Forget the Pinterest 80/20 rule: A new, more effective pinning strategy is here

Pinterest’s recommendations and best practices have changed quite a bit in 2018, tailoring the social platform to better fit users’ needs and the goal of the site: to discover cool, new content.

We chatted with Tailwind’s content marketing manager, Alisa Meredith, to get the inside scoop about these changes, how users should respond and some good strategies to make pins more successful and impactful.

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Image credit: Alisa Meredith

“They want people to see new stuff,” Meredith said of Pinterest’s strategy. “They want us to discover new things. So they really want the high quality content to win out over a popularity contest.”

To help bolster this search-and-discover mentality, the trending tab is now gone for good. The re-pin count is also out.

Meredith added, “You and I both know that virality doesn’t always mean quality. So they want us to search and discover new things on Pinterest.”

Re-thinking re-pinning

The traditional Pinterest rule of thumb goes something like this: Create about 20 percent of your own content, and re-pin 80 percent of the time. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking like you’re spamming.

Well, it’s time to rethink that strategy, according to Meredith.

“I had an interview with the product marketing manager of Pinterest in April, which is on our YouTube channel,” Meredith shared, “and I asked her about this because people will say there’s an 80/20 rule or 20/80 rule, like you should pin 20 percent of your own, 80 percent of someone else’s. That rule is just everywhere.

So what did the Pinterest exec say? “She said no, there’s no technical reason why you have to share other people’s pins. A lot of pinners like to support people that they like, and I think that’s great. And I do that, too. But technically speaking, you don’t have to.”

(You can watch the full hour-and-a-half-long interview on Tailwind’s YouTube channel for more insights.)

Strategizing with SmartLoop

Given this change in the way we previously thought about pinning, Tailwind has implemented a new tool called SmartLoop, which allows pinners to pull up pins from the past and “refresh” them in a sense, bringing your evergreen content full circle for the right season.

“What SmartLoop can help you do is to re-share your own content,” Meredith said. “But we worked with Pinterest to make sure that all their recommendations for settings and the hard limits that we put in would mean that you’d be sharing in a smart way that wouldn’t make you look unnatural or spammy.”

SmartLoop will also provide users with helpful analytics to take the guesswork out of effective pinning.

“You can see the overall re-pin rate for your loop and then you can go through your loop and figure out which pins should stay, what should go, which you should revamp,” Meredith explained.

“It helps make your pinning smarter over time. I think for a food blogger, something that they might really love is a seasonal loop. So you probably have some content that does a lot better at holiday time or summertime. You can create a loop that will, each year, start pinning for you at the right time, and then stop when that time is done.”

You can pin products!

Meredith sees the future of Pinterest in shopping — no question.

“Pinterest really wants to become a shopping destination, and with that in mind, they’ve opened up product pins to more people. It used to be you’d have to go through an agency. Now, anybody can tag a pin with a product, which makes it really easy to go find and buy that product. That was really necessary, because it used to be that there were a lot of pins out there where you’d find something, you’d fall in love with the item, you’d save it, and later you’d go to buy it and you couldn’t find it,” she said.

With that in mind, Pinterest isn’t just about how often you’re sharing content. It’s about the type of content you’re sharing. The foundation of your Pinterest content is beautiful photos, engaging links and effective curation, but all of that should be built on the fact that each individual pin allows users to discover something new — whether it’s your own content or a re-pin.


Want to get insights into your social media traffic? Find out about Tailwind here!

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