Spend about 10 minutes in a group of bloggers or small business owners discussing social media strategy (it’s not as boring as it sounds, I promise) and you’ll probably hear quite a few folks RAVING about Pinterest. I’ll be one of them, because I credit Pinterest with driving the initial 20k monthly visitors to my blog that I needed to start earning actual money and turn blogging into a full time job.
Yes, Pinterest is an incredibly powerful social media platform with an incredible potential for driving traffic. But that doesn’t mean it’s right for every blog, brand, or business – and it doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to replicate someone else’s success just by doing exactly what THEY did. We here at Slaying Social will NEVER promise you anything like “become a full time blogger in a year, JUST LIKE ME” because it’s misleading and, quite frankly, irritatingly optimistic.
That said, before you dive head first into Pinterest to see whether the magical shiny promise of traffic in droves holds true for you, you’ll want to create a Pinterest Strategy to drive your efforts. Because Pinterest takes a LOT of time. And time is money.
If you’re already using Pinterest but haven’t yet dialed in a strategy that works for you, consider this your wake-up call: it’s time to get intentional!
TELL US YOUR PINTEREST USERNAME! Drop your Pinterest handle in the comments below so we can connect with you and show you some love. After all, our goal is grow together. Bonus points if you tell us your biggest fears, struggles and concerns when it comes to Pinterest.
So break out the gel-pens and a notebook and let’s get to work creating a Pinterest strategy that fits your brand!
- 1 WHY do you need a Pinterest account?
- 2 WHO will you be targeting with your Pinterest account?
- 3 HOW will you represent your brand on Pinterest?
- 4 WHAT kind of content will you share on Pinterest?
- 5 HOW will you optimize your content for Pinterest?
- 6 WHERE will you share your content?
- 7 HOW Will You Grow on Pinterest?
WHY do you need a Pinterest account?
Every social media platform appeals to different needs, and understanding why your audience is on Pinterest and what they’re using it for is crucial to your success on Pinterest.
For starters, here’s the #1 most important thing you need to know about Pinterest: it’s a visual search engine.
Unlike Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, on Pinterest there is no actual engagement with your audience. You won’t talk to them. You won’t really engage with your followers at all, in fact. Engagement on Pinterest is unique in that it’s almost entirely devoid of actual interpersonal interaction. It’s like the perfect social media platform for socially awkward introverts! Soooo now you know why it’s my platform of choice.
You’ll never reach out and personally thank your follower for engaging with your content on Pinterest, like the other social media platforms. You’ll never be able to invite them to follow you, like on Facebook. You won’t be carving out time to engage with your followers, like you would on Instagram. And you won’t be privy to their personal thoughts and feelings, like you are on Twitter.
And yet, Pinterest is the #1 most effective social media platform for driving traffic to your blog, business, or brand.
So if your audience is on Pinterest, the only question on your mind should be whether or not you should be, too.
Do I Need a Pinterest Account?
When it comes to determining whether Pinterest is one of the platforms you should focus your preciously limited time and energy on, ask yourself these questions.
You need a Pinterest account if you create content that:
- Solves a problem your audience is seeking an answer to
- Provides useful information that your audience is looking for
- Inspires and delights your audience
If you can answer these questions with a resounding, YES! Then the next question to ask yourself is, will my content be successful on Pinterest?
Will My Content be Successful on Pinterest?
Of course, trial and error is the best method for evaluating the answer to that. But ain’t nobody got time for trial and error. Time is money, people! So here’s a shortcut.
Does your blog, brand, or business fall into any of the following categories?
- House & Home
- Crafts & DIY
- Travel & Destinations
- Food & Recipes
- Dieting & Fitness
- Fashion, Makeup, & Beauty
If so, you’ve got a great chance of success on Pinterest! Those 6 niches are by FAR the most popular on Pinterest.
If you fall outside of those niches, you might give Pinterest a try. But the best results will definitely come from creating content within those categories.
