Like most people, I first joined Pinterest to save all the pretty things I loved. It didn’t occur to me to be accumulating followers, and most of the mine at the time were my Facebook friends as I had connected the accounts. Fast forward nearly five years later to 2015 and Pinterest has become more of an image search engine than a social platform. A necessity for website traffic you could say. After reading a bit about it, I decided to implement a few methods to increase my following and thus, my website traffic!
Deleting pins with low repins and Secret Boards
The first strategy I implemented was to go through all of my boards and identify which complimented my blog such as Beauty, Makeup Organisation, Tips’n’Tricks amongst others, and creating secret boards for everything else. Having secret boards means that you are able to pin anything that takes your fancy and not interfere with your blog themed Pinterest account.
The next step was to go through every pin and decide whether it should be in a secret board or moved to a public board. This can be the most time-consuming part but just trust me here! As you go through your pins you should be deleting any pins with low ‘repins’, as they hold your time-consuming being seen in the smart feed as Pinterest decides your pins are not high quality enough to be seen. A bit controversial for sure! I honestly noticed the most change by doing this step. You’ll also want to make sure that you change all the captions of photos to be in line with your blog and opinions as often they are left with opinions of others, as well as following through with the link to make sure it is linked to the site it advertises. The last thing you want to do is provide your followers with crappy content!
Using a service like BoardBooster to “Loop” your pins to be seen by more people
I first heard of this program through Melyssa Griffin’s Pinterest programs and it has changed my Pinterest game!
Basically, the way I use the program is not to schedule my pins, but to loop them! Looping works by first choosing the boards you want to loop, and then determining how many times a day and the time frame. Personally, I set each of my boards between 3-5 loops a day and 23 hours a day as I want to appeal to the widest audience I can. The general gist of looping is that BoardBooster repins your pins from the bottom of your boards that were pinned ages ago and exposes them to a new audience. Once it has reached a predetermined timeframe decided by you, it deleted the pin with the least repins, keeping your board full of content that has higher repins!
BoardBooster has a free trial, and you’re welcome to use my referral link here to join. I’ve been using BoardBooster since October 2015 and it’s a fantastic way to “autopilot” your account. I use the smallest paid option which is $5USD per month.
Using a service like Tailwind to schedule all of your pins to post across the day
Tailwind is a scheduler for Pinterest, which is also an approved Pinterest Partner.
I don’t heavily use Tailwind but if you install the Chrome Plugin, it’s great to use to pin anything you would normally pin but it basically stores them to spread them out so you’re not pinning all at once and then nothing for days. You can set up a limit to pin each day to spread out your pins more. I have only used the free account on Tailwind.
The screenshot below shows what the interface looks like when I choose to schedule a pin on Pinterest with Tailwind.
I cannot emphasise how important it is to join and use quality group boards to grow your account and blog traffic!
Group boards are usually started by one person and they “own” the board, meaning you’ll need to follow the instructions in the bio of the board to join. Some boards will have rules like “follow all my boards and then email me to join”, personally I only want followers that want to follow me back so I don’t ask people who want to join my group board to do that – just email me. My blog board is for Australian Beauty Bloggers as I noticed as a niche we weren’t being represented at all!
Group boards expose your pins to the followers of everyone in the board so ideally you’ll want to join boards with likeminded interests and quality of photos or you won’t be doing yourself or anyone in the board any favours.
I also use BoardBooster here as once I manually pin my most recent blog post here it goes into the “looping” mechanism I spoke about earlier. Luckily, looping only affects your pins in a group board so you don’t have to worry about delinking someone’s else’s content accidentally. I set my loops on group boards to match with the rules of the board e.g. 3-5 repins a day.
The smart feed
The Pinterest feed works in a similar to Instagram and Facebook’s algorithm in that it will show you the “best” content (the highest ranked in repins), rather than the newest content. Before you decide Pinterest just isn’t for you, hear me out! Pinterest’s Smart Feed is actually fantastic for bloggers, unlike Instagram and Facebook. This is because Pinterest allows you reach the largest audience as there is no shadow banning or anything like it, and literally everything can be seen if you’re looking for it. This works in our favour as we are a bit ahead of the times (literally) in Australia, in that, most of the time we are awake and pinning, the rest of the world is asleep! This means that our pins are spread out to our followers, and they’re not missing our content.
The Smart Feed works more like a search engine, and you will need to use similar SEO tactics to what you would use on your blog already by ranking you as high-quality content.
Here are a few things that can help your pins be seen in the Pinterest Smart Feed with high-quality content:
- Save your images with descriptive keywords and use ALT tags: I’m sure that you already name every single image you upload to your blog in the ALT text (this is what shows up as the available title on Pinterest, and if you leave your file as IMG_345 for example, and someone is too lazy to change it – you will lose out on traffic as no-one will come back to your blog). Another thing you need to do is write keywords in your description part (as seen below on the right). This will enable your pins to show up when people search for those keywords.
