Does anyone else feel that Pinterest is the official underdog of the social media world?
Other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have grown to an incredible size and are a must-have tool for anyone who is marketing their product online.
Other networks like TikTok and Snapchat come seemingly out of nowhere, and the marketing world struggles to keep up and figure out a way to turn these new platforms into perfect selling machines.
Pinterest, on the other hand, has always stayed in its lane. It chugs along, a haven for interior design lovers, foodies, and plenty of other communities of people. And it hasn’t changed all that much since launching in 2009.
Oh, and it is a great social network to use to boost your affiliate marketing efforts, especially for products that are a part of people’s lifestyle, or that just look pretty.
Today, we will talk about affiliate marketing on Pinterest, and how you can use it as a tool alongside your existing affiliate site, or as a way to make money without a site altogether. Let’s begin!
Pinterest is much more than just a place to mindlessly scroll through inspiring content, or create mood boards for your dream living room design.
A lot of people visit Pinterest to make purchasing decisions.
The power of impulse is important on this platform, as people are fed content that they like by well-curated accounts, making them much more motivated to take action!
Here are some stats to back it up:
- 83% of Pinterest users in the US are women. This group makes 80% of the buying decisions in American households.
- 89% of US “Pinners” use Pinterest as an inspiration for their path to purchase
- 58% of US Pinners say that Pinterest helps them make shopping and purchasing decisions
These kinds of stats make Pinterest an affiliate marketer’s dream.
In other BrandBuilders blog posts, we talk about how promoting with social media and forums is all about convincing people that you are not trying to sell them something.
With Pinterest, as long as you are sharing something that people actually find useful, it can pay off.
Users are actively looking for their next purchase, and they will reward you for finding things that match their preferences by re-posting your content and amplifying your reach.
Here’s another way to get you excited about marketing strategy with Pinterest: the platform is often described as a visual search engine.
This means that some of the same principles of SEO can be used to make money on Pinterest.
If you are an aspiring affiliate marketer, you probably know that having good SEO skills is essential for making your blog posts rank higher on Google so that you can drive more traffic to your affiliate links.
However, Pinterest SEO is way easier to optimize than Google’s! It’s more about creating and sharing good content – and its visual algorithm will suggest content to users based on what they have liked in the future.
This means you don’t have to worry about stuffing keywords into your content to get people to see your blog post affiliate link – just focus on the quality of your content and you can grow your following.
Pinterest affiliate marketing can sustain itself if you know how to put in the work to build your account, and promote the right content to the right people.
You will need to make sure how to make the most of your time, and understand the value of well-curated content that drives users to your affiliate link.
But how exactly does Pinterest marketing work?
Pinterest Affiliate Marketing
For a period of time, Pinterest affiliate marketing was completely outlawed.
Pinners were posting links in spammy ways, resulting in broken links and a cluttered user experience, so the platform took action. The use of affiliate links on Pinterest stopped entirely.
Then, they came back with a plan to detect and get rid of spam more effectively.
In 2016, Pinterest brought back affiliate links for good. Now, it’s just as easy to use affiliate links to earn money – and to grow your affiliate site through social traffic.
Certain niches bring in huge amounts of traffic on Pinterest, and if you are looking to grow your affiliate site in these specific topics, you should definitely consider using the platform.
- Home Decor & Interior Design
- DIY & Crafts
- Coupon Blogging
- Food & Cooking
Pinterest Affiliate Marketing Without a Website
These niches can also work for trying Pinterest affiliate marketing to make money without a website or blog. This is a route that many affiliate marketers take, and it is for a good reason.
Unlike other social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, it is much easier to build up a following on Pinterest.
This makes it a great choice for affiliate marketers. There are plenty of blog posts out there that talk about a marketing strategy that uses social networks as a growth tool.
The simple fact is that this takes a lot of time and effort. Certain niches have social followings that are very hard to break into, and it can also be hard to drive affiliate sales without a website.
Regardless of whether you are using an affiliate site or not, here’s how you can make money in one of these niches with Pinterest.
How to Use Affiliate Links on Pinterest
The basic concept for Pinterest affiliate marketing is this: you recommend products on Pinterest for your followers to purchase.
You do this by creating a “pin” (the Pinterest term for a post) and adding your affiliate link.
