Strategy Saturday – Owning Pinterest
This week #StrategySaturday is all about Pinterest.
Not about how to set up an account, or how to plod along with your current status quo.
This week it’s about owning Pinterest!
A key questions to ask yourself when it comes to Pinterest is this: What do you want?
It may sound like a simple question, but actually it’s your answer that will shape the best way to develop your strategy.
Is your primary drive to establish your presence on Pinterest, in order to expand your general reach/ influence? To increasing the number of people following your account; a statistic to be added to your social media package?
Are you primarily interested in actively promoting your own posts/ products on Pinterest?
Is the ultimate purpose of your Pinterest presence to drive traffic to your site?
Maybe you don’t have a Pinterest account at the moment, in which case your current attention is more about consistently producing ‘Pinterest friendly’ post/ product images for your readers to pin?
Wow, that was quite a question dump! But bare with me, here lays the basis of your personalized Pinterest strategy.
If you don’t already have one, grab a coffee and let’s dig in!
Now I know that each and every one of you will have answered the questions above differently. But I’m going to make a presumption here:
I’m presuming that one of the main goals is making sure that strategically we’re doing all that we can, to utilize all social media channels as effectively and appropriately as possible in promoting ourselves, our posts and our products.
This post will therefore focus on best Pinterest practices, irrespective of current following, and let following increase as a result of changed praxis – one of them being regular pinning.
#StrategySaturday – Owning Pinterest in 15 minutes a day
Day 1: There are two features ‘selling’ your pins on Pinterest. The image AND the text.
Go to your favorite blog/ product post/ page. Select your favorite image and read what the ‘alt text’ (or alt title) is for that image. If you are SEO (search engine optimization) savvy, somewhere in that ‘alt text’ will be the key focus words for your post – if they’re not, now’s a good time to add them, it helps your post/ page ranking in google searches. But let’s take it a step further than that: The ‘alt text’ is also the text that automatically appears below your image in Pinterest when someone pins it.
A savvy ‘pinner’ will always take a look at the text that appears under a pin and edit it as necessary before pinning. Generally however people rarely do, so whatever is written in ‘alt text’ is going to be the ‘sales pitch’ below your post.
Imagine two of the most delicious chocolate foodporn images possible. Under one it reads: ‘recipe brownie chocolate dark’; under the other ‘Melt in your mouth, chocolate heaven – Luxurious dark chocolate brownie recipe based on the New York Times ultimate brownie’
…Which are you going to pin?
Imagine identical children’s bikes. Under one it reads: ‘kids bike’; under the other ‘Award winning kids bike. 5 Steps to choosing the best bike model for your child’
…Which do you pin?
The descriptions both contained the selected focus words needed for SEO, one of them stops there, the other is prepped to ‘sell’.
The latest on Pinterest strategy at BufferSocial is that 200-310 character long descriptions are optimal and that adding advice, instructions and how-tos whenever relevant increase engagement by up to 30%.
Day 2: What stands out to you on Pinterest.
Grab a pen and paper and take a look at one of the following boards:
The purpose is to glance through the images on your chosen board and to stop and take note every time a pin stands out to you …Why does it stand out? What is it about the image or the text that pulled you in? What are the image proportions? The colours? How bright or dark is the image? How saturated are the colours? How much of the image is background/ foreground? Is there any text on the image?
Every time an image stands out to you, figure out what it is about it that’s so great.
Stay focused! If you like the board, follow it, but keep try to keep these 15 minutes free of pinning – ‘like’ the images if you must, that way you can look back over them later too.
The reason I’m saying don’t pin is this, we humans are not always so complex as we like to believe we are. As soon as you see like an image and re-pin it, you get that positive affirmation that you’ve ‘done something’ with the information, your brain happily puts it all aside and 3 minutes later you have no recollection of what you’ve even been looking at. That’s not what we want. When you stop and assess the information and make a conscious effort to draw some conclusions from it, you’ve put your brain to work and there’s a much better chance you’ll not only remember what you’ve been looking at, you’re learn from it.
Choose a board:
If none of these catch your fancy, gaze around the homepage Pinterest.com, or look through one of your own boards full of the pins you’ve already singled out.
Day 3: Your images/ infographics.
Go back to your favorite, most visited posts/ pages. Do you have images on them that you consider pin-worthy?
