Ah, Pinterest…the social media platform everyone loves, and loves to hate, at the same time. The platform that can create enough traffic to last you a lifetime.
The platform that can take pretty different marketing tactics and still help prospects find themselves on your landing page, after having searched for landing page trends to better their own marketing tactics.
But why is that, really? Why is Pinterest such a powerful tool and why is it capable of helping your business thrive?
One thing you need to understand before exploring the sheer power of Pinterest and its followers is that Pinterest is more powerful than Facebook or Instagram in the visual search department – hence why Pinterest marketing strategies are a little different.
The users’ intent is different, to begin with.
People on Pinterest are searching for something they’d like to recreate, something they’d like to purchase, or even the person they’d like to become in due time (Enter: “Summer 2020” board…and that’s all the information I’m willing to disclose!)
And boy are they quick and methodical when it comes to their searches!
Of course, in order for your Pinterest marketing efforts to have some actual meaning, you’ll need to…*drumroll, please*…actually have some followers! So, let’s take a look at some proven methods to increase your Pinterest followers that work like a charm!
Before We Begin
I bet you’re wondering why we’re focusing on Pinterest, out of all social media platforms. Well, here’s why:
The above graph shows the percentage of adults in the US who use Pinterest.
As you can see, the three main consumer age groups are all included in this graph. And this is one of the main reasons why you should want to increase your Pinterest following and your use of Pinterest in general.
Pinterest is there to help more than 300 million people around the world find what they’re looking for, and those people can be anything from marketing professionals to stay-at-home parents interested in DIY projects.
For example, my mother (mentioned in a previous post) is an avid DIY-er. If you’re a marketer targeting that group, she may have all of the characteristics of your buyer persona.
I like using Pinterest for visual content marketing ideas. If you’ve got top-notch boards that can help me build a post based on a picture, I’m your person!
All in all, Pinterest can help you increase your website’s traffic by having the users click on an image, it can give you pretty good marketing opportunities, make your email marketing game stronger than ever, and help you convert prospects into customers.
So, if you’re sure what your KPIs are, and that you’ve set realistic goals, let’s see what you can do to build boards that followers will love to check out.
Your Content – Original or Otherwise
On an image-dominated social media platform, you need to make sure that you’ll be able to stand out and give your users some great content that will draw their attention and make you the king of the playground – or the platform, call it what you will.
Most pins on Pinterest are re-pins. And when I say most, I mean over 80% of them. And while it’s not bad for business, why would you want to leverage content that’s already there?
For starters, you should try posting some originals: product photos for ecommerce, infographics for the SaaS wizards, and some graphs for all would make your boards seem like the only solution one would need.
But who’s to say that you don’t need to post some repurposed content or re-pin old pins after you’ve done your best with your originals? Nobody.
Let me tell you a thing or two about re-pinning first: It can – and will – get you noticed.
The logic is a little bit like the one behind affiliate marketing: “Hey, we’re like-minded brands, I liked your content, I pinned it. Check it out!” but you won’t be saying this with words. Rather, you’re showing your appreciation to the brand.
Oh, and your appreciation to the followers’ taste, which will definitely not go unnoticed. Who doesn’t love having someone praise their fantastic taste?
For example, let’s look at Joy Cho’s account, one of the most followed on the platform. Here’s what her Pinterest board looks like:
Her “latest” posts are all about her own website and her own products. This is the first thing someone will check out upon coming across her Pinterest profile.
So, you’ve got some product eye-candy that you cannot find anywhere else and that will link back to her own website, creating happy traffic for her website. But what else do we have here?
Here’s a pretty dress from a website that is not her own, that is re-pinned and that is on-par with the influencer’s own content. So, here’s some more happy traffic – for another website, sure, but it links back to the website and it can create a powerful partnership.
But we’ve got another thing we need to discuss here: Pins that don’t attract as many eyes as you want.
Yes, I know, it’s very stressful to think that your pins have gone to waste and that you need to delete your own content. But are you going to let this get in the way of building an iconic Pinterest crowd?
Poor performing pins can show you a great deal about “life, the Universe and everything”, or, as someone who’s not into sci-fi (shame!) would say, about your followers and the trends you’ll need to implement, in order to see some serious growth.
What are those pins that need to hit the road, though? Well, let’s see:
- The ones that don’t show consistency with the brand tone you’ve set across your social media platforms.
- The ones with duplicate content.
- The ones that don’t have as many re-pins as you would’ve liked.
