If you’re a guy, don’t feel bad if you haven’t spent much time on Pinterest. You probably think of it as a place for women to spend time looking at recipes, DIY projects, and anything pink. Although that is an entirely true depiction of Pinterest, there’s more than meets the eye. It’s a massive traffic monster which can divert a piece of that traffic to your site. Don’t take my word for it, look at BusyBudgeter.com.
400,000 monthly unique visitors to BusyBudgeter.com – much of it sourced from Pinterest.
Let me say that again: 400,000 unique visitors. Every month.
Pinterest doesn’t have to be hard, though. There are, however, a few key things to shoot for with all of your Pinterest activities:
Reach- You want as many eyes on your Pins as possible.
Quality- You want the eyes that do land on your Pins to be enticed by the quality, which will result in a click, re-pin, or like.
Consistency- This is true of most social media accounts, but especially true on Pinterest. You need to regularly use it. Thankfully, there’s tools to help you automate this part. More on that later.
So armed with this knowledge, let’s get into the nitty gritty details. Note, the remainder of this post is best served with a Beer in hand.
Before we get into the ‘what’ and ‘how’ – we need to discuss some of the basic concepts of Pinterest, because I think these are, oddly enough, one of the barriers guys face when getting up and running on Pinterest.
Pinterest operates on the idea of bulletin boards with ‘pins’ holding things to it. Each board is a container to hold pins which are relevant to that board topic. You can have a Best Restaurants board, a Best Power Tool board, whatever you want. Everyone on Pinterest has a profile to which they have their own boards, and the only people who will see new pins to these boards are your current followers. There’s also the concept of Group Boards, which are just boards where there are multiple contributors pinning to it at the same time. These are key to your traffic growth.
A Pin is an image which links to somewhere else. If you write a new article, you would publish it as a new Pin (image) onto your boards, or a group board, or both. When you first open up Pinterest, you’ll see a feed which has a bunch of pins. These are pins from people you’re following. See below for a portion of mine. You can keep scrolling down to see more:
Re-Pin, and Likes
When you hover your mouse over a Pin, you’ll see a couple of options. You’ll be able to Re-Pin (Save) or Like (the Heart – see image to the right for example). If you expand the Pin by clicking it, you’ll be able to leave a comment as well. Re-Pinning is the most common action to take, and when you do this, you’re basically copying that Pin over to one of your other boards so that it’ll show up there for all of your followers. Liking a Pin, is just like Facebook’s Like functionality, mostly.
When you click the “save” button to Re-Pin, you’ll be prompted with a board to save your Pin to. Keep in mind that when you Re-Pin, you’re basically pushing this to your followers feeds as well.
When you view your Pinterest profile, you’ll see that right under your profile image, is a big open area where Pins will be (or not, if you haven’t Pinned anything). This is called your Showcase. You want it to be your best stuff, and highlight Pins that you want action to be taken on by others. If you mouse over the Showcase, you’ll see a pencil in the bottom right of the Showcase section – click that. You’ll be prompted to pick which boards show up in your Showcase (see image).
Things You Need to Focus On
Now that we’ve got a good handle on the basics, it’s time to actually do something. I’m going to save you a LOT of time, and headache, by laying it all out here in a simple list of things to do. Follow these, and you’ll see improvement in your Pinterest traffic in no time at all.
Create Your Boards
Start by creating your boards under your profile. I try to roughly match any and all topics I write about on my blog. Since I write about making money, travel, and entrepreneurship – I have boards which match those topics. If you’re unsure, check out the more popular Pinterest profiles (BusyBudgeter is a great one). Make sure you don’t make them Secret – or else nobody will see your Pins.
Create Original Pin Images
This is where everyone gets stuck with Pinterest. You’re going to need to create high quality images to represent your blog posts. I use Photoshop, but PicMonkey is a well-regarded alternative. This post isn’t going to discuss how to make great images (Hell, I’m still learning), but my best recommendation is to browse Pinterest and mimic the best Pins you can find. Take the time, and do it right.
Develop a Pinning Strategy
It’s not enough to create great Pins, and throw them to your board once and walk away. It also isn’t going to net you huge results, even if you have 50,000 followers. You need a strategy. Here’s what mine looks like, roughly:
- Pin to ALL of my own boards at least 2x a day – these are re-pins from other places, not my originals.
- Pin original pins to my own boards where they make sense.
- Pin to each Group Board depending on the group rules. I usually lean toward a conservative approach, so if the rule is limited to 3x a day, I pin twice. I’ll pin a mixture of original and re-pinned stuff here.
