Welcome to episode 009 of the Blogger Genius Podcast. My guest is Kate Ahl founder of Simple Pin Media.
In this episode, we discuss how to grow Pinterest now — what’s working today and what’s not.
We also discuss the value of niching down in your business, how to create growth by staying focused, and the importance of not chasing other people’s success, but finding your own.
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Host: [00:00:03] Welcome to The Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian: [00:00:10] Hi, welcome to the show today. My guest is Kate Ahl, who is the mastermind behind Simple Pin Media. So welcome to the show, Kate.
Kate: [00:00:21] Hey, thanks so much for having me. I’m excited about your podcast.
Jillian: [00:00:25] Thank you. And I’m inspired by you because I’ve been a big fan of yours for so long, and I’ve been on your podcast twice.
Kate: [00:00:32] Yes, you have. They’re both great conversation.
Jillian: [00:00:36] And the thing that we both share is love of Pinterest.
Kate: [00:00:40] Yeah it’s true.
Jillian: [00:00:42] So what I want to start with is a) – How you discovered Pinterest. And b) – how you built a whole business around it.
Kate: [00:00:52] Yes. So the first time I discovered Pinterest was actually at a good friend’s house, and it was just after Pinterest started late 2009 early 2010, and she had made these really amazing outdoor candles chandelier-type-things with like mason jars and pallets. And we live in Portland, so that kind of all comes together even more perfectly.
Kate: [00:01:17] I said, Where did you get all these ideas? This is crazy. And she’s like, Well it’s this new site called Pinterest. And I remember standing at her kitchen and we were looking at the computer or iPad, I can’t remember at the time, and I was like I don’t. But this is a great solution to bookmarking, because you would bookmark everything on your computer and try to save it for later, and that didn’t feel like this cohesive place. But Pinterest didn’t look like what it looks like now.
At that time it was really confusing, like you couldn’t figure out who you’re following, and you had to have an invite. So. I said, Can you send me an invite? And it took like forever. It took like six weeks. And so my other friends were talking about Pinterest, and like what is it and how is it going to work> And so I got the invite and I created an account. I don’t even know where that account is actually, I should try to dig and find it. But I loved it. I loved the sheer fact that I could organize content.
Kate: [00:02:20] But I should also say I was really still confused by it, like the user experience in the beginning was not easy. Like you couldn’t really figure out like, Who is this person I’m engaging with and what’s their stuff.
Kate: [00:02:33] They wanted you to follow artists and it didn’t seem like it matched me quite yet. So I did take a step back from it for a little bit. Well during that time too, I started working with a friend who had a blog and she was feeling like it was growing pretty significantly.
It was 2010 which means we we’re still like mid-recession and she did deals, couponing for a living, which was going crazy during that time because people needed to save money. So she asked me to come on and do Facebook marketing for her initially, which I did and I loved.
And then she asked me to come on to her blog to do a lot of affiliate marketing, blog management, kind of jack of all trades and that slowly merged into Pinterest, and what I ended up doing was that Pinterest account essentially became my personal Pinterest account.
I was falling in love with Pinterest. Falling in love with her content too at the same time, but also falling in love with just using Pinterest in general, and so we really didn’t know how to market on there. It was more, we had heard of people getting traffic and this was probably bringing us up to like 2010ish. And she discovered a Pinterest course.
Kate: [00:03:49] And she’s like I took this Pinterest course to talk about naming your boards no longer cutesy names, like really thinking business. And we spent like three or four hours in her living room. It was spring of 2012 and really looked at what were we going to do with Pinterest, right? So we got the strategy. We’re just playing around with it for a good full year.
And then 2013 probably like November 2013, is when Facebook changed their algorithm pretty significantly. It was like the first big Facebook Armageddon where business pages weren’t getting seen as a deal blogger. That’s how you got most of your click throughs and affiliate sales, and everybody took a huge hit.
Kate: [00:04:42] The question was like, We’ve never seen that before and we didn’t really know what to do with it. Everybody’s getting this amazing traffic. So we looked and said you know, maybe we need to do something different and at that same time, personally we were going through still the downturn of the economy.
And my husband couldn’t find a job and his unemployment had run out. And so at that same time the unemployment was running out and Facebook was changing their algorithm, she had said to me, the friend I was working for she said, Well why don’t you try managing people’s Pinterest accounts?
And I thought she was nuts and I literally remember sitting at the kitchen table watching her say this and thinking I don’t even know how you would do that. I was just on her account all the time. So I thought I can’t be on someone’s account all the time.
