40 Ways to Get More Pinterest Followers and Traffic — Part One
For years I had absolutely zero clue how to use Pinterest as a blogger. If I was even using it at all, I was posting small, horizontal images taken straight from my blog posts, with vague descriptions that weren't click-worthy at all. And my traffic from Pinterest reflected that (yea, it was non-existent!).
But here's the secret, my friends: When used correctly, Pinterest is a game-changer.
What I love most about Pinterest is that there's no limit or cap on your growth. The same pin can be re-pinned hundreds or thousands of times over a span of months or years. It's not like, say, Twitter, where maybe 20% of your followers actually see your tweet before it gets buried in the feed.
Because Pinterest encourages so much click-through traffic, it's also one of the best tools for promoting your products, courses, and services. Think of all the different things you can share to Pinterest that will lead people toward your paid offerings...
Your blog posts, where you promote your products or services
Your opt-in freebies, with go into sales funnels for your paid offerings
Images that lead directly to the sales pages for your products and services
As of Spring 2016, you can even use affiliate links on Pinterest to drum up some passive income. Head here to learn how to make the most of affiliate marketing on Pinterest.
Yep, Pinterest is an amazing, amazing thing. I truly believe it's the #1 platform you need to invest time in as a blogger if you want to see continued (and exponential) growth in your traffic and sales. However, I also know that Pinterest can be confusing at first.
If you're anything like I was, right now you're thinking, "I have no fricken' clue what to do here. HELP!" I gotchu boo. Over the past few months I've done a ton of research, tested out a bunch of strategies, and finally found what works.
To let you in on all my secrets and strategies, I created this list of 40+ epic ways to grow your Pinterest account, traffic, and sales. Put these tips into action a.s.a.p. to start seeing quick results!
To make this massive pile of info easier to digest (trust me, there's a lot to cover), I've split my 40 tips up into 6 categories, like so:
Pimp out your profile
Create killer boards
Pin the perfect images
Optimize your blog
Develop a pinning strategy
Gain more followers & traffic
As I'm editing this post, I've realized it's gotten waaaay long (over 7,000 words!) So I'll be splitting these tips up into two different posts. In today's post, we'll talk about the first three steps: how to maximize your Pinterest profile, create the perfect boards, and fill those boards with high-quality content. In the second post, we'll focus on the last 3 steps in my Pinterest process.
How to Get More Traffic & Sales From Pinterest
Step 1. Pimp out your profile
People often overlook their Pinterest profile but it's an awesome way to market yourself, your blog, and your brand. It puts a recognizable face to your business, humanizes your brand, and also allows people to head straight to your website. Here’s how to make the most of your Pinterest profile…
1. Have an awesome profile picture
Use a clear, branded photo of yourself as your profile picture. You’ll want a square image, and remember that it will be cropped into a circle once you upload it to Pinterest. It's best to use the same photo that you've used on all your other social media accounts and on your blog so your audience can recognize you easily (consistency is key!).
2. Use niche-relevant keywords in your Business Name
For example, instead of just writing "Krista" in my name on Pinterest, I might add "Blog Beautifully” or “Blog Tips”.
P.S. In order to use a Business Name, you'll need to switch over to a Pinterest Business Account. I talk about how to do that in Part 2 of this series.
3. Include niche-relevant keywords in your bio
The exact same thing goes for your bio. Check out this blog post for the full scoop on finding the perfect keywords to add to your bio and use elsewhere on Pinterest.
4. Add a call-to-action and URL at the end of your bio
Choose a freebie that you want to drive traffic to and then include a short and sweet call to action and a shortened URL at the end of your Pinterest bio. You can use bit.ly to create the shortened link. Note that links in your bio won't be "clickable", but people can always copy and paste the link into a new browser tab to access the freebie.
5. Verify your website.
In order to access all three sections of Pinterest Analytics and see your website’s click-through traffic from Pinterest, you'll need to verify your website. Follow this step-by-step guide to verify your website.
Step 2. Create killer boards
Boards are make-it-or-break-it on Pinterest. Pinners have the option to follow your individual boards or your whole account, so you need to make sure each boards count! Use the six tips below to create the perfect boards for your audience and brand.
6. Curate the perfect mix of boards
You'll want a minimum of 10 boards to start with, with at least 30 pins on each. Pinterest will let you go up to 500 boards (!!) but I recommend staying under 50. You don't want to overwhelm people, or yourself.
When creating boards, always think of what your ideal reader is searching for. Remember: your boards are not for you, your boards are for your readers. For example, my readers are looking for blog tips, business tips, tips on how to make money online, etc. And low and behold, you'll find a board dedicated to each of those topics on my Pinterest account!
If you have boards that don't fit well with your ideal audience and their interests, keep them as "secret" boards on your account for your own personal use. You can also add in some slightly off-niche boards to spice things up a bit, if you like. Now, I'm not saying to go create a board of cat memes if that's not something your ideal reader is interested in. But if your audience is, say, beauty bloggers, they'll probably also appreciate home decor inspiration, travel inspo, or motivational quotes. Use your common sense with this one!
7. Categorize your boards
This is an often overlooked step but one that's super important for getting your boards found on Pinterest. Every time you create a new board, there's an option called "Category" with a drop-down box of categories for you to choose from. You might not find the perfect fit for each and every board, but try to pick the option that makes the most sense from what's available.
8. Use keywords in your board titles + descriptions
Again with the keywords, I know! But they're so, so important for getting found on Pinterest. If you're not sure what to name your boards, think of phrases your ideal reader would be searching for.
