Most bloggers have Pinterest accounts, but even after ages of being on there, they don't see the kind of traffic they hear about from others. Then there are those who are on top of the game and know how to use Pinterest to gain readership and followers. I used to be in the first category, and hope to be in the second at some point!
For the longest time, I din't get Pinterest. Okay, so there is a lot of interesting stuff, but how does it help my blog? What should I do about my profile? These were the kind of questions that made me re-look at my Pinterest strategy. It's only in the the last month or two that I've started seeing a growth in followers and getting my links re-pinned, which translates into more blog traffic. So, in effect, I was a Pinterest 'newbie' for a long time because I wasn't using it to my advantage. If you feel that you are in the Pinterest newbie club, here are a few tips that can help you move ahead.
- Do complete your profile. Use a good picture of yourself, and don't forget to link to your blog, and your Twitter and Facebook profiles. It's also a good idea to verify your account.
- Do use bright images. Don't be understated on Pinterest. This doesn't mean that all your pins have to be in red and yellow, but make sure your images stand out and speak for themselves. Use clear fonts and triple check for spelling and grammar.
- Do check the pins that you share. Click on the image and check whether the link works, and whether the content really is what you expect it to be at first glance. Pin only good quality content.
- Do pin original content. It's not good enough to re-pin. Whenever you find something interesting that you'd like to share, pin it forward. In my experience, original pins do much better than re-pinned ones.
- Do use the pin description properly. Apart from the image, the text below it matters a lot. Don't just put in a few words describing the image. Use complete sentences and describe exactly what your pin leads to - is it a tutorial, an interesting blog post, or useful links?
- Do describe your boards too. Don't leave that area blank. It may make a difference to whether someone follows you (or that board), and also helps you assess whether you should be creating that board in the first place.
- Do use secret boards. If you're collecting pins for a kitchen project or to help you with your writing, consider making it a secret board. The advantages of secret boards are many - you can pin as much as you like without clogging feeds of others with pictures after pictures of kitchen sinks! You can also use it as a sort of bookmarking tool for pins which you can't categorize, or which don't fit in your existing boards. You have the option of making these boards public if you think your followers will like them, but the action can't be undone.
- Do join group boards. If you get an invite to join one that is in your niche, do it! Group boards are great for exposure. Just play fair and re-pin others' content too.
- Do like and comment too. Apart from re-pinning, it's a good idea to reach out to others by liking or commenting on their pins. As with other social media channels, interacting with others is essential for making your mark on Pinterest.
- Do use hashtags. It helps your content to be found. Place them in pin descriptions and make them as broad as possible (examples are #parenting and #bloggingtips).
- Don't create vague boards. Think about whether your board makes sense to potential followers. Do they really want to see a board called 'For Me' or 'Red'? Try to create at least a wide category for each board. One can be about DIY and tutorials. Another can be about gardening and plants. Don't put too much in one board, or you're just going to appear haywire.
- Don't create more boards than you can handle. Of course, you can create as many as you like - but only if you can handle them and find enough content to fill them up. As I mentioned above, check whether each board is worth creating in the first place.
- Don't be inconsistent. This is for your own good. I see many bloggers who come and pin 20 times in a day and then disappear. It doesn't work this way. If you are serious about getting something out of Pinterest, play your part and be there frequently.
- Don't follow or unfollow blindly. It's great to return the gesture when someone follows you. But sometimes, their pins may be far from what you are interested in. Instead of unfollowing them, just click on the board name and unfollow the board itself. This will help you declutter your feed. Don't follow someone just out of courtesy if nothing on their boards interests you. It's okay!
- Don't go on a pinning frenzy. I think we've all experienced this. Suddenly, all you can see on your timeline are 50 types of hot dogs! If you're looking for a special hot dog recipe, please read my tip about secret boards above. Or simply, space out your pins, especially if they are too similar. You can also use scheduling tools like Viral Tag and Pinwoot.
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