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Manager Alisa Meredith on Using Pinterest To Grow Your Business: The ROI Online Podcast Ep. 94

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Have you considered using Pinterest to grow your business? The power of Pinterest is in the platform's ability to reach people long before they know what they want—get your ideas out there early and you’ll become part of their planning!

In this episode of the ROI Online Podcast, Pinterest product specialist and marketing manager, Alisa Meredith shares everything you should know about Pinterest, how to use it for your business, and learning how to make money from it.

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Alisa is currently Pinterest Product Specialist at Tailwind, a social media scheduling tool for Pinterest and Instagram that helps your content get real results in less time. She’s also the founder of Alisa Meredith Marketing in which she delivers traffic and leads to businesses with content, social, and especially visual marketing. She believes sharing ideas for how Pinterest can grow a business is thrilling and loves helping small businesses that don’t have much time to spend on their marketing.

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Using Pinterest can help you reach different audiences, and with the right strategy you can get Pinterest’s 416 million users to discover your best content and click through to your site.

Among other things, Alisa and Steve discussed:

  • When and why Alisa decided to plant her flag on Pinterest
  • Her experience working at Tailwind as a Pinterest product specialist
  • What Pinterest is actually about
  • How to use Pinterest to grow your business
  • Posting on Pinterest
  • How you can make money on Pinterest
  • Whether Pinterest is a real social media
  • What it takes to grow your followers on this platform

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Also available on all other podcast streaming services!

You can learn more about Alisa here:

Follow Alisa on LinkedIn

Follow Alisa on Instagram

Follow Alisa on Twitter


You can learn more about Tailwind here:



Read the books mentioned in this podcast:

The Golden Toilet by Steve Brown


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Topics: Small Business Marketing, Podcast, Business Tips

Alisa Meredith 0:00
So people aren't usually looking for a specific brand. They're looking more for tips, ideas, inspiration, which is why Pinterest is a little bit of a wide open playing field. For brands that haven't spent decades or millions on brand awareness. They can still be found on the platform.

Unknown Speaker 0:20

Steve Brown 0:35
Alisa Meredith, welcome to the ROI Online Podcast.

Alisa Meredith 0:40
Steve Brown. I'm happy to be here.

Steve Brown 0:42
So I'm looking forward to this conversation because Pinterest. Yes, Pinterest. You are an expert in Pinterest. Tailwind is your company and you're a Pinterest marketing specialist. Where Why did you decide to plant your flag here?

Alisa Meredith 1:02
Oh, that's a great question. Well, I started out doing some web design and development. And then I got into social media. And then I got into inbound marketing. And then this thing called Pinterest appeared. And I found I was using it for myself. I was saving articles so that I could read them later, which I hardly ever did. But they were there if I wanted to. And I started to think, okay, I'm using this. How would you use this if you were a business owner. So I started to think about that. And I wrote a little ebook about it, mostly from my own learning. But it got a little bit of attention, which brought me my first client. And then I was just hooked because I could see how much traffic Pinterest was driving. And then I could see how many leads Pinterest was driving compared to everything else. It was just a major powerhouse. And I thought this is this is where I want to be, you know, I want to be where the results are. And then Social Media Examiner approached me about doing a class on Pinterest advertising. I had never run an ad for for Pinterest. But I said, Sure. You know, it's not something you can't figure out. So that kind of became my specialty for several years. And then about four years ago, I joined the team at Tailwind it was just a perfect fit because of the focus on on Pinterest marketing. And we had run into each other along the way and done some co-marketing together. So that's kind of how I got here.

Steve Brown 2:30
So tell us about Tailwind. You know, I've been in this industry for years. And I've never really gotten over into the Pinterest world. So I'm fascinated by it. Tell us about Tailwind and why it's so important. And what do they do for businesses?

