If you are a blogger or small-medium sized business in 2019 you regularly use social media to grow your blog/brand awareness and increase engagement. But social media platforms require effort and time and that time is better spent on giving your readers/customers the best with minimal effort, rather than liking and commenting on other people's posts in the hope they will do likewise. Pinterest however, is not a social media platform and this post will educate you on why you should focus more on PINTEREST as a tool for GROWING YOUR BRAND ORGANICALLY.
The small print: I use affiliate links in this post. I earn a TINY commission when you buy products or services through affiliate links but it doesn’t change your cost at all. I will mark those links with an (*).
Start by having a look at my Pinterest Profile. Go on, have a snoop around.
If you have not used Pinterest before here is what it is all about.
It has 265,000,000 users every month, 2/3 of which are female. It's the one-stop shop for inspiration around everything from recipes to weddings and home remodelling. Users save (pin) ideas (photos or 'Pins') to boards (folders) and each board can have a different theme. Boards can be private (if you are planning a surprise party for example) or shared with others (send your dream kitchen mood board to your other half to exchange ideas); or can be set to public so that everyone can see what currently inspires you.
So for example, I have a Board about yellow in interiors, this is what it looks like as you scroll through it. A board like this helps me visualize inspiring interiors that have used this colour. It's a great way to decide if I like this particular colour for a project in my own home.
Pinterest is not a social media platform
Brands are already heavily invested on Pinterest. The likes of Houzz, Apartment Therapy, Lonny, Domino Magazine and more ( if you are an interiors enthusiast like me) are all on it, sharing their content daily. Interior design practices do the same. Fashion houses and beauty brands are on there too as are millions of people interested in them.
Sure, you can follow people and brands on it, but you cannot really engage with them (although you can like and comment on their PINS but don't expend a response the way you would receive one on Instagram or Facebook).
Pinterest is a search engine
You can be as precise as you want e.g. "green velvet sofa living room" or "organic candles" or "food styling". So if you are selling any of the above, you can create content to match what people are searching for. I will explain how below. Here's how Pinterest search works, down to using the visual finding function.
How Pinterest has helped my BLOG grow (and could help your blog or e-commerce website too)
Ever since I started using Pinterest *correctly*, my website traffic has boomed - I mean literally through the roof. Even now, when I go on Google Analytics to see active users on my website (real-time), they seem to always arrive from Pinterest. Which is great on one hand. It saddens me, however, to realise that Instagram, the social media platform I spend most of my time on is giving me peanuts.
To put things in perspective, I get on average
45% of my traffic organically - through people searching for things that I blog about (which is also great, because Google loves this when it comes to ranking sites higher) and around
40% I get through Pinterest.
9% is direct (people typing seasonsincolour.com)
1.35% is Twitter.
Instagram is even less, at 1%.
The rest is unknown sources.
Stats like the above should be an eye opener and should make you think twice about where you spend you time. Spend it wisely and you will see a payback.
What was my wake up call?
Wanting to increase my blog traffic I tried everything, including paying for e-books that advise you to spend time on places like Google Plus (now defunct) and Stumble Upon (also defunct), sharing your content in endless way in the hope that, what? Someone would bump into it?
I decided to work with Jen Stanbrook who is a Pinterest Consultant, coach and trainer, as well as the force behind multi award winning LOVE CHIC LIVING, the interiors and home blog. So after putting Jen's advice to work, I am happy to report it all works and so can share what I have learnt in the last 2 years of using Pinterest consistently.
If Pinterest is not working for you right now, here is what you might be doing wrong:
Here are all the things I was NOT doing on Pinterest. Some of them are really easy wins to start with so why not fix them while reading this post?
No profile picture - keep that one consistent with the photo you have across all your social media platforms for ease of recognition.
No profile description
No category chosen
No business profile chosen
Too many boards
Boards had no category chosen or description
I was not interacting with other accounts.
I was not part of any group boards.
I was not re-pinning much.
I was not pinning my own, original, content.
TIME FOR ACTION: These are the easy to follow steps to make your profile (and pins) more visible
1. Switch to business profile
It's free. By doing so you can:
Access Pinterest analytics. While numbers are boring, they can give you an idea of growth over time, what works and what doesn't and a glimpse of your audience's interests (this is important too).
