[This post contains affiliate links, that I receive a commission from, at no extra cost to you.]
It’s no secret that social media is pretty much completely foreign to me. I’ve avoided it all of these years and now I’m trying to master it to try to promote my business, and I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. You can pretty much learn 75% of any social media platform in about 2 hours of hard work. While that may sound impressive, it really isn’t. That first 75% is literally only how to use the platform. That’s it. Where to click to get it to do what you want it to do. That last 25% is the part you really need, and it’s the hardest to learn. That 25% is how to get people to interact with your posts. It’s the trends on any given platform at any given time. It’s constantly changing at the whim of the masses, and impossible to pick up without completely immersing yourself in the culture of that particular platform.
So because of the steep learning curves I decided I was only going to concentrate on a couple of platforms. I started with Facebook, of course, and Twitter with plans to move onto LinkedIn later. I already have a LinkedIn profile and have used it in conjunction with other jobs, so that one should take the least work for initial setup. I also learned that Pinterest was a good site for self-promotion, so I went there next.
Pinterest, HA. I had no idea what I was getting into. Pinterest oh Pinterest, my how I hate thee.
I went to Pinterest made a board, and pinned a few pins. I didn’t think much of it. I would log in once a week or so and pin my newest post, and repin a few pins from my feed if I remembered. I never saw much of a result, but I kept seeing more and more posts about “How I doubled my traffic through Pinterest.” Around the same time I was seeing those posts, a member of a Facebook group I belong to created her own Pinterest class. She asked for volunteers to test it, and I jumped at the chance.
Now I realize the irony of this. I remember what I said about classes in Look Out for Sharks, and I realize it wasn’t that long ago, but I am changing my tune. I stand by the fact that you don’t NEED classes. All of the information you could ever need to start and run your blog is out there. However, when you are starting completely from scratch, there is just so much to learn that it seems impossible on your own. Trying to hunt down all of that information while still trying to run your business can be incredibly demoralizing, and finding a class within your price range for the very information you are looking for, can be the boost you need to keep going. So don’t shy away from classes out of principle, or because I said so. Just please do your research and make sure that the class is right for you, and your needs.
The class I took is called PinAutomation by Stressed Mommy LLC. It is currently selling for $29, and it is worth every penny. It adjusted the way I was looking at Pinterest, and explained why I wasn’t seeing results. It is a series of 22, 2-10 minute videos meant to be watched over several days. I watched them in 3 sessions, and have been completely reworking my Pinterest page since.
The biggest and most important thing I learned is that Pinterest is not a social media platform, it is actually used as a search engine. That’s where all of my trouble was coming from. I was following users and trying to gain followers like I would on Twitter, and it just doesn’t work that way. You don’t acquire followers by interacting with them as you would a social media site. You gain followers through the quality of your content, and that alone. The quality of your content is judged by Pinterest using four major factors.
- The domain, or website, your pin is attached to. This is determined by Pinterest by gauging how often pins from this site are interacted with, or repined.
- The pin itself, again judged by engagement. While Pinterest may judge your pins by how often they are interacted with, people judge them by the wording of your titles, and the quality of the image you used. You should put the same thought into your pins as you do your blog posts. You want eye catching images and inviting titles.
- Your reputation for quality content. How well you do at the first three steps, determines your ranking by Pinterest. Again, it is based on the repins and “Tried It’s” your content receives.
- SEO, this is where I began to get it. People sign in to Pinterest and search for things just like they would in any other search engine, like google for instance. If you want them to find your content, you have to make sure it’s relevant to popular searches.
There are many places to add keywords to your pin.a.The image name.
b. The pin title
c. The pin description.
d. The title of the board it is pinned to.
e. The section of the board it is pinned to.
f. If you have enabled Rich Pins, then the keyword optimization of the blog post itself carries through to your pins.
In April of 2017 Pinterest declared 175 million (source) monthly users, and it has only grown since then. In my opinion, that is way too much money to just leave on the table. There is no good reason to ignore this platform as a source of traffic. Over 5% of all referral traffic to websites comes from Pinterest (source). Who couldn’t use a boot to visitor count? If you feel that your site could not possibly be doing any better or earn any more money, no matter what you do to it, than by all means feel free to close this page and go about your day. However, if you could use a leg up, then continue to follow me down the rabbit hole named Pinterest.
Make no mistake it is a hole, and if you’re are using Pinterest to the best of its ability, than it is eating all of your time. Pinterest is a lot of work. After what I learned in the PinAutomation class, and what I picked up from this unrelated Video, I reworked my page. That video is an interview with Melyssa Griffin about her Pinterest strategy. It expands on and clarifies concepts I learned in the class. It is a worthwhile resource even if you do not take the PinAutomation class. I created the recommended number of boards, which is 15-20 with 50-200 pins per board. I went with 15 boards, and did not come anywhere close to filling them. It’s recommended that you pin 20-50 pins a day every day, so I figure I will get them filled up eventually. With keyword research, but without actually designing any new pins, that took me about 2 ½ hours. Now, not designing any new pins means that I didn’t create any pins for my own website and I know that seems counter intuitive, but I only have so much time in a day.
I know, it seems like I just can’t make up my mind. First I say how great Pinterest is then tell you it will eat all of your time. That’s because it will, if you do it manually that is. If you have the time to pin every day, great. If not that’s where these next tools come in.
Tailwind is an automated scheduling tool for both Pinterest and Instagram. In only ½-2 hours a week you can preschedule your entire Pinterest strategy. Tailwind comes with its own analytics and content optimization, but the real advantage comes from Tribes. Tribes are people within a similar niche that share content from within the group. They are an invaluable resource for promoting your brand. Every time someone pins to the tribe board, they must also repin an existing pin from that board. With thousands of members per tribe, your content may be repined quite often.
The other tool is BoardBooster (not an affiliate link), which works similar to Tailwind. BoardBooster has a tool for cleaning up your boards. It’s called looping. What it does is repin older pins within your own boards. Basically bringing them back up to the top of your feed. It then deletes the older copy from the bottom of your feed making sure you do not have multiples of the same pin on a single board. It works under the same theory as rewriting or reworking old blog posts, making that content fresh again.
Even if you are completely new to Pinterest, almost everything you need to be successful and increase traffic to your site is within this post. Watch the video, then take the class. Most of the information I have come across recommends both Tailwind and BoardBooster. Based on my research, I am going with Tailwind first, then BoardBooster after my boards get full. Both the video and the class go into pin creation. I haven’t touched on the subject much because I believe that it deserves its own post. If there are any questions I can answer for you just leave them in the comments.