pinterest rich pinsEver wonder what the fuss is all about with Pinterest Rich Pins? Or why you even need them?

Rich pins are organic Pinterest pins that display your profile name, image, title and description on the pin image. I liken them to meta descriptions, and here’s why:

Both rich pins and meta descriptions are not direct ranking signals, meaning that they won’t help your content appear high on Pinterest or Google. But a compelling meta description can entice people to click on your post over someone else’s. Here’s an example of a meta description:

Your post’s meta description will appear next to your image when you install Pinterest rich pins.When you install rich pins, that meta description will appear on your pin (and it will stay with it). If you change the title or meta description of your blog post, the details on the rich pin will change too.

From Pinterest:

Rich Pins add extra details to Pins and update important information from the websites they came from. If something changes on the original website, the Rich Pin updates to reflect that change.

You can spot a rich pin by the extra information above and/or below the image on a closeup, and by the bold title in the grid. They can help you get more traffic, profile views and followers because they show people the original pin source. And by pulling in details from your post, people will know what your pin is about and be more likely to click on it.

What do Pinterest rich pins look like?

They can be hard to detect at first, but once you recognize them, you’ll spot them right away. Here’s an example of a rich pin (desktop, closeup view):

Example of a rich pin on Pinterest

 

And here’s that same closeup on mobile:

A Pinterest Rich Pin on mobile

At the end of the day, rich pins are one of those “best practice” things to do. Since they take about 5 minutes to set up, why not do it? Let’s dig in.

First, what types of rich pins are available?

There are four major types of rich pins you can use:

  • Recipe rich pins add details such as cooking time, ingredients list, and other special recipe instructions.
  • Article rich pins display the meta title, meta description and author of your blog post (these are the ones most bloggers use).
  • Product rich pins are the updated version of buyable pins and display pricing and product details, along with where people can buy and how many you stock.
  • App install rich pins direct iOS users to the app store so they can download your app.

Why should you set up rich pins?

Not convinced you need ’em just yet? I get it! In addition to what I mentioned above, consider this:

  • Pinterest rich pins give people the information they need to take action.
  • They help your content get discovered by more people who will likely click and repin.
  • The bold title helps them stand out in the feed.

#HEADSUP – If you been using Pinterest at all, you know they like to change things up! The same is true with rich pins. Check their website real quick before you start (but don’t freak…Pinterest instructions can be overly technical). The method I’m sharing here is super easy and non-techie.

Note: This method is for WordPress websites. If you use SquareSpace or another platform, ask a developer for help. Don’t let the tech stuff trip you up!

1. First, install Yoast SEO

Yoast is an SEO tool that helps you optimize your blog posts so they appear in Google for important search terms.

(It’s also great for Facebook. The OpenGraph will pull in metadata from your post, including site name and blog title, description, and link image.)

But I digress! We’ll be using that metadata for Pinterest.

If you don’t already have the plugin installed, head over to your WordPress dashboard and select plugins (left sidebar), then add new (at the top). Search for Yoast, install and activate it.

Once it’s installed, SEO will appear in your left sidebar. Hover over it and hit social.

From there, use the Accounts tab to add links to all your social media platforms. Then toggle over to the Facebook tab and double check that Facebook OpenGraph is enabled.

Facebook OpenGraph settings in Yoast SEO

 

It should be enabled by default. If it isn’t already, enable it.

That’s all there is to it! Your blog posts are ready to display as article rich pins. ?

2. Create a business account

You probably already have a business account, right? If so, you can skip this step.

If you have a personal account, head over to settings (top right) and click account settings.

Pinterest business account settings

 

See the business type section at the bottom? Personal accounts will say something like change to a business account.

Now, I bet you’re probably wondering, I want to keep my personal account! Can’t I just create a new one for my business?

The answer is that it really depends. If you’ve been sharing loads of personal pins to your account, it may be better to start a new one. When you’re using Pinterest for business, you want people to see boards that are relevant to your niche and target audience.

If you don’t have many boards and pins already, you can switch it over.

Make sure you set up your business account and boards correctly so that Pinterest can rapidly index your pins. This post covers everything you need to know about Pinterest SEO.

3. Claim your website

All you’re doing here is verifying with Pinterest that the pins you share are yours. It’s a simple step. And it’s a prerequisite for Pinterest analytics, ads, and yep, rich pins. Once your website is claimed, your profile image and link will appear beneath the meta title on all pins you share from your website.

Here’s an example:

Profile image beneath the meta title

Can you see how this step will help you build a strong Pinterest brand? People will start to click on your pins simply because they know and like your content, even if your blog post titles and graphics are less than brilliant, *wink.

To claim your website, head back over to settings, then claim:

Claim your website for Pinterest rich pins

Since my website is already verified, the green checkmark is there. You’ll want to enter your website URL and hit claim website.

On the next screen, select add HTML tag and copy the code (we’re going to enter this into Yoast next).

Go to your WordPress dashboard and select seo > social from the left sidebar. Then click the Pinterest tab. Paste the HTML code you just copied into the Pinterest confirmation field, right here:

Hit save, and you’re done!

Well…almost.

The last step is to go back to Pinterest and hit the red finish button. Then you’re good.

4.  Finally, validate and apply for rich pins.

Head over to the Rich Pins Validator and enter the URL for a blog post (any one will do). Just know that the validator tool won’t work if you enter your root domain instead of a post.

To clarify, your URL should have at least three forward slashes in it. For example:

Use ? https://conversionminded.com/pinterest-seo

Not ? https://conversionminded.com

When you’re ready, hit the blue validate button. Once you get the green check and the Your Pin’s have been validated! message, you can apply.

Validate and apply for Pinterest rich pins

Pinterest should validate your pins right away. Be patient though! It can take a few days. If you see this message…

We’ll review it and email you with any questions or next steps.

…check your pins over the next few days to see if your profile image and link show up. That’s when you’ll know they’re rich pins!

5. So, you’re a rich pinner, now what?

Now that Pinterest is adding metadata to your pins, it’s time to get serious about optimization. Many standard SEO strategies apply to Pinterest SEO, and rich pins in particular.

Every time you write a new blog post, make sure you:

1. Write great meta titles and descriptions!

Wondering what the heck a meta title is? It’s your SEO title, and it’s usually the same as your WordPress blog title.

That’s the one at the top of the edit window, right here:

example of a blog title for Pinterest rich pins

 

Scroll down to the Yoast SEO section and you’ll see the SEO title. Here’s where you can enter important SEO details and your target keyword. In our case, we’re looking at the SEO title and meta description.

(If you don’t see the SEO title, toggle open snippet preview.)

Here’s an example:

The SEO title will be pulled in when you enable Pinterest Rich Pins.

Notice how my SEO title is different than the blog title?

There are a few reasons you might do this:

First off, Yoast will prompt you to add your target keyword to the beginning of your SEO title. Now, if I can make that happen in a way that sounds natural and organic, I’ll do it (in this case, it worked).

(In the grand scheme of SEO ranking signals, I’m not sure it really matters.)

Second, Yoast will display a preview of your post in search results. I usually tool around with the title and description until I like the way they look.

And depending on how the new SEO title looks on pin images, I may update the blog title. Otherwise, I’ll leave it alone. I’d rather match the blog title to my pins, but hey, that’s just my personal preference. 🙂

So play around with those a bit.

Part of it comes down to priorities, in my book. How important is this keyword to your business? Do you REALLY need to rank for it? If so, be super geeky about SEO.

Last thing I’ll say here is:

Some *experts* say that the two titles should match. Others say they should be different. And still others say it doesn’t matter. Go figure…

What I do know for sure is…

Blog titles and meta descriptions carry serious weight when it comes to click through rates.

Huffington Post, Digg, and Mashable are great for headline inspiration. Try to mimic the headline formats they use (don’t copy the actual titles!), and make a list of power words that grab your attention, e.g., brilliant, shocking, undeniable, and so on. See if you can work them into your titles.

Want done-for-you blog titles? You’re in luck! I created this list of over 120 blog title templates you can use. All you have to do is fill in the blanks, and you’re done. Click the image below to download it. 

Download 120+ Clever Blog Title Templates

2. Next, create brilliant pins.

Nothing will help you stand out and get engagement like a brilliant pin image!

If you’re wondering where to start here, check your Pinterest feed. Search for topics completely unrelated to your brand (e.g., meal plans, gardening, pattern making). See what jumps out at you.

Use your laptop first, then check the app. Notice a difference? Many times the pins that jump out on desktop are completely different than your phone.

Still, there are design “best practices” you need for each. For example:

  • Bright colors
  • Bold, sans-serif fonts
  • The use of text overlays
  • Lifestyle images that reflect your brand
  • And more…

Want an in-depth guide on pin design? Read this post!

#CREATEANDGO Templates will help speed things up with Pinterest graphics. A style guide will help too. Make sure you define the fonts, colors and images you want to use so you, and your team, can create them on the fly. And you’ll know that your Pinterest brand will always be consistent and cohesive.

If you need help creating templates, or just want a jump start, my Viral Pin Templates may be just what you’re looking for! There are over 23 pre-made templates inside. You’ll have my best pin designs that have gotten thousands of page views and clicks! Click the image below to learn more about the Viral Pin Templates.

Viral pin templates | viral Pinterest graphics templates

3. Add descriptions to your pins.

Back in the day, you’d see descriptions beneath the pin images in your feed. And we’d all write super elaborate text to encourage people to click through.

Now they’ve lost their *engagement juice* because you have to view close-ups to see them. But they still pack a big punch for keywords!

Every time you share a new pin, include a keyword-rich description (1-3 keywords, 1-3 hashtags).

There are two ways you can do this:

One. Upload the pin from your computer and add the description manually.

Two. Add text to the pin in WordPress, and click save from website in Pinterest.

I won’t go into too much detail here. Just know that if you choose #2, both the image and the text will be shared when someone saves the pin from your website.

The way to make this happen is to install Tasty Pins or Social Warfare. When you upload a new image, you’ll see a custom field for Pinterest text. Here’s what it looks like using Tasty Pins:

example of Tasty Pins

 

That’s where your pin description goes. Don’t worry if you forget to add it at first, you can always edit it later.

Oh, and…see the alternative text field below it? That’s where your SEO keyword goes, just so ya know.

You’re done! Now, every time someone shares the pin from your site, the description will travel with it.

Whatever you do, please don’t leave the description blank! You’ll miss out on traffic.

4. SEO your blog post.

Last but not least, SEO the hell out of your post. Now, there are a lot of on-page SEO things you need to do (in addition to steps #1 and #3 above). And I cover them all right here. There’s even an SEO checklist you can keep handy. (I like to check things off right before I hit publish, which I’m about to do right now!)

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10 smart ways to use Pinterest vs InstagramPinterest vs. Instagram: Which one will give my business the biggest boost?

Ever ask yourself that questions?

I admit…I’m a bit Instagram-obsessed these days. Still, Pinterest does amazing things for my business so it’s a tough call.

They’re both visual content platforms, and the similarities can make it hard to decide which one to focus on.

But the way people use them is wildly different, so we have to use them differently too.

Today, I’m covering ten key differences between Pinterest vs. Instagram to help you decide which one will work better for your business. Hopefully, this post will clear up any confusion you may have and guide your strategy on both platforms.

PINTEREST vs. INSTAGRAM

 

1) Desktop vs. mobile

KEY DIFFERENCE: INSTAGRAM IS A MOBILE APP; PINTEREST IS A WEBSITE

Instagram

Some features aren’t available on desktop. If you want to apply filters to your photos, delete or edit posts, reply to comments, create stories, and so on, you need to do it from the app.

Pinterest

Pinterest is completely functional on both desktop and mobile. You can upload pins, access your account, create boards, and run ads on both devices.

That said, you’ll likely spend most of your time creating pins from your laptop. And it’ll be easy to forget about mobile, but please don’t.

I can’t tell you how many times I created a brilliant pin that looked like a tiny spec on my phone.

OMG!! You can’t even READ that text! How am I even getting traffic?!

So check your pins on mobile. 80% of Pinterest users log in from their phones, and you want your pins to grab their attention instead of someone else’s.

2) How you share content

KEY DIFFERENCE: FROM YOUR PHONE ON INSTAGRAM; FROM YOUR LAPTOP ON PINTEREST

Instagram

Instagram is a photo-sharing app, which means you can grab photos directly from your camera, apply cool filters and captions, and share them.

What you can’t do on Instagram is share images from your desktop.

Remember, it’s an app and not a website.

But there are workarounds! Scheduling tools like Later, Planoly, and Tailwind will share your custom graphics for you.

(I use Later to plan my grid and love it.)

Pinterest

Can you pin photos from your camera?

Yep, but I wouldn’t…

Pinterest is a place where people go to find things. Your pins should be optimized for search before you share them, and you can’t do that with straight photos. Design and upload them from your laptop instead.

3) What you share

KEY DIFFERENCE: YOUR CONTENT ON IG; OTHER PEOPLE’S CONTENT ON PINTEREST

Instagram

Instagram has always has been about original content. There’s just no easy way to repost another person’s photo on your page.

(not without third-party apps, *wink)

For that reason, most people stick to their own images and photos.

That doesn’t mean you CAN’T share other people’s posts. It just means Instagram doesn’t make it easy. With Later and Repost for Instagram, you can fill your calendar with posts from other users if you want

But be careful, people may not want you sharing their personal photos. Make sure you adhere to Instagram’s policies.

From Instagram:

You might also be able to use someone else’s content on Instagram if you’ve gotten permission (for example, a license), or if your use is covered by fair use or some other exception to copyright. It’s generally a good idea to get permission before posting content, and to get that permission in writing.

Most people will thank you for sharing their content so I wouldn’t get too freaked by this. You just have to ask, and credit them as the original source in your caption. Super simple.

For more info on Instagram copyright policies, review their help page here.

Pinterest

Pinterest users share original content and content from other users.

And it all boils down to the algorithm and how it works:

Pinterest rewards pinners who share high-quality content. And it doesn’t matter if that content is yours or someone else’s. 

That’s why a lot of people share pins from others until they build up enough original content. Then they share their own pins and drive traffic to their website.

4) Graphic design tools

KEY DIFFERENCE: DESIGN APPS FOR INSTAGRAM

Instagram

To create custom images on my laptop, I use Photoshop and Canva.

