Five Things You’re Doing Wrong on Pinterest and How to Fix Them

Five Things You're Doing Wrong on Pinterest and How to Fix Them

Five Things You’re Doing Wrong on Pinterest and How to Fix Them


If you’re a business on Pinterest, then you probably would like to get more business. Am I right about that? And if you’re not getting any engagement on Pinterest, chances are you’re making one or more of these mistakes.

Not Clicking Through

What that means is keep clicking until you get to the other side of that pin. Where does it lead? Personally, I hate a dead end. And Pinterest now makes it easier than ever to see where a pin leads. You can hover over a pin and see the source. But occasionally, you’ll still wind up on a porn site or one that’s been blocked. You don’t want that happening on your own account, however.

Fix: Check every pin. Here’s a basic primer on how to pin.

Not Answering Comments?

Not Answering Comments?

Not Answering Comments

When people talk to you, answer them. If someone says hello to you in real life, you say hello back, right? Do the same thing on Pinterest! Especially if you’re just starting out. That doesn’t mean you need a 300-word reply to every single person, but a “thanks for stopping by!” or “glad you enjoyed the pin” go a long way toward having a truly social account.

Fix: Answer the people who bother to comment on your pins if at all possible. And if you’d like to know how to get comments, Tailwind has written a good article. (I like their advice to comment on others’ pins and you’ll get comments back.)

Not Filling Out Your Profile

It really doesn’t take that long to fill out your profile. Write down a few things about you or your brand, put in your website and your interests, and upload a picture. Having the red pushpin as your profile picture is a lot like having the egg pic on Twitter (you know who you are!).

Fix: Spend the ten minutes to fill out your profile before you get started.

Not Following 10,000 Accounts

Not Following 10,000 Accounts

Not Following 10,000 Accounts

Yes, everyone desperately wants followers. But pinning good content will really be better in the long run. Have a little patience. Look for good stuff that people want to see.

Fix: Pin more good content and follow just a few people at a time.

Would You Follow You?

Would You Follow You?

Would You Follow You?

I was thinking about this the other day, while fixated on a new DIY front door that I could make out of pallets and Mason jars (that’s a Pinterest joke). Would you follow you? That is, are you pinning high-quality articles, images, and videos that interest you? Are you putting in the time to craft great headlines that tell people what that article is about? If not, you might want to brush up on writing headlines.

Fix: Check out your competition. Could you do something that they do, if their Pinterest is getting more followers?


Pinterest: How to Pin!

Pinterest: How to Pin!

Pinterest: How to Pin!

People keep asking me about how to pin, hence this post. If you missed it, you can read my post about the Biggest Mistakes to Make on Pinterest, as well as the Top Ten Tasks and Power Tips on Pinterest.

Pinterest: Don't pin things that are unavailable

Pinterest: Don’t pin things that are unavailable

Clicking Through

You see pretty things, pins about creating lamps out of mason jars and building doghouses from used pallets. Why not simply pin them? You see that beautiful painting? Maybe it’s already sold, and you’re sending someone to something like the above message. You could update your pin by saying it’s sold under the pin (and recommend other works by the same artist), or you could remove the pin altogether. Why? Because it’s considerate of your audience, which you wish to grow on Pinterest. And it creates trust when they click on something and what you say is there is there. Here’s a snazzy article about “5 Things Not to Repin on Pinterest,” which I enjoyed.

Pinterest: Don't send people to dead links

Pinterest: Don’t send people to dead links







Pinterest: Don't you love finding one of these behind a pin?

Pinterest: Don’t you love finding one of these behind a pin?


Dead Links

Sometimes websites are updated and links change. Something might have moved. If you find one of these above two messages, you can go in and change the website that your pin points to by clicking on the little pencil. Your audience will appreciate not finding a 404: Not found error message behind that beautiful pin. Or, if you love the image, you can say “Image only” to let people know there’s nothing more. If you have a choice, though, choose the one with a permalink that goes to the actual thingamajig. For instance, if there’s a gorgeous cake, wouldn’t you like the recipe? What if someone leaves the cake out in the rain? Oh my goodness! I’m cracking myself up! Seriously, don’t make people dig around on a huge recipe site searching for that cake recipe. They will curse you as they drive to the store to buy a cake.


