On my blog I’ve shared 40+ tips for Pinterest epicness, my hack for finding the perfect keywords to use on Pinterest, and even 7 ways to get more re-pins on Pinterest. But to this day, I’ve never written a “Pinterest for Beginners” post.
… Like, WHO AM I?!
Never fear, my dear friend – I’m bringing that post to you today!
If you’re relatively new to Pinterest or if you haven’t even started an account yet, this post has EVERYTHING you need to know to get started on the right foot – or “with a bang”, as the title suggests!
But first, why is Pinterest so amazing for bloggers?
Pinterest is THE place to be if you’re serious about growing your:
• Email list
Sounds too good to be true, right!? Like, can I get ALL OF THAT from one platform?
Yes, you absolutely can. And I’m here to show you how! In this post you’ll get a clear breakdown of what Pinterest is, how it works, and how to set up your account for MASSIVE success.
I’ve split this post up into two sections to make it easier for you to digest. The first section focuses on the “basics” of Pinterest: what it is, how it works, etc. The second section goes over 12 action items to complete TODAY (or at least, ASAP) to start seeing results quickly.
12 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PINTEREST
In this first section, you’ll get an overview of what Pinterest is, how it works, and the different puzzle pieces that come together to form something AH-mazing. Let’s dive in!
1. Pinterest is a social media engine / search engine hybrid.
You can “follow” people on Pinterest just like you can on Twitter and Instagram, but there’s SOOO much more to it than that!
Above all, Pinterest is a search engine. Just like Google, it runs off of keywords. You can use S.E.O. (search engine optimization) strategies to increase your reach, views, and following on Pinterest. We’ll talk more about how to do that when we get to the action items section!
2. A single Pinterest post is called a “pin”.
Here’s what a pin looks like:
The appearance of pins changes over time, so keep in mind that they might look slightly different by the time you’re reading this post. In fact, on one of my newer Pinterest accounts, there’s been a change to the way pins are displayed in the homepage feed: there’s NO text at all underneath the image, just the image itself. I’m not a fan, Pinterest! Please change this back.
The only constant that never changes is that there MUST be an image with every pin you share or create. Pinterest is aaaaall about those visuals.
On top of having an image, each pin links to an outside source. This might be a blog post, a page on your website, a sales page, a landing page, or something else. If you click on a pin, a new tab will open in your browser that will take you to the linked page.
3. When you like something, you can pin it to one of your boards.
You can pin from an outside website (your own or someone else’s) or you can pin from Pinterest itself, via the feed on your homepage or another pinner’s board.
To pin from your homefeed, simply hover your mouse over the image you like and click the thumbtack-looking button that pops in the top corner and says “Save”. Next, choose the board you want to share the image to and press the thumbtack icon to the right of that board’s name.
To pin from an outside website, you can either install a Pinterest extension to your browser, or use the “Pin It” share button that the creator of that website (may or may not) have installed on their site.
4. Boards are how you separate pins into meaningful groups.
Separating pins into groups makes it easier to locate pins later, and also for your followers to find pins on topics they’re most interested in. When creating boards for your Pinterest account, you get to choose the topic of the board, a name for it, the category, and write a description.
If your blog is about fashion, you might create boards like:
• Spring Outfits
• How to Style Leather Jackets
• F/W Fashion Ideas
Once you’ve created an array of boards for your account, they’re displayed on your Pinterest profile. You can view your profile by going to pinterest.com/yourusername OR clicking your profile picture that’s displayed in the top right corner of Pinterest.
5. You can have “public” boards and “secret” boards.
Public boards are displayed on your profile for other pinners to see, while secret boards are only viewable by you and only when you’re logged into your account.
If you want to create boards that aren’t relevant to your blog’s niche, you can set these boards as “secret” – then pin away to your heart’s desire!
6. At the top of your profile, there’s a spot for your name, photo, bio, and a link.
This is very similar to other social media platforms. This section of your profile is how other pinners get to know the person running that Pinterest account. It’s also a great place to incorporate niche-relevant keywords, which we’ll talk about a little later in this post!
7. When you like a pinner’s account, you can “follow” them OR some of their boards.
You have the option to follow that pinner’s ENTIRE account (AKA all of their boards) OR to pick and choose which boards you want to follow.