There are so many other to choose from (Adobe Spark, PicMonkey, RelayThat). I’ve been using Photoshop and Canva for so long I don’t even have to think about graphics. But if others work better for you, use those. Don’t let tech slow down your graphics!

To edit photos on my phone, I use PicMonkey and Typorama or Font Candy for fonts.

I rarely share photos directly from my phone, though. I usually airdrop and edit in Photoshop, then upload to Later.

Pinterest

Ditto on all the tools except for Typorama and Font Candy. I design pins on my laptop with Photoshop or Canva.

Real quick…Pre-made templates will save you loads of time!! Create 3-4 variations with colors, fonts, logo, images, and other brand elements you plan to use. You’ll thank me later. 🙂

5) The way you use links

KEY DIFFERENCE: ONE LINK IN INSTAGRAM; MULTIPLE LINKS IN PINTEREST

Instagram

Links are a pain on Insta because we only get one link in the bio. So we have to use it wisely.

Think about where you want to send your followers. Do you have a coaching program or masterclass you’re promoting? Link to that. Otherwise, direct your followers to a Link.tree or Linkin.bio page that houses all of your clickable posts. That way, you can maximize Instagram traffic.

#HEADSUP You can add swipe-up links to stories if you have 10K followers (one more reason to build a following, in my book!).

Pinterest

Every pin should include a link to a specific page or post that is the source of the pin.

So all you have to do is create multiple pins and link them to the same post, and you can get thousands of page views!

When you upload a pin to Pinterest, you’ll need to add the URL manually. When you save a pin from your website, the URL will populate automatically.

You can even hide pins in your post so that readers can’t see them until they click to save your visible pin. Then, all your “pinnable” images will appear, and they’ll be able to select the one they want.

If you’re hiding a lot of pins, reduce the file sizes with TinyPNG so they don’t bloat the page. ⏳

6) Engagement

KEY DIFFERENCE: LIKES + COMMENTS ON INSTAGRAM; REPINS + CLICKS ON PINTEREST

Instagram

For the most part, Instagram measures engagement in likes and comments, then gives you a “score.” Higher engagement scores mean that more people will find your posts.

Can you see why it’s so important to have a killer content strategy?

For example:

Let’s say, you have 500 IG followers…

They love everything you share. They send you hearts, blow kisses at you, and comment on every post.

Instagram will see their activity and reward you for it. All of a sudden, your posts will start showing up for more competitive hashtags (#7, below).

Now, if those same followers DON’T interact with your posts, Instagram will squash your posts. If that’s the case, get your engagement up, up, up!

Pinterest

Pinterest is a social bookmarking site, so repins and clicks carry more weight than comments.

And yep, you get scored here, too!

When you share high-performing content, Pinterest will show your pins to more people. That goes for brand new pins, older pins, and pins you share from other users.

Pinterest needs savvy pinners like you and me to help them curate content for users.

So as long as your pins are brilliant, content shared from your domain will have more reach.

Keep this in mind…

None of these rules are hard and fast. Having a lot of followers and sharing content frequently can help balance out low engagement. Still, you get the gist. Build your following, share engaging posts + pins, and more people will see them and follow you.

7) Keywords and hashtags

KEY DIFFERENCE: ONLY HASHTAGS ON INSTAGRAM; BOTH ON PINTEREST

Instagram

Hashtags on Instagram are non-negotiable! They help your content get discovered.

They’re a way of indexing specific words and phrases so that people can find your posts.

(There are no hashtags on Instagram, only keywords.)

And while some experts recommend using less than 10 per post, Instagram allows you to use 30. I say, use them all to your advantage.

Here’s why:

First off, I noticed a drop in engagement when I tested fewer hashtags. So there’s that.

Plus, hashtags make your content discoverable. It makes sense that more hashtags will make your posts more discoverable.

Between you and me, I think people with hundreds of thousands of followers and can get by with fewer hashtags. We’ll get there, *wink.

Meantime, use every hashtag Instagram gives you, and use them strategically.

Think about search terms your target audience would use to find your business.

For example:

Let’s say your post is about social media strategies. You search for relevant hashtags and find #socialmediaboss, #sociamediagirl, and #socialmediatips.

Even though #socialmediaboss and #socialmediagirl are targeted hashtags, it’s unlikely that people will use those terms when they search. They’ll probably search for #socialmediatips instead.

Next, once you’ve found relevant hashtags, it’s time to narrow them down.

Less is more with hashtags, which is a cryptic way of saying, You’ll have an easier shot at ranking if you use long-tail hashtags that are aren’t already being used by hundreds of thousands of other posts.

In our case, #socialmediatipsandtricks hits the sweet spot. Only 10,000 posts are competing for it, and it’s highly targeted. Perfect.

On Instagram, you can see how many posts use a specific hashtag. Most people think more is better, but it’s the opposite: aim for low-competition hashtags and you'll have a better chance of ranking.Click To Tweet

Pinterest

On Pinterest, keywords are keywords, and hashtags are hashtags. Whew.

And here’s the thing: You need them both.

Hashtags should go in your pins, and keywords should go in your profile, boards, and pins. For pins, aim for 2-3 hashtags and 3-4 keywords.

Whatever you do, don’t keyword-stuff. You’re more creative than that! Use full sentences in pin descriptions, include a call to action, and find ways to weave in keywords so that they sound natural and organic.

When you add the right keywords to your pins and share them to indexed boards, you make it super easy for Pinterest to categorize them (and show them).

8) Posting frequency

KEY DIFFERENCE: 1-3X A DAY ON INSTAGRAM; 30X A DAY ON PINTEREST

Instagram

Ideally, you want to post 3x a day on Instagram. That way, you can test the best times to share, and people will notice you more.

Now, if you can’t start there, no biggie. Try to share one post a day until you work up to it.

You can always do what I did at first: Use Later to find and share other people’s content!

(Remember step #3, above.)

If you treat each post as a microblog and hook people in with your caption, you’ll get a lot of likes and comments.

While you’re at it, create a story. Stories are getting a lot of traction these days, even more than posts.

Pinterest

Many entrepreneurs ask me if Pinterest will work without a blog.

Honestly, my answer is yes and no.

See, Pinterest wants creators to share fresh content.

Like, a lot of it…

Like, 30-pins-a-day of it…

If you really want to build your brand and business with Pinterest, that can be hard to do without a blog.

Sure, you can pin other people’s content, but you’ll be losing out on valuable traffic opportunities.

Now, here’s the yes part:

Start by sharing pins for your sales pages and landing pages.

Say, 10 pins for each one.

Make sure you mix it up with  content from others at the same time.

Then, start a blog so you have more content to share.

Because the real power of Pinterest lies in:

  • Diving pin traffic back to your blog posts
  • Converting blog readers into subscribers
  • Introducing products to your subscribers

Now, I know you may be thinking, That’s a lot of work! How am I going to blog and share 30 pins a day?

I hear ya! It’s actually easier than it sounds, and you don’t have to share 30 pins at first.

Plus, consider this:

All you need is a few pins to go viral, and you’ll get traffic for months, even years.

Just keep sharing those pins over and over, so they keep working for you. You can easily loop your pins in Tailwind.

Heck, you won’t even have to log in to Pinterest to get that traffic! How’s that for workin’ smart?

9) Image sizes

KEY DIFFERENCE: SQUARE FOR INSTAGRAM; VERTICAL FOR PINTEREST

Instagram

Instagram posts should be 1080px square, stories should be 1080 x 1920 px.

Pinterest

The recommended size is 600 x 900 px.

Honestly, any vertical pin with a 2:3 ratio will work. I prefer 800 x 1200 px, and if you use Canva, the preset will be 735 x 1102 px.

You can even experiment with longer pins that mimic infographics. Descriptive images almost always get more engagement than plain text.

You can also share square pins now. So if you want to reshare Instagram posts to Pinterest, you can do it! Just make sure you:

  • Change the link if you want traffic to your website instead of Instagram
  • Choose posts that will perform well as pins

10) How people buy

KEY DIFFERENCE: DIRECTLY ON INSTAGRAM; FROM YOUR WEBSITE ON PINTEREST

Instagram

Shoppable posts allow you to “tag” products in your posts so that people can buy them. When someone clicks on your image, they’ll be taken to a product page where they can make a purchase.

Your followers don’t have to go out of their way, or leave Instagram, to find your products. They can discover, shop, and buy within the app.

Talk about convenient. Just imagine how that can impact your sales!

Pinterest

Product pins are a bit different than shoppable posts.

People can’t actually buy products within Pinterest. They’ll have to click to your sales page, and away from Pinterest.

Still, product pins show pricing, availability, and where to buy. People will be more inclined to make a purchase.

That’s a wrap!

There you have it… My ten key differences between Pinterest and Instagram. Which one will you be focusing on next? Let me know in the comments!

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9 Pinterest SEO Secrets Every Blogger Should Know / Want to know how to use Pinterest for Business? This post is for you! It includes a complete Pinterest growth guide with SEO tips and tricks for bloggers. Pinterest fundamentals, Pinterest hacks, and more for bloggers. Click through to see all the steps!In my Blog Profit Plan series, I cover the four buckets to building an online business:

Content > Traffic > Subscribers > Products 

I also cover the process by which each bucket spills over into the next until they’re all full and your business is thriving.

Problem is, sometimes the buckets don’t spill over as quickly as you want. They usually slow down somewhere in the middle, between Traffic and Subscribers.

Sound familiar?

If you’ve been struggling to grow your traffic and email list, you’re not alone, friend. Many entrepreneurs and bloggers struggle to fill those two buckets up.

Luckily, there’s Pinterest. 🙂

Pinterest is a huge source of traffic for those who use it. In my experience, it’s the easiest source of social media traffic. So today, I’m drilling down on all things Pinterest to give you (what I hope to be) the ultimate guide to using Pinterest for business.

Here’s what I’ll be covering:

Part One: Pinterest Fundamentals

  • Why use Pinterest for Business?
  • Pinterest SEO Changes
  • Understand the SmartFeed
  • Set Up Your Account for Traffic

Part Two: Get found on Pinterest 

  • Create a Pinterest Content Strategy
  • Research Keywords
  • Add Keywords Everywhere
  • Pinterest SEO vs Google SEO

Ready to dig in? Let’s do it.

 

Part one: Pinterest Fundamentals

Step 1) First, why use Pinterest for business?

Because it’s ripe for the taking! If you’re still thinking that Pinterest is only for fashion tips and recipes, keep reading…

Pinterest is a goldmine for business.

When you get it right, you can explode your traffic in ways that you just can’t with Facebook or Instagram. In fact, Pinterest is very different than FB and IG. For starters, it’s not even a social media site.

It’s a SEARCH ENGINE and a SOCIAL BOOKMARKING SITE.

Where people are on Facebook and Instagram to be social, people are on Pinterest to find stuff. They’re searching for ideas of things they can buy/make/do…much like Google. And there are a whopping 200B monthly searches on Pinterest. Whoa.

So when your pins appear for their search queries, they’ll love you for it (and so will Pinterest!).

Pinterest knows that without content creators like you and me, there would be no Pinterest. And they want to help us reach a broad audience by encouraging others to share our pins.

That’s where the social bookmarking component comes in…

Between tribes and group boards, you have a huge opportunity to reach thousands of followers outside of your own.

If you keep all of this in mind, you’ll be able to steer your Pinterest strategy in the right direction.

Step 2) Pinterest SEO Changes

The Following Tab

When you log in to Pinterest, by default, you’ll see pins from your SmartFeed (step #3 below).

But what if you want more control over the pins in your feed?

Now you can have it with the new Following Tab. Toggle it on to see only pins from the people you follow. It’s right up here in the top menu:

The Pinterest Followers Tab

Looks like this new feature is designed to encourage you to spend more time on Pinterest by seeing only the pins you care about.

Hashtags

Yep. You can use them! And you should. It’s the second time around for Pinterest hashtags, and this time it looks like they’re here to stay.

When you use hashtags, you increase the chance that your new pins will be distributed to relevant hashtags and be seen by more people.

Notice I said *new pins.* Don’t bother going back and adding hashtags to your older pins. The reason is that the hashtag feed is prioritized by freshness. So adding hashtags to older pins won’t help them. Just add them to new pins from here on out, and you’ll be good.

I cover more on hashtags in step #8 below.

Image Sizes

Are infographic pins gone for good?

They could be. Here’s what Sarah says about longer images:

2:3 is recommended (600×900 or 735×1102). “If you deviate much from that, you might see less distribution or your Pins might be cut off in certain parts of the Pinterest app. Given that, we recommend sticking to that 2:3 ratio or lower.”

“Previously we truncated Pins, but now sometimes we just don’t show the Pin at all if it is super long. Even if currently our best Pins are super long, realize that these are still rolling out, and things will appear differently in different places.”

But here’s the thing:

My longer pins drive (waaay) more traffic and engagement than my 2:3 pins. So I’m willing to toss the dice on the longer pins and keep creating them for now. (I create three pins for every post – two are 2:3 and one is 1:2.)

For the full scoop on Pinterest images sizes, read The Ultimate Guide to Creating Pinterest Images that People Click.

Personal boards

Personal boards are where it’s at these days, guys.

Pinterest gives more weight to personal boards than group boards because many group contributors drop their pins without re-sharing from the group. Bleck.

This type of spammy activity causes your pins to have low engagement. When you share pins with low engagement, Pinterest may mark your domain as being low-quality and start squashing your pins.

That’s why personal boards are super important now. In fact, setting them up correctly is one of the most powerful things you can do to increase traffic.

Free webinar: Double Your Traffic with Pinterest

Step 3) Understand the SmartFeed

Your pins aren’t shown in chronological order like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

In fact, before displaying any of your pins, Pinterest’s SmartFeed algorithm will give them a score based on quality and relevance. After it filters and scores your pins, it will display them in the feed.

What that means is that Pinterest displays “best pins” first rather *newest pins* first.

Pins with higher scores appear higher up in search results and are shown to more people. Pins with lower scores appear further down in the feed and can take a lot longer to show up – IF AT ALL.

Before I get into Pinterest’s filtering criteria, let me back up for a minute and explain the three groups of pins that are displayed in the Smart Feed.