So, challenge yourself: is there a way to create content that could fall within the Pinterest-popularity bucket?
For example, if you make and sell jewelry on Etsy, you could create content that provides how-to instructions and tutorials for making jewelry (crafts & DIY). Within that useful content – which provides information AND delights and inspires your jewelry-loving crafty audience – you can include gorgeous pictures of your own jewelry (with links to your shop, of course) that will ultimately lead to brand awareness and, ideally, sales!
The last thing you want to do is put a picture of your product up on Pinterest and call it a day. Y’all: that’s an ad, not helpful content. It’s not going to do anything for you, and it’s wasting the incredible power of Pinterest by not taking advantage of its unique properties.
Important Caveat: Most Pinterest users are in the USA. So if your audience is mostly outside of the USA, your chances of success on Pinterest will be negatively impacted.
Decide whether it makes sense for your brand to have a presence on Pinterest. If you’re not sure, evaluate whether there’s a way to create content that could fall within the Pinterest-popularity bucket to boost your chances of success. If not, scratch Pinterest off your list, click that “x” in the upper right hand corner, and go pour yourself a glass of wine.
If you’ve determined that a Pinterest account is right for your brand, let’s continue!
WHO will you be targeting with your Pinterest account?
Yes, duh, you’ll be targeting your audience.
But how will you increase that audience, to get your brand and your content in front of even MORE people? That’s the million dollar question.
Identify Your Niche Audience
You want to identify a niche audience that perfectly encapsulates these 2 things:
- Your current audience, who adores you
- An audience that hasn’t discovered you just yet, but is gonna LOVE you when they do!
The goal, of course, is to find your current audience on Pinterest and continue doing all of the things they already love you for, while also getting your content in front of your awesome NEW audience and bringing them over to the other side to hang out with your current audience.
It’s sort of like making new friends in your early 20’s. You love your friends, but you also want to meet a bunch of NEW friends that think you’re rad, so you can invite them ALL over for really epic parties. Except the parties are like … profitable business ventures or viral blog posts, or whatever. Also I’m in my late 20’s, so I’ve pretty much forgotten what it’s like to have friends that do things like stay out past 8pm, because we all have to work early and watching Netflix at home always sounds easier than socializing. #Millennials, amirite?
So, what does appealing to both your current & future audience look like from a practical perspective? Well, let me give you an example from my travel blog, Practical Wanderlust. (See what I did there with the practical? …Get it?? …. Look, sorry guys, sometimes my jokes are obvious and terrible. You can’t win ‘em all.)
My current audience for Practical Wanderlust is a female age 25-34 living in the USA who loves to travel, so long as it’s on a budget. (Psst: if I just described you, you should probably go check out my blog. Always hustlin’, y’all!) She reads my blog because she’s interested in practical travel advice for specific geographic locations that she wants to travel within: the United States, South America, and Europe. I haven’t been anywhere else, so that’s all my current audience is visiting me for.
My future audience is also a female millennial living in the USA who loves to travel on a budget. But she’s not planning any trips to the USA, South America, or Europe. Maybe she’s more into Southeast Asia this year instead. Maybe she’s still figuring out her next big trip and doesn’t have a location nailed down yet. What’s she looking at on Pinterest? What appeals to her?
My job is to position my account to appeal to her by sharing relevant content, even though I may not have the posts she’s looking for on MY blog.
Who is Your Future Audience?
Let’s step into a time machine and go meet your future audience. Ask yourself these questions:
- What are they interested in?
- What are they researching?
- What motivates them?
- Where do they draw their inspiration, as it relates to your blog, brand, or business?
Think critically about how you can position your Pinterest account to serve up content that inspires, informs, and delights an audience that hasn’t yet discovered YOUR blog, brand, or business … yet.
Once you’ve met your future audience, let’s step back out of the Tardis and start brainstorming how to find your future audience to make sure the fabric of the space-time continuum doesn’t tear, or something.
