If there’s one thing that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and almost all social media sites have in common, it is the emphasis on followers. Without them, people can’t see your content, interact with your business or even know you offer the great things you do.
But it is important to remember that key fact – Pinterest isn’t a social media site. While it does have followers and you should cultivate them, there’s also solid reasons why you shouldn’t worry about growing your followers on Pinterest just for number’s sake.
Why followers don’t matter on Pinterest
Let’s start with why followers don’t matter on Pinterest – or at least not on the way they do on social media sites.
For starters, when someone searches for a keyword, Pinterest will serve up the best content. That’s from anyone, not just from the people they follow. So if my post on gin cocktails is the top-performing post and someone searches for this but they don’t follow me and have never interacted with my content before, they are still likely to see my pin.
The same with the Home Feed, the first place you go when you visit Pinterest. Yes, you will see pins from people you follow. But you’ll also see pins from people you don’t because Pinterest thinks they may be of interest to you. The Smart Feed is the name for the algorithm running things in the background and it learns from what you like – and shows you more of the same.
When followers can help
Now that’s not to say that you shouldn’t try to get followers but it is definitely more about quality than quantity. Ehre’s why.
As best we know, the current Smart Feed works by taking a pin you have created and showing it first to your followers. If they pin it, engage with it or even click it, that’s a good positive sign for Pinterest that the pin is good. It also helps to add context with the boards they pin it to.
But if followers don’t pin it, that doesn’t mean it is dead. It might just take a bit longer to get some speed. There are a few reasons this might happen:
- The pin image isn’t eye-catching
- The pin description isn’t enticing enough or is unclear
- The image and the text don’t make sense together so people are confused what the pin is about
- You have too many of the wrong followers who aren’t interested in your content
The wrong followers
So what do we mean by the ‘wrong followers’ who arent interested in your content? Well, let’s take the classic follow-for-follow thread we see on Facebook. You follow everyone in the thread, regardless of what they pin about. Their pins appear in your feed but they aren’t in your niche so you have nowhere to pin their stuff. You ignore them and carry on.
Here, you are the wrong follower. You might have added a 1 to their follower list but you have no intention or way to interact with their content. You can’t give them that thumbs up by pinning or clicking the pin because it isn’t your niche.
In a sense, you are a wasted follower. Pinterest can see that account as being lesser quality as many of the followers don’t interact with it. But that’s just because they are the wrong followers!
Cultivate the right followers
That means it is important to have followers but the right ones. So if someone in your niche wants to increase their followers, engagement and help share each other’s content, that’s not too bad.
But the best followers are your real audience. So ask them to follow you! Add your profile link to emails and prompt them to follow you. Have a widget in the sidebar that calls out your Pinterest account and gets them to hit that follow button. They are the right followers and you want them to be following you.
The follower puzzle
Pinterest followers are one of the most confusing topics for beginners to the platform. Because we are conditioned to grab followers by the likes of Facebook, it is natural o think Pinterest is the same. But it is definitely a lot more subtle and worth cultivating those right followers to get the best benefits from them.