When you log in to Pinterest, the pins you see are:

  • From people you’re following
  • Related to those you’re following
  • Similar to those you’ve shown an interest in

Ever notice how the pins in your feed look like ones you just repinned? Those are coming from your “interest” group.

The SmartFeed Filter at Work

When you share a pin, Pinterest is working behind the scenes to decide when (and if) to show it based on these four criteria:

  1. Domain quality
  2. Pin quality
  3. Pinner quality
  4. Relevance

The graphic below is a visual reference for what’s happening.

Pins are grouped into three categories, then put through the SmartFeed Filter, given a score, and displayed in your feed:

Pinterest's SmartFeed graphic

Here’s what each filter measures:

Domain quality – This is a measure of your overall domain. How many repins, close-ups, comments, and clicks do pins shared from your website receive overall?

Pin quality – A measure of your individual pin. How much engagement does it have?

Pinner quality – A measure of you as a content curator. Are the pins you share from others high quality?

Relevance – A measure of user intent. How relevant is your pin to a user’s search, interests, and search history?

Pinterest uses these checkpoints to ensure that only high quality, relevant pins are being shared by all. The higher your scores in each category, the better chance you’ll have of ranking #1 and reaching a broad audience with your pins.

In a nutshell, you need to be an epic content creator AND curator…create and share pins that are optimized for clicks and search.

A winning Pinterest SEO strategy combines these three elements:

Visibility + Searchability + Great Pin Design = Pinterest SEO Strategy

Sounds pretty easy, right? Actually, there’s a bit more to it.

But first, let’s get your account set up your correctly. I’m going to walk you though the steps right now!

Step 4) Set Up your Account for Traffic

Your Pinterest account, profile, boards, and pins need to be optimized for traffic. If you let Pinterest know right from the start that you’re a content creator, it can index and distribute your pins accurately.

Here’s how to do it.

First, create a business account.

A huge reason people don’t get traffic from Pinterest when they otherwise should is, they’re confusing their personal Pinterest with their business Pinterest – which confuses Pinterest too.

Remember, Pinterest is a search engine, and it’s looking for clues about your keywords from the pins you share. It’s not like Instagram, where you can get away with mixing personal and business posts, *kinda.

Instead, treat your Pinterest accounts the way you treat your Facebook profile vs Facebook page. Share personal pins to your personal Pinterest and business pins to your business Pinterest.

Don’t mix the two.

When you create a business account, Pinterest immediately knows that you create content. And it will love you for it! Because without people like you and me creating and sharing our content, Pinterest wouldn’t exist, and it knows it!

Creating a business account is free, and you can sign up for one right here. If you do decide to turn your personal into a business account, just head over to your profile settings and you’ll see an option to switch.

Next up, verify your account.

Once you create a business account, the next step is to verify or “claim” it. You can’t skip over this step because it’s really important!

You’ll get access to in-depth analytics on Pinterest and Tailwind. Plus, claiming your site is one of the first ways you’ll make your domain visible to Pinterest. All you’re really doing here is confirming your website with Pinterest so that it knows it’s you, and that you’re a blogger and content creator.

It’s very easy to verify your website. All you have to do is log in to your profile and go to your settings. Then scroll down to the Claim section:

Verify your website in Pinterest

 

Since my site is already verified, my website has a checkmark next to it, and the “unclaim” button is grayed out. Yours will be red and say “claim,” so just enter your website URL and select the button.

Next up, select “Add HTML tag.” Copy the tag and choose Next.

That tag needs to be added to the <head> section of your website, which sounds scary I know. But there’s an easy way to do it with the Yoast SEO plugin (for WordPress).

Then set up your boards for traffic.

You definitely want to create keyword-rich boards to help Pinterest index your pins.

For every board category (e.g., Travel), create one general and at least three specific, niched-down boards.

Here’s what that looks like:

Create broad and specific Pinterest boards.

Oh, and don’t just throw every keyword you find in there! Try to use them organically in complete sentences. Here’s the description for my social media marketing board:

Using social media marketing to grow your business + blog? Here you’ll find tools to help you do it. Pinning about social media marketing tools, social media strategy templates, social media marketing tips, marketing plans, social media cheat sheets, and more.

It sounds pretty natural, but I have a lot of keywords in there.

Now, I get that sometimes it’ll be easy to add a lot of keywords and sometimes it won’t. You just want to strike a balance between “keyword stuffing” and writing in a natural, organic way. After all, real humans are reading your board descriptions, so they need to make sense.

Note: There’s a lot more to boards than what I cover here…and they’re crazy important for Pinterest SEO today. I cover them in detail in The Pinterest Traffic Launchpad – including how to get Pinterest to “see” them, creating sections vs niche boards, how many you need, how to share your pins to them, and more.

Finally, enable rich pins.

Rich pins have confused a lot of folks, including me. I used to think they were the reason my name and logo started appearing beneath my pin image, but alas, that’s not the case! Your name and logo show up on pins after you verify your domain with Pinterest.

So what are rich pins really for, anyway?

What rich pins do is show the title and meta description of your posts.

Now, as I said before, you won’t see any of this metadata in your feed, only the first few characters of the description you added when you uploaded the pin:

Pinterest SEO | Pin DescriptionWhen someone clicks the pin to the expanded view, that’s when they’ll see the metadata and title:

Pinterest SEO | Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions

What the heck is metadata?

I’m so glad you asked! Sounds like a bunch of garblygook to me. 🙂

Basically, metadata is your meta title and your meta description. To break that down even more, it’s your SEO title and your SEO description. Which means they’re the title and description that show up on Google search results…

They’re also the title and description that Pinterest displays on your pin when you install rich pins on your website.

The big thing with rich pins is, the metadata from your post travels with the pin. When people repin your content, your metadata is repinned with it. If you update the meta description or title of your post, your pins and repins will also change (theoretically, it can take a while to update).

From Pinterest:
Use rich pins wherever possible so your brand and other useful details stay on the Pin as it gets saved.

Now that your account is set up for traffic and you have an overview of the SmartFeed, let’s dig into Pinterest SEO strategies that will help your pins get found.

PART two: GET FOUND ON PINTEREST

Step 5) Create a Pinterest Content Strategy

Want to really (REALLY) make the SmartFeed happy?

Share content your audience loves.

Hah! If only it were that simple…

First, you need to create jaw-dropping pins. Then you need to share them on the regular, e’erday.

And then…

You can’t just drop your pins, cross your fingers, and hope for the best! You have to be strategic about HOW and WHERE you share them so that people find them.

What you really need is a Pinterest content strategy. In the steps below, I’m going to show you exactly what to do.

First, share killer pins.

There’s this visual component that makes Pinterest incredibly powerful as a search engine, maybe even more so than Google. Because, let’s face it, Google search results are pretty meh. All people see are titles and descriptions with no pretty pictures to help them decide if they should click.

But over on Pinterest, whoa, there are tons of beautiful images that visually show people why they should click. Your job as a content creator is to design graphics that make people want to click on YOUR pins instead of others.

What does that mean?

It means you do things like check your pins on mobile (at least 65% of your traffic will come from phones), use bold fonts that are easy to read and use graphics and images that are on-brand and relevant to your post.

I drill down on all things graphic in these posts:

Next, get ready to blog your heart out!

If you’re a blogger, you already create content on the regular. High five!

Many of my students and clients have a hard time with blogging. They hope they can share a few *one-off* pins and still blow up on Pinterest. But, alas, that ain’t how it works, yo.

Blogging should be a core part of your Pinterest strategy.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’ve tried to fool myself on this too!

I spent the better part of last year creating two courses and couldn’t keep up with blogging every week. Instead, I posted once a MONTH.

Now, did I lose ALL traffic?

Let me just say, my pins were like workhorses keepin’ my traffic steady-*ish. So I didn’t lose it all but noticed a drop. My list growth also took a plunge…from ~1,500 subscribers a month to 1,000 or so.

The reason is that pins have a lifespan. Sure, they can last a looong time – six months, a year, even longer – but after people have seen them over and over, the engagement and traffic will drop.

I’ve experienced pin fatigue like this, and I know this is true. When you see the same pin in your feed every time you log in to Pinterest, you glaze over it.

No worries, though. Just know that when you stop blogging and sharing fresh pins, you WILL see diminishing returns at some point. Better to feed the beast.

#WORDTOTHEWISE If you’re pressed for time and can’t blog regularly, I recommend trying Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram ads.

Step 6) Research keywords

There are a few ways to research keywords on Pinterest:

  • Pinterest’s Guided Search
  • Topic searches
  • The ads platform

Pinterest Guided Search

When you search for a keyword in the guided search, Pinterest will show you a list of ideas across the top.

For example, let’s say you want to create a board about traveling. Here’s what Pinterest shows:

All those pretty buttons beneath the search bar are suggested keywords. Just so you know, those extra words should be added to your original keyword, like this:

  • Travel Destination
  • Travel Tips
  • Travel Bucket List
  • Travel Packing
  • Travel in the USA
  • Travel Hacks
  • And so on…

Topic Searches

If you enter https://pinterest.com/topics/travel into your browser window, here’s what you’ll get:

At the top, you can see how popular the topic is, and if you scroll down a bit there will be “Topics Related to Travel.” Click through each of these topics to get more title ideas.

Notice how the topics are becoming more specific every time you click through? Beach Travel has about 400K followers vs 70.3 million for the broader topic Travel.

The Pinterest ads platform

The other way to find keywords is to set up an ad account, which really just means placing your credit card on file with Pinterest. Don’t worry! You won’t have to run a campaign. You just need it to access the keyword section.

Once you set up your ad account, click on Create Ad from the top menu and name your campaign.

Then scroll down to the keyword section and add a keyword. Here’s what comes back for “social media”:

The list of keyword ideas is endless!

Researching keywords this way is great because you can create a master list and keep them in a spreadsheet.

Speaking of…

A keyword worksheet will save you A TON of time! You probably pin about similar topics, and it will be waaay easier to optimize new pins if you have keywords on hand and ready to use (especially if you’re sharing six or seven a week).

Psst…The right keyword and hashtag strategy can skyrocket your Pinterest traffic! In The Pinterest Traffic Launchpad, you will become a keyword ninja. Discover little-known ways to find *power traffic* keywords, where to place them, and how to quickly index your boards and pins so that Pinterest knows how to rank them. Learn more about PT Launchpad.

Step 7) Add keywords everywhere

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Once you have keyword lists, add them to your profile, boards, pins, blog posts, meta title, and more so there’s NO way Pinterest will be confused.

Here’s where they should go…

1. Your profile

Add keywords to your business name and the About You section.

I’m not sure how much the keywords truly matter in the About You, but any time Pinterest gives you the opportunity to use keywords, I say use them!

Keywords in your business name can help you get found when users search for people on Pinterest.

Pinterest SEO | Add keywords to your profile

 

2. Personal boards

I like to come up with ten keywords for my personal boards. I may not use them all, but it’s easier to start with more and narrow it down.

Oh, and don’t just throw every keyword you find in there! Try to use them organically in complete sentences. Here’s the description for my social media marketing board:

Using social media marketing to grow your business + blog? Here you’ll find tools to help you do it. Pinning about social media marketing tools, social media strategy templates, social media marketing tips, marketing plans, social media cheat sheets, and more.

It sounds pretty natural, but I have a lot of keywords in there.

Now, I get that sometimes it’ll be easy to add a lot of keywords and sometimes it won’t. You just want to strike a balance between “keyword stuffing” and writing in a natural, organic way. After all, real humans are reading your board descriptions, so they need to make sense.

3. Your pins

Of course, you need keywords in your pins!

Now, you probably share pins about similar topics and will wind up using similar keywords, which is perfectly okay.

Just make sure you don’t use the same exact keywords for every pin – vary it. You should have a list of keywords you use frequently. Go through it and pick new ones for different pins.

Oh, and watch out for keyword stuffing, yo.

Pinterest is likely headed in the direction of Google and may start to penalize pinners who spam their pins with keywords. Use them in sentences that sound organic, like you’ve written them for real people.

Use related keywords too (think “specific” and “broad.”)

For example:

If you blog about Travel and share a “travel itineraries” pin, you might use travel itinerary, backpack vacations, planning your trip on a budget, and best spots in Costa Rica as keywords.

Just so you know, keyword-rich pin descriptions appear at the bottom of a close-up:

Pinterest SEO | adding keywords to pins.

4. Blog titles + meta descriptions

In the image above, the blog title and meta description are pulled directly from your blog post.

The meta description is 140 characters long and appears below your meta title on Google, like this:

Pinterest SEO | meta descriptionIt’s important to add keywords to both places because Pinterest wants to ensure that the content on your pin matches the content on the page it links to.  The more your title and pin description match, the easier it will be for Pinterest to know what your pin is about.

5. Blog posts

I’m not entirely sure how much Pinterest is focusing on keywords in your blog post, but since they matter for Google, it just makes sense that they matter to Pinterest.

Think about it:

When your pin is linked to a landing page with the same keywords, you’re giving Pinterest one more signal that yes, this is the keyword I want to rank for.

Plus, this is another one of those cases where leveling up your Pinterest game can help you get found on Google.  Woop woop!

I cover Google SEO and Pinterest SEO in more detail (step #8 below).

6. Hashtags

Use at least two hashtags for each pin (one broad and one specific).

Broad hashtags will help your new pins get increased distribution when you first share them. Pinterest uses that hashtag to share your pin to the relevant hashtag feed.

Now, because hashtags are like keywords and broad terms are highly competitive, it’s likely that tons of other pins will be distributed along with yours. Which means your broad pin will be pushed down in the feed and people may not see it.

But the purpose of that broad term isn’t to rank in the hashtag feed. It’s to help Pinterest index your pin.

The specific hashtag is the one you’ll likely rank for. Narrower hashtags have less competition and better chances of showing up in relevant searches long term.

Just remember, you need both one of each.

Step 8) Pinterest SEO and Google SEO

I bet you’ve probably wondered at some point or another, Can I use the same SEO strategies for Google and Pinterest?

You are SOO on the right track, friend! I’m a huge fan of having multiple sources of traffic. Algorithms on any platform can change on a dime…and Pinterest is no different. You just never know if your account will be flagged for spam and (mistakenly) suspended. It’s happened to the best of us!

