Last Updated May 21st, 2019

10 Tips To Get Started On Pinterest

10 Tips To Get Started On Pinterest

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.

pinterest profile

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.

pinterest boards

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.

waterfall

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.

night sky

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.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated January 7th, 2019

Can Tailwind Improve Your Pinterest Marketing? A Tailwind App Review

tailwind app review

Are you getting good results from your Pinterest marketing? It’s a lot of work, isn’t it. Well, if you haven’t tried a Pinterest scheduler already, you want to check out this Tailwind App review and decide if it’s for you.

I’ll admit I’m something of a latecomer to serious Pinterest marketing. I tried it a little early on, but didn’t do enough to do well, and dropped it.

But these days I use Pinterest quite a bit more extensively, and I’m starting to see results. Enough so that I decided to subscribe to the Tailwind App to make pinning easier.

My Pinterest Story

As I said, I started out not using Pinterest a whole lot. I didn’t put a lot of images in my blog posts then either, which I deeply regret now.

If you’ve been hesitant to add images to your blog posts, don’t be. There are a lot of places to get free images for your blog posts if you don’t want to take your own photographs. Then you can use a free tool to make those images look great on your blog. It’s really not difficult.

I had assumed for a long time that because my niche isn’t all that visual, Pinterest wasn’t for me. I was wrong. If you can come up with images for your posts, you can use Pinterest.

When I finally got serious about using Pinterest, I did manual pinning. Manual pinning can be a great method, but it is time consuming. The one problem is that pinning often took me more than an hour a day.

I developed a spreadsheet to help keep track of my posts and when they had been pinned to each board. This way I didn’t have to worry about repeating too often.

Then Hootsuite added in their own way to schedule pins. The interface isn’t great for that, but it works. I could schedule my pins out rather than have to do them daily. That was a big plus.

Still, I hadn’t tried the Tailwind App. I had read a number of reviews about how good it was, but hadn’t made time for it myself. Using Hootsuite made me realize that it was time to test out the competition myself and use the free trial Tailwind App offers.

A family crisis delayed my plans. I wasn’t about to try Tailwind when I didn’t have the time to test it properly. I delayed signing up.

Finally, I had time to sign up for the Tailwind App and time to use it. It took just a few days for me to decide that it was worth the subscription. I’ll explain in the rest of the review.

woman working

What Is The Tailwind App?

The Tailwind App is a scheduling tool you can use with Pinterest and Instagram. Once you have everything set up, it can be a huge time saver for your marketing efforts on those sites.

Tailwind helps you figure out the best times to post and takes care of the actual posting for you. It also has detailed analytics to help you figure out what’s working for you.

Tailwind is also an official Pinterest marketing partner. This is vital. Scheduling pins through an unofficial tool can damage your account.

What Does The Tailwind App Cost?

As social media scheduling tools go, Tailwind is extremely affordable. It even starts you out with a free trial, so you can decide if it’s worth the cost before you pay for it. You can schedule up to 100 pins or 30 posts on Instagram to try it out before you have to pay for a plan to continue. That’s enough to give the Tailwind App a solid review on your own schedule.

You don’t even have to give your credit card information for this free trial, so there’s nothing to cancel if you don’t like it.

That said, as of this writing, it’s about $10 a month if you pay annually, $15 a month if you pay monthly. That’s per account, so if you want to use Tailwind for both Pinterest and Instagram, it will be about $20 a month if you sign up for the annual plan.

I know, it can be difficult to shell out $120 or more at times, but the savings are significant if you can do it.

The time you save pinning will be worth it as well. How much do you value your time at? If you spend an hour a day pinning manually, that $10 a month to handle a large chunk of your pinning automatically looks like a bargain, doesn’t it?

Tailwind saves me hours of work and much frustration. It’s well worth the money to me.

calendar

Setting Up Your Account With The Tailwind App

Once you’ve started your free trial or subscribed to Tailwind, you have to set up your account. This is fairly easy, but takes a little time.

Tailwind will start your out with the Smart Scheduler. This starts out by using times that people are active on Pinterest.

Odds are that you will want to pin more often than the initial recommendations Tailwind gives you. This is easy to do.

Go to the Your Schedule page on Tailwind. This will show you the times that Tailwind has selected for you to pin. When you start out, this will be just a small number of slots, but you can decide how many to have open each day.

If you’re doing a lot of pinning, you will want to increase this number. In the Smart Schedule box, there’s a small button that allows you to recreate your schedule, and tell Tailwind how many slots to include. Tailwind will create a new schedule with that many slots during the times of day that they have determined your audience will be most engaged.

smart schedule

The number of slots will change by the day of the week. Tailwind knows that Pinterest gets a lot of use over the weekend, and Smart Schedule takes advantage of that.

You will also need to group your board into Board Lists on Tailwind. This is key to making scheduling a snap!

Go through all of your boards on Pinterest and figure out what groupings will work best for you. A board can be in more than one board list. This means you can create different versions of more or less the same list, so you aren’t always pinning to your boards in the same order.

I don’t know that it matters if you do that, but mixing things up is unlikely to hurt anything.

With these features set up, you’re ready to start scheduling your pins with the Tailwind App.

Scheduling With The Tailwind App

The Tailwind App makes scheduling your pins incredibly easy. Once you’ve done a little setup, scheduling a pin to go on all the appropriate boards at an interval you specify takes mere moments. It’s incredibly easy.

