Guest Post by Stephanie Bledsoe
Maybe you’ve heard about the AMAZING power of Pinterest for blog and website traffic. Maybe you’ve given it a try already but haven’t really been able to see the awesome results everyone is raving about. The truth is, to do well on Pinterest, it takes a lot of patience and lot of research to truly understand how everything works, especially after Pinterest started using its Smart Feed algorithm. I know, I know. “Ugh! Another algorithm!” It can leave you feeling that you’ve missed the “good ol’ days” of Pinterest. Fortunately, if you know how to get started, it’s actually pretty easy to start seeing results on Pinterest, even with the algorithm. This is actually great news for you, the new Pinterest blogger, because it means Pinterest is less of a numbers game like other social media sites. Even with very few followers, you’ll be able to get thousands of eyes on your content. Not just every month, but every day. And, thanks to the Smart Feed, you know all your views and clicks are hyper-targeted. You’ll be getting the right visitors instead of just any visitor. If you’re a little skeptical about your own followers being worth little on Pinterest, let me provide an example. Take a look at these stats from my first month of pinning from my website on my Blog + Create account. I started on October 1st with around 380 followers.
I only have 459 followers now (on November 5th), but my total daily viewers reached over 7,600 people at one point. That’s WAY more than my follower count, over 15x, and all in just a single day.
Pretty good for my first month. I’m not even in a popular niche (Technology is the second least popular category on Pinterest).
Keep in mind that these stats are just from my own pins. It’s not showing information from other stuff I’ve pinned.
So how do you start getting results like these for your own pins? From the beginning! You first need a solid foundation, which is what I’ll be covering in these 5 steps:
- Create a business account
- Pin for your audience, not for yourself
- Optimize your website for Pinterest
- Collaborate with other pinners
- Save time by scheduling your pins
I’ll also be sharing a Pro Tip or two within each step, so get out your notepad and get ready to take some serious notes! Or bookmark this post to view it later. Whatever works best for you.
Create an Awesome Business Profile
The first step to any good Pinterest strategy is creating a business account, especially if you plan to use your account for affiliate marketing, to make sales, or to attract clients. Pinterest requires you to have one if you want to use your account commercially.
Unlike the rumors going around about Instagram business accounts, creating a business account on Pinterest is 100% worth it and won’t affect your visibility or anything like that. You’ll be missing out on some pretty big features if you’re not using one.
Besides the opportunity to make money, business account features include using a separate name for your business, access to Pinterest Analytics, and the ability to create Promoted Pins.
As a newbie, you should hold off on doing any Promoted Pins until you find your sweet spot with graphic layouts, so let’s focus on your Business Name and Analytics first.
Pinterest Business Name
Your name is the very first thing someone will see when visiting your Pinterest profile. Pinterest makes it easy for you to use this as a space to tell everyone what to expect from you. You can add a fair amount of characters for your Business Name.
A common formula for this is your name or blog/business/store name, followed by 1 or 2 long-tail keywords. Don’t put just anything. Make sure these are the most important phrases that you want to be found for.
Here’s an example from my Blog + Create account, where I used my tagline and added in a few more keywords:
Notice how I’ve also included keywords in my profile bios as well.
Analytics are where you can see how your profile, pins, and website pins are performing. You should pay close attention to this as you’re starting out to get a feel for how it works. Start making adjustments every 2-3 months until you find what works best for you. It takes about that long for you to see how any changes affect your account.
A lot of bloggers make the mistake of paying too much attention to your profile or monthly views. These will fluctuate a lot since they’re based on the combined views of ALL pins on your account, not just your own.
You’ll be pinning a lot of content that’s already proven to be popular. Sometimes your repin of these pins can go viral and make more than double the views of all your other pins.
Naturally, once these pins become less viral, you see large dips in your monthly views. If people are ONLY watching their monthly views, they kind of freak out and think they’ve done something wrong (don’t worry, this totally happened to me too!).
You should pay the most attention to what pins are getting the most views and how your own pins are doing. You’ll be able to identify these viral pins and understand the reason for any sudden drops that happen.
Pro Tip: When one of your pins is doing really well, add it back into your pinning rotation to give it some extra oomph with the algorithm to keep it ranked highly for a bit longer. Repin this straight from whatever pin is performing the highest, even if it’s a pin leading back to your website that was created by someone else.
Create Boards and Pin Content Your Target Audience Will Enjoy
Marketing isn’t about you, it’s about attracting the right kind of people. The same is true with Pinterest. While Pinterest is becoming less and less social with almost every update, it’s still important to keep following some golden social media rules, like posting for your audience and posting consistently.
You can, and should, focus on providing the very best content for your target audience instead of worrying about how many followers you have. Do this by creating boards, saving, and repinning pins from your website and others.
Boards should have descriptive names (ones people would search for, not something you think is cute) and pin content related to what you blog about. A great place to find new content is from your favorite (related) websites and by using Pinterest search to find the top performing pins.
Pro Tip: Use the Pinterest search bar to find popular keywords for your board names and description.
