Pinterest Traffic: Possibility or Time Dump?

Pinterest Traffic: Possibility or Time Dump?

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how to get pinterest trafficHello.

My name is Ana.

And I have Multiple Interest Syndrome (MIS).

That’s right.

Turns out that I have many interests. (gasp!)

I feel very much discriminated against because of my MIS.

Here’s how:

1.   Blogging:

When I first started Traffic Generation Cafe, I was told over and over again that I needed to pick a niche and stick with it.

Keep your focus narrow, keep your head down, and keep your personal life to yourself.

Sure I’d love to start a bunch of blogs dedicated to every interest I have, but let’s be realistic: even I can’t bend time limitations.

2.   Facebook:

Don’t mix personal life and business.

Find your target audience and share ONLY what THEY might be interested in.

Fine, a personal update won’t kill anyone every once in a while – after all, we do need to show that we are only human, but keep it to the minimum!

Of course, Facebook only allows one account, so my MIS had to be quenched there.

3.   Twitter:

See above under “Facebook”.

Sure you can have as many Twitter accounts as you want and gain as many different followers with different interests as you want, but what a pain!

4.   … and the list goes on.

So what’s the girl left to do?

pinterest way

In Comes Pinterest

I was standing strong; I really was.

Surely, it’s just another fad” I thought…

I am no Martha Stewart and I am not running a cooking blog.”

But then I kept seeing images like these:

 

pinterest traffic shareholic

And hearing that Pinterest is quickly becoming one of the largest referral traffic sources among any social media networks.

Mashable.com ranked Pinterest as the #3 social media site, with 104 million visitors.

Here’s the ranking:

  1. Facebook: 7 billion
  2. Twitter: 182 million
  3. Pinterest: 104 million
  4. LinkedIn: 86 million
  5. Tagged: 72 million
  6. Google+: 61 million

pinterest and referral traffic

And here comes the best part:

Pinterest is NOT yet another social media network.

Pinterest is quickly becoming the largest “social shopping” network.

Pinterest is not just raising brand awareness but is also driving purchase behavior.   About 25% of consumers reported purchasing a product or service after discovering it on Pinterest – that number jumped to 37% amongst males.”

Source – Compete.com

Have you ever purchased a product or service after discovering it on a Pinterest

Wow…

I must admit, I was getting jealous…

Someone else is figuring out how to drive traffic and even make money on Pinterest!

Heck, if anyone is generating traffic from Pinterest, it should be ME!

So I asked Brankica Underwood for a Pinterest invite (it’s still an invitation-only network, which hasn’t prevented them to grow to around 20 million users, based on third-party sources), and off I went to explore.

If you are a “get to the bottom line already!“, here’s the bottom line:

pinterest bottom line

I was hooked…

Pinterest Challenge

Now I need to backtrack for a second and refresh your memory on how this quest for Pinterest traffic started.

Exactly one week ago, I decided to throw a fit over the fact that a photo of mine that, in my opinion, should’ve gone viral, went no where instead.

If you haven’t read the original post, everything will make sense once you do:

That post also served as a springboard to my Pinterest experiment:

Can Pinterest bring targeted well-converting traffic in decent enough numbers that would make it worth the trouble?

To track my success (or failure – we’ll see in a minute), I took a screenshot of my Pinterest traffic as of that day: July 16, 2012.

Here it is again:

tgc pinterest traffic in july

25 visits from Pinterest from June 15 to July 15.

Then I asked you, my readers to pin that image and otherwise spread the word about the post through other social media networks.

Results

Once again, my question was:

Can Pinterest bring targeted traffic to non-visual niche sites?

You were kind enough to share my post as much as you could and the post got:

how pinterest post got shared

All the numbers are pretty average for my blog, except for one: Pinterest pins.

Sure, 42 pins are a far cry from 1,000 pins that I (somewhat) jokingly set as a goal.

But 42 pins are still 6 times more than any other post would get on average.

Now let’s see how those 42 pins affected my Pinterest traffic in the past week:

pinterest traffic stats(Click on the image to enlarge)

84 visits from Pinterest made it my third largest traffic source after Facebook and Twitter.

So what, you say?

What truly impressed me about those numbers were the quality of traffic indicators, like Pages per Visit, Average Visit Duration, and Bounce Rate.