Since we’re already jammin’ on Pinterest SEO, why not work smarter and tackle Google right out of the gate, no?

Many strategies you would use to rank on Pinterest are the same for Google. Plus, as you research and apply keywords to pins and posts, you’ll get into a habit of SEO’ing everything.

Now, there ARE differences between Pinterest and Google SEO…

For starters, to rank on Google you need to write a post that *beats* others on the same topic (think longer, more detailed, better design, etc). But over on Pinterest, you can get by with 500 words if you create a great graphic with a killer headline and use the right keywords in your pin description.

In my Pinterest course, The Pinterest Traffic Bootcamp, I show you exactly how to find “traffic” keywords and create a year’s worth of content with ranking potential on Pinterest AND Google.

For example:

Example of a Pinterest pin ranking in Google Image Search SEO

This infographic is one of my top performing pins on Pinterest:

When you click through to the post, I show the infographic again with a short intro (maybe it’s 700 words).

I’ve been able to drive consistent traffic to the post since I published it over a year ago. In fact, it’s always in my top ten because of that pin. The post itself doesn’t rank on Google, and with only 700 words I don’t expect it too. But you know what?

It ranks on Google Image Search:

Example of a Pinterest pin ranking in Google Image Search SEO

So when it comes to Google and Pinterest SEO, just know that your pins can help you get traffic from Google, both directly from your posts and indirectly through your pins.

Wrapping it up!

Did I answer all your questions about Pinterest SEO? I hope so! Here’s a quick recap of everything we covered:

  • Recent Pinterest changes give you more ways to get found.
  • The SmartFeed uses four criteria to score your pins.
  • Set up a business account so that Pinterest knows you create content.
  • Create a content strategy that you can maintain consistently.
  • Research and add keywords following step #7.
  • Once you’re comfortable with Pinterest SEO, move on to Google SEO.

And remember to share pins that make people want to click, share to group boards and tribes, and SEO the heck out of everything!

More random thoughts and questions

Here are questions that the wonderful members of my Facebook group have asked:

Should you pin manually or use Tailwind?

According to Sarah at Pinterest, Pinterest will not penalize creators who pin via Tailwind.

It’s really a matter of preference.

I recommend that you pin manually for the first two months so that you can get a feel for how Pinterest works and use the platform as your audience does.

Is it better to share to tribes or group boards?

As I mentioned, group boards are getting pretty spammy. But all it takes is one good one, and you can reach hundreds of thousands of people.

Tribes have more accountability than groups because of their share-for-share rules. Having said that, there’s no guarantee that other tribe members will share your pins.

The best thing you can do with tribes and groups is monitor the activity and make sure you’re contributing to ones with high engagement and reciprocity.

What is the SmartLoop?

It’s a Tailwind tool that will save your sanity! Use it to create continuous loops of your pins (similar to the now-defunct campaigns in BoardBooster). Just specify which pins to share and to what boards, then let Tailwind do the pinning for you. It will even allow you to set group board rules and set specific time slots for your pins.

Should you delete pins?

If you mistakenly share the same pin to a personal board, delete it. Otherwise, leave them. You never know when your older pins will suddenly take off and go viral. It can be months and months later.

How do you add keywords to pins?

You add keywords to the pin description, which you can do when you upload the pin to Pinterest or when you edit the *alt text* of the image in your post. There are also plugins like Social Warfare (affiliate link) and Tasty Pins you can use.

Should you use board sections?

If you like them, go ahead and create them. Make sure you add keywords in the sections to give Pinterest more information about the contents. That said, I prefer niching down to sectioning. If you share to the same BROAD board over and over, instead of sectioning it create a few niche-specific boards. You’ll have more distribution options.

Does metadata matter for traffic?

Meta titles affect Google rankings, and I assume they affect Pinterest rankings too. Meta descriptions, on the other hand, aren’t a ranking factor on Pinterest or Google but they can help you get more traffic.

When people view a close-up of your pin, your meta title will appear first. Then your meta description, and THEN the pin description. All of these should make people want to take the next step and click through to your post. If you have a killer title and meta description in there, it helps.

How do you set up rich pins?

There are two steps involved and they’re really simple:

  • First – Add the metadata to your website.
  • Second – Apply for rich pins with Pinterest.

The first step is a 1,2,3. I’m going to show how to do it with Yoast SEO.

Select SEO > Social from the left sidebar in Yoast. Then select the Facebook tab and make sure that Add Open Graph metadata is enabled. It should be by default, but it’s a good idea to check before moving on.

Voila! You’re done. Now your posts are ready to display as article rich pins. The last step is to verify rich pins back in Pinterest, which you can do right here: Rich Pin Validator.

Should you write posts for Google, Pinterest, or both?

Once you master Pinterest SEO, start tackling Google SEO.

When you do, I recommend alternating between Google and Pinterest. Say, one week you write a post for Pinterest. You do keyword research upfront, look at popular pins and create an amazing graphic and killer headline for it – the post is about 800 words.

The next week you go all in on Google…keyword research, epic post, great design, long and detailed…all of it. That post is crazy long, like 3,00 words. (yep)

When you approach SEO this way, you will likely get traffic from Pinterest AND Google. And you won’t have to spend hours and hours writing a 3,000-word post every week. Give yourself a break on the *Pinterest* weeks.

This way you’ll have an SEO strategy for every post.

Can you use the same keyword research tools for Pinterest and Google?

You can. It’s easier to use Pinterest for Pinterest keywords and Google tools (Adwords Keyword Planner, Google Search, KWFinder) for Google keywords.

How many boards should you create?

Great question! As many as you need for your niche and as many as you can share to consistently. Engagement is a biggie. If you have a lot of personal boards with little or no engagement, you run the risk of Pinterest ignoring your pins altogether.

Should I use a keywords worksheet?

I think it’s helpful to brain-dump keywords onto a worksheet. Since you’ll likely be blogging about similar topics, some of the same keywords will pop up again and again…if you have them handy you can save a ton of time.

Next Steps

Pin, pin, pin!

Set up your account, start blogging, create pins, join group boards and tribes, track what you share and when, and don’t forget about Pinterest and Google Analytics. Check them each month, so you know what’s working and what you need to change for consistent results.

I’ve got answers to ALL of your questions about Pinterest SEO in my new mini-course, The Pinterest Traffic Launchpad. Click the image below to learn more about it.

The Pinterest Traffic Launchpad

by

How to Grow Instagram Followers OrganicallyEver have one of those days where you can’t POSSIBLY squeeze another thing in, then you remember a blog post you have to write?

Today is one of those days for me.

I’ve been dropping the ball on blogging lately and it’s time to pick it back up, so I’m hustling to get it done. The good news is, I repurposed this post from a video and it practically wrote itself!

If you’ve been wondering how to turn videos into blog posts, it’s actually very easy. I recorded a video, uploaded to YouTube, transcribed it at Rev.com, edited it, and hit publish.

But I digress! This post is about Instagram.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how to organically grow Instagram. So today, I’m sharing five tips that will help you do just that.

Let’s dig in.

#1) Make sure your Instagram looks gorgeous.

This one’s a no-brainer but worth mentioning because Grammers are all about eye-candy. 🙂

Make sure your Instagram account is beautiful and reflects your brand the same way that your website does.

Your colors, fonts, and images should communicate a cohesive look, feel, and personality. Think about ways you can use your posts to tell a cohesive and consistent brand story that draws people in.

Whether you’re framing your account around a niche, interest, or personality, all of your images should support each other and work together harmoniously to tell that same story.

The same thing goes for your profile:

Make it descriptive and tell people what they can expect when they follow you. Bonus if you include a call to action!

The reason this step is important is that people will visit your account. And they’ll be more likely to follow you if you can wow them with stunning visuals, colors, and images that tell a rock-solid story.

#2) Next up: follow, comment, and like.

One way to pull people into your account is to follow the followers of brands related to your niche.

Now, please don’t go crazy and follow 200 people a day or anything like that. Keep it low key. Follow people, here and there, who might want to follow you back.

#INSTATIP  You can also comment on posts, but don’t drop lame comments like “nice” or “great post.” Bleck. Comment like you mean it. Write something thoughtful that will inspire people to visit your account.

You can also look for hashtags related to your niche. Now, I’m not talking about hashtags to use in your posts (I’ll get to that, step #5 below).

Right now, I’m talking about finding posts that use hashtags related to your niche, and commenting/liking their posts.

#3) Create stories and highlights.

Have you noticed that Instagram’s organic reach has taken a nosedive (the same way that Facebook organic reach is down)?

Stories are a way to get some of that reach back. Have you created one yet?

I’ve noticed a bump in traffic when I post a new story. Plus, they’re fun to make!

And if you change the settings to “Save to Archive” on your phone, you can save stories to your profile. That means they’ll won’t disappear after 24 hours and people will see them when they visit your account.

Just one more way to engage people and increase your visibility, friends.

Here’s another:

Use hashtags and location tags.

Hashtags and location tags help people (beyond your followers) find your stories.

There’s even a way to show up on Instagram’s Explorer page (if you’re strategic with hashtags – step #5 below).

Let’s say you’re at an event and create a story using the event’s location tag. You’ll likely appear for searches that include that location.

You can even create a cool “About You” story. Maybe it’s the first story people see when they view your account so they can find out more about you.

Here’s the idea with all of these tips:

While you’re working to increase your visibility on Instagram, you do anything you can to make people want to stick around, see what else you have to post, and get to know you.

So these are working hand in hand…

#4) Post consistently + frequently

Next up, post consistently, and try to increase the frequency if you can.

Now, if all you can manage is once a day, that’s perfectly okay. But if you can post a bit more frequently, you’ll likely see a boost in all things Insta! I see a noticeable increase in both followers and engagement when I post three times a day vs just one.

Before you share your post, spend some time writing a description that will start a conversation.

Maybe you write something really thought-provoking and end it with a question. If you can toss the ball back to your audience for their thoughts, it will work in your favor, with me?

The reason is that Instagram is watching your account. And it’s giving you a score based on your number of followers and level of engagement.

Higher scores = Higher hashtag rankings = Get more Instagram followers organically

Curious about what that means? Read on to step #5, friend.

#5) Create a hashtag strategy

When you think of hashtags, think of SEO and keywords. That’s the way hashtags work on Instagram.

And they have A LOT to do with your Instagram score.

For example:

Let’s say you’re a big account with a huge number of followers and crazy engagement on your posts. Instagram gives you a high score for all your hard work, and you easily rank for highly-competitive hashtags.

(Highly-competitive hashtags are ones used by 200K+ posts.)

Buut, if you’re a smaller account, you’re out of luck because you can’t compete. You have about ZERO chance of ranking for those same keywords.

So what should you do?

Great question! You still need to use hashtags so that people can find your posts.

You just can’t use any ol’ hashtag. It’s time to get strategic, which I’m going to show you how to do right now!

First off, make a list of your hashtags.

The first step with hashtags is to collect data about your account. You want to find your current level of competition, so you know where you stand today, make sense?

You want to find out what hashtags you actually have the potential to rank for on Instagram, so you can focus on those.

Start by writing down hashtags related to your niche and interests (I recommend using Google Sheets). If it helps you to brainstorm, think of hashtags you commonly use in your posts.

Next, look for related hashtags that have a range of competition levels. For example, if a common hashtag for you is “plannerprintables”, look for related hashtags with:

  • 1,000 posts
  • 5,000 posts
  • 10,000 posts
  • 20,000 posts
  • And so on

Can you see what we’re aiming for here? You want to create a list of hashtags with different levels of competition.

Then start testing them. Use them in your posts for a day. Then later that same day, search for those same hashtags.

Find your current hashtag level.

Let’s say you have a new account. You do the hashtag test above and appear for hashtags with 5,000 posts.

Can you see the magic here? High five! You’ve just found your hashtag level!

Which means that 5,000 is your current Instagram score.

Knowing this, you can look for other hashtags at 5,000 and start using them in your posts (make sure the hashtags are related to your niche and interests).

Next, test your hashtags again.

I recommend using your 5,000 hashtags for a month, and then rinse and repeat.

Only this time, search for and test hashtags with 10,000 posts.

Use your newly-found 10,000 hashtags and wait a bit. Later in the day, search for them and see if your overall Instagram score is higher.

THIS is how you can get more visibility on Instagram, friends!

Last thing, give your posts a chance to be found!

Now, you may be thinking I’m a new account, so I’m only going to look for hashtags with 500-1000 posts.

I know it’s tempting to aim for hashtags with very little competition when you’re starting out, but please don’t limit it to just that!

The reason is that hashtag competition = hashtag popularity.

More competitive hashtags mean that more people are searching for them. AND less competitive hashtags mean fewer people are searching for them.

So if you lowball your hashtags all the time, you will likely only be seen by a handful of people. This will have the same effect as using only highly-competitive hashtags:

You won’t get the results you need.

But if you test your hashtags incrementally following the steps here, more and more people will start finding your posts.

That’s a wrap! If you create a 100% on-brand experience, engage with your audience, share stories, and get hyper-focused with your hashtag strategy, you’ll have no problem getting more Instagram followers organically.

Have more IG questions? Let me know in the comments!

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Free Content Calendar Template for 2018 | Having a hard time figuring out what to share on social media? Use this content calendar template to help you stay consistent and keep track of your promotions. #ContentCalendar #blogging #SocialMediaCalendar #socialmediatipsHaving a hard time figuring out what to post on social media? Do you want a template to organize and plan your content so that you always have something to share?

I’m with you. It’s hard to stay ahead of social media! One thing’s for sure: a social media content calendar template will help you stay on track, post consistently, and keep track of important events and promotions you want to share.

Today, I’m sharing how to create and use a calendar with Google Sheets, with a free content calendar template you can start using right away.

Let’s dig in!

#1: Create Monthly Goals

It’s important to have an end goal for all content you share so that you can track what’s working, which types of content drive your bottom line, and what to change based on campaign performance.

For most of us, our goals fall into the category of generating more leads and sales. Working backward from these long-term goals, we can create short-term goals that will help us achieve them.

The key with short-term goals is to start small, be specific, and set a realistic time frame to achieve each goal. At the end of each month, you want to be able to track your growth, see what worked, and set new goals for the future.

