- In the last 2.5 months, FertileBrains went from less than 50 Pinterest followers to more than 1000 (1035 to be exact at the time of writing this post).
- In about the same time, it went from 5K page views per month to 10K page views (and increasing).
If you are reading this post, you are probably just starting out on Pinterest or maybe you have not used Pinterest effectively as part of your blog promotion strategy (like me). Frankly, I got the Pinterest memo a little late. I have been blogging for almost two years now. But my social media strategy has been faulty. My main focus until recently was Facebook, Twitter, and to some extent SEO. My Pinterest involvement was limited to pinning my latest post to one of my personal boards and then running. But in less than 3 months and with a few simple steps, I have been able to remedy my Pinterest situation so much so that more than 50% of FertileBrains traffic now is generated from it. In this post, I am sharing all the quick (and some not-so-quick) actionable steps that you too can take to get more Pinterest followers and grow your blog in the process.
1. Get a Pinterest business account
Since you are here reading this post, it goes without saying that you are looking for ways to grow your blog/business. So, first things first. You must get yourself one of those Pinterest business accounts embellished with powerful analytics and what not. If you already created a personal account, no worries. You can convert that to a business account too. Here’s the step-by-step guide on how to set up your Pinterest business account. Also, if you are not convinced that you need a business account, read this ultimate guide from Social Media Examiner to know more.
2. Apply for rich pins
Rich pins add an extra level of detail to your pinned content like whether it’s a recipe pin, an article, a movie, a product or a place. These additional details improve the visibility and clickability of your pins many times over as compared to regular pins. So, the second thing you should do after you have set up your Pinterest business account is apply for rich pins. Here’s the step-by-step guide on how to enable rich pins for your website. Here are some additional details on why rich pins are so important.
3. Update your profile picture
It’s an obvious thing, but you will be surprised how may people forget to add a profile picture on Pinterest. It does not need to be a headshot (although headshot of the person behind the business does improve its credibility), but a simple logo could also improve the chances of people following you. I, for one, am pretty reluctant to follow back a person if there is no profile picture attached to his/her Pinterest Account. The account simply feels incomplete without it, something someone quickly put together without much thought behind it.
4. Update your profile description (Don’t forget to include your blog URL in it)
Another thing that bothers me a little when I am checking out someone’s Pinterest profile is little or no profile description. You have a picture, great, but if your potential follower doesn’t know what your Pinterest account is all about, how will he/she figure out whether or not your account is something he/she will be interested in? So yes, you need to provide a short and sweet (and preferably garnished with a few keywords) description of your business in your profile. Again, you must include your blog URL in your profile too (and your location if it is a local business). If your profile interests me, I would definitely be inclined to visit your site to know more if you have your blog URL added to your description.
5. Fix your boards
You have a great profile picture and an equally awesome profile description, but if you have only one board with two pins, chances are I will leave faster than I arrived. So, the next thing in your Pinterest journey that you must do is to fix your boards. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- Have at least 10-15 cohesive boards with (at least) 10-15 relevant pins in each.
- Create 1-3 boards of your website specific pins alone and keep those boards at the top of your page. For example – A board for all your posts, a board for your top posts etc.
- Delete pins with less than four re-pins.
- Hide personal boards irrelevant to your business/target audience by changing them to secret boards.
- Keep the number of boards manageable (don’t go overboard with hundreds of boards). It’s overwhelming not just for your would-be-followers, but also for you from a maintenance perspective.
- Hide incomplete boards (the ones with less than 10 pins) till you have added more pins to them or decided to delete them altogether.
- When creating boards, don’t forget to categorize them appropriately and provide a keyword-rich description for them.
6. Follow Industry Leaders in your niche
You will never run out of good content to repin if you follow industry leaders in your niche. The best part is that their pins are vetted pins that you can re-pin blindly (if you are short on time) and these pins always have a good re-pin count so that you don’t have to worry about the pin quality.
7. Join group boards in your niche
This is one of the biggest determining factors of how fast your blog will grow as a result of your Pinterest marketing. You must join some good group boards in your niche and pin your content there. PinGroupie is my go-to place to find decent-sized group boards in my niche. In addition, you can join the Facebook group Pinterest Group Boards where collaborators share their group board details for members to join. Another way is to scour through your favorite bloggers’ group boards to find the ones you are interested in (You can check out the group boards I am a part of here).
Once you have made a list of 10-15 group boards you want to join, be prepared to write letters/messages to the board owners for inclusion. Don’t forget to follow their instructions to the tee before shooting that email (for example:- following the board, following the owner’s profile etc.). Once you have shot off an email, you must then be patient. Some board owners add new collaborators immediately, others take a week, some a month, some never. The idea is to keep on trying to join as many group boards as you can.
Also, if a group board is dead i.e., no one re-pins from that board or clicks through to your website, feel free to leave that board and join a new one instead. And always, always, be a good board member and follow the rules.
8. Pin a lot, I mean A LOT (but from good sources) at peak times
The second important determinant of your Pinterest success is your ability to pin content on a daily basis, that too multiple times (read 5-30) a day. Pinning at such high-frequency can, in itself, be a full-time job, if not for scheduling apps to help you out. You can use ViralTag, TailWindApp or BoardBooster to schedule your pins in advance (I recently started using ViralTag and love the convenience of cyclic scheduling of evergreen posts). However, a point to remember is that all these scheduling apps will cost you money based on the monthly subscription you choose. Before investing though, you can try them out for free for the first month to see which one you like the most. (For bloggers, ViralTag offers a 6-month FREE “Blogger Plan” in exchange for an unbiased review).
Again, there is also a cheaper, zero cost, but tech-savvy alternative that you can use if you are really tight on cash called “IFTTT“. (I will share a detailed ginormous tutorial on how you can achieve Pinterest scheduling through IFTTT soon. Please subscribe to FertileBrains mailing list if you would like to get notified as and when I publish it ’cause frankly, that tutorial cannot fit into this post!).
Also, if you are wondering, what exactly I mean by peak times, check out my Social Media Tips board on Pinterest where I have curated and collected some awesome infographics on platform-wise peak traffic hours.
9. Don’t follow back people randomly
This point is important from a quality control perspective. As a blogger who loves seeing her follower counts climb on social media, I am automatically programmed to spread the love across. So, when someone follows me on Pinterest, I am inclined to follow back. But over time, I have learned to restrain myself because Pinterest (and in fact, all other social media platforms too) have tons of fake accounts and spammers. So, you must do an account audit before following someone on Pinterest.
- Is the account profile URL a randomly typed jumble of letters?
- Are the boards related to your niche?
- Do they have spammy looking boards/images hidden in plain sight?
- Are the boards, profiles etc. incomplete?
At the minimum, you must answer the above questions when you are trying to follow back. Even when you are satisfied with the answers you get but think that the boards are not cohesive, it is a good idea to only follow specific boards in your niche instead of the entire profile. Again, some imposters are very good at hiding their Pinterest accounts in the garb of popular boards, well-written descriptions etc. If you unintentionally followed such an account in the past and you consistently see irrelevant/spammy content from their account on your homepage, feel free to unfollow them. Your basic aim should be to move towards a more relevant and ideal followership for your blog niche over time.
10. Create infographic length images, wherever appropriate
I am not a food blogger and before I jumped onto the Pinterest bandwagon, I thought Pinterest was relevant only for food/photography bloggers. But when I read articles from industry leaders like Neil Patel, Kevan Lee, and others talking about Pinterest, I knew I had to give it a try. And they all talked about infographics as the holy grail of Pinterest images. So, as a way of testing the waters, I created a couple of infographic sized images for two of my old posts (which had been dead for over a year) and shared it on one of my group boards on Pinterest. That was almost 3 months ago. At the time of writing this post, those two posts had been re-pinned more than 6K times each and bring me steady traffic even today. You can check them out below.
So, the moral of the story? Create infographic sized images, wherever appropriate. They don’t necessarily need to be Infographics in the true sense of the word, but any listicle type article that you may have written in the past can be converted into one. (This post is an example in point). Posts which don’t lend to such images, make sure that you create at least a high-quality vertical image (735px X 1103 px) for Pinterest to go with that post.
11. Think of Pinterest as a Search Engine like Google
Last, but not the least, Pinterest’s search capabilities are amazing. It is addictive, it is informative and it is a one-stop place to collect all your favorite things. So use all the SEO strategies that you may have used for Google in the past. Use keywords in your descriptions (profile/boards/pins), hashtags (two at max. otherwise it starts looking spammy) and keep your boards clean and organized. Before you know it, you would have discovered the power of Pinterest just like I am discovering every single day. Hopefully, I will be able to cover up my two-year delay soon 🙂
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