I set some really ambitious 2017 goals for myself. I posted regular monthly updates for my goals through May and then continued to work on the goals through the remaining seven months of 2017. I’m sharing my overall outcome with my 2017 goals before sharing my 2018 goals.
Goal #2A was to reach 2,000 Pinterest followers. I started 2017 with 1,185 Pinterest followers. I ended 2017 with 2,337 followers. I hit my 2,000 target in mid-September. I didn’t quite double my Pinterest followers, but I came really close (2,370 would have been an exact double). So we’re calling it a double for this post.
The following is my Pinterest growth from early November 2016 to late December 2017. This graphic is from Boardbooster.
The blue line is my follower growth. The gray line is my projected growth for all Pinterest accounts with audience size similar to mine. You can see how by mid-March, I started to pull away from the norm and just kept growing from there.
First, let’s recap the two key strategies I set to meet this goal, and talk about how they went.
Join Facebook blogging groups.
I first started participating in Facebook blogging groups in maybe November 2016, and I really stepped up my game during the first half of 2017. Regardless of outcome, I have met quite a few fantastic blogging ladies through Facebook groups, particularly Blogging with Heart, which has encouraged some of the best authentic social media group participation I’ve seen anywhere. I wouldn’t change that for anything.
Initially, the Facebook groups were great for getting any traction going on my posts, especially on Pinterest. If you are brand new to blogging and need help getting shares, Facebook blogging groups are great. There are a few reasons why I’m not participating as actively now.
- I don’t need that basic level of traction like I did a year ago.
- While Facebook group participation can be minimal (say, as little as 10-15 minutes per day), it’s just not where I want to spend my time right now. This isn’t to say that I’ll never be more active again.
- I struggled to find high quality content to share, even in the best groups. A lot of people share pins with low-quality images, poorly laid out graphics, and hard to read text. Or they share the exact same pins day after day, week after week. It’s a lot more work to find great content to share on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, but I get better results than I did with largely Facebook group sourced content.
Join Boardbooster and add pins daily.
Ultimately, I ended up modifying this goal slightly and am using both Boardbooster and Tailwind to schedule daily pins. Boardbooster got too messy for scheduling all of my content with tons of secret boards and different pinning schedules. I use Boardbooster to share to boards where I want ongoing daily content like my photography group board, to create campaigns for my highest traffic pins, and to loop my “best of” blog content and rotating seasonal/holiday content. I use Tailwind to schedule everything else that isn’t so time specific. For example, 95% of the time, I don’t care whether a chicken recipe from someone else’s blog is pinned next week or next month.
I am really happy with my combined Boardbooster / Tailwind strategy and will stick with it going forward in 2018. It doesn’t take up a ridiculous amount of time, and I’m confident I’ll keep seeing increased results from it. My Pinterest engagement continues to fluctuate from one week to the next, depending on my blog traffic, even as I keep increasing my Pinterest followers and keep my own content flowing. But overall, I’ve seen more re-pins and generally more interaction with my account month over month.
Next, let’s talk about what else I did to achieve my Pinterest goal.
Found a handful of Pinterest accounts with high-quality content to re-pin that I check weekly.
As I’ve shifted away from daily Facebook group participation, I’ve had to find other consistent sources for new pins. I really wish Pinterest had a nice homepage algorithm where you saw new content from the accounts you follow. We all know that the algorithm doesn’t work this way anymore. So I go through a handful of my favorite accounts weekly or a couple times a week and collect new pins. I also do periodic searches for content from other Pinterest users to fill out my schedule.
It may sound like a ridiculous, tedious strategy. But it’s 100% flexible. I can do it whenever and wherever (aka from my phone, which is harder with Facebook groups), which has been so important with Tommy. I can also let it go for a few days or even a week when things are crazy. I try to stay at least three weeks ahead on pinning and always have my own content scheduled for a full year out, so I’m never stressed about getting upcoming content lined up RIGHT NOW.
Built a social media spreadsheet.
Following Amber’s advice in her Pintessential Planning course, I created a social media spreadsheet to track my latest shares for my blog posts. I know that it sounds overwhelming to create, and I’ll be honest, I put it off for a long time. You don’t have to create it all at once. Spend a few days entering all the posts you want to track, and then start filling in dates as you do new shares. Once it’s created and has all the latest dates, all you need to do is update it.
Without a track record of social shares, it’s all but impossible to track when you last shared a post. You want to make sure you’re re-sharing your top performing pins regularly, and you want to make sure you’re circulating seasonal evergreen content (i.e. holiday recipes, seasonal DIY projects) as they become relevant again. A spreadsheet makes these tasks so much easier.
The social media spreadsheet is another 100% flexible strategy that you can let slide when you don’t have time. I think I opened my spreadsheet about three times until from when Tommy was born until he was three or four months old. I spent enough time building my shares in the first six months of 2017 to prevent losing all of my traction during this break. With consistent pin scheduling, you won’t either.
Created a Pinterest group board.
I started my photography tips and tutorials board because there aren’t many photography group boards on Pinterest. (To date, I’ve found one other active board also centered around tips and tutorials.) I did it to increase my exposure for my own photography posts and connect with other photographers on Pinterest. I had no idea it would help me grow my followers number as much as it has.
Please keep in mind that as with any Pinterest strategy, creating a Pinterest group board is not a recipe for immediate success. It took several months to get regular participation from group members and several more months to get regular (currently, weekly) inquiries from new potential contributors. Also, about nine months in, I have around a dozen regular contributors (not hundreds) and 1,500 followers (not 15,000). However, I’m really happy with the growth of the group, which includes how it’s positively impacted my own Pinterest growth.
I’m far from an expert on Pinterest group boards. But I have a few simple tips for making a Pinterest group board work for you.
Choose a topic you’re passionate about that is a good fit for your Pinterest account.
You should be passionate about your Pinterest group board. Period. It’s also important that it fits within your existing Pinterest account. If you don’t blog, pin, share, etc. DIY beauty content, why would you started a DIY beauty group board?
Make it easy for potential contributors to join the group, and then add them in a timely fashion.
I have my email address and my recommended email subject line right in the group board description. If you’d rather have potential contributors leave a comment on a specific pin, make it easy for them to find this pin. Then add your followers promptly. We’ve all sent group board inquiries that never get answered or get answered months later. Don’t be that group board host. If you’re overwhelmed with inquiries (which is a good problem!), recruit another active group board member to help you manage them.
Don’t be afraid to cold call potential new contributors.
I have sent invites to potential new contributors I come across randomly on Pinterest (it’s rare I’m seeking them out), sometimes with great results. It only takes a few seconds to send that invite.
Put out a call-to-action on Facebook and Twitter for new followers and contributors periodically.
You don’t want to spam your followers on other social media accounts about your group board. But you also want to let them know it’s out there. I advertise my group board at most once a month on Facebook and Twitter. Advertise within other groups/communities as well, such as a private Facebook group.
Monitor the group periodically to ensure members are pinning appropriately.
I’m fortunate that 97% of the content pinned to my group board thus far has been on topic. I’ve deleted very few pins and have never had to remove a contributor for posting off topic, spamming the group, etc. Not every group manager is so lucky. Group monitoring can be a pain but is key for a successful group. No one wants to contribute to or follow a board without a clear focus.
I am setting a Pinterest goal for 2018. As such, I’ll be continuing to talk about Boardbooster, Tailwind, finding high-quality pins, tracking my shares, and running a group board throughout the next year.
What are your top Pinterest strategies?
Share your insight in the comments!
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