If you’re looking for ways to make your Pinterest pins go viral, then this post is for you. But first, let me make myself clear…
There is no such thing as a 100% “guaranteed” way to make pins go viral.
However, there are different methods and practices proven by successful Pinterest marketers that can help increase your chances of doing so – and that’s what I will be sharing with you today.
And if you’re on Pinterest for a while now, you probably already know a lot of different “hacks” and tips to make a pin go viral. You might have even already tried some of them, right?
Nevertheless, I took the time to scour the Internet, watch tons of different Pinterest videos, and even go through Pinterest marketing tutorials to compile a comprehensive list for you.
Furthermore, I also included a section about the most common mistakes Internet marketers make on Pinterest so you won’t have to worry about getting penalized or getting your account blocked while trying to get traffic for your business from Pinterest.
That being said, let’s start cracking the code of how to make your pins go viral…
1. Use Captivating Images on your Pins
If this isn’t obvious enough, your image is the first most crucial factor that dictates whether your pin goes viral or gets buried in Pinterest.
Pinterest is a visual search engine platform; hence, your pins will perform best if they have high-quality, unique, and interesting images that pique the attention of your target audience.
It’s the reason why having an eye-catching image is number one on Pinterest’s essential tips for great pins.
Because even if your pins are ranking high at searches, but you can’t get people to click on them, it won’t amount much. People will simply scroll over and look for other pins.
I often pay for the stock photos I use on my pins because they are less common compared to the free ones. However, you can also find highly pinnable free stock photos if you can spare a lot of time to look diligently.
Another way you can have captivating images to use for your pins for free is by using the tool called Canva.
Canva is an image editor that has ready to use Pinterest image templates you can easily customize.
Moving on… The next thing you need to consider for your pin image is the fact that around 85% of Pinterest users are on mobile devices.
As a result, most of the viral pins (if not all) on Pinterest have vertical images with an aspect ratio of 1:2 and 2:3, because if you think about it, that’s what most screens of smartphones look like.
On that note, just keep in mind that images that are too tall might get cut off or truncated by Pinterest.
It’s best to stick into using images with 1:2 or 2:3 aspect ratios with no less than 600 pixels in width, e.g., 600×1200, 1000×1500, or 700×2100 pixels.
Anything with resolution lower than 600 pixels in width is too small for Pinterest, and it might appear blurry on other devices.
Now, aside from the first two things we’ve discussed above, here’s more information about what kind of images goes viral on Pinterest based on a case study conducted by Curalate in 2013.
Characteristics of highly-clickable pin images:
- Pins containing red, orange and brown images receive roughly twice as many repins than pins with blue images
- Images with multiple dominant colours have 3.25 times more repins per image than images with a single dominant colour
- Brand images without faces receive 23% more repins than images that have the presence of faces
- Pins containing images of medium lightness are repinned 20x higher than very dark images and 8x more than very light images
- Pins that contain less than 10% background (e.g. whitespace) are repinned 2 to 4 times more than images with more than 40% background
2. Use Relevant Keywords and Hashtags
Aside from making sure that your pins have very clickable images, you also need to make sure that people actually get eyeballs on them to make them viral.
Optimizing your pins for SEO by using relevant keywords and hashtags on your pin titles and descriptions will help your pins come up on search results.
First, you need to add your target keyword on your pin title.
As an example, I searched for “viral pin” on Pinterest, and these are the results.
Notice how the top results contain the exact keywords on their title?
Not only that but what’s also consistent among top pins is that the descriptions are optimized to contain relevant keywords and hashtags.
To find out what are the most popular keywords on your niche, you can follow a step-by-step tutorial about it here.
And while we’re on the topic of keyword optimization, please avoid keyword stuffing.
Keyword stuffing, as the phrase suggests, is adding keywords and hashtags on pin description without any context.
Now, I don’t want to badmouth other pinners. But for educational purposes, here’s an example of keyword stuffing…
Notice how the description doesn’t make any sense, and it’s just a collection of keywords and hashtags thrown together for SEO purposes.
