Yes, it is true Pinterest is more like a search engine than an actual social media platform such as Facebook or Instagram. Yet, one of the reasons I love Pinterest is it has increased traffic to my blog and I haven’t paid a dime. It is free traffic so get excited! One of my favorite quotes from teaching states, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” – Benjamin Franklin. This holds true with your Pinterest followers and pinning strategy.
I’m going to start this post by telling you, I am not a Pinterest expert by any means. You can pay $100-200 for a course and learn a lot more than what I am going to tell you! However, my information is free and I will explain how I gained over 5,000 Pinterest followers (update 5900 as of Jan. 2018) and reach anywhere from 50-200 page views a day from Pinterest. These are strategies I have tested, but I continue to learn about this awesome tool that is a must for all bloggers.
Check out my Pinterest Profile here and follow me!
Pinterest is downright frustrating. It is overwhelming and time-consuming, especially when you are new. Yet, if you put in the time, just like anything else, your hard work will pay off. I’m not going to feed your fluff and tell you I gained 5000 followers in a week. This was a solid strategy that took around eight months total. Nonetheless, if you stay with me I will teach you how I did it and how to follow the 80/20 rule, when to pin manually, and how to find your audience. Also, my post will give you some ideas of what you should be pinning!
If you are thinking of starting a blog Start here. If you already have a blog, read on!
Ready to Get Started? Let’s Set Up Your Account and Get some Pinterest Followers!
- Try to gain at least 1000 followers to be considered for group boards. This is tough when you first start and you feel like your account is just sitting and not moving. However, if you are looking to gain followers, find some bigger bloggers in your niche and start following some of their followers. Some may follow you back and others may not, however, you are targeting people who are freshly interested in your subject and if they do follow you, they care about what you have to say. For example, my niche is personal finance so I found some popular bloggers on Pinterest and started following around 100 of their followers a day. My goal was to gain around 1000 followers and then I was able to gain acceptance to some bigger group boards, which in turn grew my reach and follower number even more. I stopped following so many people after I reached 1000 followers, but I continued to the next step, joining more group boards.
- Join Group Boards – Once you have more followers, start asking to join group boards. You can find group boards by using a website called Pin Groupie (not updated anymore but still has some good boards). You can also use bigger bloggers and see what boards they belong to. One complaint is many of these boards are “closed to contributors,” but keep looking around. Many big bloggers have been where you are and some will accept you. Also, try to join boards in your niche and pay attention to how many followers the board has. If the board only has 40 followers, this isn’t going to help you. It is better to focus your time on boards that will help grow your reach, get your pins repinned, and in turn, gain more page views on your website.
- Rich Pins – Also, make sure you have a Pinterest business account and apply for rich pins. It may seem confusing at first, but I googled how to do this and it was super easy. Here is a link for instructions: The Easiest Way to Set Up Rich Pins on Pinterest by Melissa Griffin
Now Start Pinning
Once you have your account set up, you are now ready to start some serious pinning! Some people recommend creating your own board covers, but I didn’t and I am still gaining followers. I use pins I like as my board covers. I like the way many accounts look with consistent board covers but think about the last time you searched something on Pinterest and stopped to check out the board cover. (Never…)
Let’s get pinning!
- Follow the 80/20 Rule – This means you will be pinning around 80% of other people’s pins and 20% of your own. You want Pinterest to see you as an active pinner and not just a self-promoter. All platforms have their own algorithms, but this is what seems to work best on Pinterest.
- Create Five to Ten Boards – After creating your boards, load them up with pins. I like to add at least 50 pins to my new boards and then continue adding daily.
- Try Not to Pin Just Any Pin. Find pins that are relevant and have some repins. Again, this is where you may want to check out the big blogger’s accounts. If you go to one of their boards, you will find a repin number under each pin. (Update Jan. 2018: Pinterest took away our pin count. However, did you know if you are on mobile and look at a specific board from a specific person, you can still see the pin count? Download the Pinterest app and check it out.) Try to pin high-quality pins on your new boards. Just a side note…I used to do a lot of Facebook threads, however, I realized I was pining many low-quality pins. After I stopped doing this my page views went up and I had more time to focus on my Pinterest account. Update Jan. 2018: I started using Pinterest threads again; however, I only do a thread where I can pick six or ten pins instead of “Pin All.” If you are doing “Pin All” threads, you are most likely pinning pins that or non-niche related and/or poor quality. This may bring your standing down in the Pinterest Algorithm.
- Create your Own Group Board – I started my group board before I had a large following (I mean, not that large… There are pinners with over 100,000 followers! WOW!) Anyway, I started a group board called Saving Money and asked people to join. I was surprised some more popular people even accepted my invitation. You won’t know unless you ask! My group board is currently closed to new contributors (I may open it up again) but you can check it out here: Saving Money Group Board.
