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My Pinterest Experiment and What I'm Learning

Over the last couple of days I've begun to play with Pinterest again. It's been ages since I first set up an account but when I did I didn't really really click with it.

Interestingly despite not being active on it I seemed to gather followers til it got to 1000.

I also saw some decent traffic from Pinterest to our photographic tutorials on dPS. I guess our articles are just naturally 'pinnable' as we have a lot of images. Pinterest has been sending us probably around 40,000 visitors a month which is nice (although not a massive amount in the scheme of overall traffic). In terms of social media trafic it comes in behind Facebook (FB gets about double) and above StumbleUpon and Twitter as a traffic source.

Given than we've seen decent traffic from it I decided to start playing with it this week to see what I could learn.

My strategy has been very simple and very primative so far and has centred around a 'photography board' (http://pinterest.com/darrenrowse/photography/) on my personal account.

I'm simply sharing the following:

1. photos that I love
2. tutorials from other sites that I think are good
3. a few of the better tutorials from dPS

The links to dPS are in the minority - but over the last few days I must have pinned 20 or so things.  I've also done a little liking and commenting on a few other photography related pinterest boards (not heaps).

In that time I've seen some interesting results (this is very preliminary).

1. Follower numbers are up around 450. I did link to it from my FB page and Twitter account but most of it has just steadily come in - I'm guessing mainly as people Repin my stuff.

2. Decent Repinning - the numbers are not huge but already I'm seeing some nice traction on some of the pins I've put out there. I'm fascinated to see what is and isn't getting Repinned. Obviously its largely about the image but 'tips' related stuff seems to be getting traction too. Will continue to experiment.

3. I've not noticed much increase in Pinterest traffic but given that I've only pinned a handful of dPS stuff I'm not expecting much at this point. For me at this point its more an experiment.

Update: I just checked Google Analytics and there has been a small upswing in traffic this past 3 days. It's too early to tell if it is just a normal fluctuation (so far its just on the upper end of normal) or something more but here's the last month's pinterest traffic:

http://digital-photography-school.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Screen-Shot-2012-08-15-at-10.54.43-AM.png 

Update 2: another 24 hours in and yesterday saw a continued upswing in traffic. Still not MASSIVE but growing. In fact it was the biggest Pinterest day of traffic for dPS since May. While we were averaging about 1400 visitors a day over the last couple of weeks yesterday was around 2100. Not massive but encouraging. We'll see how long the upswing lasts. Follower numbers are also continuing to steadily grow - now up over 1600 on that board (about 200 more than yesterday).

4. Reader Engagement - the comments on some of my pins are starting to come in. Interestingly followers are asking question. On one pin (on a set of images) a follower asked if I knew of any tips for a particular type of photography. I was able to link to a dPS tutorial on that topic in a reply to her comment. 

I'm seeing quite a few opportunities here and have committed to take it to the next level over the coming weeks. I'm not going to reveal what we have planned yet but you can expect to see dPS on Pinterest in a more formal way in the coming weeks (I'll share what we do when that happens).
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48 comments
 
I would have to say you are getting similar results as me. I am noticing though a regular growth of both repins and followers and a nice jump in traffic as well especially to my tutorial type posts.
 
Very nice Darren. I didn't understood at first why you disliked Pinterest at first.
 
Great share Darren.I just followed you on Pinterest.
 
I'll keep following this.  I don't utilize it strategically as much as I could for my own blog but I use it for my own girlish devices.  
 
+Hammad Maqbool I never really disliked it - I just didn't find an immediate fit with what I was doing. I'm always a little slow off the mark :-)
 
Good example +Darren Rowse There seem to be a million articles on how awesome Pinterest is. Thanks for sharing a specific example. How much of your Pinterest following and traffice referring do you think is due to your existing popularity vs. the quality of your content? I know both are very good so it might not be possible to tell :)
 
I often use pinterest as part of my workflow for things I want to share across other social media. 
 
+Darren Rowse just by being inactive you got followers. That's because you already have a lot of followers from other sources. Do you think startup bloggers can get more traffic from Pinterest? (let's asume the blogs use a lot of pictures)
 
+Luis Maymi in my opinion if you are featuring food, tutorials or diy then pinterest is a great match. Also unlike other social media channels the ability for one pin to go viral has absolutely nothing to do with your followers. You can have 100 followers and have something repinned 60,000 times. It really is all about the content.
 
+Zoey Martin Thanks for replying. Pinterest users appear to be looking for highly visual images in the categories you mentioned. I wonder why? Also you're statement that you really don't need a lot of followers to go viral is really interesting. Again I wonder why and which ones are most likely to go viral? Going to schedule that research. Again thanks for replying. 
 
I love it. Keep us updated if you can?
 
