Alright guys, today we're talking about how to use Pinterest to kick some major butt for your online business! Why? Because it's the NUMBER ONE source of my website's traffic.
(Plus it's FREE marketing! And I like free.) :P
The awesome thing about Pinterest is that the pins last for a LONG time and can continue to drive traffic to your site for weeks, months and even YEARS after you pin something. In other words: Pinterest can be GREAT for business, and you should learn how to maximize your efforts to get amazing results!!! (Plus let's face it, Pinterest is like the black hole of inspiration.)
I mean ... for real.
I've been on Pinterest for forever. In fact, I was one of the few people who some how managed to get an invite to join Pinterest from the CREATOR back when it first started! (I honestly have no idea how that even happened, haha.)
However, I didn't actually start using Pinterest strategically for marketing my online business until the middle of 2015. And now? 90% of my blog's traffic comes from ... you guessed it ... PINTEREST!!! (Yep, that's a large percentage right here.)
The growth has been insane, you guys. We're talking straight jacket, padded room insane!!!
The 28 tips listed below have allowed me to grow my Pinterest account to over 35k followers in less than a year. (Which is a lot more than the 3,000 followers I was stagnant at before!)
Important Side note to make these tips truly effective for growing your business:
In order to really benefit from getting traffic from Pinterest, you need to make sure that you have a strong foundation in place FIRST. That means having a clear purpose and niche, a strong website, a kick-ass brand and content upgrades in place.
Why? Because you don't want just ANY traffic, you want engaged ideal clients showing up to your website, being completely wowed by your content and then signing up for your e-mail list! (Instead of just focusing on meaningless pageviews.)
And lucky for you, I've got an epic workshop + workbook filled with specific action steps for you to take so that you can do ALL of those things! So start getting the RIGHT type of traffic to truly grow your business by grabbing them below!
Aaaand now, if you really want to kick your site's traffic up a notch, try implementing these 28 tips for Pinterest! Here's what I did (as well as some things I still currently do). Also feel free to print off the to-do list at the end of this post so you can have the satisfaction of checking off the little boxes!
1. I switched to a "Pinterest for Business" account so I could see my analytics.
This is a great way for me to see which of my pins end up being the most popular so that I can repin them to other boards at a later date! Plus, a business account is needed if I want to do things like run a promoted pin. If you want to join the group of "Pinterest for business" cool kids and you already have a Pinterest account, you can convert to a business one and it won't effect your current boards, pins or followers (phew!) Just click here to either sign up as a business or convert your account!
2. I try not to spam my followers.
I don't want to be the annoying person that tries to shove my content down other people's throats all the time, ya know? In general, it looks a little too self promotion-y if the only content that you pin is from your own website. Don't be afraid to spread the love and share the valuable content of others! With this in mind I try to stick to the 80/20 rule: 80% of the content I pin is super spiffy content from other sources and 20% of the content I pin is from my own site. (Right here, baby!)
3. I follow other creatives in my niche.
I don't want to be a lone wolf on Pinterest! That's why I make it a point to regularly find and follow other awesome individuals in my blogging and business niche. Doing this allows me to both see and pin more content that is actually useful to my followers and I! So go on, follow people in your niche. People like ...
- Me (See what I did there? Muahhh hahahaha!)
4. I put my cat in charge of scheduling and managing my pins.
OMG ... best decision ever!!!!
Hehehe, just kidding. But wouldn't it be great if he could help? (Just look at that psycho face!)
4. (For real.) I uploaded a professional, personality-filled profile photo.
I had a super fun brand photo shoot over the summer and was super excited to use one of the photos as my profile photo! I'm sorry, but if you don't have a profile photo then it shows up as a scary red pin icon and let's face it ... I'm secretly wondering if you're a hacker, a scammer or a sleaze ball! A profile photo is a MUST. After all, you're not going to gain much of a following if people are secretly wondering if you're one of the above mentioned things right? And if you can use a professional, totally awesome photo of you that represents your brand, even BETTER. Oh!!!! And don't forget to use the same awesome profile photo across ALL of your social media accounts for consistency.
5. I added keywords to my profile name.
I wanted to be nice and searchable in my area of expertise, so I added some keywords after my name. (Entrepreneur + Blogger, to be exact!) So you could do something like, "Elsie | DIY blogger" or "Emily | Running Coach."
