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Ep. 32: Using the Pinterest search engine to drive traffic with Sara Motes

Hey y’all, today’s all about upping your Pinterest search engine game. Welcome back!  Today my special guest is Sara Motes, a Pinterest strategist who helps service based businesses learn how to use Pinterest to get more email subs, website traffic, and dream clients. We are so happy you’re here, Sara, welcome to the show! 

*This episode contains either affiliate links or links to my products. Should you choose to purchase, the show will go on! Woo hoo!


Check out Sara’s website!

Listen to Ep. 63: Leveraging 2023 Instagram Trends

Listen to Ep. 64: Building A YouTube Channel From Repurposed Content

Listen to Ep. 65: 7 Ways to Reach New Followers

Listen to Ep. 67: Top 5 Instagram Features For Marketers In 2023

Ep. 32: Using the Pinterest search engine to drive traffic to Instagram 

Ruthie: I’m so glad you’re here.

Sara: Thanks for having me. I’m really excited about this. 

Ruthie: I have wanted to have you on the show for a while now because I’ve been into Pinterest for years, but I feel like I’m just now I’m getting my footing. Sara is helping me and my daughter work on our Pinterest account on our new website.

Ruthie: When did you first become passionate about the Pinterest search engine? 

Sara: It’s actually a pretty roundabout story. It’s not like I woke up one morning and said, I want Pinterest for a business. That is not what happened.

It’s such a God story. So basically in college I was an advertising major and I took a web design course. I fell in love with the coding and the website design and all that. After a few years working in the advertising world, I branched off on my own and started a web design business. What I was finding was people were coming back to me. My clients, they were coming back to me and they were saying, Sara, we love our websites, but how do we get more traffic to our websites?

I said, oh, you know, that blog content and stuff, you’re already creating, just put it on Pinterest and people will come over to your website. They said, cool, can you do that for us? I said, yes, absolutely. I can. So that’s kind of how we started was simply going from websites to getting more traffic to now focusing on Pinterest and helping other small businesses and nonprofits to get more traffic to their websites and therefore serve more people by putting their content on Pinterest.

Ruthie: So you realized, even back then what a giant the Pinterest search engine was becoming. 

Sara: Yes. So the way that kind of started is one of my first clients was a pregnancy resource center here in the middle of nowhere, Oklahoma. They were trying to get more clients and trying to help more women in these scary situations, but no one was coming in.

So I said, hey, let’s start a blog. Let’s get this stuff on the Pinterest search engine. They started out with about 60 website visitors per month and six months later, at the beginning of 2020, they hit over 600 website visitors. Today, two years later, they’re hitting 10K website visitors per month.

They have had more women walk in their doors than ever before, because they’re ranking first on Google for our area. So that’s the power of Pinterest. Not only can you grow your business, but if you have a ministry and you’re really trying to help people, it can also help you do that. 

Ruthie: Pinterest really can help you rank on Google as well.

Sara: Yes, Pinterest and Google place so well together. If you type in a search in your industry, you click on images, you’re likely going to see other people’s pins showing up on Google images. They play hand in hand. 

Ruthie: Wow… makes sense to me.

Sara: Yes. If you want to boost your SEO, get on Pinterest and Google. 

Ruthie: Most of us use more than one platform to promote our content. Obviously I teach Instagram and you are using Instagram, but Pinterest is a completely different yet I think essential part of the equation because it’s much like Google. As you just said, it works hand in hand with a search engine. So speak to that for a minute. The difference between Pinterest and Instagram and advantages you see with each platform. 

Sara: So if you close your eyes for a second and you think of the sales funnel and upside down triangle here at the very top, the broadest part, that’s how people get into your business.

That’s how people get into your funnels. You can start working your way down to a sale. So up here on the top part, if you divide it up into three sections here at the top, there’s going to be discovery platforms. This is going to be Google. This is going to be YouTube. This is going to be. Pinterest. So that’s the discovery part.

What I am finding here in the next part down is Instagram, Facebook, your email list, like those nurture platforms, more community creating relationships.

So many people, particularly female entrepreneurs are stuck in the nurture game.

