Welcome to episode 215 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast! This week on the podcast, you’ll learn how to optimize the time you spend on Pinterest, how to establish an Instagram Story series, how to calculate engagement, and more.
Last week on the podcast, we covered tips for optimizing old posts, connecting your posts to one another, and understanding the impact of your optimizations. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.
Let’s talk sharing content! In this episode, we’re focusing on sharing content on social media. There are so many social media platforms and strategies, and this episode will help you create those processes to help you increase followers and engagement.
First, you’ll hear from Kate Ahl, who is one of our Food Blogger Pro experts and who owns a Pinterest management company called Simple Pin Media. She’s here to share information about common traits of successful pinners, how to encourage readers to pin your content, and how to control what your readers share on Pinterest.
Then Abby, the Social Media Manager for all of our brands, talks about how we’re using Instagram Stories for Food Blogger Pro. We use recurring series to engage our followers and constantly deliver value.
And last, Bjork talks through what engagement actually is and how you measure it. We’re always talking about how important engagement is, and he’ll help you understand why that is.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- How pins go viral
- When you save vs. when you share on Pinterest
- Common traits of successful pinners
- How you communicate with pinners
- What Pinterest finds most important when you’re sharing content
- How to encourage readers to pin your content
- How to force-pin a specific image
- How much you should be pinning
- How Instagram Stories work
- How we structure Stories for Food Blogger Pro
- How engagement works
- How to calculate engagement
Listen to the Food Blogger Pro Podcast below or check it out on iTunes, Google Play Music, or Spotify:
- Tasty Pins
- Find pins from your site on Pinterest by using https://www.pinterest.com/source/foodbloggerpro.com/ where you replace
foodbloggerpro.comwith your URL
- NoPin: How to Tell Pinterest to Not Save an Image
- Pinterest Developers
- Simple Pin Media
- The Simple Pin Collective
- Simple Pin Podcast
- Food Blogger Pro on Instagram
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].
If you’d like to jump to the comments section, click here.
Alexa Peduzzi: Hello, wonderful listener. You are listening to the Food Blogger Pro Podcast. I’m Alexa, kind of the cohost of this podcast, with the one, the only Bjork Ostrom. And I’m just so excited to be here to introduce today’s new episode. But before we get to that, this is the fourth episode of this little test series that we’re doing, and we would love to hear what you think. So instead of our normal long form interview style episodes, where we interview just one person for about an hour, this new series is structured around smaller, more concise interviews surrounding a certain topic.
Alexa Peduzzi: So we had an episode called New, where we heard from Bjork, Lindsay, and yours truly about creating new blog content and new resources on Food Blogger Pro. And then we had an episode that focused on trends, where we learned about site speed trends from our expert, Andrew, search result trends from Lindsay, and then trends on social media from Abby, our social media manager. And then last week was all about optimizing, and we heard from Casey Markee, Jeff Coyle, and Bjork about republishing old posts, content planning, and tracking optimizations. You can go back and listen to all of these episodes on your favorite podcasting app. They’re actually episodes 212, 213, and 214.
Alexa Peduzzi: And we make this podcast specifically for you, so we would love to hear what you think of this new series. Any and all feedback is welcome. We just want to know what you think. You can email us at [email protected] And we would love to have that conversation with you. But today’s episode is called Share, so we’re focusing on sharing content on social media. There are so many social media platforms these days, and even more social media strategies. And this episode will help you create processes to help you increase followers and engagement.
Alexa Peduzzi: First, you’ll hear from Kate Ahl, who is one of our Food Blogger Pro experts, and who owns a Pinterest management company called Simple Pin Media. And she’s here to share information about the common traits of successful pinners, how to encourage readers to pin your content, and how to control what your readers share on Pinterest. And then Abby, who’s just an incredible person and our social media manager for all of our brands, talks about how we’re using Instagram Stories for Food Blogger Pro. We use a recurring series to engage our followers and constantly deliver value. And then last, Bjork talks through what engagement actually is and how you measure it. We’re always talking about how important engagement is, and he’ll help you understand why that is.
Alexa Peduzzi: We’re just so excited to share this episode with you, so without any further ado, let’s get some Pinterest tips from Pinterest guru, Kate Ahl.
Bjork Ostrom: Kate, welcome back to the podcast.
Kate Ahl: Thanks so much for having me again.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. So we are going to be talking about sharing on today’s podcast. It’s a focus for all of the different conversations we’re having. And obviously, Pinterest is a really important place for people to share things. So let’s take a step back before we get into specific tactics around sharing. Can you talk about shareable content? You see a lot of content in the work that you do. What would you say are some of the main through lines, some of the common elements that you see with content that is shared a lot as it relates to Pinterest?
Kate Ahl: Such a great question. So I think right off the bat, I think of these pieces of content that give you the: Why didn’t I think of that? Or the, this is going to help solve a problem in my life, or this is something I can dream into in the future, something that’s maybe even like a small roundup, five, or eight, or 10 of a particular idea. Because people, when they go online, they’re usually hunting for something, or maybe they’re killing time. But even if they’re killing time, there’s something in their life where they go, “I need a solution for that.”
Kate Ahl: So when your content provides a particular solution for them, they’re more apt to share it. It’s why we see things go viral, because they’ve either hit on a need, or hit on something emotionally that resonates with them. It might be hard to get a spaghetti recipe to revolutionize people’s lives, but if it’s something that’s like, you can make this spaghetti all in one in your Instant Pot in 15 minutes, people are like, “Yes.” You’ve hit on the pain point of 15 minutes, not so much the recipe. So I think that type of content is what we see gets really … It’s very shareable because people are excited by it and how it serves them.
Bjork Ostrom: Can you talk a little bit about … When I think of Pinterest, I’m not a heavy Pinterest user, but I have used it in the past. When I use Pinterest, I think of kind of collecting. So I think of looking and saying, “Okay.” Lindsay always gives me, in good humor, a hard time about the fact that I’ll wear the same pair of pants for five days in a row. So it’s like, “Okay. I should probably look for something that’s a tiny bit of an upgrade and not something, a pair of pants that I got 10 years ago for Christmas.”