Install the Tailwind addon to your browser. This is the easiest way to use Tailwind, as it allows you to use it directly on the site you’re on.

When you’re on a page that you want to schedule pins from, click on the Tailwind addon icon. It will open up an overlay with the pinnable images from that page.

Select one or more images for pinning. When you’re ready, click the Go Schedule button. This will open up a Tailwind window with those images.

For each image, select the boards or board lists you want that image pinned on. You can also tell Tailwind how much of an interval you want between pins for that image. I suggest at least 24 hours between pins of any particular image, so that you aren’t flooding your Pinterest account with pins of the same image from the same page over and over. That is much too spammy.

You can also decide which day you want the pins for a particular image to start.

I like to mix up my pins pretty well, so I take extensive advantage of these features. I currently set things up so that I’m pinning from a particular page about every other day, and alternating between the images. This means that Image 1 gets pinned on day one, Image 2 on day 3, Image 3 on day 5, and so forth.

With this method, I set Tailwind to pin each image every 6 days if I have 3 images, 8 days for 4, and so forth. With multiple images per post and lots of boards to pin to, each schedule I set can run for months.

I will note that I haven’t tested this method enough to know if it’s the best way to go. I like that it means my pins look different every day. Pretty sure that’s a good thing.

In general, start out with something similar to your current Pinterest marketing routine, and adapt it as you get used to the advantages Tailwind offers. This should be just one part of your social media marketing strategy.

computer lens

Check Out Smartloop

Smartloop is a new feature from Tailwind App that allows you to loop your pins. This is a huge advantage when you’re marketing your blog or online business. You get 250 looped pins per month with your Tailwind account. If you need more, you will need to buy a powerup.

I like Smartloop best for seasonal pins that are a pain to remember to start on time. Just let Tailwind handle it! You set up the loop for the right season, and let Tailwind handle it. It’s best to start the loop at least two months before the event.

But you can also use Smartloop for evergreen content. It’s great for those posts that you want to keep promoting.

Smartloop even allows you to set board rules, so you don’t have to worry about overpinning to a group board.

Make The Most Of Tailwind Stats

One of the best features of Tailwind has to be the stats. If you want to understand how your pins are performing, you need to check these out.

While you may often see posts about people bringing their pin views to 100k a month or more, that’s far from the most important statistic. In fact, it’s relatively unimportant. All it tells you is that your pins are being seen. It has nothing to do with how they’re performing when it comes to driving traffic.

What you need to see is how individual pins are performing. This is the kind of information you need to see what kind of content performs well for you, as well as which style of pin.

This is what you see in the Pin Inspector.

Be aware that if you want to see stats on your pins from more than 30 days ago, you have to pay for an upgrade. If you’re keeping up on your stats, this shouldn’t be an immediate problem, but there may come a point where you want to pay the extra to get a longer view of how your pins are performing.

You can also see how your boards are performing. This is a big help in deciding which group boards are worth the effort. Check out the Board Insights page

board insights

If you’re a member of a bunch of “all niche” group boards, for example, you may find out that these really aren’t worth the trouble for the most part. Pinterest doesn’t really like “all niche” boards anyhow. They can make it harder for Pinterest to decide to show your pins for the keywords you’re after, because the all niche boards make the niche of that pin unclear.

Group boards with a distinct niche should perform better. Check your boards by doing a few different sorts on them. Group boards are not as favored by Pinterest as they once were, but are still worth testing.

First, check engagement. This is where the Board Insights page start for me, so it’s easy. You want to see which boards get the most response from your followers. These boards are valuable to you. You’re doing something right with them.

Low engagement may not be a bad thing. Seasonal boards will have low engagement when it’s the wrong time of year. Same for any board that you don’t pin to often. If there’s nothing to create engagement, nothing will happen.

Sorting by number of repins can be interesting, but will definitely be biased toward the large group boards. Lots of repins doesn’t necessarily mean a lot, especially if the board has a low engagement score and the number of repins compares poorly to the number of pins to the board.

Your virality score is useful as well. You want a lot of repins per pin.

working

Join Tailwind Tribes

If you really want your pins to spread out across Pinterest, you need to join relevant Tailwind Tribes. You can do this without signing up for a paid Tailwind account.

A Tailwind Tribe is a group of bloggers on Tailwind that agree to share each others’ pins. Usually, for every pin you share to a group, you must share one other pin from the group.

Your basic Tailwind account allows you to join five Tribes and share a total of 30 pins across them each month. If you share a pin to multiple Tribes, it will count against your total each time.

You can add pins to your Tribe from the Tailwind browser addon, just as you add any other pin to Tailwind. The addon will warn you if you have added that particular pin to that tribe already, which is useful because many Tribes have rules about resharing the same pin.

You can upgrade your Tailwind account to get access to more Tribes and pins. This is called a Tribe Powerup. Prices for powerups as of this writing run from $59.88 – $359.88 per year, depending on how much of a powerup you need.

tribes powerup

This may seem like a lot of money, but it’s an investment in your blog. The more people spreading your pins across Pinterest, the better chance they have to go viral if they’re high quality.

Of course, don’t spend money on a powerup until you know what you’re doing with Pinterest and Tailwind Tribes. Give yourself a little time to discover what works before you spend extra money on these things.

