As you all know by now May is Pinterest month here on Red Parka. And so, I am happy to bring you a wonderful guest post from one of my favourite pinners, Julie from tractorgirl. Thanks Julie!
It’s one of those seductive timewasters that I can’t stop going back to again and again. There are SO many amazing things out there. More pretty pictures, more incredible things, more jawdroppers than you can poke a stick at!
If you’ve got a small indie biz as a maker or artist, Pinterest can be very useful in driving traffic to your blog or shop site, and I’ll get to strategies in a minute. But first, it’s important to know that Pinterest is not all wine, roses, and cute kitties - there are problems for indie biz too. If you are an author of 2D work (photography, graphics, typography, illustration, surface design), your work can be something that gets shared a heap and you might get a big boost to traffic. However this might not result in sales – unscrupulous folk can just print it out themselves, or misuse/steal it for other purposes. Makers of 3D items seem to fare better when they get a big boost of traffic to their shops, and have a corresponding increase in sales. (I have written more on this aspect, as well as a few other pitfalls of Pinterest on my blog here - Sharing images on the internet - it's easy, but is it good?)
Having said that however, Pinterest is a wonderful tool when used in the right way! (And I’ve got lots to say about it, so stay with me.)
Now, for those of you who don’t know me, I write a blog called tractorgirl where I share my finds in contemporary craft, surface design and photography. I love scouring through Pinterest for great artists/makers/designers to feature on the blog, and have found several wonderful people that way. (So keep on putting your work out there – bloggers like me might just find you!)
I also use Pinterest as a source of traffic to my own website. The main way of course, is to pin images from my blog regularly onto my boards. Then, when the images (hopefully) get shared, people click on them and get taken back to my site. And I can’t state this enough – the most shareable images are those that are the prettiest/wildest/most interesting – because Pinterest is ALL about images. If you want people to share your images, make sure they are fabulous!
There are a few tricks if you want to maximise your traffic.
If you’ve used Pinterest for any amount of time, you’ll realise that not all your followers follow all your boards – some people only follow one or two boards from your collection (I have 22 boards). Therefore, I spread my pins over all my boards to connect with the widest audience.
Make sure you pin a variety of things, but DON’T pin everything. You want your followers to remain interested in what you are pinning, so keep to the good stuff! As you go on, you’ll soon figure out the stuff that it is REALLY worth pinning - your followers will appreciate your good taste, and they’ll be more inclined to repin.
As for getting new followers, I find it’s often followers of followers that end up following you, because of your interesting pins. It’s certainly what I do most often – if someone’s pinned a great piece, I’ll click on the pin to find out who else has pinned it, and then check that person’s boards to see if they’re likely to consistently pin good stuff. If they are, then I’ll follow them. So yet again, increasing your Pinterest presence comes down to only pinning the good stuff.
I spend a bit (OK a lot) of time on Twitter, and so besides using it to send traffic directly to my site, I also use it to send folk to my Pinterest pins, which then has a trickle-down effect. They look at my pins, start following me, then click on a few links, and occasionally land on my site. They also repin my pins, and share it around that way.
How much traffic does it drive to your site? Well, that depends on how you use it, and how many followers you have (I currently have around 750). Pinterest ranks about 3rd in my sources of traffic, and accounts for about ¼ of the volume of traffic behind no.1 (Twitter) and no.2 (Facebook). This appears to correlate fairly well with how much time I spend on each of those things. I know some other bloggers swear by Pinterest, and say it’s their No.1 source of traffic, but I think it also depends on what things you pin and how much your followers appreciate your personal taste…
So yes, I think Pinterest is most definitely a very useful source of traffic, BUT it is not the only one for me. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket as they say! You need a range of different social media platforms to get yourself out there, and remember that building up sources of traffic takes time and consistent effort.
I still love Pinterest. I pin because it feeds my visual soul. You can find me here.
Julie Gibbons is a contemporary craft and surface design junkie, and writes about these things and more on her own blog, Tractorgirl. She is also a maker of many things.