7 Insider Pinterest Strategy Tips You Need to Know (from Pinterest)

Ready for some Insider Pinterest Strategy Tips? I’ve got bucketloads of tips for you – straight from Pinterest themselves!

In this post I break down what we should and shouldn’t be doing on Pinterest, and insider secrets that will help you get the results you want on the platform. It’s what Pinterest wants for your business too!

7 Pinterest Strategy Tips You Need to Know (from Pinterest)
Image by Shutterstock

BY DONNA MORITZ | 12 MAY, 2018 | CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS

So where does all this new information come from? You’re in luck! It comes from the purest, most credible source possible….

Pinterest’s Head of Product Marketing (Sarah Hoople Shere) sat down recently with Alisa Meredith (Content Marketing Manager from Tailwind, a Pinterest Partner and my tool of choice for scheduling to Pinterest) to chat all things Pinterest.

By tool of choice I mean that I have been a raving fan of Tailwind for years now and I use it daily to manage and schedule my Pinterest marketing.  As an ambassador for Tailwind, this post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through any link. (I only refer tools that I am in love with and use myself).

So if any company was going to ask the right questions on behalf of us, it would be Tailwind.  And Sarah answered all of those burning question … in detail!.

I was super impressed by how transparent she was with the information she shared about Pinterest – refreshing for a social media platform! Alisa asked some hard questions too…some deep questions about Pinterest Strategy.

She asked about what works, what doesn’t work, what we should and shouldn’t be doing with our Pinterest Strategy.  We also found out what Pinterest WANTS us to be doing.

Sarah answered every single question… and she busted some myths!  She blew our mind about how awesome Pinterest is (and we already thought it was pretty awesome!).

This interview is like a road map to success with your Pinterest Strategy. Sarah also answered all those answers to questions we didn’t even know we had to ask!

I’m about to share my notes with you, but if you prefer you can listen to the full interview anytime.  Click the video below to watch anytime.

Note that Sarah made a big point of saying that Pinterest is investing a lot in the success of content creators on Pinterest (that’s good news for all of us!).

Before we dive into the Pinterest Strategy tips, here’s a reminder about how your content gets found on Pinterest:

3 Ways to Find Content on Pinterest:

  1. The Pinterest Smart Feed – Pinterest’s Algorithm that decides how to rank pins based on a Pinterest user’s search.
  2. Hashtag Search – Pinterest’s hashtag search is pretty much like all other platforms.  We can use the search bar to search for a hashtag or click on a hashtag in any pin description or clicks.  Pinterest apparently returns the most recent pins on any hashtag search.
  3. Follow Tab – This is a new space on Pinterest where Pinterest will distribute content to people who follow you or your boards. It’s a new way to see content from the people you follow (like the old days of Pinterest).

So with that in mind, I’ve broken up the takeaways into 7 key areas of Pinterest Strategy to help you get your head around what works and take action:


7 Pinterest Strategy Tips from Pinterest That You Need to Know

#1  Strategy for Leveraging Pinterest

Firstly, a reminder that Pinterest is a search engine not a social media platform.  When you think of Pinterest in terms of how people are searching for content and what they are trying to find .. you can leverage it!

I like to think of Pinterest this way:

Pinterest is more like Google than it is like Facebook or Instagram. Think of it like a search engine, not a social media platform - Tweet this!Click To Tweet

Sarah gave the following general advice about getting found on Pinterest:

  • Keep the new “Follow Tab” in mind. As I mentioned above, this is the new way Pinterest distributes content by showing people who follow your boards.  You might start to see over time that your audience tends to ENGAGE with your content at a certain time of day for them.
  • New Pins will be distributed by Pinterest to followers first and now that can happen even sooner with the follow tab.
  • Pins that get good engagement will then be distributed out to other non-followers by Pinterest. For example, new content will be recommended in “Related Pins” and also in search results.
  • Lean into content that is already resonating with your audience – look at what your top performing pins and boards are. If that content is in line with what your blog or business is about, then it will lead to the right type of followers.

#2  Strategy for SEO on Pinterest

Apply great SEO Practices to your Pinterest content such as:

  • Add Rich Data to your Pin Description.  If your pin description doesn’t include rich data then Pinterest might not know how to distribute it more broadly. For example, if you have a brownie recipe, then state whether it is gluten-free or not and using additional keywords or contextual information.  It’s a mix of making sure the pin content resonates with your followers as well as beefing your description up with some SEO best practices.
Add Rich Data to your Pin Description. If your Pin description doesn’t include rich data then Pinterest might not know how to distribute it more broadly. - TWEET THISClick To Tweet
  • Pins can help a board and can still do well independently of the overall board. But make sure you still have good data on the board.
  • Pinterest doesn’t throttle traffic like other search engines.   Now that’s a type of SEO we can love!

