Instagram has been the top platform that most bloggers have been focusing on to grow their following for the last 2-3 years, but with all of the changes that have happened thanks to their ever-changing algorithm, it hasn’t been the cake walk for growth that it used to be. Once chronological order was taken away, bloggers began to scramble and do any and everything in an effort to grow, even if it meant some of the tactics where considered shady. I cannot tell you how many Instagram accounts I’ve seen have follower numbers jump by the hundreds + thousands in literal days, and truth be told, it’s both disappointing and discouraging to those that focus on having an organic, authentic reach. I don’t want to focus on the bad, however, because even though Instagram is the most popular place for bloggers to grow at the moment, it’s not the only one. If you’ve been wanting to increase traffic to your blog without “faking it”, make sure you’re including time on Pinterest as part of your growth strategy.
Pinterest has been around for as long as Instagram (both started in 2010), but it doesn’t get the same shine for bloggers because it’s not considered a social network; the way that you engage is completely different, so a lot of bloggers have accounts but don’t utilize it that much. But don’t get it twisted: BECAUSE Pinterest is not a social media platform, it’s a very powerful tool that you can use to expand your reach.
In a nutshell, Pinterest is now considered a search engine. It will never surpass Google (I don’t think anything ever will, tbh), however, it is the top place that people go to when they’re looking for inspiration. Whether it’s for new ways to decorate their home, or recipes to help them go vegan, people are spending hours upon hours on Pinterest looking for inspiration. And the cool part is, the algorithm that they have in place actually works in a creative’s favor. For example, if someone is trying to find Spring outfit inspiration so that they can update their wardrobe, the more they click on looks that they like, the more the algorithm will suggest photos that fit whatever they’re searching for. For a blogger, this means that if you’ve pinned your blog content with similar keywords, they’re likely to show up in the search. When that happens, that person can repin your photo to their board, or better yet, actually visit your website (aka give you traffic)!
I still receive traffic to my blog from pins that are over 5 years old. On Instagram, the popularity of a post usually maxes out at 2 weeks, but on Pinterest, it can live on (and send you traffic) for as long as it’s shared. Plus, once it’s on your board, it’s there forever, so anytime someone new discovers you, they can see your content. You want to be strategic with your pinning, but you do not have to spend a ton of time on Pinterest unless you want to. Yes, there are a billion courses and 3rd party services that you can use to constantly share pins, but if you’re not ready to invest in those things, you can still do the following and see results:
Make sure you have relevant boards to your niche
You can have boards for whatever you want on Pinterest, but make sure that you at least have some boards that are relevant to your blog’s content and niche. This makes it much easier for you to pin content from your site to your boards.
Use Pinterest for business and also claim your blog on your account
In the event that you want to promote a pin and to help give more context to what you’re pinning, make sure that you claim your blog. This allows you to make your pins be “rich” so that more info will be pulled for the descriptions. Turning your account into a business account will give you access to analytical data, which can help you with your ongoing pinning strategy.
Add links and descriptions to your uploaded pins
Because Pinterest is a search engine, you want to make sure that your pins show up when people are searching. It’s easy to just upload photos to a board or repin from other sources in your feed, but make sure that you go back and edit the description box when needed so that it tells you exactly what is featured. You can also add links to pins that are uploaded directly from your computer, so if it’s from images that are pulled from your blog, make sure the link goes directly to that post. When I first joined Pinterest, you were actually penalized for using hashtags but things have changed! Just don’t stuff your pins with irrelevant hashtags-that defeats the purpose and people will skip over them.
Activate social share plug-ins
You want to make it easy for people to pin your content to their boards, so activate your plug-ins for your blog and for your browser. I typically use Chrome and they have a few to choose from. This makes pinning so much easier for you and for people that read your blog. You can also use this plug-in to then pin images from your Instagram to a board (just in case you have content there that hasn’t been blogged about), which can help you cross promote and send traffic there as well.
Carve time out to pin a few times a week
Now, most tips for growth on Pinterest will tell you to invest in a service like Tailwind or Board Booster, and to join group boards in order to always be active on Pinterest. I 100% understand the reasoning, but I also know that you don’t have to do that in order to grow. I personally hate group boards because they can clog up your feed with a lot of irrelevant pins, and I still want to enjoy the platform in the process of trying to grow. I usually spend between 15-30 minutes a few times a week on Pinterest and I’ve been able to get my account viewership up to over 345K a month, and that’s with small, but consistent effort. I even did an experiment over the last week to binge Pin for about an hour one day and gained over 20K views from it. Yes, the more you pin the more eyeballs you will get on your account (and hopefully to your site), but that also shows that if you just devote a little time to it, you can see some results. Just make sure that you’re actually pinning interesting, quality content to your boards so that people will want to engage with it.
Also, DON’T get caught up on building a following. Obviously you want people to follow you, but the viewership and engagement that you get is much more important in the long run, and you can do that without having a huge following. There are accounts that have followings waaaaaay larger than mine and they barely get any views because they’re not active. That follower count won’t matter if you’re not using it your advantage, so yes, still tell people to follow you on Pinterest, but only if you’re actually using it.
There’s still a lot to learn about Pinterest, but if you implement the simple tips that I mentioned above, you will start to see improvement within a few weeks. If you stay consistent and mix in great content from your blog, you can use Pinterest to your advantage to grow your blog’s traffic, which is the most important thing since it’s YOUR website!