A Guide to Getting The Most Out of Pinterest

A few weeks ago the #lbloggers chat (a twitter chat for lifestyle bloggers to share opinions and talk about all things blogging, the chats are fab.  If your a blogger and haven't had a peek at them yet I would definitely recommend them, they are super helpful too) was all about Pinterest and if people thought it helped them with their blog traffic.  I sent out a tweet saying my pinterest account was one of my biggest sources of traffic for my blog alongside twitter and I had a massive influx of tweets from fellow bloggers asking me for some tips and help on how I grew my pinterest following and how to get the most out of pinterest.

So inspired by that I thought I would make a little 'How To Win at Pinterest' post.  I don't normally do advice or giving out tips, type posts as I always think things like social media and blogging are all a little bit about chance just as much as they are about following a set of rules, I don't really think there is a key to success with these kinda things but I am completely OBSESSED with pinterest and I do think there is a few things that you can do to make your pinterest account work as well as possible for you so I thought I would make this post to share what I have done and how I use pinterest....

Name your boards - Something that really helped my pinterest was to re-name all my boards.  I had really fancy (and I have to be honest, I thought they were pretty damn awesome, well in my mind they were haha!) names for all my boards but they didn't actually mention what the board was about, like my board that I pinned all the people whose outfits inspired me was called 'The Cool People' I changed the name to 'STYLE' and it nearly doubled how many re-pins and likes it got, and the reason was because people simply couldn't find it before.  Make your board names really clear and simple and make them easily search-able.  If you have a board all about say, dogs think about what you would search for if you were going on pinterest and you wanted to look at dogs, would you search for 'the things that say woof'? No, you would search for the word dogs, or cute dogs or something with the word dog in it.  Your titles can still be fun, I still have silly ones on some of my boards but they still directly say what the board is about.

Pin what you love - I think this one is really important.  When I first joined pinterest I found it pretty overwhelming looking at that blank virtual mood board in front of me.  I had 'liked' some pins but I had no where to put them as I just didn't know what type of boards I wanted to make.  The good thing about pinterest is you can move about, delete and rename boards as much as you like, so if you made a board a year ago that you wished you hadn't and you don't think it goes with your over all pinterest any more then just delete it or change it slightly and rename it.  I just took a minute and thought what was I going to use pinterest for. I joined pinterest and still use it so that it can inspire me, I see the blog traffic as a bonus of being on pinterest not a reason to still use it.  So after I realised that, I got to work on creating boards of things that inspired me, home décor, style, hair, art, music, films, tattoos, the list goes on.  I fell in love with pinterest after that, I just felt and still do feel so inspired when I see things people have created on there and that's why I keep pinning.  So my advice is if your pinning only popular, generic stuff to try and get more followers, it won't work as you'll get bored and give up.  To stick at pinterest, it's like blogging if you don't love it and find it fun you'll stop doing it.

Be descriptive - When you pin an image or repin an image, pinterest asks you to describe your pin.  This is what will be used to help people find your image as much as what your boards name is, so be descriptive.  If it's a pink car from the 50's, just write 'pink car from 1950'.  Just make it simple but super clear.  Also you can use hashtags, they are not as used on pinterest as twitter but some people still search using them in pinterest so there is no harm in putting them in the description box too.

Follow Boards - What made pinterest fun for me was being inspired by all the awesome stuff on it but I have to be honest when I first started and was following like 3 boards it was pretty boring for a while as nothing new really got added for me to look at as the people I were following didn't pin very often.  So my tip is go follow people.  It's my favourite thing when I find a new board to follow.  You have the option of following peoples individual boards or your can follow their whole account.  I do a mix of both it just depends.  There are a few people that I follow that I know the minute I see the pin is from their pinterest, that I'm going to be repining it as our boards are so similar in what we like and I just love that feeling of knowing someone with super similar taste to you will be pinning loads of stuff that will inspire you and hopefully they feel the same about your pins too.  Also when people pin your things, take a look at their boards.  Chances are if they are interested in what your pinning, their boards will be really similar, I've found some awesome pinners this way.

