6 Ways to Increase User Engagement on Pinterest

There’s no doubt about it: Over the last year, Pinterest has exploded into the top referrer of traffic to many food blogs, replacing even Google and the so-called “food porn” sites as many people’s primary source of traffic. It’s more important than ever to perform a kind of self-audit to your website, to make sure that you are doing everything in your power to encourage readers to pin your posts, attract followers, and maximize your readers’ use of Pinterest. Over the last few days, we’ve completely overhauled the way we use Pinterest on our own websites, using the following ideas as a rough guide:

1. Make sure that you’ve got regular Pinterest “Add It” buttons at the top and bottom of each post.

I’ve spent a lot of time wondering about whether the placement of social media icons (including Pinterest) should be at the top, or at the bottom of each post. When do readers make the decision to share your post? Is it the moment they see your big, gorgeous, glossy photograph of something delicious?  That would make placing your social media icons at the top of your post make sense. Or is it later, after they have had a chance to read the entire post and carefully consider all of your photographs, that they decide to hit the share button? That would make placing your social media icons at the end of your post make sense.

It’s a question I wrestled with for a long time. I considered funding a case study, tracking visitor’s eyeballs with sophisticated equipment (including lasers) to track the moment a reader decides to share, to determine whether I should place my social media icons at the top of the page, or at the bottom. Then, I decided to just put them in both places. You should, too.

2. Consider placing a gigantic plea for pins (with counter) at the bottom of each post.

At the bottom of each post, consider placing a giant plea for readers to share your post via Pinterest (you can see an example at the bottom of the post here). The bigger, the better. Remember, Pinterest is now one of the top referrers for food blogs…so there’s nothing wrong with a little shameless begging.

3. Use vertical photos in your posts.

This one may seem obvious. But Pinterest only resizes photographs horizontally to create the thumbnail for your post. This means that shooting vertically, or creating miniature collages with multiple pictures vertically, will create a bigger “footprint” when your post gets published to Pinterest.

4. Create additional Pinterest boards, particularly niche and list-type boards.

Create a few Pinterest boards around a particular niche, or even-list type Pinterest boards, using a mix of links to your own recipes and links to other people’s recipes that you admire. These boards serve a couple of purposes. First, they establish you as an “expert” or an authority in a particular niche. Second, including links to other people’s websites displays a true passion for your subject, rather than a transparent attempt to grab traffic. Finally, arranging a new board around a themed list (such as our own “25 Taco Recipes We Love” board) creates a permanent resource that users can bookmark and return to again and again.

5. Create reader-curated Pinterest boards.

Have you noticed that a few of your followers are serial repinners of your content, pinning your content over and over again? Reward them by creating a “user-curated” board separate from your other Pinterest boards, and invite your most loyal readers to contribute to it. You get a frequently updated board without doing any of the legwork, and your contributors get to feel like they are contributing to a website that they love. Even better, other readers may start repinning your posts more often in an effort to get noticed and earn “contributor” status. Your mileage may vary; you will have to carefully consider whether you have a large enough reader base to warrant the creation of this type of board, since there’s nothing sadder than a user-submitted board with no submissions.

6. Be an active member of the Pinterest community. Engage.

This one may seem like a bit of a no-brainer as well, but it bears repeating. Spend a little bit of time each day actually using Pinterest the way regular users do. Comment on people’s pins, do some re-pinning of recipes that you like, and generally be a good citizen of Pinterest. Doing so will get you noticed by other influential pinners, attract more followers, not to mention act as a source of inspiration when you are strapped for new post ideas. It also reminds you that Pinterest, in addition to a great tool for generating traffic, is a lot of fun to use.

What do you think: What strategies do you employ to encourage people to pin your posts to Pinterest?

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  1. Alexandra 7 years ago

    Thanks for the great tips! You inspired me to pop onto Pinterest, do some
    pinning, and create a few new boards. I’m going to take a look at the Pin It buttons on my site and decide whether I should make some changes there too. 🙂

    • Malcolm Bedell 7 years ago

      Glad to hear it, Alexandra! We all need to re-evaluate what we’re doing with Pinterest, every once in a while. 🙂

  2. Jenn 7 years ago

    I have a floating sharebar on my blog posts but definitely need to add more Pinterest-specific buttons! Thanks for these tips, I’m going to begin asking for pins at the end of my food posts too!

    • Malcolm Bedell 7 years ago

      Good idea, Jenn. I almost think that driving Pinterest clicks is more important than any other social media marketing.

  3. Ashleigh 7 years ago

    Thanks for the Pinterest tips! I am very active on personal pinterest account but my food blog account is lacking. Your tips have inspired me to spend some time this weekend to revamp my account and blog to be more pinterest friendly. Thanks again!

  4. Anjo Angela Lim 7 years ago

    Hi Malcolm! Thanks so much for your post it was super informative! Plus, poor college kids like me can’t afford “Pinterest For Dummies” books so we need people like you… :)! I think using a widget that allows the pin-it button to appear if a user hovers over a image is also rather convenient. Thanks again!

    • Malcolm Bedell 7 years ago

      Great suggestion, Anjo! We just started using a similar plugin.

  5. sandhya 7 years ago

    I want to add pinterest button on my blog, i want to know whether it is a paid service or free. (for my blog I have to select business option)

  6. Heidi 7 years ago

    Thanks for the great information. I’m just getting started with blogging seriously and trying to build a reader base, and I’m still learning how to leverage social media to help my cause. On my blogging “to do” list this week is trying out some of these Pinterest tips.
    Also, I’ve been considering adding “pin it” buttons in the corner of each of my photos. What’s your take on this approach? Obnoxious? Effective?

    • Malcolm Bedell 7 years ago

      I don’t think it’s obnoxious…we’ve recently begun testing these types of buttons, and so far, so good!

  7. Sally 7 years ago

    Hi Malcom,
    Great ideas all over this blog, so thank you , thank you! I do have the pin it buttons at the top and bottom of my posts but want to try the “shameless begging” for pins. Do you know if placing that request for pins marker at the bottom of posts is a plug-in? I’m pretty new and not exactly sure how to create such a thing.

    • Malcolm Bedell 7 years ago

      Hi Sally! Are you talking about the big red box I have at the bottom of each post on From Away?

  8. Morgan Wood 6 years ago

    Dumb question of the day perhaps… Malcolm, I have a personal Pinterest account and one for the blog… but I’ve been a less than disciplined about pinning because I’m not sure which is best to post to. I’m guessing I should build a Pinterest presence around the “brand”… but it seems like I’ll be “double pinning” some stuff (I want personal friends to see a Raisin and Fig board as well…). You have permission to roll your eyes at me!! 🙂

  9. Michael 6 years ago

    Hello all, I am the owner of FoodPinup.com. I appreciate that it was mentioned in these comments. We are still in our infancy state and the site is growing fast. I will plug everyone who lists on my site and feature you on the first page for one week. Register and post your food. Share a link to your site, you can even post it in the photo if you like. We are open to new ideas and new partnerships.

    Thank you and I look forward to your post.

  10. Michelle 6 years ago

    So much good advice on this site. Subscribed!

  11. Is there a way of merging two boards together? When I first started, I pointed my recipes and other’s recipes to srparate boards but would really like to combine them now.

  12. shiv singh 6 years ago

    thanx for great tips.I almost think that driving Pinterest clicks is more important than any other social media marketing.

  13. I never thought pintrest is so important. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Jayashree 6 years ago

    Thankyou for this post. I have created a pin board there but need to be more active. Best wishes