You will need to include an affiliate disclosure on your pin, just like for any other place where you are using an affiliate link. Failing to do so could get you banned from the platform.
Affiliate link cloaking is also a no-go for Pinterest, as per their Acceptable Use Policy.
Part of creating your pin is finding an image to use. Pinterest, like Instagram, is a visually-led platform where professional quality photographs and slick graphics are successful.
There’s simply too much good content out there to compete with, so you will need to come up with some tactics for sourcing high-quality imagery for your pins.
If you want to make sure that people click on your affiliate links, you are going to want to follow this strategy.
Posting on Pinterest
Creating High-Quality Pinterest Content
Here’s an example to show all the options we have for creating content for Pinterest affiliate marketing.
Let’s say I am using Pinterest to promote my link for a home kitchen juicer that I have reviewed and written about on my blog.
My best option would be to use some product imagery directly from the affiliate partner themselves. But what if I am unable to get a copy of this image with permission to use it?
We still have other options to try out. Sites like Unsplash are good places to look for free imagery that looks a lot less like stock images than what we usually see on the internet.
If you can’t find what you are looking for, Canva has a great, affordable stock photo service. The other thing about Canva is it allows you to create graphics and banners easily, which can be a good addition to your image and give information that helps convince users to take a closer look.
For this example, I am able to find a photo of the juicer on Unsplash. I can use this image with some graphics on Canva to make it stand out from other pins that appear when I search for the term “juicer.”
It will be important that I make sure to create my own distinctive “look” that identifies my pins – but this part comes later.
Once you have a high-quality image and post, where does your pin go?
In order for you to make your post, it has to be attached to a specific “board.” This is a collection of pins on a specific topic or theme.
Over time, your profile will be made up of several boards that reflect your interests.
It’s tough to say exactly how many boards are ideal for a user to have, but for the sake of keeping things simple, anywhere from 6-10 should work.
It’s important to remember that people will visit your profile if they start to see your content showing up on their home feed. Their first impression of your profile is entirely based on what kind of content and boards they see – so choose wisely!
It’s best to have interests that are related to your niche, but you can also branch over to related topics.
For this reason, it’s probably not the best idea to have one Pinterest account if you have multiple affiliate sites.
Building on my idea of showing off my favorite juicers for making delicious fruit and vegetable drinks at home, I could create boards on the following topics:
- Kitchen Gadgets
- Juice Recipes
- Nutrition & Clean Eating
- Immunity-Boosting Ingredients
- Growing Herbs at Home
- Fitness Routines
The idea here is to promote your page as that of a health-loving juice enthusiast, not just an affiliate marketer who is trying to sell stuff.
Building Your Pinterest Account
Now that you have a basic idea of how Pinterest works, let’s talk about how you can achieve growth on the platform.
This can be the most daunting part for “Rookie Pinners.” You are starting out with zero followers and a few boards that you aren’t sure how to fill with content yet.
It can be easy to take more time than you should while building your account, so we will share our favorite tools and tricks for getting some momentum.
Developing Your Pinterest Boards
Here’s where we need to make something clear: It could be a while before you are actually using a lot of your own pins and affiliate links.
You need to grow your profile in an organic way before doing this – but the good news is that there is plenty of amazing content to utilize for your own board.
Your goal is to create a wonderland for other users to come to visit and browse.
You can start out by doing this manually. This is important because it will give you a good idea of what other Pinners in the niche are doing.
We recommend creating a “private” board where you can store pins that use interesting graphics that help the pin grab your attention. You will attempt to emulate this for your own content later on.
After you have sourced at least 5 pins for each of your boards, you might be realizing that this can be a time-consuming task!
This is where you can start to integrate a scheduling tool to do this work for you. Using some of these tools, you can ramp up the amount you are pinning.
We would recommend pinning anywhere from 30-50 images per day as you are growing your account. You won’t be expected to keep up this rate indefinitely, but it’s necessary to get things off the ground.
This wouldn’t be an affiliate marketing article without a few of our favorite tools to save you time and make you your first commission faster!
Tailwind is the most comprehensive Pinterest scheduling tool out there. It’s a favorite for Pinterest affiliate marketing, and for good reason!
Tailwind makes it much easier to create and schedule a large number of pins. It shaves hours off of your weekly pinning process and comes with several useful features.