Kate: [00:05:36] This is crazy. But she said just research everything you can do. Start Googling and see what’s happening out there. We knew from this previous Pinterest course, that there was at least some idea of Pinterest for business. But yet there wasn’t a lot of conversation about it.
Kate: [00:05:52] I found one other Pinterest course that I joined. I found a small Facebook group of women just getting together to strategize about Pinterest. And I discovered ViralTag in the beginning as a scheduling service to use because there really wasn’t anything out there, and I said I’ll test with yours over two months.
This was November-December. And then we sat at the beach one weekend and created a couple of different packages. I bought Simple Pin Media as a domain and thought, Here we go. Let’s try this. And so she asked two of her friends to be beta clients.
Jillian: [00:06:34] That is terrific. And how many clients do you have now?
Kate: [00:06:38] A hundred and one.
Jillian: [00:06:39] Wow. So you manage 101 clients’ Pinterest pages.
Kate: [00:06:46] Yes we do. We definitely have a big team.
Jillian: [00:06:48] And how many people on your team?
Kate: [00:06:50] 30.
Kate: [00:06:51] Oh my goodness. Wow. And do you manage other social media accounts like Instagram or anything else?
Kate: [00:06:59] No we’ve thought a little bit about Instagram. I have to say that that been in my thoughts, potentially on the road map. But it would be something along the lines of taking the model of Simple Pin and either franchising it or duplicating that model underneath different socials.
Jillian: [00:07:24] This is a piece of advice that I continue to give which is the internet is a really big place and that you can grow a really successful business by niching down, by being the Pinterest experts. That you don’t have to be the Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube expert. That actually by knowing your niche so well, you could really grow.
Jillian: [00:07:52] People think oh, and then I need to move into this area and this area, and I’m like, if you go deep, not that many other people will do it. So you can own that space. And so when I think of Pinterest and I think Pinterest marketers, you’re the person I call.
Kate: [00:08:14] Thank you.
Jillian: [00:08:15] Because I’m not thinking, oh I want a general social media marketer. I’m like, ooh, were noticing something with our Pinterest accounts. I’m going to check in with Kate and see if she’s seeing the same thing.
Kate: [00:08:27] Hmm yeah it doesn’t make it easy for anybody who is thinking of doing any business. I will definitely say that niching down allows you to immerse yourself so deeply in a certain platform, that that’s all you study. And I’ve found it feeling overwhelming. And that’s why we haven’t gone into Instagram because if you’re dealing with two different animals, like one drives traffic and one drives engagement and there aretwo different methods of using it, and you can’t apply a one size fits all social strategy to all social platforms. So absolutely it will just drive you into the ground. I don’t want to be driven into the ground.
Jillian: [00:09:10] Like another piece of advice I give is figure out what your goals are for your business, and pick the social media platform that a) – speaks to your audience, where your audience already is, and b) – which delivers what you’re looking for. And yes you should own your name on every platform but to think that you need to be on every platform actively is… You will drive yourself insane.
Kate: [00:09:40] Yes I have felt that. So for me socially as far as Simple Pin, my first focus was just Pinterest that’s where I put my content. That’s where I spent my time. That was my big drive and I did focus a little bit on Facebook, and building a really strong Facebook group. The group was more important to me than the page. And since then, I’ve just I have a social media manager who does all my stuff for me, because I don’t want to keep up with Facebook I don’t want to keep up with Instagram, right. I just want to interact with people.
Jillian: [00:10:11] I will definitely say you are one of the top Pinterest experts, but Pinterest is always changing. So it’s not like you ever own Pinterest. I’m always amazed at how often these social networks are changing.
Kate: [00:10:34] All the time.
Jillian: [00:10:34] So you know Pinterest today, but then you’ve got a keep on it and then you get to tell me what I need to do, because again it’s not like oh I’ve mastered it. Oh no. They’ll pull the rug out from under you.
Kate: [00:10:48] And I’ve always heard and heeded this advice, that the moment you become unteachable or unwilling to learn is the moment your business dies. The term expert is really tough for me to digest. And mostly because it’s hard, it’s just hard to see it that way and semantics right, like you could say thought leader, and I might wrap my brain around that a little bit better, but I think the thing is that even I as a person who studies Pinterest, teaches Pinterest, is only in Pinterest. I still have days where I will email some colleagues and say.