FB and Twitter numbers were no where close!

The only damper was the fact that none of 84 Pinterest visits converted into email subscribers, which is my primary conversion goal at Traffic Generation Cafe.

Can’t have it all, can I?

Before We Go Any Further….

I bet the most impending question on your mind right now is:

“Will Pinterest work for MY business?”

What is the RISK (time and effort invested) vs REWARD (resulting traffic and sales)?

Let me ask you this:

  • Is your niche highly visual in nature?

After all, Pinterest is all about visually appealing images.

THEN PINTEREST IS FOR YOU.

  • Is there a planning element to your brand?

Weddings, parties, remodeling, gardening, pets, education, fashion… – just to name a few.

THEN PINTEREST IS FOR YOU.

  • Do you have predominantly female clientele?

82% of Pinterest users are women between ages of 25 and 54.

Of course, you need to remember that women dominate most social media networks, as well as like to shop.

pinterest traffic male vs female

I normally strongly dislike infographics, but this one (courtesy of Digital Flash NYC; via WebProNews) gave me a lot to think about.

And the last question:

  • Are the kind of smart marketer like who have taken notice of Pinterest—not because you want to join another social network—but because you want to learn how to leverage the new visually-driven style of social media?

THEN PINTEREST IS FOR YOU.

I bet you I cornered you with that last question. :)

Really, what are you going to do – answer NO?

By the way, if I had asked myself those first three questions above before I started using Pinterest a week ago, my answers would’ve been NO to all of them.

  • NO – I am not in a visual kind of niche’
  • NO – there’s no planning element to my business;
  • NO – my audience is not predominantly female.

And now, after a week of pinning, let me tell you: I was wrong on all accounts.

My readers are as diverse as they could be.

Dan is a home fitness fanatic:

pinterest fitness

Lisa Melia blogs about pregnancy and newborn essentials:

pinterest pregnancy

Sarah runs a blog dedicated to busy moms.

pinterest homeschooling

Johann Kotze is a yoga teacher:

pinterest yoga

And the list goes on…

Your Bite-Sized Pinterest Guide

There are plenty of tutorials written on how to use Pinterest and this won’t be one of them.

Instead, here’s my short list of quick tips that I had to learn the hard way or saw other users get it wrong time and time again.

Your Bio

This is really the main bit of information you need to provide about yourself, yet so many users don’t use these few lines to the fullest extend.

Branding and the users’ ability to follow your brand back to your site is paramount.

pinterest bio section

1.   Your URL won’t become clickable, but it’s good for branding.  Plus, many users won’t know how to find your site otherwise (see 4).

2.   Hashtags work the same way on Pinterest as they do on Twitter.

Use them to be found by both users and search engines.

Additional hashtag tip: when you use hashtags in your pin descriptions, they become clickable links and will take you to a search page for that term.

3.   It’s a good idea to use the same image of you/your logo on both your site and throughout your social media networks.

Being recognized as a familiar face is half the battle in branding!

4.   Yes, there’s that space for your URL.

However, most users wouldn’t know it when they see your profile.

As a matter of face, I just bothered to see what it links to when writing this post…. Duh!

pinterest site url

Pinning Images

You want to make it as easy as possible for your readers to pin your images.

1.   Install a Pinterest button.

Adding it to your social media sharing bar might not do the trick.

You need to remind your readers to click that button, and the best way I found to do it is with Pin Button Attraction (terrible name, but a great plugin from Chris Guthrie).

This plugin will add a Pin It button to any image you select – it can be all, some, or none.

I’ve tested pretty much every plugin in the WP directory, and this one still worked the best.

2.   Write the title of your image as if it’s the pin description.

Let’s see what happens when you pin the infographic above.

pinterest description

Men are from Mars, women are from Pinterest” is the title of my image, and that’s why the Pin It button pulled it into the pin description.

pinterest title

Doing this will make it easier for your readers (and you) to pin your images.

Less effort = more pins.

 Following People on Pinterest

Correction: you don’t follow people on Pinterest; you follow theirinterests.

That’s one of my favorite things about Pinterest – no overflow of information.

Let’s say I want to check out Francisco Rosales from SocialMouths.com:

pinterest socialmouths

 

(He needs to read the bio section above. ;) )

He currently has 7 boards (each board is a collection of images on the same narrow subject).

