What I learnt at Pinterest

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Last month I was lucky enough to go to a little workshop at the Pinterest offices in London with a few other bloggers. I think Pinterest can be a really great tool and I have heard some bloggers talk about how it is the top traffic driver to their blog. That is not the case for me and so I figured if I learnt to use it better it could potentially be a much more effective tool. Saying that I don't want it to be come too businessy because I love using Pinterest as a bit of a leisure/relaxing/inspiration thing and I guess it's kind of personal - I am hoping I can find a nice balance of business and personal use as I go forward using it.

I found what I learnt at the workshop really helpful and so I wanted to share a bit here so that you guys can learn too!

1. Board and pin information is really important - Pinterest doesn't use hashtags and that is to encourage people to write really authentic content. Having good board titles and great descriptions for your boards and pins helps people to find your content. This kind of sounds like a lot of work to me but I can totally see the value and it's something that I am going to try and get into the habit of doing. Apparently statistically pins with longer descriptions perform better than those with short ones.

2. Use rich pins - Rich pins are pins that contain more information from your blog right there on the pin. There are 6 different rich pins (app, movie, recipe, article, product, and place) - I think these rich pins are particularly good if you do recipe posts as it brings in the ingredient list so people can quickly see what they need. It also works well for article posts where the beginning of your article is included on the pin...I guess it is another way of giving people a bit more information than just the image to encourage people to click over to your blog. It can also be helpful for products as it brings the price and product information into the pin. You can find information for how to use rich pins for your blog or website here

3. You can follow 'interests' not just boards - This was something that I totally wasn't aware of but it has been great for finding lots more of what I am interested in. I started following Graphic Design as an interest and a few others. You can see how to do it here.

4. Apart from pins that are about a specific holiday (i.e. Christmas) all other pins seem to be popular consistently throughout the year -  Going back and pinning old content from your blog is a good idea as there will be people who won't have seen it and who it will be relevant for, even if it's no longer relevant to you. Content has a really long life span on Pinterest. Maybe you got married a few years ago and blogged about it. Well someone getting married now will still find that content helpful. 

5. Don't ever delete your boards - If someone has followed just that board and you delete it then you are automatically losing a follower. Feel free to reorganise your board, change the name etc but don't ever delete them. This is something that I have definItely done in the past to try and make my profile look nicer, but we were reminded that unlike Facebook or Instagram, on Pinterest people don't really look at your profile so much. 

6. You can never have too many boards - I am not sure why but I thought that having too many boards would put people off, but actually people don't look at your profile the same way they might on Twitter or Instagram. You can't have too many boards and so recently I have added so many more and I am absolutely loving it. It feels a bit more organised and easy for me to find things that I want to refer back to. 

7. Think about your audience and what they care about - Do you run a fashion blog? It would make sense that on Pinterest you would be sharing that sort of content as well, and not just your own content, but also your inspiration. My blog is mainly about design, stationery/paper products, illustrators, photographers and all things creative...so it makes sense that a lot of my boards feature that kind of thing - people who follow my blog and check me out on Pinterest will want to see what I am inspired by. It is still personal though so it is not exclusively those things. 

8. The more you pin the more you get out of it - I guess this is the same for a lot of things in life. Since doing the workshop I have been pinning more regularly and have been enjoying it a lot more and have also seen a lot more engagement. One of my boards even got featured in one of the Pinterest UK email round ups. If you verify your website then you can actually see the stats of how many people are re-pinning and engaging with your pins. 

9. Don't forget to promote your Pinterest presence - I don't know why but I always forget to do this. I have started to do the occasional tweet to let people know that they can find me on Pinterest too, and have links on my website so people can get there. If people follow you on social media channels, the chances are they would like to follow you on Pinterest too. 

10. Vertical pins work better than horizontal pins - This is something that I really need to work on for future blog posts. I see loads of people doing it really well, and I am going to start trying to make sure that I include a vertical image in my posts. It makes sense, they will always appear bigger and are more eye catching. Also, it can often be handy to add text to your vertical pin so that people know exactly what your pin is about. You can use Over or PicMonkey to do that easily. 

11. You can now schedule pins  - I recently started using Buffer to schedule some of my pins and now you can do the same for Pinterest. I think for some people this can be handy, but I actually like looking on Pinterest and pinning during little pockets of time fairly regularly, so don't really feel the need. If you are interested in scheduling pins maybe check out Buffer or Percolate (there are a few others that do it too).

A few interesting facts:
1. Pinterest is not a social platform it is a bookmarking tool
2. The average pin is re-pinned 11 times
3. The search function is the biggest way that people find content
4. People tend not to follow people they know but they follow things they are interested in. 

Anyway I hope all of this has been helpful. I still think I need to improve how I use Pinterest, but to be honest you just need to do what works for you and most importantly what you enjoy. I really enjoy using Pinterest for personal enjoyment and so I don't really want it to become too businessy, but hopefully all these things I've learnt will help me to use it better and also encourage more traffic to my site. If you have any other tips please feel free to share below!

...and come follow me on Pinterest! Happy Monday!

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