Melissa Taylor went from jumping onto Pinterest because all her blogger friends kept telling her how cool it was, to having 1 million+ followers (now nearly 1.5m) in only 9 months. How did she do it? Her advice to brands: “Focus on being awesome, not getting followers.”
Shortly after she hit the million plus mark, Melissa published a book, which is well worth reading: Pinterest Savvy: How I Got 1 Million+ Followers. She also runs an online course, Pinterest Saavy, for brands and social media marketers seeking impressive growth metrics and conversion rates.
Pinterest is not the land of brands. In a social network founded on passion and beautiful images we are seeing the rise of the individual tastemakers. Brands can learn a lot from how individual taste-makers grow and maintain their followers.
People like Melissa Taylor, Brittany Cozzens (a marketing freshman with over 3m followers), and other power bloggers and tastemakers, whose followers run into the millions are useful case studies for brands looking to generate sustainable returns from their Pinterest marketing. Here are five useful tips from successful bloggers and brands on Pinterest:
1. Pin During Peak Times
Studies show most users are on Pinterest in the afternoons (14:00 – 16:00 EST) and evenings (20:00 – 01:00 EST). Therefore, scheduling content during those peak times is an effective way to generate more traffic to your website.
You shouldn’t overwhelm your audience with pins. A recommended scheduled number is between 5 and 10 pins at a time. Compared to Facebook & Twitter, (where content is published, gains traction, then vanishes into the noise) images have a longer life-cycle on Pinterest. This is something Hearst Digital Media has found, which is why conversion rates are higher for them on Pinterest than the other social networks, combined.
2. Size Matters
Taller images gets more repins. Melissa Taylor and social media marketing professionals, have all tested this theory, and it works. Other tricks for increasing repins, likes, followers, and ultimately traffic to your website include using text in the images. You can manipulate the images to ensure the photo beneath shows through a text box, or use your branding like a watermark. This is good for brand awareness, SEO, and making Pinterest a major web traffic pipeline.
3. Make Your Products Pin-Ready
Bergdorf Goodman is cited by Melissa Taylor as one of those brands that is really on the ball. Their products – from Jimmy Choo shoes to Dolce & Gabbana handbags – benefit massively from Pinterest’s core demographic (85% women, aged between 25 to 44). They have wasted no time using this to their advantage. Melissa is particularly impressed by their integration strategy: “Every single product on their website has a “Pin It” button. The product description plus the company name, Bergdorf Goodman, automatically loads when the “Pin It” button is clicked. It’s perfect.”
4. Think Small, Pin Big
Zina Harrington from Lasso the Moon recommends going off the beaten track for cool images which will wow your audience. Look for more low-key tastemakers: “Follow everyday people with good taste.” Zina recommends this because you’re more likely to find content that is fresh and original.
There are so many lists of influential Pinterest users that anyone trying to grow their followers the easy way will be busy mining and re-pinning their images. It would be like just churning out Mashable’s tweets in the hope of getting social media marketers to follow you on Twitter. It won’t work, so don’t bother. “There are many fish in this creative ocean. Look for smaller friends and your repins will feel fresh.”
5. The Warren Buffett Approach
What does the investor and multi-billionaire Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway have to do with Pinterest, you might be wondering? Nothing directly. He isn’t an investor. He is, however, a great example of a man who has built his career, not by going after the quick buck, but instead consistently focusing on sustainable long-term growth. Apply the Buffett investment rules to social media: aim to be sustainable, consistent, and awesome, as Melissa Taylor advises, which is how she now has over 1.5 million followers.
Key Takeaways: Pin at the right times, size matters, make your web content Pin-ready (especially if you sell products), find hidden gems for more interesting content, and ensure your content is consistently awesome. Put the right tactics in place early on and, like Bergdorf Goodman, you will notice a steady and snowballing volume of traffic from Pinterest to your website.