Or you can add your blog's name after your personal name, Like how Elsie does hers:
6. I verified my website URL.
I wanted to make sure that I point every social media account that I have to my blog/website and that includes Pinterest! Verifying my website's URL made me look all official and it will also let people know that I am a.) the owner of the website and b.) that it's a legit site. AND since I have a business account then it will also allow me to start seeing all the lovely analytics about pins from my site! Wanna try it yourself? You can verify your website by following the instructions right here.
7. I wrote a descriptive yet personality-filled bio.
I know I didn't have much room to babble here, so I wanted to make my bio short and sweet! I wanted it to showcase my personality and what I'm all about. So when writing yours, show your quirks along with your interests! Think about ways that you can stand out. For starters, Be YOU. For example, check out this gal:
8. I arranged my boards to showcase my most important ones first.
People are busy. I know that I definitely get lazy when scrolling through Pinterest users- if the first row of boards in their profile looks unappealing then I won't even bother scrolling down to see more! So if some one doesn't take the time to scroll down on your Pinterest profile, what boards would you want them to see before they leave? Showcase your most awesome, brand-relevant boards first!
9. I tried to create a lovely visual theme that goes with my brand throughout my board covers.
The strongest, most bad-ass brands ALWAYS have a cohesive, pulled together look. Pinterest is an extremely visual platform and not to sound picky but ... if your boards are cluttered with low quality images that look like poop then it's not going to be very appealing! (Poop is NEVER very appealing.)
You can achieve the totally bad-ass cohesive look one of two ways. First, you can make sure that your boards go together with similar colors and composition. See how Gala Darling's boards all tie together with girly purples, blacks and pinks? They even go well with her profile photo!
Second, you can create your own custom board cover images, like how Urban Outfitters did here:
10. I made my board titles and descriptions SEO friendly.
Yes, I know it can be super fun to come up with clever, one-of-a-kind titles for your boards. Like how I used to call my "blog" board "words + things." I mean ... sure it was cute and all but do you actually think that people are going to search for "words and things?"
Think of Pinterest like one big pretty search engine. And HOW do search engines work? By searching with keywords! Take Martha Stewart Living for example. See how each board is labeled with relevant, specific keywords?
And when you click on the board, not only are keywords used in the board description, but they even include a way to interact with their brand by giving you a hashtag to use on Instagram! #win
(P.S. don't include hashtags in your pin descriptions, which can actually hurt your pin results in the Smart Feed, more on that in step 11.)
11. I write lengthy, keyword-filled descriptions for my pins.
I used to be really lazy with my pins and would almost never customize the description area. Um ... big mistake! Don't be like me and neglect using keywords in your pin's descriptions as well. Think of 2-4 sentences that some one might search for in relation to your pin ... for example ... "how to ----" or "ways to connect with your readers" ... get what I'm say'in?
12. I pin tall, vertical images rather than horizontal ones.
Okay people I'm not gonna lie ... I fought this one for a looooong time! I hated including vertical images on my blog, and I almost never did! For some reason I was just all about taking horizontal photos, ya know? As a result, all the pins from my blog were horizontal and the results were ... well ... lackluster to say the least. But after being stubborn for way too long, I finally decided to embrace the vertical!
And the results have been a billion times better.
Unfortunately, even if your horizontal photo/pin looks lovely, it's going to get lost in the sea of vertical dominant images. Vertical images show up much larger in the Pinterest feed and for that reason they are prevalent. SO. You want to use at least one clear, awesome, eye-catching VERTICAL image in each blog post, mmmkay? Preferably one that has some text on it that tells what the pin is about.The standard size is 735 x 1102, but feel free to go even taller if you want! You can design your own custom Pinterest blog post cover images super easily over at a site like Canva!
See how much more noticeable the vertical pin is compared to the sad little horizontal one? (Sorry 'A Beautiful Mess', you KNOW that I love you so!!!)
13. I avoid using hashtags in the pin description because it can hurt my Pins in the Smart Feed.
Yep, Pinterest just got "smarter" with it's semi-new "smart feed." Just like how Facebook switched to a slightly annoying algorithm which displays posts based on popularity instead of the time posted, Pinterest has done the same type of thing. The Smart Feed displays pins based on the quality of the pin, the quality of it's source (the website), and it's popularity. Using hashtags confuses the Smart Feed and then it gets pissed off at your pins and purposely doesn't display them as much! (I know ... the Smart Feed is kind of a bitch.)
