For many of us, social media is a fun hobby and not much more. But did you know that there are many ways that you can make money online through these different platforms? It can turn something you love doing anyway into a viable source of income, which could be a dream come true.
A popular social media platform is Pinterest. The site is known to be filled with inspo for home decor and fashion, plus handy hacks and how-tos. But how can you make money on Pinterest? Luckily for you, we have a full guide to the process, from start to finish. We’re here to help you earn money doing something you already love – and what’s not to like about that?
What is Pinterest?
Launched in 2009, Pinterest is a social media platform primarily used for the sharing of images. It’s less focused on social interaction and focuses more on being a sort of mood board. Users collect pins of specific items or ideas, then organize them into different themes of projects. It’s very popular with those planning home renovations or weddings, as it’s full of inspirational ideas on these topics. Pinterest is also known for containing information relating to life-hacks. It offers short, image-based tutorials uploaded by users to make life run that little bit more smoothly.
Many see Pinterest as a slightly twee idea station, primarily used in creation of personal projects. But overlooking this platform as a source of passive income could be a huge mistake. It has a ton of users (over seventy million), with many of them very active and willing to spend a long time browsing the site. This means there are a ton of potential followers on the site for you. Gaining followers is the only real way to start earning extra money online.
There are other reasons why earning money on Pinterest can be an attractive concept. For one thing, you don’t need to spend time creating a blog and building followers – you can just appeal to the huge number already on Pinterest. Unlike trying to make money blogging, Pinterest does some of the hard work for you. You also don’t need to spend time creating complex and in-depth blog posts.
Pinterest is streamlined, easy and quick. Another bonus? Making a Pinterest account is absolutely free, meaning there are no upfront (or future) costs to your new business venture. It’s essential no risk, which can be great for those looking to earn a little extra cash on the side.
So how do you make money from Pinterest?
This article is designed to be a guide through the different ways users can monetize their Pinterest accounts. But before we get down to the nitty gritty, we’re just going to talk about the general method through which cash can be earned on Pinterest (and, indeed on any social media platform).
Users of social media can earn money through what’s called affiliate marketing. Essentially, this means you become “affiliated” with a particular product, and when somebody buys it based on your recommendation, you can earn a commission. This has long been the main source of influencer income. Think of sponsored content on Instagram and Youtube. You can see how this system applies well to Pinterest.
On Pinterest, you create uploads of different images called pins. When a user clicks on a pin, it takes them to another site where the product (or tutorial, or recipe, etc.) will be available. By making sure you’re associated with this product, you can ensure earning a small income based on any purchase made through your link. While this is usually only a tiny fraction of the product’s cost, over time this can add up as your audience grows.
Why is Pinterest so ideal for affiliate marketing?
Many people use social media as a method to contact friends and meet new people. But Pinterest isn’t primarily concerned with this sort of interaction. Put simply: this platform is about stuff. People go to Pinterest to find inspiration in terms of things to buy – in fact, many view it as a sort of online shopping search engine. It almost works as window shopping across a huge array of e-commerce sites.
This means you can post more affiliate products and marketing content on Pinterest than on other platforms. It’s what people are there to see!
Another reason this platform is excellent in terms of generating income is the way it changes in time. While most social media and blogging platforms are very much based on what’s new, Pinterest doesn’t work that way. Pin images on the site stick around forever. This means if they generate interest, they can be used to drive traffic consistently over time. If your pin gets a lot of repins, it will show up in people’s feeds fairly consistently, making it an ongoing source of affiliate income.
You don’t need to build your own website in order to generate this income, either. You can sort of cut out the middle man, and take traffic straight from a product to a buying link, with you being able to take a small fee. This makes it super efficient and easy when compared with other social media affiliate marketing options.
How to follow the rules
While making money through affiliate links is very much allowed, spamming is not. You need to be careful not to take advantage of the system, or you could be at risk of getting banned. Make sure you’re balancing your own promoted pins with a fair amount of repinning. Take note of the community guidelines to help ensure you don’t get into trouble.
When you’re building an audience of followers, you want them to trust you. If it’s clear you’re there only to squeeze money out of them, it’s unlikely you’ll manage to sustain a loyal following. You need to be posting quality content with some affiliate links, rather than the other way around. Don’t try to mislead people into clicking links in order to help you generate income. Rather, try to serve your followers what they want – because often, that’ll be a product purchase anyway.
Steps to making money on Pinterest
We’re first going to walk you through the initial stages you’ll need to complete in order to start your Pinterest income journey. We’re then going to give you more specific tips relating to boosting your income and growing your business even further.