If I am interested in everything he is, I’ll press the big red “Follow All” button at the top.

If I could care less about his board about Los Angeles, because I live in San Francisco, or I could care less about following his blog posts, because I think I write a whole lot better than he does (just kidding), then I can choose to follow only some of the boards (press the “Follow” button under each board).

Who’s Pinning Your Images?

It’s always nice to say Thank you to your readers who choose to pin your images, isn’t it?

I had no idea how to do it until I read this Pinterest report (one of the best I’ve read on the topic) yesterday.

All you need to do to look up the people who are pinning images from your site is to go to:

http://pinterest.com/source/trafficgenerationcafe.com

Just replace trafficgenerationcafe.com with your site, of course.

How to Drive Traffic from Pinterest

I learned about this traffic strategy by simply browsing Pinterest to see what others were doing.

It didn’t take me long to notice this Pinterest user: Your Social Media Company.

It was literally everywhere I went.

Needless to say, I checked out their profile, images, follow some of their boards, and yes, went to their website.

To my surprise, this seeming Pinterest behemoth turned out to be a small (but very creative!) social media company in Charleston, SC.

I bet they are driving tons of traffic from Pinterest!

Their secret?

I believe their main success on Pinterest lies with participation in community boards.

What Are Community Boards?

Community boards are your basic groups.

Someone creates a board that might be of interest to others and invites people they already follow to join the board.

There’s a difference between following a community board (anyone can follow) and being able to pin to that board (you have to be added by the creator of the board for that).

Back to our new Pinterest friend – Your Social Media Company:

Out of 59 boards under their belt, about 31 of them were community boards!

pinterest yoursocialmedia

Moreover, only a couple of those were even created by them.

Your Social Media Company is an amazing example of leveraging other users’ networks to gain exposure, brand recognition, and traffic.

And for that, they earned my deep respect.

By the way, if you watch them carefully, you’ll pick up quite a few tricks on how to make the best of Pinterest.

I know I did.

OUR Community Board

If you want to create your own community boards, the biggest hurdle you’ll have to overcome is promotion.

Creativity and relative novelty of the concept should definitely help.

It also doesn’t hurt to know a few people.

I happened to know some VERY SPECIAL people.

My email subscribers.

They are the ones who put up with my peculiar emails on a weekly basis and they are the ones who get the first dibs on all my great ideas.

So I emailed them to let them know I had this brilliant idea to promote each other on Pinterest and created a new community board for bloggers of all niches: Z-Listic.

pinterest community board

In about a day, we got 425 followers and 70 pins.

Not too shabby for a day’s work…

By the way, feel free to join us – you’ll find out how in the board description (make sure what you need to add there in case you’d like to start your own community board).

Pinterest Marketing Takeaway

I have a feeling I’ll see a lot of “Glad you like it, but it’s not for me” comments on this post, and that’s absolutely fine.

One size never fits all, when it comes down to marketing.

I think Pinterest has a lot of potential because:

  1. It’s interest-specific and you don’t have to limit yourself to just one niche.
  2. It’s buyer-oriented.
  3. It’s still relatively unchartered – a lot of room to become a heavy lifter.
  4. It’s addictive (and our sites are NOT).
  5. Its potential for traffic is tremendous.
  6. Your individual boards or pins also have potential to rank on Google and bring independent search traffic (one of my boards, Hot Men Netpreneurs, ranked on Google within a day. Of course, it’s not a competitive term of any kind, but goes to show that it’s possible.)
  7. I could think of a few more, but I need to wrap up the post.

The other side of the coin:

  1. It takes time.
  2. The results for your specific business are uncertain until you actually try it (of course, that goes for any new traffic generation strategy).
  3. Who needs another social network?

The last question was best answered by my friend Mitz in her recent Social Media Checklist for Website Builders post (paraphrased):

best way to get traffic

And there you have it.

So come join me on Pinterest, watch what others do to drive traffic back to their sites, join us on Z-Listic, and pin away!

OR AT LEAST SHARE THIS POST WITH SOMEONE WHO’LL PIN IT.

Pinning,

traffic generation cafe on pinterest

traffic generation cafe comment below

Google+ Comments

70 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Ooh, I really like this post Ana!