Once you download Tailwind, you can use their handy browser extension tool to upload images and connect directly with Canva to share your designs later on.
Tailwind also suggests pins for you in a much more efficient way than Pinterest does, and prevents you from posting the same pins twice. It is priced at $15 per month, which is incredible value when you realize how much time can be spent doing all of these things manually.
Hootsuite is another scheduling tool, and you have probably heard about if you have worked with social media marketing before. It is a great option for Pinterest if you are using it as part of an affiliate strategy with other social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
It also integrates directly with Tailwind and offers better analytics about which pins are performing best. You can repost high-performing pins on other networks easier this way.
Growing Your Profile
You will need to gain a substantial following before you are able to start using your affiliate links and tactics.
The best ways to do this are by following other users in your niche, and repinning high-quality content that is relevant to your niche.
Following others on Pinterest is something that you should be doing consistently in the first few months of starting your account. You can set a weekly reminder for yourself to scope out accounts with similar interests, which will help to drive more traffic to your content.
Look for users in adjacent niches to follow, and as always, try to keep an eye out for interesting content ideas that you can emulate with your own profile.
As I research my juicing affiliate strategy, I stumbled across a particularly good pin about the “7 Benefits of Ginger Shots.”
I decide to follow the profile of the poster, a Plant-Based Diet aficionado who also does juicer reviews. Finding and following profiles like this will help to grow your Pinterest account over time.
You should also be searching for keywords related to your niche and pin content from the top two rows of content. These are the most successful pins in the niche, and you can leverage them to improve the quality of your boards.
Keep this up until you are in the 200-300 follower range. If you get tired of repinning, just remember that building a Pinterest profile is a lot easier than writing 2000-3000 word posts for a blog!
Knowing When Your Account is Established
You can move on to these steps if your account has gained enough followers to be considered legit. What does this mean exactly?
Having a few hundred followers is a great place to start.
You should have boards with content that seems curated and highly focused. Don’t be afraid to conduct regular audits to go through and remove pins that don’t fit with your newly developed Pinterest brand.
You can also look to monthly viewers as a stat that signifies a strong Pinterest account.
It’s hard to put a “magic number” on this because different niches see different kinds of traffic. However, you should expect to be getting more than 50,000 monthly views at this point.
Try not to focus on monthly viewers too much, though. Like Facebook “Likes”, they are a vanity metric, and you should be much more concerned about whether other Pinterest users are engaged with your account through actions like repinning.
Moving On – Scaling Pinterest
After you have determined that your Pinterest profile has “made it,” you can move on to the next step: joining group boards. Group boards are places where established Pinterest users can join and share content.
If you join a group board, this means that your followers will also join the board. There is power in numbers with group boards, and they can grow to a substantial size pretty quickly.
Find group boards by searching [your niche] group boards, and start looking for ones that operate in similar niches to yours.
Each group board will have a description that talks about what kind of content they cover, and this section will usually have information about whether they are accepting new members.
Joining a group board will often come with certain conditions, like the number of times that you can post per day or conditions about repinning from other members of the group.
In my group board research, I found the “Raw Food, Juices, Sweet & Healthy Treats” board.
At first, it seems like it might be a bit of work to only post-Raw Food recipes, but then I notice that this board has over 5,000 followers!
It’s worth finding a few juicer-friendly raw recipes to have access to this kind of follower base, so I will give it a try!
Once you find a few boards that work for you, start making them part of your pinning plan. Whether you are using Pinterest without a website or in addition to one, this is an effective way to grow your account quickly once you have reached a good base.
If you are using Tailwind for your Pinterest growth, you can also try Tailwind Tribes, which allows for a similar process within the Tailwind platform. We won’t go into detail on how to do it in this article, but you can follow these steps to save yourself more time through Tailwind.
Using Your Affiliate Links
Okay, first things first. You don’t have to go through the steps that we just discussed to start using your affiliate links.
You might be wondering why we brought them up at the top of the order, and this is because it’s important to understand the dynamics of how your account can grow on Pinterest before you start monetizing it.
Pinterest is an affiliate strategy that requires a fair amount of leg work before you start seeing results. Including too many “affiliate pins” too early can stall your progress. Although it is an affiliate-friendly site, there are a lot of users who don’t like being sold to.