So how do you get your content in front of your future audience? The answer lies in your brand positioning and shared content.
HOW will you represent your brand on Pinterest?
When you create your Pinterest account, you’ll want to serve your audience – both current and future – only content that is relevant to their interests and to your brand.
What this means is that your personal Pinterest account is not going to cut it.
Sure, maybe your reader is just as interested in Vintage Donut Posters as you are, but unless your brand/business/blog is DIRECTLY RELATED to Vintage Donut Posters in some way (like, are you a donut shop? Or maybe a donut poster artist?) then just because you both share that interest is not enough to qualify for inclusion on your Pinterest account.
Think critically about how you can position your Pinterest account to serve up content that inspires, informs, and delights an audience that hasn’t yet discovered YOUR blog, brand, or business … yet.
You want to cover all the relevant angles that your current & future audience are interested in when it comes to your niche.
Let’s think back to my future audience, who isn’t planning a trip to a destination I’ve written about but still fits within my target demographic. What’s she currently interested in, as it relates to my travel blog?
She might be interested in tips for saving money to travel, cheap travel destination inspiration, or maybe just some vicarious travel inspiration to inspire her while she’s surfing Pinterest behind her desk.
Even though my current audience is only interested in a few locations that I’ve personally written about, my future audience is interested in other locations that I don’t actually have any content about on my blog. So, even though I’ve only personally written about Europe, the USA, and South America, you’ll find content on my Pinterest account about Asia, Oceania, Africa – EVERYWHERE.
Why? Because it’s all related to travel. And I want to position myself as an expert content curator for all things travel – or to be more specific, in my case, budget couple’s travel.
So how should you represent your brand on Pinterest?
Your Pinterest account should position you as an expert in your field, sharing and cultivating high quality, informative, and inspirational content about your niche.
You want your Pinterest account to be a one-stop shop for your target audience.
The more time they spend pouring through your account re-pinning all of your stuff, the more Pinterest will give you that all-important “You’re Pretty Cool” ranking in their algorithm – and that matters a LOT.
What level of cool should you aspire for? We’d aim for like, “Shiba Inu in Hawaiian shirt” level:
You know you need to position yourself as an expert content curator in your field, assembling a massive collection of relevant high-quality content that appeals to your current and future audience. But what does that actually look like?
Think of each board on Pinterest like a big, beautiful bulletin board. Your job is to pick a theme, and then find beautiful pictures and useful articles to tear out of glossy magazines and “pin” them to the board, until you’ve got it all filled up with content. Once you’ve got some gorgeous photos and interesting articles on your bulletin board, passerby who are interested in your theme will stop and engage with your board: they’ll read your articles, look at your photos, maybe tear off a couple of things to reference later, and generally peruse your bulletin board like a work of interactive art at the MoMa. It’s basically every College RA’s dream when they’re tasked with creating the precious hallway Bulletin Board.
So, how do you decide on your “theme?” What kind of content should you fill up your bulletin boards with?
Here’s a quick exercise.
A Quick Exercise
Write down the 5 most important topics that your content/product is all about.
- If you’re a travel blogger, what 5 places, types of travel, or travel-related topics do you cover most frequently?
- If you’re a local bakery, what are your 5 most popular categories of baked goods?
- If you sell products, what are your 5 core product categories?
Get the idea? Whatever top 5 most important topic describes your niche, write them down.
Guess what? You just wrote down 5 Pinterest Boards that you need to have on your Pinterest account. You’ll fill those boards with relevant content, all aimed at informing, inspiring, and delighting your audience (current, past, present, future, multiverse – all of them).
Do you have those boards created already? If not, go create them.
What that super quick and easy exercise does is force you to think critically about what kind of content you can cultivate that is relevant to your blog, brand, or business. Pinterest involves a lot of sharing other people’s stuff – it’s critical to success on Pinterest – but you don’t want to share willy-nilly.