    I joined Pinterest a couple of months back and found myself hooked for the first few days (I even remember Tweeting about the addiction). Having said that, I must’ve gone cold turkey because a few boards and about 100 pins later, I left it alone and haven’t gone back.

    I still don’t know why but figured I’d get myself back over there after reading this.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Sadly, I am in the same boat, Gareth. I figured out how to drive converting traffic from it, yet struggle to find time to actually follow up.

  2. Wow, a very thorough investigation of Pinterest, I’m going to read it again and see what I can use in my own social media marketing venture. I haven’t used Pinterest for business yet – currently using tumblr, Facebook and Twitter – but because of the amount of traffic it generates I’m on it!

    About Facebook, I know you cannot set up multiple accounts, but surely the ability to set up multiple pages makes up for this. I find that multiple pages on Facebook are easy to handle – much less effort than updating multiple Twitter accounts, that’s for sure.

  3. Hey Ana,

    This is probably the best post I’ve read about Pinterest. And, I have bookmarked it so I’ll probably end up going back to it again and again when I start implementing my Pinterest strategy.

    I have been a member of Pinterest for a while, but I haven’t received much traffic from it. What I have been thinking about is if I should add my website address or name to the images, or test having quotes on images. That seems to work great on Facebook. And from what I’ve seen, it works great on Pinterest as well.

    • Ana Hoffman

      I think Pinterest is definitely worth a shot, Jens; I’ve been enjoying it and my traffic has gone up over 800% since I started being active there.

      • Wow, 800%? That’s amazing. And I know that you’ve got a lot of traffic from before you started using Pinterest.

        I definitively need to learn more about Pinterest :)

        • Ana Hoffman

          It probably sounds a bit more impressive than it actually is, Jens lol, but it really is my fourth (from what I remember) referral source right now.

  4. Great article, thanks! I love Pinterest and definitely have MIS. I have two pinterest accounts! The one for this blog is all about blogging and social media so going to check out your Pinterest account and the group boards you mentioned. Thanks again.

  5. hey thanks anna for adding my big friendly smile profile pic.
    you know, since i started using that pic on my facebook page i got so many positive comments i started using it on my website for personal branding and my others sites too…with nice results.

  6. Anna, this post on pinterest was a mouth full of information.

    I never really picked interest in pinterest until i got a free report sometime back on what it is.

    Inspite of that, i never really did anything until after about one month.

    This post is really an eye-opener and i think i can follow your tips and see how to leverage of some of the traffic power of pinterest.

    Thumbs up Anna.

  7. Thomas Nordland

    Hi Ana,

    Thank you for this great post and awesome analysis. To be honest, I didn’t think that Pinterest is for me until I read your post.
    You changed my whole prospective and thank you for the invitation I will join you on Z Listie.

    Have great weekend,
    Thomas

    • Ana Hoffman

      You’ll never know if it’s right for your business until you actually try it for yourself, Thomas.

  8. Ana Hoffman

    First of all, congrats, Mrs. Pickrell!!!

    With all the brilliant minds out there, I am surprised no one has figured out how to stretch those 24 hours per day, huh?

    When it comes down to business, the best thing we all need to stick with is to find what works best for OUR type of business, whether it’s Pinterest or Twitter or Facebook, and stick with that platform(s).

    How’s Pinterest working for your business?

  9. Anton Koekemoer

    Hi Ana,

    Thanks for sharing the experiment and finding with us. Especially with the great and informative info-graphic to support your findings. When seeing the stats on the info-graphic it sometimes makes one wonder about Pinterest – especially in the long term marketing. I think this is one of the main reasons they have exploded in the number of users using Pinterest. But with the various plugins and marketing opportunities – This is a channel worth doing research and analysis on to explore the potential ROI for your specific niche or market.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Exactly my point, Anton – any time there are hordes of people somewhere, it’s a great opportunity for those who can figure out how to take advantage of it.

  10. Marnie Byod

    Hi Ana,
    It’s nice to be here in your blog.
    I am also a pinterest fanatic and but I am not aware with some advantages of using Pinterest. I was blind by so many things that I missed. So thank you for that!

  11. Hi Ana, I finally set up my Pinterest account and much to my surprise I found that many of my images had already been ‘pinned’ and shared.

