by Jenna Kutcher
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With social media, there’s one constant we can count on — Change. From the features to the algorithm and every little hidden detail in between, doesn’t it seem that just as we’ve got it all figured out, the powers-at-be switch it up again?
Instead of seeing it as a setback, I get kind of excited when something gets updated on social media platforms. It’s a new challenge to take on, and my team gets to work breaking down new strategies to share with you, so you can get on top of the changes faster. The most recent change we’ve been navigating? Pinterest.
If you haven’t heard, A LOT has changed on Pinterest. And the changes were actually pretty drastic, but once we figured out a new way to work on the platform, we hit a massive milestone goal that we’d been chasing after for a very long time — 1 million monthly viewers. And then that number grew quickly to 2 million monthly viewers and now we’re approaching 3 million.
A few months ago we received embargoed information from Pinterest in partnership with Tailwind that stated the way the Pinterest algorithm called the smart feed was going to prioritize and distribute content was changing. We’ve been in contact with them behind-the-scenes, working through the changes, and have been testing strategies over the last several weeks to be able to share them with you!
The good news? We have seen incredible growth in our stats and my team has been busy working on a completely revamped and updated course that students of The Pinterest Lab now have in their hands, too.
I’m thrilled to speak with Alisa Meredith, a Pinterest product specialist at Tailwind, to cover alllll of the changes and how Tailwind is serving their members during this time of change. She’s a big fan of Pinterest, but beyond that, she’s actually worked on or around Pinterest marketing since it came to be. She is an expert and she’s on Goal Digger to educate all of us on the changes.
But I want to back up for a second in case you’re thinking “but wait, how do I know if Pinterest will help my business at all? I’m not sure it’s a platform for me”. Here are a few reasons I think you should be using Pinterest for your business:
Your Target Audience is There
Tell me: does this demographic sound similar to the one you’re out there trying to target? According to the latest stats, Pinterest users are majority female mothers ages 25-44 with an average household income of $100K+… Ummmm, yup, that’s my girl. People on Pinterest statistically spend more money because they are exposed to more things, more resources, more products, and thus they are sold to more and are on the app shopping and more open to buy.
NOT SOCIAL MEDIA, IT’S A SEARCH ENGINE
Wait, what? We’re all over here trying to get Instagram followers and “likes” and comments, but Pinterest doesn’t operate that way. When people hop onto Pinterest, they are typing in questions and topics, and seeking out pins that fulfill their requests. Think about it, you can’t go onto Instagram and type in “Recipes with Pineapple” but you can on Pinterest.
When you start to approach it with this mentality, it becomes a lot clearer. A lot of entrepreneurs are already using SEO or Search Engine Optimization, so Pinterest works in a similar way using things like keywords and descriptions to help people find YOUR pins and then click through to YOUR site!
Think about how people currently use google – they will search for a pain point or something specific they are looking for. Now think through how a user engages with Pinterest: it’s more of a discovery form of purchasing. People on Pinterest are not necessarily there looking for a specific product. They are often there to be inspired, browsing, collecting and discovering new products or services they are interested in investing in. A future customer may not have known to search in google for you, but after being inspired on Pinterest – could have landed on your account and have now decided they need to follow or purchase.
EASIER TO GO VIRAL
Get this, 80% of pins are repins. Think about that for a minute. Pins have the opportunity to go on autopilot because a lot of times, people are passively browsing through their feed and simply repinning things they see and therefore are spreading the word about your business for you. FREE, automated advertising with little to no effort on your part? Sign me up. Every time someone pins your pin they are exposing your pin to all of their followers as well. Your opportunity to reach people goes way up by bringing your products and images into Pinterest.
Plus, most people are focusing on Facebook and Instagram. There’s a big opportunity here to be a front runner in your industry on THIS search engine disguised as a social platform. Though Pinterest has been around for awhile, I don’t believe businesses are really digging in to using this site strategically and the time to be an early adopter is now. You don’t want to have to play catch up later.
CONTENT HAS A LONGER SHELF LIFE
Pinterest also has a longer shelf life than other social media accounts because remember, Pinterest is a search engine, not social media. I have pins that point to blog posts from over 3 years ago still driving traffic to those pages. Tell me if your Instagram or Facebook posts from work you did 3 years ago are still working for you in your business? Nope!
Also, sites like Instagram and Facebook work hard to keep people on their apps, where Pinterest works hard to generate the right content to people to inspire them to click through on the pin and off the app onto our sites as content creators. This is huge because we will be better able to convert these people to paying customers of ours once they are off the app and into our territory.
Pinterest is prioritizing fresh content over anything else and there is a strong emphasis on fresh content for the platform and the algorithm has already started to prioritize newly added content and will ramp up even more in the near future.
