Small Business Matters – Episode #18
If you are running an online store for your small business, you know how important organic traffic can be. So for this small business matter, we’re going to talk about Pinterest marketing, and why it has become such an important component for so many online resellers. Jeff Sieh is here to help us unpack all of that. Jeff is an international speaker and visual marketing consultant, specializing in Pinterest, visual marketing, and video. He hosts the Social Media News Live show and podcast and is also “Head Beard” at Manly Pinterest Tips. Jeff has worked with and produced content for many leading companies and influencers, including Guy Kawasaki, Kim Garst, Social Media Examiner, and Tailwind.
Watch our interview
What follows is a lightly edited transcript of our interview.
Gary Stockton: Jeff, welcome to Small Business Matters.
Jeff Seih: Man, I am so excited to be here, Gary. Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to geek out with you a little bit on Pinterest.
Gary Stockton: That’s awesome. And I’ve been looking forward to this interview since we started talking about it a couple of weeks ago, and reading so much about what you’ve done with Pinterest and in social media as well. But can you tell us a little bit about how you got started focusing on Pinterest?
Jeff Sieh: Yeah. So many moons ago, back in the day I was driving. I can’t remember. I just launched a new blog post and I was listening to a podcast like I like to do on long trips. And I heard this girl on that was Social Media Examiner’s podcast talking about Pinterest and how much traffic it had driven to her website.
And I was like, man, I could really use some traffic. So I thought, Oh, I might as well start a Pinterest account. So I started doing that and I wrote this article called, when I started using Pinterest, called Manly Pinterest Tips, #1. And it was how I shared the secret board, because you can share boards with people and keep them secret, with my daughter, and we were sharing tips and crafts and that was when she was younger and stuff, and recipes. And that post did really well. And then I went on Pinterest and it did even better. And this was back in the day when Google Plus was all the rage and I was there. I had a lot of followers and actually started a live show that was back before Facebook live and all that stuff happened with four other guys, and we were able to interview people like Guy Kawasaki, who you mentioned, who I do his podcast for now, but also people like the guy who was the producer for “Pretty Woman” and “Under Seige” we got, it opened a lot of doors doing live video and then I turned it to a podcast and that led to working a lot with Social Media Examiner and speaking and all sorts of things.
So yeah, it all started with a little blog about Pinterest back in the day on Google Plus.
Gary Stockton: Wow. So what’s unique about Pinterest marketing? What sets it apart from marketing on other social platforms?
Jeff Sieh: So the founders, even the founders of Pinterest have said that it’s not really a social platform. And I know it gets lumped in there with Facebook and, YouTube and Snapchat and all those things. But it is actually more of a search engine. So I would say it’s more like YouTube than any of the other ones, all the social platforms, but they call it like a discovery engine and it’s a place to go to discover new ideas and pin things you like. There’s no fake news. There’s no spammy stuff that comes out.
It’s a visual search engine, is what it is. And so that’s what really sets it apart from every other thing. And the thing that really attracted me to it when I first started, and it’s still true today. Is that the, like the shelf life for a tweet or a Facebook post is something like eight minutes. It’s really small. Pinterest has this long term effect. Now it takes a little bit to get started and to go, but it’s a search engine. So people are going and pinning your pins. And I think the average time for people like before they do something, it’s three months. So it lasts for a long time. It’s got this huge shelf life and, I don’t know about you, Gary, but creating content is hard and, I want to get the most of it out of as I can, and Pinterest marketing made sense to me because it would surface back up. It’s just really, it’s that long term and it’s that long tail that really was attractive to me.
Gary Stockton: That’s incredible because I spend, an inordinate amount of time distributing content and creating the content, yes, that’s a big job, distributing it. And that half life of a tweet or a Facebook post, it’s, you really have to think about that, you know what I mean? We do have to get our new content out there, yes, but the fact that Pinterest marketing is such a long term play it really makes sense if you double down on Pinterest. Is it hard to build an audience on there?
Jeff Sieh: It’s harder now than it’s ever been before. So like when I first started, it’s a lot harder now. But the thing about Pinterest marketing is so cool is that you don’t have to have a lot of followers. You don’t, because the algorithm is surfing your content, just like Google, you don’t have to have a lot of followers on Google to make it successful. If you show up in the search results, the same thing with Pinterest. There’s people who have 1500 or smaller audiences and they’re killing it doing Pinterest marketing. They’re making sales. They’re getting traffic to their website because they’re creating content that an audience on Pinterest really wants and it’s surfacing up through the algorithm, what they call the smart feed, which is what you scroll through Pinterest and you see all those pins. That’s what the algorithm is serving you.
