social media marketing

How I Grew My Pinterest Engagement by 400% Without Really Trying

How I Grew My Pinterest Engagement 400% Without Really Trying | Writing Between Pauses

I’ve been looking forward to writing this blog post for a while now. Here’s why: I think Pinterest is a bit of a mystery to a lot of people, especially woman-owned businesses. They might use it personally (nearly every woman I know has a Pinterest account), but they might not be using it for their business. And if they are, they might not be using it effectively.

This blog post isn’t just for bloggers looking to increase traffic, by the way. This blog post is for:

  • Business owners

  • Anyone selling a product to women between the ages of 18-45

  • Bloggers

Here’s the rundown of what I’m about to tell you: I increased my engagement on Pinterest by 400% without…

  • paying for Tailwind (too expensive)

  • spending hours on Pinterest

  • more effort than checking in once a day

I noticed this increase most starkly this month, but it’s been steadily building for the past 6 months, ever since I put in renewed efforts to build a strategy. I am cheap, however, and didn’t want to pay for something like Tailwind. This is all just me, Pinterest.com, and the Pinterest app.

Let’s jump in.

(Pst, if you’d like to check out my Pinterest, you can do so here.)

Analytics

Here are my analytics on Pinterest for the month of July:

July 2019 Pinterest Analytics

And here are my analytics on Pinterest for the month of August:

August 2019 Analytics

Between May and June, my impressions varied between 19,000 and 21,000 per month. (For whatever reason, I don’t have full analytics for those months on Pinterest. It may be a switch in their built-in analytics programs.)

That’s a pretty significant jump over 4 months, right? And like I said, I didn’t spend money on it and I didn’t dedicate hours of my day to it.l

So what did I do?! Let me tell you.

Methods

When it comes to me and basic methods for social media, there are no secrets. I realize a lot of people would put this information behind a paywall and it’s one of my biggest annoyances. I’ve signed up for tons of free Pinterest (or Facebook or whatever) webinars and sat through them, only for it to be 10 minutes of basic information (like “make a Pinterest account” DUH!) and 20 minutes of selling me a bigger webinar or e-course.

Sorry, not interested.

Here’s what I did over the last 4 months:

  • For each blog post I posted (which admittedly wasn’t a ton), I created 3-4 additional Pinterest graphics. This was because I was testing what worked best on Pinterest. I don’t have a concrete answer on that, by the way.

  • I then pinned each blog post at least the week it was posted. Usually, I did this all as one on Saturday morning. Then I would schedule the different Pinterest graphics over the next few days. All of these pins initially went to my specific board for my blog posts.

  • From there, I pinned each blog post pin to my group boards.

  • Throughout the week, I would check each day and pin each varied Pin as it posted to my group boards.

That’s literally it! That’s all I did! I just kept up this weekly and daily task list every single week for four months.

It does seem time consuming. But let’s break it down.

  • On average for the past few months, I’ve been posting maybe 2 blog posts a week. In total, each blog post might take me 2 hours.

  • It might take me an additional hour to great 8 different Pinterest graphics.

  • On Saturday, it took me on average about 2 hours to write unique Pins for each blog post and Pin/schedule.

  • Every day, sharing pins to my group boards took maybe 30 minutes.

In total, that’s 7 hours for writing blog posts, creating graphics, and posting on Pinterest. However, 4 of those hours I’m already doing anyway in the form of writing and scheduling blog posts. Then, in total per week, I spent 3 1/2 hours on Pinterest throughout the week. That’s definitely less time than I spend on Twitter and Instagram. (Is that embarrassing?!)

Here’s a few additional things I did throughout these 4 months as well:

  • Checking daily Pinterest trends (if you press the search box to type, you can see trends for you specifically as well as trends throughout Pinterest). If I saw any trends that correlated to blog posts I had, I immediately repinned those blog posts to my group boards.

  • If I had seasonal posts that I thought might be relevant, I would also repin those. In mid-August, I started to notice a steady increase in engagement on my Blogtober pins from 2018 and 2017, so I began sharing those Pins to my group boards as well.

  • I created Pinterest-specific graphics for my affiliate codes, announcements, and sponsored posts. These included information that people needed without having to jump to my blog; it helped increase uses of my affiliate codes as well as my traffic. I was slightly worried that giving away the free bit wouldn’t help my traffic, but I was wrong. It helped a lot!

A Note on Group Boards

As you can see, I rely on group boards a lot on Pinterest. I am hesitant to make suggestions for group boards, as these aren’t ones I own. I don’t necessarily want to be held responsible for the rules or content should anyone disagree! However, if you would like suggestions, please don’t hesitate to send me a note and I’ll send a few links over.

As well, if you would be interested in a group board with me, let me know.

Do I expect to see results forever?

“Forever”—what a funny way to phrase that!

To I expect to see these massive increases in engagement (and subsequently, my blog traffic) forever using these methods? No. I think this was a good way for me to get started and get the ball rolling, so to speak. As I continue to tweak my methods, I expect to have to change things and, eventually, I know It will be beneficial to me to start using different methods, including paying for tools and streamlining my methods.