When you follow an account or a board, any pin that’s shared by that person or added to that board in the future has a chance of showing up in your Pinterest homefeed.
8. Your homefeed is a collection of 3 types of pins…
1) Pins from accounts and boards you follow
2) Pins that are “recommended to you” by Pinterest. They look at your pinning habits, board categories, and profile to discern what content you enjoy seeing and pinning.
3) Promoted Pins – these are Pinterest “ads”. Someone has paid to have this pin show up in your homefeed.
Everyone’s homepage feed, or “homefeed” as I call it, will look drastically different. It’s completely tailored toward you and your interests, based off of what pins you’ve re-pinned and liked in the past, what accounts and boards you follow, etc.
9. Promoted Pins are Pinterest ads.
You can pay to promote one of your pins on Pinterest, which will expand the reach of that pin and get more eyes on it. When setting up the ad, you set a daily budget and can choose who to target your promoted pins toward (demographics, location, etc.)
I haven’t personally used Promoted Pins for my account, but I’m not against them either!
10. A group board is a board that multiple people can pin to.
These pinners are called “contributors” of that group board. Each group board will have a designated topic, and generally will have a set of rules that contributors must adhere to. If you don’t, the group board creator may remove you from that board.
11. Pinterest runs on a complex algorithm that changes frequently.
Just like the Facebook and Instagram algorithms, there’s a complex set of rules and guidelines that the Pinterest “bots” use to help them decide which pins to recommend to you, which boards or pinners to recommend, what to show in your homefeed, and a million and one other things.
No one knows for sure what Pinterest bases each of these decisions off of (except for the Pinterest head honchos themselves!) All we can do is make educated guesses based off of what strategies we’ve used on our accounts that produced good results.
Keep in mind that the algorithm is shifting and being updated all the time, which means you need to think on your feet and test out new strategies to keep up with the times. Your pinning strategy can’t stay the same forever!
12. Your main goal is to get people clicking on your original pins.
You’re going to create pins for each of your blog posts, your products, your courses, your services, and your email list freebies. Your goal is to create and share these pins, get them spread out across the Pinterest-universe, and make them incredibly click-worthy.
Why? Because that means more traffic, subscribers, and moula for you, sista!
12 ACTION ITEMS FOR PINTEREST BEGINNERS
Now that you have a grasp on the basics of Pinterest and how it works, it’s time to TAKE ACTION. Complete the 12 items below and you’ll be a Pinterest goddess in no time!
1. Create a Pinterest for Business account.
The perks of having a Business account include:
• Accessing Pinterest Analytics
• Enabling Rich Pins
• Using a Business Name as opposed to a personal name
• Setting up Promoted Pins
When you create your account, make sure to select the “Business” option. If you already have an existing account, you can convert it to a Business account here.
2. Find 10-20 niche-relevant keywords.
You’ll use these keywords to boost your SEO on Pinterest. Use the secret hack in this blog post to quickly and easily find the perfect keywords for your account and niche!
3. Set up your profile for success.
Now that you have your list of keywords, it’s time to incorporate them into your profile and bio. In your bio, write a 2-3 sentence description of yourself and what you do. Then upload a nice, branded photo of yourself to your profile.
For your business name, don’t just write your business name. Include extra keywords from the list you created in Action Item 2. For example, instead of “Blog Beautifully”, my business name might be: “Krista Dickson of Blog Beautifully / Blogging & Social Media Tips for Girlboss Bloggers”.
Be sure to enter in the link to your website, and verify it with Pinterest. This is done by taking a code Pinterest gives you and adding it into the header section of your website. If you use WordPress, I suggest the Insert Headers and Footers plugin.
4. Create 10-15 niche-relevant boards.
As a blogger, you’ll want to create boards on topics that your READERS are interested in or need help with. This is how you attract the right kinds of people to follow your account!
As an example, if I were a beauty blogger, I might create boards like: Makeup Tips, Skincare Tips, DIY Beauty, etc.
Once you create a new board, you’ll need to click into it from your profile to make edits. Be sure to include some niche-relevant keywords into the board name and description. You should also select the appropriate category for that board (there are around 30 options to choose from).
