One of the biggest questions I get when I share my strategy to rapidly grow my Pinterest followers is “Why?”
“What’s the point of gaining all those followers?”
It’s a fair question, but I can assure you, I didn’t just work on building a Pinterest following of 15,000 (and counting) for vanity.
There’s an old episode of South Park where gnomes are stealing one of the character’s underpants. When the group asks them why, the gnomes share a three phase plan:
Phase 1: Collect underpants.
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Profit.
I have to admit, when I first started building my Pinterest following, I felt a little like those gnomes. I was clearly in Phase 1, but I wasn’t sure exactly what Phase 2 looked like.
But after a few months of experimentation, it became clear:
Phase 2 = Content
The goal of expanding my Pinterest following was to increase my reach. I wanted to be sure that, when I pinned my own images, products, and content, I would have as many people see it as possible, and ideally, those people would repin and continue to spread my own content.
Of course, this means pinning my products from my online store on a regular basis.
But I also wanted to give followers who weren’t ready to buy something a reason to come back to my site. So I began creating content that was optimized for Pinterest.
When we talk about content creation, we often think of blogging. And it’s true, the majority of the content I was creating was published to my blog. But I don’t really think of it as blogging. Instead, I think of my blog as a container for my Pinterest content. Content whose primary goal is to drive traffic from Pinterest back to my site. (Oh, and to engage my audience and strengthen my brand. And also to establish me as an authority. It’s ok for content to serve more than one purpose.)
But what do I mean when I say content?
Well, content is going to be different for everyone, and, when you’re thinking about content specifically for Pinterest, your approach will need to be slightly different than you’ve likely taken with your blog in the past.
When creating content specifically for Pinterest, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:
Your content needs a strong visual or graphic component. Pinterest is all about images, so any piece of content should start with a well designed image or series of images. Vertical images are much more likely to be repinned than horizontal images, because they appear larger. One of the best ways to start your content creation is to use your current Pinterest boards as research. Whether it’s styling a photo shoot or creating an image for my blog, I always start by looking at my Pinterest boards to see what gets the most repins from my audience.
Your content needs to be of interest to your ideal customer. This is one of those things that seems so easy in theory, but few makers truly put into practice. Typically, the majority of content that I see makers creating only appeals to other makers. This could include behind the scenes images, tutorials, etc. (I’ve seen this first hand when I check my Pinterest analytics. The only people who pin images of my trade show booth are other jewelers and product designers.) Spend some time thinking about your ideal customer and the types of images she is likely to repin. You can even use Pinterest for this research by looking at followers who fit your ideal customer profile and seeing what boards they have and what types of content they pin.
Your content needs to drive traffic back to your website. It’s not enough to get your images pinned and repinned. You need people to click through your images and land on your site. (And from there, you need them to convert, by signing up for your email list, making a purchase, etc. But that’s Phase 3.) You can use your pin’s descriptions to encourage click throughs, but in truth, your images should do a lot of the work. Use text, graphics, or other visual cues to let people know that there’s more waiting for them when they click on a pin.
And finally, your content should match the brand and aesthetic you’ve built with your Pinterest boards. The content you create should feel like it’s a natural part of your Pinterest feed.
You certainly don’t have to grow your followers to any magic number before you begin creating content, and I’d encourage you to pin existing content and product images now to gauge their response.
But I also know how much work it takes to consistently create great content, and I wanted to have a solid follower base before I really turned my attention to content creation.
Because ultimately, I knew that building my followers meant nothing if I didn’t then take the time to capitalize on them.
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Want even more help using Pinterest to market your business? Check out my class on Creative Live, Pinterest Marketing for Makers + Designers.Pin It