Pinterest is, by far, my bigger referral source to my website. In fact, the growth since I essentially "re-branded" by Pinterest has been incredible. We're talking a nearly 1000% increase in my page views per month and the main source of how I receive my email subscribers. In fact, 60% of my referral traffic comes from social media and... wait for it... more than 90% of my social media traffic comes from Pinterest.
You're probably thinking "Wait a minute, back up. You re-branded your Pinterest?" Oh yeah.
Folks, if you are using your Pinterest account for both your business AND personal pins, you might want to rethink your strategy.
I started out on Pinterest as a casual, right-in-target-audience user. Female. Twenties. Saves recipes, outfits, occasionally hobby-related Pins. For the first six months after I started my full-time design and marketing business, I didn't even consider using Pinterest to post my own work or from my blog (I know, I had no idea what I was doing).
I thought I didn't have enough personal content.
I thought people would just show up on my website and blog and pin it themselves.
Boy, was I wrong!
After doing a bit of research, I started implementing strategies I had read from fellow bloggers and small business owners. Here were the key things I learned:
Pinterest, like any social media outlet for your business, should remain on-brand. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is my mission?
- What is my niche?
- Who is my audience?
- What information do I want to provide my audience?
Your niche can't be a stylish tips, recipes and workouts for women ages 18-99. You have to narrow it down. Your mama probably told you that you can't make everybody happy. And you can't! You need to focus on your niche, your business and providing information relevant to your business. That's your ideal audience, that's who will buy your product and that's who will save your Pins and grow your reach.
Limit personal pins
Take a look at Melyssa Griffin's Pinterest: She focuses almost solely on business tips. The majority of her pins are related to providing information for her visitors and key audience. There are a few boards that aren't strictly business tips, but they're related: Home Office, Color, etc.
Going back to the tip before of staying on-brand, you'll want to stay on-subject, too. Would you watch a TV show touted as "the best home renovation show of 2016" if they talk about the newest discoveries in space 99% of time? Gotta stay on-subject and on-brand or you'll lose followers.
Does that mean I need to delete all of my boards?
No! Absolutely not. When researching my own Pinterest - hello, Analytics! - I looked at which boards were performing the best. Those were my business and creative tips, first and foremost, then photography inspiration, color theory and strangely enough, a "Tried and True Pinterest Recipes" board.
When I focused on "re-branding" my Pinterest, I went from more than 70 boards - I know! I had a problem... and liked for each board to be very specific - to about 20, not counting group boards or client collaboration boards.
Did I delete the unrelated boards? No. I made them private! I can still have my archive of favorite gluten-free recipes, my outfit ideas, DIY home repair boards all right there and easy to pin without logging in and out, but the majority of my followers, who are there for the biz tips, won't have to flip through pins that don't relate to their interests.
Make your pins pinnable
But if it is on Pinterest, doesn't that automatically make it "pinnable?" Nope! Sorry, Charlie. It isn't just a popular profile that can make a single pin explode and arrive on the popular page. Here are a few tips when creating your pins, speaking specifically for small business owners:
- Do not use horizontal (landscape) images
- Always include text on your image - yes, even for recipes!
- The longer the Pin, the more room it takes up on the feed
- Always create alt-text for your images (Tips on this coming soon!)
- Link your original pins to your blog post - not your general blog URL or website
Want more tips like this? Download the Pinterest checklist for bloggers and entrepreneurs!
Here's an example of my best-performing pin - as long as we can ignore the old, original 835 Creative branding. As of November 2016, this Pin has more than 22,000 saves and has been my largest referrer of traffic:
Why this pin works:
- Vertical image
- Clear text - title, subheads
- Contrast in colors
- Address common problem
- Helpful content for a specific niche
- Gives enough content to save, but can click through for more information
- Call to action to direct Pinners to website at the bottom, which will push them to click on the pin and visit the website for the full blog post
The proof is in the pudding
Let's take a look at what these small changes did for my Pinterest account.
In my first few months as a full-time business owner, I thought I was doing pretty good. After all, I was just getting into the analytics, verifying my Pinterest business account (learn how here!) and checking in every few weeks. I was posting everything publicly, not focusing on a real strategy. I would average anywhere from 1,000 people reached per month to at one point, 15,000.
Then I rebranded, made most of my unrelated board secret and posted my own original content more often and posted content that is in my niche (digital marketing and design tips) from fellow blogs:
You can see exactly where I made that change: May 2016. It wasn't an overnight explosion in my reach, but day-by-day, as I posted more relevant content to my business, I noticed that people were pinning my original content (rich pins, leading to my website) more.
After going from an average of 1,000 reached one year ago, I now have an average reach between 350,000 to 435,000 (an all-time record for me!).
And bonus: I did it all without a single ad.
Getting lots of saves on your Pins isn't just about saying you have gotten thousands of saves on a single Pin. It does wonders for your blog, your website, your business or non-profit. For me, the traffic from Pinterest has made my email list explode. For you, it could bring you new leads for your services or products, whether you're selling e-books and e-courses or using affiliate marketing on your blog.
In addition to the tips above, I have a great checklist for those of you who are just starting out in Pinterest for your business or blog... for free! Sign up below to get the checklist on what to look for when you are revamping your Pinterest profile and creating a cohesive collection of content online.