8 Easy Things I Did that Increased My Pinterest Following Over 450%

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Sometimes, looking around at others in your industry can give you a lot of insight into what you should be doing.

Regardless of what you do in your business, chances are you’re not the first in your industry to establish an online presence. One of the many things I share with my clients is to make sure you're paying attention to the businesses around you that have a presence online.

Overall, this is a common business marketing strategy - it’s called second mover advantage.

Put simply, it means learning from those that started in your industry before you. Watching other businesses within your industry and within the online space is an excellent way to learn what you should be doing and doing differently.

I employ this strategy all the time and encourage you to as well. We're not reinventing the wheel - there's plenty of information all around us that we can use in our own marketing.

A great example of this in my own online strategy was in 2015, I started to notice that while I was using Pinterest to pin recipes, fashion, and jewels that many businesses in my field were using it to share their website content.

This kind of blew my mind.

Pinterest is for Everyone

How could Pinterest be working for them? Wasn't this a place where you just pinned pretty things to dream about?

Yes and no.

Pinterest is a search engine where people go to learn and be inspired in all sorts of things.

Understanding this was key to my thinking about the space much much differently.

8 Things I Did to Increase My Pinterest Following by Over 450% | Meighan O'Toole

I set out to look at my direct competition in the marketing space and others I admired in the online business world. Sure enough, they were all using Pinterest to share their content and drive traffic back to their websites.

I decided I was going to see if I could do the same.

So I got to work. And over the next year, I turned my Pinterest account into the number one driver of traffic to my website. I increased my following from roughly 1800 followers to just over 10,000 followers in 2016.

Almost 3 years later Pinterest is still my number one driver of traffic back to my website.

The Exact Actions I Did & Still Do

I’m going to tell you exactly what I did in the beginning, so you can get started with your own Pinterest strategy as soon as you finish reading this blog post. But keep in mind all of the things I share with you below, are all things I still do today to continue to build my following and drive my traffic there.

Pinterest has changed over the years, and there are some things I do differently than I did back then. But I will tell you, Pinterest is hands down one of the most rewarding platforms to share content.

Pinterest as a platform is incredibly rewarding to users and very helpful and upfront about what you can do to create great content.

Converted to a Business Account

This is the first and one of the most important things you should do. Before you freak out about creating a business account and wondering if Pinterest will penalize you like Facebook has done in the past: no.

One of the coolest things about Pinterest is that it encourages businesses to share its content and actually works to get your content in front of the right people! Plus, Pinterest business accounts offer helpful features (like analytics and the ability to promote pins) that you don't get as an individual user.

If you're new to Pinterest and just creating an account now, go here to create a business account. If you have a personal account, Pinterest recommends that you convert it to a business account (this is what I did). You will not lose anything at all. You’ll retain all of your followers and pins. Convert your personal account to a business account here.

Updated My Bio & Added a Profile Image

Once I had a business profile, I made sure to update my bio so it was clear who I was and what I offered in my business. I also added a photo that I used across all of my marketing channels.

8 Things I Did to Increase My Pinterest Following by Over 450% | Meighan O'Toole

No one likes filling out their bio. I get it. But I can’t tell you how often I see an empty bio. Friends, this is a huge missed opportunity. You have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention - your profile pic and bio are your immediate calling cards online. Don’t skimp on these!

Pro-Tip: Create a bio that you can use everywhere. If you haven’t done this, I highly recommend doing it right now.

Adding Pins to All of My Blog Posts

The next action I took that was hugely helpful was creating pins and adding them to all of my blog posts. I made sure these pins represented my branding so they were visually identifiable; I used my logo and brand colors.

At the time I was on a Wordpress blog, so having such large images on my blog posts looked terrible. I used Pinch of Yum’s tutorial in hiding pins within blog posts with a little bit of code.

As you can see in my post now, the pin lives to the right and is smaller - that’s because I'm on SquareSpace now and they make it very easy to adjust images.