Alisa Meredith 2:46
Yeah, so it's it's changing. And it's evolving, right, as a lot of businesses are diversifying. So are we so yes, we have a great Pinterest product. But it's really starting to all integrate. So you can now create, schedule and optimize your content for Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook with Facebook scheduling coming soon. That's all in beta. But But the point is, we're a really great tool to allow you to make images that are automatically customized for your brand for your industry and get them out for kind of, we're trying to automate the hard parts of marketing and design, so that you can spend more time doing the things that really have to come out of your brain. Right? Creating a social post is something that you cannot automate. But it's those other things like writing blog content and thinking about lead magnets that you really need that that's time to concentrate on. So we're trying to allow for more of that with our members.

Steve Brown 3:49
You know, the folks that listen to this podcast, they're business owners, or entrepreneurs and marketing directors, and then, you know, my job is to kind of ask the questions that they would be thinking about to learn on this. So if I'm a business, what kind of businesses would would really thrive taking advantage of a Pinterest model?

Alisa Meredith 4:12
Well, ecommerce is huge, right? So especially this this last year, there has been a huge increase in in people interacting with the shopping surfaces on Pinterest. So if you're in e commerce, absolutely it works. bloggers have typically been a really big and strong presence on Pinterest as well because of that traffic driving ability. And, and now we're at a really interesting time with Pinterest and we'll we'll get into that but they're they're changing a bit and opening up some more opportunities for kind of influencer marketing, brand partnership marketing. So there's there's a lot of opportunity there. And the key really is the way that you present your ideas. So no matter what industry you're in, and it's surprising to some people that finance does really Well on Pinterest, really? Yeah, as does automotive. So it's kind of like, if you can find a way to make your idea or your product, or your service appeal to people on Pinterest, then then you can make Pinterest work. Pinterest is a real different sort of place. It's not a place to go and and kind of curate this ideal life, right? Or this image of an ideal life like we might do on Instagram, like we all do it right? We can't we're not posting the mundane on Instagram. We're posting those those exciting things that make us look and feel great. on Pinterest is more about what's inside, like, what what are our plans and our hopes? And what do we want to learn and do so it's a very different focus. So when you're creating content for Pinterest, you really have to shift that mindset to think about what do pinners want, they want inspiration, and they want information. And it helps if it looks really nice, too. So if you think about with a finance company, that might seem like an odd fit. But deep down What does a bank or a lender do? Well, ideally for our family, they enable their best life, right? Maybe they're going to allow them to send their kid to college, or they're going to allow them to take a vacation or to retire, all those desires and wants and needs that people have or things that you can really highlight on Pinterest to draw attention to yourself, your your service, your brand, your ideas.

Steve Brown 6:38
So Pinterest started off maybe as a place where if I was going to build the house, and I was thinking about decorating or furnishing the house, it might be a place that I go look for inspiration and ideas and start to categorize what my hopes or dreams would be for each room. In a way. Am I wrong?

Alisa Meredith 6:59
No, you're not wrong at all. This is this is how people typically use Pinterest. And what's really interesting about it to me is that they tend to start planning much earlier on Pinterest and they would anywhere else any other platform. In fact, searches on Pinterest. So one of the main ways people find content on Pinterest is through search. 97% of those searches are not branded. So people aren't usually looking for a specific brand. They're looking more for tips, ideas, inspiration, which is why Pinterest is a little bit of a wide open playing field. For brands that haven't spent, you know, decades or millions on brand awareness, they can still be found on the platform.

Steve Brown 7:47
So it's a discovery platform, when when I think of a search platform, it means like I have a clear idea of what I want to learn. So I'm going to put in some parameters and hope that it sends me more clarification about that. And on Pinterest is like I'm stumbling. It's that how we always joke I went to the store and would you buy? Well, I bought too much stuff I didn't know I wanted.

Alisa Meredith 8:11
Yes, there is that Pinterest rabbit hole. But it is it is also a search engine, right. So it's a search and discovery platform, where Yes, you will get served up what you asked for. But Pinterest also expands on that. They have an enormous amount of information about each of us. And so they will kind of suggest things that are related. Or maybe a step away, but still kind of, you know, kind of related. It's an interesting thing to do just to go in there and and type in a search, you might not be able to tell by looking at it like oh, I don't see that keyword there. But there are things happening behind the scenes, like like Pinterest can see what's in each image. They can identify the objects in the image. they assign keywords to those. It's it's pretty complex, but really very cool.