Bjork Ostrom: So I go onto Pinterest and I look. I kind of think in the mindset of saving versus sharing. Is there a difference between the two on Pinterest? If you’re saving something to, let’s say a group about fashion, or maybe healthy recipes, is that in essence the same thing as saving or sharing? How do you view the difference between saving something and sharing something?
Kate Ahl: That’s a really great question. Saving, I would think you kind of have to divide it a little bit too between … Well, let me see if I can break this apart. Saving right away is, I am going onto Pinterest to gather a bunch of ideas, to save them to my boards, to be able to make a decision later. So if I am saving five different light fixtures for my bathroom to my bathroom board, I’m going to go back there, and I’m going to decide which one I want to buy. And then I’m going to click on it, go to the website and purchase.
Kate Ahl: Now then when it comes to sharing, we see more sharing as something that’s done from your website. A little bit of semantics is I would see sharing more as from a marketer side and saving as from a native user side. Sharing, I’m sharing onto Pinterest because I want the Pinterest users to be exposed to it and see it. Even if a user goes onto a website, they’re still saving it to their board for later, so it’s: How is this going to serve me? And sharing is more, let me show you what I have to see if it can serve you.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. And so it’s a little bit of a difference between the mindset that somebody goes into using Pinterest, somebody who’s saving something is probably in the consumer mindset. I’m grabbing and collecting these things to help inform dinner decisions that I’m going to make, or fashion decisions that I’m going to make. Their intent probably isn’t for a bunch of people to see that, although that will probably be kind of a benefit that comes along with it if they have a few people that are following.
Bjork Ostrom: The other category would be influencers, other creators, people who have a significant following, who are using Pinterest in a way where they are kind of building their online persona. They’re trying to get followers. Is that kind of how you would separate those two groups of people out?
Kate Ahl: Yes, definitely, for sure. That sharing thing is making … It’s almost looking at Pinterest as this really collaborative platform ,that one is contributing ideas, and one is participating in the ideas. And it creates this great little environment where there’s constantly … And what Pinterest wants is this fresh content to come onto the platform for a pinner to say, “Oh, this is new, and I have just discovered this and how it’s going to impact my life.”
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. One of the things that we were talking a little bit about before we hit record on this podcast was this idea of tactics, which are really important, and talent. And talent is the thing that’s a little bit harder to say, “You do this, you do this, you do this, and then you have something good.” So it maybe ties into the first question that I asked a little bit at the beginning of the interview. But can you talk a little bit about: What does it look like to be talented at Pinterest? If you remove the tactics piece of it, how can you be somebody who really understands and is kind of an artist in a sense when it comes to leveraging Pinterest as a platform? What are the common traits that you see with people who are really good at Pinterest, people who are leveraging the platform and using it not only as a place to randomly pin stuff, but really getting people to share their stuff on Pinterest?
Kate Ahl: I think those people who have talent really go back to this place of, they are looking at serving their reader in a way that elevates it beyond: How do they serve themselves? And so they’re looking to say, “My person is Susie, who’s at home, and it’s 5:00. And she’s trying to figure out what she’s going to make. I’m going to be the person that delivers up quick and healthy fast recipes for a family.” Or I’m going to be the person who wants to serve the person who’s having parties. And so when you start back at your content, then you’re really delivering on that talent piece, where you say, “I’m going to use Pinterest to connect with my person and deliver up exactly what it is that they’re looking for.” It doesn’t get you into the weeds yet, the tactics of five pins a day, or my content.
Kate Ahl: It really keeps it about who it is that you’re serving. And I think that is such a huge winner that we see with all of our clients, is that when people are so dialed in at keeping this very clean, they continue to grow long-term. But when they begin to second guess how they’re serving their person, or they start chasing maybe somebody else’s audience, then we definitely see them kind of veer off track. And we don’t see Pinterest growing traditionally month over month because they veered off track from what their people love.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. I think the idea of the person you are serving is such an important concept. And Lindsay talks about that a lot as it relates to content that she’s creating for Pinch of Yum, specifically with ingredients. And she always uses the idea of Super Target, or Target, going to the Target grocery store. Am I able to get all of the things for this recipe at Target, or Wal Mart, or whatever it would be? Is this going to be accessible to people in a way where our family, who lives an hour north of Minneapolis, and can’t go to kind of boutique-y grocery story, are they going to be able to get these ingredients? And I think that exists because Lindsay has this filter, this idea of who it is that she’s serving.
Bjork Ostrom: And that’s not every person that’s creating recipes. People are going to have different people that they’re serving. But I think that ties into what you’re saying a little bit. So I think that idea of the target market, the individual customer, the persona that you’re serving is so, so, so important.
Kate Ahl: And I’ll even add onto that really quickly that how you take your photos definitely also adds into that. We’ve seen that people who want to target this higher end, they want to go to the grocery store that maybe you only can find things at Whole Foods, like you can’t find them in Super Target, or WalMart, or any of that. Their photography reflects that. It looks very artistic. It looks like it comes out of Saveur. Or is that how you say that magazine? I don’t know.
Bjork Ostrom: Saveur. Yes.
Kate Ahl: Yeah, that’s what it is. You’re going to have a specific person that you are targeting with that. That’s the person who wants to make a dish for two hours, really get into it. But if your photography is the five minutes, 10 minutes, and it looks very approachable, you are also hitting on them with that connection. Pinterest is all about photos. Right? That’s your first point of connection and how they connect with you. So just to really also think about it in that sense, that what your images you’re using are almost your first line of communication, that if you’re thinking of Susie at home, and that’s what you want to come across in your images, you are definitely on the right track. And that’s again, another thread of what we see people have continued growth is when they really pay attention to those small details like that.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes. Yeah, that’s awesome. The analogy that I love to use is this idea. I, in a previous life, would do music and play shows. And so I love to think of comparables. And I think in this world, it’s comparable to musicians. And no matter how good your tactics are as it relates to booking a show and showing up on time, and the set that you build, if the songs aren’t good, then the tactics aren’t going to matter. And I think sometimes we can get lost in the world of content online, and forget that the content we’re building is kind of like songs. And if the content isn’t good, the tactics aren’t going to matter.