You can also use Tribes to find more content to pin. You should always pin a mix of your own content and the content of others. This way you won’t be seen as 100% self promotional. Pinning the content of others from your Tribes doesn’t impact your limits – only sharing your own content does that.

How To Find The Right Tribes

Tailwind makes it easy to search for Tribes by searching for them by keyword or category. You want to seek out active Tribes that are a good match for your niche.

But how do you know they’re a good match?

Tailwind allows you to preview each Tribe before you join it. You can get a look at the rules and see what kind of content other members are sharing there.

If you don’t like the looks of it, don’t join it.

Some Tribes allow you to join freely, but others have you put in a request, so the person running that Tribe can look over your Pinterest and decide if you’re a match.

working on carpet

Does Pinning With The Tailwind App Really Help?

When it comes right down to it, the only thing that really matters with the Tailwind App is if it works. If it doesn’t work, there’s no point whatsoever in using it.

Tailwind does several things that can help you pin more consistently while spending less time doing so. It also helps you find the most effective times to pin, and schedules your pins during those times.

That’s huge.

With the way Pinterest works right now, there is some debate about how much the timing of your pins really matters. The feed Pinterest users see varies quite a bit, after all. But I believe there’s a real advantage to having your pins spread out throughout the day, rather than all done at once manually.

Not that you can’t do well on Pinterest with manual pinning. But it’s a lot more work. I found manual pinning my content frustrating and exhausting.

Does Tailwind Have Any Disadvantages?

By now, I’m sure you can see that there are a ton of advantages to Tailwind. But it’s not a complete Tailwind App review if I don’t admit to the disadvantages.

Honestly, there aren’t a lot. But there are a few.

You Can’t Set Pinning Rules

The biggest one, perhaps, is that you can’t tell Tailwind that it can only pin to a particular board a certain number of times per day, except in Smartloop. This can be a real issue on group boards that have rules about how often you’re allowed to pin on them. It’s quite common for a group board to limit members to 3-5 pins per day. It’s easy to go over those limits with Tailwind.

You Still Need To Visit Your Group Boards

Tailwind also won’t handle your group board reciprocation. Most group boards expect that you will pin at least one other pin from the board for every pin you share to it.

That said, it’s not the worst thing that you can’t do that from Tailwind. Having to reciprocate on the group boards means you still need to go to Pinterest daily and take care of those. It’s a great way to show that you’re active on Pinterest itself, not just an automated account.

I usually check my pins first thing in the morning and figure out which boards I need to share pins from. I pin interesting things from them, then go to my Pinterest home feed and pin a few more interesting things from there.

If you want to be something of an authority on Pinterest, you can’t just pin your own stuff. You have to pin other people’s stuff. Doing this shows that you’re making an effort to do so.

Tailwind Can Be Slow

Tailwind can also be slow at times. Every page loads relatively slowly. This can be quite frustrating.

The Publisher page that shows your schedule can be especially slow when you have a lot of pins scheduled. That’s because there’s so much data for it to pull up. These things take time to process.

No Android App

While Tailwind has an iOS app, they do not currently have an Android app. Hopefully that will change someday.

work hard anywhere

Is Tailwind Worth It?

If you’ve read this whole thing, you already know my answer to it.

Yes.

Absolutely yes.

There’s a reason why I switched over to the paid version of Tailwind well before my trial was over. I knew my answer.

Is it right for you?

It’s free to try out. Why not find out if Tailwind is right for you by giving it a try?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated December 6th, 2018

Foolproof Strategies To Come Up With Social Media Content Ideas

Foolproof Strategies To Come Up With Social Media Content Ideas

If you want to succeed with social media marketing for your blog, you need to have a steady stream of content prepared for it. Social media is a great way to bring in traffic, but you have to work for it. It’s not an instant solution for driving traffic to your website. One of the most important steps is to generate lots of social media content ideas to promote your blog.

No matter what the type of content you’re sharing, do your best to include an image. It’s extra work to add them in, but if you get better results from your social media marketing, it’s time well spent.

Images don’t have to be fancy. Use a photo you took for your blog post when possible, and Creative Commons Zero images if you have to. There are lots of sites where you can get free images for your blog.

Different social media sites will do well with different image sizes. Take some time to learn what does well for each and figure out how to adapt your images quickly for each usage.

Your Most Recent Post

This one should be obvious… promote your most recent posts on social media.

Don’t just promote it once. Prepare some variations and plan your promotion schedule.

Your Old Posts

Are your old posts just sitting there on your blog, or are you promoting them too?

Go through your old posts regularly and set them up for promotion Update images as necessary, and confirm that the links aren’t broken.

Also, check the post for new links within your site you can add. An old post may be relevant to a newer post. A quick rewrite to update information and refresh the blog post can help you improve it.

Some of your posts will be evergreen, and you can promote them anytime. Others will be seasonal, and you should schedule them appropriately.

You may also have some posts that don’t ever need to be promoted again. They may relate to events which were current when you wrote them, for example, but are no longer relevant now. If there’s no way to make these posts relevant again, don’t bother promoting them.

social media posting

Other People’s Content

Social media isn’t social if it’s all about you. Take the time to discover great content other people have created that your followers will enjoy.

Retweet people on Twitter.

Repin other people on Pinterest.

Share great content from others on Facebook.

You get the idea.