Pinterest has already made a warning about keyword stuffing and sooner or later, the platform will impose a strict rule about it.
If the users that practice keyword stuffing don’t change their ways, they might get penalized heavily later, the same way how your contents will never rank on Google today by keyword stuffing.
Finally, you should also use relevant keywords on your image title and alt text as it will also help Pinterest identify what your image is all about.
3. Give Context to your Pins with Text Overlays
In today’s time when a person’s attention span is very short, a well-crafted text overlay that stirs the curiosity of your audience or appeals to their emotion can make them click your pin and learn more about your content.
If you can’t use an image that clearly reveals what your pin is all about, you can use text overlays to immediately tell your audience what it’s all about and how it can help them.
Here’s one of my pins with a text overlay.
Now, one of the best ways to make your text overlay effective is by using large and easy-to-read fonts.
Remember, everything is about giving your audience a clear idea of what your pin is all about and how it can benefit them.
Another way to create highly effective text overlays is by using call-to-action phrases.
Phrases like “Click here for more vegan recipes”, or “Click the link to get more tips on how to do affiliate marketing on Pinterest” tells people that they will get something of value if they click on your pin.
Which brings us to the next proven way to make your pin go viral…
4. Provide Real Value to your Target Audience
A pin goes “viral” when it is being repinned (shared) by other users over and over again.
But if you think about it, what makes other users share your pin?
The truth is, while captivating images makes people want to click your pin, and proper selection and placement of keywords make Pinterest rank your pins high on search results…
What really makes a pin go viral is because it relates to the interest of your audience and it gives them the information they are looking for.
People share your pins because of the benefits they enjoyed after they clicked your pin and they want to share it to other users as well.
So aside from the things we’ve discussed above, another crucial element that makes your pin go viral is whether or not it lives to its promise and delivers the things that your audience wants.
This is why I highly recommend that if you’re planning to create viral pins so you can drive traffic from Pinterest for your business, you must have a website or a blog. (start a blog here)
Because when someone clicks on your pin, you then provide a link to your site or blog where they will get more information and ideas about their interests.
It will be hard to make your pin go viral if all of your pins link directly to a sales page or a product page because more often than not, that’s not the kind of information people on Pinterest are looking for.
There’s even a good chance that your account might get reported for spamming if all of your pins link directly to a sales page or an affiliate product page.
5. Timing is Everything
Timing is another critical element when trying to make your pins go viral.
It’s because the number of people who might see your older pins is far smaller compared to the number of people who might see it right after you published it.
For instance, your followers will be able to see your pins right after you post it.
And the more people can see your pins, the more likely that it will get clicks, engagements, and repins.
When Pinterest notices that many of your followers reacted to your pin, it will get shown on other people’s home feed as well, as long as it is related to the query.
So depending on your target demographic, whether you’re targeting people from the US, Europe, Africa or Asia, see to it that the time you pin coincides to the time of the day that majority of your followers are online.
You can find out that your traffic stats for free with Pinterest Analytics.
6. Brand your Pins
Once people realize that you always provide value for them, it’s very likely that they will always click your pins, regardless if it’s at the bottom section of the search results.
I’m sure you’ve experienced a similar thing when you’re searching for something on Google.
Most people only click the top 3 results on Google for a query.
But I bet when you see content from a blog or website that you’ve always known to give you the information you’re looking for, you’ll click it regardless if it’s at the bottom of the page.
The same thing can be said for Pinterest users.
Branding your pins will make it easy for other people to find your pins and consume your content. And when more people can find your pins, it increases the chance of that pin for going viral.
There are different ways to brand your pins. You can
- Add your site URL at the bottom of your images;
- Add your logo on the image, or;
- Use the same fonts and colour combinations consistently.
As an example, here are some of my pins about the interest for side hustles with my branding.
Now, I don’t often add a URL to my blog or use my logo. Instead, I use the same font styles and colour schemes all across my pins.
But if you’re planning to add your logo on your pins, Pinterest advises avoiding the lower right corner since that spot gets covered up by the platform’s product icons.