Bjork Ostrom: And so for people that are listening, I want to remind you that things get shared because they’re good, not because of the tactics. And that’s why people always come back to this idea of content, content, content, because content is the music. It is the song. And the song has to be good in order for it to be shared. And even though there is still the importance of tactics, once you have that good song, what tactics do you use to kind of grease the flywheel? I don’t know if you actually grease a flywheel.
Kate Ahl: I always hear that too.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes. So let’s talk a little bit about tactics as it relates to Pinterest to make good content easier to share. Are there things that you’re seeing right now that are important for people to know and be aware of that Pinterest considers to be important? And then tactics that surround those things that Pinterest considers to be important.
Kate Ahl: Yeah. First, I kind of want to share a little story kind of around what you were talking about. We were Voxering with somebody in the community and they said, “I’m just jumping over to Pinterest. What are the things that I can do to get up and running right away? Or what are the hacks that I can use? What is all this?” And I know better to not go down the road of hacks. But even for me, I just have to admit that in that moment, I started to think about all these things. What are the hacks I can use for Pinterest? And as I went down it, and I came back, I realized the thing that works with Pinterest is just creating the new content and consistency over the long haul. And we’ll go deeper obviously into some other things that you can do.
Kate Ahl: But all that to say, for those of you who are listening, who have gone down that rabbit trail of tactics, just know that I do it too. And I’m in Pinterest all the time. And I even sometimes can have those days where I second guess myself to say, “Am I missing something?” And I think the thing with Pinterest to know is that there isn’t this way to … You’re not missing anything. And if you really are focused back on creating that great content, you take it over to Pinterest, and Pinterest is desperate right now for what they call fresh content. And this has been something they’ve come out with just recently, that they want new pins coming onto the platform because they want to show, especially because they went public a couple months ago, they want to show their investors that they can keep having new content come onto the platform.
Kate Ahl: So that being said, they always want you to share from your website. Or if you’re using Tailwind, when you pin a pin in Tailwind, it looks like fresh content. So don’t pin within the platform. So if I went onto the Pinch of Yum board and I hit save, and put it on another board, Pinterest would say, “No, no, no. Don’t do that. Pin directly from your site or using Tailwind.”
Bjork Ostrom: Can you go into that a little bit? Explain the idea of from your site versus within Pinterest. If somebody’s pinning from within Pinterest, what does that look like? They’re going in. They’re finding their board. They’re creating a new pin kind of manually. Or are you talking about re-pinning? What does that look like?
Kate Ahl: Re-pinning.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it.
Kate Ahl: Yeah. No, that’s a good clarification. Re-pinning, so they’re just pinning something again somewhere else. And that’s how a typical user operates. And so what they have said is let your audience re-pin for you. But you put your fresh pins onto Pinterest. Now let me clarify. Fresh pins can be new images. So let’s say you have a post that has three different images, each one of those images looks like a fresh pin. And so they are, even though it’s connected to the same URL, it’s a new pin essentially. It’s a little bit confusing getting into all of that. But I’ll just say, pinning from your site, pinning a new image, those are what Pinterest would classify as fresh images.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. And the two ways you can do that, you’re saying using Tailwind. For those that aren’t familiar with Tailwind, can you explain what that is?
Kate Ahl: Yeah. It’s a scheduling tool and an analytics tool that you can use for Pinterest, so you can schedule out your pins onto Pinterest, so that you don’t have to always be on the platform.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. And then pinning from your site would be simply going to your site and clicking the pin button from an image. Got it.
Kate Ahl: And you can upload too. That’s another thing you can do. You can directly upload to Pinterest. And that also looks like a fresh pin. But that’s a little more time consuming.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. And so one of the things that we were chatting about before, so Tasty Pins, which is WP Tasty, is the kind of sister site to Food Blogger Pro. And we have plugins there. Tasty Pins is a really popular Pinterest plugin that allows you to do a whole bunch of things. One of those things is to include a re-pin ID. This is going to be a little bit technical. It’s including a re-pin ID for an image, the idea being that you can select certain images on a post or a page, and you can say, “Anytime that somebody pins this, let’s credit it as a re-pin,” so it’s one central pin that is viewed as a re-pin, as opposed to the fresh content piece that you were talking about.
Bjork Ostrom: Should people who want to use the re-pin ID be intentional about only using that in select places, or not using that at all, because they want as much fresh content as possible? How can people be strategic about that? And can you explain a little bit of the history with that? Maybe at why one point that was more important than it would be right now.
Kate Ahl: Yeah. It was really important to get more re-pins on a particular pin because that seemed to be this correlation that made you higher in search. And so there was a really heavy push to get this engagement on that original pin. Well, with the switch over the last year, what Pinterest has been telling us is now they’re starting to show fresh pins, new pins, also high in search. And so there doesn’t seem to be this direct correlation that re-pins will always guarantee a higher ranking. So that’s why we did it before. And what we’re seeing again, as far as when to use it, when not to use it, on my site the things that I’ve tested around with it is, I don’t do it right away. So on a new particular post, I won’t pin it to Pinterest, grab the ID, and put it in the plugin.
Kate Ahl: I’ll actually maybe do it later down the line six or eight months, if I want to test it, which I have been testing it a little bit. But I want to have as many fresh pins out there in the beginning as possible, so Pinterest can see, oh hey, a ton of people are sharing from this site, all these new fresh pins. This is awesome. We’re going to show this to more people.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. To guess a little bit, we don’t know exactly what happens, but the idea is behind the scenes, there is a piece of the algorithm for Pinterest, where Pinterest is looking at all of the activity that’s happening on the Pinterest platform. And they’re trying to figure out ways to understand: What is good content? And what Pinterest is telling us is, one of the ways they’re doing that is by seeing the amount of activity that is coming from a URL into Pinterest. Is that the general premise of kind of what they’re saying?