You can also comment on other people’s social media posts. Comments tend to make the posts do better, and can bring attention to your profile if your comment is interesting or informative. None of that “good post” garbage – say something that matters.

Guest Posts

If you wrote a guest post for another site, make sure you promote it at least as well as you would any of the posts on your blog. You want it to be a good value for the blog that published it. It’s also more eyes on your content, which is a step toward visiting your site. Good all around.

Events

Are you planning an event that your followers will be interested in? Promote the heck out of it on your social media. How often you post it will depend on the particular social media site – you don’t want to look spammy – but if you have something special coming up for your followers, give them plenty of opportunities to hear about it.

social media idea

Infographics

A good infographic can get a lot of attention on social media. It allows you to share more information from your post than you would otherwise. If you design it well, your infographic will be shared often and bring people to your website. Infographics are more likely to be shared than other types of content.

Your full infographic may not be immediately visible on your social media accounts when you share it. Most sites cut images to a certain size until visitors click on them. That’s fine, but make sure your image is appealing even when cut off.

Infographics are a great opportunity to have a little fun with your images. Use interesting graphics with text to catch people’s attention. Humor also helps.

Don’t let the thought of creating an infographic intimidate you. Once you know what information you want to present, there are plenty of tools to make the actual creation easy. Here are some options:

Quotes

If you follow a lot of people on Twitter, you’ve probably seen people who share quotes regularly. That’s because they work there.

It’s not that quote tweets bring visitors to your website – they often don’t include a link to a site. It’s that they have a better chance than many tweets of being retweeted, which brings attention to your account.

You can share quotes on other sites as well. For visual sites such as Pinterest and Instagram, create an attractive image to go with the quote.

Keep the quotes you use relevant to your niche. A quote that inspires people or that makes them laugh will often do well.

Holidays

People love to celebrate holidays, and I don’t just mean Christmas and New Year’s.

Keep a calendar that helps you to track whichever religious holidays you want to post about on your social media. It doesn’t take much to acknowledge a holiday, even if it’s one you don’t celebrate.

You can also have fun with some of the assorted holidays people have come up with to celebrate just about anything, from chocolate to hats to happiness. These days may not be “real” holidays as such, but they’re a great excuse to have a little fun with your social media posts, especially if the day is relevant to your niche.

There are also hashtag holidays you can have fun with. These are days that people post about using a particular hashtag to make the post easier to find. If you pick a popular hashtag holiday, your post may get more attention as people check out that hashtag. There’s a good list of hashtag holidays here.

Product Recommendations

You don’t always have to get an affiliate commission to make a product recommendation. In fact, you will gain trust from your followers if you don’t always stand to gain financially from the things you recommend.

What have you used recently that really worked out well for you? A quick blurb is all it takes, although a picture isn’t a bad idea as well.

Get Controversial

Is something controversial going on that your followers might be interested in? Post on social media about it. State your opinion.

There is some risk to this, of course, as some people are bound to disagree with you if the subject is indeed controversial. But it may also get attention.

Recommend Others

Who do you follow on social media? Why?

People are always looking for great people to follow on social media. When you find someone really worth following in your niche, recommend them to your followers. Not only will your followers appreciate this, so will the person you recommend. This can be great for building online relationships.

social media photo

Videos

Making videos for social media is challenging for most people. It’s hard to get comfortable making them, even if you don’t show your face on camera.

Depending on your comfort level, there are a lot of ways to make videos. If you’re comfortable with going live, for example, Facebook Live or Instagram Stories may be good choices.

You can post other kinds of video on YouTube or other sites. Pinterest allows business users to upload videos now as well, although you can simply pin the video from YouTube if you prefer.

Twitter Chats

Twitter chats are a way to interact with your followers by setting up a hashtag for your chat and telling everyone when to use it.

Plan ahead by having a variety of questions you can post to the chat, and give people time to answer. Retweet or respond to as many answers as possible.

Some people even set up prizes for their Twitter chats to drive more interest in the chat. You can have participants sign up in advance in order to be eligible for the prize.

Ask For Advice

You may want to be the expert in many ways on your blog, but we all need advice at times. When you have a question, post it on social media and encourage people to share their solutions.

Behind The Scenes Of Your Blog

Do you ever share what really goes into making your blog work, the challenges and triumphs you have as you work?

You may want to. It’s a great way to make your social media account more personal.

I don’t suggest posting constant complaints about problems you’ve run into. You can be too negative when you let people go behind the scenes. And while allowing people to see that you struggle with things too is a good idea, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do that.

Behind the scenes posts can be fun. A blooper reel of a video you were making might be fun to upload, for example.

You can also share what your workspace looks like and how you set it up, or talk about how you create the great images and posts your fans have come to enjoy.

Giveaways And Contests

People love free stuff. It’s just that simple.

You don’t have to come up with a huge prize to get responses to a giveaway. Obviously, the bigger the prize, the more people will want it, but even a $20 gift card can get some good attention on social media.

You may be able to work with a sponsor for giveaways and contests as well, or with blogging groups. This way you don’t have to spend so much money on it, and you’re not the only one promoting the giveaway at first.

Most giveaways require that visitors sign up for a newsletter, share the post on social media, or taking a photo and posting it on social media with a relevant hashtag. Exactly what you should require entrants to do will depend on what you think will work best for your giveaway. You want it to be easy and fun to enter.