Verify your website through Pinterest so your pins become "Rich Pins" (basically, pins with bold fonts that appear to hold more gravitas!).
Promote Pins - pay for pins to show up more and drive traffic to your website or create engagement/ awareness about your brand. I find Pinterest ads the best one in terms of clicks to my website.
2. The Easy wins: profile description, link, photo
Great if your username is the same as what you use on other platforms.
Description: I added a keyword-rich description on my profile that was relevant to my blog, to help when people are searching for similar accounts to follow! "London, United Kingdom / Eclectic, luxurious and colourful home decor, inspiration and ideas from an award winning interiors blog."
Website: Added a link to my website. Doh. I also claimed my website (there are instructions about that ).
Photo: Updated my photo so that it matches across all social media. If you have a business, add you brand logo here.
Display Name: Next to my profile (business) name, I also cheekily added a few keywords about what I cover! This helps when you search for people to follow in a specific niche.
3. Reduce your Boards, if you have TOO MANY
Pinterest is all about curated content. I dramatically reduced the number of boards, from 100+ to 50. Jen Stanbrook recommends no more than 50. And it makes sense, really. I used to have too many boards some of them with only just a few Pins. Big mistake!
That was a lot of tidying up, but worth it, as my content is now a lot more focused. Besides, boards now have different sections so you can have for example a "bedroom decor" board that includes "colourful", "bohemian", "girls", "teenager", "romantic" etc sub-sections! Or a "fashion" board that includes "winter", "spring" summer" autumn" subsections (light bulb moment for me, will actually use the latter!).
Action point here:
Reduce the number of boards to max 50. Keep the ones you don't use or are not relevant (e.g. seasonal boards) hidden. Do not delete them as in doing so, you may loose some followers too. You can also archive pins.
4. Add some niche boards
If you only cover beauty, or fashion, or food, or DIY... try adding something that appeals to a wider audience! I added some boards that relate to some of the interests of my followers. For example, I added a board for beauty, one for fashion and one for DIY, to cover a broader spectrum of interests.
How do you find what your followers are interested in?
Go to Analytics/ Overview / People You Reach/ Click on More/ Click on Interests. Easy.
5. Add Pinterest friendly photos
The most popular pins are those that are vertical and long. Most of my blog photos were landscape as opposed to portrait and that is something I have come to regret (and subsequently change). If you do not want to change all the photos in your old posts by re-formatting them, here is what you can do:
Go to canva.com (free), choose "Pinterest Graphic" and create Pinterest friendly photos. Then upload them on Pinterest and link them to the blog post they relate too. Easy!
You can also make pins with word overlays on them on canva.com as these are really attractive with their "Call to Action". The wording does the heavy lifting as opposed to expecting someone will read the description and decide whether to pin or not. Here's an example.
6. Plan your pins
I don't have to wake up at 6am to post at my optimal time of 6.30am. So I use a scheduler instead. Tailwind*. Tailwind is a Pin scheduler (although it's also an Instagram scheduler, complete with smart hashtags) and you can download a chrome extension on your laptop/pc to click on pictures and schedule them for future pinning.
Click below* to claim a free 30-day trial of Tailwind!
Things you can do with Tailwind, that you cannot do with the Pin extension:
click the Tailwind button and it will bring up ALL the photos in a page, and you can schedule which ones to pin, all at the same time, not one by one like the Pinterest extension button does!
With Tailwind you can schedule pins far in the future and rest assured they are posted on time, in multiple boards. I would put down most of my Pinterest profile increase on using Tailwind and ensuring there is always content waiting to be published.
Here's a screenshot on my Tailwind dashboard. I haven't pinned in days, because over Christmas I scheduled some 150 pins to be published later on. Today is the 5th January and I have pins scheduled to be posted all up to the 21st of January. I can practically sit back and relax for 3 weeks and not think of Pinterest much and my profile would still be growing. Neat, right?
"150 pins? How can you schedule so many, it must take you hours!" you might think. Well, no, actually, it doesn't! Remember that you have many boards and a lot of your pins may be relevant across many boards! All I do is choose, say 30 pins in one session (once every 2 weeks), then schedule them to be pinned across 2-4 boards, at different times over many days.
You can shuffle the scheduled pins as well, so that you never pin the same photo twice in a row. That way I always have content scheduled and I can drop in and out of Pinterest for 5 min here or there, when I feel like it, for something extra.
7. What you pin is as important as when you pin it
I pinned in advance of big events using information shared by the Tailwind team on "what to pin each month". While there are different trends from one year to the next, broadly, this is what you should focus on, month by month! (oh, and Pin this Pinterest Calendar for later!).
Here is a great link to the Tailwind Blog with monthly posts about what to pin when!
8. The 2-5 (or 5-2) pin formula
This is way to simple: Pinterest likes it when you add your own original content on the database of photos, but it also likes it when you re-pin (therefore interact) from other accounts. You should re-pin more than you pin own stuff. So, for every 2 new pins you upload on Pinterest, re-pin 5 other pins (or, for every 5 you re-pin, don't forget to also add 2 new of yours, whether from your website or uploaded from elsewhere).
I have been following this formula religiously and it works.
9. Get yourself on Group Boards or Pinterest Tribes (new)
There is a lot of literature out there already on Tribes. I have not tried them as yet. But I have tried Group Boards and they work on the simple basis: You add some pins of yours (ideally leading to your blog posts only and not general content) and have to re-pin others. Group Boards maximise the average daily impressions of your profile. Want to get on a COOL INTERIORS group Board? Try mine: STYLE YOUR HOME
10. Always remember that Pinterest is a search engine
Treat Pinterest like a search engine and sit back to rip the results.
Add keyword rich descriptions to your pins and make sure that you add pins that answer specific questions! "How to..." are the best.
When you upload photos, make sure they have a proper name (and not "12837287yxuhs.jpg").
Always remember to give your blog photos keyword rich ALT descriptions. This is crawled (searched) by Pinterest, in the same way it is crawled by search engines!
Let's have a look at where I started and where I am now. This is not made up, I love facts and I love that Jen helped me achieve so much on Pinterest with such little effort. She helped me focus and introduced me to Tailwind which has been another step to reaching a whooping 2,100,000 viewers in 2019.
I switched my profile to Business on the 27th Jan 2017. I started seeing stats a couple days after upgrading to Business and starting to get points (1) and (2) in place.
A week later...
3 months later...
6 months later...
9 months later...
And in April 2019...
I definitely attribute the increase to these factors:
I added new, original content to Pinterest.
I also re-pin other peoples' Pins at a ratio of: added 2 of mine, re-pinned 5 of others.
I did so consistently, every day. But I did not spend every day on Pinterest, I schedule all pins and re-pins through Tailwind, spending an hour over the weekend. ONLY!
the content I added and re-pins were relevant to the calendar above.
I used Group Boards like Style Your Home (this is interiors only - if you are an interiors blogger, do ask to join!)
To prove the above, I dropped off Tailwind for 2 months (mostly due to other work and travelling) and my Pinterest profile crashed. During this time, I did not add much original content (nor blogged) and definitely did not re-pin others much. Here's what happened: a steady decline.
I hope the above has been useful, and has given you the right motivation and tools to make 2019 YOUR Pinterest year.
Switch to business profile and verify your website so you get Rich Pins.
Re-write your profile description so it's keyword-rich and add a nice photo or your brand logo.
Reduce your boards - stay within 50 max. Add at least 50 Pins to each board. Do not delete old pins/boards or you risk loosing some of your followers. Instead of deleting boards, you can make them secret.
Create some new boards to address wider interests of your audience.
Make Pinterest friendly photos (format them long, add word overlays) with Canva.com
Plan/ schedule pins consistently with Tailwind. Get it here.
Use a calendar to plan in advance. It's too late to pin Christmas stuff in December!!
Use the 2-5 formula. Pin 2 yours for every 5 that you re-pin.
Join group Boards like this as well as Tribes (through Tailwind)
Always, ALWAYS, treat Pinterest like a search engine!