If you’ve decided to use Pinterest as a tool to expand your food-blogging empire then that’s great news! You’ve chosen a platform that is proven to work well for us foodies. But before you leap in and start pinning all and sundry to your account (and wondering why you don’t rack up the followers), there are a few important things you should do first.
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How to set up your Pinterest account for maximum visibility
Firstly, what do I mean by maximum visibility? Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Pinterest is a search engine (like Google, Yahoo and Bing). It is not a social-media channel like Facebook. That means that people use it in a different way – and so should you.
Even before food blogging was big business, Pinterest was a go-to for people to find and store favourite recipes. In fact, that’s one of the things it became most famous for. Then, when us clever food bloggers realised the value in having a search engine that favours our visual medium, Pinterest took off as the number-one place for us to hang out.
It has a search bar, just like Google, and calls up results based on the keywords associated with each post. That means that you can get your recipes in front of ANYONE as long as you know how.
Basically, you have two aims:
#1 get your recipe to pop up in the search results when a pinner searches for a certain term;
#2 make sure it’s your recipe they click on in a sea of identical dishes.
So no pressure then 😉
Your Pinterest profile
Get a business profile
Firstly, make sure that you are using Pinterest as a business and not as an individual. This doesn’t cost any money at all and just lets Pinterest know that you are the real deal. It’ll give you access to Pinterest analytics (more on that later) and ensure that people can find you simply by searching for your name. Head to business.pinterest.com while logged in and convert your personal profile to a business one by following the prompts.
Scroll down to “get a business account”, click, and you should immediately be offered to upgrade to a free business account. Enter your business name, business type and email address and you’re in!
Cut down your boards to those relevant to your niche
Return to your boards and, if you’ve been pinning random decor, capsule wardrobes and hairstyles for years, mark those boards as “secret”. You want your public boards to be ones that further your professional aim and attract business. Don’t worry, they’ll all still be there for you to see, but you won’t lose any potential food-related clients by broadcasting your love of heavy metal.
Change your name to one that fits the bill…
…ideally one that matches your blog, and make sure you include keywords too so that people know they’re in the right place. For example, my food-blog profile name is:
The Food Brood | Meal Planning & Six-Ingredient Recipes.
(It’s the done thing at the moment to put that | symbol to separate important text. It’s the key next to the shift on British keyboards).
Then Pinterest also lets you add your website address and some more information about yourself. Again, use keywords so people know what you’re about and maybe add a sneaky link to what you’re up to:
To change your details, click on the little circle with the man in the right-hand corner and select Settings. Under “profile” you can upload a picture (your logo, ideally) and change your name to something more professional.
Organise your boards sensibly
Pinterest not only lets you choose (keyword-rich) names for your boards but it also allows you to reorganise them into sections (like subheadings within boards) and choose which image pops up as the cover to each board. Some people go as far as to theme and style their boards – but that’s generally more applicable in the coaching and entrepreneur fields that the food-blogging one. You’ve got lots of beautiful recipe images to use – so use them!
Think about what you really want people to click on and put that at the top of your profile. If you join any group boards, put them down at the bottom; why are you advertising other people’s work before your own?
I’ve already mentioned keywords a few times, so I’d better tell you what they are! The keywords are what people type into a search engine to find the result they want so, for example, “one pot chicken dishes”, “easy pasta bakes”, “vegan casseroles” or “meal planning”.
If you want to fulfil aim #1: get your recipe to pop up in the search results when a pinner searches for a certain term, then you have to make an educated guess about what people will search for to find you. Then, when you come to upload a new pin, you can enter these words into the “keywords” section. And it doesn’t have to be pretty – just get them in there!
How to stand out
Someone has searched for “one pot chicken dishes” and your recipe for “one pot fajita chicken” has popped up. Hallelujah!
But what is going to convince them to pick your recipe and not the one next to it? How do you (#2) make sure it’s your recipe they click on in a sea of identical dishes?
Firstly, you need some really great photographs of the recipe. There is no getting around this – food photography is frighteningly good these days. Check out my Food Photography 101 for more on this.
Next, sign up for one of the amazing FREE software programmes that allows you to design your own social-media graphics. Trust me, you’ll use it a lot. My favourite is Canva and it’s a great programme for newbies and oldbies (is that even a word?) too. I have the paid plan because I use it for more than just blogging, but the free and basic plan is simply marvellous.
Clever Canva has a whole host of pre-made templates that you can simply reuse for your own purposes (BEWARE – you cannot use Canva illustrations/pictures for your logo; it’s against the rules – but everything else is fine) and they’re already the right size for the job too. Phew, one less thing to worry about.
You’ve probably noticed that most of the pins that come up on Pinterest are portrait (long) and that is because Pinterest controls the width of pins that show up but not the length. Simply put, longer pin = more of it shown! If you’re not sure or aren’t using any software, then Pinterest Queen Kate Ahl of Simple Pin Media says that a standard 2:3 ratio still works well.
When you start playing around with the software, you’ll realise that there is more that you could do to your pins than you could possible imagine.
But let me give you one great tip: keep it simple.
If you check out Pinterest on your phone (yes, right now), you’ll notice that pins either stand out for being eye catching (we’re back to those stunning photos again) or for having clear text. Ideally, you want both: an incredible photograph or two of your delicious recipe AND large, clear text that tells the viewer at a glance what it is. Nobody is going to click on your recipe if they don’t know what it’s a recipe for!
Installing “rich pins” is one of the most valuable changes you can make to your Pinterest account. A rich pin is like a regular pin only has more information attached to it. There are four types of rich pins and BONUS one of them is “recipes”!
Recipe rich pins include a little of the information about your recipe, usually the ingredients and cooking details, and it’s pulled directly from the website link you’ve entered. It gives the viewer a preview of your recipe which enables them to decide whether to follow your link or not. The benefit for you is that if people are clicking through to your site then it’s because they’ve already seen your rich pin snippet – and liked what they saw 🙂
The other benefit is that if your pin gets repinned and repinned and repinned then your information still stays attached to it. So everyone knows who came up with that kick-ass recipe in the first place!
Check out this easy step-by-step guide to enabling rich pins (it’s how I did mine!).
So now that you have an organised, professional profile on Pinterest and you’re uploading pin after pin with eye-catching photography, clear text and well-chosen keywords, you must be drawing the crowds by the thousand!
Some people will click on a pin to go to your website, some will pin yours to their own boards and some will choose to follow an individual board or you as a whole! That’s great news – it means you’re putting out the right content in the right way.
But how do you know it’s all working? That’s where Pinterest analytics comes in. It’s a clever tool only available to those with business accounts (which you have), which lets you see how your pins are performing, how many views you’ve had in a day and where you’re coming up short. If something is working well for you, consider doing more of that same thing and repinning that pin to other places. If you find a board is getting no engagement at all then consider renaming it or deleting it entirely!
Take a look at your analytics, you might be surprised what you learn!
Want even more?
Take a look at The Biggest Mistake You’re Making on Pinterest!
Are you following Food Blogging Collective on Pinterest? Drop your Pinterest link; let’s have a share party!