Remember our Blog Profit Series? We’re filling up each of those buckets, plus a fifth one:

  • Content
  • Followers (new!)
  • Traffic
  • Subscribers
  • Sales

Start with a goal setting spreadsheet for your social media calendar template

#2: Determine what you will share

The purpose of a social media content calendar is to provide a framework for sharing content that resonates with your audience and also sells your blog business. Before creating your calendar, be sure to plan content around specific campaigns and goals.

First, determine the types of content that make sense for your business and audience. Some common categories include:

  • Blog posts
  • Quotes + motivation
  • Product promotions
  • Holidays
  • User-generated content
  • Events + announcements

Depending on your business, your categories may look different and can be as broad or specific as you need. For instance, a health club might have these categories:

  • Free trials
  • Challenges
  • Workout videos
  • Holidays
  • Workshops + clinics
  • Recipes + nutrition
  • Daily WODs
  • Fitness tips

Once you’ve chosen your categories, create a separate spreadsheet to use as a working library for the original content, products, events, and promotions you plan to share. It’s helpful to color-code each content type so that you can easily differentiate them on the calendar.

Use a spreadsheet like this to create a content plan for your social media calendar.

Having a hard time coming up with blog ideas? I’ve got 3 places to find them right here.

Make sure you include publishing dates, post descriptions, URLs, images, action items, campaigns, and any other details needed for your workflow. If you have weekly or monthly content themes, add a column to the left of the spreadsheet, and include your theme.

I recommend managing other people’s content, RSS feeds, and Feedly subscriptions with a tool such as SmarterQueue and using the social media content calendar to plan original content, images, and timely promotions that require extensive planning and coordination.

#COLORTIP Use the same color codes for each category in your scheduling tool! Color coding makes it super easy to spot your categories across multiple tools and spreadsheets.

Plan your content on or before the first of each month. Throughout the week, you can fill in by creating content, designing images, manually sharing posts, and adding them to your scheduling tools.

Bonus: If you want, you can use this social media cheat sheet with over 24 days of content ideas. Click the image below to download.

A social media cheat sheet for bloggers and entrepreneurs so you know what to post and when, plus tools to help you automate everything from scheduling, to growth and engagement, and creating images.

#3: Next Up, Create the Calendar

Here’s where the fun starts! Log in to Google Drive to create a new spreadsheet.

To create your content calendar template, start by making a new Google sheet.

Create a sheet by selecting the New tab, and then click the title to rename it. Now it’s time to customize the spreadsheet and create your calendar template.

Since we’ll be working with seven columns, select columns A–G and drag them to the right until they fill the screen. Then delete columns H–Z.

Next, highlight the cells in the first row, and select Format from the top menu to merge the cells (Merge Cells > Merge All). Customize the font style, and center the text.

DOWNLOAD the PRE-MADE CONTENT CALENDAR TEMPLATE HERE

In the next row, enter the days of the week, beginning with Sunday. If you’d like, you can freeze these two rows so that they remain in view at all times by highlighting them and selecting View > Freeze > Top Two Rows.

Use the Freeze View menu option while you create your marketing calendar template.

In the next row, enter calendar dates, and then select the top three rows and add a bottom border using the border tool from the top menu.

Next, add your social media profiles to each date, leaving one or two rows between each profile to accommodate your posting frequency. Then select each column, and add a right border to each.

Leave a few extra rows, and add a bottom border to the last row in week one. Then copy week one, change the dates, and complete the calendar template.

Social Media Calendar template

Don’t forget to download the done-for-you content calendar template so you can start using it right away. It’s a huge time-saver!

DOWNLOAD the PRE-MADE CONTENT CALENDAR TEMPLATE HERE

#4: Add content to the calendar

Now it’s time to choose the specific days that you will share each piece of content. Using the same color blocks, add the content from your working library.

A completed social media content calendar

Customize the calendar to suit your posting frequency. For instance, you may want to include specific times you plan to share each post or add email and other distribution channels. I like to use the additional rows each day to highlight important events and promotion dates.

If you publish a large volume of content each month, you may even want to create separate calendars for each social media profile.

I regularly share the same content on each profile and find it helpful to use a simple color-blocked version of my calendar so that I can quickly see what content I plan to share each day.

Simplified version of the content calendar template

 

#5: Create the Content

Now that your calendar is complete, it’s time to research, gather your content, create blog posts, and design images. If you find yourself struggling to find the time to execute on your social media plan and create the content you need, the tools below will help.

PromoRepublic

PromoRepublic is a social media content builder with more than 6,000 templates created by designers, writers, and other industry professionals.

With PromoRepublic, you can share stunning visual content to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn at the click of a button. What I like about PromoRepublic is that in a matter of seconds I can share posts that would normally take hours to brainstorm and create.

PromoRepublic pricing starts at $9 a month for up to five social profiles.

Use PromoRepublic to help create ontent for your social media calendar

RelayThat

RelayThat is a graphic design platform that makes it easy for nondesigners to create beautiful images.

RelayThat is probably the fastest image creation tool I’ve used to create high-quality social media images. Use the one-click resize function to quickly choose a tall, wide, or square template. Then choose a background, and add your logo and text. Use the remix function to rapidly change the position of your text until you find one you like.

RelayThat is an easy design tool for creating content for your marketing calendar template.

For a complete tutorial on how to use RelayThat, click here.

Trello

As a visual person, I’m drawn to the design of Trello. While the Google Docs calendar provides a framework for planning content, I prefer managing the content creation process inside Trello, which is like a whiteboard for content.

In Trello, lists are categories, and cards are individual pieces of content. You can move cards from list to list, color-code your cards to match your calendar, and add images and descriptions to your cards. Setting due dates for cards will automatically place them on the Trello calendar.

Even the free option is useful for businesses and organizations, and you can easily share boards with team members.

Use Trello to organize your social media calendar template.

SmarterQueue

SmarterQueue has become my go-to scheduler, both for sharing evergreen content and other people’s content.

You can share content from any feed, whether it’s your favorite source, RSS feed, a Pinterest feed, a Facebook feed, or a competitor feed.

If you use Feedly, you can import an OPML file into SmarterQueue and arrange bookmarks from the left sidebar. To schedule Feedly content, add an “other people’s content” or “articles” category to your social media schedules. Then head over to the Add Content tab in the top menu, and select the piece of content you want to share.

Use SmarterQueue to fill your content calendar with other people's content.

Note: SmarterQueue is an evergreen scheduler and will automatically set your post to recycle. Be sure to select One-Time Post when you’re sharing other people’s content. The only content you want to re-share is your own!

Step #6: Track Your Posts + Promotions

Now that you’ve planned the content you want to share each day, it’s important to follow through and ensure that you share it.

Use a spreadsheet to track when and where you’ve shared content on each social media channel. The tracking sheet will also help coordinate content promotion with your team. Use notes to add tweet text and descriptions for each post.

The promotion spreadsheet is also helpful to keep track of older posts that you’d like to share with any new social accounts.

If you want, you can download the blog promotion worksheet here:

Use this blog promotion worksheet to track where and when you keep track of your social media calendar plan.

Final Thoughts

Using a social media calendar will help you plan your content around smart social media goals and coordinate with campaigns and blog content to achieve them. If you use the tools mentioned here to create and share high-quality posts at the right time on each channel, you will likely see more results from social media.

Remember to monitor each channel for engagement, moderate comments, and reply to fans and followers daily. Check the analytics of each platform to see what content resonates with your audience, and use that to inform future marketing campaigns.

Over to you! Do you use a social media content calendar? What tools do you use for creating and scheduling your posts in advance?

 

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Social Media Design Tips

Social Media Design Tips to Skyrocket your Traffic | Feeling creatively challenged when it comes to social media graphics? No worries, I've got you covered! Use these crazy simple design tips plus step by step guide to create social media graphics that look professional and cohesive everywhere. #socialmedia #graphicdesign

As a blogger or online business owner you probably know that sharing captivating visuals on social media is crucial for getting your audience to engage with you. Which means that good social media design is crucial to attracting your ideal customers.

But did you know that the reason has to do with how the human brain processes information?

Consider this:

  • Your followers on social media are sorting through thousands of messages every single day, some studies say up to 10,000!
  • In order to cope, they sort out what’s meant for them (and what’s not) in the fastest way humanly possible.
  • Rather than carefully examining every word, they “skim and scan” first, looking for visual cues to help them find subjects that are relevant to them.
  • All of this happens faster than you can imagine. According to this study done by MIT, the human brain processes visual information first and in as little as 13 milliseconds!

Milli. Seconds. ?

Visuals can make or break your engagement, but what makes an effective social media design?

A big mistake people make with design is assuming that its function is just to make things look cool. Ooof! The pressure!

If graphic design isn’t your cup of tea, luckily for you it’s much simpler than that, and I’m going to share some tips that’ll have you feeling like a design pro in no time.

First, let’s go back to how your audience is skimming, scanning, and sorting out messages on social:

The best way to level-up your design game on social media is to begin to think about it as the way you’re going to help your audience understand the context of your post as quickly as humanly possible.

Your graphics should also work hard for you to accomplish several goals:

  • Express the personality of your brand. How do you want people to feel when they see something from you in their feed? Do you want to be perceived as trustworthy? Zany? Serious? Inspiring?

Communicating your brand personality visually is accomplished by choosing fonts, colors and imagery that are in alignment with those traits.

  • Enhance brand recognition. Recognition leads to trust which makes engaging with your posts more likely. This happens by being consistent with your visuals so your audience instantly notices and registers who it’s from when they see a post from you.
  • Remove uncertainty. You want to make sure that your audience knows that if they pay attention to your message it will be useful to them.

This happens when you communicate clearly and avoid using trickery — like irrelevant images just to grab attention and “clickbait” titles that don’t follow through on their promises.  

Why designs fail to capture attention on social media

In most cases, when a design fails to capture attention, it’s because there’s too much information to process and it’s difficult to read or understand.

Good design is only as complicated as it needs to be to communicate clearly and no more. It’s as much about restraint than it is about adding pretty-looking things.

And here’s a secret: designers follow rules. (Yes, rules can be broken! But you first need to know what they are.)

The great thing about that is if creating attention-worthy graphics isn’t something you feel confident about, this is something you can absolutely learn.

Without further ado, let’s dive in to some of these rules so you can take your social media design to the next level!

#1. Determine your most important thing

Think about the MAIN thing you want people to notice about your graphic first. What will your audience care most about?

In design lingo this is called a focal point.

Contrast is an excellent way to draw the eyes where you want them to focus. For  example, you might highlight a highly-descriptive word or phrase with a different color or a contrasting font.

example of a high-contrast font

Because “Mother’s Day” is in contrast to the rest, your eyes naturally go there first.

See, it’s not so much about using a pretty color and a pretty font, it’s about solving the problem of “where do I want their eyes to go so they immediately understand this post is for them?”

(BTW, design is just another way to say “problem solving”!)

Before you finalize your design, take look to see if there are any elements that are distracting from your most important thing and remove any visual clutter that’s competing for attention.

#2. Choose 1-2 readable fonts to use consistently

I know how tempting it is to change your fonts every time there’s a sale over on TheHungryJpeg. (You know who you are. *slowly raises hand*)

But reinventing the wheel by experimenting with different fonts for every design you create is not only a bad use of your time, it can actually work against you in the noisy social media feed.

Remember that your audience is looking for cues for what to pay attention to and that it happens fast. By using the same fonts time and time again, you’re training them to recognize and remember your content.

(If you’re getting bored looking at your fonts, you’re doing it right.)

Some ground rules:

Choose one main font for setting text.

At least half of your audience will see your graphics on mobile, so you want to choose a font that’s suuuuper easy to read.

As a rule of thumb, sans serif fonts work best online. You can tell a sans serif font because it lacks the foot-like edges you see with serif fonts.

serif vs sans serif font

Google fonts is a great place to find free fonts that are available for commercial use. Just make sure you choose one that comes in multiple styles so you can create lots of contrast between headings, subheadings, and callouts.

Here’s what I mean by lots of styles:

Font styles for social media design

The above example is Fira Sans, but other versatile go-to Google fonts include Open Sans, Roboto, and Raleway.

Test your text on mobile!

I have been soooo guilty of this one because I primarily use my laptop when using social media, but you want to make sure your text is easy to read without squinting when viewing your graphics on a mobile device.

Test on all of the devices you can, because if it’s difficult to read, people aren’t going to zoom in to figure it out — they’re just gonna keep on scrollin’.

Start paying attention to other people’s graphics too. Which ones catch your attention? Which ones are too hard to read to even bother? Which ones are totally (un)missable?

Pin examples

Don’t use too many fonts.

You might’ve heard this one before. But a lot of people misunderstand this advice so I want to dig in a bit deeper and clarify.

First, a font and a typeface are two different things, and it’s helpful to understand the difference because this is where it can get confusing.

Think of a typeface as a font family. For example: Arial is a typeface.

A font is one specific style within that family. For example: Arial regular, Arial bold, and Arial italic are all fonts.

But, the words “font” and “typeface” are used interchangeably these days.

So when someone says “stick to 1-2 fonts” (*ahem*… like I did in the beginning of this section), what they really mean to say is “stick to 1-2 typefaces for your brand.”

(Sometimes 3 but you don’t want to get carried away.)

When I say “don’t use too many fonts” what I mean is don’t use too many font styles — even if you’re only using one typeface.

Still with me? How ‘bout let’s do an example to illustrate.

In the following graphic, I’m only using one typeface: Raleway.

In the example on the left, there are way too many fonts. Notice all the different styles and sizes and weights competing for attention and creating visual chaos. I have no idea where to put my eyes first, do you?

One typeface, too many fonts.

Too many fonts make your social media post hard to read.

In the example on the right, I’m also using just Raleway, but fewer font styles.

It’s clear that the first thing I want you to notice is that there are a lot of tips in store for you (23!). Then, that this is about “digital product ideas,”  because I used a contrasting color from the rest of the text to set it apart. Then, I want you to notice there’s a free checklist.

This is called visual hierarchy. Take a look at the total composition of your graphic to see if it’s clear what you want people to notice first, then whether it’s obvious  where their eyes should go next and so on.

