Are you using Pinterest to its Potential?

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Now, I'm not a Pinterest expert, but I have listened to a couple webinars and talked to enough people, to know that Pinterest is an untamed beast...we don't really know how to work it, because there's nothing else like it. One part search engine, and one part social media, equals a whole lotta untapped potential! That being said, I'm not great at it, but I do give it my best college try. Even if you're not a blogger or online marketer, reading through this post may give you some interesting insight on the inner workings of the DIY revolutionary concept that we know and love as Pinterest.

I remember when I first learned of Pinterest (from my friend Kami of The Kalon Life), back in 2011. I was like, why would I need that? Shortly after, I got angry, because when Pinterest started gaining ground, people would be like "oh, did you get that idea off of Pinterest?" Um, no. Out of my brain. In a sense, it can hurt creatives, but it does empower people, as a whole. Anyway, I'm mostly over that now, as it is such a great online marketing feature! Whether you're a chef, or an etsy shop owner, Pinterest is an AMAZING tool, that you should be using. If you are utilizing it, are you using Pinterest to its potential? Check out my  top 10 tips below, so you can brush up on your skills!

1) Make it pretty. This was my first step, for a reason...people want to follow nice, organized boards, that are aesthetically pleasing. When I first started out, I tried being cutesy and vague with my board categories. In reality, you need to be specific and to the point. For example, instead of "Food" have "brunch" "lunch" and "dinner" boards. Instead of "Clothes", have "shoes" "accessories" and "dresses" boards. My pinterest still isn't 100% cleaned up, but it is tons better! Even in just spot cleaning my account, I gained a higher percentage of followers, than I did previously. More followers, means more reach, which creates more engagement!

2) Make it pinnable. Look at Pinterest and what the  top top pins are. Typically for fashion pins, you don't see  a lot of the person's face and/or they are action photos, ie turning their head or walking down a street. These are obviously the ones that people like, so why not just match what you know already works? Yes, re-pins on the Pinterest site is good, but pins from your personal website is even better! Be sure that you have a pinterest button on your page- not just one that shows up when you have the tool bar. You want people to pin when they like something. If it is hard to do, chances are they won't try to figure it out and you'll just miss out on that share.

3) Make it descriptive. Your photo images should have descriptive file names. These words are what show up when someone pins an image off of your website. You don't want the picture to just say "Image_678", because that does you no good. Try and use the specific brand names that are in your post and/or anything else that you think think that would be a popular search and relative to your post. For this blog post, most of my pictures say "grey sweater dress, indigo by clarks booties, j crew rhinestone statement necklace, barn, falls city, washington, seattle travel guide, puppies, golden retriever". The point is to use key words that people will be searching for, in hopes that they find yours and click through to your website and/or to become pinterest famous and have X amount of people repinning, which also leads to more traffic!

4) Make it easier. Pinterest can be a lot of work. I not only pin my blog images to my "Southern Elle Style" board, but to group boards and other applicable boards. Clicking "pin this" over and over again, can get boring and time consuming. The best app I've seen help this, is called Tailwind. For a small monthly fee, you can schedule pins, only press "pin this" once, no matter the number of boards it will be pinned to, and receive up close and personal, analytics. Currently, I do not pay for this app, but I have used it before, and like the program.  One app that I do use frequently is Canva - it has a free version, that lets you pay for upgrades. I try to always use this for Pinterest graphics, as well as quotable Instagram photos. These images are usually crisp and clear, and oh-so-pinnable, which is exactly what you need!

5) Make it a group effort. Join as many group boards as you can! A group board is a collaborative, yet pinnable space. Not only can everyone in the group pin to that board, but the actual board shows up on everyone's accounts (unless marked private) further exposing your images to other people and gaining you followers.

6) Make it sneaky. Okay, not sneaky like lying, but sneaky in a good way. These days, you are able to pin anything from an instagram image, to collage you made. Want to help it drive traffic to your website? If the pin doesn't automatically populate with your desired url, just click the pin's edit button, then paste your link. When someone clicks,  it will then be directed to your website! Another best practice is to repin images that are similar to your said post. (Amanda of The Miller Affect taught me this) Do not change the URL in this pin- instead change the description box to say something relative to your post and include your specific post link. An example for this post would be to search puppy pictures to repin, then type "LOVE dogs. See some of my favorites from my seattle trip, on Southern Elle Style **Insert blog link here**" and to just copy and paste that on at least 10 other pins.

7) Make it analytic-worthy. Like I kind of mentioned in number 2, you want people to re-pin your pins. So, what do the top pins look like? Well, they are denoted with an "R", meaning "rich pin". You want all of your pins to be labeled "rich, because it helps your pin succeed. Any "trending" pin, is usually a rich pin. I have some rich pins and some not-so-rich pins. Pinterest still won't say exactly what denotes a rich pin, but you can usually tell if it is a good one or not, just by looking at it. I'll talk about analytics later, but you can see which of your pins are rich, via Pinterest Business Analytics.

8) Make it out of the box. While you want to follow general pinterest guidelines, like I mentioned in step 2, it's still important to be original. The best pins are those that are creative...I know for me, I do a lot of things just for the Instagram. You have to do similar things for Pinterest In addition to that, you need to think about shape. (literally out of the box shape, lol)  If you use Canva, there is a Pinterest shaped form you can use, but essentially all you need to do, is make sure that it is longer than normal. Studies have shown that longer Pinterest images, get noticed more. The graphic I included in this post (and most recent posts), are all Canva sized.

9) Make it smart. You should be studying your analyitics page. You can find out which pins perform the best and so much more!  It tells you how many pins you pinned compared to last week, what your top pin was from your site, what your top pin was overall, what your click through rate is, and more. Honestly, it's so much information, I haven't even begun to uncover it all; however,  it is good to know it's there! My personal best pin is the graphic at the bottom of this post. I'll say that I thought that pin would do well, but it's just good to know that sometimes my intuition is right! Side note- you also want to pin smart. Make sure that your pins match your brand and that you are only pinning quality pins. If you save some that aren't rich or low resolution, you are lowering your chances of being a featured or trending pin.

10) Make it constant.  The best thing way to get noticed on Pinterest, is to  pin constantly. The more you pin, the higher the repin chances are and, the more likely Pinterest will feature your pins! Tailwind, the app that I mentioned in number 4, does this for you! By "pinning" something with the app, you are putting it in cue to be pinned. It looks at when your followers are most active, in addition to making sure you hit the pinning sweet spot. You can of course do this yourself, but it's good to know that there is an option, if your life gets busy. 

One thing I didn't touch on was sponsored pins. You are now able to pay for pins to show up. I have never done it, but I have talked to people who did and they didn't really like it. I prefer to stick to Facebook Sponsored posts. Often times,  I will use my Pinterest Canva graphic, as my sponsored post photo.

Do you have any other tips or suggestions? I'd love to add some to my list! Feel free to repin the graphic below;)

 

P.S. This look was shot in Fall City, Washington, from my trip to Seattle, earlier this year. My other posts from that trip are as follows:  Cutest Hotel on Lake WashingtonMy Seattle Travel GuideTop 10 Favorite Fashion Books, in Fall CityFuller's Jewelry Store, in Ghost Alley.

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