  12. I have been addicted to Pinterest for my personal interests for over a year now. I have resisted using it for promoting my website since none of my personal Pinterest followers are the type that would be interested in learning how to find work from home and most of them “follow all” of my pins. It will be interesting to see what kind of reaction I get now that I have a z list board. I have since sent myself an invitation and set up an account just for my webpage and I am wondering if that is a better way to approach Pinterest?

    • Ana Hoffman

      Good point about setting up a different account, Patti.

      I too am thinking of starting a new account just for fashion/decorating, etc. – I think it is better to separate radically different interests and avoid overwhelming our followers with info they might not be interested in.

  13. Great ideas, Ana – I just joined and am off to create my bio as well as join you. Pinterest is WAY too interesting for my own good!

  14. First Ana, it looks so professional the way you analise traffic to your website , so often and into details.

    I get the feel that it does not matter if this traffic buy or sign but if they stay long enough so they must help ranking and bring buyers.

    Also wha you can not see on analyising is who will comeback in future and if he will sign/ buy etc…

    I hope that ill manage to take part on this one.
    Fingers crossed on your success
    Ofer

    • Ana Hoffman

      You know, Ofer, I used to think that targeted traffic that converts is all that matter, but now I see the value even in seemingly “useless” traffic.

      It creates the kind of social proof that other more serious readers and advertisers are looking for.

      And thank you!

  15. Great information Ana, plenty of important info to digest here.

    I have not yet taken too much interest in Pinterest but your post has prompted me to take a closer look. It is really interesting to see the stat referra comparisons, it looks like I am possibly missing out here.

    I do have the ‘Pin’ share button on my site I and can see that some of my posts are being pinned, so I can see the benefits. So I am now off to take a closer look and become a member of the Pinterest community.

    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.

    – Phil

    • Ana Hoffman

      I do hate to feel like I am missing the boat, Phil.

      I’d rather take a chance to find out for myself whether something would work for my business or not rather than regretting not doing anything about it later.

      Glad you you are checking it out; let me know how it goes.

      • Hi Ana, I finally set up my Pinterest account and much to my surprise I found that many of my images had already been ‘pinned’ and shared.

        So whilst I am still finding my way with it and there is obviously a learning curve I can see the benefits and look forward to sharing.

        Again thank you for your post and the advice which helped me get started with Pinterest.

        - Phil :)

        • Ana Hoffman

          Glad you saw first-hand that people love to share images, Phil – wherever the images come from!

          Look forward to seeing you around Pinterest!

  16. Ohh? It’s really nice that hashtags also work on Pininterest just like on Twitter. That would help on the searching process. :D

    Also, it’s hilarious to read the statistics and comparison on how women and men use the social web. Lol’d hard at how men post stuff on fb/twitter and later regretting it. hahaha :))

  17. What an informative post and I love how you shared the results. I had not used many hashtags – I would assume you can go back and edit some to do that? Same with the website in your bio. Another new one. I’ve seen a lot of sites and blogs where the pin button has not worked and I’ve used the add button on Pinterest itself to pin the url. Must be those plug-ins :) Thanks for sharing.

  18. I also have MIS actually but in selecting my field. I am a student and currently doing Engineering in Comp. Sci. I am confused in what should do Studies? Blogging? Software Programming ? What??????

    I have interest in many more things and the list goes on. What should I do? How should I manage all these??

    If you have 5 secs its my humble request to please check my blog. I would love to hear about it from you.

  19. LOL Ana
    Thanks for the mention!

    I did have (MIS) like you but I now have (NIW) No Interest WhatsoEver in joining any more social networks.

    It is great to have friends with (MIS) as I can still get some social sharing through them.
    :)

  20. Awesome post Ana!

    Thanks indeed for the invitation and I sure am loving being part of Z-Listic. :)

    I keep getting notifications as soon as there’s someone pinning something new up, which otherwise we don’t get even if you follow someone’s interests. I think the idea of joining a community is indeed a wonderful idea, and thanks for taking this initiative.

    Yes indeed, Pinterest is all visual, so if we have anything worthwhile to share with people – Pinterest is the right place.

    Thanks for sharing and looking forward to seeing more pins from everyone there. :)

    • Ana Hoffman

      So far, I loved being there, Harleena, except for one thing – too many great images to look through. lol

      Thanks for joining us!

