Pinterest is one of the most popular social media sites for bloggers, reaching more than 250 million people each month. Better yet, more people on Pinterest say they find content from brands useful than on other platforms. Used right, it’s a great place to drive traffic to your blog or home business. So how do you get started on Pinterest?
It’s not complicated, but there are some things you need to be careful of. It’s easy to make mistakes that will limit your reach on Pinterest or even get you in trouble.
1. Get started on Pinterest with a great Pinterest profile.
Your Pinterest profile can help you look more professional. The first thing you need to do is make sure that you verify your account as a business account. This will give you access to tools and statistics you won’t have otherwise.
Ideally, you want your business name as your user name and your account name. These will show up to visitors. If this is already taken, find a similar alternative.
Include a personal photo or business logo as your profile picture. Which one is most appropriate depends on the kind of image you want for your business. Are you focused on building your brand or are you more personal?
You will also want to fill in the about your profile section of your profile. Use it to describe what your business is about.
2. Separate your personal and business Pinterest accounts.
Pinterest allows businesses to have their own Pinterest accounts. This is a good thing. You can make your business account focused on items relevant to your business while keeping your personal pins to yourself.
If you don’t want to have multiple accounts, you can hide your personal boards by making them secret. This way you can keep saving all the fun pins you want while maintaining a professional image.
3. Make your boards relevant to your niche.
Set your Pinterest account up with a variety of relevant boards to pin your content on. It is often recommended to have 4-5 related but not identical boards per topic.
Let’s take parenting as an example. You could have a parenting board, but there are several related boards you might want to include as well, such as:
- parenting teens
- stay at home moms
- parenting toddlers
- working parents
- kid activities
- parenting styles
- kids and chores
- parenting books
- single parenting.
Having a range of board subjects means that each pin you make may fit on more than one board. That gives you multiple opportunities to promote each blog post.
Make sure you give each board a relevant description and category. You can do this by clicking on the pencil button that you see when you hover over the board, or when you’re on the board itself.
4. Be sure you have permission to pin images on Pinterest.
Many people assume that they can pin just any image they want. That’s really not the case.
If you’re pinning from someone else’s site, check for a Pin It link or other indication that it’s okay to use. It’s kind of a drag when you really want to pin something, but if there’s no indication that it’s okay, you could be committing copyright infringement if someone doesn’t want their images shared on Pinterest.
If it’s a photograph you took or a graphic you created from scratch, obviously it’s fine to use on Pinterest if that’s what you want. This has the advantage of being unique to you, rather than an image several other people have used.
If it’s a stock image you got on another site, it may not be okay. Check your license. Some stock image licenses significantly limit what you can do with them.
There are sites that offer photos and graphics that should be free to use. Just be careful, as you can’t be absolutely certain that the person sharing it on the site actually has permission to declare it free to use. Look for Creative Commons Zero and public domain images on trusted sites.
5. Use images on your site with Pinterest in mind.
Make sure the images you place on your site are Pinterest-friendly. That not only means using images where you have the copyright issues under control, but that will help draw people to your post when they see it. Make it relevant, and use text in your images to help people know what it’s about.
This doesn’t mean you have to make huge images on your site, even though long images tend to do better on Pinterest. You can control which images are pinned to Pinterest so that the images which show on your site are sized to go with your style, while the associated pinnable images are optimized for Pinterest.
You should create multiple pinnable images per blog post if at all possible. They don’t all have to be visible – you can even hide images if you need to.
6. Use keywords in your pin descriptions.
Use relevant keywords as you write descriptions for your pins. This makes them easier for people to find when they search Pinterest.
If you aren’t sure which keywords to use, do a little research. Type your main keyword into Pinterest. Pinterest will give you the pins that come up for that plus suggested words to add onto your keyword. Use the relevant ones as appropriate.
You can add Pinterest descriptions to your images by adding
data-pin-description=”your description here”
to the HTML of your images. In WordPress, you can do this by clicking on the three vertical dots near the top of the block and selecting “Edit as HTML.” WordPress editor isn’t terribly fond of this code – it always tells me there’s an error – but it works just fine in the actual post.
7. Use hashtags.
Pinterest did not support hashtags for a long time, but they do now. But unlike Instagram, they don’t want you to use a ton of them. They recommend no more than 20 hashtags, but I’ve seen others suggest as few as 2-3 per post. Given the character limitations on Pinterest descriptions, I would suggest balancing your descriptions with your hashtags.
Hashtag search is displayed in mostly reverse chronological order – that is, the newest pins will show first. This means their benefit may be limited. Use them right, however, and you might give your pins an early boost.
8. Pin regularly.
Building the habit of pinning regularly to Pinterest may be one of the hardest parts of getting started on Pinterest. It’s something I struggled with for a long time, being just one more thing on top of everything else I had to get done.
These days, I use Tailwind to schedule my pins. It’s much easier. It takes just a few minutes to schedule pins out for each post.
I still have to go to Pinterest regularly to pin content other than my own, but that’s fine. Many people believe that pinning directly from Pinterest has advantages, but that’s not something I’ve tested.
Do not do all your pinning all at once. This is one of the things I love about Tailwind – that it spreads my pins out throughout the day. People use Pinterest at different times of the day. Scheduling means I don’t have to figure out for myself what the best times are. Tailwind does that for me.
Especially do not pin the same blog post all at once. Not only does it look terrible on your profile, Pinterest may view it as spamming. Schedule your pins out. I prefer to go about 24 hours between pins of a particular post.
9. Share more than stuff from your own site.
As a blogger, you’re probably using Pinterest in part to promote your own stuff. Share more than that – it makes your account more interesting for people to follow.
If you join any group boards on Pinterest, sharing from them will likely be required. Group boards are a way for your pins to get in front of people who don’t already follow you. It can be difficult to get onto the best ones, but it’s worthwhile.
You can also join some Tailwind Tribes. These are groups on Tailwind that share pins based on a particular subject and require that for every pin you add, you have to pin one or more of someone else’s. You can try it out for free!
10. Don’t expect immediate results.
As with any other free promotion method, it takes time to see results for Pinterest. You have to build a following and get a feel for the things that do well on Pinterest.
Remember that all those people you see with thousands of repins on their posts were once in the same position. They had to develop a following. The post may have been updated and reshared, so that it has been gaining pins for years, not just a few days.
Give yourself time when you’re just getting started on Pinterest. Test styles and use the right tools to make it easier. It won’t be fast for most people, but Pinterest can be an extremely valuable source of traffic.