Last week was a crazy week if you’re a Pinterest user. Due to some unexplained glitch in the system, follower counts had been going haywire. On my own account, I watched my followers spike by almost 20,000 only to see them drop by almost 30,000 before finally coming back to their normal level.
Now, I have no idea why this follower glitch happened, and if it’s happening to you, I don’t really have any suggestions as to how to fix it. (Other than to say it seems to be fixing itself for people in about three days!)
But I want to take this opportunity to address a more interesting question…
Does follower count still matter on Pinterest?
I’ve published several posts here with strategies for growing your Pinterst following, and it’s also something I talk in depth about in my Pinterest class on Creative Live. But all of those came out before Pinterest switched to an algorithmic feed.
Because the algorithmic feed is based more on what you look at and repin than who you follow, it’s easy to assume that follower count on Pinterest doesn’t matter as much as it used to.
And in some ways, that’s true. (And it’s actually a good thing.)
With the algorithmic Pinterest feed, you actually have a much better chance of your content being found regardless of how many followers you have.
But that doesn’t mean follower account doesn’t matter.
For starters, people who follow you will still see some of your pins. Especially if they don’t follow a lot of people. (My husband always complains because my fashion pins show up in his feed of jeeps and volleyball drills.)
And more importantly, the strategy I recommend to grow your followers is still a useful strategy with the algorithmic feed, regardless of whether you see your followers grow or not.
The best way that I’ve found to grow your following on Pinterest is to use something called the Power Pinner strategy. At it’s core, it’s really about pinning a lot (at least 100 pins a day) from within Pinterest.
So if follower counts aren’t as important as they used to be, why bother with this strategy?
The short answer is context.
In order for pins of your own content to be found throughout Pinterest, they need to show up on boards alongside other content. (It’s the reason I don’t recommend only pinning your own content to it’s own board.) The more pins you are pinning, the more potential relationships between your content and other content that’s already being found and shared on Pinterest.
Now, the algorithmic feed does mean less of your followers see your pins than before. But it also means that more people who aren’t your followers could potentially see your pins.
Which is good, because it means your pins are more likely to go viral, regardless of follower size.
Beyond using the Power Pinner strategy to give your pins context, it’s also important that you make sure your own pins have strong keywords so they’re more likely to get found in Pinterest search. (Because Pinterest is, first and foremost, a search engine.)
Using strong keywords doesn’t mean anything fancy. More often than not, it simply means using words to describe a pin that someone would use if they were searching for that particular thing. So while I might call something a Contra Ring on my website, my Pinterest description is probably something like “black and white gemstone statement ring.”
So what does this mean for your own Pinterest strategy?
If you’re new to Pinterest or don’t have a lot of followers, I’d still recommend using the Power Pinner strategy (aim for 100 repins a day from within Pinterest) while also pinning and repinning your own content (with good keywords in the descriptions) to help get past the Pinterest lag.
If you’ve got a solid follower base, you can worry less about pinning a ton from within Pinterest (most days I pin anywhere from 5 – 20 pins from within Pinterest) and focus instead on pinning and repinning your own content and using strong keywords.
Even with all the changes, at the end of the day, Pinterest still rewards people who curate the best content. Which is why, regardless of the way pins appear in the feed, taking time to repin lots of content from within Pinterest will still serve you well. And, when paired with good keywords, it will make it that much more likely that your own content will get found and shared across Pinterest as well, regardless of how many followers you have.