In spring of 2016, Pinterest made a shocking announcement: They were allowing DIRECT affiliate links on pins again. WAHOO!
That’s right, you can now link a pin directly to a product or website you’re an affiliate for. This cuts out the “middle man” step of sending someone to read the product review on your blog first, and then hoping they’ll click on your affiliate link and make a purchase.
This is BIG news. Although affiliate links were allowed on Pinterest in the past, they were banned for over a year because the platform was becoming too spammy. But apparently those uber-smart people at Pinterest headquarters have spiffed things up a bit, and we can now use our beloved affiliate links again. Hooray!
Now, for those people thinking Pinterest affiliate links are a great way to “make a quick buck”, let me say straight up: This post probably isn’t for you. Yes, you can go all super-spam-o and fill your feed with a million affiliate pins, and if you decide to do that – power to you girl.
BUT if you really care about your brand, your followers, and your credibility, and you still want to give Pinterest affiliate links a try, read on…
9 Tips to Avoid the Spam Storm (but still make money!)
We all want to keep Pinterest from becoming a spam-fest, right? Especially if you’re someone like me, who LOVES Pinterest and uses it as part of their business model. With that being said, here are nine “guidelines” to keep in mind before diving into the Pinterest-affiliate-link pool…
1. Only link to products you’ve used + loved
This one will be obvious to most of you, but I still think it’s worth mentioning. PLEASE don’t let the prospect of making money get in the way of the trust your readers have for you by recommending things you haven’t tried or don’t truly love.
Here’s the golden rule: Only promote products or services that you’ve a) used (durr), and b) would recommend to your Mom. Les simples.
2. NAIL your pin descriptions
Now that we’ve cut out that “middle step” of sending people to your blog first, your pin descriptions are your best (and basically only) way to sell the product or service you’re recommending.
First, you’ll want to use SEO keywords related to the item you’re promoting, so your pins will rank higher in Pinterest search. For more details on Pinterest SEO, check out this post on finding the perfect Pinterest keywords.
Second, write an honest and compelling mini-review of the product in the actual pin description. In 2-3 sentences, explain:
• What the product is
• Why you love it so much
• What value it’s provided (e.g., cut back on time, saved you money, improved your X skills, etc.)
Above all, make your description personal and engaging. Now that affiliate links are about to become commonplace on Pinterest, simply listing the product name and price isn’t gonna cut it! Make us fall in love with the product by explaining, in a personal and down-to-earth way, how it’s benefited you.
3. If it doesn’t fit on one of your boards…
Don’t put it there!
Here’s what I mean by that: If an affiliate pin doesn’t naturally fall into the categories of one of your boards, don’t put it there just because you can. You still need to keep up your Pinterest standards, after all!
Throwing in random pins here and there is only going to lessen your credibility in your readers’ eyes. Sure, you might make an extra buck or two, but is it worth it if you lose your most faithful and loyal followers in the process?
Now if there’s something you really, REALLY love, but it doesn’t fit onto any of your boards, that’s where Tip #4 comes in…
4. Create a board to feature your favorite tools and resources
Yep, you have my permission to create a board specifically for your favorite tools, resources, products, and courses. THIS is where you can add those affiliate links that don’t really fit in anywhere else.
But remember: everything you share MUST benefit and/or be of interest to your ideal reader. That’s the “Pinterest golden rule” to adhere to!
5. Maintain your brand’s aesthetic
If your Pinterest graphics are gold and pink, but the affiliate product you want to promote is perched up on a dark green background (which would TOTALLY clash with your branding and Pinterest aesthetic), what do you do?
This, friends, is when you need to step it up a notch and create your OWN image for the product you love so much. No cutting corners and screen-shotting something right from the company’s website, unless it fits in perfectly with your branding!
Go the extra mile, open up Canva, and create your own pin featuring the product (using your brand’s colors and fonts). People will appreciate your extra effort, AND the image will go so much better with your Pinterest feed!
6. Be sure to actually add in the affiliate link
This probably sounds silly, but trust me — there’s been a time or two when I’ve gone to click on a pin leading to MY OWN blog, and there was no link to be found. Oopsie!
Double check that for every affiliate image you upload, you’ve gone back and manually added in your affiliate link. Otherwise, no moula for you babe!
7. Contact your favorite brands about becoming an affiliate
If you haven’t found any affiliate programs you like or feel comfortable with yet, contact your favorite brand directly (an email to the PR rep should do it). Tell them who you are, what you do, and why you love their brand and products so much. Then ask if you can work out some sort of affiliate arrangement.
Be sure to let them know that you’re planning on using your affiliate links on Pinterest, because some companies might not be comfortable with that (not yet at least!)
New to affiliate marketing but SO ready to start making passive income? When I got started, I took this course on affiliate marketing and it was so, SO helpful. Highly recommend!
8. Join the Amazon Associates Program
This is one of the most popular and well-known affiliate programs, and for good reason. You can find pretty much anything in the entire WORLD on Amazon, right? Which means that when you become an affiliate for them, your potential sales are basically limitless. Score!
But again, just because you CAN promote anything and everything under the sun, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Don’t become Mrs. Spam-o. No one likes Mrs. Spam-o. Only promote products you love and use yourself. Pretty please.
P.S. You can join Amazon Associates here!
9. Include “AffLink” in your affiliate pin descriptions
We can’t forget about those FTC rules, ladies! Although they’re pesky at times, the rules are there for a reason.
To comply with the FTC rules, be sure to mention in the pin description on every affiliate pin that you’ve used an affiliate link. You can do this by writing “Affiliate Link” or “aff link” in the description, or including similar text on the image itself.
BONUS TIP: Use a tool like BoardBooster to constantly “loop” affiliate pins
This gives your affiliate pins TONS of chances to be seen (and clicked on), with essentially zero effort on your part. Need specific details on how to use BoardBooster? You’ll love this post! And if you’re brand new to BoardBooster, make sure to get in on their free trial (your first 100 pins are free!)
For more details on how to rock out on Pinterest, be sure to download your FREE Pinterest Perfection Checklist. Click the image below to snag your copy, and here’s the blog post with all the details of how to use it!
Get the Pinterest Checklist
Download the 40-point checklist for Pinterest Perfection!