- Related Pins: Pinterest will show your pins as related pins to people searching for similar things if you use your keywords correctly in naming your pins, even if they don’t follow you. Good SEO, relevant keywords, and detailed pin descriptions will help Pinterest find your pins and match them to similar pins.
- Interests you follow: Your Pinterest feed is no longer just about who you follow, but about showing you what you might be interested in, whether you follow that person or not. Pinterest tracks when you are pinning from websites, and from Pinterest and works out what you are interested in. Things you pin, boards you follow, and searches you make all have an influence on what you see on Pinterest.
Rich pins are basically pins that include additional information about the post, for example, they include a larger heading and also a bit of a blurb as well as a favicon and my blog name. This, in turn, makes the content larger to the viewer of your pin.
So why do you need them? Rich pins are a major way to give your posts credibility. This lets everyone know that your photo leads to an actual article on your actual site. It will also give a bit of consistency across all of your posts as someone will be able to recognise you in your photos.
How to set Rich Pins up for your WordPress blog (a credit to the Thirteen Thoughts blog who helped me with this!):
- download the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress
- once your plugin is installed, activate it and click on the “Social” tab
- click on the “Facebook” tab and enable the Open Graph metadata
- go to Rich Pin validator and paste a link to any single post on your blog
- click Validate
- After validating, you should see a message that your pins have been validated
- click Apply Now and you should see a pop-up appear with your blog’s information and meta tags
- click Apply Now again, and that’s it!
While I don’t have a Blogger blog, I didn’t want to leave you guys out – here is a post by someone on Blogger.
It generally takes a couple of days for your rich pins to be validated from your account, I have found that not all of my older pins updated to rich pins so all I did was repin them to my blog board and then the newest version of the pin was a rich pin.
Pinterest worthy photos
If you look at the Pinterest home page you’ll notice that (depending on your screen size) there are a few columns across of images. Notice which ones are taking up the most real estate on your screen? It’s the vertical pins! Vertical photos on your blog as the preferred Pinterest sharing photo is very popular nowadays, as they have more of a chance to be seen. Horizontal images will get zipped past, faster than you can say “see ya”. I don’t always use all vertical photos in my blog post but I always try and use at least one, and then I pin using that photo.
“Pinterest worthy” photos are definitely on the rise, and I for one am a huge fan. Basically, to break it down, it means posting photos that are pretty, well composed, clear and bright. These will appeal most to those browsing Pinterest. You may also find that group boards can be picky about letting you join and pin if your photos aren’t up to the same standard as theirs, which is fair enough.
Purchase a few props like trays, fake flowers, patterned paper, jewellery etc to take photos with. Take up residence next to a window or purchase some soft boxes, and either learn how to use your phone camera or DSLR to your advantage. Personally, I didn’t purchase a DSLR until I had been blogging for 17 months and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!
A few accounts which I think do a really fantastic job at Pinterest Worthy Photos are:
Your Pinterest strategy
Your Pinterest strategy could be the epitome of your blogging success if you work hard at taking photos, and work with Pinterest to make sure your content is reaching as many people as possible.
I recommend pinning 25 – 45 pins per day, with a mix of your own blog posts (20% of the time) and other pins (80% of the time), which you can schedule out with Tailwind, to ensure you’re in the feed as much as possible.
Having compelling headings through rich pins, and also overlays on blog posts are probably some of the most important features when it comes to having people click through to your blog and subscribe.
Here are my takeaway steps:
- Set your account up as a business account.
- Set up rich pins for your account.
- Take vertical images for your posts and pin those to a “blog board” which should be the first board on your account.
- Research group boards related to your niche (you can check out what I have joined here) and request to join.
- Sign up for a free trial of BoardBooster to loop your current boards so that no one misses your content.
- Sign up for a free trial of Tailwind to schedule pins across the internet as well as Pinterest and your blog.
- Each time you publish a blog post, pin the vertical image from your post onto your blog board and from there, pin to every group board as well as any relevant boards you have. For example, if I was pinning my post on makeup organisation I would pin that to my makeup organisation board.
- Make sure you are using SEO techniques for all your images. Consider going back and optimising some of your most popular images and posts from the past to ensure that Pinterest’s new filters will rank your pins highly.
- Make sure your pins (including things you repin) have correct links and link back to high-quality content by checking with them every now and again. Pins with spammy and irrelevant links are ranked lower. This includes pins that have dead links or expired pages.
I hope you leave this post feeling a bit less overwhelmed and with a clear idea of what to do next to ace your Pinterest strategy.
What stage are you up to in your Pinterest Strategy?