Kate Ahl: Yes. Exactly. Exactly. And so that’s why when going even back to what we were talking about initially, the clients that create that really amazing content that people want to share anyway, grows exponentially because people are just sharing it like crazy. So we’re not seeing this direct correlation to re-pins anymore like we were before. Some people might still see in their analytics, those ones with high numbers of re-pins, which even I do, bring in a lot of traffic. But I think the jury’s still out as far as if that’s still a direct correlation as we see the fresh pins also rising in the ranks.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it.
Bjork Ostrom: Cool. It’s interesting to me, where it sounds like you kind of have a little bit of, I imagine one of those tin cups that you hold to your ear, and then there’s a string over to Pinterest. And you can kind of talk to them. It’s not like this open line, like the red line in the White House, where they can just call anybody. But what does that look like to get feedback on Pinterest from this stuff? Is there somebody that you have that you’re able to talk to? I know every once in a while, they’ll publish PDFs or reports, kind of like Google, in a sense, where they’re saying, “Here are the things we consider important.” And then you know for sure that’s important if they’re going to come out and say that.
Kate Ahl: Yes, yes. Definitely. There’s two places we look for that. One is, Tailwind has a lot of interaction with Pinterest. So with my contacts at Tailwind and any of the pieces of content that they put out has been approved by Pinterest. And so we look at that, and we say, “Okay. Pinterest has read this article. They’ve approved it.” I know in the future, they are going to be creating more of a creator focus to get creator information out there. They’ve made a little bit of a push over the last year. And we’ve met with somebody on their creator team. But obviously, with them going public, it hasn’t been a huge priority.
Kate Ahl: But that being said, when we see them publish anything, we go with it. But there is a lot of gray area. So what I always tell people is, “Take this, and then go back to what you were doing with content, go back to your analytics, and start testing it for yourself,” because the important thing to remember with Pinterest is one account does not act like the other people there are two different niches, their keyword rankings are different. It would be like me saying, “I could rank like Pinch of Yum as Simple Pin Media.” It doesn’t make sense. We’re targeting different things.
Kate Ahl: So that being said, when Pinterest does put something out on their business page, always watch it. It’s definitely gotten a little slimmer over the last couple of months. And then Tailwind has a blog, so I would watch that as well. But anything they put out, they’re definitely following the guidelines of Pinterest.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Great. Let’s continue to think about ways that, assuming that we have this quality content, which we’re not going to go super deep into what that looks like, but let’s say we’re getting to the point where we’re creating some content that we know is good, and we want to figure out some of those additional ways that we can grease the wheel, so to speak, that we can make it more shareable. Fresh content is really important. So for you as the creator, you want to be pinning from your site. But I’m guessing you also want other people to be pinning from your site. How can you encourage other people, as opposed to just yourself, and maybe your friends and family, that you can convince to do it as well, how can you convince or encourage other people to help you in the efforts of creating that fresh content so Pinterest can say, “Hey, we see a lot of important factors coming from this site. And therefore, let’s prioritize this content”? What are the things that you can do to help make that happen?
Kate Ahl: Okay. A few things are, number one is to have a great plugin. Tasty Pins is great, where it designates the right Pinterest image to go onto Pinterest. Some people just have regular share buttons, where you click on it and everything’s pinnable, or you maybe the Facebook image is pinnable. What you want to make sure is that when people click on whatever button it is, whether it’s the Pinterest button, I don’t imagine many users are going to be using Tailwind, but you want to make sure that the right image is going out. So that would probably be number one, is if you haven’t paid attention to your share buttons, go back and make sure they optimized, or you have a great plugin like Tasty Pins. Just make sure that is in place.
Kate Ahl: The other one is just telling your people that you’re on Pinterest. So one thing that I have been testing is towards the bottom of a particular post, and this is especially on something that maybe is a little bit older, and already is getting interaction from Pinterest, is you can put a pin widget. Now I wouldn’t recommend a board widget or a profile widget from Pinterest, but a pin widget you can create on Pinterest. It’s pretty easy. You put it into the post, and you can write above that, pin it for later. So it’s just another way for them to see it. They don’t necessarily see pin it for later. I mean, they’re using the pin it button, but it’s more of a direct call to action in your post. And then if you have email, one of things that we’re also doing here is, we’re writing post. And to the left of it, we’ll write, “If you don’t have time to read this now, pin it for later.” And that’s the URL pin link.
Kate Ahl: I would say all of this combined is going to take your probably an extra 10 minutes per post or per email. But just once you get into the habit, what you’re doing is you’re just reminding your audience. Hey, please share this. And people when they read this, they don’t think of it as being pushy. They think of it as their reminder like, oh yeah, I’ll share this for later.
Kate Ahl: The other thing that you could do is if you have an Instagram account with swipe up, I like to always test talking about this new recipe that you’ve created. Obviously, there’s the swipe up to go to your post. But next would be the swipe up to go pin it for later because a lot of people are on Instagram. I know I’m a heavy Instagram user. I’m not the best marketer over there. But I love it when people make it super easy for me in the swipe up. I love the swipe up. It’s amazing. So use that to your advantage to where you swipe up, pin it for later. It works pretty seamlessly. It takes them there, save it to a board, and they’re done.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome. Let’s talk about each one of those specifically, to make sure everybody’s crystal clear on that. Number one, you talked about making sure that the right image is pinning. So can you talk about how people can actually designate within their post, hey, I want this image to be shown, or I don’t want this image to be shown? There’s actual code that you can add to an image. Is that correct?
Kate Ahl: Yeah. I use a plugin, so I’m not going to add any code. But you can do code to where if somebody hits the pin it button, it’s just the two to three, two to three ratio that you want. It’s the vertical image for Pinterest. And it has the designated Pinterest description. And then I disable pinning on my Facebook image that’s in the post, because for me, I have a vertical and a horizontal. I don’t want the horizontal going onto Pinterest. I just want the vertical.