The middle part of that sales funnel is when they need to be getting serious about the discovery game, getting people into the sales funnel, can Instagram grow your business?

Yes, absolutely. But if you want to reach an even broader audience than just Instagram, get on Google, YouTube, Pinterest. It’s going to make a world of difference in your small business.

Ruthie: I can totally see what you’re saying there. It’s just easier to reach more people from those giant search engines that people are using.

Sara: Yes. I know, so many women, we love Instagram because it has that community aspect. And you’re a little bit more one-on-one with people, which I absolutely love. Take those other platforms seriously as well. 

Ruthie: Yes we all need to carve a little bit of time to get over there on Pinterest because I get a lot of clients and members in my community, and then they start hearing me talk because we do focus largely on Instagram, but we talk about all the moving parts in the interconnectedness of other platforms that help move us along with our business. We always end up talking about Pinterest and it surprises me when some of our members are not even active on Pinterest yet, and then, you know, seeing their surprise and, they realize, oh, I really need to be using that.

So that’s really an important and valuable tool to get the word out. 

Do you think it’s doable for someone just starting out on Instagram to start dabbling on Pinterest? If you think so, how much time a day do you think it would take?

Sara: I would say if you’re only on Instagram and you don’t have a blog, other than on Instagram, it’s probably not going to be really worth your time. But if you have a blog, podcast or a YouTube channel or something like you’re creating content on some medium, then yes. It’s going to be worth your time to put that content onto Pinterest. It’s not a matter of how much time per day Pinterest takes. You could literally look at how much time per month is this going to take you? My clients, my coaching clients at the end of it, they have told me it takes one hour per week.

About four to five hours per month. They just work it, they just work the pins, creating the pins and publishing into Pinterest into their current workflow. So it’s just a part of their process. You put a video on YouTube, you publish a podcast, create a pin, put it on Pinterest. I mean, it’s just a little checklist and it’s really.

Ruthie: That’s very doable. Anybody can do that. That’s worthwhile. It shows the payoff there. So let’s get down to brass tacks here, because I like to ask this question what are some of your favorite Pinterest tools to use?

Sara: I have three favorite tools that I use for all my retainer clients, all my coaching clients. This is what I tell everyone to use.

Number one, you’re going to need a pin scheduler.

You can simply log on to Pinterest. And if you’re starting out in overwhelmed, just keep it simple for this space.

Simply log into Pinterest, upload your pin and call it a day. Don’t overcomplicate it, but whenever you’re ready to start growing on Pinterest, and you’re creating multiple pins for the same piece of content. We can go over that later, but you’re going to want a scheduler. 

Let me back up. Your audience is on Pinterest at times. You do not want to be working. People are on Pinterest in the evening. People are on Pinterest on the weekends. It’s not like you want to hop up on Pinterest. Pause Netflix real quick, honey, let me go publish a pen at 8:17 PM. Like you don’t want to do that.

So having Tailwind as a scheduler is so important. It is an official partner with Instagram. It is not considered a third-party. It’s actually working with Pinterest so Tailwind knows the exact times that your audience is on Pinterest. All you have to do is upload your pins and it will put them in these little time slots at the weirdest times nine pm etc.

It’s just crazy the way it knows. Number one, get on Tailwind.

Number two. I use Canva Pro for creating all of my pins.

Some of you out there are Adobe. Oh geez. I get it. I also started off creating my pins on Photoshop and Illustrator. That’s fine. It’s just a lot faster to do things on canvas, the exporting process saving for web.

Like you don’t have time if you want to be quick, do it on Canva. And so yes, Canva pro and Ruthie you use Canva. 

Ruthie: Yes, absolutely. My daughter Hayley creates everything for me over there. I love that you can just have the templates in there. They’re easy. If I need to go in there, if she’s off for the day or something like that I can just go to the template, fix it and download. 

Sara: Yes. It’s so user-friendly.

The third tool I really love is actually inside of Pinterest itself. It’s called Pinterest trends.

So whenever you have a business account, if you go up to the top of analytics and in the dropdown at the very bottom, it says trends and you can type in keywords in your industry to see like peak times during the year.

