How I Hit 30,000 Pinterest Followers.

Let's pause on my pathetic attempt at inktober for a moment and talk about one of my favorite things in the world : Pinterest.  I might have mentioned this before, but I spend many an hour each day on this lovely, creative jackpot of a site, and use it for everything from my mom's beach house renovation, to my 9-5, to secret plans for bachelorette parties.  In my account's short existence I've managed to accumulate some 16,000+ pins and over 31,000 followers.  As a girlfriend of someone in web marketing and all-things-SEO, this is a major win in our competitive household ;).  


So, how do you build-up that kind of following?  Matt mentioned that this might be some good information to share, but there was never any strategy for world domination - I've done some things that I'm guessing might have helped, but it was never part of a master plan.  That said, just in case anyone's curious, here are some of my tips and tricks :

1. Pin everything.  Anything you might personally want to remember, pin.  Chances are that a) you'll wish you'd pinned it later, and b) someone else will be glad they're following you and saw that pin.  Some people are really choosy with their boards, carefully crafting them and their pinterest persona one image at a time.  I, on the other hand, follow some really awesome people who pin really great things, so I repin A LOT.  If I like it, I pin it.  Where there's an interest, there's a board to be made and pins to be saved for later.

2. Pin all the time.  I mean that - I scroll with rapid speed through pinterest  while I lay in bed at night, while I dry my hair in the morning, while I sit in traffic (at RED LIGHTS or on parked highways), while I wait for my computer to restart, while I'm waiting at the doctor's office, in the check-out line at the grocery store, and so on.  It's my "smoke break" throughout the day, typically how I start my mornings and get the juices flowing, and how I relax at night.  

3.  Follow anyone that grabs your interest.  When you're scrolling through the 'popular' section and you see a really cool graphic or awesome recipe, don't just repin it.  Follow that person - these are the people that will make your feed go from lame and overwhelmed by your cousin's favorite someecard jokes to diverse and useful.

4.  Never delete a board.  I make boards for projects at work and used to have to be super stealth with my names (before Pinterest threw us a bone with private boards), so chances are people don't know what the board was created for... but it still attracts followers.  For instance, I did some work for Nike.  We collected a ton of images of how Nike does their environments, stores, and images of things that inspired us - environmental graphics, products, etc.  The project is over, and the board served it's purpose, but I still collect followers on it.  People like Nike... why argue with that?  As far as I know there is no limit to the amount of boards you can have (I currently have a mere 74), so for now I'll just keep accumulating them and let the people keep them as long as they want.

5.  Pin from links, not direct uploads.  Don't be an asshole.  There's nothing worse than seeing an image of something (recipes are the worst!) and thinking "oooh where did THAT come from!," clicking, and seeing that it takes you nowhere.  Unless you created the image, pin from the original source - helps out the artist / photographer / etc and avoids dead-ends for your followers.  

6.  The nuts and bolts of it : there are strategies that I've looked into about how to use Pinterest as a marketing tool.  Here are some that I think have worked for me:

  • Create unique boards.  I don't just have "graphics," I have packaging, environmental graphics, diagrams + infographics, and so on.  Be specific so people feel like they've hit the jackpot when they find that niche board.
  • Use quality images.  When you pin something, Pinterest shows you every image on the page as an option.  Click the full-size image, not the thumbnail.  It matters.
  • Use detailed descriptions.  Putting "cool." as a description or - the worst - an empty space, might fulfill your obligation but it sucks for finding that pin later.  Describe the image, the source, the artist, the price, etc.  Use keywords in addition to whatever comment you have about the pin.
  • Play nice with your friends.  Nobody likes the show-boater, so instead of just pinning your own stuff and hoping the world follows behind, pin things from other people, follow other pinners, like things you actually like, and leave a comment where appropriate (NOT a comment linking back to your site!).  People like attention and will typically respond accordingly.
  • Link back to your site.  Duhh.  Each time I post something on my blog, I pin it.  Maybe nobody re-pins it, and maybe they don't look at it, but it's there and it includes my name in the description.  Why wouldn't I spread the (my) word?

This is the longest and least visual post I think I've ever had, but hopefully it helps open the doors to creating a massive following and using Pinterest to build your online presence.