords.

For example, searching “birds” leads me to see that other, more specific keywords are “pretty” and “angry.” Why are people searching for angry, pretty birds? We’re not here to judge.

Use keywords to connect users with content

Source: Pinterest

If your keyword is strong, you’ll see a dozen or more additional keyword recommendations.

You’ll also be able to see what boards and pins are currently using these words… and whether they’ve got a good-sized following.

Click through to see even more specific related keywords and drill down further for more niche suggestions.

Once you’ve collected your helpful keywords, put them to work — but avoid getting spammy.

Pro tip: Use keywords in complete sentences, instead of just stuffing as many in there as you can. As Pinterest coolly puts it, “it’s unnecessary.”

Schedule your pins

Adding new pins over time — rather than uploading a whole bunch at once — is going to help you reach a wider range of people. And a scheduling tool like Hootsuite to help you prep your pins to deploy at a just-right leisurely pace.

Schedule Pins with Hootsuite

Source: Hootsuite

Batch scheduling your Pins is the best way to get in the creative zone with your content — plus it’ll save you from logging into Pinterest six times a day.

What are you going to do with your time instead? Learn to get good at darts? Why not!

Sign up for a Business account

A Pinterest Business account gives you access to advertising and marketing options for your pins. If you’re interested in building on your organic growth by putting some money into reaching new audiences, you’ll need to sign up.

Sign up for Pinterest Business account for access to advertising and marketing options

Source: Pinterest

Formats like Video, Carousel, or Collections are available to Business accounts, which could be a good opportunity to get creative and really pop on Pinterest user’s feeds.

Create your own media kit

If you’re interested in collaborating with paid partners, or hosting advertisements or sponsorships on your Pinterest boards, it’s worth it to prepare a media kit.

A media kit is a document that features stats about your followers and engagement, and provides a snapshot of your brand and its value. It may also include prices of specific advertising opportunities.

Use a graphic design template to make a stylish PDF available for download, or feature the information right on your main website or blog.

Once you’ve got this in your toolkit, it’s quick and easy to start a conversation about partnership opportunities.

Of course, as with all social platforms, great content is ultimately the true key to success, so make sure you’re creating pins you’re proud of.

Want more guidance on getting your Pinterest page business up and running? Check out our guide to using Pinterest for business… and get started turning those pins into profit.

Save time managing your Pinterest presence using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can schedule and publish posts directly to Pinterest, engage the audience, measure performance, and run all your other social media profiles. Try it free today.

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