According to a November 2014 TechCrunch report, Pinterest is the second-fastest growing social network in terms of active users, and the fastest growing network in overall member growth – about 70 million users as of June 2014. The network’s image-focused online pin boards are highly engaging, particularly among females, which account for 80% of its member base and 94% of its pins and re-pins, according to MediaBistro.
While these user statistics are compelling, the really interesting statistics come down to business. Pinterest users buy, and they buy a lot.
According to data compiled by Digiday, Pinterest users:
- Spend significantly more at checkout than users coming from other social sites. Specifically, Pinterest users average $140 to $180 per order, while other social sites sites drive sales of just $60 to $80.
- Drive brand engagement – in fact, 70% of brand engagement is generated by the Pinterest community, not the brand’s own Pinterest pages.
- Trust the information they receive on Pinterest.
- Generate traffic for retail sites. 25% of retail website traffic comes from Pinterest.
If you’re a retailer who wants to tap into this highly engaged and influential audience – or if you’re someone who wants to learn, grow, and share with other pinners – here are some tips to grow your Pinterest audience. They worked for me – I’ve added more than 6,500 Pinterest followers to my account in about 11 months, up from just 1,000 followers when I initiated the change.
Ways to Gain More Pinterest Followers
1. Be Specific
Pinterest has an incredible search function, so it’s beneficial to be specific about the titles of your pin boards and your pins. Rather than naming a board “Food” or “Decor,” break down each board into niche subjects. For instance, instead of a general food board, use a title such as “Gluten-Free,” “Paleo,” or “Delicious Desserts.” People like to follow boards regarding specific subjects they’re interested in, so the more specific you can be, the more interest and followers you’ll be able to generate.
The same applies to any pin you’re pinning, whether you’re pinning your own content to your boards, or you’re re-pinning someone else’s content. Either way, if you label the pin appropriately with keywords, descriptions, and hashtags, other users are more likely to find your pins and follow your boards when they use Pinterest’s search function. For example, instead of labeling a sweater you like as “sweater,” you might want to label it, “green sweater, lightweight sweater, holiday sweater, #sweater,” so that Pinterest’s algorithm can more accurately place it in a search feed for those searching for sweaters.
2. Find & Follow Friends
From your Pinterest homepage, there’s a left-hand sidebar option that says “Find Friends.” Click on it. Pinterest can find anyone from your email list or social media accounts who also has a Pinterest page, and you can elect to follow anyone you choose.
Remember, Pinterest may be set up differently than Facebook or Twitter (in other words, it may not be as readily apparent that there’s social interaction to be had), but it’s still a social network. When you follow someone, they’re more likely to follow you back. This is especially true if you already have a relationship built in another capacity.
And because success begets success, the more friends you have who follow you, the more likely they are to share your content, and the more likely their friends are to see your content and pin, like, or follow what you’re doing.
3. Be Active
Sharing high-quality content on a regular basis is an incredibly important part of growing your Pinterest following. And if you’re a business, this doesn’t just mean pinning your own pins. Rather, take the time to re-pin pins to your boards that would be interesting for your audience, and engage other users on the network – comment on pins or boards you love, and use other user’s handles to tag them when you pin something you think they might like.
Just keep in mind, it’s not a good idea to flood your followers’ Pinterest feeds all at once with 100 images and re-pins – that’s annoying. Instead, spread out your engagement over the course of the day and try to split your sharing equally between your own pins or self-generated content and re-pins of other users’ content. By sharing frequently and showing appreciation for other users, you’re more likely to gain high-quality followers who engage with your content and share it with their own followers.
One thing I did that revolutionized my Pinterest engagement was to sign up for a third-party site that allowed me to schedule my pins. I personally use (and love) Ahalogy because it lets me schedule my own pins and pin other Ahalogy users’ pins from the Ahalogy dashboard. I can also use its downloadable widget to easily pin (and even edit) almost any image I find on any website – giving credit to the website where the image was found, of course.
That said, Ahalogy isn’t the only resource available for scheduling pins. ViralWoot and Everypost both offer scheduling functionality, and Hootsuite recently teamed up with ViralTag to enable pin scheduling as well – as long as you have a pro-level Hootsuite account.
4. Think Seasonally
Since my Pinterest account is largely related to health and fitness, I’m expecting a big boom in followers between January and February – right when New Year’s resolutions are made. Pinterest users are seeking out and searching for popular topics. For instance, according to Search Engine Watch, holiday pins start gaining traction in August, and continue to see increases in pins and re-pins through December. Then in December, pins about gardening start ramping up.
If you’ve got a pin board you want to promote for back-to-school content, such as school lunches or back-to-school shopping, think a few months ahead and start filling the board with good content in May, gradually building it up in June and July when parents start thinking about making the fall transition.
5. Share Good Content
Pinterest is all about images, and a quick search for “chicken casserole” proves that not all images are created equal. Some look delicious, while others look pretty unappetizing. Frankly, if you’re hoping to gain followers from Pinterest search traffic (which is an excellent way to gain followers), your best bet is to pin and re-pin only the highest-quality images.
This means the images should have good lighting, and they should be clear and uncluttered. For instance, this image of chicken pot pie casserole looks a million times better than this image of chicken and dumpling casserole.
Pinterest is still in its infancy, and it’s still finding ways to make its platform more functional, both for users and brands. And because image search is such a powerful tool, it’s quickly becoming a go-to search engine for visually interesting content, particularly food, fashion, decor, and gardening. If you use the platform wisely, with a focus on gaining an engaged audience, you’ll see yourself quickly becoming an influencer on the network.
Are you on Pinterest? How do you use the social platform?