And if you strike a nerve or you’re pinning content that really resonates on Pinterest, you don’t have to have a huge number of followers. So I have, I think, I have I haven’t checked in a while, but 30,000 followers on Pinterest, but my monthly views for my content is like over a million.
And some of those smaller people who don’t even have 30, 000, they can even have a lot more than I have. And it’s not so much followers that you want on Pinterest. It’s not like Instagram or anything like that. I’m always in it for the clicks. I want people to click on it and go back to my website.
The whole reason I’m there is for traffic. And you got to remember your audience on Pinterest. They’re not coming to Pinterest to, like hunt for likes or, to see what everyone else is doing. They’re looking to find what they love and what they want to save and maybe purchase or go read later.
And It’s almost a curation engine where they’re going and let’s say, Gary, you’re decorating a man cave, like you’ve got a new garage and you’re going to decorate it all out. And so you’ll start going to Pinterest and going, Oh, I really like that workbench. Oh, I really like what they’ve done with that. That’s how Pinterest marketing can help you here, if you’re selling that stuff.
That metal art, that would look great in my man cave, it and you pin it. And then later on, you go purchase it or you go and you find more stuff to add to it. It makes a lot of sense for, thinking about your audience and knowing that people are going there to dream and to be inspired by and, purchase things.
I think they said that people on Pinterest are 30% more likely to purchase things because they’re shoppers. That’s why they’re there. The other thing is, brands sometime have a hard time. Like on Facebook, they have, oh, there’s a post from a brand. Nobody wants it. On Pinterest, they don’t mind. They like it. There’s a lot of stuff from brands. Target kills it on there. Home Depot, Lowe’s. They do some really cool creative stuff and people enjoy it because they have tapped into a way that they’re helpful to that audience, because they’ve devoted some time to Pinterest marketing.
Gary Stockton: So we talked about finding products for a man cave. It’s not just for… It’s not just for men, right? And it’s not just for women. And I think that’s probably one of the biggest myths out there that we can bust right now, right?
Jeff Sieh: Yeah. So the funny thing is, so when I started Manly Pinterest tips, I did it as a joke, because it was known, it was like, this is a platform for like nail art and braids and, maybe some recipes. And you had to dig a little bit deeper back in the day when I first started, but there’s just all this content for, like I was saying, man cave, it’s cigars and, cocktail recipes and all the barbecue and all this cool stuff. And so I was into Pinterest marketing for traffic because I knew it worked for traffic.
And that’s why I started and I actually started growing the beard back in the day. I was like, if this Manly Pinterest Tips thing doesn’t work, I can always shave. And so it’s been, gosh, I don’t know, seven years, eight years now that I’ve had this big old hunk of facial hair. But yeah, it was known for that and it was mostly in the United States and the European countries there; it’s still the fastest growing demographic, the male demographic is.
And more people are getting into it. There’s a lot of guys who use it, but don’t admit that they use it. It’s the thing like their girlfriend or their wife will give it to them and they’ll start using it. And they’re like, man, there’s a lot of cool stuff on here. Like for my man cave or my garage or for whatever.
I have a lot of woodworking stuff on there because I do a lot of woodworking that I get tons of content and some great ideas over on Pinterest. So yeah, it’s still, people make fun of Pinterest and Oh, it’s, it’ll fit in a Mason jar, and all the quinoa recipes and all that stuff. But there is a lot of great content for men on there. So don’t let that stereotype really sink in too deep.
Gary Stockton: Thinking about the content, you really do have to be intentional. If you are photographing products and photographing it in a good way, and maybe making some initial investments in lighting if it’s jewelry, for example, you would want to make sure that it’s, it’s not set down on a dinner table, you want to have it with a nice lighting. Are you doing that with your Pinterest channel?
Jeff Sieh: So for the clients that I’ve worked with, yes. But I have a friend who’s, you mentioned jewelry, and she creates jewelry, she’s a silversmith and does this really great stuff. She’s over in the UK, some gorgeous stuff, and she’s killing it doing Pinterest marketing.
She’s doing a lot of cool stuff and you’re right. Photography is very important, but when I first started the strategy was, you create content, you make a pin and you share it to all these different boards and you keep doing that over and over.
That has changed now. So they really want fresh content on Pinterest. They also really want video. If you go through Pinterest now, you’ll see a lot of video where before it was all static. They also have these things called idea pins. They were used to be called story pins and they’re almost like stories like you find on Instagram, only they don’t go away.