+Luis Maymi agree with +Zoey Martin - I have seen some very 'small' bloggers (small in terms of audience size) get amazing traffic on Pinterest because their content is great, their images are compelling.
 
+Luis Maymi I think the more people can get out of the image without having to click through to the actual website the more successful you are going to be in terms of repinning. Happy researching!
 
Here's a fun experiment I've been enjoying lately. Take an old post, a good one, but without visual appeal. Dress it up with an image made especially for Pinterest (normally laying text over the photo). Pin it, share the updated post on your choice of social media. And then see what happens. I can bump up 2 year old posts to my most popular position doing this.
Pinterest is 80% women. If you have a primarily female audience, Pinterest is a game changer. It is currently my number one referrer.
 
I'll bet that name recognition played a role too.
 
Thanks for the quality info Darren. I have been slow to get going with it until just recently. I am starting to see not only the value of it but also am having fun with it. Great comments too by the way.
 
I would have thought that Pinterest would be a natural fit for a photography heavy site. I haven't done anything with it yet, but I've been wanting to start. It's an interesting experiment, thanks for sharing.
 
Interesting piece -  I've just started experimenting with Pinterest myself and am receiving small but useful amounts of traffic so far. Fab idea Jimmie, I'll be giving that a try soon :) 
 
I get more traffic from Pinterest than from Facebook on my fitness blog. It seems that the pictures of fit people really do well on Pinterest. I'm sure that the niche has a lot to do with any success there.
 
There's a joke that pinterest makes you want to workout like crazy while eating ridiculously rich desserts 
 
There's a lot to be said for being slow off the mark sometimes when it comes to a new platform. Even full-time social media geeks (waving) can't be pioneers everywhere; we have to pick and choose where we focus our efforts.

+Zoey Martin - ...and sporting an amazing shoulder bag.
 
Got me poking around, on both Pinterest and Google+, dont spend much time on either.  Thanks +Darren Rowse 
 
I see a lot of positive feedback about Pinterest!
 
I have also been thinking of paying much attention to Pinterest, and your post has spurred me on to give it a good try.
 
Cool!  I love Pinterest, but have mostly been using it for fun.
 
+Darren Rowse I'm honoured to be in the category of "3. a few of the better tutorials from dPS" and you repinned an article I wrote!   I also recently read about a guy who is Pinning some of his stuff that he sells as an affiliate such as books on Amazon (directly linking to amazon with his code) and he's seeing some success with that too.  That's something I've considered adding myself.  I too am fairly new to Pinterest but eager to see where it goes.  
 
I am a craft & sewing blogger so Pinterest is huge for me. I get significantly more referrals from there than Facebook. It has forced me to really think about styling and photography to create an image people will want to pin. I also find that sewing tips & skills do very well on Pinterest.
 
Update 2: another 24 hours in and yesterday saw a continued upswing in traffic. Still not MASSIVE but growing. In fact it was the biggest Pinterest day of traffic for dPS since May. We'll see how long the upswing lasts.
 
How do you feel about the copyright issues with pinterest? Where do you stand on pinning images that are not your own, how do you decide what is and isn't ok to pin?

I get a fair bit of traffic from pinterest, second only to Facebook, and I am a confessed addict, but still getting my head around the copyright issues. 
 
+Darren Rowse it's really interesting to see which pins go nuts too - it's really hard to pick. Things I though would do well usually don't but I pinned this pic from one of my blog posts and have had 171 repins which is by far the best including pins by contributors. Of course 171 isn't huge overall but for my little blog Pinterest is the stickiest source. http://pinterest.com/pin/236439049157173627/
 
+kate pickle the images I've been pinning so far are mainly from Flickr and 500px - both of which allow photographers to shut off sharing. The tricky part I guess is when you pin tutorials that others are writing and you're trusting that they've used legit images. Tricky though.
 
+Darren Rowse I agree - it is so interesting to visit the source page. I enjoy reading the labels and comments people include for things they've pinned from my site, although this doesn't happen as often now that Pinterest automatically names the pin with the blog and post name. People can manually change this, but they rarely do.
 
Yep a great insight :) will be great to see what you discover with your larger audience
 
+Darren Rowse  I try to only pin from sites that have a 'pin it' button or some other indication on their blog, but you are right, I am then assuming they have the right to allow me to pin that image. It's a bit of a mine field!

But in my niche - activities for kids - pinterest is a huge referrer so not something I can afford to ignore even if I wanted to!

Have been watching some interesting use of pinterest by brands too, and some bloggers with regards to competitions which has been fascinating to watch.
 
figured it out myself, just replaced your URL with mine, but thanks!
 
It sounds good and inspiring, as well. Though I also have a Pinterest account, I don't bother much with that... Well, I understand that it could be the new generation of social media, but I miss the 'communication forms' we are used to on FB and G+. My favorite SM is G+ now.
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