Are you happy with the results you’re generating on Pinterest? Maybe. Maybe not. Most people want more of something — to drive more traffic, get more followers, to be the best of the bestest. Here’s the deal: No matter how well thought out your plan is, error-free implementation drives excellence and results. To that end, here are nine errors that you must avoid to leverage Pinterest properly:
1. Not Optimizing Your Website for Mobile.
Virtually everybody online is on a mobile device these days. Nothing kills engagement like not being able to read an article because it doesn’t properly fit on your screen or because the visuals are blurry.
I know I’ve been in the middle of reading a blog post on Pinterest and had an opt-in pop up and block the rest of the article. Ugh. I wasn’t able to simply scroll over and close it because the box extended beyond the border of the screen. The result? I had to abandon reading the article. Need I say more?
2. Not Pinning Properly.
If you’ve been on social for some time now, you no doubt know that consistency is very important to growing a following. Each social site is somewhat different in terms of how often you should share content. For example, one post a day is generally enough for a brand on Facebook, whereas on Twitter multiple tweets is the norm.
On Pinterest, the best practice is to pin every single day, at different intervals, and to pin a few pins each time. Aim for between 20 to 30 pins a day. Do not just pin your own content. Generously re-pin other people’s content as well. Consistency, frequency and volume are all part of the equation to generate followers and repins.
3. Overlooking Group Boards.
Group boards enable you to immediately increase your visibility on Pinterest and they skyrocket your impressions. Impressions = your total potential audience (all your followers plus all of their followers.). It’s a potential audience, rather than actual, because not all of your followers and their followers will actually see your pins of course. Some accounts may not be active anymore, some people may not be online frequently enough to catch your content, and others may only have enough time to share their own pins before dashing back off into the real world.
But impressions are important because when they trend upwards so do the number of eyes on your content, your followers and your repins. Join and create group boards and watch how quickly traffic starts pouring in for you when you do. It’s amazing.
4. Immediately Going into Self-Promotion Mode on Group Boards.
It goes without saying that this is gauche. I know you’re better that than but not everybody is. Everyone with a business account on Pinterest is there to build a following and sell a product or a service. Demonstrate that you get that and behave like the collaborator you are when you’re pinning to other people’s group boards.
Do NOT come out of the gate with a headline and description on your pin asking people to sign up for your new webinar or course. The creator of the board is probably also promoting a similar product, as are three-quarters of the other people on the board.
So just be considerate and sell more quietly, via a call-to-action in your blog post. Save more aggressive self-promotion for your own Pinterest boards, your newsletter, your email list and your other social sites, etc., or risk getting the boot.
5. Pinning whatever you like.
Audience first is your mantra. Pin for them, not you. Curate well and then create complementary content to attract and retain your audience that dovetails with your expertise.
It’s okay to include several boards that show your brand’s personality. For example, if you’re a food blogger or cookbook author on Pinterest, and you happen to be crazy about skydiving, it’s okay to have a board about skydiving on your page. It makes your brand a little more interesting, differentiates you from other bloggers and relaxes the boundaries slightly so that people can approach and interact with you around another shared passion. Just don’t go off the deep end and create 37 boards about skydiving. You know what I mean. Keep your ratio reasonable so that the primary purpose of your page isn’t diluted.
6. Not Using Keyword-Rich Descriptions on your Pins.
The words used in your headline and to describe your pin can influence how many people will see it. There is so much content on Pinterest that there needs to be a mathematical equation to determines who sees what. The words you choose can influence that prioritization.
How do you know which words to use? Go to the Pinterest search bar, and type in what words you think people will type in when they’re searching for the topic you’re writing about. Note how many people are actually following that term, and the subcategories that appear. The more popular terms appear to the left of your screen. Try typing in synonyms, creating phrases and so forth, to see how many people are searching for, or following, that specific term.
Use the more popular words in your headline and in your alt tag (the space for text beneath your photograph) as it is the latter content that will appear in your pin description.
7. Not Following People Strategically.
You need to follow popular people writing great content who are in your niche. Yes, of course, that’s common sense. But once you’ve added them and everybody else you know is relevant, what then?
I like to type keywords into the Pinterest search bar and see who shows up. I do a little sifting and winnowing. Do I like this person’s boards? Their voice? If so, I follow them and pin some of their stuff. Hopefully they’ll notice and consider following me and pinning some of my pins in return. But even if they don’t, my boards will be richer.
8. Overlooking the Importance of Positioning and Visuals.
Google scans your boards on Pinterest. If the cover photos to your boards remain static, the bots stop scanning them and they won’t show up in search. I’m not particularly concerned about my Pinterest boards showing up on Google however if you accidentally delete a board, and I have, it’s a godsend to be able to find it on Google and re-pin it.
Because search engines scan data from the top of the page down, your best boards need to be on the first row of your page.
Visuals drive engagement and are only growing in importance on social. I’ve read three blog posts in the last week suggesting that I change the cover photo to a popular pin (that has already been circulated) and pin it again, because the exact same content with a different photo brings in yet more repins and followers! (Does this mean people are pinning these pins for later and forgetting to read them? Rhetorical question.) I have not done that yet and am not sure how I feel about it, but my point is that getting savvy about visual marketing is a game changer.
9. Not watching key metrics.
Don’t ignore the analytics Pinterest makes available to all business accounts (with verified websites). They’re pretty robust. Identify which metrics are most important for your goals and compare equal time frames with the prior equal time frames. For example, compare a three-month period this year to a three-month period earlier this year, or to a three-month period last year. That way you’re comparing apples to apples and not apples to oranges.
Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments below. And, if you’re particularly authentic, consider sharing what mistakes you’ve made in the past and how you’ve learned from them.
Colleen Dowd is a blogger, and 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 (especially interior decorating), is an animal advocate, avid reader and enthusiastic traveler. To connect with her, or work with her, click here: www.savvysocialmediamaven.com.