Pinterest is a not social media platform it’s a search engine, therefore followers there don’t play the same role like on other platforms. This is probably the biggest myth and misconception which in people still believe and keep focusing on getting more and more followers on Pinterest, so missing the larger goals and more important factors.
There are loads of outdated and wrong information about Pinterest on the internet and one of them is that you have to have X number of followers to be successful in terms of getting traffic to your website or blog or getting email subscribers. In fact, followers on Pinterest don’t make a significant factor in any key way other than social proof.
Before we dive into the details, I wanted to show a quote from Ben Silbermann, CEO and Founder of Pinterest:
“Our job is to help you discover ideas for yourself. Those ideas come from other people, but the objective is not to get a lot of followers or to impress others.
There are a lot of really valuable services that are always pushing you to communicate with other people. But there are relatively few services that are about helping you be the person you want to be and fulfilling your ambitions”
WHY FOLLOWERS ON PINTEREST DON’T MATTER AS MUCH AS YOU THINK?
Well, because of the Smart Feed, so the way Pinterest shows pins
WHAT IS A SMART FEED?
Smart Feed is a Pinterest algorithm which displays pins as best (repined by others) first not newest first and it’s based on information of what you repin, what you search for and what people you follow share.
Before Pinterest started to use Smart Feed around 2 years ago, pinners were seeing pins in chronological order from pinners they follow, so if someone pins 10 pins at the same time, you’ll see all of them in your home feed.
In the past, the number of followers was the factor how many people will see your pins, so if you had 100 followers, 100 people will automatically see your pins. Now, if your pins had 0 repins, fewer pinners will see them and it doesn’t matter if they follow you or not.
With the Smart Feed, pins you see in your home feed are obtained from three separate sources:
1. Repins made by pinners YOU follow or pins from boards you follow
So, if you follow people who pin things relevant to your target audience, you’ll see their pins on your feed (which will be a tons of content to fill out your boards with).
2. Related pins based on what you pin or searched for
Related pins will appear in your feed from people you follow as well as people you don’t follow. For example: if you search for Blogging tips, on your next visit, Pinterest might show pins similar to the one you search for and they’ll be marked as Picked for you
3. Interests you’re following
Following someone doesn’t mean that you’ll see all their pins, you’ll only see their pins that are performing well (have a large amount of repins). So with the Smart Feed, your pins will be most likely discovered through the search bar rather than just randomly show up in your home feed. If you follow topics relevant to your niche, you might see pins in that category on your feed.
I want you to write it down and remember that when you keep checking number of your followers and are afraid that no one can see your pins:
Your pins ARE seen by people who follow and DON’T follow you and you don’t need to pay for being seen (like for Facebook Ads)
That’s why utilising Pinterest SEO is probably the most important strategy for the Pinterest marketing aside, from creating beautiful, high-quality and pinnable images.
Again, important takeaway to remember:
Pinterest SEO is far more important than number of followers and this is what you should focus on instead if you really want to get the most of Pinterest
Before we dive in into detailed SEO strategies, let’s talk about qualities of a perfect pin, shall we?
You need to create pinnable graphics that both show and tell the pinner what they need, so your images have to stand out and they need informative descriptions. So what are the main components of high–quality pins?
THE ANATOMY OF THE PERFECT PIN FOR YOUR BLOG POST IMAGES:
- High-quality images or/and brand colours
- Keyword-rich description (no hashtags!)
- It’s a Rich Pin
- Includes a clear takeaway on an image
- Vertical and tall image
- Logo and/or website included in the pin
- Informative blog post title with keywords
- Bold and easy to read blog post title on an image (up to 3 fonts)
- Leads to a blog post or page mentioned within a pin (no broken or misleading links!)
HOW TO GET YOUR PINS SEEN? UTILISE SEO TECHNIQUES:
1. Name your images after a blog post title
Before you upload the file to your website, change its name to a title of your blog post, so for example, for this post, my feature image is called “Why followers on Pinterest don’t matter as much as you think and what you should focus on instead.jpg” not “randomnameofaimage.jpg”
2. Use alt text (alternative text, alt tags)
Basically, is the text alternative to a web image, in case the page is displayed as text only. It helps you in SEO general for other search engines like Google. Alt tags are important because this is usually the description of the pin which one of the Pin it buttons pulls off.
3. Use keywords in a pin description
Pinterest’s layout has recently changed, therefore only several words from the pin description are visible in a home feed, BUT there’s still a limit up to around 500 words and your description is searchable even if it’s get cut off in a feed. So you have a two options now:
1. You can use long tail keywords as your pin description and divide them with “|“
2. You can use few sentences which describe your blog post
Both of the options are totally fine, is up to you which one you choose.
While it’s nice to have lots of followers, don’t get caught up with that myth that having followers on Pinterest equals traffic, subscribers or audience, because it’s NOT.
Let me tell you a secret – many of my repins of my pins, come from people who don’t follow me and I’m getting tons of traffic from that.
I’ve seen so many bloggers with thousands of Pinterest followers and getting only dozens (or zero) of referrals from Pinterest monthly. I also know (and I’ll take myself as an example) that often, people with less than 1000 followers are successful getting more traffic, building their audience and email list.
I love the sentence I’ve found on a Pinterest blog:
“Instead of thinking of followers as your audience on Pinterest, think of them as the gateway to your audience on Pinterest.”
Aside from SEO optimising for pins and creating high-quality images, make sure to install pin it button on your website and create relevant boards for your audience with around 30 pins (don’t publish empty boards, leave them as secret boards).
I hope from now on, you’ll focus on creating pinnable graphics that converts well and don’t think about a number of followers you have on Pinterest. Make sure to fully utilise the Pinterest SEO, so optimise your profile, pins, boards and your images (you can read more about it in this post).