There’s not a trick I’m missing. Right. I’m not missing something and they know to expect it. You know, every six or eight months for me, because I just go… it’s that moment of insecurity to go, did I miss something? Have I not learned this? And I appreciate people in my life who are willing to accept those questions from me in a way that says no, Kate you’re fine. Like keep doing what you’re doing.
Jillian: [00:11:59] Absolutely. And again I like that idea of, if you have an online business you have to stay nimble. You have to stay hungry because you’re absolutely right. You can’t rest on your laurels like when you’re talking about 2012, let’s say Pinterest in 2012. That’s not that long ago. And yet in the world of the Internet that’s a really long time ago.
Jillian: [00:12:25] So I will say that for us, for Catch My Party, or our first business, we stumbled into Pinterest. What I was doing was using it as a way to save content from Catch My Party, so that I could write blog posts, right, because my husband who’s the technical part of our partnership, I kept saying to him build me somewhere I could have a clipboard or something. And he never built it.
So then I discovered Pinterest. I was like oh I could just do it here. And then what I weirdly found was we were getting traffic. It was like weird we didn’t plan on it. It was really just for my own personal use. And then we said to ourselves really early, which was good. This is driving us traffic and we’re not even trying we need to try. And Pinterest now, of course, is our biggest traffic driver and the way we monetize with Catch My Party is traffic. So that’s why we’ve then built MiloTree for example, or pop-up, because we recognize we need to grow Pinterest so we doubled down on Pinterest.
Jillian: [00:13:33] So it’s why I read whatever you write, because Pinterest matters to us in a huge way. And so it is about finding that area where you can build your business, finding the social networks that support that. And then being willing to learn as much as you possibly can about that platform, or whatever that thing is whether you’re selling courses whether, you’re selling products, whether you’re creating stuff for Etsy, whatever it is.
Jillian: [00:14:02] The more you know just the more you have to leverage.
Kate: [00:14:11] Yeah definitely. Fully agree and I think there’s that feeling too of spreading super wide because we want to make sure we’re covering it all. But yet when we spread super wide, we become less efficient or less productive. And we’re only skimming the surface of everything instead of going to focus here, and that’s hard in our online world and you and I have talked about this before.
Because we are being pulled in so many different directions, kind of like with the dangling carrot of like, if you go here you can make money, if you get here and you are constantly in this push pull. And I was saying this to you before we started. I can’t listen to podcast anymore about marketing unless I need the specific tool, because it’s almost it’s information overload for me, and it feels like dangling carrots in my face when I have this big team of people saying especially my leadership team, saying, we need you to do this or we need you to lead this, and lead us in this direction.
And firm up these processes. That’s where I got to continue to focus back my time, because that’s where my business is and that’s hard because there’s a little bit of like the FOMO.
Jillian: [00:15:28] Yeah.
Kate: [00:15:29] Like, yeah I couldn’t miss out on this tip, and yes my business is going to go down, and then you realize your business is going to go down the tubes if you spend all your day listening to podcasts and never implementing.
Jillian: [00:15:41] Absolutely. And I am a big believer in just doing at least one thing a day. One thing a day to move your business forward and then to give yourself credit for achieving that goal. And I agree with you about stepping away. I’ve mentioned this previously, that I’ve really stepped away personally in Facebook. I know that’s now kind of in the news, but I took a Facebook break personally. I noticed how much better I felt. Yes. And I know that’s like, you know, I work in the world of social media.
Jillian: [00:16:18] But it’s about figuring out that I don’t have to be where everybody is and I don’t have to follow that thing were, Oh my god everybody’s making a ton of money here. I need to be there. It’s a good lesson. Digging deep and figuring out who you are, what you want, what you want to grow, why you’re doing this like those deeper questions, because you could spend your life going from trend to trend to trend.
Kate: [00:16:48] Yeah yes you could. And you would drive yourself into the ground.
Jillian: [00:16:52] And by the way. You won’t be successful.
Kate: [00:16:56] Yep I agree. It is hard in our world to have laser focus. But I would say like that is the place where you can find out the most about your business. That’s where you can grow the most. And I agree with you I’m not on Facebook anymore very much, except to look at my group, right. That’s where I get the greatest value from.
Jillian: [00:17:20] Will you tell everybody what your group is?
Kate: [00:17:23] So it’s a Simple Pin Pinterest Strategy Group and it’s just a group to talk about Pinterest we don’t even do group board threads because we find that it kind of muddies the waters of the group.
Jillian: [00:17:35] And what is a group board thread just so people know?
