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boost your brand

Photo Credit: © Can Stock Photo / khunaspix

Boost Your Brand

When you’re looking to boost your brand using social media, Pinterest is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. Yet today’s guest is an online marketer who says it’s the perfect tool for creating more brand awareness and driving more organic, not paid, traffic to your website.

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What You’ll Discover About How to Boost Your Brand (highlights & transcript):

Pinterest Traffic Playbook* How Pinterest actually works [2:12]

* How the search engine component of Pinterest helps boost your brand [3:45]

* Boost your brand through Pinterest’s search engine optimization [6:27]

* Why you boost your brand faster with Pinterest key words than on other social media [8:12]

* How to successfully set up your Pinterest profile properly [10:50]

* Pinterest content strategies to boost your brand [13:41]

* Biggest mistakes people make with using Pinterest [15:22]

* And MUCH more.




Hanna Hasl-Kelchner: [00:00:00] When you’re looking to boost your brand using social media, Pinterest is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind yet. Today’s guest is an online marketer who says it’s a perfect tool for creating more brand awareness and driving more organic, not paid traffic to your website.


Announcer: [00:00:19] This is Business Confidential Now with Hanna Hasl-Kelchner helping you see business issues hiding in plain view that matter to your bottom line.


Hanna: [00:00:31] Welcome to Business Confidential Now, I’m your host, Hanna Hasl-Kelchner, and today I’m delighted to welcome Stefan Ciancio, a hugely successful Pinterest marketing coach and online marketer who says his strategies are responsible for over one million free page views using Pinterest and content.


Hanna: [00:00:52] Stefan didn’t take the most straightforward route to getting where he is today. He originally studied mechanical engineering at the University of Connecticut and spent three years working as an engineer. But after figuring out how to up-sell items on eBay that he purchased at a bargain price, and discovering how to consistently drive high quality traffic, his conversion to online entrepreneurship was complete.


Hanna: [00:01:15] He’s currently the co-founder and co-owner of several businesses, as well as the president and CEO of Master Growth Marketing Agency. His day to day revolves around supercharging the traffic of all types of businesses, product launching, affiliate marketing and coaching others to be experts in this field.


Hanna: [00:01:34] Stefan’s specialty is Pinterest marketing strategies because he says the opportunities of this particular platform let businesses grow their organic traffic leads, sales, brands and audience all without breaking the bank. I’m really curious about that. So let’s have him join us now. Welcome to Business Confidential Now, Stefan.


Stefan Ciancio: [00:01:55] Thanks for having me. I’m happy to be here.


Hanna: [00:01:57] It’s wonderful to have you here. You know, most people are really familiar with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as social media platforms, but they may not know that much about Pinterest, even though it’s been around a while. Would you please describe how it works for those who are new to it?




Stefan: [00:02:12] Definitely, yeah. So Pinterest is an interesting platform because the way that I try to describe it to people is imagining a corkboard in your kitchen where you pin recipes to it. Pinterest is basically a digital version of that. So you’ve got these digital boards and you can title your board anything. They could be titled Cool Cars. They could be titled Cute Pictures of Puppies. They could be titled Recipes. And you can digitally pin pins to these boards.


Stefan: [00:02:41] And what’s really cool about that is in doing so, you can end up attracting a lot of eyeballs in your particular field by creating these boards and these pins in the right way. Now, it’s kind of funny because a lot of people, when they think of Pinterest, they probably think of things like, you know, cute pictures of puppies or just recipes.


Stefan: [00:03:00] But it’s actually got huge potential in a variety of different topics, everything from health to wealth to personal development to home design to all of these different things are huge topics on Pinterest and setting everything up the right way, you can really tap into a large audience. So essentially, that’s kind of the general overview with Pinterest.


Hanna: [00:03:26] All right. Well, that’s really helpful because like you said, not everybody knows exactly how it works. And typically they think of recipes and fashion and things that are very visual, which is a large part of Pinterest, but they don’t necessarily think of it maybe in terms of how their business topics might relate to it.




Hanna: [00:03:45] Now, you mentioned several times that at setting this up in the right way is key. What is . . . How does that work? How do you set it up properly?


Stefan: [00:03:54] So that’s a great question. Essentially, the way it works is it’s actually now these days very similar to Google. So Google is a search engine where people search for things. And then when you put stuff in the search bar, you get results. Right. So Pinterest is also a search engine, but it’s actually a visual search engine.