- Do a monthly review of group boards – join new ones, remove ones that aren’t paying off, etc.
The point is – you need to be active, re-pin, and basically be a good Pinterest user at the end of the day. Don’t show up, Pin, and leave – expecting awesome results.
At this point, you’re probably thinking: “This dude is insane. Where does he get all the time for this stuff?” The answer is quite simple: until I found BoardBooster, I didn’t have time for it all.
In a nutshell, BoardBooster is my absolute favorite tool. Your first 100 pins with it are free, then it’s $5/mo after that, which is insane considering how much it helps me. With BoardBooster, you can schedule Pins ahead of time. Basically, you have several features within BoardBooster, but I’ll highlight two of the ones I use:
BoardBooster lets you schedule the release of your original pins. You can say “I want to Pin this new pin once per day for a week, then slow down to once per week after that on auto-repeat.” Set it, and forget it. There’s two options to Campaigns – there’s Random, and Scheduled. Random is ideal if you already have a bunch of articles and want to pin them slowly out to your group boards, whereas Scheduled is better for new posts.
Protip: You can absolutely pin the same pin multiple times. I like to re-pin with a big enough gap that it’s fresh and that I’m not overwhelming my followers, or the group board followers. When you re-pin to a board, you’re just adding another copy of that same pin to the same board. That’s why you want to allow for a little gap – it won’t be taken kindly to if you flood a group board with the same pin too often.
The scheduler is my favorite feature of BoardBooster, and once you’ve tried it, you’ll be hooked. Here’s how it works: you Add a Board into the Scheduler on BoardBooster. It creates a secret board on Pinterest with the same name, but with a dash in front of the name. For example, if I added a board named “Cars” to BoardBooster’s scheduling tool, it would create a secret board “-Cars” that nobody can see.
From here, it’s cake. You just pin like you normally would to your -Cars secret board, and BoardBooster will slowly pin those to your public-facing Cars board, at the schedule you specify. If you check out my Pinterest board Bucket List destinations, for example, I’ve got some pins there, but on -Bucket List Destinations, I’ve got 100 pins that I hand-selected, that will be pinned at a rate of 2x per day. Basically, BoardBooster is going to pin to that board for me for the next 50 days, and I won’t have to touch anything.
Finding Group Boards
So we’ve talked about how to pin, where to pin, and how to automate that, but we need to find Group Boards if we want big traffic numbers. After all – some group boards have 500k+ followers. Those are 500k+ potential visitors to your site! Where do you find group boards? There’s a couple of ways. The most simple, is to search within Pinterest for group boards (ie: “Finance Group Board”) – click on the board, and if it has multiple images next to the name, that means those are all of the contributors to the board (thus, it is a group board).
A much easier way, is to use the free tool PinGroupie. It’ll let you search for groups based on a keyword, and see how many followers and contributors there are in that group. I have a favorite to this site as I use it so often, so I highly recommend you give it a try.
Once you open a group board’s page, you’ll see an area where there is a description. Often times, this will have instructions on joining the board. Many of them say things like “Follow me and my boards, and comment on a recent pin.” I’ll follow the owner, and the group board, but commenting has almost a 0% success rate for me. The best bet, is to message the board owner directly.
How do you find the owner? If you open the group board, you’ll see little circles with contributor images inside them. The one on the furthest left – is the board owner. Click their image, and see if they have a website. If so, contact them via email, twitter, or Pinterest – and ask to be included on the board. I tailor my request to each board, but basically it goes like this:
“Hi [Board Owner Name]! I really enjoy your board “[Board Name Here”, and was hoping I could be considered to be added as a contributor. I have read the rules and will abide by them, stay on-topic, and only pin high quality pins that add value to the board.”
There’s a few things you have to understand behind the wording in this pitch. First, Pinterest is dominated by women. Don’t forget that. Second, men on Pinterest are much more likely to be spammers, so you are fighting a perception issue. By stating upfront that you’ll abide by the rules, you’re creating a little bit of a trust. It also doesn’t hurt if you visit the board owners website, comment on an article, or otherwise show some interest in what they’re doing. It’s worth noting that it can be hard to get into group boards, but just keep working at it, building your Pinterest presence, and don’t give up. You might have to start with smaller groups to begin with.
Honestly, Pinterest is not hard at all. Once you get past the terminology, and how things are laid out, it’s actually easy. I’m also a little ashamed to admit this, but, I really like Pinterest. It’s fun to browse through reading articles, making new contacts, and getting great ideas.
If you found any value in this post, please let me know – I respond to all social media contacts, or comments – so don’t be a stranger. Likewise, if you didn’t find value in it, tell me why!