Pinterest Growth Hacking Tactics: How To Pin For Amazing Traffic
Social media marketing is incredibly powerful at driving traffic to your website, provided you have a clear plan to achieve that goal. Too often we get so caught up in the race to drive subscribers or sales that we forget to create a steady flow of traffic.
This is super-important because it has a cumulative effect that goes something like this:
The more repeat traffic you generate, the more likely it is readers will subscribe or convert into clients. Repeat visitors are also more likely to share your content, and recommend you to other people, thus ensuring even more traffic.
This expanding flow of traffic and engagement will continue to grow and support your business. The tricky part is starting the process — you just need to do the heavy lifting at the start, and this is where so many of us fall down:
- We don’t have time.
- We can’t be bothered.
- We have no idea where to start!
With a steady flow of traffic to your site, your content will be viewed by social media algorithms and the gods of Google as high-quality, popular, and worth showing to more people.
Traffic generates engagement and conversions, which generates word of mouth, which generates traffic, which repeats the whole process… #HappyDays
It’s a self-perpetuating cycle once it gets going, but it has to START with traffic.
So how can you get website traffic, and keep that flow consistent?
Three things can do this for you:
Pinterest is the king of driving website traffic, beating other social channels by a mile.
In January 2012, when Pinterest was very new and only had around 11.7 million users, it was considerably better than rivals for website traffic, including YouTube, Reddit, Google+, and LinkedIn. Since then, the platform has boomed to over 70 million users, and its ability to drive traffic has skyrocketed.
Pinterest is phenomenally powerful when it comes to driving website traffic, provided you know what you’re doing.
Here’s the ultimate list of Pinterest growth hacking tactics to help you get amazing traffic…
Nailing Basic Pinterest Hacks
The simplest of all Pinterest hacks for driving traffic is to add your website URL to the brand page on your Pinterest account. Once you’ve done this, your website is shown in the top right of your profile.
This makes it very prominent, one of the first things seen by people coming to your brand page. It will encourage them to look at your website, and learn more about you and your brand.
Verify Your Website
The next super-simple hack is to verify your website. This will ensure Pinterest displays a reassuring tick next you your website address, showing that you are genuine and the site belongs to you. You will need a Pinterest Business Account to do this.
Once you have your business account, you’ll need to upload a unique file to your website. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, and Pinterest have simple instructions to walk you through the process. But because that file can only be added with someone who has administrative access to your website, the verification carries a lot of weight.
That tick gives you instant credibility, and will make people far more trusting of your website.
Add Your URL To Pin Descriptions
While there is an automatic link added to your images when you pin them, you can also add your URL to your image descriptions. This is really useful because the link on the image is only accessible if the user clicks on your pin first, waits for the pin to expand, and then clicks again on the expanded pin.
People have really short attention spans! Adding your URL to the description gives them a visible and easy way to go directly to your site.
Cutting out some of the steps required to get people from Pinterest onto your site will boost your traffic. You should try to use attractive short links, which keep your descriptions nice and tidy. If Pinterest won’t allow them (it may see them as spam) use the full version.
It’s All About The Images…
While it might seem counter-intuitive to put so much stock in an image-based site to drive traffic to written content, it actually makes a lot of sense.
Great images attract attention.
They’re instant gratification for your audience, and pique their curiosity enough that they want to see more from you.
When people come to you from Pinterest, they will happily read your blog posts because your image already did the heavy lifting: hooking and reeling them in.
More than that, Pinners are always on the lookout for interesting Pins to add to their boards — its how they build their own profiles, and get attention for their own content!
So when I say Pinterest is all about the images, I mean that on every level.
Every post on Pinterest is image-based (like Instagram), and creating amazing images is the key to making Pinterest work for your business as a platform, by driving traffic to your site, and encouraging others to market your business for you.
Every time someone pins one of your images to Pinterest you’re getting free advertising!
So let’s make those images really count…
Every Piece Of Content Needs An Image
Images are one thing we can be a little lax with when it comes to blogging and website content. We’re usually pretty good at remembering to set feature images, but we frequently do nothing beyond that.
If there aren’t any images on your content, nobody can pin it on Pinterest.
You may still get traffic for it from Pins you have added to Pinterest yourself (more on that in a minute), but if someone comes to your site from elsewhere and thinks, “This is awesome content, I must save it to Pinterest!” they can only Pin it if there’s a pinnable image on your content.
And not just any image. In order to be pinnable, your images need to be at least 100 X 200 pixels. If you use Canva (and you should, it makes graphic design super-easy), it comes with a handy Pinterest template that you can use.