Stefan: [00:04:14] So when you log into Pinterest at the very top, there’s going to be a search bar and you can type anything into that search bar. You can type dogs, you can type cats, whatever you want, health, how to start a business, whatever you want. And Pinterest is going to give you results. Now, those results are going to be pinned. They’re going to be images.


Stefan: [00:04:34] And that image will generally, if you’re looking for information, will have a title of a blog post on it. And then if you click on it, you’ll go to some person’s website where, you know, they will be explaining whatever the topic was on the page. OK, so this is like this clickable image.


Stefan: [00:04:51] Now, not only can you click on that pin, but you can also save that pin to your own profile, to one of your own boards. And in doing so, you’re actually giving that pin owners website, or whatever they’re their businesses, additional visibility, which is really, really cool.


Stefan: [00:05:11] So not only that, but with these pins, essentially, it could not only be something that like has a title for a blog post, but it could also be if someone is searching for, I don’t know, design ideas for a bedroom or something. Right. In that case, it might just be a pin of a bedroom, a picture of a bed. Designed a certain way or set up a certain way with a certain layout.


Stefan: [00:05:33] OK, so there’s really kind of two ways that you can go there. So, for example, if you’re a furniture store, maybe you’re going to be putting up more pictures of your furniture in different rooms, in areas, you know what I mean? Different demo rooms. And that’ll give people ideas. And then they might see that idea and then use that to plan a purchase.


Stefan: [00:05:50] Whereas this . . . maybe you are a different type of business, like an accountant or you are some sort of coach or something like that. You can generally get people to your website by putting up blog content. So maybe you have a blog post called 10 Ways to Find the Right Accountant, just to give you an example. You would put a pin up on Pinterest and essentially from there you link to your website from that and you can link to your website. You can link to your YouTube channel, wherever it is you want to drive traffic and then you put that pin on Pinterest. OK, so now really, basically, that’s kind of how the search engine works.




Stefan: [00:06:27] Now, how do you actually get your pins to show up for the different keywords? Well, that’s where Pinterest search engine optimization comes in. So basically now, right, you’ve got the idea that people are searching for these pins and then the pins come up. How do you get your pins to actually come up?


Stefan: [00:06:41] Well, what you do is in the search bar, you can find all of the different keywords that people are searching for, and then you can literally take those keywords and put them in your pin description.


Stefan: [00:06:54] So, for example, let’s say that I’m an accountant again. Right. And I’m trying to find people on Pinterest as potential clients for my accounting firm. I create my profile. I create some boards. Now I need to create pins that link to my Web site. Now I’m going to create my first pin and I’m going to have links to one of the pieces of content on my Web site, like 10 Accounting Tricks to Save Money on Taxes. OK, so now you put that up and you find some keywords.


Stefan: [00:07:21] So, for example, maybe one keywords would be would be how to save money on taxes. Right. So you would put that in your keyword description for that pin. And in doing so, if you include as many different variations of the keyword and you put it in there, you know, you should still write paragraphs in your description. It shouldn’t be just like copying and pasting the keyword.


Stefan: [00:07:40] But essentially you do that over and over again for more and more pins. You’re going to start to see traffic coming into your profile and you’re going to start to see people not only seeing your pins on Pinterest and going to your profile, but actually clicking through to your website. So it’s really, really powerful. But the general idea is using the key words in your pins to start ranking for all of these different keyword variations.


Hanna: [00:08:06] Aha! That could be really interesting . . .


Stefan: [00:08:09] Yeah, . . 




Hanna: [00:08:12] Now I see that I, I see that. So is that what, in your opinion, makes it ideal for driving brand awareness?


Stefan: [00:08:23] Yeah, absolutely. It’s basically the power of the search engine optimization. So when you think about Google, right, Google also has the ability for you to rank, but Google is a lot more competitive. It takes a lot longer. If you start a website and you try to rank at Google, it could take you six to 12 months before you start seeing any traction.


Stefan: [00:08:43] What I love about Pinterest is you can create a profile today and it’s very possible your first week, you can start seeing numbers in the thousands discovering you on the platform and you could see potentially tens or hundreds of people come to your website in the first week alone. Now, of course, everyone’s results are going to vary, but Pinterest is not only powerful for the long term, but, you know, your first weeks or months, you could start seeing some really great results, too, which I think makes it really, really cool.


Hanna: [00:09:11] Now, do you think these tips are transferable to other social media platforms, Facebook or Twitter, Instagram?


Stefan: [00:09:17] You see, that’s what makes Pinterest really, really powerful, is that other social media platforms are not really visual search engines. So, yes, their search bar is for searching for people on Facebook, Twitter. You know, they have the hashtags.