Step One: Create Account
It should go without saying that the first thing you need to go is sign up with Pinterest. You can easily create an account here, and can even use your Google or Facebook login to streamline the process.
If you’re looking to turn this hobby into a service based business, it’s recommended to go with the business account. This allows more access to handy tools like analytics, and will really speed up your money making process. There’s more information on that right here.
Step Two: Build Some Boards
If you’re starting from scratch with a new account, the first thing you should do is create some pin boards, so your account doesn’t look empty. The good news is that starting from here means you can create boards that are already relating to the niche with the sort of products you’ll want to be affiliated with. But to start with, don’t worry about creating links – simply spend a little time filling out your profile.
Step Three: Get Affiliated
Once you have a profile up and running, it’s time to start thinking about money. Even those without an established following can sign up to affiliate networks to start boosting their income. The good news? The vast majority of online retailers have affiliate programs through which you can earn. Simply search online for different methods of creating affiliate links.
Step Four: Get With The Program
Once you have a full profile and have built up a following, it can be worth considering joining a specific program. There are many of these online, and essentially, they work by making your links affiliated for you, as a sort of virtual assistant.
They efficiently take the hard work out of you searching for and create affiliations with certain brands of products. The only thing is, you usually have to have some level of popularity already in order to join. Once you’ve built up more of a following through quality content, though, it could be something well worth looking into. You can even join more than one program to diversify and ensure you aren’t overly reliant on one source, in case it shuts down.
Step Five: Start Creating
Once you have the tools for making money in place, you can start to create the content that will support this. You may wish to look into specific graphic design software to help you create unusual and attractive looking pins, which can get more attention than simply re-using product images from a brand. Ensure that the link associated with your pin is affiliated to you before posting – otherwise, you’ll miss out. Be careful with link shorteners, too, as these can mess up tracking and cause you to lose commissions.
Step Six: Be Descriptive
Remember that this platform works like a search engine. You want your pins to, therefore, be as easy to find as possible. The best way to do this is through definitive, full descriptions, plus clever use of keywords.
It can be a good idea to look at things like Google Analytics to understand what people are actually searching for online. This can help you tailor your pins to a wider audience. It also tends to work better if you create a sentence or small paragraph which encapsulates several keywords, rather than simply listing them, which can look unnatural.
Step Seven: Disclose, Disclose, Disclose!
It can be tempting to leave off the fact that a link is an affiliate when posting online. But not only is this misleading and sneaky, but it can also be illegal. It’s far better to disclose, as it allows you to maintain an open and honest relationship with your followers. If they feel you’re trying to dupe them for money, you’re unlikely to get anywhere in terms of influencer marketing.
Step Eight: Get Busy
In order for an account to be successful, it needs to be active. Make sure you’re constantly giving your followers something to come back for. This means pinning a lot. If you don’t actively enjoy using Pinterest, then it’s unlike that it’s going to be a viable way for you to earn money.
If your primary reason for using the platform is to generate income, that will likely become abundantly clear, and no one will want to follow you! You need to be creating and sharing both paid and unpaid content every day, and preferably throughout the day.
Step Nine: Level Up
Once you’re running a successful Pinterest page, you can start to turn it into more of a small business. Starting this journey using manual tools and creating everything yourself tends to be the way to go, as you don’t have to invest anything upfront.
However, over time, it can be well worth looking into automation services to streamline your process. This allows you to schedule posts and helps you create affiliate links automatically. While this shouldn’t be your first port of call, it can be incredibly useful if your Pinterest side hustle starts to take over too much of your time.
Alongside the regular steps to take you from zero to hero on Pinterest, there are extra additions which can help make the process smoother, quicker and easier.
- Don’t Spam. Employ at least a fifty-fifty rule in terms of affiliate and non-affiliate content.
- Be Active. You can’t just use Pinterest as a means of making cash – you need to be interacting with other users content, too.
- Put In The Time. You’re never going to become an instant success overnight. Grit and determination are key when starting an online venture.
- Enjoy It. You need to be using Pinterest because you like it, not just because you suspect it’s a good way to earn some cash. If you’re just money hungry, that will become apparent, and it isn’t an attractive quality.
Pinterest have their very own guide to generating an income, available here. We also have guides to different ways to make money online to help you out. Our full guide to starting a blog and making money from it is available here. We also have a guide to the best blogging sites to make you money. We’ve got a full post all about content monetization, too. Finally, if you’re interested in learning more about Pinterest, check out this post.