Steve Brown 9:03
So images, generally one if you wanted an image to show up in a search, you need to go and put a tag on what that image is about. But you're telling me that Pinterest has a way to actually discern better what's in that image and serve it up even if you didn't put a deliberate tag?

Alisa Meredith 9:23
Yes, that is true. Now, where this gets tricky is, say a blogger or someone in finance, it's very hard to illustrate the concept of saving for college. Right? So the other things you can do. You have titles on your pins, so you'd want to use your keywords there. There are descriptions on your pins, use them there. Every pin goes to a board. So you want to use those keywords on your board. And you want to make sure that they're consistent with the keywords on your website because they will crawl your content and make sure there's that consistency there. So I know time For bloggers to its, well, how do I show this concept? Well, maybe you can't write maybe you're using, excuse me a flatlay with text on it. But guess what? So is everybody else in your industry? So I think that like, the difference is if you have a product, make sure that it's real clear in your image, what your product is, if it's more of an idea, you're going to have to rely on some other signals, like your text on your image, your title, your description, your board names.

Steve Brown 10:29
So the audience on Pinterest, is it predominantly women?

Alisa Meredith 10:33
It is, it is close to 70% women.

Steve Brown 10:37
And they're like the major decision makers in most households.

Alisa Meredith 10:41
That's right. That's right. Something very interesting happened on Pinterest this year, though. Well, the number of Gen Z pinners, increased by 40%. Wow, the Pinterest audience just got a whole lot younger. In fact, the largest audience on Pinterest right now is that 18 to 24 range. And the next one from that is just the group, a little bit older than them. So it's had a lot of a lot of changes this year.

Steve Brown 11:13
Is it because there's maybe some folks are kind of getting worn out on Instagram, maybe getting tired of it, or they're, they were looking for somewhere new to go?

Alisa Meredith 11:24
Well, I think there's some of that, I think also, with a pandemic happening, people wanted to try some Do It Yourself things. And Pinterest is fantastic for do it yourself. So learn how to sew, learn how to cook, learn how to do whatever project you want. And also, they have been really careful to keep it a very positive platform. So you're not going to see politics on there, or fake news, or a lot of the things that are dividing people today that are real hard to get away from on other platforms.

Steve Brown 11:55
Who owns Pinterest?

Alisa Meredith 11:57
Who owns Pinterest, it is a publicly traded company.

Steve Brown 12:02
So it's it's not associated with Facebook or any other Nope. So when you say bloggers do really well on their draw a picture for us? Like what's a successful blogger? What's the model there? Help me see that, please?

Alisa Meredith 12:21
Yeah. So again, it is changing. So we'll talk about the traditional first and how that method really worked well. And so that would be, let's say, all right, I have a friend, we'll just use a real example. You can actually look at her website and then look at her Pinterest account. It's catch my party. Yeah, calm. Yeah. So she, she also has a product that helps you build your followers on Pinterest, but CatchMyParty.com gets a tremendous amount of traffic from Pinterest. So what she will do is she will write a blog post about how to plan such and such specific party. And then she'll create multiple images that go to this blog posts. And then she just post them and the traffic comes. It's pretty great, really. Now what is changing on Pinterest, was announced in October at an event of Pinterest held. And what they've said is traditionally, we have connected people with the ideas that they want. And the shift for this year is going to be to connect people or pinners with the creators of these ideas. So Pinterest has never been a social network. There are there have been a few little social elements. But this is signaling a pretty big change. And what it comes down to is that they want to have a content on Pinterest. So there's a new pin format called the idea pin it used to before two days ago was called story pin. And what that is like a multi page pin, it can be video, it could be still images of the video does a lot better. And all the information you would need to complete a project or to learn an idea or to really get to know a product is all right in that pin. These pins do not link back to your website. And they don't want us adding links back to our website because they really want that content to be consumed on Pinterest. So then the question is, well, why would I do that if I don't get any traffic from Pinterest. Interestingly, it does really help build an engaged follower list. And Pinterest is working on ways to monetize these idea pins. So right now you can you can tag a brand in your idea pin. So this could lead to things like influencer deals or sponsored idea pins, things like that. It's not entirely clear what their plan is for monetization, but they know that this is something that they want to do and they will be doing in the future. But it doesn't look Like, those regular pins like the static image and video pins are going away. So it's going to be that combination of traffic driving pins with these idea pins, and we're already seeing that the idea pins get so much more engagement. So people can save your pin, right? They'll see your pin. And then they'll say, Well, I want that on my board. And that's how your content really spreads across Pinterest. The more engagement you get, the more Pinterest distributed, the more people see it. And those idea pins we found at tail when we did a study of 20 million pins sent out by our paid users. And we found that idea pins or story pins, get 41 times the shares as a static pin or a video pin, well a static pin and then think it's a lot more than video panels too. But I only remember the 41 times the static image pin. So it's clear that that's what they want. They want that content and people are engaging with it. So we're in this kind of interesting time where where people are trying to figure out what do I What do I do next? And what's going to work? But there's there's a lot of potential there.

