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I know, I know, you are probably thinking “not another one of THESE blogs”.
Listen, I completely feel you. I really have lost count of how many of these crazy “how I earned [insert exorbitant amount of money here] on my free-range granola blog” or “how I gained 10K Instagram followers in my first hour of blogging” kind of posts I see.
To be honest, I never thought too much of these kind of articles. I always believed they were some kind of email list growth scheme or that they held some dishonest truths behind them. Because, let’s be honest here, when it comes to this saturated blogging market there really is no such thing as that level of instant gratification.
And then I became one of those weird success stories.
While I have been working hard to improve my presence on other networks and platforms since my launch in November, Pinterest was something that I quickly saw traction from. I didn’t buy any traffic, spam my friends and family to visit, or do anything particularly out of the ordinary. I expected things to ramp up slowly, but quite literally almost overnight I went to check my Pinterest and had to do one of those comical double takes.
By the end of the month, I was hitting over 700K Pinterest impressions, a steady amount of traffic to my blog from the platform, a good number of invitations to join quality group boards and even had my pins shared on one of the largest fashion bloggers in Dallas’ account.
The craziest thing about this entire situation is that Pinterest takes the lowest effort for me to maintain and optimize, meaning that my most effective traffic driving platform costs me virtually no time or energy!
If you are interested in improving the performance of your Pinterest account, take a look at some of my favorite tips and tricks. Fair warning though, I wanted to provide you with as much beneficial content as possible, so this is a long one. So grab a warm beverage, get cozy and let’s increase your Pinterest game!
Pinterest Is NOT A Social Network, So Don’t Treat It Like One
The first and most important rule that I emphasize both in my professional career as a digital marketer and my personal blogging hobby is that Pinterest is NOT a social network. Some of you may disagree with me but hear me out.
When we think about social networks, we normally picture platforms with an extreme emphasis on communication and connection between users. If I am being completely transparent here, Pinterest does not necessarily foster these relationships. Think about user behavior in this situation. A majority of the time when we find ourselves pinning away, we never even notice the profile that has shared the image or bother to comment on how much we love it. What do we do? We search and we save.
Because when we really get down to the nitty-gritty, Pinterest is not a social network, it is a search platform. Think of it compared to the likes of Google or Bing. We don’t go to Pinterest to chat or connect, we go to search for ideas on what to cook for dinner or inspiration on how to style a colorful accessory.
With this being addressed, it is important that you back away from the strategies you implement on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram and instead begin to incorporate similar methods you may be using for SEO and AdWords instead.
Set It And Forget It With Tailwind
Here is the craziest thing about my Pinterest success – in November, while I racked up the same number of Pinterest views as some of my favorite well-known fashion bloggers, I had not manually scheduled a pin all month.
Yes, that’s right, my most successful platform to promote my blog actually required almost ZERO maintenance.
It isn’t too good to be true, it’s Tailwind.
A good friend of mine turned me on to Tailwind a while ago, and I have to say I am SO glad she did. Tailwind is a Pinterest scheduling tool that allows you to bulk schedule countless numbers of pins at once, optimizing number of posts depending on where you feel comfortable (I personally post 10 times a day) and using algorithms to determine the most successful posting times. What does this mean? It does all the work while you sit back and relax.
The way I take care of my Pinterest scheduling is to just put everything together once a month usually on a lazy night when I am lying on the couch watching Netflix. I will use this time to scroll through Pinterest and use Tailwind’s Google Chrome extension to get everything all set up and scheduled and then let Tailwind take care of all of the heavy lifting. Consistency is key when maintaining Pinterest relevance, so the more content you are able to schedule and share on your account, the higher your chances of generating more impressions.
As an added bonus, on top of Tailwind’s bulk scheduling capabilities, they also offer access into community engagement groups called Tribes, where other noteworthy voices on Pinterest can share your content on their own profiles (think of it almost like an engagement pod). Tailwind also offers Instagram scheduling tools, SmartLoops, and in-depth analytics. Basically, it is all that and a bag of chips.
As I write this in December 2018, I quite literally have all of my pins primed and ready to go until April 2019. Isn’t that insane? I don’t have to worry about a thing for the next four months when it comes to keeping my Pinterest account active and up-to-date, and it’s all thanks to Tailwind.
If you are interested in Tailwind or want to try out a demo, check it out here!
Optimize Your Boards
Imagine you were opening an art gallery – you slaved to find the perfect pieces to display and proudly determined each theme. You can’t wait to show off your hard work to the public. And on the night you are finally set to open, you swing open your door and… crickets. You forgot to spread the word about your gallery.
This is exactly what happens when you leave a board unoptimized.
You would be shocked to see just how many unfinished and unoptimized boards there are on Pinterest, which is sad to see considering the fact that fully optimizing is such a simple thing to do!
So how does one optimize a Pinterest board? First, go to the board you would like to optimize and select “edit”, this will summon a popup with all of the steps we will need to complete.
This may come off as common sense, but this will be the name of your board. Be sure to use logic and clarity in your naming conventions, as your titles will play a big role in the search process. For example, if you have a board dedicated to warm, fashionable clothing, rather than name it something like “Cozy & Chic” name it “Winter Outfit Ideas”. Yes, it might feel a bit boring, but using clear and concise keywords will boost your search relevance.