Kate: [00:17:38] So there are specific Facebook groups on Pinterest group boards, so what it means is you can go into these Facebook groups, and you can look at what group boards on Pinterest people have available for you to join, and submit your content to that. So there’s this one it’s called Pinterest Group Boards. it’s a fantastic group just dedicated to that, and I love it because again it’s just dedicated to one thing. So knowing that that was happening over there I decided to really create a culture in our Facebook group that was just about Pinterest.
So if you are experiencing a glitch, you could go there, ask a question and someone who would answer if you were frustrated or if you had a joy to share, or whatever it was in relation to Pinterest marketing. I wanted this to be the place where that conversation could happen without drama. It’s the big thing for me. Yet without being solicited to get other members, without feeling like you were asking a dumb question, that there are no dumb questions. We want every single question there is and we want this to be the hub where you go to get up to date information on Pinterest.
Jillian: [00:18:49] The thing I have to say, I love that you are popping in with updates and what’s new. Like if I get in my feed, if I see that you have been on, talking about something I know to listen. Like I will stop what I’m doing and listen to you.
Kate: [00:19:08] Thank you so much for the support, that means a lot. Because you know when you’re on the other side of the computer, you never know what people are responding to.
Jillian: [00:19:16] I have to say again, because you are my expert. So if you’re talking, I’m listening.
Kate: [00:19:22] I love it. Thank you. I really appreciate that.
Jillian: [00:19:24] Okay, so so let’s do this. Let’s talk about Pinterest, just because you are the expert. And if I say group boards, give me your like 30 second thing on should people be focusing on group boards. And group boards again or where a bunch of people can share to a board, and the hope is that you can get your content in front of people that aren’t necessarily following you.
Kate: [00:19:53] Yes, that’s correct.
Jillian: [00:19:54] So that we can give some value to the listeners. Like group boards. Should people be finding group boards? Joining group boards?
Kate: [00:20:02] Yeah, I think they’re a valuable part of a bigger strategy on Pinterest with marketing, but I always tell people to keep it about only 30 percent, because what can happen is that you chase the idea of getting other people’s followers to see your pins, ny joining group boards. And then you forget that you have your own followers, and they’re following your personal boards, and they want to see what you’re pinning.
Kate: [00:20:26] So I tell people if they’re going to do group boards, I always have them join group boards that fit their niche.
Jillian: [00:20:32] Got it.
Kate: [00:20:33] And that the content on there is something you would want your people to see. It’s nothing sketchy, or just super general, or even not appealing. It has to have a specific title that is a very strong keyword on Pinterest so I don’t want it to be like “Best Blogger Recipes.
Jillian: [00:20:51] Or “Awesome Pins.”
Kate: [00:20:53] Exactly. I’d rather have it be something like “Instant Pot Soup Recipes.” That means on the board is only Instant Pot soup recipes and if you have that content, that’s a great place for you to put it. Not just for followers, but for the search factor, that when people search that title of Instant Pot soup recipes, Pinterest will see that that’s a place where there’s a lot of content on that topic being shared. So there’s that, and then also joining with people you know is really important as well, and sharing from that group board especially if you have relationships, is also super important too.
Jillian: [00:21:30] Great okay. Now in terms of success on Pinterest. How many pin per day do you recommend somebody pin?
Kate: [00:21:39] I have thought about this a lot actually, in the last couple of months. I have a data analyst who’s going through a bunch of our data of the last four years, and analyzing a lot of this based on a number of pins per day. And one thing that’s really interesting to us is our baseline package is ten pins, then we do a midline package of 20 pins and then 30 pins per day.
Kate: [00:22:01] And the reason we started that in 2014, was because Pinterest was based on a chronological feed. So the more pins, the more you got seen in the feed. Well now that we’ve moved on to image and search based, what we realized is that the number of pins per day isn’t as relevant as your keywords and board descriptions, or images and how much they capture the pinners attention.
So I’m less likely to tell people it’s a certain number of pins per day, and I’m more likely to ask them, what do your images look like? Because you can slap up 50 pins of crappy images, and not end up getting return. Or you could have ten amazing images and drive tons more traffic, and we find that with some rare clients lately, that those who really have had head down focus, they know their avatar.
They have really strong keywords, like three to four pillar keywords that they really focus in on, and that that is increased engagement and it’s increased their page views over time with just 10 pins a day.
Jillian: [00:23:08] That’s terrific. OK. Text overlays on the images or not?
Kate: [00:23:15] Yes I really like them and I like them especially because Pinterest feels a little bit like billboard advertising.
