Is Pinterest A Social Media Platform or Search Engine – Jana OsofskY

Our guest this week is Jana Osofsky. Jana is a marketing and Pinterest expert for online course creators, coaches, and service providers. She creates strategies to generate a continuous flow of leads for a more profitable business. She started her career as a virtual assistant last 2016. She was creating content for a client and in time find herself at the back end of her client’s marketing. She discovered Pinterest and since then fell in love with it.

Jana’s website:

Pinterest with Purpose:

Katie Brinkley 0:02

Hi friends I’m Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado based small business owners, entrepreneurs, realtors and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Welcome back to Rocky Mountain marketing. My guest today is Jenna osofsky. Jenna Oh is a marketing expert and Pinterest specialist for online coaches, course creators and service providers. She got started working online in 2016 as a virtual assistant. Upon discovering that a client was leveraging Pinterest to get leads and sell their services. Jenna went all in on the platform. She has since developed a specialization in Pinterest marketing for lead generation. Now she helps her clients and students automate list growth so they can automate a steady stream of targeted leads for their courses and their programs and set themselves up for long term business success. And yes, she does all of this with Pinterest. She’s on a mission to spread the word that when set up properly, Pinterest can attract soulmate clients with a small investment of time each month. Jana, thank you so much for coming on to the show today.

Jana Osofsky 1:20

Oh, thank you for having me. Thank you for having me, Katie, I’m really excited to chat with you about this.

Katie Brinkley 1:27

Yeah, I mean, Pinterest, it is something that I think a lot of people really don’t understand. And I think that you’re going to be a great guest for us today. And we’ll have a lot of great tips to share. But before we dive right into Pinterest, I like to have my audience get to know the guests just a little bit and tell us a little bit about yourself. Tell us where you grew up and what life was like growing up for you? Oh, sure,

Jana Osofsky 1:49

absolutely. So I grew up in a really rural town in the northwest corner of Connecticut. So it’s the part of Connecticut that kind of sort of affiliates more with like New York, as opposed to be part of Connecticut that affiliates more with New England, but really small, like 3000 people in the town that I grew up in and I went to a Regional High School where there were kids coming from six different towns in the area, and I still only had 82 kids in my graduating class. So that’s the kind of small town rural kind of place that I came from. And I always kind of felt like although I there were some really great benefits of growing up in the country, and it was a great place to be in the you know, the schools were great. But I always kind of felt like drawn, you know, to city life. So as soon as I had the opportunity when I graduated high school, I just took off right away to go to college in Boston. And finally, when I got to Boston realized, Oh, yes, this is this is right. This is right. For me. I like the city. So I couldn’t have been a city dweller ever since. But yeah, I went to school in Boston at Emerson College, got a degree in marketing, didn’t really use it, because I went into human resources, and worked in corporate HR for like 16 years. But then when I relocated down to Florida to be closer to some of my family, and that was about 10 years ago, I kind of pivoted out of HR, because I didn’t really want to work at the field anymore, and started using my marketing degree more formally worked in marketing and sales for a little while at some local companies here in the Palm Beach County area in Florida. And then yeah, that took my business online like four years ago, because I just really wanted to be location independent, and travel and take my laptop and my business with me. So that’s kind of like in a nutshell, starting from Connecticut, going to Boston and ending up here somehow in South Florida. Yeah, I was gonna say in a story,

Katie Brinkley 3:33

I hear you there for wanting to have that that flexibility. I started my business about four and a half years ago. And there’s it’s a two edged sword because you can work from anywhere, but that’s the thing you you can work from anywhere. So true. And you can work any time, but you can work anytime.