They’re attached to your account. And the point that I’m making is yes. Photography is super important, especially for static pins. You want to have really great video, but you also have now, this kind of behind the scenes thing that’s going on that wasn’t there before on Pinterest with these idea pins.
Think of Instagram stories behind the scenes. And so this lady with her jewelry is taking it, and showing how she’s making it, the molds for the silver and heating things up and bending it to fit and it’s not glamorous, it’s behind the scenes stuff, but they’re killing it, because how cool is it that you see the jewelry that you are going to buy being made and how it’s being made? That has a lot of people get really nostalgic about that, saying, you know in saving this video I saw how this was made. I saw she made it with her own two hands It wasn’t just a machine that stamped it out. There’s somebody behind this. That is really powerful now, so. Yes, you do have that. You want to have, those lifestyle shots you want to have, especially if you’re doing, any sort of product, you want to see it out in the wild, but you also want to see a closeup of it. But then you also have this new kind of raw behind the scenes.
Let me tell you a story and take you through the process that these idea pins are really working for people. And Pinterest is really highlighting them in the algorithm because they keep them on Pinterest.
Gary Stockton: Yeah. I’ve I’ve seen a few of those. And I definitely agree. I think you’ve got to really show what life is like for you as a business owner. And it could be any business, really. I saw John Kapos, Chocolate Johnny. I saw him mixing up a new batch of, I think they were turtles. They were delicious. But he was having so much fun. Making up a new batch, and he was just coming out of lockdown and showing that they were getting back to work and, you really want him to succeed. So imparting what life is like for you behind the scenes. Very important. That’s a great tip. Can you control who can pin to your curated boards?
Jeff Sieh: So nobody can pin to your boards. Your curated boards are the ones that you create. Like I said, I had a woodworking board. I have a Twitter tips board. I have different boards that make sense for me and my business. Now, no one else can pin to those. They can go look at those boards and take pins and pin them to their board. But they can’t pin anything to my account. That’s your account. That’s your business. That’s what you do. Unless you have a group board or you’re sharing it with somebody. So group boards are something that you can have different collaborations. Pinterest is devaluing those. So a lot of people aren’t using those anymore because marketers, we break everything nice. We use it to destroy it.
Gary Stockton: That’s why we can’t have nice things.
Jeff Sieh: That’s right. Exactly. We can’t. But that being said, you can also, like I was talking about my daughter’s board, you can have secret boards. And so you can, a lot of photographers will have boards with their clients. They’ll pin something and say, give us ideas of what you want your shoot to look like. And they can go and collaborate inside of Pinterest. No one else can see it, but it’s a way to have that group collaboration. What I’ve found really successful is to have just one or two people on a certain board, like Peg Fitzpatrick and I have a board called instant Instagram tips. And we pin Instagram content to that one. Just her and I, we don’t let anybody else in on that board. And the cool thing is, that board ranks on Google. So if you search instant Instagram tips, we’re like number three or four, I think last time I checked. So Pinterest works really good with another search engine, which is Google. So I know you’ve probably been searching for things before, and instead of kicking it to your content, it took you inside of Pinterest to a Pinterest board. That’s how it works with Google.
That’s so powerful. Because people are expending a lot, I know that we are, people are expending a lot of energy on SEO and really trying to get pages to rank. But in a lot of cases, if you’ve just got a really well curated board that can be done, that’s an investment that is going to pay off, but it’s a long term investment too, an investment in Pinterest marketing. Once you get ranking on Google, it isn’t something that’s going to disappear overnight. And that’s the thing is, it takes a while to get, it’s not like Instagram, like Facebook or Facebook ads where you can just throw money behind it and boom, it’s, it’s out there and you’re seeing some stuff.
This is a long term organic play. Now, Pinterest does have Pinterest ads and that’s a great way for companies to get a boost and get out there and having their content seen really quickly. It skips, jumps, it’s a fast pass if you put it in a line like a Disney or something.
And so it allows you to, it’s not as robust as Facebook ads are, but it’s getting more and more granular. So it’s, if you do have a budget, I know a lot of people move some of their Facebook budget when they got hit with the iOS stuff to try out Pinterest marketing and found some success there. A lot of big brands are over there doing that.