By reducing the number of font styles used in the second example, I was able to create a sense of quiet in some areas and bring back contrast where I really wanted it.

Think of it like this: every time you add variation to your text — a different weight, size, or style (e.g. initial caps, all caps, italic) — you’re adding a new design element.

And the more design elements you use, the harder it is to create visual harmony and a strong focal point. Rule of thumb is to keep it simple, then make it fancy in strategic places.

Choose one brand-appropriate accent font.

Accent fonts are a fantastic way to draw the eye to something in your text that you want to emphasize, and they help with brand recognition too.

But, probably the biggest design crime out there is abuse of accent fonts.

I know, I know, I love fancy fonts too. But use them carefully and they’ll work much harder for you to capture your audience’s attention.

The main goal we have for your accent font is that it absolutely, positively, no-question-about-it must be READABLE.

Some ground rules:

Never set large bodies of text with a decorative accent font.

Example of overusing an accent font in an Instagram post.

You may love your accent font and know what it’s supposed to say, but don’t assume your audience will be able to read it. Anything that’s even remotely hard to read is just not worth the risk.

Below I’m using the same font applied to the word I want you to focus on. Not only does it draw your eyes where I want them to go, it elevates the font and makes it look way cooler!

Example of good use of an accent font

Choose an accent font that’s brand-appropriate.

Fonts have personality and your accent fonts should reflect your brand’s! It’s not so  much about picking out fonts you find pleasing to look at as it is choosing one that can be a great ambassador for your brand.

Are you casual and relatable consultant? Is your product reliable, sturdy and timeless? Do you stand for luxury and elegance? Do you have a quirky and youthful spirit?

Choose a font that best reflects the way you want people to perceive you.

Font personalities for social media graphics

#3. Choose brand colors and stick to them

Color evokes powerful psychological responses and they vary from person to person and culture to culture.

Rather than following the latest trends or just choosing colors you like, you want to use color strategically to help you stand out and capture attention.

The important things to consider when choosing a color palette for your branded social media graphics are:

Brand appropriate: Same as with fonts, colors have personality so go back to those brand personality traits you want to become known for. Then, choose a palette that’ll help you express those traits.

Social media brand colors

The most important thing is to use these colors consistently so you can begin to train your audience that when they see your brand colors, they instantly know it’s a post from you.

Competition: take a look at what others in your industry are doing — there are  usually color themes people in your industry or niche will follow.

Now think of ways you can use color to stand out from your competition (while also being brand appropriate).

For example, if everyone in your industry uses corporate blue, consider using Harvard red or forest green.

Versatility: You want to make sure that your colors are versatile enough so there’s enough opportunity for you to create contrast wherever you need it.   

Example of contrast color

Related: How to Choose Colors That Will Make Your Brand Stand Out

#4. Create some rules for the images you’ll use

Having a game plan for the types of images you’ll use will make researching images exponentially easier and it’ll help you create brand consistency too.

Will you use stock photography? Original photography? Illustrations?

What style? What mood do you want to convey?

Again, think about your brand’s personality and determine a few adjectives you can use when choosing images.

Here’s an example of some image rules I created for a foodie blog brand guide. You can see that by having some rules in place, the images tell a more consistent story.

Image brand style guide example

The more consistent you are in using the same fonts, colors and image styles, the more people will begin to recognize, remember, and grow to trust you. When people trust you, they’re more likely to engage with and share your content.

#5 Make whitespace your design BFF

Whitespace is not necessarily white, think of it as the space between things. One of the best ways to elevate your designs is to pay as much attention to the areas that surround your design elements as the elements themselves. Like…

Don’t push text right up to the edge, give it plenty of margin.

I see this a LOT on social media. While it’s tempting to make your text as big as possible and to use all the space available to you, bigger doesn’t always mean it’s more readable.

It’s actually better to allow plenty of breathing room around the words so the eyes have an easier time focusing.

whitespace in design and graphics

Align design elements and create even margins.

Wherever you can, make the spaces between things equal to improve visual harmony. Designers very often use grids and rulers and guides, but you don’t need to be pixel-perfect, just eyeballing it works too.

When you look at the following example, you might not immediately see the problem or even the difference between the top left graphic and the right, but when the top and bottom margins are measured, the left is off-balance.

add whitespace to your social media graphics

Is this nitpicky? Well yes, it is. But little details like this where something’s slightly off about a composition is like having “visual clutter” — and wherever possible you want to avoid that.

#6. Use relevant images

The other day a graphic caught my attention because it had a photo of yummy-looking, colorful cookies. Problem was, it was a blog post about affiliate marketing. (I’m still perplexed.)

Wherever possible, use relevant images to communicate your message.

The more relevant your image is to the topic of your post or story, the more it’s likely to grab the attention of people who are actually interested in that topic.

The following example works well to capture attention because we all need a weekend getaway to relax at the beach, right?

It immediately makes me go, “OMG I WANT THIS TO BE MY LIFE RIGHT NOW!”

weekend getaway on the beach

But the following example is even more relevant for people who struggle with the problem of always packing too much for short trips… which is the actual topic. (Not weekend getaways. Sadly.)

packing for a weekend trip

The great thing about social media is that you can test different graphics to see what works best!

Because most people are going to miss most of your posts most of the time (thanks algorhithms), it’s perfectly okay and even advised to share your posts multiple times.

Use the opportunity to experiment with different images to see what people respond to.

#7. When setting text on top of a photo, make sure there’s enough contrast

By now you’ve probably caught on that clear, easy to read graphics is the KEY to effective social media design.

One of the most common mistakes I see people making over and over again is setting text on top of a photo with virtually no contrast.

text overlay examples

The way to fix that is to either choose photos that have areas with very little detail where text can easily be read when placed on top, or to use an overlay.

An overlay is basically just a shape with a background color either set to full opacity or a bit of transparency so the background can still be recognized.

Flat lay designs are very popular because they’re usually composed in a way that leaves a blank space that works perfectly for adding text on top. So when you’re researching images add the keywords “flat lay” (flat lay desk, flat lay floral, flat lay food, flat lay fitness, etc.) to your search!

flatlay or styled stock photo example

#8. Ask for design critiques

I know this is probably a terrifying concept, but one of the very best ways to create more engaging designs is to be open to critique and criticism.

A huge benefit of getting a formal design education is the valuable feedback that happens in the classroom, and professional designers consider processing criticism a necessary aspect of growth.

But you don’t need to go to design school to get the same benefit! If you’re not sure whether something you’ve created is click-worthy, get feedback from people in your target audience.

Facebook groups are great for this! People looooove to engage with “what do you think of this design?” posts. Everybody enjoys sharing their opinions about design.

Then, buckle up, because no design is ever going to satisfy everyone. Just take what’s useful to you and really listen, but don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t like it.

This is the fast track to becoming more objective about what you’re creating which is required for making effective, engaging graphics.

#9. Use analytics

A lot of times people will tell you they LOVE your graphic design handiwork (bless their hearts), but in practice you’re just not seeing the engagement you want.  

This is where analytics can be immensely helpful.

Check your social media analytics and see which tweets, pins and posts are performing the best. Then, look at posts that aren’t as successful.

The reason why could be the subject matter, but it might also be the design. Do you see any patterns in the graphics that perform best or worst?

When you use analytics for anything, think like a scientist:

–What’s working?
Why do I think it’s working?
–What isn’t working?
Why do I think it’s not working?

Then form a hypothesis and test it.  

For example: When I look at my top performing Pinterest pins for the last 30 days, I notice that graphics with a teal background are performing best.

I also have pins with pink backgrounds, white backgrounds, yellow backgrounds and gray backgrounds and those didn’t get nearly as much traction.

Pinterest analytics

What’s my theory on this? Well…

  • It could mean that people are starting to recognize that teal color and because they trust my content, they’re engaging more.
  • It could be the subject matter is more popular and I’m getting better at creating the right content for my audience.
  • The teal pops and people love it.
  • It’s a coincidence. Maybe I just inadvertently made more teal graphics than usual this month.

It’s really just something to make a mental note of so you can compare results over time and get smarter and smarter about what works and what doesn’t.

But here’s where it gets interesting. The top performing pin uses a new color I’ve recently introduced into my palette–a light blueish-gray color.

This could mean that I’m on to something with this new style, or it could mean that  people just really liked the topic.

Because I saw more engagement on this pin than usual, I’m going to form a hypothesis: that people are responding more favorably to this style of graphic.

I’ll test it by creating more pins (for different blog posts) that follow that style and check back in a month to see what happens.

If those posts perform significantly better than their pink, teal, gray or yellow counterparts, I’ll modify my design templates accordingly going forward.

It doesn’t really matter that I prefer my pretty pink pins, what matters is what my audience responds to. Analytics will always give you the straight scoop and never sugar coat it for you.

And that’s great because when it comes to design, it’s easy to let our own personal taste and assumptions get in the way of results.   

#10. Start with templates

Here’s another secret: there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel if you’re not comfortable designing graphics from scratch.

Using professionally-designed social media design templates as a starting point using a tool like Canva is one of the best ways to look like a pro even if you have no experience with design.

You don’t have to use templates forever, the idea is to develop an eye for how to compose an engaging graphic and learn the “rules” of design by actually doing design.

Pretty soon, you’ll be creating graphics from scratch and even grow comfortable making your own templates!

Pro design template packs like Biz-in-a-Box still allow you plenty of flexibility to put your own twist on things and make them unique to your brand.

Ready to level-up your social media design game?

I hope this post has been helpful and you’re ready to make social media a more beautiful place! If you have any questions, hit me up in comments below.

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dominate social media with Pinterest

Did you know you can use Pinterest to drive traffic to Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube?

Now that video pins and square pins are approved, the opportunity to dominate social media with Pinterest is finally here, friends.

Not only is Pinterest a secret traffic weapon for your website, it’s also a powerful way to build your social media following. 

So if you’ve been trying to grow your YouTube channel, get more views on your videos, or build your following on Instagram and Facebook, Pinterest can help you do it.

(maybe even help free up the time you spend following, unfollowing, liking, and commenting. Blek.)

Ready to dominate social media? Let’s dig in.

Pin a Facebook image on Pinterest

You won’t be able to use this method to share link posts (which are any posts that link to external websites, landing pages and blog posts). This method works when you manually upload an image and add a description that doesn’t contain links.

First, find an image post you want to share.

Double click the image to open it in a new window. Then right click and hit Copy Image Location.

Pin a Facebook post to Pinterest

Next, head over to Pinterest and select the + sign in the top right of your dashboard. In the Save from Website field, past the image link and select the board you want to save it to.

Add a pin to Pinterest

Once your pin is saved, you’ll want to update the description with the URL you copied. Select See the Pin to edit your pin.

That’s it!

Given that Pinterest supports square images, I recommend creating a 1080px image so you can share it to Instagram, too.

If you have pre-set templates all ready to go – with your branding, colors, fonts, and so on – this should be an easy step. I think you’ll love my Canva Social Media Templates!

Pin an Instagram post on Pinterest

On your phone, find the Instagram post and click the three dots above the image.

Select Share, then Copy Link. This will copy the link to your clipboard.

Copy Instagram link

Next, open the Pinterest app. You’ll be prompted to share your copied link Select Pin it and choose a board. Voila!

Your Instagram caption will become the description by default. So you have two options here:

You can edit the caption before you save it to Pinterest. Or, you can save the pin with the existing caption and edit the pin description later.

If you decide that you want to use the Instagram pin to drive traffic to, say, a blog post, you can change the link to your website URL.

Pin a YouTube video on Pinterest

This is a relatively new thing for me, and I think I’m going to have fun with it!

Straight out of the gate, video pins look different than standard 2:3 pins. (Need a refresher on pin image sizes? Check out this post.)

There are two ways you can pin YouTube videos:

First, use the Pin it Button to share it directly from the video page. When you do this, your thumbnail image will become the pin image.

You’ll also notice two black bars on the top and the bottom of your video, which you may not want.

The second way to pin a YouTube video is to head over to Pinterest and select the + sign to create a new pin.

In the pop-up window, select Save from Site and enter the URL for your YouTube video.

Here again, should you decide that you want to redirect people to your website rather than the YouTube video, make sure you edit the pin and change the website URL.

Change the URL of your video pin to redirect to your website.

Don’t forget to add keywords and hashtags to the description so people can find your video pin!

Psst…You can also upload YouTube videos directly to Pinterest, which I think I prefer. If you want to find out more about that, read this post.

Pin a Facebook Live on Pinterest

Follow the steps above, only add one more step.

After you record your live stream, go to Publishing Tools and select your new video. Then hit Edit.

In the next window, click the gear icon to save the HD version to your desktop. Once the video has downloaded, you can upload it to YouTube and follow the steps above.

Once the video pin is saved to your board, go back and edit it. This time, change the website to your Facebook page.

Facebook Page Publishing Tools Video Library
Edit your Facebook Post and Save HD video.

That’s all there is to it! For more details on Pinterest SEO strategies that drive traffic, make sure you read these posts:

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If your business relies on LinkedIn, this guide is for you! It includes 13 tips to optimize your LinkedIn Profile for more views, appointments, and leads. Click through for the complete guide!Updated: August 20, 2019

LinkedIn has 500 million users, and you can bet that a good percentage aren’t on Facebook or Twitter. So if you’re in the B2B space, LinkedIn could be your only way to reach them.

There are over 1 billion searches a day for names and companies on LinkedIn.

This gives you a real opportunity to build your business reputation, expand your professional network, and generate leads and sales.

If you think of your LinkedIn profile as a one-page website, your first impression is crucial. With so many people fighting for attention, your ability to convince and convert potential customers can mean the difference between creating a lasting impression or creating no impression.

Below are 13 tips to creating a powerful LinkedIn profile. Before you dig in, keep in mind that LinkedIn profiles are pretty extensive with sections for Summary, Experience, Education, Publications, and more. There are no short descriptions.

It’s going to take some time to optimize your profile, and it certainly doesn’t need to happen in one sitting. Take your time, go through each section and gather the information and materials you need. You’ll be rewarded with more connections, increased visibility, and more leads and sales.

All of the items listed here can be edited by simply mousing over elements of your profile and clicking on the pencil icon that appears.