You also need one board that’s solely devoted to your own blog posts, products, services, etc. Make sure this board is in the top row of your Pinterest profile! To move boards around, simply click on the board and hold your mouse down, then drag the board where you want it to be and release your mouse.
5. Join LOTS of group boards in your niche.
Group boards are an absolute NECESSITY if you want to grow your account and your blog traffic rapidly. This blog post breaks down the nuts and bolts of group boards, and shows you exactly how to find and join the perfect ones!
6. Add a Pin It button and follow button on your website.
Give your readers an easy way to share your blog posts to Pinterest by installing a “Pin It” button that shows up when someone hovers over the images on your site. My favorite plugin to achieve this is JQuery Pin It Button for Images.
You should also add social media follow icons that link to your various social media accounts (including Pinterest, obvi!) You can place these icons in your sidebar, top menu, footer section, or all of the above.
7. Create a Pinterest-friendly template for your images.
To save time, create an image template that you’ll use to design pins for each of your blog posts, email list freebies, products and services, etc.
Pins should be:
• Long and vertical (a 2:3 or 3:4 ratio works well)
• Branded to match the fonts and colors on your website
• Bold and eye-catching – think bright colors, bold fonts, contrasting colors, etc.
Pins should also have either your domain name or logo on them, and text that explains what the blog post, product, service, etc. is about. Generally, this will be the title of your post or something similar.
Here are a few great examples:
7b. Design 3 pins for your 10 most popular blog posts.
Look through your Google Analytics data and determine your 10 most popular blog posts to date. Create 3 pins for each post and upload the pins to Pinterest (click the + sign in the top right corner of Pinterest). Moving forward, create 3 pins for each blog post you publish.
Switch up the colors, headlines, and pin descriptions to see what attracts the most attention and garners the most re-pins and clicks (you’ll find this information in Pinterest Analytics). Then create more pins like that in the future!
8. Hop on Pinterest every day and re-pin 50 things.
Re-pin pins from your homefeed and between your own boards. For example, once you’ve shared your newest blog post to the board that houses your blog post pins, re-pin it to other relevant boards and to group boards you belong to.
Your goal is to have at least 50 pins on each of your boards as a starting point, and you can continue to build up your boards from there. If your boards are all basically empty, no one will want to follow your account!
You should also regularly pin your blog posts to the group boards you belong to. NEVER stop looking for, joining, and pinning to group boards. They’re your secret sauce for Pinterest success!
9. Use BoardBooster to automate the pinning process.
With features like looping, scheduling, campaigns, and the search agent, BoardBooster is every pinner’s dream. Learn more about how BoardBooster works and how to maximize its features in this post. Trust me: you won’t regret this tiny investment!
Once you’ve set up BoardBooster’s features, over half of the work you need to do to grow your Pinterest account will be handled by BoardBooster (all automatically, without you having to lift a finger).
10. Follow 200 people/boards in your niche.
Find accounts and boards in your niche by typing niche-relevant phrases into the search bar at the top of Pinterest. Then click the buttons to filter into just “people” or “boards” up at the top of the search results.
Following these people and boards will give you TONS of niche-relevant content to pin from in your homefeed, while also growing your Pinterest following (because some of those people will follow you back).
11. Set up Rich Pins.
Rich Pins are more eye-catching on Pinterest because they have a big, bold title underneath the pin’s image. I think Rich Pins might be getting phased out soon, judging by the new layout Pinterest is currently testing. But for the time being, they’re still valuable.
Rich Pins can be a little tricky to set up, but they essentially involve adding a bit of code to your website and then entering the link to one of your blog posts into the Rich Pin Validator.
If your website is on WordPress, all you have to do is install and set up the Yoast SEO plugin, click into SEO >> Social in your dashboard, and then make sure “Open Graph Meta Data” is turned ON in the Facebook tab. Next, copy and paste the link to one of your blog posts into the Validator, and hit “Apply” once you see the success message.
12. Write click-worthy, keyword-rich descriptions for your pins.
For now, the majority of Pinterest users still see a description underneath each pin, so we need to make them intriguing and click-worthy. Usually you can only see the first one or two sentences, so don’t bother making your descriptions super wordy!
Pin descriptions are a great place to incorporate your niche-relevant keywords, which will boost your pins’ ranking in the search. To learn more about Pinterest keywords and where to put them, be sure to check out this post.