Summer is often one of the slowest times of the year for creative businesses and Dear Handmade Life is no exception. That doesn’t mean we kick back at the beach all summer long but it does mean that we take some time off to recharge and tackle personal goals as well as reevaluate our business to determine what’s working, what isn’t and how to make it better.
One of the things on my business to-do list this summer was to build our Pinterest following which has stagnated since we started it a few years ago at a few thousand followers. Out of all the social media outlets Pinterest and Instagram are the ones I enjoy spending time on the most. Delilah and I share posting on our Instagram account and although I feel like I could definitely dedicate some more time there, I was less familiar with Pinterest and wanted to learn so I dove right in and starting jotting down Pinterest tips that I came up with along the way.
Over the next few months I came up with some Pinterest tips and techniques then I implemented them. In the past I pinned inconsistently and pretty much only pinned images that I liked personally. I wasn’t thinking about Pinterest as an extension of our brand but rather as something for my personal pleasure. Changing my perspective and making Pinterest about Dear Handmade Life instead of about Nicole was the first step. The next things I did were to make a promise to spend one month being diligent on Pinterest and not to obsess about how many new followers we had until the end of my first month trying these new techniques. The second things were harder than the first. There were many days that I didn’t want to spend 20 minutes pinning or felt uninspired because the day before we only got 10 new followers instead of 100. But I pushed through and at the end of the month not only had I learned a LOT but we’d gained over 1,000 new followers. Right now at about 18 weeks from when I started we’ve tripled our following (we started with 2,800 and now we have over 9,200 followers). We’re averaging over 300 new followers per week and I’m spending less time pinning that I did when I started and having more fun.
I had no idea if my Pinterest tips and techniques would work but since they worked far better than I thought they would I wanted to share them with all of you! I’m by no means a social media expert however these are the things that worked for me. Below is part 1 of my 20 tips for building your Pinterest audience.
1. Set a frequency and time limit.
Think of pinning as would any other business task. You wouldn’t spend an endless amount of time doing your accounting. You would enter in your income and expenses and then move onto another task. Since you could literally spend 24 hours a day on Pinterest you need to set a time limit and frequency. I chose 20-minute sessions 6-7 times a week. Pick an amount of time you’re comfortable with and stick to it. If you think you may get lost in the Pinterest vortex, set a timer.
2. Use a pin scheduler.
I tried this out and although it didn’t work for me, many of my work friends swear by it so I wanted to include it. I used Viralwoot which worked well. Some other pin schedulers I’ve had suggested to me are Viraltag & Tailwind. How a pin scheduler works is that you pin something and then schedule a time for it to post to your account so that you can make sure your posts are going up at optimal times. Although I think this would be helpful for me, it took out some of the fun I was having pinning and made it feel less organic. I chose my enjoyment over pinning at the perfect times and it working just fine.
3. Pin often.
This seems obvious but the truth is that the more things you pin the more of chance you have of someone seeing your pin and then following you. I don’t record the number of things I pin per day but I’d say on average it’s between 30-100.
4. Go vertical.
I knew this before I began this experiment but I started paying more attention to whether a pin was vertical or horizontal when I started trying to build my following. Pinners will notice a vertical pin more often than a horizontal one because they take up more space, are more eye-catching in a see of horizontal images and you can see the image better (since it’s bigger) on mobile devices. Keep this in mind when you’re creating your own pins as well as pinning other people’s images.
5. Create a lifestyle magazine for your brand.
Your business Pinterest account is not about you, it’s about your business. You have to make the distinction between what you like and want to pin and what’s relevant to your customers. Thinking about it as a lifestyle magazine for our customers was a helpful technique for me. Even though my house is full of color I pin a lot of rooms with white walls and bohemian décor because that’s what many of our ideal customers are interested in. If you’re not sure what your customers are into create a customer profile for them. Check out this post on how to find your ideal customer.
6. Be choosey but don’t overthink it.
Even though you want to pin a lot, quality is just as (if not more) important than quantity. However if you spend all of your time going back and forth about whether you should pin or not pin an image you’re wasting time. Follow your instincts while keeping the brand of your business and your customer in mind. If you have to ask yourself if you should pin it or not, chances are that you shouldn’t.
7. Consider the aesthetic of the image.
Sometimes I’ll see a DIY project that I know our audience would be into but the photograph or the font doesn’t fit with our brand. Instead of pinning images like this I’ll look to see what other pins people who pinned this pinned (if you scroll down below the pin you’ll see this information) and I try to find one that’s a better aesthetic fit for our brand.
8. Know when to pin.
There are a lot of opinions on when to post but these don’t take into account who YOUR customers are. Consider where you customers live and what kind of schedule they have. If most of your customers work 9 to 5 jobs, they may not catch your pins if you pin in the afternoon while they’re scrambling to get work done before the end of the day BUT when they come home they may unwind after work on Pinterest, so posting between 6:00-8:00pm may be your best time. Consider using a pin scheduler (like one the ones I mentioned above) if you can’t pin when your customers are online. Check in with your analytics which I’ll mention in part two of this post to see which pins get repined and look for patterns with optimum posting times.
9. Pin in various categories.
Have you ever been going through your feed and come across dozens of pins in a row on a subject you care nothing about? This used to happen to me all the time and I’d get so frustrated that I’d unfollow the person. You don’t want to be this person. Mixing up the category you pin on is essential to not annoying your followers. My rule is that I try not to pin more than 5 images in the same category in a row.
10. Follow boards not people.
Instead of following all of someone’s boards, take the time to go through and pick the boards that are relevant to what you pin and follow them. This will save you time of not having to go through pins you’re not interested in.
Stay tuned next week for the next 10 Pinterest tips on 20 Tips That Grew My Pinterest Audience by 1,600+ Followers Per Month.