Research Roundup: On Pinterest Group Boards

.Making the most out of Pinterest is a puzzle. Tailwind is interesting but there are other methods of approaching the platform that deserve consideration.  This is the first of a continuing feature of “Research Roundup posts.”  I’ll take some cool blog post I’ve found and give you a short summary of it and with a brief analysis.  It’s a place to put all this research I do.  Today’s offering is on Pinterest Group boards. I am DEFINITELY not a Pinhead Genius, not even close!  Here’s a quick look at an article that helped me to get a better grasp of the Tailwind concept–and of alternative methods to develop a Pinterest strategy on our own.

Advice from a Champion Pinner

Pinterest is a Search Engine for Content.  There is an algorithm on the back end of it that organizes things–and that’s the key to understanding how to use it to get traffic.   This article on Dian Farmer’s Teaching You To Blog site on how to make the most of Pinterest Group Boards provided me with the first glimmer of insight into how to approach Pinterest from a business blogger’s perspective.  Pinterest is a search engine and as a search engine, SEO practices are important for making the most of it.

Some highlights from this article:

Like traditional seo (search engine optimization), Pinterest wants to recommend trusted sources. Domain quality (not a spam site), pin quality (is it a popular pin (chicken, egg, but like all seo longevity helps), not spam, do people like the pin), pinner quality (are you a good pinner who shares good content that people enjoy), and is the topic a good fit for the search term, all go into deciding if the pin is a good fit when someone searches on Pinterest

Wow. This makes sense.  Okay.  But the rest of this article throws down some amazing facts about Pinterest that totally knocked my socks off.

Pinterest’s Smart Feed System is human-in-the-loop.   This means that there is an actual human being who does the initial triage of pins. This fascinating article on Medium details the entire process. (Warning: the Medium piece is somewhat technical.) I was surprised by this as I thought it was all-algorithm, but indeed, there’s someone who sorts the pins when they come in the door, and also the re-pins.  The description of the algorithmic portions of the Pinterest Smart Feed system provides some clues as to why Tailwind is the powerful accelerator of traffic that so many people claim it to be.

Group Boards are the Powerful Push Factors

Group boards or collaborative boards are apparently a critical piece of understanding how Pinterest has become such a huge content driver for blogs. When someone pins something on a very active board with lots of followers, then that increases the score for that pin.  This can edge out a pin on a board that has no followers (like my sad little boards!)  Big group boards with lots of people who repin from those boards provide pins with a nice little wallop in the scoring system.  That wallop forces that pin upward into the equivalent of the search engine return pages on Pinterest–that is, it helps the pin to score high enough so that they are entered into the feeds of followers and non-followers alike.

Ann, the veteran blogger and champion pinner, advises us in this post to “never follow someone with fewer followers than you.”  The blogger writing this article (guest hosting from a lifestyle blog) should know as her boards have 20K+ followers.

Some of her best advice is this:

Put some thought into how a board can help you, how you can help the board, and if the arrangement is a quid pro quo, or if you are wasting your time with that board. When people issue you an invitation to a group board through the Pinterest messenger (because you are such a good pinner!) make the same decision: is this board large enough for me to join? Is the pinner to follower ratio good? Can I contribute well and wisely to this group board? Will this group board help me as much as I can help it?

Rules matter

Group boards, like Tailwind Tribes, have rules–and those rules are critical to understand to get the most out of participation.  Ann writes:

I also look at the group rules when deciding whether or not to join a group board. The largest group board on Pinterest quickly becomes useless is it never allows a pin to be repinned. . . I like to see pin limits on a group board, although it is not necessary. Some people limit to one pin per collaborator per day, three pins per day, only two pins in a row, etc. Some people want only vertical pins (Pinterest lists a 2:3 ratio and 600px x 900px as optimal click here for size recommendations from Pinterest itself), and will not allow extremely long pins (that Pinterest truncates anyway). So read the group board rules to see if you can live with them, and save yourself from getting the boot!

Group Boards or Tailwind, Group Boards AND Tailwind

The reciprocity rules in Tailwind Tribes clearly have been inspired by these earlier, Old School practices of group boards to drive traffic in Pinterest. But rather than putting the focus on a group board, Tailwind users are choosing what to put on to ANY board. So what happens when we add this strategy to the group board strategy?  Or when we apply Ann’s group board strategy to Tailwind itself?

Applying Ann’s advice about looking for high volume boards, it would make much more sense to look for the bigger (and most active) Tribes on Tailwind, too.  We might also decide to not to go for a ($120 annual fee) Tailwind account and develop a strategy around group boards first.  Still, what happens when one combines a high volume tribe with a group board? My opinion is that this could explain the insanely high communicative reach of some Tailwind pins.   Clearly, there is more to learn about Pinterest and about Tailwind. And there’s more to building a good Pinterest strategy than this, I’m afraid.  There’s the problem of “rich pins” and other headaches that I’ll be looking into in the next few weeks.    Thanks for reading.  ~ Lola

Author: Lola

Recovering academic, real-life, honest to cornflakes anthropologist (Ph.D. and fieldwork and everything), tech-head and social media researcher.

3 thoughts on “Research Roundup: On Pinterest Group Boards

    1. I know! It’s a big problem. I still am trying to find good resources for Pinterest that are free or at least affordable. Tailwind—seems to be a scam.

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