You’ll find this as one of the shortcut options at the top of the screen when you login:
Try to make sure there are several pinnable images on each of your blog posts. They don’t have to be made to the Pinterest template, but they do need to be at least 100 x 200 pixels.
Use Skyscraper Images
Every social media platform has its quirks, Pinterest’s is that users love tall, skyscraper images.
Tall images receive more pins, and are more popular on the site.
Not only that, when people see a tall image on a blog post they are much more likely to associate it with Pinterest and immediately think, “I should totally pin this!”
The Pinterest template you will find on canva is a vertical image, at 1102 x 735 pixels, but this isn’t truly a ‘skyscraper’. All vertical images will work best on Pinterest, but the taller they are the better!
Think of all those infographics you’ve seen that go on and on forever.
Infographics are Skyscraper Images and they perform exceptionally well on Pinterest.
There is no set dimension to use here. The idea is that you create an image that is as tall as you needs it to be, in order to include all your information. For years the advice coming from Pinterest was to use a 2:3 ratio (1102 x 735) or taller, and the taller the better.
In 2017 they had a bit of a crack down on this, and now seem to be discouraging the use of insanely tall images, which hog a lot of space on the Pinterest feed. Pinterest refer to these uber-tall images as ‘Giraffe Pins’, and not in a cute and fuzzy way.
When you’re creating your images, the best advice to follow is to use as much height as your image needs, but don’t force people to scroll forever to get to the bottom!
Add Your Business Name, Logo Or URL To Images
Another super-simple traffic hack is to simply add your business URL, name or logo to your images. The best way to do this is to make your URL part of your image templates.
For a complete guide to creating amazing, branded images, check out my post on creating a consistent online brand!
Use Text On Your Images
Another aspect of design that performs very well on Pinterest is to combine images with text that describes what your content is about. People like to know what they will get if they click through to your website. So, even if they don’t take the time to read your description, or if your description doesn’t quite sell it, your image still can.
This is particularly effective on blog posts. Create a cover image for each blog, including the title of the post on it. Here are a few examples of my own Pinterest Blog Cover Images:
Give Images Bespoke File Names
When you’re uploading your image files to your website, be sure to label them properly.
Rather than using generic file names like ‘image 1’, or the default file names they are given when you download them from Canva (or whatever image creator you use), change the name before upload.
When you pin an image the file name appears automatically in the Pinterest description. By labelling your files with carefully chosen text, you can ensure the description pinned with your images is as relevant as possible. Use the title of your post and, if you can, add your name and website or company name.
This is generally great practice for your SEO, but it’s also great for making your pins more effective.
Use Visual Design To Enhance Calls to Action
Calls To Action are just as important on Pinterest as anywhere else. We use clickable buttons containing CTAs on our websites, adverts, and other copy. So why not combine visual design elements with Calls To Action on your Pins?
You may not be able to add clickable buttons to pins (yet), but you can still make your CTAs stand out by incorporating them within elements that look like buttons.
People will naturally want to click the button, and so click your images!
NOTE: If you are creating images for Pinterest adverts or promoted pins you can’t use CTAs or lookalike buttons on them. This is a trick from you unpromoted images!
Sort Your Boards Out
Once you’ve got your images sorted you need somewhere to put them. Your Boards are a lot more powerful than you might think. They’re far more than just a way of organising your Pins, and can do wonders for your traffic, if you know how to set them up.
The first thing you want to do (if you haven’t already) is create a dedicated Blog Board.
This makes it super-easy for your followers to find your blog posts each week, as all they need to do is follow your Blog Board.
Make your Blog Board’s title the same as your blog page title. For example, I might use ‘Optimise And Grow Online Blog’.
You might want to add something a little more specific to it, like ‘Business Blog’, ‘Photography Blog’, etc. to indicate your niche. You can also be a more descriptive and use something like ‘DIY Beauty Blog’, which clearly indicates what you offer, as well as your industry.
Using keywords in your Pinterest board names is also great for SEO, making your board far more likely to appear on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Every new blog post you create should be pinned to this board, with a cover image that indicates what the post is about, and a tell-me-more description. Make sure you include the following for each post:
- Cover Image (see above)
- A summary or quote from your blog post, used as a description
- A direct link to your blog post
- A Call To Action (i.e. ‘Read the full post now…’ or ‘Read More…’ — don’t forget you can incorporate CTAs in your images!)