14. I signed up for "Rich Pins."
I will admit ... I've been on Pinterest for forever and just recently discovered what the sam hill "rich pins" are! (Don't judge me. Ha!) So what ARE they exactly?
Well. They are rich because they have lots of money. The end.
Just kidding. Ehem! Rich pins are like regular pins but better. They include the name of your website in bold, your favicon and a brief description of extra details from your website (like article summaries, product specifics, etc.) Pretty nifty right?! See these pins? They are "rich" pins:
And WHY is using rich pins awesome? Well. Let me tell you. First, it makes your pins look more professional and noticeable. Second, you're helping your potential customers and readers with extra info to make their lives easier and third, anytime you update a post/page that is attached to a rich pin, the pin will automatically update itself. Ummm ... amazing.
So HOW can you start using rich pins? First, either create or convert your account to a business one, and Pinterest will walk you through the easy steps on how to start using rich pins!
15. I Run a promoted Pin every now and then.
Yes, this sounds very business like doesn't it? Are you starting to feel all business-y? Running a "promoted pin" allows you to pay to have your pin show up in people's feeds when they search for particular keywords which you get to specify. This is a great way to help an awesome pin gain enough traction to go viral!
To start using promoted pins you'll want to head over to here. (Pssssst, you'll need that business account that I've mentioned a few times in order to run promoted pins!)
16. I try to Be helpful.
When I'm pinning content I try to ask myself these questions; Why do I want my followers to follow me? What can I provide them with to help them enrich their lives and/or business? What will make their lives more FUN? What will make them LAUGH? Because if I've learned one thing over the years it's this: if you can continually pin awesome, helpful content then people are gonna flock to you like a moth to a flame! (I've always found that expression to be rather hilarious. I mean ... shouldn't it really be more like "moth to a lightbulb?")
17. I try to make my pins consistent & high quality.
Back to sounding like a broken record: the strongest, most bad-ass brands are consistent. Use consistency in the images that you choose for your blog post cover images! For example, I make all of my business + blog info pins with the same feel/colors/text:
When you do this enough, people will begin to recognize that a pin is yours simply by looking at it!
And when it comes to pinning other people's content, I try to make sure that not only do the pins LOOK high quality, but that they come from a good source. So when I'm going on a pinning rampage I want the pins to both LOOK good and lead to a nifty place! Would you want to follow some one if they were posting tons of low quality, poopy images? (Sorry, I'm like a 3-year-old with my love of using the word "poopy!!!") But really, would you? Think of it this way; would you be okay with some one associating the image that you're pinning with your brand? Which leads me to ...
18. I utilize the handy feature that is "secret" boards.
My brand is bright and colorful so I try to consistently pin bright, colorful, high quality images. Don't forget, if there are things that you like to pin that have nothing to do with your brand or are embarrassing (like all of those date idea pins for when you don't even have a boyfriend- EHEM!!! Just me?) you can always create a "secret" board that only you can see! To do this, when you pin something scroll down to "create a board" and then tick "secret."
19. I pin consistently (We're talking around 100 pins per day!)
This one is SUPER important for growing your Pinterest account by buttloads. The more consistent that you are, the higher you will rank on Pinterest. (Yes, Pinterest ranks and "favorites" it's users!) I used to make it a point to pin 15 - 20 pins a day to really grow my following and while that worked, it was eating up WAY too much of my time (we're talking a minimum of 30 minutes daily!)
That's why I now do number #27 on this list and why I teach exactly how I use Board Booster in my course From Blog to Business. Using BoardBooster allows me to pin 100 pins a day (yes you read that right, haha!) AND I spend ZERO to 15 minutes a week on Pinterest. Um ... HUGE amounts of time AND sanity saved!
(Not to mention that the gigantic growth in Pinterest followers has increased my traffic even MORE. Woo hoo!)
20. I create hidden images within blog posts to pin on Pinterest
Ever click on a super long, eye-catching pin on Pinterest and when you get to that particular blog post or article the image that you clicked on is no where to be found? (Because let's face it- super long images aren't always the most attractive things to stick smack dab in the middle of a blog post!) For example, in this post when you click to pin an image, these two pink images show up but are nowhere to be found in the actual blog post! (Because they look great when pinned on Pinterest but silly inside the actual post. Get my drift?)