Remember when I told you that Pinterest is a search platform? Well, your description is one of the many moments where your SEO skills come out to play.
Your description is a bit of detail highlighting exactly what this board contains and why the visitor should check it out. There is a true art to this, as you want to balance on a line between conversational and strategic. It is important to make sure that your description includes relevant keywords in order to boost your spot in Pinterest’s search algorithm, but you also want it to feel real to prevent yourself from looking spammy or bot-like.
Keep your description short, sweet and to the point, so viewers can quickly get the gist of what your board is about. For example, here is my description for one of my top visited boards “Work & Professional Outfits”:
“The perfect looks to satisfy any 9-5 job, while not sacrificing your style. High fashion and chic outfit ideas for work.”
You can see that even though the description comes off as highly conversational, I was able to sneak in a few relevant keywords.
Categories are one of the easiest ways you can boost your Pinterest search ranking game. Categories are simply the overarching theme that your board falls within. Is it more craft-focused or is it more relevant to women’s fashion? By choosing a category for every one of your boards, you help direct Pinterest over how they should be indexing your profile.
To implement a category, it is as simple as you may think. All you have to do to is select the category that fits your board best.
I would say that your cover is where the aesthetics of Instagram bleeds into Pinterest. A cover is the main image that will show on your board. This image will not change, no matter what you pin. What makes this important is that this will be the first impression somebody will have on your board. This image will be the selling point that will make somebody want to see more.
There are several different ways to handle your cover photo. I personally like to choose my favorite images that I feel really show off what the board is about. How I connect it all is I make sure that the colors mesh well together. This is nice because when you look at my profile as a whole, everything feels fairly connected, concise and aesthetically pleasing.
On top of this, I have also seen other profiles experience a lot of success using branded cover photo templates made in platforms like Canva. This really ties all of your boards together and helps everything appear more organized.
Keywords Are Key
You would publish a blog post filled with nothing but images and zero words, would you? Well, keep the same frame of reference handy when it comes to optimizing your pins. Your pins and the keywords you use are where your SEO skills will prove to be most important as this will be the key to determining whether or not your pin will appear in a search.
Again, the key to this is finding a balance. You want to make sure that you are including as many relevant keywords as possible in your pin, but you also want to ensure that they make sense with the post or that you aren’t being too excessive. Pinterest will be keeping an eye on the performance of your pin and will even ask users who click through on your link if they felt the content was relevant to what they were searching for.
So basically what I am trying to say is if your pin image or connected article is for your famous roasted chicken recipe, maybe skip adding keywords around women’s outfit ideas. If you don’t, your pin could be flagged and/or given lower authority on Pinterest.
The way I determine my keywords is to take a look at my image and think about where it would make the most sense to appear in a search.
As an example, I will use the keywords I used from one of my “Adding Color to Your Wardrobe” pins:
You can see that many of my keywords within this particular image are surrounding details of my outfit. I did this keeping in mind that a lot of the time in women’s fashion, people will search with a “how to style” mindset – ex. How to style a leopard shirt, work outfit ideas, etc. If you are having a difficult time thinking of keyword phrases, try typing your main keyword into the Pinterest search bar and optimizing based on what auto populates. This is the best way to really dig deep into your target’s search behavior and language.
I always make sure that my keywords are implemented and ready to go both when I manually upload my pins in Pinterest, as well as directly on all of the images living on my website. Whenever I add a new piece of media I place my keyword descriptions into my alt text. The great thing about this is that whenever a visitor chooses to pin your content, it will auto-populate this text, which will in turn help increase your search status on Pinterest.
Give The People What They Want
Finally, the most important way to optimize your Pinterest account is to make sure you are catering to the interests of your followers and visitors. In order to do this, I make sure to take full advantage of Pinterest’s Audience Insights.
Audience Insights is a really easy and interesting tool that helps you understand the preferences, affinities, and interests your followers and target audience hold. Understanding these affinities will help you customize your boards to bring in more lookalike followers with similar online behaviors.
For example, you can see that on my Pinterest account, my followers have a 1.87x higher affinity towards wedding pins/boards compared to the average Pinterest user. When I initially set up my account, I was planning on just sticking to fashion and other high-level board topics as wedding planning isn’t necessarily what I want to write about. But after I decided to create a “Wedding” board full of pins that I just genuinely liked, I saw my engagements and impressions continue to skyrocket.
The same happened with my “Nails” board. Even though I despise getting my nails done, I saw that my audience had a higher than average interest in beauty and nail art. After creating a board around the subject, it has become my most successful and viral board, topping my performance charts in terms of engagement at the end of the month.
Using the amazing free tools that Pinterest provides will help you genuinely get to know your target audience and understand what they would like to see from you. Take advantage of that and you will see your account steadily grow!
While it can be hard to stand out online in this saturated market, by thinking smart, implementing the best strategies and ensuring that you are creating the content your audience wants to see, you can stand out in the crowd and easily find Pinterest success.
Are there any tips I missed? Do you have any advice over how you increased your presence on Pinterest? Be sure to share in the comments below!