I recently caught up with co-owner and marketing mastermind behind Boston co-retail space For Now, Kaity Cimo. She runs the space with friend and business partner Katharine ReQua. They opened a year ago and have played home to over 80 brands in that time.
How to Use Pinterest Group Boards: A Guide for Small Businesses
Marketing has taken a collaborative turn. With the rise of social media and influencer culture, brands are increasingly finding that working together with similar companies drives business instead of spreading customers too thin.
While competition is still necessary and important, many businesses are finding they can get a whole lot farther by being friendly. Who woulda thunk it?
Pinterest group boards provide a great opportunity to test the waters on this new paradigm of collaborative marketing, and in this article, we’ll do just that. We’re going to take a look at how to find group boards on Pinterest, how to join them, and how to utilize them to hack your growth — all through the eyes of a small business.
To do so, we’ve gone ahead and created a new Pinterest account for an imaginary software company named Softwear so you can follow along in their journey. What exactly does Softwear do? Well, it makes blockchain AI software for clothing. What does that mean? Your guess is as good as ours. But it’s got a nice pun, so let’s roll with it.
Let’s jump right in and see how Softwear can leverage Pinterest group boards to get their business off the ground.
What are Pinterest group boards and why are they useful?
Let’s start out by clarifying what a group board is, and why they’re useful for small businesses.
A group board is created when a pinner creates a board and gives one or more other pinners permission to add pins to it. The board is owned by the creator, and anyone who follows the board will show up as a follower of the owner. To become a contributor, pinners need to apply and be accepted by the owner.
So, why is this useful? Well, whenever any of the contributors post to the board, their posts can show up in the home feeds of everyone who follows that board or its owner.
If you’re a contributor to a board owned by someone with one million followers, and you post to that board, you’ll get exposure to the owner’s one million followers, your followers, and the followers of any of the other contributors.
Clearly, becoming a contributor to popular group boards can greatly increase your reach — especially if you find boards in your niche. Finding the right boards can give you access to an entirely new audience that’s already been pre-screened for their relevance, making them more likely to engage with your pins, and ultimately convert.
Plus, you get a board full of content from carefully selected contributors to look through and repin. Of course, this works both ways — not only do you get great content to repin, but other pinners will see your content as well, increasing the chances of getting it repinned.
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How to find group boards on Pinterest
Group boards aren’t heavily advertised on Pinterest, so it’s not particularly easy to find them. Here’s a few tips to get you on your way.
Running a search for a subject related to your brand or niche is a good way to get started. From there, you can filter your results by board:
Here we can see a list of all the boards related to our search query, “blockchain”. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to tell which ones are group boards. To do so, you’ll need to check each board individually and see whether there’s more than one contributor. Occasionally, a board owner may post a cover that says “group board”, but don’t count on that.
Here’s an example of a group board (you can tell by the multiple contributors at the top):
Looking for influencers
Alternatively, you can search for other influencers in your space and take a look at what boards they’re part of.
If we run a search for “blockchain”, for example, and filter by people, we’ll bring up this account:
Then, we can navigate to their boards:
If you look through all their boards, you’ll find that this one has multiple contributors:
Bingo. If you want to become a contributor, just hit request to join in the top right and wait to be approved (or rejected). Receiving an invite to join a group board isn’t always so simple, so we’ll cover all the different ways you can join one later on.
Neither of these two approaches are particularly streamlined. Luckily, pinners can use Pingroupie.com to make things a bit simpler. On Pingroupie.com, you can run a search on a niche or keyword and find Pinterest group boards that match. For example:
The first result isn’t particularly relevant, but the second one is:
Unfortunately, following the “Visit this board on Pinterest” link ends up returning an error, so it appears Pingroupie.com isn’t particularly up to date with their listings. In fact, most results end up returning an error when you try to find them on Pinterest.
