I’ve had a number of folks ask me about Pinterest lately. Some don’t understand the attraction or appeal, others find the platform unwieldy, and others just feel like they don’t have the time to concentrate on yet another social media site.
I totally get that. I joined Pinterest pretty much right away, but I didn’t click with the platform for a long time. I spent some time initially pinning things, but then I let my boards just sit fallow. I found myself only pinning images from posts (like this one) that I’d written. In other words, I created the most boring Pinterest account out there.
When it became abundantly clear that Pinterest was going to be a real player in the field of social media, I decided I’d better learn how to utilize the platform. Somewhere along the line, I actually began to love it. I’ve managed to grow my Pinterest following from only about 300 people to 3600 (which isn’t particularly impressive overall, but is still a nice jump). Now I actually have pretty decent engagement on the site, even though I only spend a few minutes a day pinning.
So how did I do it? Here’s what I’ve learned.
1. Pin 10-15 Things A Day, Minimum
Part of what kept me from really tackling Pinterest was this idea that I had to pin all the things, all the time. I felt completely overwhelmed at the prospect, and couldn’t imagine having time. But knowing that pinning only about a dozen items a day (I typically only do this 4-5 days a week) made a huge difference in my willingness because that took so little time. Now I’ve settled into a pattern of pinning around ten things or so and also adding a bunch of “likes” as well.
2. Invest Time In Creating Boards That Are Specific
When I first started on Pinterest, I created a group of the most boring boards ever. But the boards that have done well are the ones that are specific, with both a fun title and a specific focus. For instance, my board “Damn it, I’m pinning crafts” is much more popular than my “Fall/Winter Wardrobe” board. But the bloggers I know with the best following on Pinterest get very specific for instance, instead of a board that is just recipes, they have a board for “slow cooker recipes with chicken.” While most folks will follow all of your boards, some people like to pick and choose the boards they like, so the more specific the better.
3. Show Your Personality
The number one complaint I hear about Pinterest is that it is a shiny, happy, and unattainable portrayal of life. It’s all too easy a potshot to take at Pinterest, though: we all want to show our best sides and our aspirations rather than our realities. Chances are I will never own a home that looks anything like the images I’ve added to my “if I were to decorate” board. But Pinterest and by extension the entire internet offers many fun and quirky things that can transform your boards from dull to entertaining. A great example of someone who uses her personality to great advantage on Pinterest is, of course, The Bloggess.
4. Don’t Only Pin Links To Your Posts
As bloggers (or marketers) we often think that every social media outlet is simply a tool for self promotion, particularly when we don’t find the platform particularly interesting (Google+ comes to mind). But Pinterest requires a more delicate hand if you want people to actually follow you AND click on your outbound links. I concentrate on keeping my 10-15 pins a day completely unrelated to any of the content I’ve written around the web. This keeps new people following you and also gives you the chance to get more folks to repin your work.
5. Have Fun With It!
For me, the biggest turning point in using Pinterest came when I decided to not think of it as part of my “work” as a blogger. Instead, I use it as a way to relax at the end of a busy day. I think of it as window shopping, where I can peruse stuff I might admire but will never buy. It’s also a great way to find something beautiful to enjoy: I started following a bunch of different artists, and their pins brought something new to my Pinterest stream. It’s amazing how quickly Pinterest went from feeling overwhelming and annoying to something silly, light-hearted, and fun when I changed my attitude. I hope it works for you too!