A few tips: 

  • Create vertical pins. They do best in the Smart Feed, and most people use Pinterest on their smart phone, so vertical pins just look better and stand out.
  • As of 2018 the optimal size for a pin is 600x900.
  • Create super cute and branded pins easily on Canva for free.
  • Stay consistent with your branding, but test what pins work best for you. I have 3-4 different Pin templates I use all of the time. This saves me time, and makes it super easy for me to make sure I get a pin on every single blog post.

Added a Pin It Button to My Website

8 Things I Did to Increase My Pinterest Following by Over 450% | Meighan O'Toole

This seems like something to skip, but don’t. Again, you have a few seconds to grab people’s attention online. Make it easy for people to pin from your site!

All of the major sites have pin it buttons, and Wordpress has many plugins to choose from.

Created Boards that Speak to My Ideal Client

I’m pretty clear on who my ideal client is - she’s a woman that owns her own business, is in her mid 30-50s, and is creative (She likes to paint and/or sew, along with various other creative endeavors) and she’s interested in being fashionable.

I had all of the other boards covered (fashion, adornment, sewing, painting, quilting, etc.). I now just needed to add boards that represented the content I wrote and taught about.

Once I did this, I made sure to add my business boards to the very top.

Simple Pin Media puts it perfectly: “Think of your Pinterest page as doors to your content. How many doors can you offer your audience to get into your content? Open every door you possibly can!”

Read more about what Kate their founder has to say about creating boards here.

8 Things I Did to Increase My Pinterest Following by Over 450% | Meighan O'Toole

Don’t overthink your boards, Pinterest is all about the long game. You can create more boards as you develop your brand. Start with a handful of boards that represent the content on your website.

By all means do not delete your boards. You will lose followers. Just hide any boards (make them secret) that no longer represent who you are, or simply just move them way down.

Scheduled My Pins

When I tell people I schedule my pins they're always so surprised! But it’s true, scheduling your pins is one of the best ways to stay consistent with your strategy and save so much time. It takes 10 minutes to do every week!

I recommend using Tailwind because it’s my go to scheduler, and I only recommend things I use. But I also recommend it because it’s a massive time saver.

Tailwind tells you when the best times to pin your content are, which takes the guessing out of when you should post.

Repinned My Popular Content

This is another thing that blows people’s mind. And it’s one of the things I love to tell people!

We’re all spending soooo much time creating content. One of the coolest things about Pinterest is that it’s suggested and smart to repin your popular content.

This means different things for each business, but pay attention to your Pinterest analytics. Watch what does well, and repin the pins that get a lot of traction.

And! Repin your pins to multiple boards. Don’t just pin your pin to one board and leave it at that. You should be strategically pinning your content.

When I write a blog post, I make sure to schedule it in Tailwind and I pin that particular pin to all of the relevant boards over a period of time. For instance, with this blog post, I’ll pin to my “Pinterest” board, my Blog board, my Social Media Strategy board, and my Creative Online Presence board over the next few weeks.

Remember that when you're pinning your own content: where else can this go?

Pinned Quality Content

I also made sure to pin a mixture of my content and high quality content that would speak to my ideal client.

I have no problem sharing other business coaches and marketers content. I look at my Pinterest account as a place to cultivate the best environment for my ideal client. I truly want to educate my readers with the best education - so it makes sense for me to to pin others content.

Only pinning my stuff would be boring and go against best practices online.

Whew! Is That It?

I know this seems like a lot. It is. But keep in mind, you don’t have to do all of this at once. Take it slow. if you're pinning high quality content, Pinterest will continue to share your work for years! I've seen my content and my client's content generate traffic for years.

Just stay consistent, and keep at it. You'll get it all done, and you will learn even more in the process.

Good luck! And if you have any questions, as always let me know below.

P.S. Want to learn more? Join us for our upcoming Pinterest workshop, Pinterest for Your Creative Business! Learn more here.

Meighan O'Toole

Always all in.