Wednesday, February 18, 2015

10 Pinterest Tips for Bloggers: How I Got 200,000 Followers in Less than Two Years

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Pinterest is my favorite social media platform. It also happens to be my best social media platform for driving consistent traffic to my blog. Here is how I got 200,000 Pinterest followers in less than two years. In the summer of 2014, I did a lot of experimenting with Pinterest to see what would and would not work for me. In the fall of 2014, I was chosen as a featured pinner and my following exploded. Today, I am just shy of 200,000 Pinterest followers. That's 200,000 followers in less than two years (I joined in either June or July of 2013).  Sure I got featured by Pinterest, but I also spent months building, tailoring, and experimenting with my account to prove to Pinterest that I am indeed an awesome, authentic pinner worthy of being featured. So here are my tips for building a Pinterest strategy that works to drive consistent traffic to your blog.

10 Pinterest tips for bloggers: how to get more followers on Pinterest and how to get more traffic to your blog from Pinterest from And Next Comes L

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Pinterest Tips for Bloggers

To give you a reference point, here's my top referral sources of all time and how much traffic they provide:

  • Pinterest: 36%
  • Direct: 27%
  • Facebook: 16%
  • Organic Search Results: 6%
When I first joined Pinterest, I basically pinned everything and anything that I saw. Growth was slow, but I also had no idea what I was doing. And some of those early pins were...umm...embarassing, to say the least. As a research driven person, I decided to do some Pinterest research of my own to see if I could determine a pattern at all. After conducting my research, I started experimenting. Here are 10 helpful tips that you can use to help grow your Pinterest following based on what I discovered.

Pinterest Tip #1: Study & Analyze Top Pinners in Your Niche

Since I am in the kid blogging niche, I started off by studying the profiles of the top pinners in that niche. I was particularly interested in all pinners with over 50,000 followers. Things I was looking for:

  • How many pins did they have?
  • How many boards did they have?
  • What kind of boards did they have?
  • How many collaborative boards did they have?
After studying about 10 different big pinners in my niche, I noticed that:

  • All the top pinners in my niche (with the exception of one) had less than 100 boards. Most of those big pinners hovered around 80 boards.
  • All the top pinners in my niche had less than 15,000 pins.
  • A majority of the top pinners in my niche had more general boards like food, math, activities for toddlers, etc. vs. cake recipes, a specific board for numerous preschool themes, etc.
My findings suggested that less was more. Fewer boards with a more general theme and fewer better quality pins seemed to be the answer. Depending on the niche you are in, you may find different results.

Pinterest Tip #2: Delete Things That Aren't Working

After discovering common patterns in my niche, I did a big spring cleaning of my Pinterest profile. And I still do this purging process every couple of months. I started leaving collaborative boards that either weren't performing well or that I wasn't pinning to that often. I left all seasonal collaborative boards too since they were only beneficial to me for 1-2 months before the particular holiday. I needed boards that would be performing well all year round.

I started merging related boards by moving pins to one board and deleting the now empty board. I lost a lot of followers in the process, but it was worth it, for me. I also scrolled back (like all the way back to the beginning) and started deleting pins. I had so many broken pins in those early days. And I had some really ugly pins too. They all had to go. I also deleted all pins that had less than 10 repins because clearly, they were not performing well. It was also at this point that I started to be more picky about what I was pinning.

Pinterest Tip #3: Be Picky When Pinning

After cleaning up my boards like I mentioned in tip #2, I started to be picky. I refused to pin round-ups. I never clicked on them, personally, so why would I pin them? Please note that I do pin some from time to time, but they have to be pretty spectacular round ups to be worthy of my repins.

I also started focusing on image quality. I wanted to pin the best and brightest ideas that I could find. If I liked the idea, but the image wasn't the greatest, then I simply clicked the like button instead of the pin button. See, I'm showing Pinterest that I'm social (see tip #7).

I also started pinning clean images. I stopped pinning really cluttered pin collages. They were not aesthetically pleasing, so why would I want that on my boards?