Bjork Ostrom: Nice. Point being with that is, and I remember seeing this in the really early stages when we started to focus more on Pinterest, if you haven’t done any of that intentional, and we’ll call it filtering of the images, what will happen is somebody will come to your post, and they might use a generic pin button, maybe they use Chrome as their browser. They’ll click pin, and it will show all of the images, literally all of the images that are on that post, sidebar, footer, maybe it’s your logo. And it kind of creates an analysis paralysis. Which one of these do I pick? Not only do they pick weird images, like I remember going to Pinterest, and there’s a URL you can use for Pinterest to see the content that people are pinning from your site. And there’s all of these pictures of Lindsay and I for these recipes.
Bjork Ostrom: And I was like, “Wait a minute. This image of me giving Lindsay a hug has nothing to do with this fruit pizza.” But for some reason, people just pick that as the image. And so you can filter that out. You can use Tasty Pins as the plugin does that. But there’s also actual code if you don’t use that plugin, you don’t have to use a plugin. You can go in and do it the manual way, and say … It’s called no pin code. We can include it in the show notes, so you know what it is, to filter that out. Or you were saying you actually will say, “I only want this individual image to be the image associated with this post.” Is that right? Or maybe a couple images.
Kate Ahl: That’s correct. Yes, exactly. And I have found too that when people are on the app, what makes it hard is that if they’re on their phones, they can’t even clearly see which images are long, or which images are horizontal, so they just pick whatever. And for me, one of my most frequented pins that sends traffic to my site is actually one of those boxes that Pinterest gives you as a default. So it’s not even an image at all. It’s just is how to clean up a Pinterest board. It’s so boring. I think somebody must’ve pinned it, and then it showed up in a bunch of other people’s feeds. And so, yeah, all that to say, designate it, and then disable pinning on the ones that you do not want pinned.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. That’s great. So number two, you talked about actually telling people that you’re on Pinterest. So if you want to engage people, a great way to do that is to actually say, “Hey, here’s where you can follow along with me on Pinterest.” Now this isn’t necessarily the specific post itself. Or are you referring to this as, hey, this is a way where you can increase the number of followers you have on Pinterest? Or are you saying for an individual post on your side, include a call to action to say, “Save this for later”? I think you had referred to a widget. Is that what you’re talking about?
Kate Ahl: Yeah. I have actually three ways that I do it. I did a custom widget in my sidebar that just says, “Follow me on Pinterest.” It’s static. It doesn’t change images at all. And it says, “Pin with me.” So it’s just the awareness in the sidebar. I do get a lot of desktop traffic, so I have that there. And then I also have that MiloTree popup, which is follow me on Pinterest. And then in the post, I also have something that says, “Pin this for later, or follow me on Pinterest to find more tips about Pinterest marketing.” And then I built a pin widget there that just has that pin, which is the how to clean up Pinterest boards, to where they can literally click on it. It opens in Pinterest, and they can save it.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. So when you say a pin widget, can you explain how people can create that? And maybe use an example for, I talked about fruit pizza. Let’s say we have a fruit pizza post. How would you go about doing that, and what would the advantage of that be?
Kate Ahl: Yeah. We used to do it actually a long time ago. And the code for some reason was kind of broken. So I’ll say I’m just retesting this out on Simple Pin to see how it works. But basically, if you just do build a pin widget with Pinterest, if you Google that, it’ll take you to the developer’s site for Pinterest, where you can create a little … You grab the URL of the pin that you want. You put it into this pin widget builder, and it gives you a little snippet of code. And you insert that into the blog post.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it.
Kate Ahl: The weird trick is that you have to be on the HTML side of building. This isn’t WordPress. And then you have to hit update of that post, and then before doing anything else. It’s like these weird tricks. So the jury’s still out for me as to whether or not this is really an effective thing. But all that to say, whether you put a pin widget, or whether you just put into your post, follow me on Pinterest, I think the important part of that is when it comes to Pinterest and your site, let’s say you’ve been creating content for five years, people are not entering through the front door from Pinterest. They’re entering into a bunch of side doors. And so if they’re coming from Google, landing on this post, tell them you’re also on Pinterest, and you want them to follow you.
Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. And same general concept, but with email. I love the idea of including a call to action within email. So often, we’re sending out content, and it’s just the content itself. But what’s the next step that people take? What is something that they can do after they read that, or maybe if they don’t have time for that? So this would be if you are sending a broadcast email, and broadcast email meaning you’re going in, you’re typing up a quick maybe summary of a post that you just published. It could be an auto responder as well, I guess. But you’re saying, probably at the top, I would assume, “Hey. If you don’t have time to read this, a great way to save it is to pin it for later.” Can you talk about how that works in terms of what happens if somebody clicks on that? And then how do you build that link?
Kate Ahl: Yeah. That one I’ve seen done two ways. One, at the top, like you said. And all you would do is, if I publish a post today, I pin it onto Pinterest. And then I’ll grab that URL, go back to my email builder, write it all out, and say, “Pin this for later,” and they hyperlink that with that pin URL. And so then right at the top, they know, oh, I can click on it, pin it for later.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it.
Kate Ahl: Or you can add a list down below. And my particular email, halfway down, I talk about my podcast. And what I do is I go back to previous podcasts to say, “Here’s the August trends for Pinterest/pin it for later.” So just giving them the opportunity so that they don’t have to do the work. And you can get super creative with it too. You can say, “Hey, everybody. We’re going into Memorial Day, or we’re going into Labor Day, camping, whatever it is. I have this great camping recipes board. You should follow along as I pin to it.” And again, people are like, “Yeah, I need tons of camping recipes.” Done. It’s more tapping, again, back into that place of: Who is your person? And how can your Pinterest content and your boards serve them, so there’s this really good, fluid cross promotion?
Kate Ahl: Because Pinterest as we see it, it’s very much like a search engine. So it’s not Instagram, where it’s a short snippet of time that people are going to see something. But this has the potential long-term impact. So that’s why we invest in calling to action people to pin it for later.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. And so just to make sure I’m tracking, that URL that you’re including in the email, people click on that, and it goes to a page where it pulls up the individual pin on Pinterest for them. And then they can just click save. Is that right?
Kate Ahl: Correct.