That’s something trending that way. You can publish your content a little bit ahead of time to catch that wave. It’s just really good predictor of trends. And you can just really plan ahead using that tool. You can plan your content ahead of time. If you know what’s going to be trending in four months.

Ruthie: Yes. I’ve often heard that it’s good to plan ahead like three to four months ahead so that you are right on schedule. Even like, don’t you even have to start posting a little bit ahead of that trend, like the seasons and such. 

Sara: It’s good to get stuff up two, sometimes three months ahead of time.

So if you’re a really heavy in holiday content, you need to be posting that stuff in like October to stay ahead. So Pinterest has time to index your content, so like it can get to know your content and who to show it to in certain searches and stuff, it’s a search engine.

It’s going to work differently from Instagram. 

Ruthie: Yep, that’s it. Well, Sara, one of my mantras here on the podcast and in our mentorship, which you’re a part of now is community grows the opportunity. While I believe Instagram is very community friendly, I’ve never really thought Pinterest was, am I wrong about that? Are there ways that we should be using Pinterest to interact with others? How important is that? 

Sara: It is wanting to become more community friendly than it is right now. Pinterest is kind of working its way toward a community, but it’s just not there yet.

Create idea pins.

If you want to start fostering a sense of community, create idea pin. Idea pins are pretty similar to Instagram stories, but they don’t expire after 24 hours, they live on. So you create a batch of Instagram stories. They’re all in a group, so you can have it on a certain subject, multiple slides on a certain subject.

That is deemed as one pin and it will start showing up in searches and people can comment on these things. In fact, Ruthie, our friend, Jamie Bailey was Expedition Marriage. She sent me this screenshot just the other day there, one of my monthly clients and they posted a repurpose. They repurpose their Instagram Reel.

They just downloaded it and then uploaded it to Pinterest as an idea pin, cause you can do that. Someone commented on it and they said, I found you guys through Pinterest and I have listened to your podcast ever since. So the fact that someone took the time to say that was really great, but. If you have a podcast, Pinterest is a great way to start getting more listeners.

But that shows how idea pins are really trying to start fostering that community aspect. You can react. You can drop a heart. You can comment. So idea pins, if you’re trying to start growing community is the way to go on Pinterest. 

Ruthie: So, we could repurpose our Instagram stories or Reels over there.

Sara: Yes. So you can download your Instagram stories as long as they’re well done and cohesive, then download those and upload them as an idea pin. 

Ruthie: Okay. That’s a great way to repurpose them. 

Sara: Yes, absolutely. Pinterest is strictly a re-purposing platform. You do not have to create fresh content other than designing a pin for Pinterest.

It’s not like you’re designing a brand new blog post and you’re putting it on Pinterest only. You take your YouTube videos and create a pin. You take your podcast episode, you create a pin, you’d take your blog post and you create a pin. It’s strictly a repurposing platform. 

Ruthie: Yes. Because people are always searching for information.

So Sara, what are your top three Pinterest tips? Your go-to that people need to know and put into action for Pinterest?

 Sara: Three things.

Number one, make a business account.

It is a hundred percent free. You do not have to pay anything. This is not necessarily a pay to play platform.

 I’ve never done ads for any of my clients ever. It’s all been organic. So get a business account set up today. 

Number two, make everything searchable.

Knowing your keywords is so important because it’s a search engine. Don’t just slap something up because it looks pretty and call it a day. It needs to be drenched in keywords.

So that means whenever you download your pin from Canva, you need to rename it a PNG with keywords in it. You need to put keywords in your profile description, your profile name, your boards, your board descriptions. Everything needs to be keyword rich because as we talked about earlier, Pinterest does play so well with Google.

Ruthie: One way we can relate this to Instagram too, is once you’ve got those SEO terms down for your brand,  all you have to do is connect the dots for a nice system. Keyword rich bio in your Instagram and as well as your content that you’re posting every week.

So it really can do double duty there once you really get that nailed down. 

Number three.

So my third tip for Pinterest, just start, don’t overthink it.