However, I wanted to share this method I’ve used because I see so much advice about Pinterest that literally boils down to “pay for this tool!” I don’t know about you, but I am so hesitant about paying for things that I feel I can do for free, at least for right now. In the future, that may not be the case, but it is for me right now at this moment (given being recently laid off!)

Now, it’s time for you: do you have questions about Pinterest?

How to Plan Social Media for Your Blog (Without Going Crazy)

plan social media for blog

Writing and planning social media is, actually, kind of what I do for a living, as a content marketing coordinator. Social media is something I love and am very passionate about. But when it comes to my actual social media channels, I feel a bit like a cat in a sack. I just struggle. Give me a brand or business and I can plan, write, create assets, and schedule like a beast. 

Ask me to schedule a few tweets for my own blog (brand? business? What is this thing I'm doing?) and it's like pulling teeth. 

For a few months, I was very intense about scheduling social media: I posted several scheduled tweets a day, made graphics, wrote posts for Facebook. I got burnt out very fast. I'm not willing to pay for a scheduling software and I hate Hootsuite. Buffer is my favorite social media scheduling site, but if you want to schedule over 10 posts, you need to upgrade to a paid account. 10 posts lasts about 2-3 days on Twitter; for Facebook, that covers an entire week. So for Twitter, I was having to write and schedule every 2 or 3 days. 

Let me just say it: ugh. 

It's a lot of work and I found myself going a bit crazy. Here's what I decided to do instead of drive myself insane. 

1. Focus on just a few social media networks. 

I think Twitter works best as a casual network for me. I get more traffic if I just act like myself, instead of posting scheduled tweets to posts. Also, it's just more fun. The social media networks I put the most energy and planning into are Pinterest and Instagram. That cuts out the stress of posting on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram everyday. I do try to post on Facebook once a week, but rarely do I meet that goal. I get almost no traffic there! 

2. Do what works for you. 

When it comes to Instagram, it can feel a bit like a game. However, I find that I get the best followers & engagement when I'm authentic. To me, that includes: 

  • posting cute, candid stuff in my stories
  • writing longer captions 
  • creating graphics
  • not sticking to any one theme 

I do not like themed Instagrams, as a rule, but I am experimenting with using stock photos recently. Mostly because by the time I remember to take photos, it's 8pm at night and there is no light. That's just what works for me; others don't love it! That's ok. 

3. Don't feel like you have to do what others do. 

This is important: you'll see some things that seem to be working for others, like scheduling the same tweet over... and over... and over day after day. 

That doesn't work for me. Because I get tired and bored and don't have that level of patience, I'll admit it. What works for me are the most passive forms of social media marketing: using images and graphics that are optimized for Pinterest, Instagram, and chatting on Twitter. That's what works for me. Minimal effort, maximum output! 

For Pinterest, I highly recommend group boards; I have three group boards that I pin 5 posts to every day. Alongside my usual daily Pinning, that's all I do. (Oh and make sure to pin your new posts to Pinterest! I always forget. Hashtag-expert, right?)

4. Keep a list of ideas. 

Throughout my day, I'll often have moments of, "this would be a great post!" Or I'll see something that I think would be a pretty photo. I keep a note on my phone where I write those ideas (it's very messy). Some of them I never actually go through with, but some I do. "Planning" for me is more about having a treasure trove of ideas that I can dip into when I know I need to post something of substance. 


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How to Write Better Instagram Captions

Instagram is a social media platform that I really struggle with. I don't like themes (expect a post on this soon) and I don't really get the need to make my house, or life, or child, or self, seem perfect. Sometimes, I feel really jealous over curated Instagram profiles because it just seems to take so much work

One of the most challenging parts of Instagram is writing captions. Seriously, captions. I can have a good photo and a good idea. But then I'm stuck, staring at that caption box. Like, what do I put here? What works? 

I gathered up a few resources to come up with a few ideas. Here they are. 

1. Write to engage. 

This is something I struggle with. When I post photos, I try to post something I think is funny or related to the photo. But on Instagram, when it comes to getting people's attention, there is a benefit to writing something that engages other people. This is a great post on doing just that

2. Be brief. 

Does this feel like it is at odds with that first point? A little bit. But here's the truth: it's possible to write engaging captions, without going on for sentences. I definitely try to keep my captions two sentences or less. Although I follow some great accounts (like my friend @poesyross) who use longer captions to great effect. For more about writing with brevity, click here

3. Make sure to edit. 

This goes without saying: before you hit post, make sure to proofread. I've definitely hit post before write as I notice a glaring, huge typo on my post. Oops. Not the most professional looking, for sure. For more on editing for length & more, click here

4. Use a quote. 

Here's the thing: sometimes, there just aren't words. You have a great photo. You know what time you need to post for maximum engagement. You have everything ready. Except words. Grab your favorite (related) quote, add a question, and post it with your favorite hashtags. Easy peasy. Pinterest is a great source for great quotes. Click here to view some