Exactly, exactly. Well. So tell us a little bit about you know, when I in your introduction, you know, I told everybody about how you started as a virtual assistant discovered Pinterest. And I’d love just to kind of have you tell us a little bit about how you, you learned about it and how it kind of opened your eyes to a whole new world of, of marketing and gaining leads. Yeah, absolutely. So

Jana Osofsky 4:14

I like you mentioned I started out as a VA and I knew that I would do some kind of marketing online, but I just didn’t know what yet. So I just kind of wanted to dip my toe into the online world and it was really the perfect entree. I started doing content marketing support pretty quickly and one of my very first clients in the online space. She is an online coach, and of course creator she has a whole suite of courses that are very popular. She’s also a service provider really because she has some high level consulting work that she does with her clients as well all in the same vein. She I discovered when I got behind the scenes of her marketing systems, she was using Pinterest to drive the vast majority of the traffic to her website getting the vast majority of her leads that way the most people who were opting into her lead magnet, which is a quiz that she’s pretty famous for, the majority of the people coming to that landing page are coming from Pinterest. So it was really, really eye opening for me to realize that, you know, she was you know, selling all these courses and getting clients using Pinterest I up until then really had thought of it very similarly to some of your you know how your audience, some of your audience members may see it as place where I went to just sort of curate ideas and inspiration for things ways to make my life better my business better. But I hadn’t really thought about it from the marketing perspective. So it was really eye opening, I took a few courses took on some additional clients for Pinterest marketing in order to get my feet wet. And then, you know, Flash forward, I guess, or fast forward four years, I’ve worked with dozens and dozens of online coaches and course creators on a done for you one to one basis, setting up their strategic accounts and their workflows for regular pinning. And then I created a course as well to distill all of that process and all the things that I had learned that work well for the online coaches, course creators, service based businesses that are looking to try to get clients using Pinterest, you know, distilled all of that into a course so that I can help more people. So yeah, so that’s kind of like the the path that I took and how I learned about it. And I just really when I realized how amazing Pinterest is not only for lead generation, but it’s so much more low maintenance, then social media and can really be set up in sort of a I always say it’s kind of a set it and forget it type of platform, because you can set it for about a month and forget it and walk away and then come back a month later, and do your workflow again. And it doesn’t require engagement or showing up daily or really showing up personally at all, it’s much more of a passive way to generate traffic and leads. So I fell in love with it because of all those reasons. And yeah, that’s kind of why I went all in on it. Now a

Katie Brinkley 6:41

lot of people listening might be saying like, well isn’t maybe if I’m a wedding planner, or if I’m a cake Baker, or if I’m you know, wanting to gain some recipes. Like isn’t that what Pinterest is all about? And it isn’t I mean, it’s one it one of the things that I would love for you to talk about is how it’s its own search engine. It’s like a Google or a YouTube or a Bing. I mean, Pinterest is its own beast. And I do agree with you. I think that a lot of people just don’t understand how evergreen it is what as opposed to I mean, I’m a social media strategist, you know, social media, I love but at the same time, like once you post something, it has a very short shelf life. So talk to us a little bit about how Pinterest is a different sort of beast. And then typical social media platforms.

