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So you want to learn how to get more followers on Pinterest.
Luckily for me, we have a Pinterest pro on the team here at CoSchedule. When I asked Nicole how she gets more followers on Pinterest, this was her very first piece of advice:
The general consensus seems to be Pin really great content that you love, and your followers will, too.
That’s an awesome place to start. But Nicole wasn’t done helping me learn this stuff quite yet, and since we’re trying to grow our own following on Pinterest here at CoSchedule—and you can now schedule Pins to Pinterest with CoSchedule—I thought I’d share her tips and research with all of you, too.
Sound good? This is about to get Pinteresting. (I know… maybe I should quit the jokes.)
While your Pins are likely some of the first things potential followers see from your brand, Neil Patel notes it’s super important to optimize your Pinterest profile to help you get more followers.
This is likely due to the halo effect, which is the psychology behind first impressions and physical attractiveness—something super important for the visual audience who loves Pinterest. In its most essential form, the halo effect suggests that when people have a positive experience with you, they’re more likely to expect positive experiences in the future.
Whoa! So if you make a good first impression, doesn’t it make sense that you could get more followers because they’ll expect favorable outcomes in the future?
So filling out your profile helps potential followers see you’re not a fly-by-night Pinner while giving you the chance to share information about your blog, brand, and your other social networks.
While there are a lot of different fields to look into while fleshing out your Pinterest profile, here are the ones that will make a difference for getting more followers. Go to Settings to get started:
Start with your Business Account Basics and slide the Search privacy button to No. This way, Pinterest will allow search engines to crawl the content you Pin which could help you get more visibility in image searches with popular search engines like Google.
Then, in the Profile area, fill in your Business Name and Location.
You can also connect your other social networks directly into Pinterest. Mitt Ray, a Pinterest expert, took to Social Media Examiner to explain that this simple practice can “attract your Facebook and Twitter friends and followers to your Pinterest account.”
Simply sign in to your company’s Twitter handle. Then slide the Log in button to Yes. You can also connect to Facebook and Google+, but since those accounts are typically associated with a single person and not a business page, your Pinterest followers will be directed to your personal profiles.
When you connect your social profiles, you’ll get the added bonus of having them appear in your Pinterest profile, which is a great way to offer your Pinterest followers the opportunity to follow you on other networks, too.
Nicole suggests having Pin it and follow prompts on your site to help convert the traffic you get into Pinners and followers.
For example, Social Media Examiner uses the Pinterest follow prompt on their blog:
And when you click on that button, an appealing window opens from Pinterest to help you convert your visitors into Pinterest followers:
Getting that follow button—and the Pin It button—is easy. When you’re on your home page, click the gear icon and select Make a widget.
Then, in the popup, click Learn More.
Now you can create Pin It buttons for specific blog posts and also grab a follow button you can embed in your theme.
This idea is an extension of what you just learned about the Pin It and follow buttons but relates much more directly to your blog posts.
Pinterest now makes it easy to embed Pins and board previews right into your posts to help you get more followers from your blog visitors. Follow the same instructions from the prior step, and embed your Pinterest content like this:
You should probably hit that follow button. Come on, you know you want to! ;)
When we recently embedded a board like that into a blog post, we received a 640% boost in Pinterest followers that week.
Some of your followers on other social networks may also like to follow you on Pinterest. It is definitely some people’s preferred discover tool, as Nicole pointed out to me.
And it turns out, Pinterest is smart enough to help you share your Pins and boards on your other social networks easily.
You can use that functionality to share your Pins with your Twitter and Facebook followers to encourage them to follow you on Pinterest, too.
Advertising isn’t very effective because it talks to your audience, not with your audience.
Communication is different than mass marketing because it is a real conversation between people and isn’t one-sided. That’s how Pinners demand participation. And since that’s the case, it’s a great lesson to keep in mind as you try to get more followers on Pinterest.
Don’t be spammy. Pin at least 50/50 ratio of other content to your own. Treat Pinterest like its own entity, so get creative and CURATE.
And that says a lot. Pinterest is an information discovery engine: Like a social site fused with a search engine. Pinterest feeds on curation, and Pinners demand conformity to the culture for its participants.
Still other Pinterest experts suggest Repinning even more content by following the Pareto principle of 80% Repins to 20% of your own original Pins.
