PIN FOR THE WIN! If you’re blogging without utilizing a Pinterest account then you are missing out! I get it, you’ve just started blogging and now you’re buried beneath countless social media platforms. My advice would be to optimize one or two (or three) that work best for you and ignore the rest. If you are trying to juggle a thousand accounts to promote your blog but don’t have time to write the blog then the practice is redundant. I focus mainly on Pinterest and Facebook and occasionally I dip my toes in Instagram and Twitter. Facebook is like a moody teenager. Some days she is obliging and sweet as pie, other days she hates your guts and refuses to help you. I will conquer Facebook’s wildly complicated algorithms one day but for now, I’m going to tell you about Pinterest.
When I first started blogging I developed an irrational fear of being away from my laptop. I became a stat stalker. I would see my hard work flatline if I took a day off and it affected me. If I kept this up it would have meant that I had no life outside this blog. Luckily I learned that lesson early on and made myself a blogging schedule. Sometimes this thing called life happens and that schedule changes but I try to adapt as I go along.
Honestly, I was getting bored of hearing bloggers sing the praises of Pinterest. I thought it was worthless and it was doing nothing for me. That was wrong of me. Pinterest is now my biggest traffic driver. For Sass & Shamrocks, it was Succulents For Beginners that took off first. The pin now has over 4000 repins! Of all social media platforms, Pinterest extends the shelf life of your content beyond measure. I now have two pins that sit there and pull in thousands of viewers a week and I don’t have to do a thing!
Pinterest has changed its algorithms and it has a drastic affect on your reach. Prior to the recent changes, you could join group boards (more on those later) and reach masses with your one little pin. Now, more than ever, Pinterest will reward the growth and popularity of your own personal boards. This of course means success takes longer but what’s the harm in a bit of hard work?
I started my blog in February 2016 and decided to take Pinterest seriously at the end of April. Here’s just a small sample of the growth I achieved by using a social media platform I used all along for fun anyway!
12 Steps To Optimize Your Pinterest Account
Get A Business Account
Firstly, how do I have Pinterest analytics as seen above? I switched my personal account to a business account. It’s free and can be done without losing the pins/followers on your original account. After a couple of days you will be able to see the behavior of your followers and pins. This is a very handy tool for determining what your followers like to pin.
Enable Rich Pins
What’s a rich pin? Necessary! Rich pins look more professional, stand out and they are also a nifty tool to prevent anyone claiming your content as their own. They contain more embedded information such as where the pin has been shared from, direct links and for small businesses, pricing. Get them now!
Give Your Account Your Blog Name
Remove the bells and whistles. The new algorithms will do nothing for aesthetically pleasing characters and wide spacing between letters. Give your account your blog name – plain and simple. If you want to include your own name then put it after the blog title or in parentheses.
Simple Descriptive Board Labels
The name game applies to your boards too. Give your boards clean, simple and applicable labels. No characters, no spacing. I have entitled mine in upper case letters.
Pin to boards that fit your niche. If you have other boards you cannot part with then make them secret and continue pinning to them. I totally have a board dedicated to giant, fluffy Old English Sheepdogs but you can’t see it!. Analyze the demographics of your followers. Maybe you don’t have kids but have a lot of ‘mom blog’ followers who enjoy your DIY and Food boards – create a board they may like related to kids/parenting/family vacation ideas etc. Of course pin to the board the things YOU like. It is your account after all.
Join Group Boards
Group boards are open boards belonging to somebody else that you can pin to. Some of these boards have thousands of followers and can be a good place to get your content seen. You will need to be invited to the board before you can pin. Often, the owner of the board will leave an email address in the board description so you can send a request to join. If you are struggling to find boards in your niche, search for some on PinGroupie.
Spring Clean Old Content
This was the kick starter for me. Stale pins are hurting your reach and engagement Regularly (once a month/two months) go through your pins and remove the ones with less than four repins. Pinterest rewards popularity. You need to repin and like pins that have a good repin record. This means your followers will engage with them also.
Choose Your Timing
Pinterest is typically the most active between 8pm and 1am and saturday mornings are also popular. Pin during these times as there will be more pinners available to save your pins.
Follow Accounts In Your Niche
I started in April with 45 followers and at present I have over 700. I gained organic followers by following in my niche, liking/pinning/commenting their content and pinning more of what my followers want (thanks, analytics!). It started slow but now I gain between 10 and 20 followers daily and even more if I get involved in Pinterest threads.
I also gain followers so consistently because I pin often. I don’t mean time-sucking dedication to the site or the type of obsession that means you abandon your family and friends for that little red button. No, I mean picking up your phone and pinning 2/3 things when standing in line at the bank or waiting on a friend for coffee. If you absent minded-ly pin throughout the day it doesn’t even feel like a task. This is something I would do anyway before I even started the blog.
Create Pin Friendly Images
Pinterest likes vertical images with some white space and lots of color. Ensure you are creating images of the correct dimensions. Horizontal images are not eye-catching and get buried. Be as creative as you wish but make sure your brand isn’t overly fussy or glaringly busy. This will turn people off. Pinterest is a visual place and images catch the eye more than content, initially.
Make sure your pin descriptions contain key words related to the content. Some people say with the new algorithm changes you don’t need to include hashtags but I still use one or two that I think fits best along with a short description.
I now have a number of pins that keep my blog alive when I am busy living my real life and you can too. Let me know in the comments how you find Pinterest.