The first question you might have is “what is “fresh content”? New graphics count as fresh pins and these can still link to past posts to be counted as fresh content. As long as the image is new it will count as fresh content and be given priority in the smart feed.
What this means for your strategy
Repinning and repurposing the same pins across multiple boards is no longer needed or necessary! Pinterest still wants us to pin a pin to all relevant boards on our account, but it would be better to create a new graphic for the pin for each board vs. pinning the same exact pin scheduled on multiple boards.
I understand that this may be more work than simply repinning the same pins over and over and looping them like people have done in the past and seen results, however it allows us to instead refocus on bringing in high quality content and looking for new ways to serve our audiences vs. spending time repinning past content of yours or other peoples. In my opinion, this is good news is exactly where our focus should be and in The Pinterest Lab I guide you through the best ways to accomplish this to see growth for your account.
“We need to spend more time creating rather than curating,” Alisa explained. In the past, a common approach to Pinterest was the 80/20 rule. This refers to the split between how much of your own content you were sharing on the platform and the content you were curating from other creators.
“It’s way past time to shift that thinking into realizing that Pinterest is all about YOU!” she said. This goes for the user, the Pinner, and the content creator. Your priority needs to go to your own content.
“Even if you only blog once a month or your products don’t update that often, you can go back and make new, fresh images for your older content and that should start to get some traction way sooner than it ever used to.”
I used to think that you could only Pin one image, one graphic for one post. I had a one and done belief about Pinterest. But that’s not the case.
“It’s so much easier to make a new image than it is to write a new blog post,” Alisa said.
How Tailwind is Shifting
So if you’re a Pinterest pro, you might be familiar with how Tailwind fits into the mix. The automation features and scheduling capabilities of the platform meant this piece of our marketing was handled automatically and content was easily pushed out and Pinned.
That was before Pinterest updated the algorithm to prioritize fresh content. So how has Tailwind shifted and pivoted to help content creators with this new approach?
“Fresh content is a bigger factor than it used to be,” Alisa started. “However, that doesn’t mean your old content won’t appear… A really great Pin can last forever on Pinterest, and that’s not going away, but you’re going to start seeing that mix shift in your search results and feed.”
Alisa explained that you can still share that content and it might be more appropriate to share it seasonally. Using the Smart Loop feature on Tailwind, set up your content to Pin when it has previously performed best. Look at your content and think of the different ways you can package it for seasonality.
Think of the changes you can make to colors, graphics, and images and set that content up to circulate seasonally.
Is the 80/20 Rule Still Relevant?
A common Pinterest strategy in the past included curating content from other creators to bring in new audiences for your own content. Alisa says this will probably always happen, and there’s nothing wrong with Pinning content from other creators. It’s just normal Pinterest user behavior!
One of the biggest questions Tailwind received after their conversation with Pinterest (they went live on Facebook with them) was: Will I be penalized for other creators/marketers sharing my content with Tribes like we did in the past?
The answer is absolutely not. You want other people to share your content because that gives the Pinterest algorithm the signal that it’s quality content and should be served up more.
But it’s not the same for group boards. Pinterest originally introduced group boards for real live user collaboration, but they became a place for marketers to dump their content and leave. As a result, Pinterest cut distribution of those Pins in group boards, now limiting to just those members in those boards. Marketers should not use group boards for distribution.
The Key Takeaway for Pinterest
“Maybe we found some little tricks, but they don’t work anymore. Here’s the thing to really consider — Pinterest wants fresh content because that’s what the users want. If Pinterest can give the users what they want, they will keep coming back, which is not only good for Pinterest, it’s also good for content creators,” Alisa explained.
“We’re really, really all in this together. So if we can build that fresh, wonderful, inspiring platform that Pinterest is and that we want it to be even more so, that’s good for everyone. So if we could just stop trying to game things and do what’s best for everybody, it really is the best way to go.”
Steal Our Strategy
The shift to prioritizing fresh, new content is going to change things for a lot of creators, especially the occasional creators who aren’t blogging, podcasting, and posting new stuff daily.
But don’t get discouraged, because you can still utilize the Pinterest platform and make the algorithm happy by creating new images and graphics for old content.
Here’s how we do it: Using Canva, we created templates that we can use to create Pins for our content. And if you don’t want to create your own templates, Canva has so many created for you already AND Tailwind offers members new Pin templates designed for Canva every single month.. You don’t have to be a graphic designer or even hire one — lean on these free tools to create new Pins. Try creating 5 per week.
More from This Episode
Other Pinterest strategy secrets are covered like: what’s the anatomy of a great Pin? How should you write your headlines for the best success on the platform? What Tailwind features can help you get the most eyes on your content? And how can Tailwind and Pinterest really support your business right now? Press play to hear from the Pinterest expert herself, Alisa Meredith, or find this episode wherever you listen to podcasts.