Pinterest: Sometimes there are spammy links behind pretty pictures

Pinterest: Sometimes there are spammy links behind pretty pictures


You know that cute teddy bear party, where they’re all having tea in the meadow and the one in the tutu is pouring? Sometimes bad people put spam behind those cute pictures. Or porn. Please don’t send all the kids and their moms to those sites when they want more info about the teddy bear picnic. Instead, report those spammers! Kids want bears, not bares!

What to Say?

You know what not to pin, but what should you say? I like to think of Pinterest as a mini-Google. Actually, it’s better than Google, in my opinion, because it’s image-driven search. So think about your audience. What are they looking for? Say that!

Tell People What to Expect

If you click through and there’s only an image, tell people that. If there are lots of pictures on the site, say that. Describe the pin a little bit. Here’s an example.

Pinterest: How to Pin!

Pinterest: How to Pin!

If someone is searching for “tiny house with rooftop terrace,” chances are they’d find this pin. On the other hand, if you say “cute,” how many people are searching for the word “cute”? Odds are, not very many. So describe your pin and your chances of being found will be greater. I could even add the word “brick house,” or “wooden deck,” and more people would probably find this pin.

When pinning, add your own personality to a pin

When pinning, add your own personality to a pin

Add Context

Adding your own personality makes a pin much more attractive. You could cut and paste a description (better than nothing), but adding your perspective gives people another reason to follow you. For instance, the article above is all about bad examples of tiny homes (made out of pallets!), which I found funny, because personally I don’t understand the make-stuff-out-of-pallets craze, either.

How Do You Like to Pin?

Did I leave anything out? Please let me know in the comments below! Thanks!

Pinterest: Top Ten Tasks (and Power Tips)

Top Ten Pinterest Tasks

Top Ten Pinterest Tasks

You may have seen my previous post on Top Ten Twitter Terms. Here are the first tasks you should tackle on Pinterest. If you’re more advanced, skip to the “Power Tips.”

Set Up Your Profile

Fill out your profile. Go to “Settings” on the top right, scroll to Profile, upload your picture or avatar and fill out the “About You.” Connect your Facebook, Twitter, etc. You can invite friends at the top left of your home page. If you plan to sell on Pinterest, you’ll need to set up a business account.

Power Tip: Use Location for a short descriptive sentence, if you prefer. Make sure to click “save settings.”

Create Boards

Boards are how you organize pins on Pinterest. Choose an easy name for your boards—nothing fancy. For instance, Blogs, not Words Words Words, will be found easier. Create a category and description for each board. And, since Pinterest is a visual medium, make sure your board covers are pretty!

Power Tip: Create at least 5 boards of 5 pins each before you start following anyone. People want to know what your pins are like, and what your interests are before they’ll follow you.

Add Pins

A pin contains an image and description. Upload an image from your computer using the red plus icon at the top right of your Pinterest account, or use the Pinterest browser button, available from Pinterest.

Power Tip: Fill out each pin’s description completely. If you’re repinning, change the description to make it yours. Think about how people would search for that pin. For instance, if you’re pinning a watercolor painting, you could use the words, water color, painting, and art. You might also add the dominant colors and the topic, since people sometimes search that way.

Find Others to Follow

Pinterest is visual, so make your boards pretty!

Pinterest is visual, so make your boards pretty!

Click on the icon–which turns red when you hover over it–in the top left corner and you’ll see all kinds of categories. Explore your interests and find boards and pinners to follow.

Power Tip: You can follow a single board or an account. If you don’t like one or two boards, follow all, then unfollow the boards you don’t enjoy.


When you find a pin, either through search, or through discovery in your own stream, you can repin it. When you repin it, change the comment.

Power Tip: Click all the way through a pin to discover where the pin leads. If a pin leads nowhere or to spam, don’t repin. You can report spam and Pinterest is pretty good at removing it.


A “like” is not as strong as a repin. You might “like” a pin rather than comment, if it’s outside your niche.


People rarely comment on Pinterest. It’s a very powerful way to be noticed by influencers.

Power Tip: If you want to be noticed, comment. You can ask questions or tag others in a comment, too.

Give Credit

Pinterest usually gives credit to the destination of the original pin. Authors and artists also appreciate getting credit.

Power Tip: If you don’t know whose image you’re repinning, you could ask your followers right in the comment of the pin, such as “Does anyone know whose image this is or have any more information?”

Know Your Audience

As with all other social media platforms, know what people are looking for. For instance, if you’re a spa owner you might also pin tips on relaxation, how to get good sleep, smoothie recipes, etc.

Power Tip:After awhile, you’ll get a feel for what your audience likes by what gets repinned. Repin more of the popular content.

Clean Up Boards

Occasionally, you can delete pins that don’t get much traffic.

Power Tip: At first, none of your pins may get much traffic. If you believe something will get traffic (but wasn’t seen the first time you pinned it), you can repin it to the top of the same board, and delete the one further down.

Did I Forget Anything?

Please let me know in the comments! Thanks!

Pinterest Place Boards: Tell a Story

Pinterest Place Boards: Tell A Story

Pinterest Place Boards: Tell A Story

People love stories. Stories are a way of making time stand still. All the world falls away when you’re listening to or reading a story. Did you know that you can create a story using a place board on Pinterest? Think back on those Day in the Life coffee table books. A Pinterest board can be used the same way. Here’s how.

Brain Dump

For this example, I’ll use my own Santa Cruz Daycation board. Write down everything you’d like to do in a single day. Put all the parts of the day in chronological order–I used a numbered list in a Word document to do this. Search for each item online and make sure that whatever you’re going to do is available and open for business. For instance, is the restaurant open? Can you zipline at that time of the day? Can you do yoga early in the morning?

Write Captions

Say something about each step of the day. If you love shoes, and you get to the shoe store 10 minutes before they close, that’s a “SQUEEE!!!” for sure. Rinse and repeat for each event. Add these to your Word doc. And when you’re writing those captions, consider how people search on Pinterest. Here are 18 Tips for Optimizing Your Images to Improve SEO, from Pam Dyer.

Repin or Use Your Own Image

Find Images or Use Your Own

Search within Pinterest, find already-existing photos, or use your own images. And remember, Pinterest is about beautiful images, so make it pretty!  Here’s a blog post I wrote about creating beautiful Pinterest covers.

Start Pinning!

Pin in reverse order from the end of the day to the beginning because the first pin will be at the bottom.

Location, Location, Location

For each pin, first click “Add to Map,” then choose the city. A map appears and will zoom into the city you just selected. Once you’ve found the city, click in the “What’s This Place Called” spot to find the location, and press enter to map it. Some locations will appear instantly while others may require more searching.

Review Your Captions

You can edit the text for each pin later if you like. For instance, I wanted more of a timeline for my place board, so I made sure to add that I was having breakfast, lunch, or dinner, without being too regimented with the times.

Have You Created a Place Board Yet?

What story would you like to tell? Leave me a comment below! And thank you.


Pinterest: 6 Steps to Going Viral

Pinterest: 6 Steps to Going Viral

Pinterest: 6 Steps to Going Viral

You’ve been on Pinterest for awhile now, pinning like a crazy person. Your pins, or those for your new startup, get liked and occasionally repinned, but nothing has ever gotten very popular, or achieved the success you’d really like. What can you do to increase your odds of a pin going viral, being repinned, liked, and commented upon? As an example, I’d like to use a pin from my Tiny Homes board. (If you click on the picture above, you’ll see the original article).

Disclaimer: Nothing can ensure a pin going viral. Sometimes the dumbest things catch on, while your carefully crafted posts die a sad, lonely death with nary a like. This article may only increase your chances. If you really want to go viral, send $10 million in unmarked bills and I’ll see what I can do.

Click Through

If you’re repinning from someone else’s account, make sure that the pin goes somewhere. That is to say, click enough times to see where the pin leads. Make sure that the pin does not lead to a Google search, or a website where there’s no more information, or **gasp** a 404 page. My pin goes to a fabulous site with an article about downsizing for a tiny home.

Read the Article at the Pin’s Origin

For pins that include an article, read the article all the way through before you repin it. Take note of a few things about the article. The point of this is so that you have something interesting to put in the caption. For instance, is the article funny? Is it thorough? Is it peculiar? Do you like the writing style?

Recap What You Liked

In my tiny homes pin, the writer uses an example of a clown car which cracks me up. So in my caption, under the pin, I write my own mini-review of the article, telling people why they might want to read the article. And be sure to give credit where credit is due–to the original author.

Post At a Good Time

Now that's a tiny house!

Now that’s a tiny house!

If you find an extremely good item to pin, save it for a good time. According to Social Media Examiner, pinning at different times of the night and day will help your pins be seen by local and global audiences. I like to pin on Sundays because that’s a very popular time in the U.S.; pinning at various times I’ve noticed that different people are online depending upon when I pin.

Comment on Your Own Pin and Respond to Comments

People love comments! And few people comment. So you can add comments to your own pin. And be sure to respond to any comments about the pin to keep the conversation going! This raises the popularity of the pin.

Repin Later

If your pin doesn’t catch on, you can repin the pin to the top of the board or even make it the cover pin. If there are no “likes” or repins at all, you could delete it completely and repin it at a later time. You can add more text to the caption, too (think about how you might search for such a pin yourself). You want people to be able to find your pin!

Have Your Pins Gone Viral?

Do you have any “pins gone wild,” which been repinned hundreds or thousands of times? Was that a complete surprise, or were you sure that they would be popular? One of my pins has been repinned 25 billion times! Ok, one of the previous sentences might be a slight exaggeration. Can you guess which one? As usual, leave your comments below!

Pinterest: Five Newbie Mistakes You’re Making

Pinterest: Five Newbie Mistakes You're Making

Pinterest: Five Newbie Mistakes You’re Making

Since Pinterest showed up on the social media scene, people have been flocking to it like ducks to water, or maybe like addicts to a new video game. People who weren’t that visual became more visual, and those who didn’t know they were visual, are suddenly spending hours on this visual site. So what are a few things to avoid and what should you be doing to have fun for yourself or your brand on Pinterest? Here are some simple fixes to common errors.

Keeping Default Boards

Fix: decide on the boards you really want. Say you are a small business selling hand knitted leg warmers and other trendy items for chihuahuas. You might want to create boards such as Tiny Dogs, SPCA, Local Doggy Events, and of course a board for your own homemade doggy outfits. You might also want to create boards for different types of outfits, such as hats, vests, paw warmers, etc. Keep in mind that you can change the names of boards later if you like. To change the board name, click on the board, go to “Edit Board” –>Title (don’t forget to save your changes!).

Ugly Board Covers

Fix: Make Each Board Beautiful! To entice people to see the contents of a board, pin the most visually beautiful cover you can. To change a board cover, simply hover with your mouse over the board. Click on “Edit Board Cover” to choose a photo. You can position the photo if you like, at this point. Then click “Set Cover.”

Following Nobody

Choose the Best Covers for Your Boards

Choose the Best Covers for Your Boards

Fix: Follow people you already know or whose pins you enjoy. Although unfollowing people who don’t follow you isn’t easy, you can unfollow people later. Note: like other forms of social media, there is spam out there! So beware of people who have 40 boards with just one photo on each board, or who don’t appear to be real people, or who only sell things like wrist watches.

Not Commenting

Like other forms of social media, Pinterest is social. So “like,” repin, and especially comment on others’ pins! People will appreciate you, and they will be more likely to reciprocate!

Not Having Your Business Name in Your Profile

Fix: Along with your business name and logo, you might want to include a few things about you. A photo of you or a logo also legitimizes your account. People want to know a little about you! To make changes, click “Edit Profile.” You can use the First Name line for your business name. Don’t forget to click “Save Profile” when you’re done. Note: Pinterest has recently partnered with brands to add information to pins, which is very useful for brands.

Not Pinning on Sundays

Fix: Take Saturday off and pin on Sundays! Sundays are the busiest days on Pinterest. So even just pinning a few pins will really help you with traffic and getting more eyes on your content.

What Have You Learned About Pinterest?

Have you changed your strategy along the way with Pinterest? What has helped you the most? Please leave a comment below! Thank you!

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