I also took the time to edit the pin descriptions of things I was repinning. If they had hashtags, then I removed them (see tip #5). If they had a person tagged, then I removed the tag. Did it have a keyword friendly description? If not, then I made it keyword friendly. The new Pinterest smartfeed thrives on keywords so make sure your pins are search friendly! Oh and if it had one of those "OMG I must try this...blah blah blah" kind of description, then I changed that too. I hate those cheesy descriptions. Besides, those cheesy descriptions usually aren't keyword friendly.

Bottom line: I wanted to pin the best ideas with the best images. I wanted to curate a beautiful gallery of images and ideas.

Pinterest Tip #4: Switch Up Your Look Occasionally

Another thing I started experimenting with was moving boards around, changing board covers, and trying out different collaborative boards. 

I always have my blog board first, followed by my best performing boards. After that, though, I like to move seasonal boards near the top a couple of months prior to the upcoming holiday or season. Once the holiday passes, I move them towards the bottom, just before all of my collaborative boards. Nearly all of my collaborative boards are at the bottom of my Pinterest profile. I like to highlight a few of my own collaborative boards near the top, but, otherwise, all other collaborative boards are at the bottom. In the picture below, you can see my blog board is first. I then have my most popular boards next (quiet books, music activities, light table play, food, sensory play, and fine motor activities), followed by a couple of seasonal boards.

Pinterest tips for bloggers: arrange your boards from And Next Comes L

I like to change board covers quite regularly too. Again, I am picky about what I choose. I avoid text based images for the board cover. Instead, I try to pick bright, well-lit images that really showcase what kind of pins will be on that board.

Going back to tip #3 of deleting things that aren't working, I try out new collaborative boards quite often too. If they just aren't resulting in good repins, I simply leave them and find a new one to try instead.

Pinterest Tip #5: Limit Hashtags

Unless you are required to include a hashtag for a sponsored campaign, just stop using hashtags on Pinterest. Yes, stop altogether or at least limit them to a tasteful amount.

"The same is true for hashtags—having too many of them in your descriptions may negatively impact your ranking." - via Pinterest blog

Pinterest Tip #6: Fill Out Your Profile Completely

Click the "Edit Profile" button and fill in all the relevant information. See the picture below.

Pinterest tips for bloggers: Complete your profile from And Next Comes L

Did you know that for every single Pinterest board you have, you can select a a board category and write a description for the board? Well, do it! Select a board and then click the "Edit Board" button. See picture below. Make sure to use keywords in your boards' descriptions. Avoid hashtags in the descriptions (see tip #5).

Pinterest tips for bloggers: Fill in board descriptions and categories from And Next Comes L

Pinterest Tip #7: Be Social & Be Authentic

Pinterest is a social network, so be social! Like things, follow people, repin things from other users, and even comment on pins. I hardly ever comment on pins myself, but I think it's likely one of those things that I should experiment with to see what happens.

Pin often and pin a lot. Pin organically versus using a scheduler. Pinterest wants, and will reward, organic, social pinners. At least, they did for me. Although as of January 2016, I have switched to primarily scheduling pins.

TIP: Use Tailwind App for scheduling pins.

I like to go on pinning sprees, pinning dozens of things in a span of a few minutes. I also probably don't pin my own content enough. But you know what? Pinterest sees me as an active, social user and that's exactly what I want.

Also, be authentic. I could log into my Pinterest analytics and see what other interests my followers pin, but creating a board dedicated to hair styles or fashion just isn't me. I want my boards to be a reflection of my interests. I want my boards to be a reflection of things that I would actually make or do myself. So yes, I pin only the things that interest me. I don't pin things I think my followers will like. I don't create boards that I think my followers will like. I just pin what I truly love, kind of like I'm pinning as a non-blogger.