Jillian: [00:23:23] Yes, that’s a good way to describe it.
Kate: [00:23:25] Like you’re coming by and what’s going to catch their attention?
Kate: [00:23:27] So I always tell people before they go into creating text overlays on their images for their own business. Do two things. One, start paying attention to billboards as you’re driving. And just really pay attention to the patterns that you see and, two, go on to Pinterest on your phone. Try not to do this on desktop, and see what catches you. Scroll by and save it all to a secret board.
And then you can see, what is it that stands out to me and why? And chances are it’s going to be very “call to action” type statements. Something that could even be a provocative statement or a question. And then also really really bright colors. That’s another thing to add if you’re dealing with recipes or any type of food.
I’ve seen a couple of things worked well which is showcasing the ingredients in the pin image somewhere, because then I can look at five o’clock if I’m ready to do dinner, and I can see that I have everything in your image. I’m much more likely to click, and make that meal.
Jillian: [00:24:30] Ooh, I like that.
Kate: [00:24:30] Or you can really tell me if it’s easy, if it’s healthy, if it’s five ingredients. People on Pinterest love numbers. You’re going to do something like twenty five cruise tips. That is amazing. Or you’re going to do five ingredient brownies. Those do so well. And making that number pop too in a different color is really good too.
Jillian: [00:24:54] That’s awesome.
Kate: [00:24:54] Okay. Hashtags. Hashtags is new. So Pinterest released the use of hashtags in August of this last year, 2017. And that was a big surprise to us all. In fact, it felt a little bit like whiplash. What did you do? Because they were very dead set on it since the beginning. We don’t use hashtags. We don’t use hashtags. So they released it.
And what they did with it was they created what’s called the hashtag feed. So that means when you pin something to Pinterest with a hashtag, it goes into this hashtag feed that’s run chronologically. So it’s very wise for you as a business owner to create your own branded hashtag. So for me, I have the hashtag Simple Pin Podcasts. So when anybody clicks on Simple Pin Podcast, it goes to all of my pins.
Then in addition, Pinterest is set up to do 20 hashtags on a description. But I would not go that many yet. I would just do about four to five and then, make it pretty specific. We’re not like Instagram here so I would do something like “instant pot” or “instant pot soup” or “easy dinner.” So not just “recipe.” You don’t want to go that route. And then, you don’t want to go back and update your pins.
That’s one thing that’s gonna be a waste of time because it’s only done when a new pin enters the platform. So if you update with hashtags on your pins, it’s not going to automatically funnel over into the chronological feed. It just stays where it is.
Jillian: [00:26:33] Right. Right.
Kate: [00:26:34] So the only update I would tell people to do is on your top 10 pins that are driving traffic to your site from Pinterest. I would go into your Pinterest description or wherever you want to have Pinterest pull the description from, and I would add hashtags there because people are already sharing once they get to your sites, so that does put the new pins that they’re sharing on your behalf into the chronological feed.
Jillian: [00:27:01] I love this. I’m like taking copious notes right now. Okay, video on Pinterest.
Kate: [00:27:08] Video is also new as of this last summer. The only way that you can get access to their native video player is if you run a promoted pin ad, and it’s based on views. I have not tested it yet. From what I’ve heard from other people, it’s a little bit expensive. And video, it is being used by the big brands. So if you wanted to throw some money behind it, I would definitely.
If you’re a food blogger, I would go that route for sure and just set it up or have somebody set it up for you. But beyond that, video’s on Pinterest that are just uploaded by YouTube are still a little bit of a speed bump, like people don’t quite interact with them yet.
Jillian: [00:27:51] Yes. Do you think – Again, as we’re talking about niche-ing and that different niches are different, that Pinterest has really wanted to break into video but people have talked to me about it, and said, it makes me uncomfortable to watch video on Pinterest. I want to just be scrolling. It breaks the good vibes.
Kate: [00:28:14] Yes, it does. It feels intrusive.
Jillian: [00:28:16] Yes.
Kate: [00:28:17] Yeah. I would say that’s because – So we look at the Big Three which is Pinterest, YouTube and Google, and YouTube owns the space on video. So we are all conditioned that if we want a video, we go to YouTube, right? If we want a quick cooking video that just happens upon our stream, we will tolerate those on Facebook.
Kate: [00:28:39] But the best path for video as it relates to Pinterest is still to create that solid pin image and lead them to your site or lead them to YouTube. We have seen some people doing that, and that works fine as long as the pinner knows on the image that they’re going to a video.
