Best Practices for Affiliate Marketing on Pinterest 

Here we are at the beginning of a new year. Most of us make plans to change our lives in terms of health, time, priorities, and…money. In this post, I want to focus on the money thing! Maybe you’re a content creator with a blog you want to leverage for more passive income. Or maybe you’re a stay at home mom who is looking to make life a bit more comfortable financially by making some money at nap time. If you’re looking for a way to increase your (almost) passive income stream, affiliate marketing on Pinterest might be just what you are looking for! 

Today, I’m going to discuss all the questions you might have (including what exactly IS affiliate marketing? Let’s start at the very beginning) and how you can get your own affiliate sales business up and running. Think of this as your step-by-step guide to affiliate marketing. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed already, don’t be! Just take the next step: read this post. Let’s get started! 

promotional blog image for blog post about affiliate marketing on Pinterest by Meagan Williamson

What exactly IS affiliate marketing?  

As promised, let’s start at the very beginning. What is this affiliate marketing business that you hear about on all corners of the internet? 

This term refers to a system where companies pay people who share or promote their products. That’s it.

So imagine this: You’re chatting with your friend and she notices your earrings. “Those are gorgeous, where did you get them?” You tell her and later that day, she heads over to the store and buys a pair of earrings like yours. Now, wouldn’t it be nice if the earring store sent you a little token of appreciation to say “thanks for sending your friend our way”?

That’s exactly what affiliate marketing is. The seller of a product (the merchant or retailer) naturally wants to increase sales and reach a larger audience. So, they hire an affiliate (that’s you!) to promote their product or service. Affiliates can be bloggers, influencers, website owners, content creators, or really anyone with an online presence and Pinterest audience. As an affiliate, you would then join an affiliate network program offered by the retailer you want to work with. This program provides you with unique direct links that are incorporated into your content. 

Then, it’s up to you to promote this product or service with the link. You can do this through various channels like your blog, your social media network, YouTube, your website, or…Pinterest. How do you promote these products as an affiliate? You can use reviews, tutorials, recommendations, or any other creative way to showcase the product.

Companies know that the best spokespeople for their products or services are their own customers. People trust the word of someone who use a product or service over the company itself. That’s why many companies offer affiliate programs. It’s a little bonus to encourage customers to recommend their products or services. If you promote items that you truly love and use and would recommend to a friend, you will create authentic connections with your audience that will encourage them to trust your recommendations.

Promotional graphic for Meagan Williamson's blog post about affiliate marketing on Pinterest.

Why affiliate marketing?

Now that you know what affiliate marketing is, I hope you are getting a sense of the “why” behind it too! The truth is, I would be foolish not to do it. People ask me the same kinds of questions so often:

  • Could you recommend someone who has a sales page or email marketing templates? 
  • Who’s your favorite web host? 
  • What’s your preferred check-out cart?
  • What platform do you use to create pins? 
  • How do you stay on top of all your project deadlines?

When you have any kind of online presence (or personal panache!), people are openly curious about your successful business and why you pick one product over another. As your followers get to know you, they want to know why you chose that mic, or that computer, or why you’re using one project management tool and not another, etc. If your business has a different niche than mine, I’m sure you’ve experienced the same kind of questions as they relate to you: 

  • What makeup brush do you use? 
  • What brand is your hat? 
  • What food does your cat eat? 

You get the picture. 

It happens so often that I now have a list of tools and resources I recommend to people. Affiliate marketing allows me to passively make income for all these products and services that I would recommend anyway!

promotional image for Meagan Williamson's blog post about affiliate marketing on Pinterest

Is Pinterest good for affiliate marketing? 

Now that we know what affiliate marketing is and why we do it, let’s add Pinterest to the mix. 

Pinterest is essentially a visual search engine that people use for inspiration. People look for ideas about travel, home decor, fashion, you name it! It is the perfect platform for affiliate products, especially if you already have an established target audience. Pinterest has a vast user base with an active and engaged audience. Pinterest is different than other social media platforms because it is specifically designed to allow users to search for, discover, and save ideas in a visual manner. This means that a visually attractive Pin with an engaging Pin description is an excellent way for affiliate marketers to get the attention of their potential buyers and give them ideas for what they are looking for. 

The bottom line: if you want to make money using affiliate links, you cannot afford to ignore the perfect audience that is ready and waiting on Pinterest.

Affiliate marketing on Pinterest is also a great tool for generating passive income from your business, website, YouTube channel, or other online presence. Pin today, make money for years to come! It sometimes takes patience, but I believe it is worth it. 

