I’ve been addicted to Pinterest since it’s early days when it was invite only and long before I started with this blog. I find it relaxing to sit and pin all the pretty things, and a useful way to find recipes and kids crafts quickly and easily. But, I was quite late in starting to use Pinterest to promote my blog. I just saw Pinterest as my little happy place to pin whatever personal stuff I liked and didn’t really bring blogging and Pinterest together until later. Only in January this year did I really start to make an effort to think about how to use Pinterest to build my following and to drive more significant traffic to my blog.
In those 5 months I went from under 1k followers to now over 6.2k, so although I still have room to build this a lot more, I feel like a growth of around 1000 followers per month is not too bad at all. [update: I’m now at 70k+ and looking likely to hit my goal of 100k in a year thanks to being added one of Pinterest’s recommended pinner lists for new users. New Year update: I did hit the 100k goal, the day after Christmas bringing my Pinterest growth from under 1k to well over 100k in less than a year.]
While reading up about tips to help me build my Pinterest following, I came across Melissa Taylor from Pinterest Savvy (she also blogs at Imagination Soup). I read her e-book Pinterest Savvy at the beginning of the year but now she has relaunched with a revised edition and I am here to tell you about it, especially as it is FREE on Amazon for a limited time only from May 29 – June 2. Don’t miss out, make sure you download this if you are looking for advice on how to use Pinterest and get the most out of it.
Update: Since this post was originally written, some changes have come about in Pinterest. Smart feed has been introduced making search more important, and the time of day that you pin less important. The general Pinterest advice and best practises will still apply and help you out just as before though! But with the new smart feed, taking care with your keywords in your pin descriptions and board descriptions can not be over looked!
Melissa has over 1 million followers on Pinterest and the book takes you right through from the beginning stages of how to set up your Pinterest account into business strategies with Pinterest, monetisation, tips on the kind of images that work well, and more.
The strategies in the book work. Melissa knows what she is talking about (I think the 1 million followers proves that! 🙂 ) I am following most of the advise in this ebook, and it’s working for me. I still need to go back through it and make sure there is nothing else I have missed, but the good thing with the book is that you can implement it bit by bit and just take a couple of pieces of advice from it at a time and see how you get on. It’s not something over whelming, and it’s very easy to understand whatever level you are already at with Pinterest.
I thought I would share a couple of my own tips too!
Read and learn, as much as you can.
Be that ebooks like Pinterest Savvy, blog posts or whatever else. When browsing Pinterest, I will often click through to people’s pins that are on the topic of Pinterest just like this. Often you will click through and read and find that you knew those tips already – well that’s fine, it still confirms for you that you are doing the right thing, but sometimes you will click through to one and end up finding out a little gem of useful information that you did not know so I always find it useful to click them and at least skim read just to make sure!
Images are the make or break thing on Pinterest in 90% of cases. I actually have a couple of posts with not so good images that have done very well on Pinterest BUT it’s the exception, and in those cases if you re-d0 the image and then repin them, you might find they go on to do even better.
If the image is not great, then content had better be great. If it is something that people would want to refer back to, then they may still pin it even if the image could do with a little improvement.
The images should be vertical! I wish I had started to implement this earlier. Despite all my years of pinning, I had not really clicked that most of the images are vertical so most of my older posts were published with a wide horizontal collage, which I had made without thinking about Pinterest promotion. Needless to say those posts have done much better once I re-did the images, and I still have lots more to get through!
Make your image large enough. Pinterest will display the image at a maximum of around 735 pixels, so use that. It needs to be big enough so that you can really see it!
Whatever you put into your Alt Tag will be pulled as a Pin description and as many people won’t bother to change that, then you can take the opportunity to put whatever description you would like to be displayed. Use your keywords, don’t forget that Pinterest is also about search not just about re-pinning whatever is in front of you in the feed – so make your pins easily found for those people using the Pinterest search. Adding a bit of personality to the pin description also tends to help.
Think about what you pin
Make sure that you pin only quality pins. This is one of the most important factors in helping you to gain followers, and to keep the followers you already have. I’m sorry to say, I do unfollow people or boards pretty quickly if they keep annoying me on Pinterest and I’m sure other people are the same. (As I mentioned above, Pinterest is my relaxing happy place so I don’t want to be spammed by 50 pins of the same thing all in a row, or bad quality images of your product review, coupon or giveaway!)
One tip I read a while back from Holly Homer of Kids Activities blog that I loved is “don’t pin crap – even if you wrote it.” Okay, I may have been guilty of this on the odd occasion..no one is perfect! But I really believe that you do not have to pin every single post on your blog, or if you feel like you do – then make sure you have tweaked it so that it is truly pinnable. If it’s not pinnable and something that people would genuinely like to re pin then just don’t pin it. If it’s not suitable, it won’t bring you any traffic anyway so you really don’t gain anything from pinning it.
The same thing goes with don’t pin a bad image for someone else as part of a pin swap just because you want them to repin your things. This is why I don’t take part in the Pinterest groups that require you to re-pin every single pin in a list, it is just not a good idea as you don’t know what you are committing to. Someone could come along right after you and post and awful pin and that puts you in an awkward position. It’s not only about image quality but also about whether this stuff is relevant for your audience.
However, If you have a group which allows you to pick 3 or so out of a list and repin only those that suit your niche and Pinterest boards, then those groups are a great way to help get your pin out there initially so that it can pick up more repins.
It really comes down to thinking about your followers. If you want to go on a mad pinning frenzy and pin 100 very similar things all in a row, you could always use a secret board to avoid annoying others and then schedule them out to be re-pinned publicly in a more spaced out manner.
If you do want to schedule, you can try Ahalogy, Viral Tag or Viral Woot. You don’t want to pin the same thing to several boards all in a row as that will spam people’s feeds, so scheduling is useful for that. Or pin it first to your blog board, and then go in and re-pin it to different boards manually over time.
Update: With the new smart feed, it’s recommended to space out your pins even more so than previously. Try to keep at least 24 hours between repins of the same content on to different boards. Scheduling a pin out to every suitable board at 2 or 3 hour intervals is no longer going to work well.
When your following is still fairly small it’s a brilliant opportunity to be able to contribute to group boards. Even once you have your numbers up, I guess it would still be a good thing! You can get your pins seen by more people which of course leads to more repins and more traffic. I noticed a real increase after joining some larger group boards and I’m very grateful to those board owners for having me as a contributor!
Update: With the updates to Pinterest, some pinners have recommended cutting down on excess group boards. If you don’t use it or it has much less followers than your own account then it might be better to leave that board
This post wouldn’t be complete without me plugging my own Pinterest account now would it.. so come follow me on Pinterest!
Visit Anna – In The Playroom’s profile on Pinterest.
If you want to embed a board like this, use the Pinterest widget builder here. Embedding relevant boards into your popular posts is another great way to build followers.
If you have any other tips, please share them with me in the comments and if you have any questions about Pinterest feel free to ask those too. I’m always happy to help if I can!
And don’t forget to download your copy of Pinterest Savvy!