PIN- So, pretty obvious but it's the thing that changed my follower count the most.  I had never really bothered about how many followers I had on pinterest, like I said above I'm on their to be inspired not to try and scout followers for my blog but when I got my Kindle in the summer I downloaded the free Pinterest app. (It's beautiful and so simple and easy to use, I actually find it much easier to pin on that than on my laptop) Using the app is so simple and because my kindle is always on unlike my laptop I started to dip in and out of the app more often.  So when I was using pinterest on my laptop I would maybe pin for say 15 mins out of a day, now that I use the app, I pin super frequently throughout the day, for maybe only a few minutes at a time but a few minutes every few hours add up (I don't do this everyday, just trying to give you an average) So my follower count went from just under 100 to over 600 in literally under a couple of months just due to changing my board names and pining more often. 

Times to pin - I know not everyone can whip out their kindle or ipad every hour to pin a few pictures so I think if you only have a limited time to pin then you should use it wisely.  I find pinning around 10 or 10.30 at night a really popular time to pin because I follow a lot of American boards and that's when they pin the most because of the time difference.  I find there is so much beautiful stuff for me to pin at that time as they are filling up their boards which in turn means I get more follows and repins as there is more people using it as that point too.  Also around 6.30/7 is a good time as I find a lot of people repin things then too.

Check out what's popular - When I was struggling to find boards to follow at the start I checked under the popular section of the website and I found a lot of awesome people to follow there.  I have super common tastes when it comes to pinterest, hair boards, check.  Mary-Kate and Ashley board, check, so it makes sense why I like a lot of the popular pins as they are literally mostly pictures of hair and MK and A so if your tastes are a little more eclectic then you might not find anything that takes your fancy but you can always just use the search bar and search for what type of boards you would like to follow.

Know your audience - I honestly think if you let yourself fall a little in love with pinterest then you will naturally build up blog traffic (that's what I've done) but I know that's not for everyone so if you'd rather just use it as a marketing tool then no judgement here (seriously none, if you post enough pictures of MK and A I will obvz follow your board, regardless of your intentions of wanting me to just look at your blog, hehe!) What I would say if your doing this is, know your audience. Pinterest is made up of mostly females, around 68 percent of them,  Half of pinterest users have children and are aged between 25 - 34 (thanks google) so that gives you a pretty clear picture of your audience as well as looking at the most popular section of the website that I mentioned earlier.  Also taking a look at some of the most popular boards on some peoples accounts will probably tell you the same thing, hairstyle, make-up, DIY's, tutorials, life hacks, Mary-Kate and Ashley (OK, it's me, I'm pinning all there pictures, no one else) really fashionable people, really fashionable outfits, bloggers tattoos and quotes about that are kinda so sappy that you both hate and love them at the same time.  Oh and not forgetting pretty houses and pictures of far away lands that realistically no one has ever been too (seriously please raise your hand if you have been to that country with the pink ocean that everyone has on there 'wanderlust' board, i don't even know if that place is real or just photoshopped?)  So if you wanted views and followers i would suggest that you include at least a few of these boards on your pinterest.

Whew...big post. Sorry that it ended up a little wordy but i just wanted to try and fit in as much as possible.  There are a few things that i left out as it would literally have become the longest post in history but if you enjoy this one let me know and i can do a part 2 with the rest of the tips in it.  I also really want to do a post with my favourite boards in it so you can all check them out and follow some awesome people.

I really hopes this helps even just a little bit.  It's like what i said at the start though, this isn't a sure fire way to double your follower count or get more traffic on your blog its just a guide to what i did and those two things just naturally happened.

I know i should really stop gushing but really i genuinely love pinterest and if you are a bit in two minds about it, give it a go because i really think there is something on there for everyone.

Let me know what you think in the comments and if you have a question to can tweet me HERE too.
Let me know if you've got a pin board and I'll give it a follow and you can check mine out HERE.