7. Join Group Boards
If you’re new on Pinterest and you don’t have a lot of followers yet, one good way to expose your pins to a much larger audience in hopes of making it viral is by joining Group Boards.
A group board is a Pinterest board that contains different pins contributed by different Pinterest users.
How it usually works is one user creates a board and allows other users to join and save their pin on that board, thus the name group board.
If you join a group board and you save a pin on that board, all the other users who are contributors of the group board, including their followers, will see your pin.
Hence by joining multiple group boards, thousands of people will be able to see every new pin you publish even if you only have less than 100 followers.
Getting the maximum exposure for your pins and driving traffic to your site by pinning on group boards was a huge thing in the past. However…
In 2018, Pinterest changed its algorithm and limited the distribution of pins in group boards.
According to Pinterest, the change was implemented because the original purpose of Pinterest Group Boards was for users to collaborate ideas for common interests, like food recipes, home decors, gift ideas or travel destinations.
But what happened was that this feature was then used primarily by Internet marketers to borrow audiences for their pins and drive traffic to each other’s sites and blogs.
Nevertheless, as a new Pinterest user, you still need to consider any methods that will allow your pins to reach as many audiences, and Pinterest didn’t really say that they prohibit using group boards for this purpose.
It’s easy to find group boards on Pinterest.
You just have to type in “your niche” + “group boards” on the search bar and change the drop-down filter to “Boards”.
For example, I typed in “Pinterest marketing group boards”, and it led me to the various group boards for this niche.
Then I clicked one of the results to find out how I can join.
The URL leads me to the group board owner’s blog, where she gave me the link to apply.
I just then need to fill up a form and provide some information and wait to be accepted.
Another way to find Pinterest group boards is through the site called PINGROUPIE.
And as you can see in the image above, you can search for the niche of the group board you’re looking for.
I typed in “blogging tips,” set some filters like the number of followers and voila!
Now before you join any group board, here are 2 things you need to consider:
- Only join group boards that are highly relevant to your niche
- Join group boards with 50-150 contributors because those are the boards that are likely closely monitored by the owner and does not tolerate spammers
Anyways, I wrote a separate article on how Pinterest group boards can help your business and you can check it out here.
8. Build Strong Boards on your Account
Joining group boards can help you get some traction when you’re just starting to establish your brand on Pinterest.
Nonetheless, one of the proven ways used by Pinterest marketers to make pins go viral is by building and optimizing your own boards.
Your pin titles and descriptions play an important role in Pinterest SEO, and the same can be said for your Pinterest boards.
When people search for something on the search bar, Pinterest will suggest pins, boards and even profiles that contain the exact or related keywords to the query.
Hence, if you optimize your boards to reflect its relevance to a particular topic, there’s a good chance that it will come up in search queries and people will find your pins.
So what you need to do is use relevant keywords to your target audience on your board titles and descriptions,
On your board’s descriptions, you can then include related keywords to blogging, e.g., how to start blogging, how to pick a blogging niche and hashtags like #makemoneyblogging or #bloggingforbeginners, etc.
Here are some of the boards by a Pinterest user in the blogging niche that has around a million monthly viewers.
9. Repin and Save your Pins under Relevant Boards
Even the most veteran Pinterest marketers don’t always get their pins to go viral in one try. What they do is share the same pin under a different board.
Hence, if you’re confident that your pin gives real value to your audience and it could be a source of valuable information, you can mimic this strategy.
For example, if you have a pin about blogging that links to good content, you can create related boards with titles Best Blogging Tips, How To Succeed In Blogging, etc. and repin it on each of them.
Doing so will help your pin get exposed to your target audience repeatedly, and under the right condition, it could gain traction and become viral.
Here’s an example of a content creator on Pinterest who claims her pins got more exposure after she pinned it on multiple boards.
That being said, make sure that you repin your content under relevant boards.
You wouldn’t want to repin something about side hustles for disabled people under a blogging tips board.
You can also create another board and name it after your blog. Then you can repin all your pins on that board if those pins are linking back to your blog.