Stefan: [00:09:32] But what makes Pinterest so powerful is you basically can type in a keyword, not just for people or hashtags, but you can type in keywords for specific topics. And it’s actually curated with results very similar to Google. So it’s actually made as a content discovery platform, whereas Facebook is more like people. They’re not really trying to get people to click off organically from Facebook. They really want you to pay to play with the ad platform.


Stefan: [00:09:59] Now, what’s really cool about Pinterest is they let you link to anything you want to link to in every single pin you put up. So if you create hundreds or even thousands of pins over time, that all links to different blog posts on your website or whatever, and they’re circulating on Pinterest for all these different keywords, you’re going to get amazing results in the long term.


Stefan: [00:10:19] And like I said, there’s really no platform like this. And Instagram is another example where when you put up an image on Instagram, you can’t . . . there’s no way to automatically have a hyperlink to wherever you want to send to people to off of Instagram. But with Pinterest, it’s built in. So anyone who clicks that pin will go to wherever you want to send them. So that’s just another huge advantage I see.


Hanna: [00:10:43] That makes me want to revisit it.


Stefan: [00:10:47] Yeah, I tell everyone it’s really, really powerful.




Hanna: [00:10:50] So now if somebody is interested in growing their business through Pinterest, what would be the first couple of steps that you would recommend?


Stefan: [00:10:58] So the first step that you would want to do is make a business profile. The reason you want to do a business profile is because they basically give you some more analytics, they give you additional things, and they just know that you’re setting up your account for business purposes. So it’s usually the best to start with a business profile, by the way.


Stefan: [00:11:15] A question I get asked a lot is how many different Pinterest business accounts can you have if you have different businesses? Should you make a different Pinterest account for each one? And the answer is yes.


Stefan: [00:11:26] So if you’re starting with, you know, . . . if they have a business, you start . . . you make your Pinterest business account, the next step is you’re going to go in and you’re going to (it’s going to try to get you to sign up for the ad platform – just ignore that). You don’t have to worry about ads on Pinterest just yet. Maybe that’ll change in 5 to 10 years, I don’t know. But right now, there’s massive opportunity for organic traffic. So essentially, you log in and then you’re going to go to the main page.


Stefan: [00:11:51] And actually, the first thing I instruct people to do before they even fill in their profile is to do a little bit of basic research. So I tell them to go into the top bar, the one that I was mentioning, where you type in a keyword in the course of a bunch of visual search results and you go there and you type in a word of what your business is.


Stefan: [00:12:09] So, for example, if you’re an accountant, type in accountant, then directly to the right of where you type in a keyword, there’s going to be a dropdown to search for content or to search for accounts. So it’s funny that we’re choosing accountant in accounts in the same context, but you choose your keyword and then you go to the dropdown accounts and you click search. And what that is going to do is it’s going to pull up accounts of people in your niche.


Stefan: [00:12:35] So in this case, it would pull up other accountants on Pinterest and it’s usually going to take some of the bigger accounts and put them at the top of the search results. So then, for example, if I do that, I can find other big accountants that exist on Pinterest. And I can see what their keyword there profile description. And then also I can see what the titles of their boards are and what kind of content they have.


Stefan: [00:13:02] So I can do that from the top four accounts and take their board names. So you have these boards you create like, you know, you can have all these different boards. So for example, if I’m an accountant, I could have a board called How to Save Money on Taxes. I could have another one called how to find the right tax forms as an example, you know, different topics within your field.


Stefan: [00:13:25] So I would look at what the other accountants were doing, make a list of all their top boards and curate them into a list of similar boards I will do for my niche. They basically do all the heavy lifting for you. So then I go to my actual profile and I’d start creating these boards.




Stefan: [00:13:41] Now, here’s the interesting thing. You’re actually going to pin other people’s content to start when you create that board, it’s going to pull up suggested pins of other people’s content and you’re going to pin that to your profile. Why are we doing this one? We want to make sure that we have a filled in profile. Too, it signals to the Pinterest algorithm very early on what your profile is about. And in doing so, it’s setting the tone for your account to be placed in the right category within its algorithm for the long term. So that’s why it’s so important to do that.


Stefan: [00:14:16] So you basically used to create at least 10 boards, populate them with at least 10 relevant pins. And Pinterest, once you create the board, it’ll give you the different pins that you can actually go in and pin from other people to that board. And then basically from there, you should fill in your profile description. You should add your . . . connect your website so that people can click on your website from your profile. And then the next step is where you actually start creating your own pins and starting to do the search engine keyword optimization.