Study Accounts in Your Niche
If you need a little help understanding what your account should look like, you can try taking a look at accounts from other people in your niche. Find a blogger with similar content and check out their boards, pins, and descriptions.
Don’t forget to check out their blog, too, to see how they’re connecting it with their Pinterest content.
Take note of what you like and don’t like. Also look for patterns in they way they create descriptions and the designs they use for their Pinterest images. If you notice a lot of people doing one thing, try it out yourself for a couple months.
Encourage Pinterest Sharing on Your Website
Once your account is set up, you need to make sure your website is also primed for attracting pins from others! This is probably the easiest thing to do because it requires you to simply download a plugin for WordPress. Squarespace users just need to connect their Pinterest accounts and make sure social sharing options are on.
My favorite plugin for this is Social Warfare. The Pro version has Pinterest specific features that allow you to hide a Pinterest image in your blog posts without having to deal with doing any HTML coding.
Always create images JUST for Pinterest use that are longer than they are wider. The recommended size for Pinterest graphics is 736 x 1104px.
Bright, colorful images perform best, especially those including red tones. Infographics perform really well, too!
Pro Tip: Create images that are longer than 1104px to attract even more attention. These are great for advertising a free incentive or showing the steps of a tutorial.
Join Group Boards and Tribes
Collaboration is more important on Pinterest now than ever. Repins are a signal to Pinterest that your pins are what people want to see, but it can be difficult to get your content out there when you’re first starting. This is where group boards and tribes come into play.
Group boards give you access to other people’s followers. They’re also a great way to find new content for your own boards.
You should always pin the same amount from group boards as you pin to group boards. Remember what I said about repins sending signals to Pinterest? That applies to boards as well. If no one repins from group boards, the boards’ content won’t perform as well as it could.
Tribes connect you with other pinners. Together, you can share each other’s content and get your pins in front of new audiences. It’s best if you join tribes with members who share and create similar content.
Tribes are only available through Tailwind or BoardBooster, third-party schedulers for Pinterest. Tailwind Tribes let you upload to a pool of pins that anyone in the group can choose to repin from. BoardBooster Tribes take a more automated approach, making sure each tribe member pins every pin from the tribe pool.
Pro Tip: Don’t completely automate everything. Scheduling mostly ends up creating new pins rather than actual repins. Make sure you try to log in for 5-10 minutes a day to make a few repins directly from Pinterest.
Use Automation to Pin Consistently
Pinning every day might seem like a huge task but fortunately, there is help! Tailwind and BoardBooster are two amazing tools that will allow you to schedule your pins days or months in advance.
Tailwind is also useful even if you don’t use its scheduling features. Tailwind Tribes are a great way to get more people sharing your pins and to find new content to pin. Tailwind’s analytics are also second to none. It gives you in-depth insights into each pin you create as well as info on specific boards.
BoardBooster has also just launched its tribes feature (as of August 2017) which work even better for getting repins. You do need to be a paying member of BoardBooster to make use of tribes, though. This is because the system schedules and sends out pins automatically from everyone in the tribe. A small price to pay for guaranteed repins!
I know I mentioned tribes before in the last section, but I’m mentioning it again because they’re just that great! It’s the best way to start getting shares on your pins, which as I’ve said before is a factor in how often the Smart Feed shows your pins to other users.
Pro Tip: Start pinning at around 10 pins per day and work your way up to 50. Some bloggers see great success with around 100 daily pins as well. The trick is to pin most of your own pins to group boards and pins from other people to your own boards. It’s easy to build up 50 or more daily pins if you really push a group board based strategy since you need to repin from them anyway.
Pinterest can seem really intimidating once you start to really dig into it, but this guide should give you a pretty good start.
Don’t try to do everything at once. Take things one step at a time to make sure you’re doing it right.
Here’s the step-by-step breakdown, just so you don’t forget!
Step 1: Create a new account or convert your personal account to a business account.
Step 2: Create boards with keyword-based names that your target audience would want to follow.
Step 3: Add Pinterest sharing to your website. Learn how to optimize your images for sharing to Pinterest.
Step 4: Join group boards and tribes in your niche. Don’t forget to share from these groups as well.
Step 5: Schedule pins ahead of time with Tailwind or BoardBooster. Don’t forget to check in and make repins by hand sometimes.
And of course, here’s a recap of all the Pro Tips, too:
Pro Tip 1: Watch Pinterest Analytics to see what pins are performing well and repin them.
Pro Tip 2: Use keyword rich descriptions for boards for pins. Find the best keywords by using Pinterest search.
Pro Tip 3: Always create long graphics for Pinterest but feel free to create images longer than the recommended size.
Pro Tip 4: If you choose to schedule your pins, still pin manually a few times a day when you can.
Pro Tip 5: Work your way up to pinning 50-100 times per day. Don’t forget to include your own content, too!
Stephanie Bledsoe runs Blog + Create, a website featuring detailed tutorials for important blogging tools, such as marketing services and design programs. Her mission is to help bloggers become more confident in using technology, one amazing tutorial at a time.
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