#3  Strategy for Using Keywords on Pinterest

As part of your overall Pinterest SEO Strategy, Sarah had some particular things to say about Keyword Strategy:

  • The most important part to focus on is your Pin description. Think about the Pinner’s mindset when looking for the flavour of your content – and then incorporate keywords.
  • Add keywords to your Board titles and Board descriptions as well as Pin descriptions.  Think about how they might be looking for that particular board, your particular pins… which will then lead them to you and your business.
On Pinterest, think about the Pinner's mindset when looking for your content. Then incorporate keywords into your board titles, board descriptions as well as Pin descriptions. Be specific but look at broader themes too. - TWEET THIS.Click To Tweet
  • Pinterest is not just about being specific – it’s about broader themes too.  Add Keywords around the items themselves and then add Keywords for any themes related to your Pin.  For example, Sarah gave the example of an asparagus recipe. It might be great for a quick weeknight dinner but also special enough to be a dinner party “side”.
    • So in your keywords you would include “grilled asparagus recipe”, but also thematic keywords like “weeknight dinner” and “side vegetable”. Boards and Board descriptions help the pins perform better!
    • Use guided search to search for keywords.  So in this case, search on Pinterest for “Asparagus Recipe”.  Search results will bring up related search titles. These can be very powerful for giving you ideas. In other words, the search results are driven by real searches that people have made. You would get results like “grilled, roasted, easy, kid-friendly”. Whatever you search for, the results are based on what people are actually searching for, so use them!
  • Don’t “keyword stuff” on your Pin descriptions. It doesn’t work.

#4  Strategy for Pinning on Pinterest

How often should you be pinning to Pinterest? Now we have the answer (well many answers… and they were all music to my ears!).

  • The Time of day that you pin does not matter. But think about the first several Pins that you save each day. This leads me to Sarah’s next point:
  • Focus on the first 5 Pins.  Now that we have the new Follow Tab, it’s advised to not pin too many images at once. Sarah recommended that instead of trying to pin 100 Pins in a day, to focus on the first 5 Pins that you save.  Pinterest will show the first 5 Pins from one person then the next 5 from someone else.  Your Pins may show up again but only after Pinterest has shared pins from other pinners. Pinterest doesn’t want people to unfollow you, so this is to avoid spammy dumping of dozens of pins. 
  • Focus on Consistency over Volume.  There is no such thing as pinning too much to Pinterest BUT Sarah said that Pinterest does prefer consistency to volume of Pins.  If you are pinning 15 Pins on a Monday then no Pins until the following Friday, you may need to focus more on consistency.  Pinterest would prefer that you saved just 5 Pins per day to loads of Pins one day, and none the next.
  • You can chill out, and post less every day.  Because of the Follow feed, you can post less pins per day and still get results.
  • To help your content reach beyond your followers, make it engaging for followers.  They will view it as good content.  Pinterest is then more likely to keep sharing it.
  • If saving a Pin to multiple boards save it to the most relevant board first. It will get priority and also bring with it the data from the board.  So for example, if you have a Thanksgiving related craft project – save it first to board called “Crafts” then to a Board called “Everything Thanksgiving”.  It will then carry with it all the keyword data as well as all the info and data from the crafts board.
When saving a Pin to multiple boards, save it to the most relevant board first. It will carry the keyword data from the board. This helps Pinterest give it priority. - TWEET THISClick To Tweet
  • Some tips for creating your Pins:  
    • adding a small logo or branding to the Pin is ok. Tasteful branding helps to build trust and it helps Pinterest to know you are the original source for that Pin.
    • Avoid logo placement over the corner of your Pin.  Adding your logo at the top centre or bottom centre is recommended.
    • Add text to your image if it helps to explain what the image is about or contextualises it.  The image should set the expectation about what the reader will find.
    • If you use product shots, make sure they are beautifully shot, good Pin dimensions (2:3 aspect ratio) and you can see the product clearly. More information about Pin sizes can be found below.
    • Create long, helpful, expanded descriptions.
    • Give a strong call to action ie “Shop, Make, Find more like this, Read more about XYZ”. These types of phrases encourage people to click through on the Pin as well as giving them information about what they will find.