Add Categories And Description To Your Boards
A huge part of driving traffic is getting your Pins in front of as many people as possible. To do that, you need interesting Pinterest boards.
Adding categories to your boards is a great way to do this. It will put your pins in front of as many people as possible, as your images will appear on the news feeds of anyone who follows the category. This is a huge boost, as without assigned categories, your images will only appear to people who already follow you.
Once you’ve set board categories, anyone browsing your board’s category or the ‘Everything’ section will see your images, as long as you set a category for each of your boards.
More Pin exposure means more traffic.
While you’re adding categories, you should also add a description to each board, containing relevant keywords to help people find your pins more easily. Don’t stuff your keywords in, use them naturally within a well-written description.
Find Popular Guest Boards And Contribute
Another great way of boosting your traffic with Pinterest is to find guest boards that are popular in your niche, and contribute to them.
Popular boards already have an established following, and (provided you select carefully) will get your content in front of exactly the people you’re looking to work with.
Spend a little time hunting down the best group boards, then politely approach the owners and ask them to make you a contributor (they will need to invite you to do this).
Once you’ve secured the invite, start contributing by sharing your own content, as well as interesting content from other users. This not only helps you attract new followers, but gives you a big boost in traffic.
Create A Contest Board
Another awesome way to drive traffic to your website and really boost your engagement is to create interactive content. Contests are a brilliant option, and you can easily create a contest board on your Pinterest account, which links to contests run directly on your website.
You can use a free app like Rafflecopter to easily setup giveaways. If you’re able to invest a little and get the paid version you can set your competitions up to accept Pinterest entries directly, and grow your list. This allows you to offer prizes that naturally lead into your paid offerings, like a free consultation, free samples, or a free trial of a paid product or service.
Make sure you have a good nurture sequence setup to make the most of this!
Maximise Your Pinterest Performance
Timing is everything on Pinterest. If you share your pins when more people are online, they will have greater reach, generate more clicks, and drive more traffic.
It really is that simple!
There are loads of tools that can help you figure out the best times of day to post for your audience, including GoPixel and Tailwind. But if you’re looking for a really quick benchmark, Bit Rebels tells us that 2pm and 4pm are the best times in the afternoon, while peak evening pinning times are between 8pm and 1am.
Add A ‘Pin It’ Button To Your Blog
A lot of these hacks take place on Pinterest itself, but there are things you can do directly on your website to help boost the traffic your receive through pins. The big one is installing the ‘Pin It’ button on your site.
There are a couple of different forms you can use:
- Use a plugin like Shareaholic to add a Pinterest share button to your content (usually at the top, bottom, or side of articles).
- And a plugin like jQuery’s Pin It Button For Images, or Pinterest’s own version, which ensures that, every time a reader hovers over an image a ‘Pin It’ button appears on the image (usually in the top left corner), prompting them to pin your content.
This may seem to have little to do with traffic, because the person pinning your post has to be on your website already in order to use it. But the Pin It button is a great form of word of mouth marketing, attracting more people to your content on the recommendation of those who have already enjoyed it.
Add Extra Widgets To Your Website
In addition to the Pin It button you will also want easy ways for people coming to your site to follow you on Pinterest. This is a great way of ensuring repeat traffic, as it stops people from forgetting about you.
It’s often a bit much to expect people to subscribe to your email list the first time they visit your site. They might very well do so, but they might not. Following you on Pinterest is a much smaller commitment, and ensures they will see all your latest blog posts, reminding them how awesome you are!
There are a few ways you can encourage people to follow you by adding extra widgets to your site, including:
- A Follow Button — adds a widget that allows people to follow you directly from your site.
- A Pin Widget — enables you to embed pins on your website.
- A Profile Widget — displays your latest 30 pins on your website.
- A Board Widget — will display the latest 30 pins from your favourite or most popular board on your website.
Pinterest have five great widgets that are really useful on your website, including a Pin It Button, Follow Button, Pin Widget, Profile Widget, and Board Widget. And they’re all totally free!
If your head is spinning a little at having so many things to think about, don’t worry! The majority of these hacks need setting up once, and then leaving to work their magic. The only real ongoing aspects that requires time are creating your images (which you can really streamline by creating image templates on Canva or something similar), and building engagement on your profile by pinning other people’s content, commenting, following, and contributing to group boards.
Need a Pinterest audit?
Book a session with me and we’ll discuss what’s working, what could be improved, and dive into the analytics of which content is driving the most traffic to your website so that you can leverage that for more traffic.
And don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest…
Originally published at optimiseandgrow.online on February 28, 2018.