pinterest in search results

Making money online may sound like a worn-out phrase that people keep repeating even though very few of them actually live off the internet. Even more so when it comes to social media. All of us have heard of influencers who make six figures on Instagram alone. But is Instagram the only cow to milk? Can you – and how to make money on Pinterest or other social media?

Except that Pinterest isn’t really social media. It is social, true; but in its essence, it works more like a search engine than, say, Instagram. Think of it like Google images – you search for whatever you want, and instead of articles, it will return visual results. Except those results are way more creative, fun, and informative. Every image points to an article, a blog post, or a product. You can “pin” the ones you like to relevant boards that you’ve created, and that’s it.

The social element is reduced to following people and brands that tend to post what you’re interested in, but there’s no buzz around that. Conversation is next to nonexistent. And who can’t live without Facebook/Insta gossip and angry Twitter debates? I know I can!

And so can nearly 300 million active users worldwide. This number doesn’t sound like much compared to social media. But most of these people aren’t 16-year olds stalking the latest influencer. They are either millennials or older active earners, and they are more than able and willing to spend money online. In fact, over 50% of them specifically log in to hunt for products – or shopping inspiration. And those are not mere estimations, but cold hard facts.

Are you still not persuaded that you should give Pinterest a try? Scroll down to see five actionable steps how to make money on Pinterest!

1. Start a Blog

If you already have one, feel free to skip this section.

Blogging alone can make you money if you’re persistent enough. But if you’re already taking time to do it, Pinterest can drive additional traffic to your blog and help you spice things up a bit. Head over here for detailed instructions on how to make a WordPress website. And if you’re in the dark about how your blog can earn you money, this article will offer some insight about blog monetization.

The bottom line is, you can definitely make a living off of Pinterest alone – but it’s a much more stable living if you have a blog too.

Pinterest will help you by increasing exposure for your content. In essence, it shoves a bunch of potential buyers into your sales funnel on your blog. Or, if you have an online shop (e.g. on Etsy) and amazing photos of your products, you can directly display them as pins, without the mediation from your blog. And potentially rake in quite a cash, since Pinterest audience is precisely there to shop.

2. Create a Business Account on Pinterest

Why business account? What difference does it make?

There are two main reasons why you should opt for it.

First of all, it costs ZILCH. In fact, most tools you will need as a beginner on Pinterest can be used for free. Which is kind of super important if you’re only just starting off.

Secondly, business account offers some awesome visual perks – for example, a cover picture, featured boards, and quite a few other “trinkets” that can make your account look more professional. Never forget it: Pinterest is a visual search engine. Therefore, every detail matters. Just about any tweak can add some of that oomph that makes more visitors hit “Follow”.

Thirdly and not least importantly, business accounts will give you stats and analytics. Don’t get too worked up about this though – Google Analytics or Clicky can give you much more detailed analytics about all the traffic Pinterest sends your way. Still, their native analytics is another layer of frosting on your cake.

Creating a business account is a piece of pie. The instructions and how-tos will follow you every step of the way, so there’s no need to worry on that account.

3. Optimize, Well, Everything

Remember how we said that Pinterest works a great deal like Google?

Nowhere is this more evident than with optimization of pins and boards, as well as their structuring. All of that calls for some serious keyword research.

And it’s best to perform that research on Pinterest itself.

Let’s take an example. Your account is about telescopes. The first thing to do is type “telescopes” into the Pinterest search bar. But don’t hit “Enter” just yet. Observe the auto-populate options that Pinterest will offer you.

pinterest keyword and competitor research example

As you can see here, there’s a bunch of longtail keywords that users tend to search for. Bingo! You’ll want to include those keywords into your board titles and descriptions.

Also, you can see three most relevant competitors. Go to their profiles, follow them – and then follow some of their followers each day. Those followers are likely to be interested in telescopes. So, if you follow them naturally, some of them will follow you back, and start engaging with your pins. Just make sure not to go crazy with following, or else it might look like you’re trying to trick Pinterest. It can even lead you into Pinterest jail – and possibly never come back.

But let’s get back to the keyword research. When you hit “Enter”, you will get even more keyword options!

pinterest image search and research example

Do that a few times for each of your relevant keywords, and you’ll get a bunch of options – a keyword cloud of sorts. Jot them down and use them as naturally as possible in your board titles and descriptions, as well as pin descriptions. They not only provide your pins with context, but also give Pinterest’s algorithm a signal if and where to show them to people who are not your followers.

4. Get Into Pinning… a Lot

Try to make your pins as visually appealing as possible. Sure, it’s easy to say – but what to do if you’re not a graphic designer?