For example, way back in 2019, I saw a ring I liked in an Etsy store. I got a direct affiliate link for it and spent 5 minutes making a Pin. I then posted it and promptly forgot all about it. Almost two years later, I earned $700 in affiliate income from the single sale of that same engagement ring. Talk about easy money!

Who can do affiliate marketing on Pinterest?

So, do you use products and services? If you do (and I’m fairly certain you do), then you can do affiliate marketing on Pinterest! I’m not kidding. Many business models are a natural fit for affiliate marketing. These businesses can use it as a complement to the products and services they already provide. 

Besides, it just makes sense to share information with your audience – they win, you win, we all win! Online business owners, bloggers, creators, artists, photographers, makeup artists, etc. can all benefit from this model. If you use products and/or services in your business (and life!), you can recommend them to your audience on Pinterest! The gear you use, the clothes you wear, your favorite baby products, the makeup brands you prefer, even cleaning products, apps and digital products are all great candidates for affiliate marketing. All you need are high-quality pins and a strategy.

Can you make money on Pinterest in Canada? 

Yes! It is possible to make money on Pinterest from basically any location on the planet, including Canada. So, the question is really, “Can you make money posting affiliate links on Pinterest?” and it will not surprise you that my answer to this question is YES. Like any other online business: you need a winning strategy and execution process to reach as many users as possible. You also need to adhere to Pinterest’s best practices to avoid getting in trouble, or even banned from the platform entirely! Making money this way is not hard, but there are some things to keep in mind about how to use affiliate marketing on Pinterest and some guidelines to follow to ensure your Pins don’t get removed from Pinterest. This is especially important because the rules have changed quite a bit over the last few years.

Now, let’s dig into the best practices for how to affiliate market on Pinterest!

Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing on Pinterest

Use a Pinterest Business Account

Affiliate marketing on Pinterest 101: don’t try to use affiliate marketing links with your personal Pinterest account. It’s an almost surefire way to get banned, and you won’t make any money if you can’t use the platform! You need a Pinterest business account for affiliate marketing, so set it up as the first thing you do. It’s super easy and gives you a bunch of great perks too!

Spend some time making your business account profile look professional. People are far more likely to take the advice of someone they can investigate and read about and who looks confident and happy. Get a high-quality headshot (or at least follow the rules for taking a professional photo if you take it yourself) for your profile pic, and write a descriptive bio that will let people know who you are and what you are passionate about. This only takes a short time and can be the difference between someone choosing your affiliate link or someone else’s!

Include Affiliate Links in Your Blog Posts

This is one of the best ways to reach your audience on Pinterest and a strategy I highly recommend. So, write a blog post for your website – like this one I have about 11 Of The Best Online Business Tools And Apps – and then add your affiliate links to the blog post. Then, create a bunch of standard Pins [like this one] for Pinterest boards of your choice and use the link to your blog post as the Pin URL.

Putting affiliate links in a blog post allows you to use a variety of affiliate links without having to worry about what’s allowed or supported on Pinterest. The content and all of the affiliate links are on your website, so there are no rules about what can and cannot be included. This method gives you the least amount of headaches and if you are a big worrier about rules and following them, this method allows you to sleep stress free while your Pinterest Pins drive traffic to your blog and affiliate links. 

The other great thing about this method is that it is a chance to reach a wider audience, since your blog will reach your readers who don’t necessarily use Pinterest. And of course, you will still reach the wider Pinterest community with your Pins. 

If you’re in the US, always be sure to include an affiliate link disclosure statement in accordance with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines!

Affiliate Marketing on Pinterest without a Blog: Use Direct Affiliate Links for Approved Partners

Maybe you’re feeling bummed because you’ve read this far but don’t have a blog of your own to leverage. Don’t worry! If you don’t have a blog or don’t want to write a blog post specifically to include links (I promise it can be done authentically, but that’s a whole other topic), there’s still a way forward for you. Direct affiliate links can be an option for you to use Pinterest for affiliate marketing. Keep in mind that very select partners are approved for direct affiliate links on Pinterest, so make sure you choose one that is approved. For example, you can use programs offered by:

  • ShopStyle 
  • Wayfair
  • LTK
  • Sephora
  • Amazon Associates
  • Rakuten
  • ShareASale
  • ClickBank
  • Udemy
  • Nordstrom
  • Scrapbook

And that’s just a few to start! Basically, research products you know about and are interested in and see if they have an affiliate program you can get involved with. And make sure that the companies you choose:

  1. Are allowed on Pinterest, and 
  2. Allow their links on Pinterest. 

As you can see, this is a two-way street! And some companies are picky about how you use their links too. For example, Etsy will only allow you to use their links in your Pinterest affiliate marketing campaign if you do so using Idea Pins with original content. So do your homework to prevent trouble from either the brand or the platform.

