Ways to Make Money with Pinterest

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If you spend hours on your Pinterest app making boards, looking up DIY (Do It Yourself) ideas and life hacks, there’s a way to take all of that casual browsing and turn it into legitimate ways of earning money. Quit thinking about Pinterest as simply a photo sharing tool, but a large mood board on which you can share your ideas with the world.

A great way to build a community of followers, Pinterest has the potential to make your quirky boards into sources of income. This may not be a traditional way to make money, but the rules have changed with social media and so should your outlook on your career. If the prospect of earning money, while doing something you enjoy and love, sounds exciting, the following post has been tailor-made for you! Here are some great ways to earn money with Pinterest, read on!

Build an Audience

The first step to have an effective social media experience is to build engagement. This is not so different from if you were working at a regular office – you would be expected to build a rapport with your clientele, wouldn’t you? It’s of utmost importance to build a community and audience. Once you have a following of a few thousand, marketers will automatically start approaching you for partnerships.

How to Build an Audience

To build an audience, it’s important to find out what people connect with. Find a niche that you enjoy and something you think may resonate with people too. For example, you could do Pinterest boards themed on ‘fitness for new moms’ or ‘DIY garden decorations’. Building a niche may require some trial and error in the initial stage, but once you find it, you will recognize the returns immediately.

But none of this will work if you are not active. Pin, re-pin, start a conversation – make your presence felt. By doing this, you will automatically invoke curiosity about what’s available on your profile and increase your followers gradually.


Making the Right Pinterest Board

This has a lot to do with finding the right niche. But once you have done that, you know the content you must present — but how do you package it? Making a Pinterest board that is attractive and appealing will require some aesthetics on your end. For example, if your Pins are about books or jewellery, spend some time brainstorming about how you will photograph the subjects — Pinterest, after all, is a visual medium. If you have more than one niche, you can make different boards, each catering to a specific theme. There’s no better example than social media celebrity Kim Kardashians Pinterest, where each niche of hers — fashion, styles, nails, her sisters and kids, gets a separate board. By doing this, her followers can choose which boards they’re interested in and follow only those.


The Trick Is in the List

Once you start building a sizeable following, start adding them to a mailing list. A list of subscribers will not only help you build a sense of community, but these are the loyal followers who will value the product you sell or the narratives you set forward. You don’t have to be consistent with sending emails to your subscribers, you can do it whenever you want to or if something interesting comes up. But with a subscriber list, you have a ready audience for when you have to promote a product for a marketer or sell your own. No spamming, of course!


SEO Is King

Building an audience goes hand-in-hand with taking special care of SEO (search engine optimization). How will you build an audience if they can’t find you? Make optimum use of the ‘About’ section on your profile. Those 200 characters, or 50 words, must have all the primary keywords that may be relevant to the theme of your Pins. You can run an analysis on Google Keyword Planner or use other free keyword research options. Similarly, the description on each pin is important. Don’t forget to feed in the required SEO juice to ensure your Pins are searchable.


Get Sponsors

Once you have a large enough following, you can pick a product you use and like and promote it through your Pins. For example, if your Pins are themed around fitness, you can promote gymming products or books about working out. Do this for a month and build a portfolio. You can take these Pinterest stats and make a pitch to the company that sells the product to strike a sponsored partnership. Negotiate a flat fee for every time you promote or mention the product in your Pins.

By creating Pinnable images, you can even drive traffic to your partner’s website. If the image is striking (for example, it has an urgent call-to-action about a sale), there’s a greater chance your audience will click-through on the image and go to the site.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing has been around for a while and is an effective way to earn money on various social media platforms. This is when you mention or recommend the name of a product in your posts and if your followers go to the product page through your post and purchase it, you earn a small commission. Pinterest, however, has had a tumultuous relationship with affiliate marketing. In 2015, Pinterest banned affiliate marketing leaving its most active Pinners without an effective way of making money. The social media giant cited abuse by spammers as its reason. But after strengthening their “spam detection system”, affiliate marketing was allowed back on Pinterest.

Join an Affiliate Marketing Site

To get started, you need to sign up with an affiliate marketing site. There are several sites that are ideal for active Pinners — AliExpress and Amazon Associates being some popular ones. While some sites may need you to have your own blog or site to become an affiliate, others, like Awin and Shopstyle Collective don’t. Most affiliate marketing sites will also expect you to include an affiliate disclosure on your blog or site. Pinterest too encourages you to mention this in your ‘About’ section – just simply writing ‘#affiliate’ should do the trick.


It’s important to mention here that while affiliate marketing is a good option to earn money, if you’re active on other social media platforms too, don’t simply focus your affiliate energies on Pinterest. Given Pinterest’s rocky history with affiliate marketing, it’s best to diversify.