  21. What an awesome analysis. Ana this blog post is more than wonderful, i actually created an account on Pinterest some weeks ago but abandoned it because i didn’t know what to do about it, but now i know.

    Thanks for sharing such a priceless tips.

  22. great post! finally i have my name in lights hehe, love the tip about personal branding, it’s really something i need to work on.
    The community board is doing great for me, lots of new followers (which i find is really difficult on pinterest) I will be pinning away next week to test it out properly.
    Thanks for the opportunity to be a part of this experiment :)
    I have chronic MIS!

    • Ana Hoffman

      You are so welcome, Lisa – it pays off to be at the right place at the right time. lol

      I didn’t realize you had an IM site as well.

      Look forward to seeing you around! And speaking of branding, what’s up with the blank avatar?

  23. It’s a brilliant idea Ana, I’ve been getting into pinterest too, not just from a business perspective either – it really is so much fun! And thank you for your earlier feedback about signing off with a name and not just my ‘brand’ identity :) Enjoy your day, Bahee

  24. Great case study, Ana, and I’d love to be part of the Z-list. While my stats aren’t as impressive, a growing number of people are choosing to pin things from my site. And I’m pretty hooked on it, too!

  25. Mitchell Allen

    Holy Cork board, Batman.

    Great post. Glad to be a part of the Z-list.
    I Evernoted your epic post so that I can study all of the nuances.

    Off to check my bio.

    Cheers,

    Mitch

  26. Ana,
    Thanks for the kudos to Your Social Media Company and for including us in this in-depth post about one of our favorite platforms. Hopefully this piece will encourage more people and brands to explore the possibilities of the Pin. Well written and BTW, we’re following you so we can pick up your tricks as you go.
    Keep Pinning!

    • Ana Hoffman

      Thanks for coming by, Kevin, and it’s a pleasure to get to know your company and you on Pinterest.

      You indeed showed me how things should be done there – I look forward to learning even more from you as well.

      PS I used to live in Mt. Pleasant; beautiful spot! Joseph’s for breakfast; Rue De Jean for dinner… My mouth is watering…

  27. Now, Ana gone pinning – if that is right at all.

    Long post, i read through and learned from it as well.

    Pinterest is here to say. I guess the stats is right tha Pinterest is no 3 according to you, its also no 3 traffic source…

    Sheyi

  28. Hey Ana,

    wow, when you say you’re gonna do some research you mean it, don’t you?

    AWESOME post as always.

    p.s. think you might have sent me the wrong invite but I’ll drop you a mail about it,

    so you’re a Pinterest convert now then?

    • Ana Hoffman

      I usually stick with everything that works while it still works, Alan.

      So yes, I’ll continue being active on Pinterest while results last.

      It took me 3 days to finish this post… could’ve been a lot longer!

  29. I love this article. It gives a lot of great info about Pinterest. I actually had a bio, but I went in there and added some hash tags. I had put my website url into the panel, but because I put 2 blogs in, it didn’t click through to any of the sites. (I thought I was doing well by doing this, now I’ve realised I did the very opposite).
    I’ve now repaired that thanks to you.

  30. Wow that’s quite the informative post Ana! I see why it took longer than you expected to put it together. Great job. I believe I will have to put a little more effort into Pinterest. Community boards…great idea.

  31. Ana,

    Absolutely EPIC Pinterest post… I love how you used all the little Pinterest pictures that get shared like “Text on funny Picture” and the Infographic…

    Here’s my question to you as now Expert Pinterest User…

    When I click the “Pin-it” button on your scrolling sharebar no picture comes up and I don’t have the option to choose which picture I want to Pin. How do you change that?

    It’s the reason I don’t have a “Pin-It” Button on my site…

    Thanks!!

    Ryan H.

    • Ana Hoffman

      I am definitely ahead of many as far as Pinterest is concerned, Ryan – by an entire week!

      Good question about the Pin button in the share bar. When I first installed it, this was all that was available. I was hoping that they would update it to including all the latest features of a pin button, but it looks like it’s time to switch plugins.

      Thanks for the reminder!

      I hope that the pin buttons on the images themselves will generate the pins.

  32. Ouch! got schooled, in public…

    Thanks for the reminder about adding a bio =\ and thanks for the mention. The post is great, you definitely added much more value and insight than the usual Pinterest post.

    Francisco