Steve Brown 16:16
So what kind of what are your your general clients that you work with it Tailwind? And what category? Are they finance firms, law firms? You know, I don't craft I don't know, what would it be?

Alisa Meredith 16:32
Well, with him being a software as a service, and we do know that a lot of our our members are bloggers, and a lot of them are ecommerce. So that's like, kind of the top two segments, but bloggers of all kinds. And retail of all kinds as well, fashion as big as it is on Pinterest in general, very popular. Do you find authors taking advantage of the platform? You know, I have run across a few but really not that many? No, I think you could. And I think that idea pins might be a really great way to do it. Because if you're gonna invest in the time and reading a book, you probably want to know who this person is and what their ideas are and what their voice is like at in writing should be similar to your speaking voice. So yeah, I would highly recommend trying idea pins, just talk through one concept of your book at a time and share that.

Steve Brown 17:30
It's really interesting. So you're listening or watching. We're talking with Alisa Meredith, she's the Pinterest marketing specialist for Tailwind. They help brands excel on Pinterest. So at least I have some questions. I always want to ask their general questions. And they're they're on people's mind I get asked them sometimes I don't always know the best answer. And that's why I love to ask them, because I'm super interested in what your answers would be. So I guess, give us an example of how to use Pinterest for business.

Alisa Meredith 18:11
Okay, so give me a business.

Steve Brown 18:15
So let's do let's say you're an author, and you have a book titled The Golden toilet. That's a great Wow,

Alisa Meredith 18:21
right off the top of your head. Okay, so I'm an author, and my book is the golden toilet. So I am going to create a Pinterest account. And I'm going to think about, okay, what boards do I need? The boards that I create are going to are going to support the content I create. So do I have a blog?

Steve Brown 18:39

Alisa Meredith 18:40
Oh, wonderful. That's good news. So I'm going to look at my blog and the categories on my blog. And I'm going to create a board for each one of those categories. And then I'm going to start to create images for each of those blog posts. Now, if you've been blogging a while and you've never shared your content to Pinterest, I'm kind of jealous because you're sitting on a goldmine, right? You have all this work that you've done for years, that can just go to Pinterest and will be brand new content to Pinterest possibly. which is which is a wonderful thing. So I would get all of those back that backlog of blog posts onto Pinterest. Now I wouldn't do it all in one day. I would do probably five or so a day every day. And then, like we were talking about with the idea pins, you want to you want to grow your account. Now formerly, followers really didn't matter at all on Pinterest. And it still is the case that even if you have two followers, your content will be found by far more people than just the ones who follow you. However you do want to build your followers, it's going to become more important. And the best way to do that right now is with these idea pins. So I'm going to I'm going to use my phone because I don't know about everybody else but I have the new idea pin editing on my phone. I don't have it on desktop, on desktop, it's not that easy. on your phone, it's pretty easy. You can just shoot your video, edit your video, add effects and text and just go. It's, it's really user friendly now. So I would I would do that I would do that about once a week put up a new idea pin pick at tremendous distribution, and because not everybody's making them, this is a really good time to start. I'm a little bit addicted to, to seeing those numbers come in and seeing actual comments on a pin, which, wow, it's been a long time since I saw a real comment on a pin. And people like reacting, they can add little hearts. And it's it's kind of nice to get some feedback on your work.

