When I embarked on The Pinterest Project in December 2015, I did it with one goal in mind: I wanted to gain Pinterest followers.
I gave myself one year to hit my goal, and got to work. At the time I had been blogging for years, but was just coming off the tail end of a ten month break. I had been neglecting my Pinterest account for even longer: the strategies I used to rely on were wildly out of date, which left me standing there with my (metaphorical) dick in hand.
Even though I knew my social media renaissance had to start with Pinterest, I wasn’t sure what my strategy looked like beyond that. It was clear to me, even then, that Pinterest was the most important tool I would be using when leveraging my content online, but I wasn’t sure how to actually apply that concept.
I also faced a secondary problem: there was a lot of conflicting information floating around (in fact, the great pin deletion debate still rages on in 2016), and because of it, I didn’t know which strategies to implement, and which to avoid.
My solution quickly became: creating my own strategies.
After attending a handful of Twitter chats, reading up on Pinterest’s algorithm update, and eating case studies like blocks of shame cheese, I cobbled together my own game plan to gain Pinterest followers.
It worked. It wasn’t fast (at first), but I saw growth. First one new follower, and then another. In the first month (December 2015 to January 2016), I saw an overall growth of +14 new followers.
For ME, that was good. Up until that little bloop, I had been stuck in the mid-300s for actual years.
By the end of January I knew I was on the right track, and it made me hungry for more – what I was doing worked, but I wanted it to work better. I redoubled my efforts and implemented phase two.
Between January and February 2016, I had a net gain of +59 new followers. February is a short month, too, so it equaled out to something like 59 new followers in 29 days. 59 delicious, completely organic followers.
We’re currently in the first week of May, and my Pinterest account is sitting at a comfortable 1,020+ followers:
So let’s talk about THAT number for a second. My goal was to double my Pinterest followers before the end of 2016, and I tripled them within half that amount of time. And I want to be very clear, here, too: I did not buy my followers, participate in follow for follows, or spam giveaways.
What I learned was: there are three things you must do to see growth and gain Pinterest followers.
Loop and repin your pins – A pin with just one repin is more valuable than the same piece of content pinned ten times over. The more popular your pin becomes, the more value Pinterest will see in it. When Pinterest finds a valuable pin, that pin will show up in more peoples Smart Feeds than a pin with low/zero repins. Leverage a tool like BoardBooster to do your looping and repinning for you.
Post good content, consistently – Pinterest users love evergreen content and pinners who pin multiple times a day. The sweet spot for pins seems to be in the 15 to 30 pins per day range, depending on your audience. The more (QUALITY) content you post, the higher your repin and follower counts will be.
Optimize your board + pin descriptions with keywords – As we go into 2016 and 2017, a strange thing is happening: more people are using Pinterest as a search engine than a social media network. The only way Pinterest users who don’t already follow you will discover your content through search is if you be sure to include rich descriptions in every pin and board.
Because I love a good case study, I put together a cheat sheet with EXACTLY what I did on a monthly basis for five months to gain Pinterest followers. I documented ev ery thing because I knew I was onto something good.
The end result is this cheat sheet… and it’s a meaty one.
You guys know how much I hate buzzwords.