Pinterest Tip #8: Create Pin Images for your Own Blog

Ultimately, the goal is to get more traffic to your own blog, right? So create pin images for your own blog posts that you would pin yourself. Make pretty, vertical images that don't give away everything about the post. Remember, you want people to click on that image and visit your blog. Important point to remember is that Pinterest prefers vertical images. Vertical images take up more space in the newsfeed, making your image dominate the newsfeed. Look at the picture below. Notice how that coffee cake muffins pin takes up a good chunk of the newsfeed? That is prime real estate right there!

Pinterest tips for bloggers: Create vertical pin images for your blog posts from And Next Comes L

Pinterest Tip #9: Leave a Breadcrumb Trail

I have a board dedicated solely to my own blog posts. So when I want to pin my posts to other boards, I always go to my blog board, find the pin I want to share, and click repin from there. Basically, I am leaving a breadcrumb trail. You'll see when I repin my own pin, I get a "via Dyan (And Next Comes L)" message at the bottom of the pin. That leads back to my account. Breadcrumbs, I tell you. Breadcrumbs.

Pinterest tips for bloggers: Create a breadcrumb trail from And Next Comes L

Pinterest Tip #10: Get Rich Pins

If you haven't already done so, then get rich pins! I'm a busy person (aren't we all?). So when I find a few minutes to pop over to Pinterest, I am more likely to pin something that has rich pins. Why? Because I know it leads to the correct source. What if the pin doesn't have rich pins? I will likely skip it if I don't have time to click over and check the source. Remember, I'm busy (and lazy too!) so I want to skip the extra step if I can. See the picture below to see the difference between rich pins and non-rich pins. Find out how to get rich pins for your blog here.

Pinterest tips for bloggers: Rich pins vs non-rich pins from And Next Comes L

Conclusion: Tips for Building Your Pinterest Following

I know that was a lot of information, but here are the takeaway points:

  • Study & analyze top pinners in your niche
  • Experiment
  • Delete things that aren't working
  • Be picky about what you pin
  • Make sure your profile is complete
  • Avoid hashtags
  • Make your pin descriptions search friendly with keywords
  • Be social
  • Be authentic
  • Create beautiful pin images for your own blog
  • Dedicate a board to your own blog
  • Leave a breadcrumb trail to that blog board of yours
  • Get rich pins
  • Schedule pins via Tailwind App if you don't want to or can't keep up with pinning organically
  • Have fun!
  • And most importantly, follow me on Pinterest *wink wink*


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  1. I love Pinterest and use it a lot and feel like I know quite a bit about it. But I STILL learned some new things from your post. Thanks! I'm anxious to try out your stratedgies. :)

    1. That's great that you learned some new things. Good luck with your experimenting!

  2. Thanks for sharing so many great tips Dyan that can make your efforts on Pinterest worth your time and an important part of your marketing plan for your website.

    1. Thanks, Kim! Pinterest is so worth the effort!

  3. thank you, have read this twice, and cleaned up my whole pinterest account. so much appreciated :) xo

    1. Fantastic! Hope you start to see some results now. Best of luck!

  4. I found you from the SitsGirls. I was drawn to it because growing my pinterest is a huge goal this year. I look forward to putting your ideas into action - thank you!

    1. Pinterest is so worth it! I hope these tips help you with your goal.

  5. Awesome post Dyan! I have spent most of my day doing a major reorganization of my boards.

    1. That's great, Vicky! I wish you luck with your newly organized boards.

  6. Awesome tips Dyan. Thanks so much for sharing. There's still so much I don't quite understand about Pinterest, but you've made things a lot clearer for me today with some great easy to implement tips.

    1. That's great! Glad to hear that you found the tips helpful, Ann!

  7. I'm reading this for the second time and got new points this time! :)

  8. What great tips Dyan.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to share them x x

  9. Hi Dyan, Thank you, great tips!!! I have a question about the rich pins. Do I have to insert the metatags for every pin I do? Or do I just do one, apply, then all my other pins become rich? I'm trying to think how doing the metatags on each pin will save me time...or maybe I miss the point? Thank you!

    1. It's just a one time thing. Add the code to your blog and then all your other pins will become rich pins.