What Women Want | 6 Lessons for Pinterest from 100K Visitors
What Women Want | 6 Lessons for Pinterest
Since I began producing content specifically for Pinterest in the last month, I finally have a large dataset and understanding of users to study. To test the specific impact that a Pinterest-only marketing campaign can have one a site, my girlfriend Alaina was gracious enough to let me work on her sunglass boutique site which was only averaging 20-30 page views daily. With careful research on what, when, and how to submit to Pinterest I quickly began to take over the “popular” section of Pinterest and grow her site to over 100,000 visitors within the first month.
So what did I learn from these first 100,000 visitors and from a month of daily Pinterest marketing? Here are 6 simple lessons:
Lesson 1: Keep a Clean Image
If you’re planning to submit a traditional infographic to Pinterest with the hopes of it going big (assuming it’s not about Ryan Gosling) then the graphic will probably need a redesign. I have found that with Pinterest, infographics containing light and visually appealing colors (such as light blues, pinks, and yellows) have far more success than those that keep their neutral layout.
Why is this? Once your infographic hits the “new” page in any specific category there is only a small 10 minute window for the content to be repinned or liked. If you’re a new user with a small follower base this method is your only chance at going viral. If it doesn’t happen, you will have to wait another hour to try the submission again (see my blog for the Pinterest algorithm update). Since Pinterest is a visual pinboard, it will be in your best interest to redesign the infographic to be as color coordinated and appealing from far away as possible. I have also found that including actual pictures as opposed to graphics works significantly better on the boards.
Lesson 2: Size Matters
When submitting any graphic to Pinterest, this is the absolute biggest lesson that most marketers have failed to learn. My rule of thumb: if it’s over 5,000 pixels long, it doesn’t belong. Why is this so important? Because the REPIN and LIKE buttons are at the TOP of the submission. If a user has to scroll a mile just to see the entire image then it’s very unlikely they will scroll back up to press the buttons that really matter.
But not to worry, it is still possible to go viral on Pinterest with that monster of a graphic. To combat the “size” problem, create a simple, square image in photoshop outlining the graphics title. Make it simple, pretty, and to the point. If you’ve been on Pinterest for any time at all, I’m sure you’ve seen the image to the left. There’s a reason for that.
Lesson 3: Perfect Timing
When it comes to other social networks the timing of submission is somewhat arbitrary. However, Pinterest seems to stick to a daily schedule of when their users decide to crash my servers with traffic. That is why every single day I am at my computer ready to combat the eventual onslaught of what I like to call “Before and After Work Traffic”. 6AM and 6PM eastern time, every weekday, this happens. With the exception of Fridays, when the spike tends to hit at 4PM.
What does this mean? First of all, Pinterest users are very devoted workers. Second of all, the perfect time to submit your image to Pinterest is at either 5AM or 5PM. After a good hour of your content gaining momentum and traction within the boards your content will be highly visible during the peak hours.
There is a catch, however, in that lately Pinterest’s servers have been having trouble keeping up with the large influx in traffic during these times. If Pinterest seems to be loading slowly or is going in or out, it’s best to just hold off on the submission for another time.
Lesson 4: Honesty Goes a Long Ways
I would be a liar if I said I didn’t have more than one Pinterest account. As a matter of fact, I have several (all for science). The most successful account that I’ve had is a novelty account devoted to being a woman’s best friend. With this account I have never been negative or submitted anything to the boards, however, I just cruise the popular section handing out free advice and honest opinions. By doing this on the popular boards, with a novel name (I used a picture of Ryan Gosling just for the heck of it) I was able to establish over 100 followers within a week.
Just like on every other social network I can confirm that novelty accounts do work on Pinterest.
Lesson 5: Be a Creative Friend
Every morning when I wake up, I check the popular section to see what’s trending. It’s typically food ideas, some shoes, and a Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” for good measures. However, every once and a while I will see an infographic of viral that made it through the pits to “Popular” page glory. If I see anything on the popular page that I think I would ever possibly make in the future, I make a note of it in my notebook and go about my business. The point is: I would never want to burden the Pinterest community with something that’s been done before.
Much like the other social networks, the users of Pinterest recognize copies or reposted material. While you may have some immediate success in the short run, a well thought-out and creative post will bring in 100x the traffic than cheating your way.
This also means, however, that your content will be submitted 9Gag at one point or another and repinned via Pinterest. This is bad because 9Gag is the mortal enemy to all original content creators. I have found that by skimming the Popular boards on Pinterest every few hours for your content you will eventually run across an instance where your submission has been rehosted. I nicely leave a comment accrediting the original source and more often than not the Pinterest user edits the submission to the correct link.
Lesson 6: Don’t be Suffocating
This lesson is where probably 90% of the new businesses I see trying to make an impact on Pinterest fail. If you have a business account on Pinterest and someone has chosen to follow your pins, then chances are they are aware of your products have have visited your page to see what you have to offer. If your only plan with Pinterest is to only pin your products or images from your site, then chances are you will fail miserably.
A great rule of thumb I like to tell my clients is only 1 pin per day showcasing a product. The rest of the pins should be advice, insights, or something funny that relates to the industry and account itself. Whole Foodsnever pins any sort of products to their boards, and for good reason. They have chosen to remain true to their core values and only pin about:
- Caring about the community and the environment
- Promoting healthy eating and education to our stakeholders
- Selling the highest quality organic and natural foods available
- Creating ongoing win-win partnerships with our suppliers
By using this approach they have gained over 15,000 followers who follow them for what they believe in, not for what they sell.