Whether you blog about fashion, beauty, social media, do-it-yourself, food, or travel, chances are you use Pinterest to share your content and drive traffic to your site. But are you getting the most out of this popular social bookmarking tool? As an up-and-coming blogger, I am always flattered when I see my articles pinned to Pinterest; it means my content is visually appealing and/or worth reading. Maybe it’s because Pinterest is my favorite social media tool that I have had the most success with it out of any other social media platform in my four months of blogging. It’s my second biggest source for referrals after organic search.
If you don’t use Pinterest for your blog, here’s one good reason why you should in addition to reaching millions of users – it improves SEO performance. When users bookmark your content it signals to Google that your site is trusted, credible, and contains valuable content. As Google is in the process of weeding out spam websites from its search results, social media becomes an effective mechanism for indexing high quality content. Put simply, the more shares you have, the better your rankings. I’ve had multiple articles rise to #1 in search results (excuse the brag) after being successful on Pinterest.
The first thing to understand is that success on Pinterest requires more than just a pretty picture. In contrast to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook where users are more indiscriminate about what they favorite or like, Pinterest users pin what they deem of value. It follows that understanding what your audience considers valuable and worthy of a bookmark on their precious pin board is a vital strategy for optimizing Pinterest to its fullest potential.
Before I get into the five strategies, here are some Pinterest fundamentals in case you’re new to the platform (this might bore the connoisseurs; if you’re one of them, feel free to skip this part and go directly to the strategies). Be sure to fill out your Pinterest profile including picture, bio, social media accounts, and website. After you verify your website you’ll have access to Pinterest Analytics, which allows you to monitor what images from your site have been pinned, which are most popular, and which are the most clicked. This is a very useful tool for analyzing what images are popular over others. But without further ado (I know you’ve been waiting patiently), here are the five strategies to improve your success on Pinterest:
1. Add a Pinterest Hover Button: If you already have a Pinterest button on your site – great! But a hover button is even better. This is a Pinterest button that appears when you place your cursor over an image. The number of pins from my site doubled after I installed a hover button and I believe it’s for two main reasons. One, it makes it more efficient for readers to pin exactly what they want without having to choose from several images at a time. Two, it may encourage readers to pin your content. As a WordPress blogger, I use a plugin (everything’s so much easier with a plugin!) called Pinterest Pin It Button for Images.
2. Write a Compelling Headline: This is basically an SEO approach. Your headline should persuade your audience to click, share, and pin your content. For example, how-to’s, DIY, and tutorials tend to be very popular on Pinterest (incidentally, these topics are very popular with the Generation Z crowd). Another thing to consider is whether your content can be categorized on Pinterest. This would require an understanding of your blogging niche and audience, as I mentioned earlier. An effective way to get repins is to ask users to repin (similar to the Twitter strategy of asking users to retweet to receive more retweets). That said, one of my most popular pins has the word “bookmark” in the headline. Since your headline is also the default description for your Pinterest images, you’ll want to keep that in mind when brainstorming a headline that is pin-worthy.
3. Create a Unique, Descriptive Image: Creating an aesthetically appealing image that also stands out to millions of users can prove challenging. One helpful tip I’ve found is to add text to an image. The text can be the same as the headline or a shorter version of it. This strategy illuminates what your content is about before the user reads the description, and it is also helpful in case your default headline description is replaced with something else. Another tip is to create your own image. This could mean taking your own (high quality) photographs, illustrating, editing a Creative Commons photo, or creating a collage.
4. Increase Number of Followers: One way to increase followers on Pinterest (or any social media site) is to maintain an active presence. People are more likely to follow you if you’re prolific and have beautifully curated boards. By increasing your number of followers, you increase your impressions, reach, and likelihood that someone will click or repin your content. If you don’t have one already, I would recommend a link to Pinterest on your blog so that your readers can follow you (ahem, see the right sidebar for my Pinterest widget). If you’re still short of followers, join a group board that has a strong following; this has worked wonders for driving traffic to my blog.
5. Develop a Tumblr Component: If you already have a blog set up on WordPress or Blogger, it may seem superfluous to have a Tumblr presence as well. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Tumblr exposes you to millions of users who will, in turn, share your content on Facebook, Twitter, and especially Pinterest. Not to mention, it’s an effective way to gain more followers and generate traffic to your blog.
What Pinterest strategies have been successful for your blog? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @stylecontext.