Wednesday, January 29, 2014

8 Tips on Using Pinterest to grow

Almost all of us are guilty of it. We sit down at the computer, type in www.Pinterest.com and before we know it we've lost a good four hours of our day. Our dream houses are lavishly decorated, the weddings we are planning will be magazine worthy, our meals are all of a sudden high end restaurant amazing, our wardrobe will basically be that of a model and the kids we have, or are planning to have will ultimately grow up in the cutest nurseries, wearing the most adorable clothes and creating the cutest crafts ever! We are pinners. It's what we do.

Pinterest is not only a great resource to turn to when you need a ideas, but also an amazing tool to use if you are trying to grow a business or a blog. Everyone is on Pinterest... okay, well maybe not everyone, but almost everyone. The benefits of using Pinterest are beyond amazing. I should mention that this post is my experience and opinion on using Pinterest as a tool and others might feel differently, but I'm hoping this will help someone else. 

I, like most Pinterest users, started out only thinking of searching and pinning things that already existed. I didn't think 'hey... maybe my blog content is pin worthy'. But then one day it clicked 'I make good food and cute little crafts... not to mention my daughter has style for days... I could be famous on Pinterest'. I decided to upload a pin from my blog and before I knew it, I was getting more and more views. This happened for a few months and then December hit, the month where I went from about 300 views per day to 1500+ views per day. Now I don't always have numbers that high, but I do attribute that growth Pinterest, and perhaps a tiny little elf on the shelf that visits us. So here are a few of my tips to help you utilize the amazing tool that is Pinterest.


1. Take good photos. Now I know this is sort of a given since pictures are the first thing we see on Pinterest, but I've come across some pretty poorly shot photos that have, in fact, deterred me from clicking on the pin. You need something that will draw someone in; whether that be a photo or a button explaining what the pin is. If I search 'chocolate chip cookie recipe' I'm definitely going to click on the pin that looks most appealing. Now I'm not saying that you have to use some sort of fancy camera and set up a little photo shoot for every cookie you make... a camera phone can work well too. Just remember to utilize good lighting and set the photo up to make the image appealing. If you are creating a button without an image, try to make it colorful and straight forward. Here are two examples of items I've pinned from my blog and have gotten great results from. PicMonkey is a free online tool that is great for editing images if you don't have a Photoshop program. Heck, I have Photoshop and still use PicMonkey for things like this. It's fast and easy.


2. Organizing your own boards. Organizing your own Pinterest boards can help in gaining followers. The first row of boards is what people look at when they view your Pinterest. Make sure your blog/business board is on this row. Also include the most popular boards you have in this row. The first row of boards is more important than one would think. Also, instead of having a general board titled 'Recipes', try breaking it down a little so that you entice people who might have a specific thing they are looking for. 'Crock Pot Meals' 'Paleo Recipes' 'Fast Dinner Ideas' are good examples. Make sure you pin things to the appropriate location. 

3. Don't saturate your followers boards by ONLY pinning your own stuff. Variety is the spice of life. You should be pinning all sorts of things you like, not just focusing on your own pins. There is actually a Pinterest etiquette that I've seen several times, the 80/20 rule. 80% of your pins should be from other sources and 20% should make up your content. You may have a foodie blog and want to share all of your recipes all of the time, but you can gain more followers if you pin other things too. After all, you might have someone who likes your 'Home Decor' board so they start following... and then they notice your recipes, click over to your blog, fall in love with it and BAM, new blog follower. I have actually stopped following people because they pin 50 or more things from their blog at one time (all similar content). Now that's not to say that if you make a recipe and have 3 great pics you shouldn't pin them all... that is something that has worked for me. I'm just saying don't be that person who overly overwhelms people with the same thing. Take those 3 photos and pin them over the course of a day or week.

4. Repin your stuff. There is no shame in pinning something from your blog or shop, and then repinning it a few months later. You might have gained new followers since the first pinning who didn't get a chance to see it. Repinning your items from time to time is a great thing to do. Don't repin your items every couple of days though... that just gets annoying.

5. Utilize the seasons and holidays. You can really gain a lot of views by pinning things that are seasonal or holiday related. My advice on this is to pin holiday things a couple of months before the holiday occurs. You don't want to be pinning Christmas crafts on Christmas Eve. Usually people like to create things prior to give as gifts or use as decor around the home. Example: if you have good 'game day' recipes for finger foods and such, pinning that a couple of weeks prior to Super Bowl Sunday will get you repins and views as opposed to pinning it after. Now I'm not saying that people don't pin Halloween Costumes, Christmas crafts, gift ideas and such year 'round, because they do. I've just noticed that I get the greatest response when I pin a couple of months prior to, and then repin a couple of weeks prior to the holiday. Same thing goes for seasons. Get those BBQ tips ready and start pinning toward the end of Spring. Seasonal and Holiday pinning works wonders for my blog views! 

6. Use text on your pics or buttons. This is very important! I really recommend adding a little text to an image you plan on pinning. Now, this doesn't work for every type of pin. I don't think adding a text box to an outfit pin will help it at all. Recipes, DIY, tutorials, craft projects etc. are all good pictures to add text to. The description you add when you pin something doesn't always stay there, some people change it so adding a little text will tell someone that you are doing a tutorial or that it's a recipe. Also, adding watermarks to some of your images is a great idea. I have had people take my photos and put them on their own sites, which frustrates the heck out of me! Here are some examples of adding text to a pin photo. One tip for this tip though... don't go overboard with this. You don't need a title on every photo that you plan on pinning, maybe just the first photo in the post. 

7. Have a blog or business specific board. This is something I'm not always great at doing, but it is a great tool. When you go to pin an item for the first time from your blog or business, pin it to a board that is specific for your content only. I have a board titled "From Ashley to Awesome" which is my blog title. I not only want an easy place to go to for all of my personal pins, but a place to send people who follow my blog. Then, when you go to repin a few months later you can pin it to a content specific board. It's still showing up in your follower's feed both times, but it prevents you from pinning the same thing more than once to the same board. You could also swap this method and first pin to the content board and then to your blog/business board after that. 

8. Follow Others. The more people you follow, the more content you have in your feed. Now I'm not saying go crazy and follow everyone and their brother, but following people who have boards that interest you is a great thing. After all, a lot of our creativity and ideas stem from something or someone else and we just put our own twist on it. You don't know what could inspire you if you don't follow anyone. 

I could go on for days, okay well maybe not days, but I'm sure I could come up with a few more tips. In an effort to keep this from being a novel I will stop it at my top 8 tips. I know this post was wordy, but I'm hoping this helps someone out there. Please add any tips to the comments section so my readers can gain even more advice. 

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2 comments:

  1. I've been thinking about trying to start utilizing Pinterest to help grow my blog. I'm going to have to save this for future reference. Great tips!

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  2. I never even thought about using Pinterest for my blogs, even though I've seen a bunch of pins from other people's! I'll have to try this. And I really didn't know about #2 - but it makes sense.

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