Pinterest for Authors: Why Followers Don't Matter (much)

Last week I broke the ice on Pinterest for authors and gently but firmly told you:

Most authors are using it wrong.

If you haven't read it yet, click here, but the very short version is this:

Pinterest is not a social media platform. It's a visual search engine.

I know that might take awhile for that to sink in. It took me months to shift my thinking on what Pinterest was, and how to use it. So to help speed along the process for you, here's one important thing to help you thinking about Pinterest in a different way than you do Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Yes, followers exist on Pinterest. Yes, it's nice to have a lot of them, and it certainly doesn't hurt! But unlike social media platforms, number of followers aren't what Pinterest-savvy users pay attention to.

The more important metric, at least for the way I've been using Pinterest (brand building and driving traffic to my website), is Monthly Views (listed under your profile picture on your main profile, at least if you have a Business Account—which you should!)

This number tells you how many people see your pins, and because of the nature of Pinterest, if you're using it correctly, that number can be a lot higher than your number of followers.

For example, currently I only have about 1,500 Pinterest followers. That is not many. Far less than I have on the social media platforms. But my monthly views for the past thirty days on Pinterest is 260,000. Meaning nearly 300,000 people have seen my pins, whether or not they follow me (most obviously do not).

Now. Let's not get too excited. While I'm pretty pleased with that number, because it tells me my Pinterest strategy is on the right track, in reality, because I'm still building out my Pinterest platform, many of those 260,000 views were of re-pins. Meaning, I pinned someone else's pin, but because of my description, or keywords, etc, someone saw my repin (meaning my name/face/profile was also attached to the pin) in addition to the original poster.

It’s still situation to be in. Exposure for your name is always good, and I get a handful of followers because they like the stuff that I'm repinning.

But the real magic comes when start seeing a bulk of your monthly views on your pins.

Your pins, meaning the ones that you create, that ideally link back to your website (or buy page on Amazon, Instagram, wherever you're trying to send them).

Which leads me finally, to the most important number to pay attention to on Pinterest:

Traffic.

Having people see your stuff is great. Having them click on it? Much better.

The magic number you eventually want to grow like crazy for Pinterest success is the number of people you’re sending from Pinterest to wherever you're trying to send them (again, usually your website, but direct to Amazon can work too if it’s a book-specific pin).

If you've got a website with analytics built in (I love me some Squarespace!) this is pretty easy to follow. If you're sending them to Instagram or Amazon, etc, it's a bit trickier, but you can work some serious tracking magic if you have Google Analytics.

But we'll worry about that later.

For now, I want you to start doing some digging on your website stats (hopefully you have a website, I always cringe when I see authors without one!) and see what sort of monthly traffic comes from Pinterest.

And please, don't be discouraged by your number. Just be aware of it.

When I first put Pinterest on my radar, I actually had more followers than I do now (I lost a bunch when I closed old boards that weren't relevant to my brand), but the traffic I was driving to my website from Pinterest was in the single digits per month.

Meaning, a decent amount of people were following me on Pinterest, but really, who cares, because fewer than 9 were coming to my website every month.

When I started shifting my strategy, I saw some improvement almost immedietely. The first month I actually tried even a little bit on Pinterest, I got into the double digits. A little more work, a little more strategizing, and I eventually got up to the triple digits. And then quadruple digits.

In my best month in 2018, I hit 5-digits. I was sending over 10,000 people to my website, from Pinterest.

My goal in 2019 is to break the six-figure barrier. To send over 100,000 people from Pinterest, to my website, in a single month.

I can do it. I know I can. And if you stick with me, I'll help you improve your numbers too!

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LifestyleLauren Layne