By Colleen Dowd Until a few months ago I thought Pinterest’s Smart Feed had missed me. Traffic to my profile seemed unaffected, my following was increasing and my pins were being repinned. Life was good. And then, while evaluating the quality of my content one day, I abruptly deleted one of my boards. No biggee, I’d done it before. Or so I thought. However, this time something shifted and my traffic turned into a trickle. Ugh.
Not sure why deleting that board triggered something in the Smart Feed or whether it was just coincidental. I just took action to recalibrate and recommence generating a steady flow of followers and repins, and it worked. Here are the five actions that got my mojo back:
1. Committed to Blogging on a Regular Basis
I dragged my feet here for a long time. Not because I don’t like to write (I actually do) but because it is so time consuming. Working as a social media manager and public relations consultant, I spend quite a bit of time creating content for other people and there are only so many hours in the day.
But, I gave up a few hours of sleep and began blogging in earnest, promoting my content with my tribe, pinning directly from my website (as opposed to re-pinning a pin from one board to another board) and creating lead magnets to drive website traffic. (Pinterest’s Smart Feed takes your website’s validity and web traffic into account when determining what pins to showcase. Other factors include how much engagement your pins get and whether they keep getting repinned.)
In addition, I turned to a popular source to assure that my content would have extra oomph when it came to showing up in search.
2. Upped My Game With Keywords
To that end, I installed the Yoast SEO plug-in (this is not a sponsored post), which allows you to easily determine which keywords are used most frequently when people search for topics in their browsers. I also did my own research on Pinterest, to see what words are used most frequently when people are looking up stuff.
The thing about the Yoast plug-in is that it actually shows you where to add the keywords:
— the title,
— meta tag (like a subtitle), and
— the alt tags (similar to a caption.)
Those three areas of your blog post that the bots (in search engines) scan. I know search engines can’t scan images, but I also keyword optimize the titles I give them when I save them to my website/ blog.
Yoast scans your finished blog post and evaluates how well you’ve optimized the body of your article as well, suggesting that you use between three to four keywords there. Do not over do it or you can be perceived as a spammer and the whole thing can backfire on you.
I use a mix of the most popular and somewhat less popular words in the body of my blog posts. It seems counter-intuitive that by using a less popular keyword, I might rank higher in the Smart Feed because, of course, fewer people are searching for that word. But think of keywords like a popularity contest. If you want to date someone everybody else also wants to date, you may be overlooked. But if you try to date someone who is less popular, the competition is less intense and so you stand a better chance. The same thing theoretically is true with keywords. I try to go for both.
3. Got Rich Pins
Read how to apply for Rich Pins on the Pinterest blog which requires that you add some code onto select pages of your website. If you don’t know how to do it, or you don’t like doing that sort of thing, hire a developer.
The next step is to create a favicon. By the way, I didn’t know what a favicon was (transparency and authenticity here) and thought it was something generated by Pinterest when they approved the Rich Pins. Nope. A favicon is simply a tiny “favorite icon” that you can make in a jiff. Just log onto Canva, upload your logo, resize it to 20 x 20 pixels, and save it as a favicon when you upload it onto your website. Pinterest will find it and automatically include it on your Rich Pins once they are validated.
The thing about Rich Pins is that they absolutely make your pins look spiffier and more professional. They also help with branding, and showcase the title of your blog post in bold. Not bad.
4. Leveraged Group Boards
Back in the pre-Smart Feed days of Pinterest I was perfectly content single-handedly curating aesthetically compelling Pinterest boards. However, the Smart Feed has made Pinterest more competitive. As Pinterest’s popularity soars and more and more people and content floods the platform, group boards need to be leveraged to get more eyes on your content.
The better the caliber of your collaborators (do they generously they repin other people’s content?) the more beneficial they will be. Choose pinners in your niche, those that share content that is complementary to your own, and those who pin at least 20 – 30 pins a day throughout the day (because volume is part of the equation that attracts followers and repins).
5. Deliberately Engaged More
Before the Smart Feed, I only pinned and repinned and kind of ignored “liking” anything, let alone commenting on anything. But now, the Smart Feed requires more engagement to get and stay relevant.
Ask your followers to “like” and re-pin your pins, which doubles engagement. Make it a requirement on your group board for your collaborators to both like and repin. Find your pins that other pinners have saved (repinned) to their boards and like them there. Repin them again. Change the visuals connected to your pins and share them all over again. Get smart about your metrics and analytics to pin strategically (when your target audience is online.)
There are many, many more tactics to employ, such as link building and using a scheduler to automatically pin your content when your target audience is online (something I don’t do yet) but in the end, these five actions enabled me to recap the 640 followers I lost when I deleted that board, plus gain an additional 230 followers in about six weeks.
If you need more information on how to effectively optimize your Pinterest account, give me shout. I’m a natural and love helping people! And, if you’re reading this on Pinterest, please pin it! Thanks!
Colleen Dowd is a social media marketing and management professional with over 20 years experience creating and implementing high-profile marketing and PR campaigns. She is passionate about strategy, all things creative (especiallly interior decorating), is an animal advocate, avid reader and enthusiastic traveler. To connect, or work with her, click here: www.savvvysocialmediamaven.com.