I know Pinterest can feel like a very overwhelming platform. Because it’s so different. Like Facebook, we understand Instagram. We understand you can kind of understand YouTube. It’s pretty straightforward. Pinterest, on the other hand, because it’s a search engine, it’s so darn different, but I have a free course. 

That’ll help you get started. You’re going to set up your account, learn how to create your keyword bank. You’re going to create your first pin. I mean, all of it create a board cover. I’ll show you step by step.

Exactly, how to do that. You can get that free course in the show notes at the top of this page.

Ruthie: That’s awesome. Thank you, Sara. You’ve been using Instagram for a while and recently joined my annual mentorship program. And actually, I remember you chasing me down to join. So why was that so important to you?

Sara: Like you said, I had several clients. I think I had three clients last year who were all a part of your program. They were like, you know, Ruthie said, or, oh, we learned this from Ruthie. I just kind of felt a little bit of FOMO, like, oh, I want to be a part of that.

That sounds like fun. So the reason why I did chase you down in the DMs and start that conversation. Two reasons, really?

Number one is the accountability aspect.

I know I need to be on Instagram, but it’s like, I’m just not allocating the right amount of time to make a real or make a post or whatever.

So I knew if I had a little bit of pressure on me, I could probably get it done. So that’s the first reason.

Number two, I really loved the small close-knit community aspect of it. Getting to know other kingdom-minded, entrepreneurial women. 

Ruthie: The more that we rubbed shoulders with and supported one another, the more potential there was for business. That’s not why we’re going into it, but it is a result of it. That’s something we really try to foster in our mentorship. So if you’re listening to this right now and you’re like, what is Ruthie’s mentorship?

We have share threads, feedback and, mostly action to propel you forward, to make sure that you are being consistent on the platform. Because really that seems to be the biggest bottleneck that I see with Instagram is inconsistency.

I love that you felt like that was important enough that you needed an accountability group and we are very blessed and pleased to have you. Let’s talk about Instagram for a minute. Do you feel Instagram is a substantial platform for generating funds?

And is this working for you? 

Sara: Heck to the, yes, it is. It definitely is. I looked through my accounting software last night and I said, I want to know exactly how much money I got from leads on Instagram. Last year for 2021, I got 25.4% of my income last year came straight from leads in Pinterest, straight from conversations and DMs in order of it.

Sara: Pinterest. Okay, so about 25.4. That’s how exactly I got 25.4% of my income for last year in 2021. It came from leads on Instagram, like conversations in the DMs. It’s like, that was it. That’s all I had to do a whole quarter of my income came from.

Ruthie: Don’t you think that’s probably because you’re not just always talking about your business, but you’re giving little tips and you’re leaning into community and then others in community have passed the word along to you.

Then you’re just having kind of some conversations there in messenger, right?

Sara: Yeah. I mean, that’s really it: referrals. Whenever someone gets results, they share it. Then, someone else will, like one of their followers will message me. They’ll say, I’m really lost when it comes to Pinterest, help me! I’ll say yes, here, let me help you. If you have a question, feel free to DM me.

I’m not going to try and sell to you, like I’m not salesy in DMs. I’m just having a conversation. I’m just trying to help you out because you have a message that needs to be shared and we can get that on Pinterest. 

Ruthie: Yes, that’s it. Exactly. As you’ve seen today, Sara knows all the ins and outs of Pinterest.  So, Sara why don’t you tell the folks where to find you.

Sara: First of all, I love Instagram. Check out my profile in the show notes! Go track me down. Send me a DM. I’d love to talk to you. If you want to check out my website or see any of the offers, the course, the free course, any of it, check that out in the show notes as well.

Ruthie: Yes. I always remember how to spell your name because that is exactly how my daughter-in-law Sara spells her name who is the wife of my fabulous podcast audio engineer at Indigo Sound.

Sara, thank you so much for being with us today. 

Sara: You’re so welcome!  I had such a great time.

Sara Motes is a Pinterest strategist who helps service-based businesses learn how to use Pinterest to get more email subs, website traffic, and dream clients.

Visit her website here.

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