It just doesn’t feel right, I know, but much like an email list, social media content needs a lot of pruning as well, if you want to see it bring back some serious results. And you’re in it for some serious results, I hope.
Oh and here’s a pro tip for you: Check what kind of content your followers love and what they love to hate, across all of your platforms and your competitors’ as well! It will give you the edge you’re looking for.
Oh and here’s another uber-pro tip that shouldn’t be a tip at all, but anyway: evergreen content. ‘Nuff said.
The Audience You Need
Everything begins and ends with your audience. Your content is made to please your crowd, your KPIs are set according to their behavior, and your project’s lifecycle is determined according to their needs.
So, what do you think about your audience? What is it that you need to do to get not just all the audience you want, which could, potentially, backfire provided you’ve attracted some bad fish along the way?
Use Hashtags #Likeaboss
You’ve got your marketing personas at the ready, some content to last you a day or two – or 20, you know…always be prepared! – and you’re all set to begin attracting the right crowd.
Am I your ideal user? Well, you’ve got to use #mua, #contentmarketing or #sfx to attract me. So, create pins and boards that will have those hashtags in the description.
If you’re unsure, you can always check your highest-performing Instagram posts and their hashtags or use a little nifty tool that will help you map out your content strategy accordingly.
When a user searches for a specific hashtag, they’ll get the pins that have this specific hashtag in their description. And voila!
Also, hashtags have an added bonus, that will give you those SEO vibes you’re looking for (in a way): Hashtags are a way to group things into categories, thus making it easier for you to organize your pins.
But also satisfying user intent, as users want what they want and they want to find it fast and easy. And you’re there to provide that, by giving the content they need!
Super-super pro tip right off the realms of Pinterest itself: Don’t use troll hashtags. Rather, be specific. For example, your users won’t search for #contentblunders. They will, however, search for #contentmistakes.
Engage and Entice
“If you build it, they will”- No. Not in our case here, sweetheart, no. You can’t have followers come knocking on their own. Pinterest is no marketing automation – like Moosend, one of the best Constant Contact alternatives! – that will give you those “set it and forget it” vibes.
You need to be active, you need to be engaging, and you need to be enticing, otherwise Pinterest’s Smart Feed – the Bowser to your Super Mario – will make sure you’ll never get to your ideal followers.
So, get on with pinning, first and foremost. Re-pin stuff from your “Explore” and “Trending” pages, pin other people’s pins, leave some comments, and follow some boards on your feed.
Always be consistent, post gradually, and create the look and feel of a person behind the account and not just another brand that’s there to hit it and quit it.
The point is that you’ll need engagement day-in, day-out in order to manage to get something worthwhile. And if you don’t believe me, think of this: If you’re going to create 50 content pieces in a day, how long is it going to be until you manage to find the time and energy to create something new?
The same goes for Pinterest’s Smart Feed. If you decide to do one thing – even if it’s huge, like pin 100 things – each week, Pinterest will think you’re not engaged. So why would followers engage with you?
Rather, why would it show off your content to people? Why would you be of enough use to end up in the Smart Feed?
But if you show consistency, the algorithm will reward you by showing your pins way up high, like Judy Garland’s rainbow. And the rest will be history.
The Opportunity That Made the Thief
Okay, Okay, “thief” might be a very strong word, but it’s not like what I’m about to suggest is proper stealing.
In the world of social media, where followers come and go and there’s always a new fad to follow, you’ll have to do a couple of things to remain relevant, and studying your competitors is one of them.
When I say study, I mean study hard and a lot. You’ll need to sit down, find their best performing content, and pinpoint what it is that made it the best performing one.
First of all, go to the search bar and look for exactly the thing your pins and boards are going to be about. For example, I’d look for the words “content marketing” and I’d get a ton of results.
Then, I’d go to the itty bitty arrow next to the search bar and click on “People”. Here:
Do you see where I’m going with this? Your competitors’ followers followed them for their content and the topics they like to post – rather, pin. And your content is similar, isn’t it?
Well, it’s a no-brainer that you should follow their followers. It’s an action, it’s engaging, Pinterest will recognize this and start showing more and more of your content, and it’s a risk-free tactic that can give back a great deal of value.
What’s in a Pin?
In other words, how smart is the Smart Feed and how can you make its intelligence work in your favor and yours alone?
You’ll use your descriptions, you’ll use your hashtags, you’ll use everything you can, but there’s more to it than that.