13 Tips to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile for more meetings, appointments, leads and customers.

Use a current profile image

Profiles with pics get an 11x increase in profile views. If you don’t have a high quality professional picture, get one taken as soon as you can. LinkedIn is all about the art of social selling, with “social” being the operative word. When I visit a LinkedIn profile without a pic, my first thought is that this is an inactive user. I’m also a bit frustrated, because I want to make an emotional connection and without a pic I can’t. I also don’t feel compelled to scroll the profile to find out more. To me, it means the person is too busy, uninterested or just plain boring to warrant more of my time.

Let people know what you do

Your professional headline is one of the first things people see when they land on your profile, right under your name next to your profile image. Give careful consideration to the title you use. While it might seem appropriate to use a simple title such as “CEO”, standard titles like this won’t do much to get you noticed on LinkedIn. Being creative and descriptive with your headline is more likely to capture someone’s attention. Think of your headline as a mini value proposition. Try to communicate more than what you do, and tell people who you help and how you help them.

Another point worth mentioning is that the words in your headline are indexed by search engines, so be sure to include keywords relevant to your industry with which you want to be associated. Using keywords this way will prompt LinkedIn to show your profile when someone conducts a search for these keywords, so give some thought as to how you’d like people to find you.

LinkedIn profile section

 

Also, don’t forget to let people know your industry (above your location).

Update your contact info

Under your header is a tab for contact. This contains your contact information that’s available to all of your connections. At a minimum, include your email address, phone number, website and Twitter account if you have one. For the website section, you can include more than just your main website and add a link to your Twitter account here as well. Try naming the links in a way that creates interest and tells people what you do, rather than just showing your website address.

sample linkedin contact

Customize your URL

The default URL is long and hard to remember, something like http://www.linkedin.com/firstNamelastName/1/a59/379. You can easily edit the URL to something that’s short and branded. Customized URLs are also referred to as vanity URLs. You definitely want yours to be as short as possible with your name in there so people can easily remember it.

To edit your public URL, mouse over your image in the brown bar at the top right of your LinkedIn profile and select Privacy and Settings. Midway down the page in the Privacy tab, select Edit Your Public Profile in the right column under Settings. This will bring you to your public profile. At the top of the right sidebar, you’ll see Your Public Profile URL. Select the pencil icon to edit. The prefix will always be www.linkedin.com/in/. Add your name to the end of the string and you’re all set.

Make a list of keywords

When prospects and connections search for terms pertaining to your industry, you want them to be able to find you. Take some time to create a list of targeted keywords for which you want to be shown. In my case, I want my LinkedIn profile to appear when someone searches for the word “branding”, so that’s my main keyword. I also use variations such as brand positioning and brand development. You’ll want to write down about 10 for your industry, listed by priority, and have them on hand while you’re updating your profile.

Weave the keywords in wherever you have an opportunity to talk about you and your business, being careful not to overdo it. You should always keep the needs of your prospects at the top of your mind, so make it about them first. Then add your keywords wherever they naturally fit in.

In terms of LinkedIn algorithms for search, the best places to include your keywords are in the professional headline at the top of the page, and a little further down in the Summary and Experience sections.

Write a great Summary

The summary is one of the most important sections on your profile, because it’s the first section people see and it’s where you can really tell your story. Try to elaborate on your value proposition here. Talk about your business, who you are and what you do for people. You have 2000 words to play with, and it’s a good idea to use up as many of those words as you can. Profiles with longer summaries are more likely to show up in search results, which makes sense because you have more room to include the keywords from your list, which I strongly recommend you do.

A common mistake people make is to write their summary like it’s a biography or CV. The problem with bios, on top of being boring, is that they do nothing to share your brand value and benefits. Biographies just aren’t going mean much to your prospects. As business owners we’re here to get leads and sales for our businesses, not apply for jobs, so why write for a job interview?

The point is to really talk to people, be creative, and start conversations. You want to engage prospects and let them know who you help and how you help them. Instead of creating a bulleted list of what you do, let people know how your services and expertise translate into value. People want to read about your solutions.

Sample LinkedIn summary

 

Keeping in mind what I mentioned above, you may still want to add a list of specific services you provide, especially for those services or keywords that are hard to integrate naturally into your story. If that’s the case, list those specific services at the bottom of your Summary, after you’ve engaged prospects in conversation.

Once you’re done writing your summary, take a look at the Add Media section just beneath it. You can add up to 10 pieces of media and visual content to educate and engage prospects. Try to find your best blogs articles, videos, or presentations to include here. Consider ones that are eye catching and will prove most helpful to readers.

Manage Skills and Endorsements

Members who include skills and endorsements receive 13x more profile views than those who don’t. At the same time, this section is often misunderstood because people can endorse you for anything, even skills you don’t have and wouldn’t want to display on your profile. They can endorse you even if they’re never worked with you, met you, or spoken to you, which makes it essentially meaningless. Nobody wants false endorsements.

What you may not know is that you can control which skills you can be endorsed for as well as which ones are displayed on your profile. To edit your skills, select the “Add Skill” link at the top of the section.

LinkedIn profiles that show skills and endorsements receive 13x more profile viewsClick To Tweet

You can choose whether or not you want to be endorsed (I suggest you say Yes). Then select “Add Skill.” You’ll see your list of skills below, and can add up to 50 skills. Pull out your keyword list again and make sure some of the skills match the keywords on your list.

The next thing to do is prioritize your skills so that the ones most relevant to your business and what you do are at the top. All you need to do is drag the skills around until they appear in the order you want. If you have more than 25 skills, the first 25 skills will appear on your profile and the others will have a button to view more.

Your top 10 skills are the ones that show endorsement thumbnails. They’re also the ones that members can easily endorse. Knowing that, it’s a good idea to cycle through your skills every once in a while and shuffle them around so you receive endorsements for them all. Since I’m an online marketer, I reordered my skills so that “social media marketing” is now on the top of the list. It’s been at the bottom for quite some time so I have only one endorsement for it. Now that it’s on top, it won’t be long before I start receiving endorsements for it.

 

LinkedIn Skills section

 

The Manage Endorsements window is where you can control which endorsements are displayed. Selecting this link will show a list of endorsements for each of your skills. Simply check and uncheck which ones you want on your profile.

There are two reasons why the Skills section is important. First, it’s an additional use of keywords and will help your profile appear for a search. Second, skills act as a visual testimonial and form of customer proof. Clients and prospects will see this section, and your skills will reaffirm your value proposition and everything you talk about in the Summary section.

If you’d like to get more endorsements, the best way to go about it is to endorse someone else. When you view someone’s profile, LinkedIn will make suggestions for endorsements. As long as it’s appropriate and you feel comfortable doing so, go ahead and give them an endorsement. This will prompt others to return the favor and endorse you back.

13 Tips to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile for more meetings, appointments, leads and customers.

Make sure your LinkedIn profile is visible

Check your public profile settings and make sure that everyone can see your profile, whether they’re on LinkedIn or not. You definitely want your profile to appear when people search for you on Google and other search engines.

To check your settings, click on Edit Profile from the top menu. In the top section underneath your profile image is your profile URL. If you’ve followed this guide and claimed a vanity URL it will be something like http://linkedin.com/in/yourname.

Hover your mouse over the right side of your URL and select the gear icon. On the left side will be your profile the way others will see it and on the right side is a list of sections. You want every section to be checked and publicly visible.

Check your Privacy Settings

Many people are concerned about activity feeds and updates. Understandably, you may not want prospects and connections to know every time you make a simple change to your profile.

Here’s where you can control which of your activities LinkedIn members can see.

Mouse over your profile image in the top bar and select Privacy and Settings.

The first three links under Privacy Control are where you can manage your activity broadcasts, select who can see your activity feed, and choose what others see when you’ve viewed their profile (Name, Photo and Headline is recommended).

Activity broadcasts are updates that are shared to your network when you update your profile, add connections, make recommendations and follow a company. This is the one you’ll want to toggle on and off when you make small changes to your profile.

I suggest keeping activity updates turned on for the most part so you can stay top of mind with prospects and connections, and toggling it off right before you want to make any discrete changes. Once you’re finished you can go ahead and turn back one.

Your activity feed, on the other hand, is something you do want everyone to see. Let your connections see your status updates, published posts, and any updates you share.

Ask for Recommendations

Recommendations are a great tool on LinkedIn. Think of them as testimonials or success stories. In terms of customer proof, they’re much more credible than endorsements and are an exceptional way to showcase your expertise to potential customers.

You want to reach out to satisfied customers and clients and ask for recommendations. You can also ask for a recommendation from an nonpaying customer, as long as you’ve provided meaningful value. Likewise, if there’s someone with whom you have a professional relationship or whose blogs and content you find valuable, go ahead and write them a recommendation.

The more you recommend others, the more likely you are to receive recommendations in return.

Fill out your Experience

Some people think this is the most important section, but if your past employment doesn’t relate to your current business, potential prospects won’t get the connection, and understandably so, because it won’t be there.

My business is branding and marketing. I help individuals and businesses develop web strategies that position their brand and increase visibility among key audiences. I’ve also had past positions as a fashion designer and as a sound production engineer. Am I going to include these in the Experience section? Definitely No. Not only are they meaningless in terms of getting leads and sales for my business, adding them will only be confusing and cause a disconnect. Again, people are interested in the solutions your current business provides.

Having said that, you want to fill out the Experience section as best you can, because LinkedIn cares about optimized profiles. More complete profiles will be given priority with search terms. Go ahead and list past job positions that support your overall value proposition and current business. Just like in the Summary section, stay away from using bullet points and passive sentences, and have your keyword list handy so you can incorporate them.

You can add media and links here too, and it’s a good idea to take advantage of this feature for your current position, which will be your current business. Add some samples of your work or a guide you wrote, or link to specific pages on your website such as a services page or targeted landing page.

Add Projects

The Projects section is not an obvious one on your LinkedIn profile, which is why many people don’t know it exists. It’s where you can display a written portfolio of sorts and highlight specific successes. You can’t add media to it like you can in the Summary and Experience sections, but if you write some great descriptions about what you did then this section can be useful in showing potential clients how you’ve helped others and how you can help them.

 

Add any projects to complete your LinkedIn Profile

 

Another great use of this section is to promote individual products, campaigns or events. You can feature your offer or digital download with a link to a landing page with more information and a call to action to invite people into your opt-in list.

To add a Project, select Edit Profile, and directly under the header area, beneath your LinkedIn URL you’ll see “Add a Section to Your Profile”. Select the dropdown menu “View More” and you’ll see the Projects section.

Publications

This is the place to feature any books or publications you’ve written. You don’t have to limit it to published books. If you have contributed to other blogs, or if you have blog articles you want to feature, go ahead and include them here, as well as any guides, ebooks, slide shares or other content you’ve written.

Add the Publications section in the same way you added the Projects section.

Key Takeaway

Having a compelling LinkedIn profile is crucial for social selling. It’s your face to the online networking world and your first point of contact when reaching out to potential clients and joint venture partners.

The power of LinkedIn becomes evident once you commit to using it. Try to carve out 20 minutes a day to make connections and grow your network, contribute to groups, share posts and status updates, and contribute your own blog posts.

Download the printable version of the Checklist for when you’re optimizing your LinkedIn profile.

 

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Wondering how to promote a blog post after you hit publish? Use this blog promo plan + cheat sheet for entrepreneurs and bloggers to get tons of social media traffic to your content. Click through to check out the planner!

How to Market Your Blog Effectively on Social Media | Wondering how to share your blog posts on social media the right way, so you get right in front of your target audience? This blog promotion plan for entrepreneurs and bloggers will help you get incredible amounts of social media traffic. Click through to get started!Updated July 20, 2019.

Do you ever wonder how to promote your blog posts once you hit publish, so that all your hard work writing them pays off – and instead of seeing crickets when you dig in to analytics, you see hundreds and thousands of page visits each day?

Today, I’m sharing a social media promotion plan  that will help you:

  • Give new posts an initial spike of social traffic
  • Turn your posts into other types of content
  • Recycle older posts so they’re always out there

What this means is that right after you publish a post, you have a plan for how, when, and where you will share it.

One thing I should mention…you don’t have to tackle every social channel listed here.

If Facebook and Instagram are making a difference in your business (or if your audience hangs out here), get into a system for sharing your posts consistently on those channels first. You can always add the others later.

BONUS: I created this Blog Promotion Plan + Checklist to help put hte plan into action.

Check out this Content Promotion Plan + Checklist to help you market your blog posts and get massive social media traffic!

Blog Promotion Plan for Social Media Traffic

Facebook

  • Day 1 – Share the link post
  • Day 3 – Create a video summarizing post
  • Day 7 – Turn a quick tip into an infographic
  • Day 14 – Pose a question with a link to the post
  • Day 31 – Repeat Day 1

Twitter

  • Day 1 – Tweet a link to your post
  • Day 1  – Change the text and share another tweet
  • Day 3 – Share a clip of FB video
  • Day 7 – Share a quote from your post
  • Day 14 – Change the image and share another tweet
  • Day 31 – Repeat Day 1 (use the best tweet)


Pinterest

  • Day 1 – Pin to boards
  • Day 3 – Share a second pin to boards
  • Day 14 – Share a video pin from the short clip
  • Day 31 – Repeat Day 1 (use the best pin)


Instagram

  • Day 1 – post image with text overlay
  • Day 3 – Instagram story in video format, introduce blog post content with call to action
  • Day 7 – Post the video clip from Facebook
  • Day 14 – Share the same quick tip from Facebook

LinkedIn

  • Day 1 – Share the link post as an update
  • Day 1 (four hours later) – share to LinkedIn Groups
  • Day 7 – Share the same quick tip from Facebook
  • Day 31 – Repeat Day 1


Youtube

  • Day 1 – Upload your video, include a link back to your blog post
    Add YouTube cards to the video with pertinent links to your blog and website

———————

Whew! That’s a lot.

You’re probably thinking, I created a blog post, not a video or infographic. Where are these coming from? 

You need to create them to make this blog promotion strategy work effectively. Trust me though, they won’t take long to create, not after you’ve already written your post!

Right after you finish writing, create different types of visual content for it. This will keep your content fresh and interesting, and make scheduling apps happy because they tend to flag duplicate text.