People have thought of that too. Meet Canva, an intuitive and powerful tool that lets you design professionally looking pins within minutes. It allows you to take advantage of most functions for free. And if you don’t like it for whatever reason, there are dozens of great alternatives. Of course, you can always use Photoshop if you’re not averse to working with layers or gazillions of functions. Heck, you can even design some basic pins in PowerPoint.

Now, what does it mean to pin a lot? Don’t let anyone fool you by promising crazy results with five pins each day. To get consistent results, you will have to pin at least 20 times every day – preferably 30+. With at least half of those pins sending people to your own domain.

It means that you will have to spend at least a couple hours on Pinterest every day. But you can’t expect results if you’re not ready to invest time and effort, right?

5. Get Tailwind – ASAP Rather Than Later

Before we get into the specifics about Tailwind, here’s the main reason why you need it.

Our working life is interspersed with weekends and holidays, when most of the 9-5 workers are reposing in their PJs or surrounded by friends and family. Either way, they are mostly glued to their phones and social media. Which means that us, the internet gang, should spend out weekends serving them the juiciest pieces of content that drive sales.

But we are people too. We also like to spend those times on our phones and tablets – as consumers, rather than marketers. Which is why you will need a scheduler, to send off those pins at designated times when they are likely to produce best results.

Sure, there are a bunch of scheduling tools. But the aforementioned Tailwind has all of their features, and then some. Here’s why you should give this amazing tool a try:

  • Based on your previous results, it calculates the best possible times for pinning – when your audience is most likely to be active. All you need to do is determine how many times per day you’re going to post. As you upload new pins, each will automatically go to the next available slot – unless you decide differently.
  • It has the “SmartLoop” feature, which lets you create seasonal or evergreen campaigns featuring your best performing content. For example, you can create a Christmas SmartLoop with holiday-related pins, which will be pinned seasonally, ahead of Christmas. That’s five minutes of work for weeks of your relevant content repinning itself automatically to gain maximum exposure. Or you can create a loop that’s going to run all year long, saving you much time that you can spend on creating more awesome pins.
  • It has a browser extension that lets you schedule out a bunch of pins within less than a minute. If you need to fill out a new board, just perform a normal search on Pinterest. Then, click through the extension button and select the pins you like. Choose a board where they will shine brightest, and click “Schedule”.
  • At first, you’ll only have a few boards. But you’ll be surprised how fast they tend to reproduce and multiply. Which is why your few dozens of boards will need some organization – at least an internal one. Say hello to Tailwind’s board lists – they are a super neat way to schedule a pin to multiple boards with a single click. Instead of typing the names of 20 boards every single time you make a new pin, you can just type the name of your board list.
  • Awesome analytics – not only will they show your account’s general progress in terms of followers, numbers of pins, and other relevant info. They also show your best performing boards as well as virality score (i.e. the ratio of repins you get on every pin), engagement score, and more.
  • The awesomest feature of Tailwind are the so-called Tribes. In essence, tribes are just a fancy name for groups of pinners who share your niche – and your content. When you join a tribe, you can submit your pins for your tribemates to repin them. Thus, you’ll get so much more exposure than you would have gotten on your own. Of course, you’re required to repin other people’s content too. But that’s an amazing win-win situation, where you grow while helping others grow too.
  • No need to pay up front – Tailwind offers a 1-month free trial, when you can schedule out up to 30 pins and submit them to up to five relevant tribes. But you can take advantage of Tailwind even after that first month is over. All you need to do is download the iOS app (sadly, Android users still have to wait) and push the pins manually. Wait, why not schedule them out via Pinterest itself? Because you’ll still get those 30 tribes submissions resetting each month!

hand holding a pinterest symbol

Now That You’ve Figured Out How to Make Money on Pinterest, Enjoy Your Traffic Spikes!

And get ready for a cold shower…

Because you won’t get rich with Pinterest in mere days or even months. Chances are you’ve read at least a few blog posts recounting how they are making four or five figures every month with Pinterest.

I hate to break it this way, but they are either click-baiting you or grossly exaggerating.

Sure, Pinterest will boost the traffic to your site. But the bad news is, Pinterest is hit-and-miss at the beginning. Today you may get thousands of click-throughs to your blog. Tomorrow, next to none. But if you’re consistently pinning for many months on end, you should be able to get a more or less constant influx of visitors. All that for a very low price, without spending a single coin on advertising. The above five steps are definitely easy, but they do take time!

One more thing that’ll hopefully inspire you to give Pinterest a try. Unlike social media posts, pins tend to have much longer life span. In other words, a pin won’t die after half an hour – or a couple of days. I’ve had pins that drove traffic to my blog for months. Even if most of your pins go unnoticed, you only need a dozen successful ones to succeed. Sounds like a bargain to me!