Pinterest is one of the most popular websites in the world, receiving a massive number of visitors each and every day. Its fans are die-hard, and they spend a great deal of time pinning new items, organizing their boards, and looking through new content. Not only that, but Pinterest has been proven to be one of the highest converting websites in the world as far as converting views into buyers.
Some marketers mistakenly believe Pinterest is mostly women, but the fact is men make up a large chunk of its users, and they are just as voracious in their consumption of content as female users. The site has a good mix of every age range, too. Chances are, your demographic is represented on the site, no matter what your niche is.
The trouble is most people don’t know how to use the site correctly in order to get traffic. They don’t know how to properly optimize their profile, get followers, or get people to view and re-pin their content.
In this guide, you’re going to learn the ins and outs of using Pinterest correctly, and how you can make the most of it in order to get the most possible traffic—and hopefully sales, too.
So, let’s get started.
What Is Pinterest?
In case you haven’t heard of the site, or you just haven’t used it before, let me explain a little bit about what the site is, and what it is used for.
Pinterest is like of like a virtual corkboard. You’ve probably seen these in schools or offices, or you may even have on of your own. If you haven’t, they’re typically framed squares of cork that you can use push pins or thumbtacks to affix things like notes and pictures to in order to plan things or remind yourself of things.
Pinterest works the same way. You create “boards”, which are basically like folders on a computer, and then you “pin” pictures or videos (which can link to other websites) to those boards.
For example, you might create a board called “Recipes” to which you might pin pictures of various dishes you’d like to try the recipes to. Then as you browse through your board, you can see all of those pictures at a glance, which can help you decide quickly which one you’d like to try at a given moment.
Think of Pinterest sort of like a visual bookmarking system. Ever tried to wade through hundreds or even thousands of bookmarks with nothing to go on but the page titles? It’s brutal. Pinterest makes it easier because your bookmarks have photos representing them!
It’s pure genius when you think about it, and users love it!
Pinterest can be a little tricky for beginners. It’s actually very easy to use as far as basic functions, but from a marketing standpoint, most people don’t get it right.
In order to attract followers and not scare people away, it’s critical to set your profile up correctly. If you don’t get this right, you’re going to have a hard time attracting followers who aren’t spammers.
Here’s what you need for a proper profile:
- Profile Picture – This should be either a picture of yourself, or the logo of your business.
- Name – Your name should not sound like a spammer. It should either be your real name, pen name, or business/website name, with a few keywords included. Keywords in your name help people find you on Pinterest when they’re looking for people to follow! You could use something like: Jane Smith – Food Blogger at FoodBlogSite.com Recipe Website
- Verified Website – If you’re running a website or blog, be sure to verify your website with Pinterest. This will help you set up Rich Pins (very important for maximizing traffic). This will give you a verified icon and will help your image considerably.
- About Me – This section is a good place to include a few keywords but be sure it makes sense. It appears on your profile, and some people will use it to decide whether or not to follow you.
As you create your profile, you must keep the two basic principles in mind. First, are you using keywords in each profile section? Keywords are critical. Second, would you personally follow your profile? If not, fix whatever you think might make you avoid your profile.
Always try to appear as if you’re either a normal Pinterest user or a business. (Yes, people WILL follow bloggers, companies, etc.) If a user even detects a hint of potential spammer, they won’t follow you.
Your First Boards
Once you have your profile set up, it’s important to create a few boards that you can use to attract followers. It’s extremely important to set up these first few boards correctly if you want to get a lot of followers quickly, because these boards will represent you to potential followers, and some key algorithms kick in based on these boards.
Here are some tips for creating your first boards:
- Cover Photo – Always set each board’s cover picture to the most attractive picture you have pinned in that board. Pinterest will automatically set the cover photo to the first one you pin, but you can change it by visiting the board, clicking “Edit Board” and then clicking the “Change” button beside Cover. Then use the arrows to navigate until you find the one you want to use.