Steve Brown 20:48
Wow. So how to make money on Pinterest?

Alisa Meredith 20:53
Okay, so generally, it's going to come from driving traffic, right and so your your static pins or your video pins can still drive traffic to your website. The other thing is that you're building awareness. And that's what story pins are really good for. So they come to know you. And then maybe they follow you on Pinterest. Maybe they follow you on Instagram. I find personally that's what happens. Sometimes I'll discover something brand new on Pinterest. And then if I want to get more of a backstory, I'll go to Instagram. Well, now with idea pins, you can get that backstory right on Pinterest, too. Wow. Yeah. found a new key. Yeah, you can have you'll have a link in your own profile. So as you're encouraging people to follow you, they may go to your profile and may check out your link there if they're interested in your products or services.

Steve Brown 21:44
Okay, so I get this a lot is Pinterest social media. I know you you said something earlier. But what's the answer and why?

Alisa Meredith 21:56
The answer is it's becoming social. So originally, really, it was that search and discovery network. I called it the introverts network, because there really wasn't that back and forth, or that conversation going on. But now with idea pins. creators are getting out there. They're showing their faces, they're using their voices. And people are responding in a personal way. So I put a story pin out and somebody that I know, commented on and it was just it was a very different experience. And it was it was quite social. So I I can't I can't say anymore that Pinterest is not social media, because that's what they want to be. That's what they're becoming.

Steve Brown 22:38
Wow. So how to get more followers on Pinterest? Now you said it used to be not that important?

Alisa Meredith 22:46
Correct? Correct.

Steve Brown 22:48
But people are asking, I guess we're all programmed to think followers are important.

Alisa Meredith 22:53
Yes. And it's becoming more important. We talked about how Pinterest is looking into ways to monetize those idea pins. So yeah, having those followers so if you if you're, if you tag a brand, and they see that you have 1000 followers, that's one reaction they're going to have if you've tagged a brand, and they see that you have three and a half million followers, that may be when they contact you and say, hey, I want to pay you to do this influencer deal. So to get more followers, I sound like a broken record. But I do pins, because they're getting such tremendous distribution. And because people are engaging with them, that is leading to more followers. The other thing you can do, I know I mentioned MiloTree before, she's just She's a friend of mine. It is a plugin for your WordPress site, which will allow you to have like a little, it's kind of a subtle slide up box that encourages people to follow you on Pinterest, you can use it for Instagram and email and something else too. But what I like about that is you're getting people who are already interested in and engaged with your content. So encouraging those people to follow you means that when they come over to Pinterest, and they see your content, they're more likely to share it to you know, to save it. Which is important because Pinterest does look at that. So they they send your content out to your followers first. They and they look for those signals like, are your followers engaging? If they're not like, if your followers aren't engaging, then who else will? So they won't distribute it. But if you get a good reaction from your followers, your content tends to go further. So it's really attracting the right kind of follower. And I can give you a really bad example in myself. So like I said, I've been on Pinterest since the beginning and I've used it as an experiment which a lot of Pinterest marketers do so our accounts tend to be a mess. First I use it for personal that I said oh I'm gonna do all business. So all my blog content would go there. And so people would engage with my blog content. And I thought, well, maybe I'll just combine it. I'll make it both. Then that I started sharing or saving a lot of content about hair and recipes, and like all kinds of random stuff. And then when my blog content came out the stuff I really wanted people to see, nobody cared. Because I had attracted all those people who only wanted to see my hair pins and no recipe pins. And so Pinterest got the message loud and clear that, oh, this content must not be engaging at all, because your followers don't like it. So don't do that. I wish I hadn't done that. Because I have I have a lot of followers. But still, when I post content that I've worked hard on, it's important, I want people to see it's still crickets.

Steve Brown 25:52
So I tell us maybe an unusual example of someone that you wouldn't expect that's really done well on Pinterest.