Bjork Ostrom: And they get that URL by the developer page, or can you just go to … Can you pretend like you’re pinning it, and then just stop at the point where you actually pin, and then copy that URL?
Kate Ahl: Yeah. Correct. Just stop at the point where you pin, copy that URL. The only time you go to the developer page is just when you want to build that little pin widget in the post. So if that overwhelms you, don’t even do that. Just pin it to Pinterest, and then open up in that page and grab that URL.
Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. And then number four, you talked about … I love this idea. And I think that I love creative uses of one social media platform to encourage people to engage on another. And you talked about using Instagram if you have the swipe up feature in Instagram Stories, to say, “Pin it for later.” So would that be using that same URL?
Kate Ahl: Yes.
Bjork Ostrom: And then a swipe up to essentially bring them to the page where then they can save on Pinterest?
Kate Ahl: Yeah, correct. Exactly. The same URL that you would grab, do that same thing, and people then can just save it for later, when maybe they’re just checking Instagram Stories really quick and going through. You’ve now made it easier for them. You served them.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. And just a curiosity question. When people do that, do you know if then they need to … If they have the app on their phone, let’s say they’re browsing through and they swipe up, will that bring them to the app?
Kate Ahl: No.
Bjork Ostrom: Or do they need to sign in on Pinterest?
Kate Ahl: So most of the time … Well, I have an iPhone, so it’s very fluid for me. It goes straight to my Pinterest account, my Pinterest app. And then it pops open right away, and I just hit save, and then it prompts the board. I can’t speak for Android and how that works. There have been few times where it’s prompted me to sign in by email. But for the most part, it goes straight to the app, and it’s super seamless.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Love that tip. So the idea is you’re leveraging Instagram and the platform of Instagram. And the thing that I like about it is a lot of times, I know people will say, “Hey. Swipe up to see the full recipe.” But what this does is it encourages a little bit of a snowball. It’s not a one time interaction, somebody looking at it and then saying, “Okay. Maybe I’ll make this for later.” A very, very small possibility that they would bookmark it, or once they’re on the actual URL, the blog post, pin it. Instead it’s saying, “Hey. I’m going to bring you to a place where the action itself isn’t just content consumption. It’s sharing of the content.” So it’s creating a little bit of a snowball effect to help more people share that and to increase engagement on that piece of content, which I love.
Kate Ahl: Yeah, me too. And one of the great things to note is that some people might follow you on Instagram, and have no idea you’re on Pinterest. In fact, this happened to a friend of mine, who is kind of a native user on Pinterest. And she said, “I found these great recipes from this particular blogger on Pinterest, or on Instagram. She shared that she was on Pinterest, and now I follow her on Pinterest, and I see what she shares.” And so I think we have to remember that we as marketers, creators, we’re in all these different social platforms. But our people might not know that. And so it’s just a way to tell them that.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. That’s awesome. One of the things that you had talked about before, Kate, was this idea of the foundational things that you need to be successful on Pinterest. We talked about the content has to actually be good, like a song has to be good in order for it to be shared, the thing you’re creating actually has to be good for it to be shared. But you also talked about consistent use. Is there any broad, general advice that you could give to people in terms of what it looks like to consistently show up? If you’re saying, “Hey, it’s important to show up and consistently use Pinterest,” what does that mean? And what are some very basic recommendations that you’d have for people?
Kate Ahl: Yeah. Super basic would be at least you want to be pinning five things from your website, or five pieces of content, to Pinterest every day. And Pinterest has said, “Go ahead and share 100% of your content every day.” You don’t have to share other people’s. That’s always been a big question of whether or not it can be 100% of our own or other people’s. I’m going to say go ahead, if you have five per day, make them all from your site. And share that onto Pinterest. That’s just consistency. And if you have a ton of content, some of our food blogger clients that we work with have eight years of producing content five days a week, so they can probably sustain 30 pins a day, and not even touch any of their archives for a while, not have to circle back through.
Kate Ahl: So as far as consistency, just be active on the platform, sharing your pins to your boards, so that they can begin to get into the system. And if five is all you can do, that’s what we tell people. Go with five.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s great. And let’s say you have a really popular post. You know it’s gotten a lot of interaction in the past. Do you create a new pin? And could you even pin it to the same board? Do you go back and delete a pin? I know those are going to be really common questions that come up, so we’d want to address those.
Kate Ahl: Yeah, so we don’t delete a pin. And the time in between boards, Pinterest has said if you’re going to pin something to a board again at another time, you want a couple of months in between. But that’s also a little bit of a gray area. You want to play around with that to see how that works for your account. But the whole thing they’re trying to avoid with that is that people aren’t pinning the same pin every single day to their boards. And that’s not a good user experience anyway. You’d want to have your boards look pretty diversified, so really paying attention to if I have my pin that’s doing really well, and it’s on all of my boards right now, I might go back to a board and say, “Hey. I haven’t pinned that in a couple of months. I’m going to pin it again to that board.”
Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. That’s great. Kate, we covered a lot. And I know that there’s a lot more that we could cover. You’ve been doing this for a long time. You’ve been working with clients and customers in multiple different venues and areas. And we do appreciate you as a Food Blogger Pro resident expert on the forums. We’re lucky enough to interact with you there. But you also have different ways that people can work with you at Simple Pin Media. So can you talk about if somebody is interested in increasing their shares on Pinterest, their engagement, their traffic from Pinterest, and they’re interested in partnering with you to do that, what are the different ways that people could connect with you and follow along with what you’re up to?
Kate Ahl: That’s a great question. I feel like if you want to hire us, we definitely have that with management on our website at simplepinmedia.com/services. And then we also have our membership services, which is The Simple Pin Collective, where if you want to do that yourself and figure out how to really master the Pinterest marketing game, that is also there as well. And if you are somebody who’s just starting out, and you just need the basics, we have the Simple Pin Podcast for you, and that is where we have a ton of free content about Pinterest, so you can basically DIY it, get up and running. But then if you get stuck, you can always join the collective.
Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. That’s great. Kate, thanks so much for coming on the podcast, and it was great to talk to you.
Kate Ahl: Thank you.
Bjork Ostrom: Abby, welcome back.
Abby Bayatpour: Thanks for having me. Happy to be here.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. So on the last episode, we were talking a little bit about trends. We talked about Pinterest hashtags. We talked about how we’re intentionally setting up the Instagram profile, kind of the grid that we have, and how we’ve evolved that and used that structure to help inform some of the content we’re creating. Today, we’re going to do another little behind the scenes look. And we’re going to talk about stories. So just hearing a little bit about the approach that we’re taking for Food Blogger Pro as it relates to the stories side of Instagram, which is obviously a popular and important side of things.
Bjork Ostrom: So for those that aren’t familiar, my assumption is always, hey, people know about Instagram. People know about Instagram Stories. But for those who aren’t familiar with Instagram Stories, can you share a little bit about what it is, and now it works and how it’s different than a regular Instagram post?
Abby Bayatpour: Sure. Instagram Stories are more … It’s usually more video based, but can be photos as well. And they’re kind of the unedited version. Instagram is sort of always the very curated feed. You have a pretty photo. Everything is very just so. But Instagram Stories is kind of a chance for a peek behind the curtain, so whether that be showing someone how you make a recipe, or a photo shoot, or something of that sort. It’s really a tool to see behind the scenes, or to share more, or elaborate more about something on your feed, or what’s going on with your business or your blog.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. It’s interesting to see how … This was a while ago, and a lot of people who are into social media know this, but it’s interesting to see SnapChat come along, get a lot of traction. People talked about how much they loved this idea of this raw, authentic, unedited interaction. And then Instagram was like, “Oh, we notice a lot of people doing this. We should create something very similar,” so kind of inspiration from SnapChat. And now is a really important part of Instagram, and it’s a great way to engage and interact with your followers. So can you talk a little bit about some behind the scenes for Food Blogger Pro? How are we approaching stories? Do we have a schedule? What does that look like in terms of the Food Blogger Pro Instagram Stories account?
Abby Bayatpour: For Food Blogger Pro, we do have a schedule. And that really came out of just knowing we needed to be on stories, but not really sure where to start. So when I started it last year, we talked about wanting to get on stories and making sure that we were active there. It was just a matter of: What are we going to post? And it needed to be something where I wasn’t just coming up every day with just something random to post. So through some brainstorming, we found that we wanted to hit some key areas on certain days. We have photography tip day, blogging day, or blogging tip day, podcast promotion, and ask us anything. And now we have a motivation day on Wednesdays with Alexa. So we’re kind of hitting a bunch of different areas, and still staying within our niche.
Abby Bayatpour: And being able to do that, again, really helps us narrow down what we’re doing and how we’re contributing, and making sure it’s really intentional instead of sort of hopping on every day and not knowing really what we’re going to post, or if it’s going to be themed, or anything of that sort. So it’s really great to be able to leverage our whole team, since our whole team jumps on stories, so you, Bjork, to Lindsay, Emily, our video person on the Pinch of Yum side, everyone kind of jumps in and is able to contribute their area of expertise, and make sure that we’re getting as much value as we can through Instagram Stories. So we’re not only providing a really great feed, but we have a really great peek behind the curtain on Instagram Stories as well.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome. One of the things that I love about what you just shared is this idea of kind of buckets that we’re able to put something into. And I think that really helps when you think of creating content to say, maybe it’s every day, every day you have, or every week you have a certain things scheduled, kind of blogging tip day, or motivational day. And I think that helps in order to funnel down the decisions that you have to make as it relates to: Am I going to do Instagram Stories today? If so, what am I going to do? Simplify that by having a little bit of structure around it. And I think that can go a really long way.
Bjork Ostrom: And the other thing that I think is so valuable that you had talked about was this idea of the consistency element. And we had talked about that in the previous episode as well, but just having a consistent deliverable that you are coming on in every, whatever it would be, Monday, or Wednesday, or every first day of the month, you are doing something. And that just helps with the scheduling side of things so much.
Bjork Ostrom: What does that look like when you’re creating a story. We put all this time and energy into it. We’re recording a video. We’re publishing that to Instagram Stories. But then how do you actually get people to watch it or engage with it? In terms of the interaction side of things, what does that look like, and how does that work?
Abby Bayatpour: I think one of the big pieces, like you said, is consistency and people knowing that a certain segment or thing is coming on certain days, so people are more likely to engage with it just because they know that on Fridays we have photography tips days. I’m real excited to see what they’re offering. But the other thing that we do on the Food Blogger Pro account on a pretty regular basis, not every time, but pretty regularly, is when we’re posting to the feed, in the caption, kind of putting a little note in there. Hey, check out our stories for a really neat video tip for making the most of your video footage from our video specialist, Emily.
Abby Bayatpour: So someone who is maybe seeing that post within their feed, but not necessarily watching stories on a consistent basis, has a reason to jump over to our profile and watch that story, and then maybe engage with it, or share it with someone, share it with someone else. It’s just creating that link where someone is following us in all the places, and maybe seeing all the things rather than just seeing stories or just seeing posts on the feed.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s one of the things that I think we often forget in the content creation process, is the next step that people should take after consuming the content. And so if you have an Instagram post, like you were saying, and there’s Instagram Stories that tie into that, what a great way to say, “Hey, we’re going to deliver something in this post,” if not just a lead in to something else. But if you want to learn more, check out Instagram Stories. Or in talking with Kate from Simple Pin Media, she talked about going through Instagram Stories, and then she talked about the idea of swiping up to pin something for later. And there’s all these different ways that we can continue to tie in these different accounts that we have, so we’re not just leaving people hanging, we encourage them to engage, to share, to take the next step.
Bjork Ostrom: And I think that’s a really important thing to consider as not only content creators, but also content promoters. And that’s the business that we’re in. We’re not creating content. We’re also promoting that. And I think that the point that you made about including additional steps, additional things that people can do after the fact, is really, really important. So Abby, thanks for coming on again, for sharing a little bit of the behind the scenes for Food Blogger Pro. And to wrap up this episode, we’re going to chat a bit about engagement and how you can measure that for your brand, or your blog, or your social media account, so that’s coming up next.
