I really need a longer title for “Pinterest: 0 to 1,000 Followers in 150 Days” or at least a sub-title to include… “while doing EVERYTHING wrong.” I joined Pinterest on January 18th, 2014 (yes, this year), and I had no idea what I was doing. Five months and one day later, ergo, June 19th, 2014, I hit 1,000 followers. This is my story.
Depending on who you are, 1,000 followers may seem like small potatoes, or an unreachable goal. Regardless, I hope you enjoy my story of how I grew my following by doing all of the wrong things. Here’s how it happened.
First, let me give you some context, so you can appreciate the effort and what it took to get there. I still consider myself a baby blogger. I’ve only been blogging for a little over a year and my monthly page views aren’t yet even averaging 20,000. I started G+ing when I started my blog, but other than that, I didn’t join any kind of social media until this year. Pinterest was first, followed by Twitter, and last week, Instagram. I don’t FB at all. So it’s not like I have a huge following on either my blog or social media. I was essentially starting my Pinterest following from scratch.
Pinterest is the #3 referrer to my blog, sending over 25% of traffic my way. Reaching this milestone was huge. My Pinterest growth was organic. I pinned, and I learned, but for the most part, it just happened. My wake-up call was the day I realized I had over 900 followers. What the what? How did that happen? More importantly, how can I keep up the momentum now by doing all of the right things?
When I say I did everything wrong…. I’m not kidding.
Here are the top five things I did wrong on Pinterest to grow my following so quickly, along with the corrective course of action, and the few things I actually did right.
What I Did All Wrong
Create vertical pictures for optimum pinning.
I participate in a lot of link parties, so my pictures were all square and optimized for a thumbnail view in the link parties, not a maximum exposure for Pinterest. I didn’t learn about vertical pictures until several months in. I now include several different kinds of pictures in my blog posts, to satisfy the optimization for maximum exposure on different mediums.
Create beautiful pictures.
My camera is low end, and I’m still on a learning curve with PicMonkey. My eye-grabbing images are not so eye-grabbing. In fact, a lot of them are more forgettable than memorable. Since I hadn’t been using Pinterest nor was I familiar with it, I had no idea the impact of a beautiful picture. I’m still working on this one. Until I can afford a nice camera, I will be continuing to hone my editing skills, and taking advantage of non-attributable free stock image sites.
Pin at the best times.
I had no clue about this one until recently. I pinned when I had time. And usually all at once. And usually at times like 5:00 in the morning when no one is on Pinterest to see what I pinned. By 5:01 AM, I would have pinned my one sad little image on 10 boards and called it a day. I kept hearing over and over again… pin at the best times. Little did I realize how important this is. As of last week, I now have my pins on an automatic schedule to be pinned, even if I’m otherwise occupied.
It wasn’t until a couple weeks ago that I learned about re-pinning. I pinned all of my pins from my blog to the boards (at the same time). I have since learned that you pin the first time to one of your boards, and then re-pin from that board instead of your blog. That one was a palm to the forehead moment.
Are you sitting down for this one? I added a Baby board, and a Wedding board because I thought the most pin-crazy neurotic pinners would be expecting/new mothers, and soon to be brides. In my head it made sense, and we have the reality shows on TV to back up my logic. I even alerted my family and friends who were following me (all three of them) that I had a baby and wedding board to help drive more pins and traffic, and that we were not holding back any family secrets. Who. Does. This? ME! Yeah, well, food and recipe boards are the must-haves. I guess everyone needs to eat, but not procreate or tie the knot. Go figure.
What I Did Right
This was one of the few things I actually did correctly. I am a very organized person and I was all over this one before I even knew it was something you should do. What I did learn, however, was to move your seasonal boards to the bottom, along with the group boards. You want to highlight your best and most relevant boards at the top.
Pinning Other’s Pins
I love to pin other’s pins and I did it often. I try and hold a high standard of pinning so that my boards always look nice. I even chose great pins for the feature pictures on my boards. This one was easy and a no-brainer.
Validating as a Business Pinner
I incorporated my business from day #1 so my blog was already incorporated. I signed up in Pinterest as a business blogger. Don’t ask me what the difference is, or how to switch. This one is way out of my knowledge zone. Pinterest has tutorials on this topic. But I did this correctly, without even knowing I was supposed to do it this way.
The Final Days to 1,000 Followers
When I hit 920 followers, I did the math and realized I had four days to gain 80 followers to reach 1,000 followers in my first 150 days on Pinterest. This is when it got fun.
I went onto Twitter and tweeted something like, “Follow me on Pinterest and I’ll be your BFF.” Which was hilarious in and of itself, but considering I was tweeting to my 300 Twitter followers, who are all already following me on Pinterest… yeah that one failed. Big time.
At 48 hours out from my goal, I was now at 939 followers. I asked my friends to tweet and retweet to direct THEIR followers to my Pinterest Board (ahhh – much more logical!). There are too many to name, but to all of you who helped me with your Pinning and Tweeting and Facebooking, I can’t think you enough for your support!!!
I grabbed the Hello Bar for the top of my blog (which BTW didn’t bring much traffic to date). I found pinners with like interests and followed them. I joined a few more group boards. I pinned, and pinned, and pinned.
At 24 hours out from my goal, I was at 942 and I lost faith. At this point, it was a waiting game to see if I really could do it. I sent out a newsletter email to more of my blogging buddies to ask for more followers and promised to do the running man for them if I hit my goal.
By mid-day on the final day, I was at 966 followers. When I woke up the next morning, I was 19 followers short of my goal. I had hit 981. Was I disappointed? Of course. So I hit my goal one day later. I was still over the moon not only at my growth, but that so many people helped me reach my goal throughout this journey, and especially at the last hour. And I’m not going to play you either and try and say I hit my goal on Day 150. My promise from the beginning to all of you is that I’m real… even if I am a day late and a dollar short!
The Moral of the Story
My first 920 followers were organic, like I said. It happened because I was doing what I loved, and not because I was trying. The last 80 followers I actually worked HARD to get. At the end of the day, I know a lot more about Pinterest than I did on Day #1. But I’ve also learned to take a step back and assess what is working and why. I reached my goal, and I appreciate everyone who helped me get there and I cannot thank you enough. But I much prefer to grow organically. It will happen when it happens and I’m totally content with that.
That being said… are you following me yet?
References and Sources
I’m a sponge when it comes to learning about Pinterest. I read, and read, and read, and the same themes come to the surface over and over again. I owe my “knowledge” to a lot of folks who have written a lot of great articles. Where does one find my sources of Pinterest knowledge? Why on my Pinterest Board of course! Follow Pink Fortitude, LLC, Holly Bertone’s board Blogging, Pinterest, G+ and Social Media on Pinterest.
Just keep pinning… pinning… pinning….
Connect and Share
What about you? How have you achieved your Pinterest successes?
Love, hugs, and sticking a pin in it.