Dos & Don'ts for Pinterest newbies

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. 

Dos & Don'ts for Pinterest newbies

  • 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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Kristi Campbell said...

Thanks for this! I didn't realize the part about using full sentences to describe the pin but that makes perfect sense!

Anonymous said...

I have never taken pinterest seriously in respect of gaining traffic to my blog. Whenever I am on the site, I feel lost partially because of the lack of knowledge but I hope to put pinterest to some good use in future. These tips are really helpful!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post, it's great and I've learnt a few more things I didn't know :) #sharewithme

Unknown said...

Great tips! #sharewithme

Unknown said...

I was a bit pants at Pinterest for a really long time. I'm slightly better now but have to watch it as I tend to get addicted pinning everything! :)

Katie @ Pick Any Two said...

Great tips! I agree that it's really important to check the pins that you're sharing. Too often I'll be interested in a pin because of the photo or description, only to find that the original source isn't accurate or just takes you to a spam site. Not good!

Kim Carberry said...

Ohh....Thanks for this! Fab tips :)

Let's Talk Mommy said...

These are great tips hunny would go great with my How to set up Pinterest for your blog, I will have to link back to it. Amazing tips I will have to put them in to practice. I am just getting into the grove of things too. I do have to admit I go on a pinning frenzy naughty me. lol ;) Thank you so much for linking up to Share WIth Me this is so useful. I love it. #sharewithme

Tarana Khan said...

I know that I'm more likely to click on a pin that tells me exactly what it's about!

Tarana Khan said...

A good place to start would be to follow the accounts of bloggers you like, and repin their content.

Tarana Khan said...

Glad you found the tips useful! Thanks for stopping by.

Tarana Khan said...

It can be very addictive, but it's important to promote your own stuff as well!

Tarana Khan said...

It really is, otherwise it reflects badly on you! I follow this rule for all social media.

Unknown said...

I love Pinterest!!! Ive had my account for ages, but only in the last couple of months ive actually got the jist of it.. and ive gone from 94followers for a year to 456 in 2 months... Id say consistency is key, and to pin what you like and not what you think others will like :) good description is key also :) x #ShareWithMe

Anonymous said...

I should really give my pinterest a good look again after reading this. It is just there. Sometimes people would repin me but a lot of times its so quiet, thanks for the tips! #sharewithme

Tarana Khan said...

Thanks Jenny, it would be nice of you to link to this post!

Tarana Khan said...

That's such fantastic growth! Consistency does pay off with any social channel.

Tarana Khan said...

Just try to spend more time on it, it will work!

Unknown said...

I used to be confused with pinterest until I 'got it' and then was addicted for some time! Great tips for even those who are not beginners- you have given me some good reminders!

Tarana Khan said...

Thanks, Amelia. It really is addictive!

anita menon said...

Thanks for the wonderful tips about Pinterest. This is the platform I haven't explored so much yet. I hope to follow some tips from your post and see how I am up my Pinterest quotient. I came to your blog through Amelia's - Chai a cup of life. Lovely to have crossed paths.

Tarana Khan said...

Thanks for stopping by, Anita! Pinterest is definitely something you should explore.

Unknown said...

Some great tips Tarana - I'm getting ready for a rehaul of my Pinterest boards including working on some secret boards so that I don't appear to be on a pinning frenzy!

Tarana Khan said...

I find the secret boards very useful. Have fun with the makeover!

Simone - Little Nickel Bird said...

Thanks for sharing your knowledge - I'm new to Pinterest and have learnt some valuable info here!

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