Creating "hidden" images within your blog posts is great because not only can you create more eye-catching pins without having to stick them into your post, but you can also create multiple, different pins to promote the same post! Check out this fabulous tutorial by Lindsay on how to do it!
21. I revisit old pins and update them with better, more relevant descriptions and photos.
If you, like me, used to not give a dump about carefully crafting pin descriptions and creating Pinterest friendly vertical images, then now's the time to go back and update them! Breeeeathe new life into your old, dusty, non-descriptive pins with crappy images!!!
Here's an example of how I went back and updated a pin that wasn't vertical AND didn't include any text. As you can see, the updated pin is also now a "rich" pin!
22. I joined active and relevant group Pinterest boards.
I'm pretty new to trying this, but I have gained a ton of repins as a result! This is an especially great method to get your pins out there when you are just starting out. Try to join in on collaborative boards that are relative to the content that you want to post (obviously), and where the content posted actually gets repinned. For example, if you see a group board that has 400,000 followers it might SEEM like a good idea to join, that is until you notice that each pin only gets 0-1 repins. Then you might notice that a board with only 2,000 followers is getting 5+ pins. THAT my friends, is the board you want to join.
One of my favorite group boards to pin to is this one that I created right here. Which leads me to ...
23. I created my own collaborative board.
Speaking of joining an awesome group Pinterest board, why not be a leader and create one yourself? I did that recently by creating my own collaborative 'Grow Your Blog + Biz' board!
24. I'll link to my Pinterest profile within blog posts when relevant.
When relevant, I'll link to my Pinterest profile inside a blog post! For example, if I'm talking about Pinterest in a particular blog post, when I mention "Pinterest" I'll link it to my actual page! So if it makes sense, drop a link within your blog posts, like I did in this post below!
25. I provide a link to my Pinterest account on all other social media + my blog.
This sounds really obvious, but some people forget. That's why I make sure to provide a noticeable link to my Pinterest profile on my website/blog/social media! I want to make it EASY for people to find me on Pinterest.
For example, adding a Pinterest icon to some where obvious (like your menu or sidebar) is a great idea. If you use Wordpress, you can even add the Pinterest widget to your sidebar to make it super easy for people to follow you!
You can also add a particular Pinterest board within one of your blog posts! (Pretty slick right?) To do this, simply click on the board that you'd like to add. See those three little dots in the upper righthand corner? Click on those and then on "make a widget!"
You can then copy and paste the handy text code provided into your blog post or text widget. BAM.
26. I made sure my blog is optimized for Pinterest.
If you don't have that roll-over "Pin It" button on your blog's images, then it's time you changed that! You want to make it EASY for people to pin your stuff. Some blog templates come with this option already (mine did), but you can also go here to do it! (Notice how when your mouse rolls over the images on my blog you'll see the handy "pin in!" button ...)
27. One word: Boardbooster
Oh man, Boardbooster is definitely a game changer! This amazing tool saves me SO much time. I used to spend at least 30 minutes every single day on Pinterest, and now I only get on it ONCE A WEEK for about 30 minutes. (Plus not only that, it's growing my followers by about 2,000+ new followers a month!)
This thing schedules, loops, and does all the great things to your pins. If you'd like to try it out and learn exactly how I set up Board Booster myself, check out my latest course! It comes with an exclusive free trial with extra pins so that you can experience the growth for yourself. :)
28. I used this super snazzy checklist to kick up my Pinterest game!
Okay to be honest ... I created this checklist AFTER I completed the steps, hehe. But I WISH I would've had a super snazzy checklist! This checklist doesn't just include the steps I took to grow my Pinterest game, it also includes all of the steps that I took to grow my site's traffic and to turn my site into a passive income machine, baby.
Wew!!!!! How's THAT for a lengthy Pinterest guide?! Are you still alive? Are you still breathing?
Good. I'm assuming you answered "yes."
And if you didn't ... well ... CRAP does that make me a murderer because I killed you with boredom?!?!
Thanks for reading, yo. Have any of these tips worked for you? Are there any tips that I missed? Do share!