You want to share high quality content that is directly relevant to your niche and informs, inspires, and delights your audience.
What that looks like specifically will vary from niche to niche – so I suggest finding a few successful competitors and scoping their accounts to see what’s working for them.
HOW will you optimize your content for Pinterest?
We’ve talked a lot about cultivating content on Pinterest. And about 50% of that content will be from OTHER people – linking to their sites, not yours.
Providing that content will inspire, delight, and inform your reader – but it won’t get you traffic to your site. (At least, not directly. It DOES benefit you, and here’s how.)
So, let’s talk about YOUR content. Like, the stuff that links directly to your site.
Here’s the thing: chances are, not all of your content is suited for Pinterest.
Above, I listed the most popular niche categories on Pinterest. But even within those categories, all content is not created equally. Some stuff just won’t work on Pinterest.
Stuff that just won’t work on Pinterest
Here are a few examples of things that are unlikely to do well on Pinterest that I’ve found through my own trial & error (so much error):
- Think pieces. People go to Pinterest for information and inspiration, not to hear your thoughts about stuff. Save the think pieces for Facebook, where people actually do want to hear your thoughts and feelings.
- Personal stories. Don’t take it personally. My subscribers LOVE to hear about my personal stories. Pinterest, on the other hand, could not care less about the time I had to get rescued off of a waterfall in Colombia, or the time my grandfather tried to fake his own death during my honeymoon. Does that mean I’ve stopped writing ridiculous stories about my life? Nope. I just don’t bother trying to promote them on Pinterest!
- Non-evergreen content. Content on Pinterest lives forever, so a pin about a 1-time event or something with an expiration date has a low chance of success on Pinterest.
- Stuff that’s gross. Gross thing aren’t inspiring – even if they’re informative. If you do have “gross” content that’s actually useful and informative, definitely do NOT use a gross picture – here’s how to pick a good image to use on Pinterest.
A lot of things are subjective on Pinterest. But trust me – some things just don’t work on the platform.
That said, sometimes it’s possible to re-frame your content on Pinterest to optimize it better.
For example: I mentioned that I had a blog post including a story about the time my grandfather tried to fake his own death while I was on my honeymoon. The blog post is a honeymoon wrap-up: it’s about what we did on our year-long honeymoon. (Spoilers: there was a lot of taking care of my grandfather on his fake deathbed.)
On Facebook, that was the major selling point of my post. People clicked through, fully prepared to spend 30 minutes reading all about how incredibly ridiculous my family is.
On Pinterest, I didn’t even reference my grandfather’s antics on my pin. Why? Because nobody on Pinterest is looking for information on how to deal with ridiculous 93 year old Jewish WWII vets, and they don’t care about my weird family stories.
What they are on Pinterest for is travel inspiration and information.
So I titled my pin using a different angle: “What happened on our year-long honeymoon & how much did we spend?” Boom: inspiration and information. It was still an accurate description of my post, but optimized for Pinterest rather than Facebook. Now, my Pin has a much higher chance of success on Pinterest.
Challenge yourself to think critically about what content you have that will and won’t work on Pinterest, and ask yourself whether you can spin your content in a way that caters to what Pinterest does best: informs and inspires.
We talked a lot about your boards, which should be a representation of the most important topics that are directly related to your blog, brand, or business.
But your own boards and profile are only part of a winning Pinterest strategy. For the best success on Pinterest, you also need to get your stuff seen, shared, and engaged with by as many other people as possible. Here’s a refresher on what to do on Pinterest and why engagement is crucial to Pinterest success.
Giving the Pinterest content that links back to your site a little engagement boost will help its chances of success significantly. Evaluate which method will work best to get your content shared by other people on Pinterest.
There are several ways to get your stuff shared by other people, and honestly, I don’t think any of them are “right” or “wrong.” Each niche is different. I’d recommend trying them all and seeing what works for you.