That said, it’s still a useful tool as some of its results are still active. One result in our search links to this group board:
Not the most relevant to our business, but it’s pretty active and not too far off the mark. Remember that some topics are more popular than others on Pinterest, so your mileage may vary. You’ll probably have a much easier time finding relevant group boards as a food blogger or local gym than you will as a wearable machine learning something or other.
Pay attention to your analytics
Pinterest business accounts have access to some pretty nifty analytics features. If you want to find relevant group boards, you can hop over to your analytics page, click “People You Reach” followed by “Interests”, then filter by “Followers” and scroll down until you see “Brands: Businesses Your Followers Engage.”
This will bring you to a list of all the businesses your followers are engaging with. From there, you can click any of the listed businesses and see whether or not they’re a member of any relevant group boards.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any followers yet, so we can’t show you this strategy firsthand. Consequently, if you’re just starting out on Pinterest, you’ll likely need to to take a look at the other methods first.
How to join group boards on Pinterest
So, you’ve found a few group boards you’re interested in collaborating on, but you’re not sure how to join. Fret not — we’re going to cover that now.
Sometimes, joining a group board is as easy as hitting the “Request to join” button in the top right.
However, in many cases, a group board will require that you take a few more steps before joining their elite ranks.
This board requires potential contributors to make a comment on another of the owner’s boards to join.
Other boards don’t provide any instructions at all, such as this one:
If that’s the case, you can always comment on one of the pins and ask to join. This person has the right idea:
If all else fails, you can always try to find the board owner’s email or their profiles on other social media sites and messaging them there. This can also be a good idea if you’ve requested and invite and haven’t heard back.
Making the most of Pinterest group boards
Once you’re in a group board, you’ll need to figure out what and how to post. Let’s go over some tips to get you on your way.
Read the rules
This should go without saying, but you’d be surprised by how many people like to break the rules and live on the edge.
Almost every group will have their rules posted in their description, so take a second to read them over (they’re never more than a paragraph), and don’t post content that breaks the rules. Rules can run the gamut from restrictions on types of content to limits on how many times you can post per day.
Don’t be a rebel. It’s not going to help your business, and it’ll likely get you banned from the group board.
It may be tempting to try to get as much content as humanly possible in front of all the new eyes you’ll be gaining from a group board, but posting too much can actually hurt your brand, not help.
According to social media marketing guru Louise Myers, posting more than 50 times each day can have a negative effect on your audience’s engagement. According to her, 30 posts per day is the optimal posting amount.
Only share relevant content
This should be fairly obvious, but some people wrongly believe that getting seen is the most important part of marketing.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you’re posting a lot of irrelevant content to many different groups, you’ll get seen all right, but you’ll be seen as a spammer, and it won’t help you in any way.
Make sure that your posts are always on topic and that you’re only joining group boards that are relevant to your niche.
Stay away from low quality group boards
Some pinners don’t follow the tips above, and consequently some group boards end up becoming a cesspit of spam and irrelevant posts.
If you check out a board and see that none of the posts are on topic, don’t join. In fact, these boards may even send out unsolicited invitations, but it’s best to just nope on out of there even if you receive a shiny new invite.
Joining these types of group boards won’t help your reputation at all — you’re far more likely to end up being seen as a spammer than you are to increase your engagement with anyone.
How are other businesses using Pinterest group boards?
Pinterest group boards aren’t right for every business, but some will see great success when using them.
Brilliant Business Moms was able to generate $15,000 in sales largely through Pinterest group boards.
Similarly, photography influencer Gabby Orcutt used Pinterest group boards to increase her follower count by 435,301 in just six months, bringing her to a total of 1.4 million followers. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
Kristin Larsen of Believe in a Budget also uses Pinterest group boards as a major part of her marketing strategy and has seen impressive growth. In just one month, she grew from 5,000 to 40,000 page views.
In sum, Pinterest group boards can help your business grow at breakneck speed — you just have to know how to use them right. With this guide in hand, you should be able to get your feet wet and start hacking your brand’s growth with Pinterest.
If you want to learn more about how to boost your reach with collaborative marketing, get in touch with us at email@example.com.
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