Jana Osofsky 7:34

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So as far as like what’s on Pinterest, and what people are actually searching for on Pinterest. It started about 10 years ago, and definitely in the beginning was really mostly recipes, home decor, those types of things. Definitely wedding planning. And those types of topics are still certainly hot on Pinterest, too. But the platform has just grown tremendously over the last 10 years, especially in the last three or four years. So it doubled in size in terms of monthly average users or average monthly users in the last few years. So I remember when it was like around 250 million average monthly user million monthly users. For some reason I’m stumbling over that. And that was just a couple of short years ago. And then you know, today, we actually know that it’s up to about 460 million monthly users. So it’s growing really fast. And a lot of that was happening already prior to the pandemic. But before so a lot of that was happening, that growth was happening really quickly for Pinterest. But I think the pandemic also kind of really even magnified that more so because so many people are at home and online. And also because so many people are looking for a place to go online where there’s a lot of positivity, and you can plan for the future, right for a brighter time. So for all those reasons, Pinterest just has has just grown. And the variety of the things that people are searching for on the platform now has also grown significantly. So for example, it’s become an absolute hub of information for health and wellness, and self care and things like that. And then it also has really exploded in the area of business. So there was an article a couple of I think it was in December, that Pinterest published all about how they’re anticipating business topics and small business and starting a business types of topics to just really continue to boom, on the platform. In 2021. I think the article was called CEO is the new DIY, I thought that was kind of cute. So for all those reasons, most people are surprised if they’re still thinking of Pinterest, as you know, all recipes and weddings and things when they hop on there. And they actually do a search for the things that they help with and teach about and offer through their offers both their free offers and their paid offers. It’s usually quite eye opening, you usually find that people are actually searching quite frequently for the things that you’re helping with. And if you can show up in those searches when they’re already searching for them. That’s pretty powerful, right? And then the other piece that you mentioned is you know that it’s a search engine. So it is actually much more like Google or YouTube for sure than it is like any kind of social media platform. And in fact, if you think about how Google works, right, you type something into the Google search. Search Bar. And Google brings you the algorithm basically shows you a whole bunch of things that might answer your question or give you the idea you’re looking for the inspiration you’re looking for. Over on Google, it’s more about like information and facts and things like that. So the search intense, a little different. Pinterest is actually the same as Google, except when someone searches something up on pictures. And so behind all those pictures, there are links to products and services and free offers and blog posts and podcast episodes, and, you know, YouTube videos, and anything that you want to basically point people to. And so it’s really in that sense, it’s so different than social media. And one of the great things about it, and you started to mention this is that people just like on Google can find your stuff on Pinterest for months and years to come in their searches and smart feed. So you just pinned something. And you can pin at once you can also pin it multiple times. So that’s a whole nother story altogether. But and then people will again find it it’ll surface and people searches and smart feeds, based on the keywords that you’ve used on your account and on your pins. And Pinterest belief. You know, the algorithm, I always personify the algorithm, that your content is a match for people in terms of the search that they just did now or what they’ve searched for before, or what they’re generally interested in learning about on Pinterest. So yeah, so that’s kind of, you know, a lot, but it’s to answer your questions about like, sort of how it works and why it’s such a powerful platform. And really, why if you’re a business owner, and it’s a good place for you to be marketing, why it’s kind of really, really important, and you’re sort of missing out if you keep telling yourself that it’s really just all recipes and, and weddings, and that it’s not for you. Because most of the time, that’s not the case, most people find it actually is quite like I said it is for them. People are searching for their things on Pinterest. So you know, and

Katie Brinkley 11:43

I think that that brings up a great point, I think that people might be saying like, Okay, well, you’re right, Jana, this this does sound like it’s it’s another search engine, why should Why am I not on here? I need to get on here. What do I pin? What do I post and you mentioned podcasts, you mentioned blogs, I think that people might think that they just need to have pretty pictures. Can you explain to everybody just a little bit about how if you do if you are already publishing a blog, or if you do have a podcast or some sort of other content? What How can they post these to Pinterest and make it so that it will stand out from a very crowded marketplace?