Sell, but Don’t Spam

Once you are affiliated with a marketer, you have to know how to promote products or services without spamming.

No Blatant Promotions

The best way is to create Pinterest boards that throw up ideas or problems that the product you’re promoting can solve. This is a more elegant way of marketing than forcing your products on your audiences. For example, if the product you’re selling is a quirky, printed apron, you can build a board that has other items that go along with the apron, like oven mitts, English teapots or a baking set, even. By doing this, you’re not blatantly promoting a single product, but building a context and narrative around it. What Pinners want to see is not simply a photo of a pretty looking apron, but a lifestyle.


Add Affiliate Links in 5% of Posts

Another way to keep from spamming is to keep track of how many links you’re inserting in your Pins or posts. You want to keep your boards clean and relevant, so avoid adding affiliate Pins every few hours. Try to include links in not more than 5% of your posts. If you have a blog or a website, save a pin from a post on your site to redirect traffic on to your site. In your blog post, you can include more than one relevant affiliate link. But make sure to weave it into your post in a way that appeals to your audience.

Sell a Product or Service

While with affiliate marketing and sponsorships you make some income, there’s a way that gives you all the profits as opposed to a portion of it. Selling your own products or services means you get all of the profit (but also a lot of the logistical headache). Yes, this requires some capital and a lot more effort in terms of creating your own product line, setting up a payment service and tracking orders, but once you get the systems in place, you could be earning more money from Pinterest than ever before.

Selling Your Own Product

If you have an idea or a product to sell, Pinterest is a good platform to market it. But this is lucrative only if you have some initial capital. It will take some time to build a rapport with reliable vendors. A single defected piece or delayed shipment could cost you personally. But if you have enough of starting capital, you can absorb the initial losses until you have established yourself.


Sell Someone Else’s Product

If you think you don’t have enough capital, you can always source products from a wholesaler and sell those. There are a few ways of doing this:

Owning Inventory

You can purchase the products from a wholesaler and own inventory. This would mean the responsibility of placing orders, packaging, making deliveries, etc., is on you. But by owning inventory you can ensure more control over your packaging, faster deliveries and better efficiency.

Drop Shipping

Drop shipping is when you don’t keep the products in stock. Instead, when the order is placed, you purchase the product from a third party, who ships it directly to the customer. The advantages of this are that it requires less capital, you don’t have to worry about storage and you can sell a variety of products. But this also makes you vulnerable to supplier errors.

AliExpress, again, is a popular drop shipping partner. Here’s a handy directory of drop shipping companies around the world.

Building an E-Commerce Site

This is an important step in selling your own product. Your audience must have a platform to place their orders. The website you build can be marketed through Pinterest and other social media platforms. You can enlist the support of site-builders like Shopify, BigCommerce, etc., which can take care of the coding headache. Here are some things you should keep in mind while building your website:

Take professional photos of your products from multiple angles. The customer should want to buy your product just by looking at the photos.

Select a domain name for your site that is crisp and memorable. If there is a keyword that may work, throw it in there.

Keep a variety of complementary products. Customers may want to buy it together and your site could become a convenient place for them to get multiple things at the same place.

Become a Pinterest Consultant

If you have spent enough time working and understanding Pinterest, you are now in a position to impart your knowledge. Brands and companies are constantly on the lookout for social media managers who know how to navigate the web and come up with strategies to promote their product. The social media train has rolled into the station and nobody wants to be left behind.

How Do You Get the Job?

Social media manager is a legitimate profile in today’s job market. Most job search platforms will give you hits if you simply type in ‘Pinterest’ or ‘social media’. Build a portfolio of your best and most effective Pins. Include some original content like infographics, memes and blog posts as well — your presence on Pinterest becomes your CV. You can work either in a freelance capacity or as a full-time consultant, but the real trick to building your name is to ensure favorable client feedback.


How Much to Charge?

If you’re a freelance consultant, the first few weeks or months may not be as rewarding in terms of remuneration. But keep dipping your feet in more work till you can build a network. Eventually, clients may want to hire you on an ongoing basis.

But when you realize you’re putting in all your effort but still finding it hard to make ends meet, or that you’re in over your head and can’t take on any more clients, it’s a good time to ask for a raise. It’s helpful to keep a timesheet to calculate how much you’re getting per hour. This way you’ll know if you’re getting paid what you’re worth.

Final Thoughts

At first, it may seem daunting and unsteady to take on your Pinterest hobby as a full-time job, especially since you don’t have to go into an office or turn in reports. It’s not your idea of a traditional job. But in a lot of instances, you will realize you’re not doing anything extra. You’re Pinning just as you were before, but now you’re being smart about capitalizing all those hours you spent Pinning.

To build a community, interact with influential Pinners, experiment and have fun. Pinning just became a whole lot more exciting!


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