Bjork Ostrom: All right. Today’s episode is all about the idea of sharing content. And one of the important elements with sharing is this idea of engagement. But I though it’d be helpful to talk a little bit about what engagement actually is, and how you can go about measuring that, because what you measure, you can improve. If you don’t know what the numbers are, it’s really hard to improve it. So as we talk about engagement, as we talk about increasing our sharing, how do we go about measuring that to know if we’re being successful? Well, I thought it would be helpful to spend some time talking through that, and also to look at it from a few different angles. And what I mean by that is, it’s important to think about engagement from the perspective of what your goal is with the thing that you are creating.
Bjork Ostrom: And an example would be, in one case, let’s say that you have a website, a blog post, where your goal is to get affiliate earnings from that blog post. For that specific piece of content, the best way to think of engagement is actually people coming and clicking on a link, and then leaving. It’s actually not something that you, first and foremost, be wanting people to share, although that would be something that would be beneficial. Let’s say somebody comes and they find it really helpful. They share that, that would be awesome. But in that specific instance, the best way that people are engaging with that is they’re coming, they’re clicking on that content, and they’re hopefully going to purchase the thing that are talking about.
Bjork Ostrom: The type of engagement that I’m going to be sharing about is engagement through social media. So there’s a big difference between having a really big audience and a really engaged audience. And the ideal is to have both, to have a big audience that is very engaged, but sometimes you’ll see a really big audience, lots of followers, but they’re not very engaged. And that’s why it’s important as we talk about sharing, to also talk about engagement. And I think the easiest way for you, as you think about being intentional with tracking this, is to take all of the metrics that are available to you, and to create a little formula that allows you to calculate engagement for certain pieces of content.
Bjork Ostrom: And I’ll give you a really concrete example. On Instagram, one of the things that you can see is how many people comment, or favorite, or like a post. And you can also see how many people have been exposed to that post. They call that impressions. And so a form of engagement, a number that you could get for your engagement number, could be the number of people that have liked or commented a certain post, along with the number of people who saw that. And that will give you a number to show you how engaged that audience is. You could also use the number of followers you have if you wanted to use another number to calculate your engagement number.
Bjork Ostrom: An example would be, let’s say you had a piece of content that had 100 likes, and you have 1000 followers, that would mean that if you are using those two numbers to calculate your engagement number, that would be a 10% engagement number. So it’s not so much you have to use specific numbers, it’s you deciding what’s important for you, you deciding what the most important metric is to track, and then creating some type of system. It could be a really simple system to pull that in. Now there are tools that will help you do that. But one of the things that we found to be true is, at least when you’re first starting out, sometimes it’s helpful to manually go through and do this because it’s not just getting the number, it’s going through the process of getting the number that will also help inform some of the learnings that will come along the way in doing that.
Bjork Ostrom: As we talk about sharing, it’s also important to think about engagement. And it’s important for you to think about: What are the things that are most important for me as it relates to my content? The example that we gave before, engagement could look like coming and clicking on something, and leaving and going to another page. Engagement could look like signing up for an email list. Or if we’re talking about social, and we’re talking about sharing content, it could mean shares, likes, comments. It could be how engaged people are through the interaction with that piece of content. And you can use that as a way to track the engagement number for your content.
Bjork Ostrom: I thought it was important to talk about that a little bit as we talk about sharing, and as we mentioned engagement a few different times on this podcast episode. And as much as possible, spend some time with your content and analyze. Hey, what are the things that people are engaging with the most, the things that I publish that people are most interested in? And using that number, using the metrics around that content can help, even if it’s really loosely, can help inform some of the decisions that you’ll make moving forward with your content.
Bjork Ostrom: All right. That is a wrap for this episode all about sharing. It’s an important thing in life. Right? We like to teach our children to share. But it’s also an important thing as you are building a content based business, a blog, a social media following. It’s important to think about: What are the types of content that people want to share? Which is why we dedicated this podcast episode to that concept. Speaking of creating content, that is what the episode is going to be next week. We’re going to talk all about content and how you can be intentional with your content creation, obviously a really important thing for people who do the things that we do, which is create really helpful content, recipes, but we know that there’s also lots of other people that listen to this podcast. So even if you are not a food blogger, this is the Food Blogger Pro Podcast, but we welcome you as well.
Bjork Ostrom: And in next week’s episode, we’re going to be talking about not only recipes, but we’re going to be talking about what quality content in general looks like. So if you have not yet subscribed to the podcast, make sure that you do that in your favorite podcast app of choice. It could be the one on your phone. It could be on your computer. Wherever you are, you can just search Food Blogger Pro and subscribe to the podcast. Bonus points if you leave a review as well. I will screen shot it, send it to my mom, and reassure her that I’m continuing to do good work. So we would really appreciate that.
Bjork Ostrom: And last but not least, if you are not yet a member of Food Blogger Pro, you can check out what we are all about by going to foodbloggerpro.com. We have an incredible community of people and an incredible amount of value for anybody who wants to level up the type of work that they’re doing, to level up their content, to think strategically about how they are building a business in the food or recipe space. So we would encourage you to check that out as well at foodbloggerpro.com. That is a wrap. We really appreciate you tuning in. And we really hope that you have a great week. We’ll see you back here same time, same place. Until then, make it a great week. Thanks.
I’ve been enjoying the new podcast format, lots of good info!
I’ve tended to approach trying to increase Pinterest results similar to other social media. Trying to engage with others (i.e. share others’ pins) along with my own. After listening to Kate, I’m thinking maybe it doesn’t make sense to do much sharing of pins that aren’t from my blog. Is that a correct interpretation? Or other there some benefits to sharing other pins.
Also, given the emphasis of fresh pins from one’s website, is getting re-pinned from within the Pinterest platform not helpful at this point? There are various forums to encourage reciprocal pinning of each other’s content on Pinterest. Sounds like these might not be a good use of time?