Yeah, if you – you can’t interrupt their flow. If we’re shocked into something or just it jars us a little bit, then we just were like “What? Where am I? What is going on?” But if you have a pin image with that little play button in the middle, people are more apt to try to push the play button because that’s what we’re conditioned to do. And then when they get over there, they find what they’ve expected which is a video.
So that’s really – I don’t know. It’ll be interesting to see what Pinterest does in the next year with video but I don’t think we’re quite there yet where the masses are ready to consume it.
Jillian: [00:29:37] Yes. Okay. One last Pinterest expert question, promoted pins. Who are those good for?
Kate: [00:29:46] I think everybody. I definitely would say that promoted pins are continually getting better and better and better as they go along. I believe that an organic strategy is really, really good combined with a promoted pin strategy and that when you do a promoted Pin, you need to have a goal in mind. So we’re doing a bunch of promoted pin campaign testing.
We’re building a promoted pins team like a services team here in Simple Pin. And so we’re running a bunch of tests and my goal, because I’m going to use my account as a guinea pig, my goal is email sign ups. I want as many people on my email list is possible because I love talking to them in my email. It’s my favorite thing to do. And it’s the way that I can hook them in and continue to teach them and then hook them into my Facebook group.
I’m not as concerned about course sales or promoting my services because those are two things that take a little bit of time to warm up. So my goal is always, okay, I have this amazing post there, and I’ll say it’s not an amazing post but it’s gotten an amazing amount of traffic from Pinterest, about how to clean up Pinterest boards and it has an opt-in on it. That’s the one I’m promoting because I’m getting so much traffic to it that I want to take my promoted pin and give it another 10 to 20 percent boost, just to see how it performs.
Jillian: [00:31:10] So then you’re sending that pin to a landing page where people can sign up?
Kate: [00:31:15] No, it has the landing page built within the post.
Jillian: [00:31:18] Okay, so it sends it to a post and then, they read the post and there is a sign up.
Kate: [00:31:23] Exactly, it has a good conversion rate on it already. It’s about 50 percent.
Jillian: [00:31:29] That’s terrific.
Kate: [00:31:31] Yeah, so we’re really trying to funnel as many people towards that.
Jillian: [00:31:34] Got it. Okay, because we were experimenting with some promoted pins for MiloTree and what I found was when I just promoted like “Hey, grow your social following especially Pinterest” because again, the idea is I want to advertise on Pinterest that this can help your Pinterest.
It was working okay but when I promoted a pin that was an article that was like “How to grow your Pinterest. Here are our top tricks and tips”, that did much better by getting people to click when it was “I’m going to give you free content here. Here it is”, or which did much better than “Hey, here’s just an ad for us.
Kate: [00:32:26] Yeah, I would agree. People need to be warmed up for sure.
Jillian: [00:32:30] Yep, they need to trust you, and they need to see that there’s real value there.
Kate: [00:32:35] We have run ads to the landing page just for my Pinterest planner and that’s like our big main opt-in. And we found that that hasn’t actually converted as well as sending them to the podcast where I talk about it and they can get warmed up.
Jillian: [00:32:53] Interesting. Okay. This is the thing I would say: When you do ads, test. Try things and you have to be willing to lose money. That’s painful, super painful but it is true that you have to think about the fact that it’s like paying for a course that you put some money behind stuff to see how it performs. And then, you try to learn as fast as possible.
Kate: [00:33:32] Yes exactly. You try to catch up before you lose too much which is not much. It’s a good idea. Yeah we were talking about a podcast I just recorded is about KPIs, key performance indicators.
Jillian: [00:33:44] Can you just explain what a KPI is?
Kate: [00:33:46] Yeah, so a KPI is just that key performance indicator and for Pinterest, the common KPI is our followers, sessions and then saves but we wanted to take it a step further and look. Do we actually know when a user is coming to your site from Pinterest?
How much is that user worth or how much is that post making? So we could either want more traffic and spend more time doing that or we could spend some time really being strategic about where people are clicking, and what’s making us the most money and try to optimize that.
Kate: [00:34:26] And then once we know the cost of a click, then we could put money behind it. And we’d actually know how much we’re spending on an ad, that the illustration that my guest gave was you could put a 20-dollar bill into an ATM and get out a 40-dollar bill or you could put in – That’s not the best analogy but you could put in two to three cents and get back a dollar.