Stefan: [00:14:48] And from there, you basically just want to do daily pinning. You want to start pinning at least three to five times a day. But ideally, you want to work up to 20 to 30 times a day. And I use an automation tool called Tailwind to do most of that pinning, because you do need to be consistently pinning fresh content to really stay favorable on Pinterest.


Stefan: [00:15:08] So the people who are doing that, there’s people getting insane amounts of traffic doing that. I’ve done extremely well. And there’s people that get even bigger numbers than me, too.


Hanna: [00:15:18] Well, that sounds like a really good game plan.


Stefan: [00:15:20] Yeah.




Hanna: [00:15:22] What have you seen some people do wrong in trying to drive traffic from Pinterest or in setting up their Pinterest account? What should be we be careful about doing?


Stefan: [00:15:35] Well, one thing that’s for sure is when you actually create your pins, you definitely want to make sure that you’re making your pins tall. I see people putting up pins that look ugly. I see people putting up pins or also leaving their boards empty so they’ll create a board and it’ll look totally empty. You don’t want to do that because think about it. If you visit a profile and it looks like there’s only three pins on there, you’re not going to remember it and you’re not going to say, wow, there’s all this cool stuff on this. Let me save this profile or let me let me follow it or let me remember it.


Stefan: [00:16:04] So you want to make sure you have tons and tons of really high-quality pins on your profile, that all your boards are filled in. And when it comes to actually making your pins, I use a tool called Canva. Now Canva is great. They have a free tier and they have a ten dollars a month tier. You don’t need the ten dollars a month tier, but they do allow some additional features if you get it.


Stefan: [00:16:24] But on the free tier they have Pinterest pin templates that are really, really good quality and they also have them in the right format. So your pin image should be tall. It should be about fifteen hundred pixels tall by a thousand pixels wide. And what I like about Canva is they give you the pin templates, you can literally go in there, you don’t need any design experience and you can just edit out the text on these existing pin templates, change the colors, swap images. And just like that, you’re creating high quality, beautiful design pins for your profile.


Hanna: [00:16:56] That’s great advice. Matter of fact, I’m going to have a link to Canva and also to Tailwinds on your episode page. So people who are looking for what the resources are that Stefan’s been mentioning not to worry. Over at, on his episode page we will have that information so you can click on it and get that access, which will be awesome.


Hanna: [00:17:21] Now, let’s talk about . . . [cross talk]


Hanna: [00:17:23] I’m sorry . . .


Stefan: [00:17:24] I just said definitely that sounds great.




Hanna: [00:17:26] Yeah, yeah, now tell us a little bit about starting your own business and growing it online. What do you know now that you wish you knew then?


Stefan: [00:17:34] That’s a great question. So what I wish I knew now that I didn’t know then I would say that you definitely don’t want to be jumping around all the time. Like something . . . and I still do this sometimes . . . as I’m always looking for new opportunities and I tend to jump from one thing to the next.


Stefan: [00:17:49] What’s really made me successful all these years is whatever I’ve been consistent on. So I would say when you start your online business, you definitely want to make sure that you focus on solving a real problem and not just kind of playing the game of saying, well, I might want to do this or I might want to do that. Try to find something that is a real thing that you feel like you can stick to for the long haul and not try to jump around from to because that’s something that I definitely did in the beginning.


Stefan: [00:18:14] So it’s important to kind of make sure you focus on something that you’re actually kind of like, that is definitely a big problem that needs to be solved, and then kind of going down that path without trying to do 50 things that once.


Stefan: [00:18:24] You know, there’s that saying, Jack of all trades, master of none, it’s kind of similar to that. So that’s one thing that I would say is really stick with the main thing that you think is good. And if it ends up that that doesn’t work out after a while, pick a new thing. But don’t try to do both at the same time. It just never really ends up working out.


Hanna: [00:18:40] That’s very good advice. I think, especially people at a startup mode, it’s so easy to think that the next shiny object is going to be the solution that you’re looking for and it’s going to be the home run. But it really does take some time to build a business. And it sounds like Pinterest can and certainly helped tremendously in that.




Hanna: [00:19:00] Tell me a little bit about the mindset and the roles that you think it plays in online marketing, because it is so easy to get overwhelmed with, you know, three to five posts a day here and how many over here and here and here and here. And it’s easy to just spend a ton of time in social media. It’s a big time sink.


Stefan: [00:19:21] Sure. Sure. That’s a great question. So when it comes to mindset, I probably am going to have some pretty unique advice. So one of the things that worked really well for the beginning in me was normalizing what I was doing. How did I do that?