Alisa Meredith 26:12
See, maybe we had a guest on our Facebook Live last week. And she makes jewelry. She's a one person show. And she makes jewelry out of recycled silver and gold. Yeah. So I don't know you maybe wouldn't think that just one little person who does not produce that volume, right? Everything is very kind of bespoke, and, and original. But she does so well on Pinterest for her business that she actually has her own Facebook group teaching people to succeed on Pinterest as creators. So yeah, so as painters, decorators, we like those creative types, and she helps them do well on Pinterest.

Steve Brown 27:02
I love that. So you're listening to or you're watching us. You're watching us talk with Alisa Meredith, she's the Pinterest marketing specialist at Tailwind. Tell us a little bit about Tailwind right quick. Just what specifically what we could expect out of it, the software, how we would apply it?

Alisa Meredith 27:29
Yeah. So again, we are we're changing and there's new stuff coming out all the time. And it's really a great place to take care of all your social media automatically. So your Pinterest, your Instagram, your Facebook, it, it's all kind of centered around something we call tailwind create, which is just a ton of fun. Basically, you put in the URL you want to promote that obviously only is essential for for Pinterest, and then it will pull the images from that page for you, it will pull the title from that page for you. And then it will create literally hundreds and hundreds, hundreds of designs for you to choose from. And it creates your your Instagram feed, post your Instagram story, your Pinterest post in your Facebook feed posts, all at the same time. So you never have to resize or move things around. It's all right there for you. And then it has your brand colors and your logo already there. You can change everything up you want to but you don't have to. So when we just had it for Pinterest, we looked at how people were using the product. And we found that people were taking 1.8 minutes to make a Pinterest pin. And when we had we had asked we do a lot of customer calls, member calls, testing calls. And people had said it was taking about 15 minutes and other programs to make a pin. So this is a way to make it much faster. And then you can just schedule it right in there. And again, Facebook scheduling is coming soon. And then it's all done.

Steve Brown 29:05
Perfect. So at least so what's one question that you love to answer that often isn't asked or I didn't ask you

Alisa Meredith 29:16
about Pinterest? I think you asked the really good ones. Anything else. Um, I think the only thing we really didn't talk about a lot is is Pinterest for e commerce. So Pinterest would would like to be a place that connects pinners and creators but they're also heavily invested in shopping options. So you can add a pin on Pinterest and you can tag it so it will have your price and everything. Or if you have a shopping feed like a Google Shopping feed, you can hook that right up to Pinterest and it will make images for you. If you have Shopify you can do something very similar and then people can buy from you Right, you know, it will also come to your website. But it will, it will allow you to sell more directly on Pinterest.

Steve Brown 30:07
I'm curious if that would help with maybe someone is wanting to sell a course, you know, a lot of creators are wanting to do teaching courses or classes or is there a way to take advantage of a Pinterest event?

Alisa Meredith 30:22
You know, it seems like because Pinterest is like really high up in that funnel, right? Like a lot of unbranded search when people come, if you look at the traffic you're getting from Pinterest, a lot of times it's first time visitors. So it often will work to be a little bit more round about, right. So if you have a course share your blog posts, or create an idea pin and talk about your course or talk about one thing someone can learn in your course and then have them come look for you. If you send them right to like a sales page for your course, that generally doesn't work very well, because people don't know you. Right. And they're looking for something actionable right this second. So if you can give them that first and you could get them on your email list or Yeah, I think that that would be the best way.

Steve Brown 31:11
That's excellent. Thanks for Alisa. So what's tell us where folks can reach out and get in contact with you or engage with you or hire you?

Alisa Meredith 31:23
Okay, um, it's TailwindApp.com. And you can find me on the socials at Alisa M. Meredith, on Twitter, Instagram. You can DM me I love to get questions about Pinterest.

Steve Brown 31:38
Awesome. Well, you've been an awesome guest. I've learned a lot actually today and he said it's fun. I appreciate it so much. And thank you for being on the ROI online podcast. Welcome. My pleasure. All right. That's a wrap.

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