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Updated March 3, 2021
When it comes to Pinterest marketing it’s always evolving. What was working a few years ago isn’t best practice anymore and the platform continues to surprise us with new updates.
In mid-February 2020, Pinterest announced a new round of algorithm changes that are going to change the way you approach your Pinterest marketing strategy. I’ve already began to see these changes really take a hit on many accounts as early as August 2020, and we’re still navigating the waters.
This is what I want to synthesize for you in this post – the New Dos and Don’ts of Pinterest Marketing in 2021, as well as tactics that haven’t changed.
And we’re going to begin with the bad news first…
Pinterest Marketing Don’ts
If you’re worried about your Pinterest marketing strategy in 2021, I recommend starting with the don’ts first. Eliminate some of these bad practices from your Pinterest pinning strategy and you’ll be closer to getting better results.
1. Don’t Use Low-Quality Images on Pinterest
Since Pinterest is a visual discovery and inspiration platform, the images are EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! The worst thing you can do to sabotage your success is to share images of low-quality. In fact, Pinterest has shared that they will prioritize quality, fresh images that haven’t been used on Pinterest before.
If you’re unable to take your own high-quality photographs, then subscribe to a stock photography service that regularly adds new images. I recently started using Ivory Mix, which also has pin templates, and love it! They also give you the rights to alter the images for your own use, meaning, you can change colors in the photos to better match your branding.
2. Don’t Pin Unrelated Content
If you’re a food blogger people expect to see content about food! If you want to niche down even more, if you only share Keto recipes then you want to avoid recipes like high carb chocolate cakes! Not only does this confuse your audience but it can also confuses Pinterest’s algorithm.
The type of content you share, and the related keywords, tells Pinterest where you belong on the platform. If you’re a Keto food blogger they want to show your pins in keto recipe searches.
If you pin unrelated content outside of your niche, you will confuse your target audience and your reach will be compromised.
Instead, set your unrelated boards boards to secret. These can be reserved for your personal use and won’t affect your SEO. You’ll be able to share other things that interest you BUT they won’t be visible to your followers.
3. Don’t Accept All Group Board Invites
An old strategy I still see people use in 2021 is relying heavily on group board marketing instead of building up their own boards.
When group boards were a useful tool to distribute your pins this rule didn’t exist. However, in 2018 Pinterest made it clear that group boards weren’t going to be as useful to marketers anymore. They were never intended to be used as a marketing tool, but rather a collaborative space for projects.
I’ve personally found them to hurt my reach since this change. In addition, most users drop their content and leave without reciprocating.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t join ANY Pinterest group boards. Rather, you need to be strategic about it.
Questions to ask before joining a group board:
- Does your content fit in well with what’s being shared?
- How many followers are there?
- Is there a good mix of people sharing to the board or same people?
Unless the group board is hyper-niched and related to your content don’t accept every invitation that appears in your inbox.
If you already belong to dozens of group boards, read this tutorial on using your Tailwind analytics to see which group boards to keep (and which to kick to the curb).
4. Don’t Manually Schedule All Your Pins
Thankfully I entered the Pinterest scene after the launch of pin scheduling apps and didn’t have to manually pin EVERYTHING! Not only is it time-consuming but it tends to overcomplicate things with all the spreadsheets you need to track it all.
Scheduling apps like Tailwind analyze the optimized time to pin and pins for you through their automated queue. In addition, they’ve recently made major changes to the app to make it easier to follow Pinterest’s best practices. Learn more about their SmartGuide here.
A note on the manual pinning vs scheduled pinning debate:
A big discussion in the last year has been about whether Tailwind reduces your reach on Pinterest. Many pinners are experiencing lower impressions in 2021 and putting the blame on the tools they are using. However, Pinterest and Tailwind have both confirmed that scheduled pins are treated no differently than pins added to Pinterest directly. If this is something you are at all concerned about you need to check out the information coming out of Tailwind’s latest data study.
5. Don’t Pin the Same Image Back-to-Back
Early this year we saw a lot of accounts get flagged for spam activity. One way to definitely create spam activity on Pinterest is by pinning the same image back-to-back.
If you published a new blog post and want to share it on Pinterest, space out your pins between a few days. A general rule of thumb I like to follow is to space out pins (with different images) going to the same URL a few days apart, and a single pin (same image) more than a week apart.
You won’t get seen as spam and it’s a better user experience.
Pinterest has really made this easier in the last six months with the addition of the “Create” tab. Rather than every pin you publish and repin appearing chronologically on your profile, the “Create” tab features the first time you share an image on Pinterest. This means you will not see the same image distributed throughout the feed, unless you go into your “All Pins” folder. This is great for the user experience and will never appear spammy!