The Relevant Boards
First of all, when you create a blog post and want to help promote it through Pinterest, try and pin it to a board that’s relevant. That way, Pinterest will recognize what it’s about.
Combine that with your keywords and your hashtags and you’ll be sure to let Pinterest know exactly what this post is about, where to show it and the exact search terms that correspond with.
This will help create a useful “recognition system” that Pinterest’s algorithm will definitely utilize when it comes to search results.
And search results are what your potential followers want. And it’s also what they’ll get, with your post in there.
The Old Account Turned Business
“But Téa, how is one of my prospects going to actually see me for what I can offer?”
Well, my friend, I’ve got another solution for you. If your prospects see your pins here, there, and everywhere, they’re that much more likely to open them and actually do something with them.
And if your account is a little old, it’ll be way easier for you to do just that.
“But Téa, nobody likes old accounts.”
Um, the social-media-platform-turned-search-engine does. And it never forgets someone who was there from the beginning.
Pinterest’s algorithm thinks that an old account is one with some serious bouts of wisdom. This makes the account more trustworthy in its eyes, making the pins appear more and more often.
But there’s yet another thing you need to take into account, and this is the fact that Pinterest actually favors business accounts.
So, just take one of your old, active accounts, make it a business account, and just shoot!
An account that’s older will help your prospects discover you with more ease and a business account is there to show authority – you’re not there just to spend time. Rather, you’re there to give something to the world.
The Organized Pinner and the Ghost of Seasonal Stuff
You’ve got your content and your pins and oh it’s so fantastic but…Oh, it feels like something’s missing, doesn’t it?
I know what it is. Pinterest is made for those people that are organized enough to want to plan ahead. And being organized is crucial for your Pinterest strategy.
You’ll need to, first of all, create sections. These will be your subcategories and they’ll help you organize one large content category into lots of smaller ones, making it easier for a follower to determine which one of your pins would be of use.
Which also means that they’ll favor your profile over the non-organized ones.
But organizing pins is not just about the sections. Look:
Pinterest itself ran a survey that showcased the exact point in time when its users start looking for something seasonal.
New Year’s searches begin as early as October, whereas Thanksgiving searches begin around June.
By planning way ahead and making sure that your content is placed right in front of your prospects’ eyes, you’re also ensuring that you get more visibility. Your prospects need to look no further.
And you’ll see your traffic reach legendary levels!
I’m sure that you’ve already got a bunch of friends and followers on other social media platforms and a bunch of people in your mailing list as well. They’re the ones that comprise your crowd and they’re the ones you need to consult.
Using their taste and their likes and dislikes to your advantage is what will turn your Pinterest profile into a traffic machine. So, here’s how you’re going to do that.
In your website or your emails, use your social media platforms’ icons and links to make sure you’re giving your followers the opportunity to find your profile and enjoy your content.
The exact same thing goes for your website. Someone that enjoys your website will definitely find use on your Pinterest profile.
You can also post some Pinterest-exclusive content. Send a survey through email or create a simple poll on Twitter or Facebook, asking your followers what they’d like to see. Don’t forget that social media is the pool of all content and it can help you determine what your followers would like to see.
This, paired with a good social media analytics tool, can help you pick and choose content – both as far as the type and as far as the subject is concerned – minimizing the possibility of guesstimates.
Here, like this:
Many of your Facebook and Twitter followers have no idea that you’re on Pinterest as well. You don’t just want to keep them in the dark, do you?
Share your pins or those that you discover on Facebook and Twitter as well and see who will engage, who will be intrigued, and who will just pass.
This will give you more engagement brownie points that you can imagine. Not to mention that, by sharing your content on other platforms and reaching a broader audience, you’re also increasing the chances of that audience sharing your content across platforms in general.
So hop to it!
Pinterest is a tool that’s as powerful as any, and by building a good crowd, it can help your conversion, your website’s traffic, and your brand’s wellbeing overall.
Killer content, great use of hashtags and plenty of description terms won’t just do the trick on their own though. You’ll just need to put your mind and other social media platforms to it and up your email marketing game as well, with links, shares, and buttons.
And don’t forget: Pinterest’s search bar is an itty bitty search engine, and by giving your best Pinterest SEO self and optimizing descriptions, hashtags, and your own Pinterest username, you’ll see your efforts thrive!
Oh, and one last piece of advice, which shouldn’t be advice, but a staple, at this point: Always A/B test, my children, always A/B test! 😉