For any approved affiliate partners, you can include your affiliate links in your keyword rich Pin descriptions. The more relevant keywords you use the better! This is a great way to share affiliate links, especially in the Story Pin format. I also recommend that you tag brand partners on Pinterest, which of course is great for influencers. If you are promoting a single product, you can also put that direct affiliate link in the Destination URL of the Pin for people to click through that way.

Do you see how easy this is? 

Can I put Amazon affiliate links on Pinterest?

This is a big question I get all the time! There was a time when Amazon affiliate links were not allowed on Pinterest. But as of the time of writing, Amazon affiliate links ARE supported.

Do NOT use link shorteners

Next up: link shorteners. This situation is actually a great example of how Pinterest affiliate marketing rules get updated every now and then and why it’s important to stay on top of these changes. Some time ago, it was best practice for the Etsy affiliate network I was using to use link shorteners. However, Pinterest updated their guidelines after I had created this Etsy Pin campaign and no longer allowed Pins with links that had been shortened. And just like that, all of my Pins that had link shorteners were deleted. 

So, all this to say two things:

  1. Don’t use link shorteners. Use the full (long and ugly) URL of your affiliate link, and
  2. Keep up with updates and changes in use terms! It was link shorteners this time, but it could be something else next time and you don’t want to get caught unprepared.

Can you gain traffic through Pinterest as an affiliate marketer?

Yes! This is more good news. If you create and promote high-quality, high-performing Pins that do well in search with the right audience, affiliate marketing through Pins can absolutely drive more traffic and grow your audience either on Pinterest or on other social media platforms where your Pins point people (such as your YouTube channel or blog). Just another reason why putting some effort into Pinterest for affiliate marketing strategies can pay off for your business!

Is it legal to post affiliate links on Pinterest?

I hope that by now this answer is obvious, but I know it is still a big concern of many beginners so I will say it again: posting affiliate links on Pinterest is perfectly legal and a great way to increase your household income in a legitimate way. Just make sure you follow best practices that will keep you out of trouble with Pinterest. No one who uses my strategies has ever been banned from Pinterest, so I think I’m worth paying attention to! 

Here are my top two rules to keep you from getting in trouble with Pinterest over the style of your affiliate link marketing campaigns:

1. Do not engage in repetitive pinning. Posting the same Pin multiple times on different boards for the sole purpose of driving traffic to your link will get you in trouble fast! 

2. Do not engage in clickbait strategies. Pins that have been created strictly to get clicks on your affiliate links will be rooted out quickly as inauthentic content. Plus you will turn off your potential audience! No one likes being tricked. It is far better to play the long game and spend a bit of time creating sustainable, high-quality, relevant, keyword rich Pins that you can be proud of and that add something positive to your online presence. 

Let’s get pinning!

So, how are you feeling about this income strategy now? I hope you agree that it’s just a no-brainer to participate in Pinterest affiliate marketing. Whether you already have a blog (or needed the motivation to create one!) or not, you have many options to share the products and services you love with your audience and get rewarded for it. With this guide to help you get started with the best practices and strategies for Pinterest affiliate marketing, you’re well on your way to making passive income for months and years down the road.

Want to save time and energy on your Pinterest journey? I can help!

Part of the reason I’m so passionate about helping people with healthy Pinterest affiliate marketing plans is that there is so, so much bad information out there. You can find many internet “gurus” and “experts” that claim to have a path forward to easy money on Pinterest. But the truth is, “quick and easy” usually translates to often getting suspended or banned from the platform. Many of these “plans” involve not planning at all and participating in the very strategies I told you to avoid, landing you right in Pinterest jail and unable to Pin anything at all. 

I’ve been running a successful business in the Pinterest world for over 10 years. I know how it works. I know the current best practices and the “red flag” advice that you should absolutely ignore, and I can teach you to see it too! If you are interested in a comprehensive study of how to make Pinterest and affiliate marketing work for you, take a look at my comprehensive workshop on affiliate marketing on Pinterest. Investing this little bit of time and effort will mean bigger payouts in the long term. Everything I teach is in line with Pinterest’s own community guidelines. I break it down from what niche to pick, to creating Pins in multiple ways (having no blog to having a blog) and more. I know you will love this detailed roadmap for your Pinning for Profit plan. To learn more about my video course, just head here.

I hope that I’ve shown you that Pinterest affiliate marketing is a valid, achievable form of income for anyone with an online presence! Congratulations for making it this far, and I cannot wait to hear about where you go next. 

Happy pinning!  

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