- Board Keywords – Be sure you use keywords in your board names because this is one of the most powerful ways you can be found on Pinterest. Some people never follow entire profiles, only individual boards, so you want those boards to be easy to find! If you want to figure out what to name your board, just plug your main concept into Pinterest’s search to see what comes up. For example, if you’re creating a board with articles about blogging, put “blogging” into the search. This will come up with terms like “blogging for beginners” and “blogging tips”.
- Killer Content – Your first boards should pin only the most interesting, re-pinnable content, because the Pinterest algorithm will present your profile to more people based on how many of your pins get re-pinned by other users. If you pin a whole bunch of content without taking into account how many people might re-pin it, you’re shooting yourself in the foot! Be sure you check each thing you pin initially to see how many users have already re-pinned it. This is a good indicator of whether they will re-pin it when you post it.
- Check Before Pinning – Always check links before pinning content, as spammers will often take a popular image and change the URL to point to a spam page. If you pin this, not only are you going to alienate potential followers, but you’ll risk your account being associated with spam. Just click the picture to visit the link before you pin the image to be sure it leads to the right destination
- Pin Others’ Content – Do NOT just pin your own content and nothing else. This will frustrate people and you’ll find it very difficult to get followers. They’ll think you’re a spammer. Instead, post about 10% to 20% your own content, and the rest should be other people’s content. Just keep in mind that your own content may not be re-pinned as often, so you might want to stick solely to other people’s content in the beginning.
When it’s time to pin your own content on Pinterest, there are a few ways to do it. If you’re using WordPress, you can simply install a plugin that will put a Pinterest share button on your site.
They also have an image share plugin that will put Pinterest share buttons directly on your images so you can easily select a specific picture to pin with a single click.
Finally, you could just go to the board you want to pin your content to and click the big “Add a Pin” button. Just click “The Web” when the selection pops up, paste in your URL, and follow the instructions. Be sure to add a description!
It’s a good idea to pin content at different times throughout the day since you may be attracting people from all over the world in different time zones. You probably want to pin most of your content between about four and ten in the evening (Eastern Time) since that seems to be when the largest number of users is active but pin a few things at odd times to grab the attention of users around the globe.
You can use a scheduling program like Tailwind to schedule your pins at specific times. That way you don’t have to be present to be sure you’re pinning content regularly in different time zones.
Tailwind also gives you some extremely powerful insights into which of your pins is getting the most re-pins, allowing you to remove those that aren’t performing to make your profile more powerful. It’s extremely affordable if you have only one Pinterest account, but since they make you pay for each additional account, it can be quite pricey if you run a lot of profiles.
Simply pinning content isn’t enough to be truly successful on Pinterest. It’s also important to be sure you’re optimizing all of the content you pin for the Pinterest search engine to make it easy to find.
A lot of users make the mistake of choosing a random image for their pin, but this is a huge mistake. The image is the most important element of a pin because it is ultimately what will make people pay attention to the pin, click it, and perhaps re-pin it.
Be sure you select the very best image to represent your pin.
The second huge mistake people make when they pin content is leaving the description blank or adding only a small bit of text, such as “pizza recipe”. You should always include a good, keyword rich description that will help users find your pin and also encourage them to visit it.
Be sure to include your main keyword first, as keywords that appear early are given the most weight.
Here’s an example:
Pizza Recipe – The world’s best pizza recipe, including homemade pizza crust, homemade pizza sauce, and complete how-to instructions with pictures!
Hash tags, for those who aren’t savvy with social media, are those keywords you see with the # sign in front of them. They look like this:
They can be used on Pinterest, but because their algorithm doesn’t really recognize them the way many other social sites do, they aren’t particularly useful. You may see some users putting hash tags in their descriptions, but they aren’t necessary and may actually make it harder for people to find your pins.
The only time you might want to use a hash tag in a pin description is if you’re using a very popular, trending hash tag that you think people might be searching for. Otherwise, just use the keyword without the hash tag.