Regardless of your approach, here are the major reasons why Repinning will help you get more followers:
As Aaron Lee explains, “Following 5 to 10 people a day can make a huge difference compared to waiting for people to follow you.”
That makes sense, especially since you know Pinterest relies on participation—and especially at first, you might have to make the first move to grow your following.
Just click through to see those Pinners’ profiles and follow them.
Make sure that you trust the source you’re Pinning from. If it’s spammy or not legit, you can be flagged as spam and land in Pinterest jail. So watch who you follow because spammers are rampant there, and only Repin from trusted sources.
So how can you tell if a potential person you’d like to follow isn’t that great? Spam accounts might look a little like this where they share the same things over and over:
You can learn a lot from Pinterest Analytics including:
The Activity tab in your Pinterest Analytics is probably the best place to start to find new potential followers. Simply scroll through to find the Pinners who gave you your top Pin impressions, and the boards that were most popular for your content.
With that information, you can find the Pinners who created those boards—and those who follow them—to start building your community.
Everyone seems to have their favorite social networks, so why not reach out to your existing friends to see if they’d also like to connect with you on Pinterest? It turns out, Pinterest thought that was a pretty good idea and created a Find Friends feature right in the tool itself.
Since you’ve already connected your other social profiles like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ into Pinterest, just navigate from your Pinterest profile to the Find Friends page.
From here, you can follow the people you already know from your other networks. Mitt Ray elaborates on this tactic on Social Media Examiner, “As you follow people you already have relationships with, they’ll be very likely to follow you back.”
When content marketer Matthew Barby decided to start a food blog from absolutely nothing, he wrote about his experience getting his initial followers. One tactic that worked for him involved researching his top competition and following the boards of his competitors’ followers.
Matthew walks through those steps:
This process, combined with solid content strategy, helped Matthew get an initial 515 Pinterest followers for a very competitive niche. The best part is that you can follow his advice and experience similar results.
Here’s another Pinterest tip from Nicole:
Get into GREAT group boards, but don’t go crazy with Pinning. When people follow those boards, they see your content, which could influence more shares. You want to find group boards that have high followers and relatively low contributors.
When you join a group board, you will instantly have access to more followers—to every Pinner who already follows that group board. Seems like great advice, so how can you find group boards that are right for you to contribute to?
Start with PinGroupie. It’s a database site dedicated to helping Pinners find group boards. You can sort tons of boards by category, then number of followers to narrow the group boards to that of your niche that have a larger following with fewer contributors.
Group boards are especially helpful for getting more followers because when a Pinner chooses to “Follow all” of the boards from the creator, they also subscribe to receiving Pins from you through that group board.
While existing group boards are a great way to tap into the leg work someone else has done to grow their Pinterest following, you can start a group board yourself and invite Pinners you already respect to join you.
Just create a new board by hitting the + Create a board button, then invite other Pinners to contribute to your board.
Now, most group boards have ground rules and structure. A good place to start is by building the board out with a following using all of the advice you’ve learned from this post, define your rules for participation, then invite others to join you once they can see the benefits of Pinning with you are worth it.
Here are a few things to consider as you come up with your group board contribution guidelines:
Write your guidelines up briefly, then add a note into your board description on how people can contact you to join.
Let’s start this off by acknowledging that Pinterest is a bit wary of contests in general because marketers have abused them in the past. To run a successful contest and not end up in “Pinterest Jail” as Nicole calls it, follow their acceptable use policy:
While that sounds like a lot of things that you shouldn’t do, that leaves you with a few creative ways that focus on real engagement (which is, after all, what your potential followers really like anyway):
However, a contest like this can help you increase your engagement and build a community that will inevitably turn participants into followers.
You can start with Popular Pins, a category that Pinterest creates with Pins that get a lot of engagement. Find a couple that you have experience with, and comment on them to share your perspective.
As Mitt Ray notes, you’re looking for more than easy comments like “Nice Pin.” Provide your take on the Pin, additional advice it’s missing, or takeaways you’ve learned on that topic. Mitt says that this tactic can help you increase your visibility—and the potential of earning new followers—because you’re commenting on the most popular content on Pinterest.
While that sounds smart, another very targeted way to reach more people is to comment on Pins from those who’ve already shared your content. Build trust with people who already know who you are by showing them the real personality behind your blog or brand.
