Pinterest Hacks for Bloggers

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Pinterest is by far my favorite social media site (there's cute dogs, yummy recipes and pretty makeup looks...what's not to love?) and I've been a loyal user longer than any other site except Facebook. It's great for collecting ideas and getting inspiration, but you know what I love the most about it? What it's done for my blog. I pinned my blog posts on Pinterest months before I ever shared them on Facebook or Instagram and it still brings in most of my traffic. It's helped posts like this go semi-viral and has helped me find so many bloggers that I admire. There are a number of ways I've tweaked my Pinterest strategy over the past year and a half to really optimize it for my blog. These have really taken my Pinterest game from so-so to top-notch.

Using group boards

I can't write a Pinterest post without talking about group boards. I have several pins that get constant repins and over half of them are on group boards. It can be hard figuring out how to join group boards (some have directions in the description but some don't) but many blogging groups have one that you can sign up to pin to (you usually have to fill out a form or email someone.) My personal favorite is the InfluenceHer board (which has over 66,000 followers.) I start getting pins really fast after I pin something, and I'll often continue to get pins months after my original pin. A lot of bloggers will also open up some of their boards to other bloggers. Morgan Timm has done this (who has any awesome Pinterest post herself), as well as a lot of other bloggers in InfluenceHer. You can always reach out to bloggers you admire through email or even on social media to see if they have any group boards themselves or to find out how they joined their favorite ones!

Pinning at the right times

The best times to pin are typically weekday evenings (except for Friday) and Saturday mornings, but this may vary depending on your timezone and your audience. For me, I've found having pins go live throughout the day brings the best results, so I make sure to schedule them in a broad window (more about scheduling pins later.)

Update your profile

First things first, you should update your Pinterest bio. This is a necessary step for any social media platform because it will tell users why they should follow you. Make sure to use the same profile picture you use on other social media too! You should also add your blog's url and verify it.

I also recommend putting some thought into the names and arrangements of your Pinterest boards. I've made all my board's names very basic so they can be found easily when someone searches for them (I also make sure to select a category and write a description for each of them.) I put the boards that will attract the most interest at the top of my profile and make sure to choose cover images that are cohesive and fit with my blog's visual brand.

Utilizing secret boards

You might think secret boards are only for planning surprise parties or posting things you don't want your grandma to see, but they can actually be a great tool for optimizing your Pinterest. I use secret boards a number of ways for my blog.

Getting hard to save images

Sometimes when I'm creating a post where I need images of products I'm recommending, I have the hardest time getting good images from the retailer sites because a "zoom in" box pops up instead of the right-click menu. Instead of freaking out, I simply press the "pin" button and pin the image to a secret board. Then, I save the image from Pinterest. (This usually gets me bigger images as well which is awesome!) It may sound like a pain, but it really only takes me two extra seconds and I get a good image in return.

Brainstorming blog posts

Sometimes I'll get a blog post idea and need to do some research on Pinterest. Often, I need to refer to something later, but the pins I find useful aren't always best for my audience so I pin them to a special secret board I have just for my blog.

Hiding pins

I heard about the benefits of deleting pins the longest time ago, and I have to admit, I held off until just a few weeks ago. While I use Pinterest primarily for my blog, I also use it for myself and I pin a lot of stuff that I find useful or end up needing to find later on. After a while, it dawned on me I could move pins with low engagement to a secret board and still be able to access them while reaping the benefits of higher-ranked Pinterest boards. I also noticed some of my boards didn't get much engagement, so I changed them to secret altogether so I can still enjoy them myself.

Scheduling pins

I used to work swing shifts from 1:30-10, and optimum pinning times (other than Saturday morning) fell right in the middle of my working day. I wasn't allowed to use my phone except on break, so I would schedule pins to post during my shift, especially to my group boards. I used to use services like Tailwind which were external to Pinterest, but lately I've started using Boardbooster (referral link) and I've been loving it. I simply pin a post to a designated secret board and Boardbooster will pin it during the time frame I specify. Boardbooster is also great for looping pins and a number of other services. Right now I'm on the free trial, but I'm seriously considering upgrading when I'm done!

Optimizing your blog for Pinterest

You can tweak your Pinterest all you want, but to truly get the best experience, you'll need to make some quick modifications to your blog as well. Make sure a pin-it button pops up on your images (you can even add a custom one) and also include a pinnable graphic with each post. Even if you'd rather not include a super-long image in your body, you can always hide it in your html (learn how here) so users will still have the option to pin it (and you can use it as well.) Finally, make sure to install rich pins on your site. It's surprisingly easy and I can tell you from personal experience that I'm way more likely to click on a rich pin than a normal one.

As part of my Pinterest strategy, I'm always looking for great users to follow. Leave your username in the comments and I'll be sure to follow you!

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