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How I got 10k Pinterest Followers in 5 Months

I´m obsessed with visual curation. I believe that we are on the verge of a major shift with how we organise and share information online. I don´t have anything to back up my hunches so I focus on creating the best effing Pinterest account possible.

Last month we hit 10k followers at Digital Photography School. Darren (my client) sent out a tweet asking people to follow a board to ´put me out of my misery.´ I had been watching the numbers for days. 10K is an amazing achievement for such a short time. My next goal is to hit 100k by the end of the year. I don´t think that will happen, but I reckon that 50k is more then feasible.

There is a lot of great information online about basic Pinterest strategy. There is very little about advanced tactics. In this post, I´ll share what I´ve learned about getting 10k Pinterest followers in five months.

 Pinning personas

You guys are probably aware of buyer personas. Heck, you are probably on the third iteration of your blog personas. I´ve adapted this idea to create personas based around peoples pinterest habits.

What I am doing is kinda innovative. There is no rule book. There are no guidelines on the ideal number of boards and pins. It´s hard to find anything on advanced strategy. Combine that with no technical understanding of photography and you have a strategist that is flying by the seat of her pants.

This has led to a lot of agonizing over certain decisions. Do I combine boards? Do I create new topics based on what is doing well? It´s like I´m walking a tightrope and I´m wearing a blindfold.

Then it hit me. My boyfriend has started borrowing my digital camera and experimenting with my telephoto lens. He has been asking me how to do certain things and I´d always head to the DPS account to find a relevant tutorial.

My boyfriend, and I, are the type of people that would follow the DPS pinterest account. We are social media savvy and intelligent. We are just unfamiliar with the nuances of digital photography.

Every time I feel confused I ask myself if making this change will make it easier for me to learn about photography. If I answer yes, then I´ll make that change. Some hunches haven´t worked out but it´s ok. It´s just one big, awesome experiment.

  Scheduling

I put off scheduling for as long as I could. I liked how easy it was to click repin and found that manual scheduling was cumbersome. Frankly, I thought it would be a pain in the arse to put more work into something that would result in less images being pinned.

This was probably the single best thing we did. It takes longer but it means that people don´t get overwhelmed by a lot of pins at once. It also ensures that the pin url is still active. Previously, most of our pin comments were from people trying to find the right link.

It seems like a really basic tip but I know that there others who, like me, would save time by using the Pinterest website. Trust me – the benefits are so worth it.

 Analytics

I originally tried to find a solution that combined analytics and scheduling. Pingraphy, my scheduling tool, has basic analytics. I quickly learned that I needed something more advanced.

There is only so much you can learn from observing Pinterest in real time. You need more data. You need to be able to compare data points. Pinleague has been really useful in helping me with that.

I´ve barely tapped into its potential but it has helped me see which boards are growing the fastest. I can see what articles are doing really well on Pinterest. Heck, I can even compare my stats against competitors.

My goal for this year is to see just how much I can leverage this information. We haven´t even integrated it with google analytics yet! There is so much potential with what you can do. Trust me, find an analytics solution. It will save you so much time and headspace.

Take note of seasonal trends

I consider myself to be a marketing and publishing nerd and this idea didn’t hit me until late in the year. I noticed that Darren was promoting articles on Thanksgiving and realised that I could take advantage of it. Other photography sites were also publishing articles. Why not curate them and create the resource?

I decided that I would make sure that the fifth board would be dedicated to a seasonal topic. I would put in extra effort to find useful articles and would prioritise them in the pinning schedule. This really resonated with people.

You tend to know what content resonates at certain times of the year. We had a lot of traction and growth and traction of the Christmas board during December. I know that I´ll be able to use the fireworks board many times. I moved it to the top in the lead-up to new years eve.

If you manage a Pinterest account on behalf of a client, email them and see. Also take note of what competitors blogs are featuring.

Strategy Comparisons

Originally, I planned to use Pinterest as a visual classroom. I organized the topics according to how I would structure lessons.

This plan was sound. It would have worked for other forms of organizing information. The problem with Pinterest is that you only have one large board. That is one chance to hook people.

The space above the fold should be dedicated to the types of boards that will grab a persons attention. That was one major change I made.

I also noticed that many people wanted to skip past the basics and find boards specific to their situation. I bundled some of the beginner boards together and then created more niche boards such as lightning and lighting gear.

I´m now in a place of rapid testing. Most people wouldn´t notice the changes. I never really know if my work actually helps people because I get very little feedback from the followers.

I´m really excited to see where this goes :-) Would love your feedback!

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