Pinterest has always eluded me, I mean, just what is it for? Surely Google Image Search is enough? Well, actually no, as I’ve recently discovered Pinterest is much better than Google Image Search and does so much more.
I previously used Pinterest to search for haircuts when I decided I needed a new one but I never really went much further than that with it. I just didn’t get Pinterest. Then recently I saw quite a few bloggers going on about how good Tailwind (an automated pinning service that Pinterest is happy with you using) is, specifically this post by Lex from Talonted Lex. I tried out Tailwind but found that I actually prefer manual pinning. I’ve read a few things to suggest that Pinterest like you to pin manually too although I haven’t anything solid to back that up. It makes sense though, it’s better for Pinterest if you actually spend more time in their app/site. I’m not entirely sure how much difference manual vs automated pinning makes. You’ll find out which you prefer for yourself, or indeed a mix of both.
If you’re new to Pinterest or wanting to try a new way of using it it’s always good to have a basic understanding of what Pinterest is, how Pinterest works, and why you should be using Pinterest especially if you’re a blogger or business owner.
(*disclaimer: I’m still relatively new to Pinterest so I’m always learning but this is what I’ve found useful so far).
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is essentially an incredibly powerful visual search engine with a social element to it. It’s an amazing way to discover new content, get inspired, and share your own content/product. Pinterest can be a great way to drive traffic to your own site. So if you’re wanting more visitors to your site I’d highly recommend using Pinterest. But be aware that it takes a while for traffic to build up, once your pins are out there though you can get some amazing evergreen content and views.
Here’s what Pinterest say:
“People use Pinterest to discover and save ideas. Ideas can take lots of forms, from recipes to renovation projects to the perfect pair of shoes. Every idea is represented by a “Pin” that includes an image, a description and a link back to the image’s source online. When people click a Pin’s URL they can find out more about the idea and act on it.”
A “pin” is an image you can add to your boards (here are my Pinterest boards if you fancy a look and to give you an idea) either by uploading from your computer/phone/whatever, sharing from a site or repinning a pin within Pinterest. To make it super easy to pin from a site you can use an extension like this Pinterest share button for Chrome. Or most images will have a shareable Pinterest link if you hover over the image (not everyone likes to share their images like this though, so do keep that in mind when pinning). This lets you build up your boards. I use my boards for a whole host of things: outfit inspiration, photography ideas, products I like or want to try etc etc (you can also use affiliate links too). You can use your boards for whatever you like but it’s generally a good idea to keep them in line with your blog/business. I like to use mine as an extension of my blog or “brand” but of course it can just be stand alone. This won’t get you traffic from Pinterest and that’s our aim, really.
How to Use Pinterest for Traffic
First of all it’s nice to build up a bit of a presence on Pinterest. You can keep your boards secret until you have say around 20-25 pins in there. It makes it look like an active Pinterest account. Many people can just dip in and out of Pinterest like I previously did so people are less likely to follow. It’s also a good idea to have a minimum of 15-20 actives boards on the go for the same reasons just outlined. You’ll most probably read about the things you should or shouldn’t do but once you have a basic understanding of what Pinterest is and what it does you should have a play about to see what works for you. Just because one things works for one person doesn’t automatically follow that it’s a general strategy. So do play about with Pinterest. The more you use it yourself the more you’ll have a better understanding of it as a platform.
I’ve been solidly using Pinterest for just over 6 weeks. When I first started I was getting just over 1000 views per month on my Pinterest profile. I guess that was from others pinning my blog’s content and my hair ideas. Now I’m getting quite a lot more, currently almost 124,000
To see these kind of stats you need to get a Pinterest Business account. The business account will give you a whole host of added benefits like really useful statistical analysis. Like this:
Another thing you should do is get Rich Pins. These kinds of pins give much more information (or meta data) than a normal pin. It’s a pretty straight forward process to get them although Pinterest seem to do their best at making it look daunting; here’s the direct link to the Pinterest Rich Pin Validator. Rich pins give much more information which is especially useful if you’re selling something or even using an affiliated link. If you’re pinning your own blog articles the rich pin will provide more details than a regular pin. Rich pins have more impact on Pinterest as they are more distinguishable from a regular pin. I really recommend using them.
A little bit about the Smart Feed
The Smart Feed or your home feed is driven by an algorithm tailored to you. It responds to what you pin, who you follow, and what is popular, as well as some other magical factors. You can read more about the Smart Feed algorithm here. There’s also an explore section so you can see what’s trending and what’s popular in categories such as beauty, design, photography and so on.
Pinterest Followers and why they don’t really matter
I had around 80 followers before I began pinning constantly and I now have just over 200 but here’s the thing about Pinterest, while it looks good to have a lot of followers it doesn’t actually matter how many followers you have on Pinterest. Like I said Pinterest is a visual search engine so making your pins searchable on Pinterest is the most important thing you can do. This means executing good SEO on your pins. So think about search terms people use to find things but also padding that out so it’s more natural. I’m still working on this and will do a separate post when I’ve experimented a bit more.
Pin Your Own Content
It seems obvious but I’ve seen huge accounts on Pinterest that don’t pin their own content. What a wasted opportunity! So, PIN YOUR OWN CONTENT. This is where your traffic will come from. There’s lots of different information out there saying the ratio should be 80/20, 80% other people’s content and 20% your own. Then there’s 50/50 etc etc. So really just play about and see what works for you. But please don’t just pin your own content or Pinterest will take you as a spammer. I’m still working on this and much more needs to be said on it so I’ll do a separate post when I’ve learned much more.
This is starting to get unwieldy so I’m going to to separate blog posts about how to further use Pinterest for blogging. Like I said, I’m still relatively new to Pinterest but I’m already starting to see good results. Traffic won’t increase overnight, instead this is a slow burner. The Pinterest algorithm needs to figure out what to do with your pins as well as your pins gaining organic traction on there. My key things though:
Don’t get hung up on followers! (that should be a general statement too btw). SEO and making your pins searchable and appealing are the key things to do on Pinterest.
Be active! Pin consistently and try for everyday. I pin quite a lot, maybe around 50-100 pins a day. This sounds a lot but it’s not time consuming at all and it’s become a really enjoyable part of my day because I actually love using Pinterest. If it’s a chore and you really hate it maybe Pinterest isn’t the platform for you, and that’s ok. I’m kind of old fashioned and think social media platforms should actually be fun.
Provide Good Content. Whether that’s your own or somebody else’s. Pinterest is all about searching for information: how to carve a pumpkin, best beauty buys, how to cook a chicken etc etc. The more of this good information you give the better your Pinterest profile will be.
Some useful further reading: