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#146: How to Be Effective on Pinterest Today

Today I’m talking with my friend and Pinterest expert, Jennifer Priest, from Smart Creative Social, about how to be effective on Pinterest today.

Pinterest is getting a bad rap these days because people are seeing their traffic from the platform plummet.

Jennifer and I debunk some of the myths swirling around Pinterest, and talk about how there is no one way to have success on the platform.

Understanding what your specific goals are for being there (traffic, sales, email signup, etc.) and what the algorithm is looking for (compelling images, specific headlines, keyword-heavy descriptions, etc), will set you up for success.

Creating a ton of new pins without a clear strategy, following techniques and trick you read about in a Facebook group, or throwing spaghetti against the wall to see if anything sticks is guaranteed to lead to frustration.

Your business is different from everybody else’s. So, you’ve got to think really critically about what you’re trying to accomplish, then test and learn, test and learn to fine-tune your strategy.

Pinterest is a numbers game in that your analytics can teach you a lot, but it isn’t a numbers game, in that if you put out 1,000 pins, one of them is guaranteed to hit.

My advice is slow down, and take the time to see what works uniquely for you, then build off of it.

If you are frustrated right now with Pinterest, I think you’ll find this episode very helpful and reassuring!

How to Be Effective on Pinterest Today | The Blogger Genius Podcast

Show Notes:

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How to Be Effective on Pinterest Today

Intro 0:04
Welcome to The Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.

Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello friends. It’s me, Jillian, founder of Catch My Party and MiloTree and really, business translator. I take what is working today in online business and blogging, and break it down so that you can take these tactics and strategies and tips into your own business.

Before I get started, I wanted to announce that I have just started a new Facebook group called, The Blogger Genius Share & Grow Your Blog Group. If you head to Facebook and type in Blogger Genius, it will pop up and please join it.

And what I want to do with this group is create a place where we can all grow our businesses together.

It’s a really interactive group, where we all share links to blog posts, social media posts, we get to share what’s working, what’s not working, and really be there for each other.

Please come join me in The Blogger Genius Share & Grow Your Blog Group. And let’s help raise each other up.

For today’s episode, I have my friend Jennifer Priest back on the show, this is her second appearance. And she’s really the brains behind Smart Creative Social. And she is a Pinterest expert.

I know a lot of you are struggling with Pinterest today and don’t know which way to turn. I think this interview is going to be very enlightening. What we talk about is one, you need a very clear idea of what you’re trying to achieve on the platform.

And two, you need a strategy to figure out what is working and what isn’t. And that means a lot of testing, and a lot of digging into your analytics so that you can validate how things are working for you.

We also talk a lot about how there are Pinterest gurus out there telling you what to do. And people are trying these strategies without doing some of the hard thinking. I know you’re going to get a lot of clarity from this episode.

So, without further delay, here is my interview with Jennifer Priest.

Jennifer, welcome back to the show.

Jennifer Priest 2:31
I am really glad to be here again.

Jillian Leslie 2:33
And I just have to say I find you to be so inspiring. And I’m very happy to call you my friend.

Jennifer Priest 2:40
Thank you. Same here. It’s always great to have friends that are doing amazing things in business. And I see what you’re doing in your Facebook group and all the discussions you’re having and how you’re trying to support everyone.

We need more of that in our industry.

Jillian Leslie 2:55
I completely agree. We do coaching. And I just did my coaching call today. And we were talking about making money in Q4.

And the thing that I was saying is how can you be there for people in today’s world with this idea that we’re all kind of separated.

We’re all a little freaked out. Everything is kind of thrown up in the air. And especially at a time when we’re starved for connection.

We Need Relationships Now, Not Transactions in Our Businesses

How can you connect and sell?

But really connect first, because I feel like that’s what I’m starving for, and what I think other people are starving for. And we’re all just kind of spun. How do you help others ground themselves? That’s my kind of thesis for today.

Jennifer Priest 3:48
It’s funny, I had a discussion with an organization. Normally I speak at their trade show every year, and they’re doing it virtually next year. And so, I was talking with one of their coordinators yesterday about topics that we could discuss.

And so, we were talking about Pinterest. We’re going to talk a lot about Pinterest. But one of the things that I see people failing at is they’re looking at everything as a transaction.

And I think this year with everything that’s changed, we really have to start looking at things as a relationship, that when somebody is coming from Pinterest to your site. It’s not because they clicked on my landing page, and now they didn’t convert.

Or they clicked on my product and they didn’t buy. It’s not about the transaction. It’s more about how do we create a relationship and a connection with them? Because everyone’s really virtual right now. And how do we do that?

And that’s, I think something that’s going to really differentiate everyone as you’re sending traffic from Pinterest to your site. Thinking about it more as relationship and connection and getting them essentially into your funnel.

And using your funnel for relationship and connection. Instead of, “Oh, they’re going to come from Pinterest and they’re going to buy $100 worth of glue. They’re not doing that.

Jillian Leslie 5:04
No. And I was saying that we like to think of our content as “one to many.” I write a blog post, I put a pin up on Pinterest, and then hundreds of people, let’s say click on that pin and come to my site.

And instead to think of it as “one to one, “and I know that people go, how do I scale one to one? And I go, “You know, worry about that when it becomes a problem.”

Because really thinking about every person who’s coming to your site, as somebody to connect with. And as you say it, and I completely agree, get them on your list, find a way to connect with them, so that they can see that you’re there really to help them.

What better time to do that to really be thinking about, like, I see you, random person who’s come to my site off of Pinterest. I see you and I want to help you.

People Come to Pinterest to Solve Their Problems

Jennifer Priest 5:57
Yeah, one of the things I say in my program a lot is that people are coming to Pinterest to solve their problems. Now, we don’t have to make problems mean, a negative thing, or it doesn’t even have to have a negative connotation.

Their problem might be I’m planning my wedding. And so, to solve your problems, and your thing that you offer, whether that’s a blog post, your content, whether that’s a product, a course, a digital product, that’s the solution.

So, you are helping people solve their problems. And when you look at it that way, you’re like, Okay, I’m not going to help everyone solve this problem. Everyone might not have this problem.

And everyone who has this problem isn’t necessarily going to want my solution. Because there are a lot of ways to solve a problem. And so, when you start looking at it in that way, you can get a little bit more scaled down, like you said.

I had this client, one time, I actually flew to their corporate offices and was doing a social media training. This is back when I used to be a social media manager. And we did like a whole week of trainings, it was great.

But the VP of the company comes in, and they had like four or five different brands that we’re doing this for. And I said, “Who is your target audience for this one brand.” And he’s like, “All women from ages zero to 99.”

How to Be Effective on Pinterest Today | MiloTree.com

Know Exactly Who Your Target Audience Is

And I was like, “No, you have to be more clear, because you can’t make it one size fits all for everyone, it becomes so diluted.” And so, the more that you can make it really touched that sub-group of people that this is really for.

That your special touch or angle on that thing hits those people the best, the better it’s going to be successful, the more successful it’s going to be. And now I feel like we’re talking really, really abstract.

But I think that’s where it gives you more success is when you are not trying to be so broad and be every solution for every person.

Jillian Leslie 7:56
Absolutely. I feel like this idea of really niching down and knowing your niche, I’ve found very few people who are too niched and I have found many people who are too broad.

So, if you’re sitting here saying, Yeah, but if I niche down, I’m going to lose my audience, I’d really question that and the internet is a very big place. So, chances are, there’s room for you. If in fact, there’s nobody in your niche. Okay, you can get broader.

I would argue that if you’re thinking about your niche, chances are you are too broad, rather than too narrow.

Jillian Leslie

How many kids do they have? What’s their career? That’s how granular you ultimately want to get when you think about your solution.

Jennifer Priest 8:53
I’ve had a lot of challenges with that whole idea of an of an avatar, like an ideal avatar, and her name is Linda and she lives on Sycamore Street. And I started to be like, what? I don’t know who Linda is.

Make Yourself Your Own Avatar

And I can’t write for Linda. So, I understand the struggle and trying to define it to that point. And so, if you are struggling with that, you can then make yourself the avatar, model it on yourself.

Or a book that was really helpful for me in trying to come up with products was The Pumpkin Plan. And I can’t remember his name is the same guy who wrote Profit First.

But The Pumpkin Plan anybody who’s like, “I’m thinking about coming up with a product and I think I’m going to do this.” And I’m like, “Well, their product sounds nuts.” “What do you base that on?”

Okay, go read The Pumpkin Plan. And that will help you figure out what thing you can offer your people that no one else is doing. And it’s a really simple read. I think everyone in business should read that among many other business books.

Jillian Leslie 9:49
I’m going to get that because I’ve never even heard of it.

Jennifer Priest 9:53
And the premise is about, you know those farmers that grow the prize winning pumpkins, they don’t grow 80 pumpkins into the prize-winning pumpkin, they identify the one or two pumpkins that are going to be the best.

And then they put all their effort behind that. And so that’s the premise of The Pumpkin Plan. I think a lot of times we can get really in the weeds, trying to be all things to everyone.

And then, I do these Pinterest account audits, we do them within my program, but we also offer them as a service. And so, I’ll get into someone’s Pinterest account, I’m like, wow, you’re all over the place.

Understand Your Niche and Stay in It

And you can’t tell what you’re about when you have too many things. And having multiple websites myself, this is very, very clear on Instagram, which we’re not really talking about.

But this is a good example, I have a DIY site called Smart Fun DIY. And we have an Instagram account for that. And I’m over here making a little Mexican food recipe. And then I got a little, painted pumpkins, and I’m going to Disneyland.

And it’s all over the place. It’s lifestyle, unquote lifestyle. And I have had a hard time growing followers on that. And in fact, in the last couple years, I think I’ve lost like 4,000 followers, because the loss has outpaced the growth.

And I have another Instagram account called Best Craft Rooms that we just hit 91,000 followers organically in two years. And there were six months, I didn’t even post on that.

And the difference that I think happens there is that people come to Smart Fun DIY, and they see all that content. And they’re like, I don’t know what this is about, my brain hurts. And then they just check out.

They come to Best Craft Rooms and it’s all craft rooms. And it’s very clear, it’s only craft rooms. And either they’re like, oh my God, I love craft rooms, I got to follow this or like, this isn’t for me, and they check out.

Which is great because then you’re only getting the people who really, really like that thing and into follow you. But it comes back to what’s the easiest for them to understand.

And so, when you’re trying to be really broad, not only can they not understand it, but they don’t have any connection point to you. It’s like people aren’t like super passionate. Well, I guess there are a few.

But people aren’t super passionate about Walmart, but there are people who are super passionate about, Williams Sonoma or Crate and Barrel or Anthropologie because those are like more specialized stores.

And they either love it or they hate it. And so, it’s kind of that same thing of like, when you are very focused, it’s easy for people to understand. And it’s easy for people to get passionate about it.

Jillian Leslie 12:26
Totally, Catch My Party, guess what, we post beautiful party photos, and we have 160k something followers on Instagram, because it’s very easy to translate what our page is about.

And we’re not going to have photos of Disneyland on that. No, we will if there’s a Disneyland party, but we’re not just going to have like, gardening tips. It doesn’t make sense. So, we’ve been very niche. And it’s been very successful for us.

Okay. So, let’s dig in, because we were initially going to talk about what is happening on Pinterest right now in this weird time. So, what are you seeing?

Jennifer Priest 13:05
So, one thing I’m seeing, and this is just a pet peeve of mine is people coming in Facebook groups.

Declining Traffic on Pinterest and What to Do

There was actually a thread today where I was responding to someone, and they’re like, my traffic fell off a cliff, the algorithm must have changed. And I’m like, Okay, one thing I would say is go watch the movie, The Social Dilemma.

And try to remember in your brain that it is biased, it is biased to make you scared of social media. But the one thing I would love for people to take away from that is to know that an algorithm is a set of rules.

A set of parameters that they put into the computer, okay, they put in the computer. And then the AI, the artificial intelligence tries to execute and learn based on those parameters. Sometimes it goes awry.

Because we were like, all of a sudden everybody’s account was marked as suspended. Okay, well, that’s because the AI went awry. Okay. So, then they went in and adjusted it. So, to say, the algorithm changed.

It’s all constantly changing; the inputs are changing. And then the way that the machine is interpreting them is changing, because it’s learning all the time. And so, the change is constant. And the way to stay up with that is to be in your analytics.

And to be looking at I call these signals. So, in my program, I have an acronym called the SMART method for how to create a Pinterest strategy. And the first one is S. and it stands for “signals.” Signals are all these inputs. Your data from your analytics.

What is Pinterest talking about on the engineering blog? Oh, in the news, I saw that Pinterest had an IPO. What could that possibly mean? And so, all of that stuff is input for your strategy. So, your data is just another signal.

If you’re not looking at that, and in there, making micro adjustments. What happens is that as the algorithm is changing, the AI is learning and they’re making adjustments and refining that to get the result that Pinterest wants.

Those changes add up almost to like a critical mass. Have you ever been to a waterpark and they have that big bucket thing and it fills with water slowly and then at some point, it gets so full and it dumps on all the kids? It’s like that.

So, you’re like, I’m trekking along, everything’s going great. You’re standing under the water bucket, and you’re dry. So, you’re like, Pinterest is awesome. And then all of a sudden, it dumps on you. And you’re like, my traffic fell off a cliff.

It’s just because the number of changes reached a critical mass and you weren’t changing enough with it. That now you’ve got the water dumped on you or your traffic fell off a cliff.

Jillian Leslie 15:36
So, let’s get specific. What analytics are you looking at? What are you looking for?

Keep an Eye on Your Analytics on Pinterest

Jennifer Priest 15:42
So, I would be looking at all kinds of things. One thing I would look at is impressions. People write off impressions is like that’s a vanity metric. Well, really, if it was then why is Pinterest spending time collecting that information?

So, impressions just tell you how many potential people saw your content on Pinterest in the last 30 days, or whatever time parameter you set.

So, any content that you posted at all, and then you can refine it down to, I just want to know the impressions for my domain content, or I just want to know the impressions for my Etsy content. And you can get more granular that way.

I would look at overall, how many people are potentially seeing my content on my domain? How many from my Youtube channel? How many? I would be looking at those numbers. What does that tell us?

That tells us is Pinterest, understanding what my content is and showing it to the people who are interested in the same content. So, then if my impressions were doing really good, but then now they’re not. Why did that go down?

Is there a correlation with my traffic also going down? Well, no. Okay. Well, if I dig into it and go, Well, my impressions were really high over were really high overall. And then they dropped, but my impressions on just my own content are kind of the same.

Oh, well, probably something that I pinned from somebody else did really well. And then now it went down. So, you can dig in more and get information from that. If the impressions are really high, but the clicks are really low.

You’re like, okay, that means Pinterest is showing my stuff to a lot of people, but people aren’t clicking on it. So, either Pinterest didn’t nail, who it’s for, maybe it was how to make a gravel patio, and they’re showing it to people that are looking for, I don’t know.

Jillian Leslie 17:27

Jennifer Priest 17:28
Ideas or something, like Pinterest really didn’t nail it. So, showing it to the wrong people they’re like, I’m not clicking on that.

Or it’s showing it to the right people. But everything else in the feed or there’s something else in the feed that’s more compelling, and communicates what people want. So, that’s attracting the click. Or if my impressions are high, my clicks are low.

But my saves are high, oh there’s something in there that’s telling people save this, but don’t go take action to click. Something in it is making them not want to take action.

So, then the numbers are for you then to go and do some analysis of, what does that possibly mean? So, I would be looking at impressions, I’d be looking at clicks, I’d be looking at saves.

Focus on Your Own Pinterest Metrics

What I see people asked a lot is, how many pins per day should I do? What’s a good range of impressions for my industry? How many saves should I expect on a blog that’s two years old? That is irrelevant. The only numbers you need to worry about are yours.

So, for example, I have a funnel and one part of my funnel converts at 22%. And the industry average is 2%. So, if I said well, great, I’m doing 11 times the industry average, I can just phone it in and I’m done. No. I’m like, Okay, how can we get it to 25%?

How can we get it to 30%? You compare with your own numbers; the industry average just tells you what a C-average is. I have the same belief about best practices, if you want to be average, great, spend your time doing that.

I don’t want to be a C-student. I want to be A-plus student. So, I want to be an outlier. I want to be like doing amazing, not in the middle of the bell curve. So, I don’t care what anyone else is doing.

I care what I did last month and last year and how am I improving over that year over year, month over month.

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What Makes a Good Pin on Pinterest?

Jillian Leslie 20:22
So, now what would you say, makes for a good pin? Because I know people have all these different ideas, but if you were to go, you know what I think a great pin has these three things or five things? What would you say the ingredients are?

Jennifer Priest 20:39
So, it really depends on the keywords and I see a lot of people selling templates saying these are the proven templates that work.

I will tell you the pin that is for industrial conveyor belts is going to look different than a pin for chicken tacos is going to look different than a pin for how to make a Pac Man costume.

They have to because the environment they are functioning in. The environment they live in, the search results for that keyword is drastically different depending on what the keyword is. Even within industries.

If I wanted to do a search for chicken taco recipes, and then I did a search for keto chicken tacos, it’s going to look very, very different. The keto chicken taco search feed and the regular chicken taco search feed.

And so, you’ve got to look at what is the environment that pin is going to live in. And how do I make it stand out. Somebody told me the other day, they thought I was nuts, because one of the things that I offer, my program is 1000 pin templates.

And they’re like, why do you need 1,000? I said, “Well, first of all makes it easy to create a lot of pins.” But second, there are so many different feeds that these pins will be competing in.

And so, what works in one doesn’t necessarily make that pin stand out in another feed. So, I would say one; do the keyword search. Look at the colors. What are the dominant colors?

What are ways that you can stand out or play within that environment and be the pin? Imagine, only 20% of people are looking at Pinterest on desktop. So, you’ve got this whole screen of pins.

How do you get people to look at your pin that’s on the right-hand side of the screen when their eyes are on the left-hand side of the screen?

Imagine they’re on their digital device. They’ve got two pins side by side as they’re scrolling, maybe more if they’re on an iPad. How do you stand out and get them to click on your pin knowing that’s the environment it’s going to live in?

So, if I had a macaroni and cheese recipe pin, am I going to make my macaroni and cheese look yellow like everybody else’s macaroni and cheese? What am I going to do to differentiate it?

Okay, well what I’ve seen a lot of food bloggers do just put a piece of parsley in the photo. Okay. So, now they all have parsley. So, what else are you going to do to make it look different in that feed so that the eye goes to that?

Not only that, but the text overlay that you choose is important because what do all the other fonts look like? If all the other fonts look like handwriting and scripty and they’ve got curved text, you’re going to make yours look just like those. Why?

Because the food blogger said that worked for food blogging, maybe. Test it, try something different. Try without that look, try something different.

How to Be Effective on Pinterest Today | BloggerGenius.com

Make Sure Your Pin Looks Different from Other Pins in the Category

The other thing is call-outs. What’s special about this if I’m going to look for a mac and cheese recipe on Pinterest, I’m going to see 80 bajillion mac and cheese recipes. What makes yours different? Is it ready in three seconds?

And I know that sounds nuts, but that’s the kind of stuff you need to tell people. It’s three ingredients. It costs $1.22 a serving, I can make it in the Instant Pot, it’s gluten free. It’s dairy free.

What makes it super special, amazing. It’s grandma’s recipe. I need to know that on the pin because I know I’m looking for mac and cheese recipes. I don’t need you to tell me that this is just another mac and cheese recipe like everyone else’s.

I need to know what makes this the most special mac and cheese recipe.

So, those things as far as visually on the pin, that’s a place I see people make mistakes. And then when it comes to the keywords because visually that’s talking to people, Pinterest has the image.

Jillian Leslie 24:23
And a call to action on the pin.

Jennifer Priest 24:26
Right. Even if it’s not necessarily a call to action, something that tells me what makes this special. So, you can have a call to action and it says mac and cheese recipe and it says click here for recipe. Is that compelling? No. We all know to click here for recipe.

So, it’s got to be what’s compelling to get me to click on this in the sea of other yellow mac and cheese recipes I’m looking at. How is this one going to call out to me in the feed?

And then we have to remember that we also have to communicate with Pinterest. So, you need keywords in the in the pin name. You need keywords in the description, maybe some key words in that text overlay.

And not just keyword stuffing and not just phoning it in. I see people, they leave the pin description to the end.

And they’re like, “Oh, this is grandma’s mac and cheese recipe, make this yummy mac and cheese recipe tonight for dinner, your family will love it. My family likes it.”

Add Keywords to Your Pin Description

I need more. I need more keywords than that. Pinterest is like, okay, we get that this is mac and cheese. Awesome.

Jillian Leslie 25:27
And grandma, and we figured out grandma somehow involved.

Jennifer Priest 25:31
Right and there’s maybe something else in there. But if you’re not doing the keyword research and then optimizing for that, it’s not going to have a long life. The keywords are the information you’re giving to Pinterest.

So, if you want people to find this, and you only say that it’s mac and cheese, and you don’t put in that it’s dairy free and gluten free and there are three ingredients and it takes two minutes in an Instant Pot, you don’t put all that stuff.

It’s only going to show it for mac and cheese. And then what happens is if you didn’t do the optimization on the on the image to make it stand out to people.

Pinterest is just going to show it to a bunch of people who are searching for mac and cheese. Who have searched for mac and cheese and are interested in it.

And those people are going to be like, eh and they’re not going to respond. And Pinterest is going to go oh, maybe we didn’t nail it with that one.

Maybe it’s not really about mac and cheese. Or maybe it’s just not what people want. So, we’re going to show it to less people, and less people and less people and less people.

And so, then you say okay, “Well, I’m going to make more fresh pins. I’m going to make more mac and cheese pins that just say mac and cheese.” And then you’re like, I pinned to this. And it’s been there for two weeks, and it has zero impressions and zero clicks.

Well, I wonder why? Because Pinterest is like, yeah, this link and this thing is not about mac and cheese. So, we’re not going to show it to those people.

Pinterest Wants You to Succeed on the Platform

Jillian Leslie 26:49
And I would say that every single opportunity, you get to talk to the algorithm, talk to the algorithm. Pinterest wants you to succeed, it makes the platform better if you’re successful. So, you’re weirdly aligned with Pinterest. They’re not the enemy.

They’re actually your friend. So, for example, the name of your pin, the file name needs keywords in it. Because you better believe Pinterest is reading that file name of that photo.

And any place the board description, the pin description, the title, like hashtags, absolutely coming at the mac and cheese from a whole host of angles. So, maybe it is grandma’s mac and cheese. What kinds of cheese, how quickly can you make this?

I would argue, if you were to be either creating pins or actually optimizing pins, I’d focus on optimizing the pins that you’re creating.

Maybe you can only in this amount of time, create two pins, but you could optimize the hell out of them. I would argue that’s better than creating five mediocre pins and kind of throwing spaghetti at the wall.

Jennifer Priest 28:13
Yes, 100%. I’ll see posts in groups and people will say like, Oh, I’m making 50 fresh pins a week and blasting Pinterest. And it’s like, Pinterest wants a good user experience.

And so, if you’re just blasting it with lackluster lame stuff, it’s going to just show your stuff to fewer and fewer people.

Whereas, if you spent that time really optimizing the pin, really optimizing your images, really doing the keyword research, then you will get more traction from your pin.

And so, when I say that to people, they’ll be like, “Why did you do that with a pin and it didn’t work?” Okay, well, you got to do it for a while.

Because it’s like you just went backwards, telling everybody that, it’d be like, I don’t have a good analogy for this. But normally I’ve got analogies. But I it would be like if you just ate burgers and pizza for three weeks, and you gained a bunch of weight.

And now you’re like, well, I ate a piece of broccoli today. I didn’t lose weight. Well, it doesn’t work that way. It’s like you’ve got to undo what you did, and then go back to like, improving. And so, that stuff takes a little bit of time to recover from.

But yeah, I think people misunderstand fresh pins, for sure. And then they don’t spend the time on the optimization. And again, then they take that and they discerned from that, oh she means less is more.

No, no, that’s saying it doesn’t mean you need to pin less now. it doesn’t mean you need to pin less frequently. It doesn’t mean you need to turn off Smartloop. It doesn’t mean any of that.

Spend Time Optimizing Your Pins

It just means you need to spend the time optimizing it to function in the environment it’s going to live in so you can get the most success possible. Because if we go back to people have a problem, and I have a solution.

How are you going to best help them solve their problem? Their problem is I need a really good mac and cheese recipe that’s going to blow the socks off of the people at the potluck on Friday. And so that’s the one I’m looking for.

And so, if yours says easy potluck recipe or potluck favorite, and no one else’s does, I’ll be like, that’s what I’m clicking.

Jillian Leslie 30:14
And think about it this way, there is a competitive advantage, doing that extra bit of work, because you can assume most people are throwing pins up, like throwing spaghetti at the wall.

So, if your pin is one that feeds the algorithm a little bit better, where you focused on keywords, and you’ve done the keyword research before and you’ve looked at pins in your space.

Assume 99% of content creators are not doing this. So, if you are the one content creator, even if you can’t make as many pins, but you are taking the pins that you have, and you are upping the game on those pins, you will be rewarded.

Now, will you be rewarded on every pin? No. But is your chance of success higher by putting the intention behind it? Absolutely. I say too, that this idea, everybody freaked out when Pinterest said we want fresh content.

And I said, again, look at that as a competitive advantage. If you’re the one who’s willing to make fresh pins, versus somebody who’s just repinning their old content, you’re at an advantage.

So, if you’re the one making fresh pins and you’re the one optimizing those pins. Trust me, that is a recipe for success.

Think of Your Pins as Experiments

Jennifer Priest 31:41
I like to say, people in my program hear me say this all the time. But every pin is an experiment. So, what a gift fresh pin is. Because every time that you make a new pin, you’ve gone through the process to optimize it.

You push it out into the environment, and then you get to observe what it does. And then you make it and you go Okay, that was interesting that performed this way. Oh, that bombed. Okay, why does that happen?

You analyze, then you go back and refine and you do another test. And then you do another test. And then you do another test. And guess what Pinterest doesn’t see that as spam. Like, oh my gosh, what a gift that is.

If you did that on YouTube, where you took the same video and edited it over and over and over and put it out on YouTube, YouTube would be like, your channel is weird. We’re not going to show that.

And the same with Instagram, you put the same thing up over and over and over just trying different captions and stuff, Instagram would be like, this is terrible.

So, what a gift that is to us that we can continue to refine and test and refine and test and refine and test on Pinterest to make our content better. I see people who are still fixated on new content.

In the last year. Okay, you guys the last year I have done, is it three or two? Either two or three blog posts on Smart Fun DIY in a year. Okay, traffic is up 43% from Pinterest over last year, and so’s revenue, even with COVID, revenues up and it’s great.

Jillian Leslie 33:06
And are you creating fresh pins?

Jennifer Priest 33:08
I’m creating fresh pins. But one of the things that I’m doing is going into content that’s doing well on Pinterest because again, people are like, this year’s crazy. Stuff that did great last year is not doing great. And then weird stuffs doing good.

And I was like I’m experiencing the same thing. I have a series of posts that over the last four years have been my bread and butter money makers. And when COVID hit, those posts bombed.

Those posts are about money gifts, and nobody’s want to give money gifts. Because they’re like, yeah, I lost my job. But what are they wanting? They’re wanting all this other weird stuff that’s on my site. That’s like terrible.

They all of a sudden are getting traffic from Pinterest. And so, I could sit there and fight it and be like, Well, my money gifts are my thing. And I could I could fight it. Or I can just say, “Okay, what am I going to do to make that content better?”

Because if we go back to, I was talking about signals. Pinterest wants a great user experience. If people have a good user experience there, they’re going to come back when they’re like, Oh, I have this thing I want to look for I’m going to go to Pinterest.

Pinterest doesn’t want them to be like, I’m going to go to Google. Because my experience on Pinterest was terrible. So, I’m going to go Google now. No, they want a good experience.

So, if you are on Pinterest, and you have these pins, and you’re like, Okay, well, this is a post I’m sending people to. Improve the post, make it answer all those things that it wasn’t answering before.

Because I guarantee you, your post you wrote two years ago is terrible. If you read it today. Because you’re a better writer, you’re a better content creator. I go back I look at these posts I wrote in 2016. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, I’m so embarrassed.

Go Back and Update Old Posts to Do Better on Pinterest

I can’t even believe that I put that on there. But then go back and edit it and update it and do that analysis. I have a post it was a sponsored post for a gum brand. And it was about using nail polish to paint on metal. And so, none of that makes sense at all.

And so, on one of the pins. It took off this year. One of the pins, somebody said, this is just an ad for gum. And I was like, oh my gosh, it was a sponsor post from so long ago, I was like, we can take some of that off.

They don’t even sell that gum anymore. So, we’ll take all that off. That’s not helping anybody. And then I was like, what is it that they’re looking for? Why are they looking for this? Nail polish.

Because they’re at home and they have nail polish, and they want to make crafts and they don’t want to spend money. And they can’t even get to the craft store.

So, I was like, Okay, what can I do in this post. Really thinking about what is the intention of that person visiting the post. What can I do with this post to make it better? Because once I took all the sponsored stuff out, now, it was like three sentences.

So, I was like, how do I make it better and answer what people want? And so, I literally just went through and optimize that. And then I was like, and what result do I want from this?

I was like, I directed people to go follow me on Pinterest was the call to action that I had. Because I was like, those people are just going to want more craft ideas. And I don’t have a lot of nail polish crafts. And it’s not something I really want to do.

So, the next best thing is to keep them connected to me on Pinterest, so I can give them more ideas. And then I gave them some links to some other content on my site that I thought if they’re looking for that.

And in my research on Pinterest, I also realized when they’re looking for nail polish craft, some of them are looking for kids’ crafts. So, I directed them to some other kids’ crafts and some other low-cost crafts like rock painting.

That could be related to the reason that they’re coming over for the nail polish crafts is they’re trying to find cheap crafts they can do at home. So, then I link to other stuff on my site.

So, it’s like the best I’m going to get out of that is like a view, a page view, so I can make some money from the traffic. Then I will get them to click over to some other content I have, I’ll get them to follow me on Pinterest.

And then I also put some affiliate links in there for some of the more specialized things that I was talking about within the post. And I was like, okay, I’ve optimized that on my site.

What Is Your Call to Action When Someone Comes to Your Site From Pinterest?

So, I could have just said, great, I’m just going to keep making fresh pins and keep sending people to that piece of content. But there was a disconnect. I send people over and then I wasn’t having a real call to action.

I wasn’t serving those people; I wasn’t solving their problem. So, I went and improve the content. And now I made fresh pins that are optimized that are sending people there. So, there’s a better experience all the way around.

Jillian Leslie 37:15
And Google is seeing this as well.

Jennifer Priest 37:18

Jillian Leslie 37:19
So therefore, you’re going to get that halo effect of Google and you better believe Google is also watching your Pinterest. Again, it’s not like the Google gods. It’s all part of the algorithm.

But Google is paying attention to Pinterest and seeing this pin doing well. This content doing well. Google sees you updated the content; chances are you’ve updated the date. And they see this as fresh content.

So, it’s like a win win all around. And I like this, because you’re thinking holistically, rather than, oh, I just spam Pinterest with more pins to this mediocre content.

Jennifer Priest 37:55
Right. And I say this all the time. I’m like, typically, what’s good for Google is good for Pinterest and what’s good for Pinterest is good for Google because they are both search engines.

That at the end of the day, want people to have a stellar experience going to any of the search results they generate. So, the more you can deliver a stellar experience, the better your content is going to perform.

And even content where, I had this post from 2014, that was doing great. It was number one on Google. And it was like massively great on Pinterest. And then another blogger came along and like, chased after the same keywords.

I really dislike when people do that. But it really rubbed me the wrong way. I was really mad about it. And so, then I went back to my content. I was like, my post is better. And I read it and I read her post and I was like, “Oh, my post sucks.

This post is old and bad and out of date. And I updated it. Well, that was two years ago. So, now I was looking at it the other week, because I was like, “Huh, my numbers are down on Google Analytics.” For that, I was like, I have to update this post.

Even though I made it so much better in 2018. I look back at it now. And 2020 I’m like, yeah, that post is terrible. I need to work on it. And so, it’s something that as you look at your analytics, and you’re like, “Okay, this post is doing well, this is getting traffic.”

Don’t just make more pins for it, go to the content and say how can I make this content better. So, that those people coming over have a better experience? But also, what result do I want to get from people coming to this content?

It has to be more than a page view. Because we talked about people having relationships and so get them on your list, get them to follow you on social. Get them to join your Facebook group, something so that you can continue that conversation.

So, it’s not just I found this Sangria recipe on Pinterest and I made it I don’t know who it’s from. I found it on Pinterest. We don’t want people to doing that.

We want them to be like, oh my gosh, I found the most amazing Sangria recipe on Catch My Party. This is a rad site and I get emails from her every week and it’s so great. That’s what we want it.

You Are a Content Marketer, Not a Content Creator

Jillian Leslie 39:51
Totally I say do not think of yourself as a content creator. Think of yourself as a content marketer. It doesn’t mean that you’re not wanting to create the best Sangria recipe, but how is this growing your business?

Ask yourself every single time, what do I want from this post? Have a goal, not just, I want that one page view. So, it could be, I want you on my list, it could be I want you to buy my product, it could be I want you to follow me on social.

It could be I want you to click on these affiliate links, it could be I want to drive you to five other pages. But you need to know that when you are creating that piece of content or updating that piece of content.

Because in 2016, we weren’t thinking about this, we hadn’t fully connected the dots. So, now your job is to go back and go, oh, what is my number one goal? And by the way, I don’t recommend throwing the kitchen sink at them and saying do all of these things.

Think about it in terms of one ask but be very clear. And I call these like street signs, where you’re saying, “Hey, if you like this, sign up for my list, and you’ll get more.” Or, “Hey, if you like this, follow me on Pinterest.”

Or whatever it is, but let people know what you want them to do in the post. Be very clear, don’t beat around the bush, you got this. We all want to have somebody tell us what to do. Because life’s busy.

Tell them what the value is. You’re going to get more recipes from me. Hey, give me your email address. Alright, I’ll do that. I love it. I always say this on blogs, start here on the navbar.

Because guess what I do, I start there, because they told me to start there. So, just be thinking about being very, very clear about what you want people to do.

Should You Make Video Pins on Pinterest?

Now, wait, I want to talk to you about video, Video Pins. What is your thought on that? And can you get people to click? Can you get traffic from Video Pins? Or is it more of brand awareness and that kind of thing?

Jennifer Priest 41:59
So, people are always trying to compare Video Pin performance to static pin performance, and it is legit and apples to oranges comparison. They are different. And Pinterest has said in so many words.

Don’t ask me what word did they say this in. Okay. And I also I mentioned this the other day, I was like I don’t have the red Pinterest phone that I can call up and be like, hey, Pinterest, what’s the secret? I don’t have that.

But in so many words Pinterest has, with the creator program with how they’re pushing Video Pins, they want to be more of a content consumption platform. So, that’s where Video Pins come in.

A pinner, like a regular average user is going to see a Video Pin and they’re going to click on it because they’re trained with Static Pins to click on it to go to the website. But when they click a Video Pin, it pauses.

So, they click it again, and it plays and they click it again and it pauses and they click it again, and it plays. And they’re like, “Oh my god, I’m so frustrated.” And so, then they save it.

And so that’s why Video Pins have high impressions and high saves is because people are interacting with them, they’re watching them. Pinterest is pushing it to the top of the feed because they want to be a content consumption platform.

And people are saving it because they don’t know what else to do with it. They want to do the idea, but they don’t know how to click on it. Pinterest keeps moving stuff around.

Right now, when you click on the title, I believe and I believe also the description it will take you to the to the destination. However, on mobile, on some devices, if you click the title or the descriptions and do anything, you have to click these three dots.

And then it says visit site or something like that. So, it’s very difficult to get them from a Video Pin to your site. So, you can get really creative.

Way back in the beginning, I actually gave a talk about Social Media Marketing World about this almost a year ago about Video Pins. And I was like you can put arrows, telling them click down here or click the description or you can do all those things.

But then when they move it around where the places you have to click and on desktop, the description is next to the pin like on the side on the right-hand side. On mobile, it’s underneath or below the pin.

Know where you put your arrow like I don’t know, you got two arrows. Now they’re confused, like, so it’s just very challenging. There are some things you can do, maybe do some short links, maybe there are tactics you can do.

But it’s really getting clear on, what is it that I can expect as a result from a video pin? And so, a lot of people will say, Okay, well, it’s just brand awareness. Cool, if that’s what you want to use it for, how are you going to measure that?

Use Video Pins to Grow Your Pinterest Followers

If you’re using it for clicks or follows it definitely makes it easy for people to follow. There’s a big old follow button right there. The actions people can take that are clear are save, follow and watch. So, you could use it to grow your followers.

But I would actually experiment with having some really clear calls to action, and I would be very wary of gimmicks. One of the things that I found quite a while ago was on Canva.

If you put an animated GIF into your pin or onto any graphic, you can download that now as a video. And it will play for ever long animated GIF plays, so three seconds or whatever, so you could like loop those together and make a longer video.

There’s a lot of things you can do. Again, at the end of the day, how are you best solving people’s problem with your solution? How are you best telling them about your solution? If you’re just sticking an animated GIF on something and calling it a video?

I don’t know that’s a great solution. Can that be part of your videos? Can I be part of it? Yeah, that could be something you could do. But I think that kind of stuff. If you’re like, I’m going to take all my static pins and put animated GIF and have it be a video.

This is something I’ve actually seen shared. Does that actually give you results? No, it probably gives you high impressions. Are you really communicating to people to click over to your site? Is it going to generate clicks?

No, because you just stuck a little animated star or something on it. So, I think that kind of stuff, getting caught up in the gimmicks of it. Go back to like, what result do I want from this? Do I think I can attain that from this? How will I measure success?

How will I measure getting that result? And then measure that? So, if you’re like, I’m going to do video pins to get clicks? Okay, I don’t know where you got that idea from that’s going to happen. But great. Do it, experiment with it?

How are you going to measure that? And what thresholds do you need to meet in order for you to say this is successful? And I’m going to continue doing that.

Jillian Leslie 46:38
Now, would you argue that Static Pins give you more traffic, and if you had to prioritize, you’d be focusing a lot more on your Static Pins.

Jennifer Priest 46:51
I wouldn’t say that. So, I would say the impressions, the ratio of impressions to clicks, and saves on a Static Pin, or it’s much closer together. There’s a wider gap between impressions and saves and clicks on Video Pins.

So, comparing the two in that way, they just don’t really work that way. And Pinterest on the engineering blog recently, was talking about how they’re improving their system, and basically automating their system for creating a content mix.

So, before, what they would do is they would manually go in and say, Okay, if we show 20 pins, four of them will be video and 16 will be static, and four will be stories or whatever. And so, they’re manually adjusting that for different groups of people.

And it wasn’t working. This is basically what they say in the engineering blog. So, they now have a system that’s a little bit more responsive, where it can do that upscale automatically.

So, knowing that right there, putting the inputs into the program are they going to show some Video Pins? Are they going to show some static pins? Are they going to show some Story Pins?

So, if you know that it would behoove you if you want to get your stuff in front of people to do some Video Pins, some Static Pins and some Story Pins. Now, what are the ratios of that?

Okay, well, should I do 20% this? And I can’t tell you that. That’s something you’re going to have to figure out for yourself, what resources do you have? Do you have a full-time video editor that can make all these Video Pins for you?

And then what is the ROI need to be for you to then say, that was a worthwhile investment? So, then you got to get really clear on that stuff. And what I see is that people aren’t doing that.

They’re just like, what you told me how to make a mix of stuff. So, I made 800 Video Pins, and I spent $4,000 on it, and I didn’t make any money from that. I’m like, Okay, well, we need to start with, first, what result do you want?

Then how are we going to measure that? And what threshold does it need to meet in order for you to continue that, or for you to change up how you’re doing it?

Have a Mix of Static Pin, Video Pins, and Story Pins

And so, I would say, don’t just say I’m going to put everything all behind one thing, knowing that they have a content mix they’re going to serve to people, if you have a mix of content, you have a better chance of being in that being served.

But now you have to say, what resources do I have? And what return on investment do I need for that? It may be that you just make two Video Pins a month. That might be just what you do, because that’s what you have the capacity to do.

And then you make those really optimized and be really clear. What result am I expecting from that and then go look at the data. And again, refine and test and refine and test

Jillian Leslie 49:26
Now let’s talk Story Pins. I know what you said it’s true. Pinterest, again, remember they care about the user experience and the longer they can keep you on the platform, the better.

Therefore, if you’re in there looking now at Story Pins, which live on Pinterest, they can be showing you more ads and make more money and especially because their U.S. audience, they’re kind of maxed out in terms of their U.S. audience.

They make the most money from their U.S. audience. Therefore, they’ve got to come up with new products to entice people to come back to the platform to get kind of an entertainment value on the platform.

So, it makes perfect sense that they’re starting to lean into tools and ways for people to create on the platform. Also, let’s say I’ve read this, that if you are like Gen Z, and you don’t have a blog, but you want to make something, create stuff.

Like you can do now on TikTok, or Instagram or Snapchat, they want to have a way for you to create content on Pinterest. So, what is your overall thought about story pins?

Jennifer Priest 50:42
So, I think, knowing that all of that about Pinterest, knowing that about the way people are consuming content on the platform, and then overlay that with like, what are your goals? So, if you’re a blogger, I need to get people to my site.

I need people to my blog, so they can look at ads, they can click affiliate links, they can buy my products, and give some sponsors to my blogs and get on my list. So, those are the things that we want to have happen if you’re a blogger.

So, if you’re going to do a Story Pin, how do you mesh? At what point does what Pinterest wants, meet what you want? And so, there are some tactics I’ve seen people do. On Story Pins, I’ve seen people put the link to their blog post in the supply list.

So, the challenge with that, because I’ve done this on mobile, I will try to copy that. First of all, it’s a little challenging to copy can’t always get it to work.

But then when I copy it, it’s copying the whole supply list with your URL, where the heck do I paste that? And I have to put it in notes, I got to delete all your supply list. And that’s a lot of work. So, what can you do instead?

And I’m not going to tell you what to do instead. Because that’s not helping you think critically. What you got to learn is the process of solving your own problems.

Especially if I say it on here, now 40 people are going to do the same thing. And then now that’s diluted.

Jillian Leslie 52:06
Wait, you have a secret you’re not sharing.

How to Get People to Your Site From a Story Pin

Jennifer Priest 52:08
I have tons of secrets I’m not sharing. But the reason for that is that the whole thing of you can teach someone to fish, you can give someone a fish, or you can teach them how to fish.

And so, the thing is saying what are the challenges presented by Story Pins? How do I get the result that I want?

And then going and interacting with Story Pins and not just waiting for some expert out there to tell you well, this is what you got to do the secret sauce for Story Pins. Because then all of a sudden, that becomes what everybody does.

And so, then you’re just doing what everybody does, and you don’t know how to do the next innovation. And it’s really about learning how to creatively solve the challenge to creatively get the result that you want. That’s where innovation comes from.

So, wouldn’t it be awesome if you got to invent this next new way of Story Pins? And then when everybody else is using that you’re like, yeah, okay, no problem, because I’m already on to the next way, I’m going to get an ROI from that.

So, maybe you don’t put a supply list, you put just your link, maybe it’s you put something on the screen, and you tell them to screenshot it. Those are some ideas.

There are so many lessons we can learn from TikTok and from Instagram stories and those things of challenges people have had there. That we can say, oh, we have similar challenges with Story Pins, we could do that there.

And again, going back to how do I get the results I want? Also, how do I best help that person solve their problem? If they’re trying to make a recipe from a Story Pin, and it’s got a bunch of ingredients.

I’m not going to sit there and watch the Story Pin over and over and over. So, can you help them by telling them to screenshot the ingredients? Maybe. Or could you better help them by giving them a URL that’s easy for them to click over?

And now they can go print out the recipe from a PDF or something. How do you best solve them? So, thinking of those things and also, how do you get your result?

Instead of worrying about it being gimmicky of like, Okay, well, she said, “If you don’t put the supply list and you put your link there, it’s easy for them to copy.” Maybe, but does that work? And then how are you going to measure that?

Jillian Leslie 54:12
And like that, I think that’s that all makes a lot of sense. Now, do you think Pinterest will ultimately give you a link in your Story Pins? I heard there were certain countries that Pinterest was experimenting with a link in a Story Pin.

What is your thought? And not that you have a crystal ball.

Jennifer Priest 54:30
No, I’ve been in the Story Pin beta for two years. And they did have links in the very beginning. Here’s the thing, and I would answer that question with a question. What difference does it make?

So, are you just going to wait until Story Pins have a link and that’s when you’re going to work on them? And you’re going to miss all the opportunity to learn things about it now?

No, accept the environment that it is today and how do you get the results you want and serve people the best in that environment?

Jillian Leslie 55:03
I think that’s great advice. I really do. Okay. So, if you were to give one piece of advice for creators trying to reach people during this weird time on Pinterest, and I know we’ve talked about connecting one on one or that sense of intimacy.

We’ve talked about, be where people are, is there anything else you would add for connecting with people today? What are you seeing, where you go, that is working?

Jennifer Priest 55:37
For lack of a better way to describe it, I’m going to call it keep your eyes on your own page.

Don’t Believe Every Strategy You Read in a Facebook Group

Jillian Leslie 55:41
Oh. What do you mean?

Jennifer Priest 55:44
So, I see people coming into Facebook groups, and they’re sharing like, I did this amazing strategy, and it got me 800 bajillion impressions. Usually they say impressions instead of like, clicks.

And so, then other people are like, Oh, my gosh, you got to try that. And it’s a secret sauce, and I have to do it. Or they’ll go on YouTube and they watch, like, 45 tutorials.

And they’ll be like, I’m going to try all these tactics. They’re just throwing stuff at the wall, instead of going, “Okay, what does my number say. What performs well, for me? When I do keyword research, what am I seeing?”

I see so many people going to outside sources, and just cobbling together all this disparate stuff. And just like, whatever is passing by, they’re just grabbing it. And they’re not clear on why they’re doing it.

And they’re so worried about, somebody out there has the secret. And I’m just like, just focus on your own business. If you want help, then find a resource and invest in that resource to help you and really use that resource.

But just going to the Facebook groups and grabbing, I call it on the grab. Grabbing this tactic and that tactic and this thing, and oh, that person has a secret thing that worked for them. And now I got to follow it to the tee.

There’s no special secret dance that unlocks the secret traffic door. There’s no like, if you follow these steps, that magic this is going to happen because there are so many factors that you are aware of and unaware of.

So, then focus on your own page, the factors that you are aware of. Your content, your data, the keyword, the optimization that you do on your pins, the graphics that you have.

All that’s within your control, how frequently you publish, what tools you use to publish, focus on that keep your eyes on your own page. And don’t be so worried about grabbing all these things.

And if you are like I’m feeling lost, I need a guide, invest in someone, invest in a consultant, invest in someone’s program, but invest.

Don’t just be trying to cobble together free stuff, because you will forever be in the struggle of the school of hard knocks, and you don’t have time for that.

Jillian Leslie 57:50
I love that. Okay, Jennifer, people want to reach out to you to learn more, what is the best way for them to do it.

Jennifer Priest 57:58
The best way is for them to go through my master class. So, they can just go to Smart Pin. So, P-I-N for Pinterest, smartpin.pro/free and they can get in right there.

And I’ve got a whole training on that smart method that I mentioned on how to make a Pinterest strategy. And that would be the best place and that’s the place to get to know me and what I have to offer.

You can also find me at smartcreativesocial.com. Smart Creative Social on social media. But the place that I would say if you’re ready to do Pinterest stuff, go to the master class.

Jillian Leslie 58:31
I love that. Well, I have to say I always learn a ton from you. You are a breath of fresh air. And I want to thank you for coming on the show.

Jennifer Priest 58:42
Thank you for having me. I always love being here. And thank you for the opportunity to share more Pinterest goodness.

Jillian Leslie 58:48
I hope you guys learned a lot from this episode. My biggest takeaway is that there isn’t a one size fits all solution and that your business is different from everybody else’s. So, therefore you’ve got to think really critically about what you’re trying to accomplish.

Then you’ve got to create a bunch of pins and test them look at your analytics to see how they’re performing so that you can get better. And that it isn’t a numbers game, meaning it isn’t about putting out 1000 pins because your hope is that one of them hits.

It’s really about being intentional when creating pins. When thinking about how to achieve what you want to achieve. So, it’s almost like my advice is slow down. Take the time to see what works for you.

And please head to Facebook and join my Facebook group called The Blogger Genius Share & Grow Your Blog Group. I think you’ll really like it. I would love to have you as part of my community.

If you search in Facebook for Blogger Genius. You’ll see it show up and please join. And I’ll see you here again next week.

Other Blogger Genius Podcast Episodes about Pinterest You Might Like

#143: How to Easily Design Pinterest Pins to Get More Traffic with Clarita Gerlach

#135: How to Be Successful on Pinterest and Instagram Today with Jeff Sieh

#128: What’s Working on Pinterest NOW! with Kate Ahl

#109: How to Get Ahead of the Changes at Pinterest to Win on the Platform with Alisa Meredith

#072: How to Make Promoted Pins Work for You With Monica Froese

#053: Powerful and Easy Pinterest Tips from Pinterest Insider, Tori Tait

Imagine a world where growing your social media followers and email list was easy…

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