#5  Strategy for Sharing Fresh Content from Your Website

This was one of the most revealing parts of the interview for me – the importance of sharing your own, content, fresh from your website … and how much Pinterest wants you to do so. Here are a few tips from Sarah:

  • Save fresh content from your website. It’s now easier than ever to find content that is fresh on Pinterest and the new Follow Tab now is designed to show us fresh content from the people and boards that we follow. Sarah stated this:
'The Best type of 'Fresh Content' on Pinterest is NEW fresh, never-been-seen-before content' - Sarah Hoople Shere, Pinterest. - TWEET THIS.Click To Tweet
  • Fresh content is new content on your website. It’s also a fresh new image for an old blog post.  For example, it can be a brand new Pin from a 2-year old blog post.
  • Your Pin description should match/be relevant to any landing page it leads to. This means it should lead to relevant content.   Pinterest is doing a lot to invest in making sure that the content on the Pin matches the content on the page. So they look for whether the landing page content is helpful and rich and takes you to where the Pin promises. 
  • It doesn’t matter what you name the image (ie file name) of your Pin is. Focus on the Pin description instead. It’s less about the image itself and more about the Pin description matching (or being closely related to) the title it is linking to.  The image doesn’t need to match exactly but it should be close and relevant.

#6  Strategy for Deleting (or NOT Deleting) Pins.

This is one of the most commonly debated questions around Pinterest strategy. Should we delete old underperforming pins to increase our overall engagement rate? Will it have any impact if we do?

Because it’s a hot question, I’ve added it as a separate strategy… just to make it clear once and for all what the recommendation is from Pinterest.

The answer to this question is a clear NO. Pinterest doesn’t recommend deleting pins.

No. Nope. Nien. Nada. Zip….Don’t waste your time. 

Here are a few more things that Sarah had to say about this:

  • Pinterest knows that underperforming Pins might not get as much distribution, but it will NOT hurt distribution of other Pins. Leave old or underperforming Pins as they are.
  • One dud Pin won’t hurt other Pins. In fact, it might become relevant or popular later.
  • Use your analytics. If you are mystified about what is working well and what is not, then focus on your analytics to see type of Pins that are most engaging for your audience. Then lean in on it. Do this instead of wasting time deleting Pins.
Don't delete old Pins on Pinterest. They will not hurt distribution of other Pins, so don't waste your time deleting them.Click To Tweet

In summary, don’t worry about deleting Pins. There is no real downside, and sometimes old Pins take off, so it’s best to leave them there.


#7 Strategy for Using Hashtags on Pinterest

For a long time you couldn’t use hashtags on Pinterest and then they came back – so definitely use them. Here are some tips from the interview:

  • Pins with hashtags get more distribution. This is especially so on the first day they are saved to Pinterest.
  • You can add up to 20 relevant hashtags to a Pin. You might not need to add all of these but definitely add as many as are relevant and remember to include broad and associated categories and topics.
  • Focus on quality hashtags. Search for related hashtags and themes and don’t forget local search. If you have a local audience, optimise your content to help people in your local area to find you with hashtags.
  • Think about how users are using Pinterest. Remember that PInterest users are both searching hashtags and clicking on hashtags.

That’s all 7 of my biggest takeaways from the interviews… but wait there’s more:


More A’s to Your Q’s

The information above covers the main key takeaways for me, but there were so many Questions answered during the session. Here are my summary notes from a few more of the Q&As that I found useful…to help your Pinterest Strategy:

Q:  Is there any advantage when someone repins your pin vs pinning a brand new pin.  

A:  It’s best for you to be the first pinner of the content (rather than just re-pinning it). Pinterest will prioritise the pins saved by the owner of the website. It’s also fine if one of your followers repin your pin OR pin directly from your website. Both actions give PInterest a signal that your blog content is worth distributing.


Q: Does Pinterest penalise users for using Third Party Tools to pin to Pinterest. 

A:  No – according to Sarah there is no negative impact to your pin distribution if you use a 3rd party tool.  It’s the same regardless of whether you pin natively or use a 3rd party tool.  You are considered active if you are saving content, no matter how you save/pin it.

So for all of you out there using Tailwind (like me) to schedule pins, you can go for it. Find out more about Tailwind here.  Sarah did however, recommend that you log into the actual Pinterest app from time to time, even if you are using a 3rd Party tool for most of your scheduling and analytics.  This is so you can view Pinterest and your profile, boards and accounts like your consumers do.


Q:  Is it ok to pin the same image to the same board more than one time (ie repeated pins)?  

