Back in May I was lucky enough to join one of Pinterest’s small Blogger Masterclasses, where their Marketing Manager, the lovely Zoe Pearson, took us through some statistics, business plans and top tips.
Back before Inky, when I only used social media for personal gossip and gripes, I used to be hugely addicted to Pinterest. Now I tend to focus on Twitter and Instagram, maybe because I can’t simply dip into Pinterest. It sucks me in and the next thing I know it’s dark outside… or light outside, depending on when I started.
So my Pinterest account went fairly neglected up until recently. I had less than 400 followers and only about 1000 pins so I felt a bit of an imposter sitting around the table with people like Lou Archell of Little Green Shed (over 500,000 followers) and Zoe Arch from Craft Candy (1.7 million followers!)
I did see an absurdly huge surge in followers when I was included as a featured pinner for a week (meaning you’re suggested to people when they sign up), going from a few hundred, to tens of thousands. As with every social network, though, it’s not about the number of followers – it’s about the engagement – and so, naturally, I promptly lost a few thousand of my new followers when I didn’t keep my account active daily.
Personally, I still have a lot of work to do with Pinterest. I know you don’t have to be on every social network, but I also know how good it is for driving traffic to online shops and blogs so it is something I will endeavour to improve on next year!
- Number of pins – 1.7k
- Number of boards – 34
- Following – 242
- Followers – 11.8k
Things to note about Pinterest:
- Pinterest is not a social network. The way Zoe described it is, “if Google does search, Pinterest does discovery”.
- As mentioned, your follower count is not a great measurement of success. Pay more attention to your engagement – repins, likes and comments.
- Most content is consumed through search or in the homefeed – not through people visiting or viewing your profile page.
- People plan two months in advance on Pinterest (lunatics). Keep it in mind when PRing your own seasonal products or services.
Pin with care
It’s so easy on Pinterest to just start pinning with wild abandon, but if you want to appeal to a larger audience, you should curate your content carefully.
- Choose vertical images, the taller the better. They stand out more in the homefeed, and are also better for mobile.
- Click through and check the source before you pin to make sure you’re sharing quality content.
- Pin to each relevant board, don’t worry about doubling up. For example, I would pin illustrated invitations to both my Illustration board, and Stationery board.
- Keep your pins attractive – if there’s a recipe you want to try but it’s not a great photo, like it rather than pin it, or pin it to a secret board.
Use hashtags wisely
For a while Pinterest disabled hashtags, but now they work to an extent, though not entirely in the same way as they do for Twitter and Instagram.
- Hashtags are only clickable/searchable when used in pin descriptions – not in your profile, board descriptions or titles.
- Clicking on a hashtag to search for similar pins will bring up anything with the same word in the description or even the linked URL, not only matching hashtags.
- Same as with my Twitter tips, I wouldn’t recommend using hashtags unless for something very specific. Otherwise it can look spammy.
Help Pinterest help you
Pinterest has no image recognition; it relies wholly on the detail you use in your pin and board descriptions, board titles and the linked URLs. This is why it’s so important to pin carefully, and check the links before pinning.
- Always add a description to your pins, and think about it in terms of what people would search for. “Studio” or “Office” probably isn’t going to get your pin very far.
- Be mindful of the wording on your profile, board descriptions and board titles too so people can find you and your content.
- If uploading an image, change the file name to be descriptive too. Once pinned, you can then edit the pin and update where the image links to – so you can link it back to your blog, for example.
- Verify your website to add your logo to any image pinned from your site, and to gain access to analytics.
- Hashtags may not be hugely effective, but SEO is. Yet another reason to be descriptive and get Google working for you.
- Google searches from the top down, so move your most relevant and popular boards to the top.
- Take advantage of the “People who pinned this also pinned” feature to find more relevant content.
- Sign up for a business account – it’s free! See how people are repinning and categorising your content.
Build up your brand
“If I had a lifestyle magazine for my brand, what would that look like?” so brilliantly sums up how to use Pinterest effectively (via Megan Auman on the Elise Gets Crafty podcast listed below), and it has changed the way I pin dramatically.
I enjoy a beautifully bare, white-washed living room as much as the next person, but I realised that that kind of imagery didn’t match up to my otherwise brightly coloured, cheerful branding. As you can see from the pictures in this post, it’s all got a bit more colourful (and pink!) since.
- Promote your own products or services within suitable boards, rather than a dedicated board just for your work. And don’t bombard with your own business, mix it up!
- If you have certain brand colours, themes or other aesthetics, try to reflect and compliment them with your pins.
- If you are pinning to drive blog traffic, add text to your photos to give context at a glance.
- Lifestyle pins are more popular that product shots (think travel, decor, fashion) – can you use these subjects to support your brand? For example, once I’ve got got my butt in gear on the wedding stationery side of things, I will definitely be upping the ante with a wedding board so the right customers can find me.
Lastly (and as always), interact with your followers. Comment, like, repin. It never used to occur to me to leave comments on people’s pins, but this is a great way of opening communication with a whole new audience.
Tailwind – Schedule pins and track analytics
Buffer – Schedule pins and track analytics
Pin Them All – Pin multiple images in a long strip
Further reading and listening:
Developing a Pinterest Strategy – Elise Gets Crafty podcast (episode 58)
How To Use Pinterest as a Business – The Private Life of a Girl
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