Whenever you’re scrolling through the feed, if you see a promoted by, which there are a lot of them in the smart feed those are mostly by brands and you’ll see their content come to the forefront. But it is, it’s a long term play. And all it is really just taking that one extra step, when you’re creating your blog images, if you’re making an image in Canva or Easel or whatever, in Photoshop that, you just make that tall image and more people are getting accustomed to that because they’re making that to put on their stories anyway. So take that content and put it to Pinterest, right? Create a board, use descriptions and some good keywords. You don’t want to just, stuff your keywords and make it sound like a robot. You want to make it sound organic and add a pin description to your pin and pin that piece of content that you’ve created and put that in your process, continue doing that.
And over time you will see some results. You’ll start seeing, Oh, wow. This this Pinterest marketing thing, it’s working; I keep seeing it show up in my Google analytics. The other thing is make sure if you’re doing this, if you’re hearing this podcast and you’re like, man, this is a great idea, I want to do it. When you set up your Pinterest account, if you haven’t set one up before, is that you make it a business account.
Now I was, I had mine was a personal one and I was really freaked out. I was like, am I going to switch it? Am I going to lose a bunch of stuff? If you have one and you’re switching it over, it’s just a button you flip and then you get access to analytics. You get any access to ads, you get all this extra stuff. You won’t lose anything.
And if you’re pinning business content and you have a personal account, you’re actually breaking their terms of service. So make sure that if you are going to do this, that you do set it up as a business account, because you get a lot of extra benefit. The access to those tools that I was telling you about is a big deal.
So don’t be scared to do that, but yeah, set it up and get started pinning. And you’ll see a lot of times when people set up and they verify their website, when they’re doing the setup process, they’ll see that people have already been pinning their content. They just didn’t know what it was coming from.
And they’ll start to see those analytics and going, Oh, okay. I can see I’m already having some Pinterest marketing success! So just do it and put it to your workflow. Do not be scared to do that. If you’re creating content already for Instagram stories repurpose that a lot of times when it first started, a lot of people were repurposed their Tik Tok content.
The problem was as Pinterest, just Instagram has said that if we see that, that watermark of Tik Tok, they’re going to devalue that in the algorithm, Pinterest has said the same thing. So download that content. Because you have that option when you create it in TikTok and get it without that watermark and then upload it to Pinterest and see how it does.
Gary Stockton: Oh, yeah. That’s a great suggestion. Let’s talk about Social Media News Live. This show, you do this show–how long have you been doing social media news live, Jeff?
Jeff Sieh: So we started at the beginning of 2021, I believe is when we started. So yeah, we’re almost up to a year. So it’s been a blast. And Gary, I really appreciate you always being there and all your support. It’s a fun show. I really enjoy it. We get amazing guests on our show that we’ve, that I either meet or I’ve known, or they, we come in contact to who we know is an expert on some certain thing. Yeah, it’s just, it’s so much fun, I love it because I go and I learn something every time. And we try to pull in as much content from the audience as we can. Like we’re using Ecamm right now. It’s just a great way. My thing is, why do live video if you’re not going to involve the audience? Otherwise just do a YouTube video. So I love trying to bring in comments as much as I can.
Gary Stockton: But I think that’s the thing that makes your show so different and unique. Is that you’re very conscious of who people are watching and you get quite a group when you do the show; it’s live 8 a.m. Pacific on Fridays, which is great because that’s donut time for me. I get my social media news, live education, and it’s just, it’s fun to watch that. Thanks for hosting that show. It’s a great show. Where can listeners find out about Manly Pinterest tips and also Social Media News Live.
Yeah, manlypinteresttips.com is still there. A lot of great content on there. And there’s a podcast that I haven’t done for a while, but there’s some really great guests on there for, ’cause you can use a lot of that evergreen content in your Pinterest marketing, so there’s some still great episodes on there.
You can listen to social media News Live, just socialmedianewslive.com. You can go and find past episodes because these guests, they’re so good. We just have done a couple of podcasting ones. So if you’re interested in starting a podcast with this new year, there’s some great episodes on there.
We did a Thanksgiving episode where I give a shout out to old Gary Stockton. And and that was a fun one to do. But yeah, so just, you can search it on any of your podcast players, just do a search for social media news live. We’d love for you guys to leave a rating review and let us know and show up live to the show and ask questions. That’s half the fun of it. Yeah. We have a good time.
Gary Stockton: Jeff, thanks so much for coming on and sharing all of this great information with us. And we’d love to have you come back on if you’d be able to come back and sharing more with us in the future.
Jeff Sieh: Would love to Gary. Thank you so much for this show and all you do.