We’d stand there all day, right? Even though it feels painful to lose 50 cents for a lead, they’re worth down the line. But if we don’t know that, that makes it harder. That’s another element of Pinterest marketing that I think is easily forgotten. Because we are caught up in follower’s sessions and saves. But a follower or a session doesn’t mean anything to us if we don’t know the value.
Jillian: [00:35:16] Right. If you’re not making money from it or you don’t know how much because the idea is that you want to figure out where I can spend a dollar but I’m making a dollar fifty. And you know what? If that’s the case, then you want to put as much money as you possibly can into that because you will be making money. And that’s what I call finding that flywheel where you put money in, but you’re getting more money out.
And so those are, you know, but there can be a situation where you’re putting money in and maybe you’re putting in a dollar. So it doesn’t feel that bad. But the truth is that it’s cost two dollars for a sale even though you’re like “Well, I’m just losing a dollar.” You know, it’s ultimately not making you money.
Kate: [00:36:06] Right. Yeah, and it’s hard to face some of those numbers. I mean, I will say sitting down and doing a cost analysis of my post sounds like I want to poke my eyeballs out. But once you know it, then you’re more empowered to make better decisions than if you didn’t know it. So it’s kind of like “Do I want to bury my head in the sand or do I really want to know the numbers exactly?”
Jillian: [00:36:31] Exactly. And one thing that I think happens with social media is when you get new followers, it feels good. But when you’re running a business, it’s not about that kind of hit of dopamine. It’s about making money, and those can be very different things.
Kate: [00:36:55] Yes, drastically.
Jillian: [00:36:57] So I know a bunch of people who put a lot of emphasis on Instagram to grow their followers and when I say “Well, why are you growing your followers?” They don’t really have a good answer.
Kate: [00:37:07] Right. Because that’s just the thing we’ve been taught to do.
Jillian: [00:37:09] Exactly. So first of all, I just have to thank you because you have been so supportive of MiloTree. And you really, like way at the beginning, you put us on the map. So I just have to tell you that.
Jillian: [00:37:25] And then, what I want to ask you is if you had one piece of advice for people who are starting out, and this can relate to Pinterest or not, what would it be? And maybe something you wish you knew when you were starting.
Kate: [00:37:44] Well, I think I might have the same answer for both but a slightly different bent. And I think it would be “don’t chase other people’s successes.”
Jillian: [00:37:58] I love it.
Kate: [00:37:59] Because on Pinterest, I hear it over and over again and that so-and-so has this many sessions or pageviews, so-and-so has this many followers and I want that. And when we go after that, we’re distracted away from who our person is, and we’re distracted away from our avatar and our focus and our vision. And the same can go for growing a business.
I found, for me, probably about, I think it was two and a half years into my business, that I was reading emails from another person who was teaching Pinterest, and listening to a couple of podcasts and when I would do that, it would distract me away from what I was doing and specifically because I am a services based business.
Kate: [00:38:48] My main focus is not my courses and their main focus was their courses. And so I felt this kind of push and pull away from “I’m services based and I’m gonna focus on these clients but yeah, all these people are making so much money doing courses and I want to go there,” and I finally have this moment, that comparison is the thief of joy, right? So I can’t chase their success.
I don’t have their email list, and I don’t have their wiring, and I don’t have their personality so I have me and me as a person who does really well in a services-based environment, who does really well with clients and loves that part of it and I have been able to scale it pretty aggressively. And I naturally fit into it, and that is okay. And so I think that would be the biggest piece of advice: “Don’t chase other people’s success.
Chase your own because you are unique, and you have your own strengths and gifts and talents and personality.” And I’m not somebody else and their take on Pinterest. I’m not going to focus on certain things and there’s certain things I will and will not teach on, and that’s fine. Other people are going to teach on those things. But sometimes, it’s not for me and I have to be okay with that instead of trying to be all things to all people who want all types of Pinterest marketing. I’m not going to be the expert for somebody who wants a different type of philosophy with Pinterest, and I’ve finally come to the place where I can say “That’s okay.”
Jillian: [00:40:24] I love it. I completely agree. It’s like you have your own special sauce. We all do. And it’s how do you figure out what that is and typically, I would say it’s two. For me, it’s two things. One, does this feel good? Do I leave this happier than when I started?
So for example, for me, I’m really enjoying podcasting in a way that I didn’t even know I would. So it’s like “Ooh, that feels good. I want to continue” and then the other side is “are people responding in a positive way? Are people liking what I’m doing, liking what I’m selling…” So that there’s this kind of feedback loop and I feel like if you can find your own feedback loop where people like what you do and you like what you’re doing, that is kind of your sweet spot.