Here are my favorite strategies for getting others to share your content:
- Pinning your content to group boards on Pinterest
- Participating in Facebook Re-Pin share threads within your niche
- Sharing your content on relevant Tailwind Tribes
When it comes to your Pinterest strategy, you’ll want to think critically about whichever method works best for you.
For example: if you’re pinning your content to group boards, strategize about where you’ll find those group boards: which pinners can you creep on to stalk all of their group boards to see if you can get added? Yes, creepin’ is totally strategic. Getting added to group boards is the hard part!
Think about what niche topics you want to join group boards about (niche group boards are 100x more effective than vague group boards that aren’t niche specific). Analyze the size of your group boards to ensure you have a mix of high and low volume group boards.
Like I said: there is no 1 “best” way to get your content shared by others on Pinterest, and your mileage will vary depending on your niche. Like, for the Slaying Social Pinterest account, I’m having a lot of success using Tailwind Tribes to share our content. But on my travel blog Pinterest, Facebook Re-Pin threads are crucial to my strategy.
So figure out which method works for you. But know this: getting your content shared by others is absolutely critical to getting your Pinterest account in the fast lane to traffic city! Ugh, I just made MYSELF cringe. What was that, a Cars quote?!
HOW Will You Grow on Pinterest?
As far as I’m concerned, my success on Pinterest is measured by 1 thing: traffic to my site.
But before the traffic starts pouring in, there are a few other analytics that will help you monitor and analyze your growth on Pinterest along the way.
One of those metrics is Exposure. Pinterest shows you a “Monthly Views” number which is mostly useful as a benchmark for watching yourself improve. If your monthly views on Pinterest go down, pin more! If they go up, great job – keep doing whatever you’re doing!
Another metric you can use to evaluate your growth is your follower count. I’ve got an entire post about followers on Pinterest (& why they don’t really matter), but you should definitely keep an eye on this metric if it’s stagnating or slipping backwards. Once you hit 1k followers, it should climb pretty steadily on its own.
Goal Setting Homework
Here’s a little homework for you: make a task list of what needs to be done on Pinterest on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
Then, get out a little sticky note, and write a goal at the top.
Next, write a step you’ll take to achieve that goal underneath. And stick your goal & task somewhere super obvious (I like to put mine ON my computer monitor, where they bother, distract, and inspire me all at the same time).
Here’s an example:
GOAL: Get to 1k followers
WEEKLY TASK: Follow at least 100 Pinterest
Target your goals, set a list of steps you’ll commit to in order to achieve those goals, WRITE THEM DOWN, stick your list somewhere obvious where you can’t ignore it, and track your progress for a month.
Then after a month, evaluate: what worked? What didn’t work? How much growth did you see? Did you utilize your time effectively? What can be improved?
Then, set yourself a new goal, STICK IT SOMEWHERE OBVIOUS, and continue plugging away.
This is how I’ve been running my Pinterest for over a year now. When I first started my account, my initial goal was to double my followers and traffic each month until I got to a number I was happy with.
4 months later, I hit that number, and my goals changed. My new goal was to maintain my traffic rather than build it, while also spending LESS time on Pinterest every month. When I got down to an hour per week, my goals changed yet again.
Each month I set new goals and evaluate what my task list will be that month to achieve those goals, with brighter and more irritatingly placed post-it notes.
Whether you focus on monthly views, traffic to your site, followers, or re-pins, make a concious effort to set a goal and track your progress at least once a month. If you’re not growing, it’s time to do some tweaking to your strategy.
By now, you should have a notebook full of scribbles, an idea of your target audience on Pinterest, some boards to create, a few ideas for creating or tweaking your content to optimize it for Pinterest, and a bunch of irritating sticky notes with your goals and the steps you’ll take to achieve them (or maybe a list, if you’re organized like that).
We’d love to hear from you: what’s your biggest challenge when it comes to creating your Pinterest strategy? Leave us a comment below!
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