It is important to think content-first when it comes to building your Pinterest affiliate profile.
This might sound familiar. It’s also what we say about blogs. And YouTube. And plenty of other promotion strategies for affiliate marketing.
Are you starting to notice a pattern here?
Anyways, with that in mind, here are a few best practices to keep in mind while affiliate marketing on Pinterest.
We often refer to branding when talking about your site, social media profile, or otherwise in affiliate marketing. This is for good reason.
Good branding makes your content more recognizable in a crowd and adds to your authenticity.
With blogs, this means using the same graphics and image styles consistently and letting your personality show with your writing.
When you are affiliate marketing on Pinterest, this means using Canva to your advantage to create designs that scream “you.”
Check out this example that I found while doing more juicer research.
Pinterest user superdrinks.co has their branding figured out. All it took here was finding a Canva template that they liked, and replicating it while they create new content.
If graphic design isn’t your passion, you could always try finding a designer on Upwork to create a few preliminary designs for you that you can base the rest of your content on.
Although Pinterest is very visual-focused, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of a good description.
A good Pinterest description is 2-3 sentences long and always includes the affiliate disclosure. It should entice the reader to click through, but not by using a clickbait headline or false promise.
People are losing patience for cheap sales copywriting on the internet, and you don’t want to lose their trust before they have even visited the affiliate site or your blog.
Be sure to do your research when it comes to the affiliate programs you are using with your links on Pinterest.
If you are looking to make money without a website through Pinterest, this is where you might run into problems. Many affiliate programs require that you have a website for you to join.
Regardless of whether you have a website or not, you will have to play by the rules of your program.
For the ever-popular Amazon Affiliate program, the big catch is that you will not be able to use the photos from a product on Pinterest (or anywhere else for that matter). This doesn’t mean that you should stay away if you are an Amazon affiliate though, because there is far too much opportunity to make money.
You will have to improvise in this situation and either reach out to the company directly or use Unsplash (as we mentioned earlier in this blog post).
However, if you are dealing with other products that are more lifestyle or design-oriented, their affiliate programs will likely be more favorable to using Pinterest.
They realize the impact that a well-done post can have on people’s purchasing habits, and should let you use images as you please.
Affiliate networks are also partial to Pinterest. The following networks are well known for having strong policies allowing it.
Using Pinterest to Promote Your Site
Another part of using affiliate links on Pinterest is to feed traffic to your blog.
This tactic works best when you have identified certain posts that are already performing well. Depending on your niche, certain post types are often more likely to be successful, but we find that tutorials and product reviews are often high performers.
These posts are the best at helping people solve problems, and lead to purchases and long-term engagement with your blog. Don’t forget, these don’t only have to be posts that contain affiliate links!
Here’s a blueprint that you can follow to utilize this strategy:
Choose 8-10 of your highest performing posts, and create 3 pins for each of these.
You can post these to a private board for easier organization. Just don’t make them public all at once! You want to be strategic about this.
Now you can set up a scheduled campaign using Tailwind and Hootsuite to share these pins through your own boards and group boards a few days apart.
You want to maximize your visibility and increase the chances that users will click through to your blog, but don’t pepper your follower’s feeds with the same posts. Space it out to ensure they aren’t oversaturated by the messaging!
Using Pinterest for affiliate marketing can work whether you are using it directly with affiliate links, or pushing users to check out your blog.
We will admit that it is a slow-burning fire that takes a while to heat up and start making you money.
However, the advantage of Pinterest affiliate marketing is that the tasks that take the most time are easily automated with inexpensive software tools like Tailwind. These tools are so effective that they completely negate the need for a VA for Pinterest-related tasks, and free up plenty of time for you to work on the rest of your affiliate strategy.
The best part about Pinterest is that it shows no sign of overcrowding or slowing down anytime soon.
Ever since Pinterest agreed to allow affiliate marketing on their site again, they have put together a great system for identifying and removing spammy content.
This has kept Pinners happy and made the platform a place where affiliate marketers don’t have the same kind of stigma as on forums like Quora.
We hope you consider Pinterest as a way to make money online.
Are you thinking about other ways to make money without a blog? Be sure to check out our recent article on this topic.
Happy affiliate marketing!