6. Don’t Guess Your Keywords
Pinterest is essentially a search engine (though it often gets confused as social media). This means that KEYWORDS are incredibly useful in getting your content in the Smart Feed. The last thing you want to do is guess your keywords because they may or may not work.
For example, if you’re in the self improvement niche you might write about having a “growth mindset”. In this content you created, you also offer an opt-in to grow your email list – a list of growth mindset activities you can do at home. Naturally, you would create a pin with the words “growth mindset activities” on your pin or description. However, if you had looked up that keyword beforehand you would have discovered it’s mostly educational content and your opt-in does not fit in at all. Your audience will not be searching using that keyword as it’s mostly used by teachers in the TPT space.
The bottom-line: make sure to keyword research for each piece of content you add on the platform to discover where your audience hangs out and show up there!
7. Don’t Forget To Optimize Your Website For Pinterest
It’s not enough to put all your energy on your Pinterest marketing strategy on Pinterest itself. You need to optimize your website as well so website visitors can easily save your content using the keywords you want them to.
How Do You Optimize Your Website For Pinterest
There are a few common elements you need on your website to make it easier for people to save your content to Pinterest.
- Include share buttons above, below, or floating on the side. Common plugins include Grow, Social Warfare, or Sassy Social Share (which is what I am currently using).
- Include pinnable images in your blog posts. I use Tasty Pins to hide vertical pins with SEO descriptions in each blog post.
- Make it easy for people to pin by telling them to!
8. Don’t Use A Personal or Unclaimed Account
I’m surprised there are still some businesses and professionals still operating on a personal account. If your goal is to drive traffic from Pinterest to your website don’t use a personal account! Period.
In a recent data study by Tailwind, they looked at the engagement rate of over 2 million accounts that were claimed compared to those that weren’t. Not surprisingly, they confirmed that 80% of those enjoying higher engagement had claimed accounts. On the other hand, only 3% of the unclaimed accounts they looked at had higher engagement.
Not only will a claimed account result in your created pins being associated with your account, but using a Pinterest business accounts provide features you will need, including analytics, rich pins, and tracking.
It’s a no-brainer – claim your account now if you have not!
9. Don’t Promote Spam
Expanding on #5, spam content has become a huge problem on Pinterest over the last year. It’s easy to unintentionally share a spam pin and find yourself suspended. Spam pins might be a stolen pin that points to a different website or misleading content.
In 2021, it’s essential that we filter these pins out by double-checking the destination before pinning. If you accidently published a spam pin, don’t worry, just go into your board and delete it.
Let’s all make Pinterest a positive and enjoyable experience.
10. Don’t Treat Pinterest Like Your Other Social Media Accounts
Lastly, you need to have a different mindset when approaching Pinterest marketing.
What you share on Instagram and Facebook will not work the same on Pinterest. Those cute hashtags and selfies aren’t going to cut it here.
Pinners aren’t interested in your brand. Visitors to the platform have no idea who you are and are a cold audience. They are on Pinterest to discover and be inspired. It sounds bad but it’s not, you just need to approach this audience differently – through SEO and search.
Your photographs need to lead to information people are searching for, or at least providing some form of inspiration they can save. They also need heavily searched keywords and have some form of subtle branding or context.
You did it! We got through the rough NO’s of Pinterest marketing in 2021…now for the fun stuff. These are the strategies you should DEFINITELY BE USING on Pinterest this year.
1. Do Research Popular Keywords Relates To Your Niche
Discovering searched keywords on Pinterest is actually super easy. You’re going to want to find popular keywords for each piece of content you add to Pinterest.
Test out Suggested Searches for ideas:
Or Guided Search for secondary keywords
To find the best keywords for your niche, I like to write down the keywords I’m using on my website and the keywords in my blog posts. I then take those to Pinterest and input them in the search bar and hit Enter. The little word bubbles that appear below the search bar are what people are inputting when they search! See, so easy!
Try and find long-form keywords to target a more specific demographic or keep it simple and vague to reach a wider audience.
2. Do Complete Your Pinterest Profile Page
If you’re struggling to grow your reach this could be part of the problem. To complete your profile you need a profile description, boards with SEO titles and descriptions, a claimed website, and enough boards to support your content you want distributed on Pinterest.
You will stand out from your competition if you focus on this little task when they don’t!
Auditing and cleaning up your boards is a time consuming task so try and break it down over a few days or weeks depending how big your account is. I suggest optimizing one board per day until all your boards are optimized with keyword rich titles and descriptions.
If this is a task you would like to pass on to someone else, see my services for Account Setup and Cleanups.
3. Do Participate in Niche-Specific Group Boards and Tailwind Communities
Group boards have gotten a bad rap over the year, however, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them completely. If you are a service-based business group boards are a great way to collaborate with your clients. Otherwise, make sure you join ones that are VERY relevant to your niche and have a good amount of engagement.
Better yet, invest in Tailwind Communities (formerly called Tribes) as part of your overall Pinterest marketing strategy. There are hundreds of Communities available in almost every niche and they are easy to find.
Unlike Pinterest group boards, Communities are monitored by the admin. They can see the ratio of pins added and pins shared for each person. This means the engagement and reciprocation are much higher.
Whether you choose to focus on group boards or Communities, or both, do so strategically in 2021.
4. Do Use A Smart Scheduler App
Tailwind isn’t the only Pinterest scheduler out there but it’s the one I use and recommend.
Smart Scheduling tools make implementing your marketing strategy easy. You can focus on the analytics and making tweaks to your tactics, while the scheduling tool does what you tell it to. Whether that’s publishing 20 pins per day, or 40, those are pins you don’t have to publish yourself.
Smart scheduling tools weren’t as popular 5 years ago, but have become a necessary part of a successful marketing strategy in 2021. Whether you manage 8 client accounts or just your own, these apps save you hours of work and gather your analytics for you in a way that makes sense.
5. Do Add Subtle Branding To Your Pins
The design of a winning pin design is pretty simple: quality image + text overlay + subtle branding.
You can be flexible with your pin templates, however, you should be consistent with the branding. At the very least add your logo or website at the bottom of the pin. Other branding ideas to consider are colors, fonts, and even attitude!
6. Do Create Multiple Pin Images For Your Content
It’s still beneficial to continually create new pins images for your content rotation. This is especially important now that Pinterest is prioritizing “fresh” content. Your content doesn’t have to be new to create a new image (though Pinterest has expressed new content as beneficial). Continue to create new images for old content that does well on Pinterest.
To get started I recommend creating 10 templates you can start rotating through immediately. This will ensure a variety in your pin designs which will keep your feed more interesting. I’ve started doing this with all my clients and we’re seeing positive results!
It’s incredibly easy to implement this strategy using Canva. Each time you create a new pin design you love you can “publish” it as a “template”. This will save it in a folder in Canva where you can grab from as needed. Keep building up your Templates folder and soon you will have dozens of templates to use.
Another method I like to use is generating new pin designs in Tailwind Create. All you have to do is provide them with the title and images you want included, and they will generate hundreds of options for you to choose from.
7. Do Write Compelling Titles And Copy
Captivating headlines are eye-catching and make you want to click. Since descriptions and titles aren’t immediately visible, you want to include strong copy on your pin image itself.
If you’re not good at writing headlines I recommend using CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. I’ll admit, when I began writing online I wasn’t good at writing headlines. They were informative but cold and boring. The click results showed it to. The Headline Analyzer was the best hack I discovered!
When writing copy for your pin title you should make it sound inviting. Another way you can accomplish this is by adding a call to action or using arrows in your design to draw attention.
8. Do Research Your Competitors
Pinterest Marketing is becoming more and more competitive. To stand out from the crowd it’s important to find your competitors on Pinterest and see what they are doing that you can also implement.
Something I like to do pretty regularly is look for pins from my competitors that are doing well in search. I’ll type in a keyword I want to rank for and see what keywords the first results are using, and I will use those on my own. I’ll also use other users’ pin designs I like to inspire my new pins images. I’ll change it a little with my own brand colors and fonts but you get the idea.
Create a secret board on your Pinterest account to save pins you like. Pull from these for inspiration when you need fresh templates.
A second strategy to get a leg up on your competitors is to analyze what board titles they are using. If you want to appear in the same searches as them, and compete with their content, you need to know what keywords they are using for their boards as well.
9. Do Pin Regularly and Consistently
A successful Pinterest marketing strategy needs to be consistent. As I mentioned, I use Tailwind to accomplish this. I pin 2-3 times per day. How many times you pin will look different for you.
Something to consider when decided how much to share each day is how much content you have. On Caffeine and Conquer I have about 100 blog posts so sharing 30 pins per day doesn’t make sense for me. However, a food blogger with over a thousand recipes could easily share higher numbers without oversharing the same content to often.
If you pin manually, it’s important to pin each day so Pinterest sees you as an active user.
10. Do Promote Your Pinterest To Your Email List
Definitely encourage your email subscribers to follow or engage with your pins. The more engagement your pin gets the more Pinterest will distribute it!
The best way to accomplish this is by including a link to a pin and asking them to save it! You’re already likely promoting content to them anyway so why not give them an easy way to keep the information for later!
Ready to Get Serious About Pinterest?
That’s all for now folks! Pinterest is constantly evolving and adapting to its users which means we need to stay on top of these changes. Take these do’s and don’ts forward into your Pinterest marketing strategy for the best chance at success!
For further reading: