Pinterest is a hot topic in the blogging world. I think it’s calmed down in the actual world, but it still consumes hours upon hours of bloggers’ lives and it’s very much considered an integral part of blogging for many people. Each form of social media is a living and breathing animal that behaves however it’s creators want (which is completely unbeknownst to the rest of us). In my quest to educate myself, I’ve tried to find as much information as I could about Pinterest, and after much thought, these are the conclusions that I arrived at!
In a Twitter chat that I took part in last Sunday, Twitter was a big focus in the conversation, at least for me. There are bloggers that swear up and down that Pinterest is the be-all and end-all for blogging traffic, and for those that master Pinterest, I completely believe it! However, I think that there are some pretty big limiting factors for Pinterest for me that leave it kind of a dead weight for me.
1) It’s Hidden Behind a Paywall
Pins need to be pinned and shared at the right time of the day to gain traction, typically. If you are unable to pin at those times because you are working or just generally can’t be tweeting at that time, you have a few options but they will cost you. You can subscribe to a service such as Tailwind, Board Booster, and Buffer, which range from $100 to $120 USD for the year if you pay annually. (It increases if you pay monthly, as with most subscription services.) **Board Booster appears to have a $5/month option but in the 10+ reviews I’ve read, most people recommend the $10/month option.** You can also pay someone who will manage it for you, which isn’t automated like a service but you will have someone who knows what they are doing who can change tactics on the spot if they think something else will work. However, as much as I love blogging, this is a hobby for me, and the $130 CAD for my WordPress plan was a big enough cost for me. Paying almost that for Pinterest alone isn’t an option for me.
2) Time, Time, Time
As I said, I have a full-time, office job and a fairly full outside life that means I can’t necessarily be on Pinterest when it would be most beneficial. I don’t have any flexibility in that, and although I can use HootSuite to schedule my other social media, there is no free scheduling tool for Pinterest. So, unfortunately, real life is going to take priority and Pinterest is in the back seat. I greatly dislike that Pinterest demands this specific of a time frame, because it simply alienates me from wanting to use it, instead of making it a fun challenge. (I also on principle intensely dislike things that don’t allow “regular” people who may have a job, to properly take part. I have to have a job, and that’s the reality of it.)
3) The “Right” Topic?
The aforementioned Pinterest masters could probably get a blank post repinned 100 times in a day, but I think for most of us, the topic of a pin affects it’s popularity. I use Pinterest for “takeaways”: styling advice, a recipe, places to visit. I don’t use it to find opinion pieces and stories, that’s why I use the WordPress Reader and Twitter. (I fully admit that I might be a weirdo in this, but that’s the way it goes for me.) You have to have the right topic with the right pinned image and the right keywords to make it go, otherwise you are working with puzzle pieces that don’t fit together! My most popular pins are travel posts with recommendations. Shocking? Not in the least…
4) I’m Not Relearning It. Period.
All social networks change their algorithms to keep things “fresh” but the Pinterest algorithm seems to change frequently and there is little to no actual info on it- there are so many different things that I want to learn in my life that aren’t new iterations of the Pinterest algorithm that even thinking about trying to tackle it for the sixth time since I started my blog seems a little pointless. If you pay for the boosting services or a manager, I’m sure that these changes would be less of an issue for you, but that again brings it back to the issue of a paywall. While I love blogging, I do not believe that it should be rocket science that takes hours and days and weeks to figure out. Pinterest has yet to make a tangible difference in my blogging or real world that I see an actual need to lose time to it.
5) I Dislike It’s Current State
To piggyback on point 4, I really don’t like the current version of Pinterest. I dislike that it takes a lot of digging to find out whose pin it actually is- I specifically look for specific people’s pins, and now I ignore most pins because there’s a strong likelihood that it’s an ad anyways. I get frustrated pretty much every time I go to look for something on Pinterest, so it doesn’t really make me want to spend any more time than I have to on it. I mean sure, it’s probably going to change in 6 months anyways but there is currently no motivation there for me.
So, what does this all mean? It means that I’m going to keep using Pinterest as a casual user who looks for cupcake recipes and different ways to roll sleeves, find ridiculous DIY projects, and pictures of places that I hope to one day go. I don’t have the money to put into a service or a manager, and I’m totally and 100% okay with that- my blog is just for fun, and for me, low traffic is perfectly fine. Part of what I love about blogging is the opportunity to learn but that doesn’t mean that I want one tiny part of it to overtake my time!
How do you feel about Pinterest, and how do you use it?