Here’s what I create for each post:

  • The post with a title image
  • 2 pin images
  • 2 Instagram images
  • An Instagram story
  • A video –  only for posts that make sense
  • A question
  • Quick tip infographic

Of course, you can work up to this. When I started sharing my posts regularly, I only created the blog image. Then I added a  pin image, then two, then multiple tweets, and so on.

So you don’t have to create all of this at once! Start where you are and work up to it. u

If you’re looking for other types of social media content you can share, click the image below to download my Social Media Cheat Sheet + Content Calendar.

A social media cheat sheet for content marketing so you know what to post and when, plus tools to help you automate everything from scheduling, to growth and engagement, and creating images.

What about scheduling tools?

There are so many scheduling tools to choose from. Here are a few that I like:

For Days 1-14

  • Buffer
  • Tailwind (Pinterest)
  • Later (Instagram)

For Day 31 – and once a month after that

  • SmarterQueue
  • Tailwind SmartLoop
  • Recurpost
  • Edgar
  • SocialOomph
  • Later

A few random thoughts about the tools

Still wondering how to promote your blog effectively with the scheduling tools? Here are some pointers.

I love Buffer and use it a lot because of its integration with IFTTT for Buffer. But I wish it was easier to schedule content on specific days. With Buffer, you create a daily schedule and content gets added to the bottom of the queue. So for new posts that you want to share more frequently, there’s a lot of shuffling around to schedule them when you want.

For Pinterest, Tailwind is great. You can shuffle pins easily and schedule them any day you want (same for Later and Instagram). I even figured out a way to semi-loop pins using Tailwind.

Recurpost is free for up to 3 channels, so this is definitely worth looking into. Tailwind’s SmartLoop is a great way to recycle your posts so they’re always being shared. And SmarterQueue is my fave for automating Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. And then there’s this IFTTT/Google Calendar method that’s also free and works like a charm for Twitter and Facebook.

Related: 32 Ways to Boost Your Blog Traffic

Anything that’s made a huge difference in your traffic? Let me know and I’ll add it to the list!

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14 Ways to Get Massive Traffic from Pinterest | If you want to grow your business and get massive traffic from Pinterest, but aren’t sure how to set up things like boards, pins and scheduling, then this post is for you! It includes 14 tips for bloggers and entrepreneurs to help your content get found my more people. Click through to check out all the tips!Here’s why I love Pinterest so much:

  • It drives massive traffic to my site, easily OVER 60% of my total traffic
  • It’s fun to look through all the beautiful images
  • I find great content to share
  • Pins can take on a life of their own and drive traffic for months

So let’s jump in and start driving traffic with Pinterest.

SETTING UP YOUR PINTEREST PLATFORM

There are some things you want to do before you get going, such as set up your account, boards and pins the right way.

Updated: June 27, 2019

1) Create a business account

If you have a personal account, turn it into a business account. This will give you access to analytics so you can see which pins are getting the most repins, comments and likes. You’ll also be able to run ads and claim your website so that Pinterest can verify that the content shared from your website is, in fact, yours.

2) Tailor your profile to attract your target audience

Whether you have 100 followers or 5,000, there are likely tons of people who will view your profile each month. You want to make sure it attracts the right people so they stick around once they find you, right?

Include a friendly photo that reflects your brand and a brief bio that explains what you do and how you help. Keep the focus of your description on your target audience and not you! Check out this post if you need help crafting a killer description.

If you’re featuring a course or a freebie, this is a great place to include it. Take a look at Sarah Morgan’s Pinterest bio:

drive traffic with pinterest3) Create boards that are relevant to your audience

To rock this strategy, you want to have at least 10 boards that your readers would be looking for.

You probably have categories for your blog, right? Start there. Create different boards for each category that you write about. This makes it easy for people to find the boards that interest them without having to sift through irrelevant pins and boards.

I like to give my boards “active” titles (e.g., Start a Blog, Grow a Blog).

While you’re here, you may want to delete boards that don’t fit with your brand, personality or niche.

When you delete a board, you will lose the people who are only following that one specific board. Don’t worry, though! It’s perfectly okay to lose followers who aren’t interested in your main message. By narrowing your focus, you’re going to attract more of the right followers, and that’s what you want. Having said that, if you prefer NOT to lose followers, don’t delete the board. Instead, archive it. You won’t lose any followers this way.

Note: It’s okay to keep other boards if you want. Just make sure that your relevant boards appear first. Let people scroll down to see your other interests if they want to. Hey, you never know, you may make a wonderful connection in the process!

4) Create a brand board

Out of the 10 boards you create, one of them should be a featured board where you only pin your branded content. Set this up as the very first board people see when they find you. On this board you’ll pin only your pins.

Take a look at how I set up my boards:

drive traffic to your blog with pinterestNow, when you publish your blog post, the first thing you want to do is to pin to your branded board. You can use the Pinterest Save Button or install the Social Warfare plugin and use that to pin an image from your blog.

UPDATE: Brand boards are not a must today. If you already have one, keep it! Most of my repins still come from my brand board. But if you’re just starting out on Pinterest, it’s more important that your first pin is shared to the most relevant board. This will help Pinterest quickly index it so that you get more search traffic. Personally, I like brand boards because they make it easy for people to find your best pins in one place. For more on Pinterest SEO strategies like this, read this post.

5) Add some pins

Nobody wants to visit a blank board, right? The next thing to do is to fill up your boards with pins that your audience would find interesting.

Here are some random thoughts about pinning:

  • To share other pins, repin the best content in your feed, or search for a specific topic (or brand in your niche). If you find something that your readers would love, share it!
  • The more you pin, the better. I pin 13x a day. I know others pin 30x a day.
  • Make sure you pin some of your own content as well as curated content. When I first started, I didn’t have original content so I shared other people’s pins. This is fine at first, just keep in mind that ultimately you want to share a mix of both.
  • Shoot for 30% your own content and 70% other people’s content. When you have more of your own content, flip that ratio.

 

PINTEREST TRAFFIC-BOOSTING TIPS!

6) Join Group Boards

Group boards give you access to audiences beyond your followers. So if you have 1,000 followers and you join a group board with 10,000 followers, you’ve just 10x’d your ability to get eyes on your pins and drive traffic to your blog.

There are two ways to find group boards:

  • Search on Pingroupie for group boards around your blog topics
  • Join group boards that other bloggers and brand in your niche are in

It may take a while to get invited to boards, but it’s well worth it! You may find that some that you want to join are not accepting collaborators, and that’s okay. There are plenty of others to choose from. Follow the board description for instructions on joining. In most cases, you’ll need to follow the board and moderator, then send an email with your Pinterest profile asking for an invite.

Try to join board that have more followers than you and a high engagement rate (lots of pins, repins, and likes).

Another thing: Pay attention to the board rules. Some will allow you to pin 1x a day, others allow 4-5 pins a day, and still others have no limits. You don’t spam your high-performing boards and run the risk of getting banned. I know this. I’ve been banned from boards simply because I didn’t pay attention to the rules.

7) SEO your pins and boards

Pinterest is a little different than Facebook or Twitter. It’s not really a social media platform. It’s a visual search engine, much like Google. When you log in to Pinterest, most of the pins in your feed are the result of the Pinterest search algorithm.

Pinterest ranks pins according to relevance. And relevance is based on the keywords you include in your profile description, pin descriptions and board descriptions.

If you want Pinterest to rank your content in their feed (and I know you do!), you have to implement search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. What this really means is that you should optimize your pins and boards so that they show up first in search results, the same way you would optimize a blog post to make it rank higher on Google.

1) Optimize your board descriptions

Now that you have your boards don’t leave the descriptions blank! This is valuable space to add in important terms that your readers would be searching for.

Go back and add in some keywords to your boards. This is the best way to help them rank high on Pinterest, PLUS your boards can actually rank on Google too. When people search on Google, your Pinterest board can show up on the first page!

If you’re like me, you filter your Pinterest searches by people, pins, or boards. Having the right keywords in your board will help them show up for relevant searches.

Here’s what you want in your board descriptions:

  • The topics you’ll be pinning about
  • Any keywords related to your niche (not limited to just one keyword). Include any relevant terms so that Pinterest knows when to show your board. For instance, my “Start a Blog” board includes these keywords: entrepreneur, solopreneur, small business, blogging tips, blogging tools, driving traffic, epic content, social media, content strategies, content marketing, startup tips, online business strategies, SEO tools.

2) Optimize pin descriptions

We are on a keyword roll! Every pin you save from your website should have keywords. This is what’s really going to give your brand the biggest boost. It pays to put the effort into your descriptions. You want them to appeal to people AND Pinterest.

You don’t have to add unique descriptions when you repin someone else’s content. But you certainly can if you want to. This adds extra work so be sure you’re not doing this at the sake of your own descriptions!

What you want in your descriptions:

  • A friendly recap of your post
  • Some relevant keywords that people would use to search for you
  • Two to three hashtags
  • A call to action, such as “Click through to see all the tips.”

Tip: If you have a self-hosted WordPress blog, you can amplify your SEO and save a few steps by adding a pin description to the alt text in your featured image, or by using Tasty Pins. When people share the pin from your site, the description will  automatically appear. For more on how to set this up, check out this post.

8) Create pin-worthy titles

You can have the best content with brilliant images, but if your headline falls flat, people will likely miss it. You want your titles to be actionable or inspire some kind of curiosity or urgency. Words like the best, secrets of and ultimate guide to make people want to click through to learn more.

Just remember, there are good titles, bad titles, and so-so titles. You want yours to be pin-worthy!

Some general thoughts here:

  • Benefit-rich titles will grab people’s attention right away. Will your post save people time, money, show them how to do something? Include your audience in the title too so that readers know it’s for them (e.g., 25 Ways for Entrepreneurs to Grow your Blog Audience)
  • How-to post titles tend to catch people’s attention quickly because they provide a solution to a problem or answer questions your peeps have
  • Titles like 5 ways to are powerful because they’re simple and actionable. Plus, they let people know exactly what they can expect.
  • Don’t be vague or generic. This is what will kill your post title more than anything else. If people don’t know what your post is about or who it’s for, why would they read it?

9) Make pins that stand out

I can spend hours devouring all the beautiful images on Pinterest! Your images need to grab people’s attention too. Here are some ways to do that:

1) Use images with nondescript people (aka no faces)

Images of people (but not faces) get more clicks than images with just graphics or a background color. Why no faces? Pictures tell a story, and people want to see themselves (not others) in your story.

2) Use whitespace

When I created my first pins, I made the text super big so that it would jump out at people. Turns out, larger text isn’t always better. Leaving some whitespace will actually help your images stand out from all the others.

3) Create contrast between elements

Take a look at your feed real quick. Which pins really stand out to you? If you look closer, you’ll see that the text on those pins is easy to read, and clearly differentiated from the background. Make sure you play with the contrast between your background and headline so that it jumps out.

QUICK TIP: Look at your feed from your phone. That’s where 80% of people will see your content.

4) Use strategic color combinations

I’ve experimented with everything from dark backgrounds, to light backgrounds, to reds, oranges, blacks, and even blues. Overall, lighter background colors seem to jump out more and get more clicks and saves. Reds and oranges catch my eye more than blues and blacks. What do you think?

5) Longer pins are better

Yep, it’s true. I get more clicks on longer pins. They give you more room to play and be creative. For instance, I could create a long pin for the post you’re reading, and include each step to give a peek at what’s inside.

UPDATE: Be careful with longer pins now. Pinterest no longer favors super long pins that hog up the feed. Read this post for more on Pinterest image sizes

10) Brand your pins

When you find something that works, don’t change it! It’s okay to play around with the look of your pins at first, but when you find a style that you love and can recreate easily, stick with it. Lock it down in a template with the exact colors, fonts and other brand elements you will use over and over again.

I’ve seen many people (including me) use different fonts and colors on every pin image. Your boards can start to look a bit all over the place if you do this. Aim for consistency and harmony so that people instantly recognize your pins. People who know and trust your brand will tend to click through, regardless of how captivating (or not) your headline is!

Note: Make sure you include your logo and/or website in your pins. Check out this post for more brand and style guide tips.

11) Apply for rich pins

Speaking of branding, before you start loading up your boards with pins, set up rich pins.

Sounds techie, right? Really, they’re easy to set up and will give your pins a major boost. Once you have claimed your website, rich pins will display your brand name below your pin image.

Take a look at one of my pins to see what I mean:

how to drive traffic with pinterestWhen you use rich pins and add other brand elements to your pin image, you will have a leg up on your competitors. Here’s more info on setting up rich pins.

12) Clean up your boards

Every once in a while, take a look at your boards and get rid of pins with low engagement (aka repins). Pins that don’t get repinned and clicked won’t show up. They just kind of clutter your boards. Repin counts are relative to each board, so if most of your pins on a particular board have 100 repins, delete pins with fewer than 10 or 20. Make sense?

13) Display share buttons only on posts and strategic images

If you use SumoMe image sharer icons, the default setting applies to all images. What that means is that people will be able to share any image from any page on your site, including your logo, background images, header images, and more. But you want control here. If people pin random images from your site, they will likely share images you don’t want shared.

You can easily tweak the setting so that the share buttons display only on your blog posts. PLUS you can control which images display on your posts.

Let’s say you have secondary images to help readers digest your message, but those images aren’t pin-worthy. Just add <rel=”noshare”> to the image you don’t want people to pin and the share buttons will disappear. This way, you will only display share buttons on primary images (featured images, vertical images, etc).

14) Schedule your pins

I use Tailwind to schedule my pins and love it.

The Tailwind dashboard is super user-friendly, and it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. For the most part, you’ll live in the Publish > Drafts or Publish > Scheduled sections on the left. On the right is where the scheduling magic happens! That’s where the virtual calendar lives and where you create time slots. Then schedule away!

You can even create board lists (groups of boards) to save time. I love board lists, especially since I discovered how to loop my pins with them, which you can do too! Pins you share to lists will be distributed to all boards in the list (make sure you set intervals between each pin).


drive traffic with pinterest - select board lists
The SmartLoop is another tool you can use to recycle pins. Just decide what boards and pins you want in your loop, and the SmartLoop will take care of repinning them. You can even enter group board rules! I use board lists to share new posts. and the SmartLoop to recycle older posts.

 

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