Blogging 101: using Pinterest to grow your blog, aka how I cleaned up my Pinterest account and got more followers
Welcome to another post in my “Blogging 101” series! I have already had several people tell me that this series has helped them, and I am so glad! That is exactly what I want to do with these posts, and I am glad that people like them! Today we are going to talk about using Pinterest to grow your blog.
An alternate title for this post could be “How I cleaned up my Pinterest account and got more followers,” or simply “how to get more followers on Pinterest,” because honestly, that is what I want to share with you. Pinterest is such an important tool for bloggers. Pinterest is the whole reason that my blog started taking off in the first place, and it is where more than half my traffic comes from every day. If you know how to use Pinterest well, then you can definitely grow your blog, increase your pageviews, and get people coming back to your site.
On February 11th, I had 2,666 followers on Pinterest. That might sound like a lot, but keep in mind that I had been blogging for over a year at that point. I noticed one day that a lot of my pins weren’t getting any repins, which I thought was weird with that many followers. I read an article someone posted about how their account got marked as spam, so I thought I would check and see if mine had been, too. It turns out, my account had been marked as a false positive and my pins weren’t getting shown to people. So the person at Pinterest fixed it, and I have seen a lot more growth in the last three months. As of today, I have 3,723 followers on Pinterest. So how did I clean up my account and get over 1,000 new followers in just three months? Let me tell you!
1. I turned my account into more of a business account and made a separate personal account. Yes, this was annoying and meant I had to go through and delete nonprofessional looking pins and move pins that I had for personal things (like my son’s birthday party inspiration board) to a separate account. But it actually cleaned up my Pinterest account and made it look a lot nicer. And Pinterest just came out with a feature so you can move big groups of pins, so I just made all my boards group boards, added my personal account to them, copied all my pins to boards on my personal account, and then took my personal account off my business account boards so they weren’t group boards anymore. I know, complicated. But it worked! Now if I am looking for a specific thing that doesn’t really fit my blog (like how to grow basil on a patio) I can pin it to my personal account. It’s actually super helpful and now my Pinterest account for Life With My Littles looks a lot nicer.
2. I changed my profile’s description. When you first go to a person’s Pinterest profile, you see their picture, their name, and then their description. I cut down and cleaned up my description so it was more to-the-point and clear what followers could expect from my boards. It now reads “Hi! I’m Chelsea, the mommy blogger behind Life With My Littles! I love all things related to pregnancy, babies, desserts, and DIY!” It used to be longer and more sloppy, and now it’s a lot more direct. Now, when people follow me, they know what the majority of my pins are going to look like.
3. I renamed my boards. A lot of my boards were named clever things that I thought were cute. Instead of just “Christmas,” my Christmas board was called “We Love the Holidays: Christmas.” Think for a minute what people are going to be searching for when they search for a board. Is it going to have a cute, clever title or is it going to be straightforward and direct? Exactly. So I renamed my boards to simple things like “Pregnancy” and “Desserts” and “DIY & Crafts.” Now they are more likely to show up in search results when people are looking for new boards to follow.
4. I changed my board descriptions and added categories. Did you know that when you click on a board, it shows a description of what that board is about? Did you know that you can assign boards to a category? When a board has a category, the pins you pin to it show up in the general Pinterest categories. So if your board is under the “Food and Drink” category, when people go to the “Food and Drink” page on Pinterest, those pins will show up there. So if you want more exposure for your pins, assign them categories and assign them correctly.
5. I reorganized my boards. When you go to a store are the ugliest things in the window? No. You want your best things up front so people can see them walking by or when they first come in. Same with Pinterest. You want your most popular and best Pinterest boards at the top so that when people come to your Pinterest profile, those are the first ones they see. If you blog about life with your kids and the top boards on your profile deal with home improvement, inspirational quotes, and men’s fashion, people are probably going to be a little confused and not sure what your profile is offering. So put your best boards at the top.
6. I deleted pins. I went through all of my pins (yeah, it was a beast) and deleted pins that had less than 3 repins. I actually probably need to do this again, but it really cleaned up my boards. Not only did it delete pins that weren’t getting any action, it showed Pinterest that the pins I had on my profile were popular and getting repinned. This article from Sarah Titus explains why you should be deleting your pins. It’s super helpful and I won’t go into details, but if you are serious about growing your blog and using Pinterest to do it, you should read that post.
7. I added the “Hello Bar” to my blog page. See that little bar at the top of my blog that says “Like what you see? Follow me on Pinterest for more!” That is called a Hello Bar and you can get one for your own blog. I chose to make mine Pinterest-related, but you can do it for Facebook, Twitter, your email newsletter, lots of things. I have seen a lot of new traffic coming to my Pinterest profile because I just installed that simple little bar. I actually think this might be the biggest reason that my Pinterest followers have grown so fast in the last three months. So I highly recommend trying it out. If you don’t like it, take it off. But it’s not very obstructive and it makes a big difference.
8. I started using Tailwind to schedule my pins. I was using Ahalogy, but you had to pin things from their content network and you also couldn’t pick specific times to pin things unless you manually scheduled all of them. With Tailwind, I just schedule things I would normally pin using their bookmarklet tool, and then I add them to my schedule along with my own pins. I can pick how many pins I want each day of the week, and what times I want them each day of the week. You do have to pay to use it, but it is worth it, I promise. Also, if you aren’t already using something to schedule your pins, start now. There’s no way you can be expected to pin constantly throughout the day or during the night when people are online. Your life should not be controlled my social media. Schedulers are the bomb.
9. I utilized more group boards. Getting on my first group board was one of the best things that happened. Group boards allow for multiple pinners, so you ideally get more followers since the board shows up on more people’s Pinterest profiles. I am on a few group boards, and it has helped me get my content in front of new viewers, and I also just started a new board for pregnancy and baby tips which I am super stoked for. So find some group boards that are popular, and try to join. You won’t be able to join every group board you find, but I think they help you grow your blog.
If you do all of these things and after a month you are still seeing incredibly low (or nonexistent) repins, try contacting Pinterest to see if your account has been marked as spam. It happened to me, and it happened to another blogger, so I think it might be more common than Pinterest thinks. I’m not saying that must be the reason you aren’t seeing more Pinterest interaction, but there is a chance.
So are you all pumped up now and ready to get pinning? Even after writing this I’m all ready to go back in and clean up my account even more! If you want to check out my profile to get tips for your own, you can see it here. And don’t forget to follow me while you are there!