- Create At Least Two Pins Per Post (or more) – You don’t have to add both pins to the post. Some bloggers don’t like the large size of Pinterest images in their blog post. You can simply upload your pin and add your blog post where it says “website” in the description. If you are new you can even do 4-5 pins per post so you will have some of your own pins to work with. Update: Create 5-6 pins per post and test them to see what pin works best. You can try different headlines or slightly different versions of a similar pin to make your life easier.
- Clickable Title – Make sure you have a clickable title. Would you click on a pin that said, “I like to budget?” Probably not! However, you would click on something that read, “10 Epic Ways to Budget like a Boss.” See the difference?
- Add Pin Descriptions – This was a mistake I made when I started creating pins. I never added a pin description and then I would hope the Pinterest Gods somehow found me. Don’t leave it to chance like I did. Add a pin description with keywords. How do you find keywords? Do a search on Pinterest and it will give you a clue under your search about what others are looking for sort of like Google trying to guess what you want. Add these keywords to your pin description. You want your pins to show up on Pinterest’s smart feed. Here is an example of a pin with a pin description using keywords: Pin Me
- Pin Around 30-40 pins daily – Pin around 30-40 pins manually throughout the day. You can also schedule these with Tailwind or Board Booster described in the next section. Some pin more and some pin less. Play around with your numbers and check your analytics to see what is working.
- Learn From Your Pins – This is one of my most popular pins: Pin me! I can learn from it and try to duplicate the factors that made it popular. One idea is that my followers are looking to save money by meal planning. Therefore, I continue to write meal plan post and create similar pins for those posts. It is also one of the most popular posts on my blog. Use your data to analyze what your audience wants.
- Update Jan. 2018: Pinterest has now made hashtags searchable. Since this is new, try not to go crazy with hashtags. Try one or two to start with and see if it gets you more clicks.
Suggested Reading: Blog Progress: Blog Better with Awesome Results
You Need a Pinterest Scheduler
- Board Booster – I have the $5.00 plan. This scheduler lets you create secret boards and will add pins according to your schedule. You can also loop pins, which puts your pins at the top of your boards and deletes the old ones. Nonetheless, Board Boost allows you to schedule campaigns so you do not have to manually pin to group boards, which will eat up a lot of your time, depending on how many you join. This is one important tool I invest in monthly because well, hey, it is only $5.00 for 1000 pins a month and most new bloggers can afford $5.00 but not much more. Try Board Booster out and receive 100 pins free!
- Tailwind – I also have tried Tailwind and love them for the fact that they are easy to use and scheduling your pins is a breeze. They also tell you the ideal time to pin your pins. This is the only scheduler that is associated with Pinterest. Tailwind also offers tribes to help get your pins repinned. If you are interested in this scheduler use my link to get a one-month free trial when you upgrade to Tailwind plus.
You are welcome to use my links to try both schedulers out. They will not charge you unless you decide to buy a plan so there is no risk. I hope one of them helps you. Board Boost really helped me grow my Pinterest Followers to 5000.
How to Rock Your Pinterest Followers Summary…
I think Pinterest is a frustrating platform but I am willing to keep on trying because it is one of my main traffic sources! I’ve received advice from bloggers with way more page views than me and many of them are saying the strategies they try are random and they spent tons of time on posts and pins with little results. Yet, when they just throw something together it goes viral. (LOVE technology) With this in mind, there is no one size fits all with Pinterest. What works for me, may not work for you.
The main point of this post would be once you have your account up and running start trying things. Play around with you’re pinning times and how much your pin a day. If your traffic goes up, keep doing it. If it goes down, I think you know what to do! Try something else.
I’m also learning that it doesn’t really matter how many Pinterest followers you have any more (except for getting into group boards). The main thing that matters is your pins being relevant (pictures that go with your posts) and create a good pin description so it shows up in people’s smart feeds. The most important reason for pinning 80/20 is because Pinterest algorithms see you as an active pinner and you are not just pinning your own pins. Pinterest is more like a search engine than a social media platform so you have to keep this in mind.
Lastly, I am now mostly pinning pins with 1000 repins or more. This makes you a power pinner in the eyes of Pinterest.
I hope this post helps you. I get anywhere from 50-200 page views from Pinterest daily so I can’t say I am a guru at this point. I’m just trying different things and seeing what works. If I figure out anything else, I will add it to this post.
Suggested Reading: Blogging Growth: A Promising Six Months
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What is your Pinterest Followers goal? Do you have a favorite Pinterest strategy that is working for you? Please share in the comments below so we can all learn from you!
Take care – Sarah