We have this question from a Pinterest user: “So how does the following growth work? It seems that it’s not a “I follow you, you follow back” system like Twitter.”
The first thing to clear up is that Twitter does not operate on an “I follow you, you follow back” system unless you want to always follow everyone who follows you, which is not a great idea, but is a subject for another post. You always have a choice regarding which accounts you follow.
That said, the real question seems to be, “How can I get more Followers on Pinterest?” Let’s address the “follow-back” query first.
Is Following Others a Good Way to Increase My Own Pinterest Followers?
Yes and no. When you follow someone, or you follow one of their boards, the pinner receives a notification by email (if they’ve opted in) and in their Pinterest notifications (see screen shot). Note that the red Follow button shows up only if you have followed all their boards, and if you were one of several to follow since they last checked notifications, the follow button only works for one of you.
This is one way to get someone’s attention! However, most seasoned pinners won’t hit the red “Follow” button just because it’s there. Unless I recognize the name, I click through to see who they are and what they pin. If the account looks interesting to me, I will follow either particular boards or (more rarely) the entire account.
Now that you have their attention, maybe, if you have boards that interest them, they may indeed follow you in return. That said, the best policy is to follow people because you want to see what they pin, not because you want to build your follower account.
More Ways to Get More Followers
Write Your Descriptions Carefully
Pinterest is turning in to a visual search engine. This doesn’t mean you need to get all crazy with the keywords and hashtags, though keywords are important. What it does mean, in part, is that you need to make sure that every single image you pin has a good, applicable description. If I’m searching for “How to build a deck” and your pin on that subject has the description of “:)” that is not going to help me find you. Pinterest does seem to be able to “see” what is in images, so you might still appear in a search, but why not give the right signals and increase your chances? If I find that you’re pinning all sorts of great information I need to build a deck, I’m going to follow you!
Pin Often and Well
One of the (many) nice things about Pinterest is the fact that unlike updates on Facebook or Twitter, pins have an extremely long shelf-life. In fact, pins you have added since the beginning of time are always discoverable in the search and in your boards themselves. Still, don’t let your account go stagnant, remain a valuable resource for new and interesting content and people will find and follow you. And remember, write good pin descriptions.
When you open a pin, you might notice below it that there are related boards and pins – to help you find more accounts and boards to follow and pins to repin. Increase your chances of being featured there and in related pin listings by having many, many great pins and boards.
Cater to the Popular – Sort of
We all know what’s popular on Pinterest. It’s easy to see if you just go to Popular! But what if your business has nothing to do with beauty, food, home, fashion, etc.? Could you find a way to make it apply? For example, if you are in the automobile industry, could you have a board for car-themed food or party ideas? How about furniture and decor for car lovers?
Get creative. Don’t stick so closely to your own products and services that your Pinterest boards become a big ugly catalog. Case in point. This morning I looked at a vintage car parts supplier’s boards, expecting to see some gorgeous vintage car photos. No. Not one. Instead? Four boards, each with images from their product catalog. What a lost opportunity! Give the people what they want. As they are exploring as people do on Pinterest, they may also see something they need – like your vintage car parts.
Join Group Pinterest Boards
When you join and participate in group boards, your pins achieve a much wider reach – being displayed to everyone who follows that board as well as your own followers. Members of that board may notice your great contributions and decide to follow you, or they may repin, which could lead to some of their followers finding and following you as well.
Get Credit for Your Pins
Consider adding your Pinterest username or your website URL to all the images you create for your own content. That way, if someone repins, even if they were to strip out the URL to your article (bad!) there is still a way for people to know who created that awesome pin. If they love it enough, they will look you up and follow you.
Comment, Like, and Tag
There is not a whole lot of commenting going on on Pinterest yet. So, here’s a way you can stand out. If you see a pin you like and want to repin, make a comment on it. And don’t just say, “great pin!” Tell the pinner why you like it. You might also tell them that you’re repinning.
When repinning, or when pinning from the site of a pinner you wish would follow you, tag them in the pin. For instance, if you are sharing a blog post he or she wrote, include “fabulous read from @scalablesocial” in your description. They will be notified that you mentioned them. This type of notification really stands out, so give it a try.
You can’t use Pinterest messaging to ask for a follow (no that you would anyway, right?) because both parties must already follow each other before either can message.
So, forget the “follow 10,000 accounts and hope they will follow back” approach. Implement as many of these practices as possible and you will soon see your follower count increasing daily!
- Pinterest FAQ: Should I Pin an Image to More Than One Board? (scalablesocialmedia.com)
- Pinterest Group Board Tips & Why You Should Join (scalablesocialmedia.com)
- Pinterest Messaging – Can it be Used for Marketing? (scalablesocialmedia.com)
- Could Using Pinterest Get You Sued? (scalablesocialmedia.com)