Jana Osofsky 12:22

Yeah, absolutely. In terms of standing out, there’s really kind of two pieces of the puzzle. The first one is using the right keywords. So let’s say that you want to show up in the searches and the smart feeds of people on Pinterest who care about what you’re creating content about, right. Because if you just show up in any old search or smart feed, then you’re not really it’s not a targeted audience, right. So you might be pinning something that is really relevant for working moms who are running businesses from home. And maybe you’re in this you know, in the smart feeder, their searches for all different people. And some of them are not moms and they’re not working from home, right. But if you use the right keywords, if you’ve done some keyword research on the platform, very similar again to how you would do it if you were trying to rank on Google for something, except Pinterest is a much smaller ecosystem. So it’s a little easier to get ranked, if you will on Pinterest, then you want. So that’s the way that you first of all show up in the feeds for the people who actually care. And so that’s kind of the first piece of the puzzle. And then the second piece is creating those Pinterest graphics that are going to stop the scroll and then get that micro conversion. So first, we want to get the attention of those people by having a really clear message on the pin and maybe an image that grabs their attention. And then the second piece is we want to get them to actually want to access that further piece of content that you’ve created that you’ve linked that pin to. And so it’s important to remember that Pinterest is a place where people are looking for ideas and inspiration. And they’re open minded and they’re looking for things to try and do and buy. And so we love that about the platform. But the other side of that coin is that because people are looking for those things and they’re finding you in a search and a smart feeds, they usually don’t know you. So they’re a little bit like they don’t know you yet. And so we need to create like a like no trust kind of situation right where you’re going to be able to capture the lead and nurture them as well. So bringing them over to a piece of content that you’ve created to begin that journey with you so that they can start to like know, trust you even if it’s just giving them a quick tip or you know something that’s going to help them in the moment and then potentially asking for that next step like maybe asking for their email address or something like that. That’s going to be a winning strategy. So people are on Pinterest, looking for ideas and inspiration things to do try and buy they’re not really looking to connect with other people. It’s not social media. And that’s what we mean when we say it’s a search engine, not social media, or one of the things we mean when we say that, so they’re not really they’re looking for Jana or Katie they’re looking for, you know, to find out what we’re doing or what’s going on in our businesses or in our lives. They’re looking for ideas for their own lives, inspiration things to try and do and buy in their own lives. And so that’s really why we need to bring them off the platform at some point in that journey in order to be able to, you know, start to have more of a conversation with them about how we can help them and how we as people can connect with them and help them through our services and through our products and through our offers. Does that make sense? It does

Katie Brinkley 15:14

make sense. Now, I, you and I actually talked about this offline before I hit the record button here. And we talked about how does this make sense for a local business? How, why would a local business want to be on Pinterest? Because for an online course provider or somebody that’s, you know, selling something from anywhere? They might feel like Yeah, well, that makes sense for them. How does it make sense for me as a local brick and mortar business? Can you add on that a little bit?

Jana Osofsky 15:41

Absolutely. So going back to the idea of keywording one of the best strategies that you can use as a local business to market on Pinterest is to incorporate keywords that people are already searching for on Pinterest which the way you do that as you do your keyword research to find out what those things are, that include the geographical or geographic geographical geographic terminology, or words that people are using to describe your area. So for me here in Palm Beach County and then maybe Katie you know, you can kind of translate this for your listeners because I’m not familiar with your with your area where you are, but I mean, I kind of know but not enough to really get into it. But here in like South Florida, people use South Florida they use West Palm Beach, Florida, Palm Beach, Florida, Palm Beach County, we say the Treasure Coast, right? So all of those types of things, including like city names, state names, and then some of those like nicknames, if you will, that we use for our areas can be actually you can research those around the things that you help with. So let’s say you own a coffee shop in what is a city near you, near Denver? Or do you want to just

Katie Brinkley 16:42

down here? We can do little Tim? That’s one of my best from my offices. Yeah, Littleton is a Denver suburb.

Jana Osofsky 16:47

Okay, great. So if you said like, if you looked online to see what people are searching for around Littleton, and you might want to do like little 10, it’s SEO, right? Is that right? Yep, the abbreviation for the state. You never know, let’s see is just like, there’s like a lot of eyes. And then you can kind of find out what people are searching for around that. Now, if you own a coffee shop, and you find that people are searching for a little tin coffee shop that that’s great. But you also might, you know, go a little wider and think, okay, maybe they’re searching for little tin things to do little tin activities with kids. So those are the types of things or you could even go you know, it could be Denver area, or Metro Denver, or maybe there’s a nickname for your area, like Rocky Mountain, for instance. Yeah, yeah, things to do Rocky Mountain coffee shops, Rocky Mountain places to hang out with friends, you know, places for co working, whatever those things are, you can find out what people are searching for. And then use those keywords on your account in like six different places that you can add your keywords, and then also to your actual Pinterest pins that you pinned to the platform

Katie Brinkley 17:44

who Yeah, this sounds so I mean, with this, do you think that somebody that might be running their own Google Ads would be able to transition over into Pinterest somewhat easily? Or is it still kind of its own beast?

Jana Osofsky 17:56

You know, I don’t know a whole lot about Google ads. But I can tell you that Pinterest ads are a lot easier to manage and run and understand than Facebook ads are so I’m not sure if I could compare it to Google ads. But I think that Yeah, running Pinterest ads isn’t isn’t too too hard compared with, you know, other types of ad platforms. And actually, I’m glad you mentioned that because the organic strategies on Pinterest are the best ways to get in front of a local audience are to use those keywords. But with paid ads on Pinterest, which you can also participate in obviously, there are geographic there are opportunities to target geographically with the ads. So that might be something that you know, also can help your strategy as a local business for sure. You know,

Katie Brinkley 18:35

and you’ve brought this up a few times that Pinterest is different than regular social media. And I think that we’ve, we’ve kind of made it you’ve made it very clear as to how there’s an entirely different sort of strategy going into Pinterest than you would Facebook or Instagram. But if people are still kind of a little confused about it, can you explain how Pinterest is different than typical social media marketing? Yeah,

Jana Osofsky 18:57

for sure. So I think that the main thing is that we do again need to revisit the idea that it is more like Google so it’s a place where people are going to discover you but it’s not a place where you’re going to connect with them and have a lot of conversations and have like an actual dialogue or interaction that’s going to be warming that prospect up to you. So again, it’s sort of like if you think about sometimes people refer to your customer journey that you’re taking people on or you know your funnel as an example. So it’s very much what we would consider like a quote unquote top of funnel kind of platform where people are finding you when they’ve never heard of you before but they were already searching for that thing, right that you are using as keyword. So it’s important again to think about it that way so whereas on social media, you’re having a lot of conversations with people, you’re they’re kind of sharing what’s going on with you people are interested in that you’re asking them what’s going on with them, you’re asking them questions, they’re answering those questions. In fact, when it comes to social media, we often we really like I’m sure you as a as a strategist, you’re you Probably very often encouraging people to remember to treat social media as social, right? And to be social on social media. Whereas over on Pinterest, it’s just really not what we do. And if you think about it, again, like Google, you know, you don’t really like, you know, like, how would you have conversations with people on Google? Right? How would you write? How would you ask someone a question and get an answer on Google? Well, the answer is you wouldn’t, right. So I mean, Pinterest is a little bit less like that, in the sense, I mean, there is a messaging, you know, piece of it, although most people don’t use it, there is the possibility of commenting you know, on things, although again, a lot of most people don’t really comment on on pins. So it’s really the winning strategies really, again, are more about getting discovered then, and then bringing people to a place where you are giving them more information, more ideas, things to do things to try things to buy. So if you think about, again, that example of a coffee shop, you know, maybe they discover they are searching for things to do, or a place to meet a friend, right in little 10 or something like that, or, or the, you know, Metro Denver area, and up comes a pin of yours that says five past times, or five things you can do at a coffee shop, other than sipping coffee, and then it could say something like, brought to you by you know, your neighborhood coffee shop such and such in, you know, Littleton Colorado, and then somebody might click through that and see that you have a blog post that literally is, you know, five fun things that are going on at your coffee shop, you know, this month, so it could be, you know, a karaoke night, it could be a co working day, it could be, I don’t know, brew your own coffee today or something like that. So if you think about it, that way, you’re creating content that engages people. And Pinterest is just a way for you to really amplify that content and get the word out there to people who, again, are already searching for something that your piece of content is going to help them with, right?

Katie Brinkley 21:48

Yeah. And I think that too, you know, you brought up a good point because this Pinterest is so evergreen, and I know with my clients, you know, we were looking at when your audiences online and who your demographics are and making sure that we’re posting and that we’re being like you said social and responding to people. And it’s an ongoing thing. And so let’s say someone says, Okay, I’m gonna dive into Pinterest, is it okay for them to just go ahead and put out six pins on the first of the month and then not touch it again until the first of the next month? Or is it something that you need to check in on and post regularly on? Or is it kind of one of those things that you can just set it and forget it for the month?

Jana Osofsky 22:29

Yeah, more than the last one. So you wouldn’t want to just put all six of your pins for the month on the first day of the month, and then scoop but you also don’t have to go back regularly and engage and comment and like and things like that. So what I would recommend is to think about what you want to bite off as far as how many pins you want to create in a month. And then say you decide you’re going to create 20 pins this month, you can create them all at the beginning of the month, and you can schedule them out for to trickle out over the course of the month. So you could use either the native Pinterest scheduler to do that, or you can use a scheduling software. And there are a couple of them that are approved partners of Pinterest, the most popular one is tailwind. But there are others like buffer if you’re already using buffer for any of your other social channels, I believe either planet or later one of them also pins to Pinterest for you. So you can basically schedule them out to trickle out over the course of the month and then come back a month later and schedule it all again, or schedule, you know some new ones again. And as far as coming up with 20 things to pin, you can pin the same URL multiple times. And you can create multiple pin images that point to each URL as well. So that helps you to really, you know, have a little bit more to pin as opposed to just having to pin one time each time you create a blog.

Katie Brinkley 23:47

Wow, that’s awesome. And I think that if people were kind of on the fence or not really understanding Pinterest, we gave them a whirlwind of knowledge. So if someone says okay, I’m going to I’m going to try Pinterest. I’ve listened to this episode. Jana, you’ve convinced me? Where would you suggest that they start?

Jana Osofsky 24:05

Yeah, I would start by making a list of things that you think your ideal audience might be searching for on Pinterest. And keep in mind again, if you’re a local business, that you want to also be incorporating these local terms so that you’ll be able to capture people that are searching for those things. And then go through that list and basically research them in using the Pinterest toolbar, the search bar, excuse me, and find out what people are actually searching for. You’ll end up ideally once you do a little bit of research, maybe with I don’t know 3035 keyword phrases that you might like to use, again, much, you know, much like you’d be doing if you were doing this on Google type of Google Keyword Research except that you can do it right in Pinterest and it’s easier in my opinion than doing google keyword research. And then you can basically take those Pinterest keywords that you’ve discovered people are searching for around the things that you help with and the solutions that you offer, if you will and use those on your profile. So you can use them in your profile name, your profile bio, your board titles, and then your board descriptions. And then when you pin things and you write a caption, you can use those keywords in the captions as well, which we call pin descriptions on Pinterest. So that’s where I would start as getting clear on what keywords people are actually searching for on Pinterest that you can target.

Katie Brinkley 25:20

Jana, this has been such a great discussion. And if somebody says, okay, after all that, I want to do Pinterest, but that sounds like a lot of work. I want to just work with you, Jana, and your team, or take your course that you created. What is the best way for people to get in touch with you or find out where to get that course?

Jana Osofsky 25:37

Yeah, so people can pop over to my website. I’m at Jana. Oh And on the website, you’ll find a free checklist that you can download, that will give you your first five steps to get your Pinterest profile up and running. And I have a blog as well, which can provide a lot of great information for people who are getting up and running. And as you mentioned, I teach that course so you can easily find that course in the navigation bar as well. It’s called Pinterest with purpose.

Katie Brinkley 26:02

Awesome. Thank you again so much for coming on the show today.

Jana Osofsky 26:06

Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for having me.

Katie Brinkley 26:11

Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at with me on LinkedIn or check me out on Instagram. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.