We've all heard them. The whispers in the social media blogosphere outlining theories to gain Pinterest followers fast or tips to increase engagement today. We hear these theories so often that we start to question our own sound judgment.
Yes, we are talking about Pinterest myths.
These "suggestions" hit one popular blog then spread rampantly throughout the Internet and after such widespread appeal, dedicated audiences start to soak them up as pure truth. Some followers even go so far as to promote them on their own blogs, adding more fuel to the myth fire.
Next thing we know dedicated Pinners are deleting Pins right before their prime and filling queues with hundreds of daily Pins. Or worse, they are not even giving Pinterest a fair shot as a marketing tool.
We're here to set the record straight.
In typical Tailwind fashion, we're even going one step further to finally put these myths to rest. Our team has conducted an in-depth analysis of hundreds of accounts - we now have hard data to back up our time on the soapbox.
So without further ado, let's dig into some serious Pinterest myth busting.
1. "Pinterest is Only for Middle Aged Women"
There are 100 million active monthly users on Pinterest today - it's not even feasible that they could all be middle-aged women only interested in DIY activities or recipes. As a population, we're much more diverse than that.
Pinterest is a robust platform that caters to a variety of diverse interests, as well as age groups. One-third of Millennials leverage Pinterest to plan for the future.
Topics include career planning, perusing business ideas or planning a vacation.
There are even Millennial men Pinning interesting articles to their favorite boards - yes, men are on Pinterest as well. While they might not make up as large of a market share as women, men are seeing the widespread appeal of Pinterest. In fact, in 2014 alone Pinterest saw 100% growth in the number of male users on the platform and those numbers are set to drastically increase as men realize the powerful benefits of the platform.
2. "It's Good to Use the Exact Same Content on Other Platforms"
If there's a single, golden rule in social media, it's to optimize for the platform you're on.
The creators of each platform designed the finer details of their medium to meet a different need in the marketplace. Facebook captures the here and now. Twitter gives you access to a global conversation. Instagram shows a beautiful snapshot of a far off place.
Pinterest inspires you for the future.
Optimizing for each platform shows your audience that you understand what they're looking for, and this will help you gain traction much faster, as opposed to plopping your cookie-cutter content on every medium.
Not optimizing is the equivalent of walking into a small town country bar in a tuxedo. Everyone knows you aren't from around here. It just doesn't fit in.
This doesn't mean that you can't share the same photo or blog post to each channel. What it does mean is that it's increasingly important to tailor your layout and description for that platform. Facebook and Twitter leverage landscape photos. Instagram photos are square. Pinterest thrives on a vertical layout, maximizing the on-page estate and giving viewers a better chance to engage. Pinterest descriptions also include more details, speaking the audiences' interest to learn more.
Here's an example of the same photo reformatted from Instagram to Pinterest.
3. "Hashtags Work the Same on Pinterest as Twitter or Instagram"
To tackle this myth, we decided to go straight to the source. Here's what the Pinterest help center states:
"Stick to one hashtag in your ad description. Hashtags don't work on Pinterest like they do on other platforms-they don't help you track what's trending and they can confuse Pinners. If you do include a hashtag, try using your business name or tagline."
Bottom line - Pinterest doesn't use hashtags the way Twitter or Instagram does. Both of those platforms leverage hashtags to search for related content. Pinterest fundamentally serves as a search engine, thus eliminating the need for hashtags altogether.
It's also important to note that they don't allow you to run an ad with a description including more that one hashtag.
If you do decide to include a hashtag in your description, leverage it as a brand recognition tool. This could either be your business name or your tagline.
4. "Pinning in Real Time is Better than Using a Scheduler"
First, we'll dive into the core of this.
Pinterest treats Pins Pinned through one of their scheduling partners exactly the same as a Pin Pinned in real time. Real-time Pinning doesn't give you a better advantage in the smart feed, nor does scheduling.
The main difference is consistency and timing.
Continually hitting optimal timeframes without a schedule proves to be a large hurdle for marketers. Optimizing when Pins begin to show in your follower's feeds can improve the initial engagement rates for that Pin, which in turn impacts how many people will ultimately see the Pin in its lifetime. Additionally, meeting the desired volume of Pins for your specific strategy day in and day out without scheduling is a challenging task.
Since we're a scheduling platform, we did a little more digging into the success of accounts who leverage scheduling verse those who don't.
In the first six months of a brand new Pinterest account, accounts that used Tailwind:
- Were 3.6x more active;
- Gained 6x as many followers;
- Earned 11x times as many Repins;
- Earned 3x times as many Repins per Pin on average.
Not to toot our own horn, but the numbers don't lie. Scheduling on Pinterest, and subsequently the power of Tailwind, is rocking the Pinterest marketing space. Not a bad ROI for a $15 a month, and that's only within the first six months of use.
5. "It's Ok to Use a Scheduling Tool that Isn't a Pinterest Partner"
In short, not using a Pinterest Marketing Developer Partner (MDP) puts you at risk. Users leveraging Promoted Pins and Buyable Pins open up more risk to fraud, potentially putting their bank account at risk, when not using a vetted partner.