A:  Yes! it’s important, however, for each pin to have a unique pin description for best results. ie write a description that explains why this pin is relevant again. Also keep in mind the experience of the viewer when looking at your boards – if they see multiple versions of the same pin will that be appropriate? It may be appropriate for seasonal content for example.  But avoid mindlessly repeating content for the sake of it. There’s no SEO value in that.


Q:  What is the best size for Pins? 

A:  The optimum size for Pins is 2:3 ratio or 600 x 900.  Square size can work well but ideally it should be portrait size as vertical pins get more real estate in the feed. 600 x 1260 Pins will show in their entirety but any longer than this and the pin will get cut off. Bear in mind that if you go much taller (like for infographics) then you may see less distribution of your Pins.  Overall, stick to 2:3 aspect ratio for the best chance of distribution.


Q:  If Fresh, new, original content is best from our websites, should we still pin other people’s content? 

A:  You should still share other content. Sarah said that creators often have a “curational eye” so it’s natural to share great content from other Pinners. She did recommend that we start with our own content however, as that’s what you want to prioritise for distribution.

Focus on what is original from your brand or website and make sure it’s fresh content. If you don’t have fresh content to pin every day then pin content rom other creators that you think will be valuable to your audience. However, bear in mind that there is no “magic ratio” for original vs curated content.  Prioritise your own content wherever you can!


Q: What do we do about stolen pins? (ie pins that don’t go to the original source as they have been modified or stolen). 

A:  Report them!  Pinterest really want our help in combating this!  Again it comes back to Pinterest investing in domain quality and they are always looking at the quality of the landing page that matches the Pin in question.  It’s less about the image and more about the content it leads to. So they want our help in stopping dodgy practices.


Q: Do our followers matter on Pinterest? 

A:  Sarah said to focus on getting engaged followers. She said that followers represent just a SMALL portion of who you reach on Pinterest but they are still important and will become more important now that the Follower Tab has been introduced.

However the vast majority of what happens on Pinterest happens “beyond” followers and you are generally reaching a larger population than your follower numbers.  Watch this space as Pinterest will be doing more to recommend you as a creator so make sure you have your profile set up properly. She recommended the following:

  • change to a business account and claim your website on Pinterest.
  • pin fresh content from your website
  • pin regularly and consistently.
  • add a follow button on your website
  • remind your followers on other channels that you are on Pinterest as well. Tell them that you are saving fresh content.
  • Remind your audience to add photos or comments to pins they have tried. Encourage readers of your blog to comment on the pin or to try the activity it refers to.

Q: Should I delete old pins for a physical product?

A:  Sarah recommended updating the link on the pin to a similar product in stock or redirecting the link to a general category of products that are related and will have longevity. Don’t worry about deleting the pin itself. If you don’t update a broken link Pinterest will most likely stop distributing it anyway – you won’t be penalised. You can go back and update older underperforming pins with keywords.

Hot tip for product Pins: If you have a lifestyle shot of how a product is worn, post that first to Pinterest.  If you have straight product shots, make sure your pin is the right dimension, vertical, the product is prominent and use text overlays and rich descriptions.


Q: Do our profiles matter? How much activity takes place on our profiles? 

A:  Most of the activity takes place off the profile with Pins being shared. However, now with the new Follower Tabs, we will probably see more activity where people are looking at actual profiles. With new business profiles, people can customise the content that shows and can choose the boards and pins that show up at the top of our profile. It updates when you save fresh content to show recent activity. So it’s worth setting it up to reflect your business in the best way you can.


Phew!

That’s a lot of Pinterest advice. Like I said, Sarah and Alisa answered all the important questions in this interview.  And there was sooooo much useful information.

My biggest takeaway?  Create awesome images at 2:3 ratio and share fresh content from your website… consistently.  

Want More?

Here are a couple of articles to help you with your Pinterest Strategy:

You can read more about getting started with Pinterest Marketing and Pinterest Strategy here.

Find out more about here about Tailwind and Tailwind Tribes (my secret weapon for scheduling content to Pinterest).

Over to You

Are you actively sharing content to Pinterest?

Are there any surprise Pinterest Strategy recommendations from the interview that have caught your attention. 

7 Pinteres
Image by Shutterstock

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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is the founder of Socially Sorted, winner of Best Business Blog in Australia 2014 and a Top 10 Social Media Blog for Social Media Examiner, 2015-2017. She helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur Online and she is a contributor to Social Media Examiner. Donna speaks about digital and visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.
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