Stefan: [00:19:34] Well, it certainly didn’t happen with all the people around me at my office. You know, they were all nine to fivers. They didn’t really have a lot of information about what I was doing. So I felt very alone in the very beginning stages of my business. And honestly, I learned the power of building a community. So I actually started going on all these different entrepreneurial forums online. And I basically . . . now the thing is really more Facebook groups. There are so many entrepreneurial Facebook groups out there and you can connect with all these different people on Facebook. That’s really how most people are doing it now.


Stefan: [00:20:02] But even going to events in person, I was able in the beginning for me was really the online community. I found a lot of other aspiring entrepreneurs around the world and I was able to connect with them. And in doing so, it really normalized what I was doing. I was in Facebook groups. I was connecting with other people. We were keeping in touch every day. And in doing so, it kind of made what I was doing a lot more fun and a lot less work.


Stefan: [00:20:25] So one interesting piece of advice I’ll give people is try to find a community of people that you can relate to with what you’re doing. Otherwise, if you’re feeling really alone in what you’re doing, it’s going to be a lot harder to get to your goal. And it’s also going to feel like, you know, you’re going to say, look it, no one around me is doing this. How am I supposed to, kind of, you kind of lose your mindset around it. You kind of lose your passion a little bit.


Stefan: [00:20:46] I think really trying to make friends in your community that do similar things to you and kind of try to, you know, normalize it, hold each other accountable to an extent is a really, really powerful thing.


Stefan: [00:20:57] Now, when it comes to automating different parts of your business, like you have to do 50 posts a day or whatever. I think it’s really powerful to have that plan. And have a plan ahead of time of what you’re going to do. But make sure that your plan makes sense, because if you’re just telling yourself like you’re selling a product or you’re an a consultant of some sort and you just say, look, I’m going to post on Facebook five times a day, I think people get overwhelmed and kind of discouraged because they’re not really sure where they’re going.


Stefan: [00:21:26] You know, they’re not really sure how is this going to help me, how, you know, I’m just doing these posts. But is it just supposed to magically take off one day? So I think having more of a set plan, of like these actions we’re going to project, are going to create these results. And also that’s where the community comes in, because you can see what other people in your niche are doing and kind of reverse engineer their system a little bit to get a better idea of how you can build something that works for you.


Stefan: [00:21:51] And having those people in your community, you’d be surprised how many people will help you out for free, especially, you know, or to kind of like give you an idea of which direction that you should go. And so there’s a lot of value there.


Hanna: [00:22:02] That’s really good to know. Well, thank you, Stefan. This has certainly been an interesting discussion about Pinterest and just generally the loneliness that startups and small businesses can feel in terms of starting a business. And am I going in the right direction? What can I do? So your experience in terms of mindset and your suggestions certainly can go a long way with that and your advice about creating brand awareness, so thank you for joining me today.


Stefan: [00:22:29] Thanks for having me. It’s great.


Hanna: [00:22:31] That’s our show for today. But don’t go anywhere. I have a really easy ask for you. Would you please open your podcast app and give us a five-star review and leave a comment about what you love most about the show? I do read them all and it’ll take you less than a minute. And while you’re at it, share this episode, tell someone about it, because the best way to grow our audience is by word of mouth.


Hanna: [00:22:52] And if you want the detailed show notes, links to connect with my guest or stuff that we talked about, even if you want to ask a question, have a show idea. Come on over to I’ll catch you on the next episode. And in the meantime, have a great day and even better tomorrow.

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Guest: Stefan Ciancio

Stefan CiancioStefan Ciancio, a hugely successful Pinterest marketing coach and online marketer, who says his strategies are responsible for over 1 million free page views using Pinterest and content.

Stefan didn’t take the most straightforward route to get to where he is today. He originally studied mechanical engineering at the University of Connecticut, and spent three years working as an engineer. But after figuring out how to up-sell items on eBay that he had purchased at a bargain price and discovering how to consistently driving high quality traffic his conversion to online entrepreneurship was complete.

He is currently the co-founder and co-owner of several businesses, as well as the President and CEO of the Master Growth Marketing Agency. His day-to-day revolves around supercharging the traffic of all types of businesses, product launching, affiliate marketing, and coaching others to be experts in these fields, too.

Stefan’s specialty is Pinterest marketing strategies, because he says the opportunities of this particular platform lets businesses grow their organic traffic, leads, sales, brands and audience, all without breaking the bank.

Related Resources:

Contact Stefan and connect with him Pinterest and YouTube. Get your free copy of Stefan’s Pinterest Traffic Playbook here.

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