Non-verified 3rd party tools require you to enter your Pinterest account e-mail and password into their platform. To put it bluntly, they don't have the security infrastructure to keep your information safe.
Pinterest's security operations far exceed the resources of any of 3rd party provider. They are equipped to manage the safety of millions of users.
Only trust who Pinterest trusts.
6. "You Should Pin 300+ Pins Per Day"
Let's kick off this section with, wow, that's an insane number of daily pins. Even with a scheduling tool, maintaining that type of strategy can be daunting.
For sanity's sake, we're happy to put a halt to this myth.
We're currently working on a full analysis on this specific issue - what we've found so far is that Pinning more than a few Pins a day can help you grow your following.
But there's a catch.
Follower growth generally increases as you Pin more, but will flatline somewhere above 50 Pins per day. Pinners going above 50 Pins a day see a large drop off of Repins. Engagement drastically suffers above 50 pins.
There are diminishing returns in extremely high volume Pinning. It appears that penalties begin to occur at high Pin rates, which decrease the visibility of your Pins and profile.
7. "Follower Count is the Most Important Metric"
Here's the scoop - your most important metrics are based entirely on your unique goals.
If you're a blogger looking to increase website traffic, then your golden metric hinges on visitors from Pinterest. eCommerce sites need to evaluate conversations from Pinterest traffic. Individuals looking to establish themselves as an influencer value follower numbers.
While follower count can factor into each of these goals, it's not the end all be all. Most times it's better to have a smaller, more engaged audience of your unique tribe as opposed to a giant following of digital zombies.
Know your goals for Pinterest, then evaluate the metrics that help you measure your progress toward that focus.
8. "Pinterest is Punishing Group Boards"
Pinterest is not punishing group boards, they remain still a great way to reach new audiences, curate quality content and see what type of content people respond to.
The difference is the Smart Feed.
For a long time, some Pinners used group boards to game the system. This resulted in the same spammy content being posted again and again - and while this could help boost visibility, eventually it led to the board being less valuable to Pinners. The Smart Feed emphasizes quality, not the number of times you Pin. Pinterest adjusted the visibility of group boards to provide more value to users rather than encourage regurgitated content.
It's time for a new strategy, one that's closer to the original intent behind group boards. Share new content that lines up with the content, description and theme of the group board. Find your Tribe by engaging with other users. Learn what's working in your industry. Curate great content.
9. "You Have to Pay for Traffic"
Many Pinners saw a decline in traffic after the Smart Feed debuted. This is primarily because Pinterest adjusted the type of content users see.
Rather than chronological content, users now see Pins based on a mix of people who they are following, interests, related Pins, and, of course, Promoted Pins. How these Pins are ranked is a bit of a mystery - what we do know is that a number of factors go into how they are shown: domain quality, Pin quality, Pinner quality, and topical relevance.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, quality is key.
The old days of trying to game the system by Pinning repeatedly are gone, as we mentioned with group boards. It's back to basics. Verify your domain, optimize your Pins, use rich keywords, and make sure your site is strong.
If you're still unsure about the Smart Feed, check out this in-depth article by our CEO Danny Maloney outlining all the ways changes, and advantages, that the Smart Feed brings.
10. "Rich Pins Reduce Site Traffic"
Rich Pins provide extra information in the Pin description and many users believe that the additional context can limit your click through traffic.
That's not the case.
Rich Pins provide extra information to entice engaged users to click through. While recipe rich Pins, for example, outline the ingredients list, users still have to click through to see the full set of instructions. Going the extra step to create a Rich Pin also enhances the user experience. The extra information gives Pinterest more data to pull from when aggregating content for users with similar interests.
It's also important to note that the Pin ranking system factors in trust. Rich Pins indicate trust with Pinterest.
At the end of the day, the benefits outweigh any perceived negatives.
11. "Delete Pins With NO Engagement"
We saved the one we are most passionate for last: deleting Pins.
Quickly stepping up to the soapbox. Pulling out a megaphone. Ahem.
DON'T DELETE PINS WITH NO ENGAGEMENT.
Stepping down from the soapbox.
Deleting Pins solely because they didn't perform well in the first few weeks cuts your virtual legs out from under you. Many Pins take weeks - if not months - to slowly make their way in front of the influencer whose Repin takes it viral. Check out how one Pin took 32 weeks to hit viral status.
If you're a regular on our blog, this isn't anything new, we've been on our soapbox about this particular issue for what feels like ages.
Well, now we can back it up. Here's what our team discovered:
People who delete many Pins see very low Repin and follower growth rates, equivalent to those who only Pin 0-5 times per day.
Did you catch that last part? We'll repeat it just to be safe - if you delete a lot of your Pins, your engagement is equivalent to those who only Pin 0-5 times per day. You're doing as well as the person who ignores Pinterest completely.
If you're going to invest the time and energy to put Pins out there, as least allow them the ability to bring returns, otherwise, you're doing yourself a huge disservice.
We'll call that myth extra busted.
Here's an infographic outlining the key elements of this post.