Take some time to review laws in your area regarding giveaways and contests. You don’t want to get into legal trouble.

phone

Cool Photos

Did you just take a photo you love? Share it on your social media even if it’s not directly related to your business. That sunset photo, picture of your cat doing something cute or whatever else comes out well can do well on social media. There’s also the classic photo of your dinner when it just looks that delicious.

Memes can also be fun to share. You can even create your own if you like. But even something created by other people may get shares and likes. If your social media accounts make people smile, they’ll probably keep following you.

Be careful when sharing photos that aren’t yours, however. You don’t want to run afoul of copyright laws. Some uses may be considered fair use, while other uses break copyright laws.

Memories

What was it like when you first started your blog? How have you changed? How has your blog changed?

it can be interesting for followers to see how a site has changed. It’s also an opportunity to open up about challenges you’ve overcome while growing your online business.

Quick Tips And Challenges

Do you have a bit of advice to share that isn’t enough for a blog post but is still interesting? Share it on your social media.

This could be something as simple as challenging your followers to do something on a particular day or a bit of advice on handling a life obstacle. Keep it simple and encourage your followers to respond to the tip or challenge.

Polls And Quizzes

Have you ever noticed how often polls and quizzes get shared on social media? When they’re done just right, it’s pretty amazing how many people will respond to them, even when the results have no real meaning. I mean, does it really matter which Disney Princess you are?

You may even get some useful information if you make the poll or quiz relevant to your niche. Make sure you have a solid privacy policy in place and respect your users and the information they share with you.

User Generated Content

This idea won’t work for every blogger, but if your followers share pictures or reviews about your products or blog, share them on your own social media.

First of all, this shows that people like what you’re doing. It’s proof that you’re doing something right.

But it also makes the person who shared with you feel good. You’re paying attention to them. You noticed what they said about your site or product. That will make them an even bigger fan.

Statistics

Have you come across an interesting statistic for your niche? Share it!

People like interesting statistics. They often share or like them on social media.

Now That You Have Your Social Media Content Ideas…

Getting social media content ideas is only the beginning. You also need to know how to use it.

Content that works well on Twitter, for example, may flop on Pinterest or Instagram. People use Facebook and LinkedIn in entirely different ways. Your social media content ideas must be adapted to each platform you use them on – you can’t do the same thing on all of your accounts.

Besides, you’ll annoy your audience if all your social media is identical. They expect different things on different platforms, even if they follow you multiple ways.

Creating a spreadsheet for your posts may help. I prefer to set mine up for each social media platform. Then I list the blog post title and the promotion dates.

For content that is seasonal, such as for holidays, back to school and so forth, set up spreadsheets that will help you remember to promote them in advance of each event.

Use Social Media Scheduling Tools

You don’t want your social media marketing to eat up your entire workday. While it can be difficult to commit to paying the cost of some social media scheduling tools, they’re often well worth the cost when it comes to time saved. This way you can spend more of your time coming up with social media content ideas, rather than on scheduling them out.

While there are a lot of great choices out there, I use just two – Hootsuite and Tailwind.

Hootsuite can be used to schedule content to run on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. There are also apps you can add in to extend Hootsuite even further.

I mostly use Hootsuite for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I tried scheduling my pins with it, but I found that integration difficult to use.

Tailwind for Pinterest, on the other hand, works great for me. It is so easy to schedule pins out with Tailwind. It’s well worth the subscription. I save a ton of time using it.

Most tools are cheaper if you pay at least a year at a time. This may feel risky, but there’s also usually a free trial, so you’ll know what you’re getting into before you commit a lot of money.

There are still things I do on each social media site itself – not all of my social media interactions are done using tools. I post on a lot of group boards on Pinterest, for example, and most require that you share other content from that board. Can’t schedule that on Tailwind – I have to go to the site and do it myself.

Scheduling tools not only make it faster to schedule your social media content – they help keep you from spending an excessive amount of time on these sites. If you had to go to each social media site every time you wanted to share a post, you’d probably get sucked in too often. Social media becomes a time waster all too easily. Keeping it at a distance except at those times you’re deliberately being social is a huge help.

If you haven’t tried a social media scheduling tool, I suggest you try one now. Take a free trial and find out how much faster you can schedule out your social media. Your life may become much easier.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated August 28th, 2018

Is Your Blog Pinterest-Friendly? Do You Want It To Be?

Is Your Blog Pinterest-Friendly? Do You Want It To Be?

Pinterest is huge right now, with both praise and controversy. Some blogs are getting huge traffic from Pinterest. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to make your blog Pinterest-friendly.

It comes down to one simple thing: have pinnable images.

The images on your blog post are what will show up on Pinterest. Design high quality images and they may be repinned over and over, driving amazing traffic.

That said, there are a few catches. Like most things, it’s really not as simple as it first sounds.

Respect Image Copyright

One problem basically comes down to copyright. Users are supposed to make sure they have the right to share the photos they pin, but not everyone does. It’s a part of the TOS that some ignore. This can cause legal issues.

You don’t want this to become an issue for your own pinboards. It’s not just that your pins can be removed for copyright infringement. It’s that you may have to pay serious money for copyright infringement. Legally, that can be anywhere from $200 – 150,000 per infringement.

It’s not that hard to respect image copyright. Get your images from the right resources, and it won’t be a problem at all. Consider these options:

Create Your Own Images

The absolute safest thing to do when it comes to image copyright is to create your own images. This way, you own the copyright. No worries about someone else.

