The last few days have been an absolute whirlwind surrounding my Pinterest account.
Four days ago, I was a standard Pinterest user, with a meager 250 followers. Then, I was discovered, and the follower notifications flooded my inbox. Currently I have 26,718 followers, which makes me the 267th most followed person or brand on Pinterest in the world. I now have more followers than Oprah, Martha Stewart or Etsy. Those are three entities that have supposedly mastered Pinterest.
In the past three days I have been contacted by global marketing directors, a chief innovation officer and dozens of interested digitally savvy folks. They all ask the same basic question: How did I do it?
While I don’t believe a perfect blueprint for overnight viral success can be mapped out, this has been a targeted goal of mine for the past three months. In that time, I have slowly, and daily, been charting out a roadmap for viral success on Pinterest.
Quite simply, I’ve been pinning my passions. All of them.
Right now, it is my Sports pins that have reached the all important digital Tipping Point. Every day, for the past two months, I have been spending 10 minutes each morning, surfing Tumblr and my favorite sports blogs, specifically for images to add to my Pinterest boards. Some days I added just one photo, other days I added ten. The only rule I had was to make sure I pinned something about sports every day. I knew that the discipline and focus of a mission like that wouldn’t hurt my chances of achieving viral success.
I have 24 boards, and I’m working to create a depth and taste with them all. I am very selective in what I pin. And I never think about if a certain image will be popular or not. My only filter is ‘does this image get me excited personally?’ If I am inspired by something about an image, I will pin it to the corresponding board on my Pinterest. You can’t force it. You just have to develop your instinct to know when you find something inspiring. It’s not about pinning the things you think you should like, but rather, pinning ONLY the things you actually love.
As the Sports images I have been curating are raking in hundreds of repins an hour, I feel certain that other boards of mine like Film or Hoop Dreams, will eventually also be discovered. It is the excitement that one day someone will stumble upon them that keeps me moving forward and trying to make each board as surprising as possible. There are a ton of bad Pinterest accounts out there. I am very selective in who I follow. If you actually take your time to curate only the best content, and not SPAM people with just any old images, people will be excited to see what you have to offer.
I see a lot of brands who really misuse Pinterest (and Facebook for that matter.) If you pin or post desperately, that vibe will come across to users. If you are indiscriminate about what you share, people will sense your sloppiness of thought and be turned away. However, if you commit to only showing the most fascinating things that make you personally excited, users and fans will be attracted to that authenticity, and the social recognition will follow.
Essentially, the more selfish you are about sharing only the things you like, the more chance you will have of deeply connecting and engaging with your audience. It doesn’t happen overnight, even though it seemed to have happened that way for me. The truth is that it took me three months of planning, consistency and discipline to put myself in a position to go viral. Now that I have gone viral, the depth of my content is serving me well, as posts from all different time periods are reaping the benefits of my new found exposure. I have taken the time and effort to ensure that every single pin on my boards is something that I am excited about. And now I am excited to share those visual findings with my new followers and beyond.
All 26,783 of them ;)
(I literally gained 65 new Pinterest followers in the time it took me to write this post.)