The point here is that you may literally have the best post/ page/ blog/ website in the World… But it’s certainly not going to be discovered via Pinterest if you don’t have images to pin from it that stand out from the crowd.
What stood out to you yesterday? How do your images/ infographics look in comparison?
One word: Canva.
– You don’t need to be a graphic designer; you don’t need to be an award winning photographer. If you haven’t already registered for a free account, pop on over and check it out. Select the ‘Social Media Posts – Pinterest Graphic’ and you’re ready to go. You’ve got the optimal size, a vast array of layouts, and if we were to add in just a few other well established tips, check out this fantastic infographic from Curalate about the kind of colours, proportions and backgrounds on images that get the most repins.
Day 4: Get pinning.
Now you’ve got your images and your text optimized for others to pin your posts/ pages, but the ball is always still in your court.
Of the 75 bloggers and entrepreneurs who answered the Social Media Strategy Success Survey 43% responded that they sometimes/ never pin their posts/ pages during the first 7 days following publication; 26% pin them once.
Come on guys, that’s crazy!
100% of the bloggers/ entrepreneurs who’ve had an overwhelming response on Pinterest, pin a new post at least 5 times during the first 7 days after publication, some up to 25 times (How Bloggers and Entrepreneurs Use Pinterest).
Sell, sell, sell. Promotion, promotion, promotion 🙂
So, select a few of your posts and pin the images.
Optimal pinning time is between 8pm-11pm (in your followers local timezone), and especially on Saturdays – but any day of the week during these times is great.
Try to stick to this time if you can, otherwise between 2pm-4pm. Of course there’s variation here depending on your following. If you Pinterest account is almost exclusively geared to breastfeeding mums for example, they’re going to be on Pinterest sporadically at almost any time of the day or night, so you can pin around the clock! If the majority of your followers are parents with school aged children, they won’t be online at all during school pick-up/ drop-off. What do you think would be the optimal times for you?
If you like organization and excel sheets, this is a great point to open a new one. List the posts/ products/ pages that you’ve pinned today, down column A. Along the top, on row 1, list the names of the boards you pinned to. Then fill in the month and year. You’re about to pin, re-pin, re-pin, and re-pin, an overview of your activity may be helpful.
Day 5: Pin again!
Those same pins you pinned yesterday, pin them again today. Not on the same board of course, or you’re just going to have a pile of repeated images, re-pin to a different board.
Do you have another board with an overlapping content profile, where you could pin again?
This is where ‘shared’ boards come in handy. If you take a look at my Pinterest profile you’ll notice that a number of the boards have the symbol market out below. These are shared boards. Boards that the owner has invited multiple people to pin on. The advantage of shared boards, if you join them is that it’s not only will your followers that will see the pins you share there, the hosts followers will see them too.
All of the shared boards I contribute to have clear information in the header about how to request an invitation to pin on them, so if any of them appeal to you follow the instructions and give the owners a shout!
I’ve also created a #StrategySaturday Community Board, where you’re welcome to pin all your great content, just give me a shout if you want to be added as a contributor to that, and voila, it’s that easy!
Day 6: Scheduling pins
Hot off the press: Pinterest has been revolutionized! That’s right, Pinterest is collaborating with Buffer and for the first time you are actually able to schedule pins, in the same way you’re able to schedule tweets, Facebook and Google+ posts. There’s a 7 day free trial of this service available; otherwise only available with a paid account.
Now that you’ve experienced pinning, re-pinning, and re-pinning some more, this might be something you want to look into. Scheduling pins allows you to maintain consistent activity on Pinterest during peak hours, even for multiple timezones. Buffer Pinterest allows you to select the image you want to use, the board you want to pin to as well as modify the text you want to be pinned.
…Those same pins you’ve already been pinning, pin them again today.
The benefit of the excel sheet, if you’re using one is that you know where you’ve pinned and when. The more group boards you’re contributing to, the easier it is to loose track, and you don’t want to be dumping the same pins on the same boards over and over. That’s likely to get you kicked off them.
Select 2 of your favorite pins from the week, pop over and link them up with the #StrategySaturday Pinterest Linky for some extra love and attention.
I hope you’ve found this post useful.
Don’t forget to HAVE FUN 🙂
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…and let’s talk strategy!