Kate: [00:41:17] Right. Yeah. Agreed.
Jillian: [00:41:19] So now, what about your business are you most excited about?
Kate: [00:41:24] I am really excited about a new step that we’re taking to teach people how to be a Pinterest account specialist and are certified in a Simple Pin Method.
Jillian: [00:41:35] So explain what that is.
Kate: [00:41:36] So here at Simple Pin, we do services for Pinterest account management and I have 30 team members that I’ve trained to be Pinterest account specialists, so I realized that teaching and training how to do this specific skill comes very naturally to me.
So we realized we could take that and transfer into helping other people find work at home jobs to be Pinterest account specialists if they needed to supplement their income, or they need to find a full time income. So we took the methods that I’ve used, the systems that I’ve had and we created a whole course training as to how you can be a Pinterest account specialist being trained in our method.
So we would endorse you as a provider, kind of similar to how like, I don’t know, Dave Ramsey has this great method that he does with budgeting, so he endorses people to be like endorse local providers. So that would kind of be similar as to what we’re doing is training people on how to do this, and how to grow their Pinterest account specialist business.
Jillian: [00:42:40] Oh wow. So if you’re a person and you love Pinterest and you want to make money, kind of delving in and then helping others, this is an awesome way to do it.
Kate: [00:42:51] Yeah. And there was not anything like that when I was around when I was starting. There was nothing.
Jillian: [00:42:56] Well, I have an assistant, and she does all of our Pinterest. And I think it is one of the – like it’s her happy place because she gets to go onto Pinterest and find beautiful pins and pin our content. And I really think that when I was explaining that part of the job, I think that she’s like “Oh my God. You’re going to pay me to hang out on Pinterest all day?”
Kate: [00:43:20] Yeah, exactly. That’s what most of my account specialists say. They’re like “People don’t understand what I do. But I love it.” Because many of them, they are young moms and they get to stay at home and do this during nap time or in the evening or they have kids who are at school or they even don’t have kids, summer in college. I mean, there’s a lot of things that they love about it and the freedom to be able to do it whenever it works for them and they’re on Pinterest.
Jillian: [00:43:45] Exactly. See, I find Pinterest very different than when I’m on Facebook. Pinterest to me is like, and I’d still get this even all these years later, just this feeling of like “Oh, filled with possibilities.”
Kate: [00:44:00] Pretty, pretty things.
Jillian: [00:44:03] You know? It puts me in my happy place. Like “look at all this food.” It just makes me happy.
Kate: [00:44:10] Me too.
Jillian: [00:44:11] So, okay, will you share how people can learn about you, learn more about your services, whatever, you know, so people can connect with you?
Kate: [00:44:21] Yeah. So first of all, Simple Pin is kind of broken up into two parts. One is the services side. So if you are somebody that you’ve a business blog or you’re corporate, whatever it is and you want to just take Pinterest management off your plate, take that chore away, that’s what we primarily specialize in, and you can find more about that at simplepinmedia.com.
And you can see, there’s a services menu at the top and we also offer a variety of onetime services as well, and we do teach and train teams how to do that as well. So if you have a virtual assistant that you still want to do your Pinterest management but you need more support, we’d do that as well. And then there’s the DIY side. So I had the Simple Pin Podcast.
Jillian: [00:45:03] Which is terrific.
Kate: [00:45:05] Thank you. There is I think where one episode I recorded, episode 89 today, so there’s quite a bit of information and we try to keep it. The goal is to give you information to make you not feel overwhelmed because there’s a lot of things out there that can feel very heady or tricky, or whatever it might be, and we try to stay away from that and just give you the most up to date information as it relates to how they’re currently working on the platform.
So we have that, and as with the blog too, and you can also find at simplepinmedia.com a free Pinterest planner, a year round planner, that I did in conjunction with TailWind. We partnered together to create one this year. And that has a month by month of what to pin, what to promote, content, planning ideas, tips for the month as it relates to Pinterest and then monthly action items that you can take to keep your business moving forward.
Jillian: [00:45:59] Kate, thank you so much for being on the podcast.
Kate: [00:46:03] You’re so welcome.
Jillian: [00:46:05] If you’re trying to grow your social media followers on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterestm plus trying to grow your email list, definitely check out MiloTree. It is the smart pop-up you add to your blog or your site, and it asks your visitors to follow you on social media or subscribe to your list.
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