Here’s an example of Pinterest marketers who’ve had multiple viral pins and notice how they have a board named after their blogs.
When is Repinning your Own Pins Considered Spamming?
Pinterest considers repinning the same images that link to the same URL on the same board spamming.
So if there are particular pins that you like, you can repin them on other boards but it is recommended that you only repin them on the same board after 3 to 4 months.
If Pinterest notices that you are repinning duplicates on the same board frequently, you might get your account suspended or blocked for spamming.
10. Create Multiple Pins for each Content
Aside from repinning your content under several boards, you should also create multiple images for each of your content.
For example, I’ve written a blog about 30+ Side Hustles for Teachers and here are two of the different pins I’ve created for the same content.
Now, you might ask, isn’t this duplicate content? Won’t Pinterest penalize me for this practice?
Well, the answer is, no.
Pinterest, as we already discussed, is a visual search engine.
Therefore, even if my pin redirects to the same content as long as I used a different image, Pinterest will consider it as a new pin.
Veteran Pinterest marketers suggest that you create 3 to 5 different pins for each of your contents.
So even if you only have 5 blog posts at the moment, you can create 15 to 25 different pins for your Pinterest account.
And after you’ve pinned all the 25 images on your account, you can start repinning them under different board names.
Therefore, aside from the fact that this helps you from getting burned out for trying to create new blog content for your pins every day, it allows your pins to get maximum exposures.
11. Be Consistent
I couldn’t stress this enough, but Pinterest is a long term game and a long-term online business strategy.
If you don’t get immediate results after implementing the things above, don’t lose hope.
It could be that you pinned when only a few of your followers were online, or it wasn’t properly optimized for Pinterest SEO, or it could be for various other reasons.
Keep implementing the good practices for Pinterest marketing and keep learning new things. Because as what Vince Lombardi once said,
“Winners never quit and quitters never win.”
And the only way to win a long term game like Pinterest is to keep going.
And before I end, I’d like to share with you some things you need to avoid in your pursuit of creating viral pins on Pinterest.
Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid for Pinterest Marketers
1. Followers Quality over Quantity
Pinterest claims that its algorithm will show your new pins to your followers first. Then it evaluates the engagement of your followers to your pins and decides if it should be shown to bigger audiences.
Therefore, the malpractice of mass following and purchasing followers won’t do you any good.
Because even if you have literally millions of followers, but the majority of them are bots or people who don’t belong in your niche, they won’t engage in your pins.
This will then tell Pinterest that your contents might not be highly relevant to the people in your niche.
Thus, it’s better to have 100 real followers that are interested in your content than 10,000 who are just numbers.
2. Keyword Stuffing is a Thing of the Past
While it is still working today, and many users are still ranking high on search results for stuffing keywords on their pins and boards, it isn’t designed to last.
As I already mentioned earlier, Pinterest has already made a warning about keyword stuffing, and you don’t want to be caught red-handed when a new anti keyword stuffing algorithm is enforced.
3. Don’t Pin your Images all at Once
Another common mistake made by new Pinterest marketers is pinning all their contents at once.
Pinterest itself advises you to upload your pins in regular intervals rather than all at one go.
So if you have created 7 new pins, Pinterest recommends that you upload 1 pin each day for 7 days straight instead.
This practice will help you reach more audiences and give each of your pins enough exposure before uploading a new one.
Summing it all up
Did you find this post on how to make your pins go viral helpful? I sure hope so…
But at this point, I hope that it has become clear that there is no such thing as a set of formula or strategy that will guarantee your pins will go viral on Pinterest.
These are mere guidelines that you can use to help your cause.
And while these methods are proven to work by many successful Pinterest marketers, your success will depend on how you implement the things you’ve learned and how well you can adjust your strategies.
And there could be other ways to make your pins go viral that I wasn’t able to include here, and if you know one, I would appreciate it if you can share it to our fellow Pinterest marketers in the comment section below.
Anyways, thank you for spending your time reading this lengthy article.
May you find success in the future and if you have any questions, you can let me know and I’ll make sure to get back to you.
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