Here’s a reminder on how to find those folks: Check your Pinterest Analytics domain tab or search this query for your domain: https://www.pinterest.com/source/YourDomain.com/.
Consider mentions an extension of commenting and Repinning.
You can use mentions in Pin descriptions and in comments, which “can be a great way to attract their attention and get them to follow you.”
An easy tactic is to ask someone a question via a mention to spark up a conversation. The more interaction, the more likely they’ll be to follow you.
Remember when you read that Pinterest is a fusion between social and search engines? That applies into the names and descriptions you use in your boards to help potential followers find your Pins.
Rebekah Radice suggests that Pinterest boards should be direct, descriptive, and personal to help you get more followers. And a few of the defining elements that make good boards stand out to new followers are solid cover images, keyword rich names and descriptions, and a niche focus.
Let’s explore each of those areas to help you get more followers by optimizing your boards:
iFabbo, a resource for fashion bloggers, knows a thing or two about catching people’s attention.
They offer some simple advice for choosing your cover images to make your boards stand out:
You can create an image specifically for your board cover following those guidelines. First, Pin the image you’d like as your cover. Then go to your Pinterest profile, hit Edit on your board, then on Cover, hit the Change button. You can choose any Pin you’d like as your cover image.
Your blog likely has a content core: The magical place where you strategize what you want to say with what your audience wants to know. The process looks a little like this:
Use the words your audience uses to describe that niche in your board descriptions.
When you defined your target niche, you likely also found several sub-topics that you could cover. Use those topics in your board names to help Pinners find your content.
Some kinds of content perform significantly better than others on Pinterest. So it makes sense, then, to use the experience from others to improve your own Pins:
Nicole explains the art behind designing images and graphics for Pinterest:
Make sure you are using vertical collage-type Pins, which perform much better on average than regular verticals because they take up more space on a user’s screen. And always, always, always consider how it looks on mobile. Small and ugly text on photos can end up being totally unreadable on a mobile device. And a lot of people are mobile pinning.
And, of course, Nicole is right. 75% of Pinterest’s users rock Pinterest on their mobile devices. That means if you don’t consider mobile in your design, you’re neglecting how three-fourths of your followers prefer to experience your content.
You’ve already found keywords for your blog posts that you’re Pinning. Use those same keywords in your Pin descriptions to help potential followers find your content.
Pinners are more active on certain days and times than others. When we analyzed 10 studies to find the best times to post on social media, the data told us:
That’s the sweeping general answer. You can Pin a lot every day, so what are really the best times when your audience is using Pinterest? After all, you are probably trying to attract new followers that are similar to your existing fans, so sharing at the peak times when they’re online could help you get more followers.
So grab this Google Analytics custom report to find the best day to Pin based on your own audience (the report is also available in your kit that complements this post). When you use the report, you’ll see a list of networks. Click through on Pinterest.
Now you’ll see the list of days of the week when you typically get the most traffic from Pinterest.
You can drill in even further to find the specific best time to Pin to Pinterest on any day of the week.
Or use this second Google Analytics custom report if you’re looking for a bit more general information just on the best time to Pin when you typically get the most traffic—omitting days (this report is also in your kit).
Just like the other report, click through on Pinterest and you’ll see the times when you typically get the most traffic. 0 is midnight and 23 is 11 p.m.
How many times to Pin a day? It’s a good question because if you Pin too little, there really isn’t a reason to follow you, while if you Pin too much, you just get annoying.
So is there a magical number of times to Pin a day to help you get more Pinterest followers?
That was the question I explored recently analyzing 10 different studies to find a recommended minimum, maximum, and a solid starting point for how often to Pin.
Here’s what that research uncovered:
Pinterest is a high volume sharing community—so error on the side of more engagement than less.
With her more than 1.6 million followers on Pinterest, Kim Vij knows a thing or two about building an audience. She says:
It’s probably the quickest ways to lose followers if all you do is pin tons of pins at the same time and focus most on you and your most recent post.
Mitt Ray agrees with Kim, saying:
Don’t share everything at once: Instead of clouding your followers’ feeds with your pins all at once, time your pins to go out at regular intervals.
So, what’s the best approach?
Here’s an example of what your daily Pin schedule could look like to help you visualize your work:
By this point, you’re pretty much a follower-generating machine. You know how to:
Now go build an audience that’ll help you grow your blog. You’ve got this!
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