Don't forget to put relevant keywords in your board descriptions as well. Write a 2-3 sentence description that describes exactly what the board and pins are about, and then include a call to action encouraging people to follow that board for regular (and amazing!) content.
9. Use branded images for your board covers
You have two options when it comes to "branding" your board covers on Pinterest:
a) Choose an existing pin for the cover image that fits with your brand's style
b) Create your own covers using your design program of choice
To select a cover image from the existing pins on the pins, simply click into a board from your profile and click "Edit Board". Where it says "Cover", press "Change". Flip through all the images on that board and select the one that goes best with your brand's fonts, colors, and style (choose one of your own pins for a perfect fit). Once you've chosen the perfect cover, hit "Save" in the bottom right corner, and you're set!
To create your own covers like this, Canva is where it's at. On the Canva homepage, click "Use Custom Dimensions" in the top right corner and enter 300px by 300px. Next, use any of the shapes, patterns, fonts, and colors on the left-hand side to create a beautiful branded image for your board cover.
Once you've downloaded that first image, it's as easy as changing the background color and text to fit the next board on your list. Do this over and over again, saving each image as you go, and you'll have a set of custom board covers in no time. All that's left to do is upload them to Pinterest, pin them to the correct board, and then use the same steps from above to set those images as the board covers.
10. Have a board dedicated solely to your own content
Pinterest is an amazing wealth of information, and yes, pinning other people's content is great. But the whole point of creating a Pinterest account for your blog is to generate traffic for your own site, right? This is why you need to make it easy for people to find your content by having an entire board that's dedicated to your own blog posts, freebies, and products. For bonus points, place this board right at the top of your profile. To move boards around, simply click on a board, hold your mouse down, drag, and release.
11. Put your best boards at the top of your profile
Place your eight most full and relevant boards right at the top of your profile so they're the boards most immediately visible when someone lands on your profile. Make sure the board you've created for your own content is in the top row, and then place your most helpful, fullest, most on-brand boards next to it.
Step 3. Pin the perfect images
Pins are what make the Pinterest world go 'round. After your profile and boards are #onfleek, you’ll want to focus on filling your boards with the best pins possible.
12. Create custom templates for your original pins
Canva is a great free tool for creating your pin templates. Why? Because every time you create a new image, Canva automatically saves a template you can go back into and edit any time (even weeks later!). This means that all of your Pinterest graphics will have a similar look and feel to them.
When you use your brand's fonts and colors in every image, your pins, blog, and brand are going to start getting recognized on Pinterest in no time. Remember what I said earlier — consistency is key!
13. Optimize your pin size
The "perfect pin" is around 735px by 1102px in dimension. You should always, always use vertical images, because they take up more space on a Pinterest feed and are more likely to catch someone's eye. I personally recommend going even longer than 1102px, especially if you've created an awesome infographic. Just be careful not to overdo it, or people will have to scroll back up a long way in order to re-pin your image as the pin button is in the top right corner (and they might just say "no thanks" instead).
14. Only create & pin images with a text overlay
Pins with text overlay are way more likely to be re-pinned than those without. The text in the description box under the image is pretty teeny tiny (and in some cases, doesn't show up at all), so a great pin makes it clear what the blog post is about by having a large, clear headline on the image. Text to add to your Pinterest graphics includes:
a) The blog post title
b) An intriguing sub-heading
c) Your website name and/or URL
15. Use keyword-rich pin descriptions
Sensing a trend here? If you're not sure what keywords to use in your pin descriptions, try entering the main topic of your post into the search bar at the top of Pinterest.
For example, for this post you're reading, I might search "Pinterest tips". Once you hit enter, you'll see a bunch of other related terms pop up underneath. These words and phrases are the most common terms people also search for when they search for "Pinterest tips" on Pinterest. So if any of those phrases fits with the pin you're sharing, work them into your pin description to bump up the SEO juice.
For more info about Pinterest keywords and SEO, check out this post on the 6 best places to use keywords on Pinterest.
16. Only re-pin high-quality, super valuable content
The best way to get your content to show up in other people's homefeeds is to pin top-notch, high-quality content. Here are the 4 criteria of an awesome pin and one that's worth re-pinning to your own boards:
1. The link in the pin works properly — meaning it goes back to the original source and not to a different site.
2. The content is useful and relevant to your ideal readers. Like I said before, you're pinning for your readers, not for yourself. Always have your ideal reader in mind when deciding whether to re-pin something or not.
3. The image is vertical, the size is on point (around a 2:3 ratio), and it has large, legible text on it.
17. Create two different pins for each of your blog posts
This is a step I love doing, and I recommend that everyone gives it a shot at least once. Instead of creating one pinnable image for each blog post, create two (or even three!) that are slightly different but just as awesome. Try switching up the colors, fonts, wording, or the image, as long everything is still "on brand".
Next, upload all of your pins to Pinterest and pin them to as many boards as possible. You might be surprised to see that one image gets a lot more attention, re-pins, and click-throughs than the others!
Either way, with this strategy you're giving yourself double the chance of having a pin go viral, and doubling the chance of someone seeing your pin and clicking over to your site.
Phwewf! That was a lot to cover. Hard to believe there are still 23 more tips to come, hey? So what's up next?
In the second post in this Pinterest series, you'll learn how to optimize your blog for Pinterest sharing, develop an effective pinning strategy that won’t take up hours every day, and then translate your Pinterest followers and re-pins into actual blog traffic. Click here to read Part Two!