For some kinds of sites, this is the only way to go anyhow. If you run a crafting blog or recipe blog, you need original photos. Stock photos won’t show what you need for such sites.

But you can create your own images for any kind of site. It’s not always easy, but it is possible.

Images don’t have to be photographs, of course. You can have text on a solid background if that’s what works for your post.

Use Paid Stock Photos

If you use stock photos on your site, you don’t own the copyright on them, and in time this may be an issue for people who use Pinterest. Some royalty-free photos you use don’t include a license to have them go onto sites you don’t own. You don’t want to pin them onto your own boards to market your site and you shouldn’t encourage pinning of that page either.

Fortunately, Pinterest allows you to block an image from being pinned from your site.

In WordPress, switch to the text editing tab of the visual editor. This allows you to view the HTML. Go to the image you want to block from being pinned. The HTML should look something like this: <img src=”yourimage.png”>

Add the nopin code like this: <img src=”yourimage.png” data-pin-nopin=”true”>

Blocking pinning is a very good idea if you don’t have the rights to spread the image around. It may not directly be your fault that someone has pinned the image from your site, but if you know there’s an issue, it’s not that hard to prevent it.

Use Creative Commons Zero Images

pencils and paper

I have a great fondness for using Creative Commons Zero (CC0) images. These are images that theoretically allow you to use them however you would like.

You can modify them, use them commercially, whatever you want.

So what’s the risk?

The risk is that someone may have added them to a CC0 site without permission.

It’s a good idea to do a little research on your CC0 images, to see if there are any obvious problems with using it, especially if there’s anything that makes you doubt its CC0 status.

This can also help you decide if the image has been used too often by others. Some CC0 images get used so much that your use of that image won’t stand out.

This can especially be a problem on Pinterest. Having your adaptation of that image be one of many of that same image can impact its performance. Pinterest is very good at recognizing images.

There are ways you can make even these images more unique, however. I don’t mean adding text – that’s too small a difference. Everyone does that.

You can put two or more images together, for example. You can make a collage of relevant images.

Another way to combine images is to find or make an image with a transparent background that you can place on top of another image, to add something to it. You could place a cat in a field of flowers, for example, or do as I did in this post and place a pile of folded towels on a desk.

How much you can do depends on your skills and the image editing tools you use. I can do a fair bit with Gimp, and I don’t think of myself as that great an expert. There are lots of people who can do far more than I can with image editing.

Make Multiple Pinnable Images

Pinterest loves it when you provide multiple images for your content. They’re more of a search engine than a social site in many ways, and that’s a part of what you need to consider in creating content for Pinterest. I try for at least 3 pinnable images per post, even if I have to hide the extras.

Multiple pinnable images gives you a lot of advantages when pinning. It puts more variety in the pins you share on Pinterest.

Making multiple pinnable images doesn’t mean you have to have tons of huge images in your posts. You can control which images are pinnable on your site, and that includes telling Pinterest to use a particular image in the place of another. I’ve described this in more detail in my post on controlling which images can be pinned from your posts, but here’s that part again:

<img src="image.png" data-pin-media="image-you-want-pinned.png" alt="image description" />

Upload the image you designed for Pinterest to your WordPress media area, and use the image URL in the data-pin-media section.

Every image should have its own description for Pinterest. Pinterest loves unique content. You don’t want all your different images to have the same descriptions. Pop this into the img section of your HMTL, before or after the data-pin-media section:

data-pin-description="description you want on your pinned post"

Vary your descriptions, using keywords you believe are relevant to your post and that will drive traffic from Pinterest. Use relevant hashtags.

Pinners can change your descriptions to whatever they want when they pin your content, but that’s all to the good. You’ve given them a start so that those who just want to pin and move on still have a solid description on their pins, while those who want to say their own thing can do that as well.

crayons

Set Up Your Pinterest Business Account

While you don’t have to set up a Pinterest business account to use it for your business, I strongly recommend you do so. This is how you get access to Pinterest Analytics, which will give you information on how well your pins are performing.

It’s not hard to do. I’ve gone through the steps in this article.

It takes a little time to get set up, but it’s worth the effort. If you do things right, your pins should perform better, plus the information from analytics will help you figure out what works for you.

Once you’ve done that, consider taking a Pinterest marketing course so that you know what you’re doing. It will help you avoid some of the more common mistakes people make.

Use Social Media Sharing Plugins

A good social media sharing plugin will help make your site more Pinterest-friendly. This way people can easily pin off your site when they see something they like.

Ideally, you want a Pinterest link off to the side on your posts as well as a Pin It button on all of your images. You never know which of these buttons a visitor will want to use.

If you don’t have such buttons on your site, it is much harder for people to share your site on Pinterest. You’ll get less traffic from Pinterest if you don’t have people sharing from your site because they find it interesting.

I’m currently using the Shareaholic plugin, although I’m considering going to something else. I’ve used it for a long time, which means I’m overdue for checking to see if anyone does the job better. I’m considering Social Warfare, which looks quite affordable even on the Pro side of things. The features are more appealing to me.

Use Tailwind

My favorite tool for pinning from my site onto Pinterest is Tailwind. While your use of Tailwind has no impact on your users, it can be of tremendous benefit to you.

Scheduling your pins with Tailwind is incredibly easy. That’s what sold me on it.

I’ve done manual pinning. I’ve scheduled pins with Hootsuite. It doesn’t compare to how easy Tailwind is to use. Hootsuite is wonderful for other uses, but Tailwind is far superior for Pinterest.

If you have any doubts at all, sign up for Tailwind’s free trial and see for yourself with no risk at all. That’s what I did. I wasn’t far into the trial at all before I was sold on paying for a subscription.

Using Tailwind to get your pins onto Pinterest is one of the basic Pinterest marketing steps you should take. It’s fast and easy. You can get your pins scheduled out months in advance, rather than having to go back to your posts and remembering to pin every day.

Is Pinterest Worth It?

pinterest on tablet

Some people feel that the traffic they get from Pinterest is not to their benefit, which is why some sites block pinning entirely. There are some good reasons to consider whether Pinterest is worth it for your site.

If you’re selling photographs or things you’ve made, for example, you need to balance the traffic you get from Pinterest with your concern that people are pinning your ideas to steal for later. Are you losing more than you’re gaining?

For the most part, I would consider the traffic from Pinterest worth those risks.

Why?

The people who only want to steal ideas from you won’t buy anyhow. But they might expose your work to others who will buy.

Thieves will find your work anyhow if that’s the kind of thing they’re looking for. Maybe not as easily, but they’ll find it.

If you’re still having doubt, I invite you to consider these success stories:

5 Inspiring Pinterest Marketing Case Studies
Success stories

Most people won’t have this kind of success, especially right away. But you don’t need an extreme amount of success for Pinterest to be worth your while. You only need enough targeted traffic to come to be worth your while. Viral pins are an occasional side benefit you may get.

Will Pinterest Work For Your Niche?

I remember when I had my doubts about using Pinterest. I had them for a long time. It was hard to see how it would work in my niche. Recipe sites? Sure. Products for sale? Why not? But here?

Suffice to say I was wrong.

I’m still playing catch up with my Pinterest marketing, and I know that. I’d be getting a lot more traffic from there if I had started years ago. But do you know when the next best time to get started is?

Right now, of course!

Pinterest marketing is low risk. You’ll spend some time on it, but it works for many niches, and not just the ones that have to do with making things or being creative. It’s worth a try almost no matter your niche.

I strongly recommend using a tool such as Tailwind to make pinning easier as you try it. You can do manual pinning, but it will take up a lot of time, especially as you try to keep track of what you’ve pinned where and when.

Been there, done that. Should’ve bought Tailwind sooner.

At worst, you’ve spent some money and found something that doesn’t work for your site. If you’re serious about your business, these things will happen. It’s not that big a financial risk if your business is otherwise making money.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated July 16th, 2018

When Viral Marketing Works Too Well

When Viral Marketing Works Too Well

If you were paying attention to the news or social media at all around July 12, you probably heard about Build A Bear’s “Pay Your Age” day. Hordes of parents with children showed up for this amazing deal, waiting for hours for the bargain. Stores had to close their doors because the crowds were too big. Officials cited safety concerns in many places.

It was a huge case of viral marketing that worked too well.

Honestly, that they didn’t consider the crowd situation well enough surprised me. As soon as I heard about the deal, I knew the crowds would be unmanageable, which is why I didn’t tell my youngest about it. I knew she’d desperately want to go, and I am not the kind of mom who stands for hours in line for a toy.

All this was to promote their program that kids can get a pay your age birthday bear. The company also offered $15 vouchers to make up for the mess. Not the same as paying your age for most people, but not a terrible deal.

This kind of problem can hit you as an online business too. Going viral is a goal most bloggers and online business owners have. Not everyone is ready for what can happen.

My Experience With Too Much Website Traffic

I’ve been hit with an excess of traffic once myself. It was quite an experience. The timing was such that it was more difficult to deal with than it would have been at any other time.

You see, I had just moved. My site had been hit so hard that my host had shut it down for overusing the server.

And I didn’t know until the cable company connected my internet service.

In this case, it was a link to my site in an article that was shared on a few big sites. All at once, I had far more traffic hitting my site than my hosting plan allowed.

There were comments on the articles questioning my legitimacy because my site was down. Somehow I might be trying to scam people because my site was down. I’m not sure how that works, but some people were concerned.

Fortunately, my hosting company was very willing to work with me on a temporary upgrade to deal with the sudden increase of traffic. The increased income was worth the trouble.

Why wasn’t I prepared?

The interview I had done for the article had happened months before. I didn’t know where or when it would be posted. In fact, I had given up on anything happening with that interview. So naturally, things happened right when we had to move for my husband’s new job.

That’s how things work, isn’t it?

It was also my first huge surge in traffic. I’d never experienced anything like it before. I learned a lot about the kind of traffic that’s available in this niche that way.

Going viral is often hard to prepare for, no matter how hard you’ve worked at it.

thumbs up

What Is Viral Marketing?

People always talk about going viral. Most people can name things they’ve seen go viral.

It’s not just big companies that go viral. How many people remember “the dress?” Mentioning the dress can still make some people groan over the whole fuss about what color it was. I’ve seen a few other attempts at going viral over colors that people disagree on, but nothing like that.

The goal of viral marketing is to spread information by word of mouth. Many companies aim to get viral campaigns going over social media, as many people share freely on social media.

How the marketing campaign spreads doesn’t matter, so long as it spreads widely. You don’t see many campaigns aiming to go viral over email these days. This probably has to do with the frustration many people have over forwarded emails. They can get difficult to read as they get repeatedly forwarded, diminishing the effect over time.

Viral marketing campaigns can be entertaining. They can offer an exceptionally good deal.

Viral marketing does not have to spread out to everyone. You only need your marketing to spread to your target audience. People who will never be interested in what you have to offer are not your target for any kind of marketing.

Going viral will be different for every marketer. If your niche is small, you don’t want a viral campaign that appeals to the world.

Example:

Let’s say you’re selling a blogging course, as many bloggers do. You’ve had some success with your blogging, and you want to share your techniques with people interested in starting their own blogs.

While you may think of blogging as something anyone can try, the simple truth of the matter is that you need better targeting than that. Who do you think will be interested in learning to blog from you? Pick your niche.

Your target audience will probably relate to the kind of blogging you do. They’re the people you can give the best advice to. There are some differences, after all, in blogging about parenting versus running a blog for a charity.

If you’re trying to go viral, target the audience you know. A successful parenting blogger already has some ideas on how to attract people to that subject. You will probably have more luck attracting people in that niche who would also like to start a blog than in attracting people who aren’t in that niche. You already have a reputation and a following in your niche, which gives you a head start.

Target the people trying to start a blog for a charity, and they’ll see you as just some parenting blogger, not a real authority on their needs. An attempt to catch their attention and get them to buy your course will probably fall flat.

Going Viral Is Not Always Deliberate

Much as you might want control over when you go viral, it’s not something that happens on command, nor can you avoid it at times. Word of mouth marketing of any sort is impossible to control.

Just imagine having a business where you make something, and without advance notification, it gets featured on a huge site. You get slammed with business, plus criticism for not having enough of your product.

Yet all you did was run your business as usual. The discovery and word of mouth chatter wasn’t due to anything unusual you did, aside from offering an interesting product. Hopefully, you can make the most of it if that ever happens to you.

Is Viral Always Good For A Business?

Viral marketing attempts can go sour. Going viral in the wrong way can be damaging to your business. Too great a focus on going viral can be one of the biggest social media mistakes you can make. Viral marketing is only a part of your social media strategy. It shouldn’t be the whole thing.

Just think about how “switching” to IHOb went for IHOP. That attempt at going viral resulted in significant mockery for them. They also got attention to their new burgers, which may be a benefit, but overall most people weren’t impressed. But if getting people to talk about the switch was the goal, it worked. People now know IHOP has burgers, even if they didn’t like the marketing campaign at all.

On the other hand, it was a lot of fun for other restaurants to mock the switch:

Sometimes a company will go viral for something they did wrong. Think about some of the recent videos you may have seen of people being kicked off their plane flights.

Viral videos can also impact individuals. The video of the woman calling police on the little black girl who was selling water in front of her apartment ended with the woman resigning from her job.

Sometimes companies react well to negative viral videos. Starbucks closed their stores for a day of retraining after a video of two black men being arrested at one of their locations went viral. Starbucks has been very open about the changes they’ve made to hopefully avoid such racial profiling in their stores in the future. Hopefully it sticks.

fireworks

How To Prepare For When Viral Marketing Works

If you’re trying to figure out viral marketing, you need to consider what happens when it works out. You don’t want to be caught unprepared if things work out.

For an online business, that means high quality hosting. I’m currently using A2 Hosting, which I like quite well. I haven’t had the chance to test them on high traffic levels yet, but they have upgrades available, so if the plan I have right now isn’t enough, I can move to something better.

If you’re serious about going viral, the time will come that you will need a virtual private server or dedicated hosting. If you’re earning money, these become a good investment and will be vital to your success.

Unless you’re completely comfortable with controlling the server on your own, you would want managed versions of these types of hosting.

Any host will shut you down on a shared server if you’re using more than your share of resources for a period of time. That’s so that your traffic surge doesn’t take down other sites. You would want them to do that to any other site on your shared hosting if it were your site being taken down by a surge on someone else’s site.

A good hosting company will help you move your site FAST if you get clobbered by traffic. But they may or may not contact you to let you know that you need the upgrade if you want your site up.

If your marketing is going well, it will be worthwhile to stay on higher level hosting, rather than bumping up when the rush comes.

Make Sure Your Product Is Ready

One of the big mistakes Build A Bear made was in not having their stores and products ready. They knew there would be a surge of traffic. They vastly underrated how huge the surge would be.

Whatever your product may be, if you’re trying to go viral, make sure you have enough for the potential demand.

This is relatively easy if your product is downloadable. All you need are servers powerful enough to take the traffic.

It’s much more difficult if you’re offering a physical product. You may have to explain to disappointed customers what your production times are, or even refuse orders if you don’t have a way to increase product production.

There’s no point to trying to go viral if you don’t have a product, even if that product is simply the content on your site. Make sure you have a solid way to monetize your traffic if that’s the case, of course. You don’t want to pay for more powerful servers if you can’t earn anything.

Being caught unprepared is how viral marketing can go too well for a small business or blog. If you’re trying to go viral, make plans for if you succeed. Even if you aren’t trying to go viral, consider what you would do if you suddenly had more traffic to your site than you can currently handle.

It won’t hurt to plan ahead so you can move quickly should the situation arise.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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Disclosure: Home with the Kids is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.