Everyone wants to know how to get more followers on Pinterest, and its certainly no easy task. There’s no way, short of a getting-struck-by-lightning type miracle, to get thousands of followers overnight, but you can certainly accomplish this within a few weeks.
The first thing you should do, of course, is follow the instructions for setting up your profile and creating a few boards. Add a handful of very interesting pins to each board so people can quickly see the type of content you’ll be pinning and that you aren’t a spammer.
Once your profile is complete and you have some interesting boards set up, start finding some key people in the same niche as you and adding them. All you have to do is follow them. Just be sure to check out their profile carefully to be sure they aren’t a spammer. If you follow a number of spammers, you’ll find it very hard to get followers or be allowed on group boards (which we will discuss later).
Pinterest will only allow you to follow a certain number of people each day. It’s a good idea to add about twenty people at a time, waiting a few hours between each batch so you don’t trigger a warning. You won’t get banned or anything, but you’ll be barred from adding more people for a while.
The easiest way to find people to follow is by searching for your keyword on Pinterest and hit the enter key. Then click the “Pinners” tab.
This will give you a list of pinners that Pinterest believes are most closely related to the keyword you entered. You can start following a few at a time. Some of them will follow you back, but it isn’t terribly important to be sure all of them do.
The real power comes from their followers finding you in their list of followers. For this reason, it’s a great idea to be sure you’re also following all the most popular and powerful brands in your niche. For example, if you’re an internet marketing blogger, be sure you follow all the top internet marketers, because anyone who is searching for people to follow and looks at their list of followers will find you.
Tip: Another trick is to go through your list every few weeks and un-follow and re-follow those power users. Why? Because it keeps you at the top of the list of their followers, ensuring more new users find you all the time!
Whenever you get new followers, simply follow them back. That’s a quick and easy way to get your profile in front of as many potential followers as usual. But be careful! A lot of people who follow you will be spammers, and you never want to follow spammers!
Power User Tips
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, it’s time for a few power tips that will really help boost your Pinterest success!
Text on Images
One important thing to remember is that text will attract more clicks and re-pins that images alone. For this reason, it’s a good idea to put some text on all the images you pin for your own content.
If you want an idea of the best way to place text on your images, just check out some of the most popular pins at any given time. Be sure to use bold colors that really pop! Colorful text on a white background, or lighter text on a colorful background can really grab attention.
Taller images always perform better on Pinterest than wider images, because taller images take up a lot more page real estate than wide images.
The ideal image size for Pinterest as of the time of this writing is 735×1100. That is 735 pixels wide and 1100 pixels tall.
Guest boards are an extremely powerful way to expand your reach on Pinterest, and you should get yourself invited to as many quality boards in your niche as you can.
Guest boards are pin boards that are run by one account but posted to by many accounts. You can create a guest board of your own by inviting others to post on it, but the most powerful part of guest boards is being invited to post on popular ones yourself.
Pin Groupie is a great way to find group boards you can post to. You can search by category, keyword, etc.
Different group boards have different rules and different methods for getting invited, but most of them will give you the basics at the top. Be sure to follow the board’s owner before you request to be added as a contributor!
Pinterest is an extremely powerful for any marketer, but not everyone knows how to use it successfully. If you follow the tips and tricks you’ve learned in this guide, you’ll be on your way to getting huge traffic with Pinterest in no time!
Always remember to pin only the very best content, check each pin before you add it to be sure it actually goes to the right link, and never follow spammers. Taking the little bit of extra time to keep your profile free from spam will help you attract a lot more followers.
Don’t forget to check out guest boards. Pinning your images on guest boards will get your pin seen by a lot more people than pinning only on your own account, so it’s very important to take advantage of them whenever possible! Just be sure to follow the rules of each group board to the letter. You certainly don’t want to lose your ability to post there!
Be sure to check out the list of resources at the end of the guide. You’ll find quick links to all the cool things mentioned in the guide!
I wish you the best of luck with your Pinterest promotions. I hope you have enjoyed this guide, and I hope you’ll take action to start building your follower base on Pinterest right away!