Wondering about Pinterest Group Boards?
- Should you join them?
- Should you leave underperforming boards?
- How do you find Pinterest Group Boards?
- Once you’ve found a good one, how can you get added?
- Should you host your own group board?
I’ve been asking these questions for months – and not getting any definitive answers.
But I’ve also been looking hard at my Pinterest stats. And those say…
Pinterest Group Boards are hurting my Pinterest account.
Most of them, anyway. But this may be different for you.
If you’ve read any of my blog posts on Pinterest before, you’ve heard me crow about how Tailwind helps me gain followers and traffic. I’m currently at 17.5K followers, and 70K+ website visits monthly from Pinterest.
You might not be in this same (fortunate) position. If you’re new to Pinterest and have just a handful of followers, you may find group boards helpful. I suggest you read my cautions before spending a lot of time and effort on them, though.
What Is a Pinterest Group Board?
Pinterest allows its users to organize images and videos into personal collections known as boards.
A group board is just like a regular board, except that the owner can invite collaborators to pin on their board.
Group boards were once an amazing way to increase your reach on Pinterest. That’s because your pins can be seen by a whole new audience: the board owner’s followers and collaborators.
Then Pinterest Smart Feed happened.
Some people think group boards are being penalized, because they’re no longer seeing the reach, repins, and clicks they got a year or more ago.
But it’s really due to the Smart Feed. Pinterest now prioritizes content based on engagement (and more). Group boards are often a “dumping ground” for pins, and the collaborators rarely (if ever) look at the board and repin other members’ content. Now Pinterest assumes the pins are crummy, because no one’s interacting with them… so it doesn’t show them in the Smart Feed.
Get the Right Group Board Mindset
Most articles I’ve read about group boards seem to advocate a “join as many as you can and post as much as you can” philosophy. I believe this is unhelpful.
It seems some pinners see pinning 100 times a day as the holy grail. Wrong! I’ve read on several different blogs that pinning over 50 times a day actually reduces your results.
Tailwind has stats on over 100,000 Pinterest accounts, and they found:
Pinners going above 50 Pins a day see a large drop off of Repins.
And did you know there’s a limit on how many pins you can ever add to Pinterest? It’s 200,000. If you pin 100 times a day, you’ll reach that in less than 5 years.
Not much of a long-term strategy!
30 pins a day is optimal. No, you won’t start there, but your goal shouldn’t be to crank out as many pins as you can – it should be to pin quality content to quality boards.
“Spray and pray” doesn’t work. Join less boards, of better quality, and actively engage on them.
What to Look for in a Pinterest Group Board
That said, here are my top tips for Pinterest Group Boards:
It fits your niche: My stats show that group boards which allow any kind of pins perform poorly, with less than 1 repin per pin on the board. For comparison, my top (non-group) boards average 37, 43, 58, and 114 repins per pin. A board that is netting me a low number of repins is reducing my status in Pinterest’s eyes (and the SmartFeed).
Bonus points if the group board has a keyword-optimized title and board description. Also check to see the pins are on-topic.
I can’t over-emphasize how important sticking to ONE topic is for the board’s success. Just ignore group boards that don’t fit your niche.
It doesn’t have too many contributors: Boards with 100+ contributors are hard to moderate, and more likely to be of low quality.
It’s active: I’ve joined some group boards where I seem to be the only one pinning. This is pointless.
It’s not crazy active: The stream moves way too fast for members to see and repin your content. I don’t know how to determine this, but a high number of contributors is a clue.
Reciprocal pinning is encouraged: While I don’t think it’s possible to enforce this, the group rules should tell you to share others’ content. And, you should! It not only helps your board mates, it helps you too. An unengaged board is a board Pinterest ignores.
It gets repins: You can only find this info if you’re already a contributor.
- Check the board’s virality score, as well as the repins you’re getting on your own pins, in your Tailwind stats.
- Check “Boards with the most clicked Pins” in your Pinterest Analytics (not super helpful).
- Go in-depth: How to evaluate group boards.
It has a decent number of followers: What this means to you may be different from me. If you have 20 followers, then a board with 100 is a score. In any event, I don’t think follower number is as critical as the other points. I’ve had my content go viral on a (non-group) board with 5 followers!
Some combination of these factors is going to make for a great group board for you. I doubt you’ll get everything. I’m on some boards where the virality score isn’t great, but there are 10’s or 100’s of thousands of followers, so they still do well for me.
When to Leave a Pinterest Group Board
It’s hard to leave a group board… how well I know. You feel special to be added. And now you’re going to up and leave?
Well, don’t be too hasty. Have pins scheduled to the boards? Wait ’til they’re done. But stop scheduling new pins to poor performers now.
If you’re certain you want to leave immediately, you can change the board the pin will post to. Otherwise, you’ll get the “Failed Pin” message if you’ve left the board.
And, keep checking your stats to see the results of leaving these boards!
If you want to be a super pinner, you have to check your stats. Low performing boards bring down your average repin rate. Pinterest loves to share content that gets a lot of repins, from pinners who have a high repin rate. Weak group boards lower both of those averages.
The main argument I’ve heard for staying on / finding more group boards is “it puts you in front of a new audience.”
Well, maybe. But if the pins aren’t being shown to anyone (due to spam or low engagement on the board), this theory is busted.
Leave a Pinterest group board when:
It’s giving you considerably less repins than your overall average. I’m not sure how to determine this if you don’t have Tailwind. And the point at which you decide this is up to you. My overall repin rate is 14.6, and I’m starting to just leave boards that are under a 1 (and sadly, that’s most of them).
And by “leaving” I mean, I’ve stopped scheduling new pins. I’ll re-evaluate when all my pins scheduled to those boards have posted, and again a month later. Only then will I decide to remove myself from ever being able to pin there again.
To go in-depth, read: How to evaluate group boards.
How to Find Pinterest Group Boards
You know all those blog posts saying how awesome group boards are? They’re also telling you to find them on PinGroupie – a site that shut down in January 2015.
How to find group boards now:
- Visit pinner profiles in your niche and check out group boards they’re pinning to. Group boards are indicated by 3 faces in the circle, instead of 1.
- Network! Ask pinners in your niche, and blogging buddies.
- Facebook groups: Some are dedicated solely to Pinterest group boards! Here’s one.
- This list is gold! Top performing group boards by category on BoardBooster. All have a direct repin rate of 1 or better, and they’re ranked by repin rate.
How to Join Pinterest Group Boards
The group board description will (hopefully) tell you how to be added. Don’t feel rejected if you never hear back. This happens to everyone – me included! The response rate is probably less than 50% – even when they’ve left instructions!
If there are no instructions, they may not be open to new contributors, but you can try the tricks below to join group boards.
Note: the board owner is listed in the URL, and is the first picture shown.
- Connect with the group board owner on Facebook, especially if you can find him/her in a Facebook group for bloggers or small business owners.
- Look on the group board for a special “Add Me” pin, and add a comment asking for an invite.
- Comment on any pin that belongs to the group board owner and ask for an invite.
- Find the owner’s website URL on their Pinterest profile page, and use the contact form on their blog to connect.
- Scroll through the list of current board contributors. If you find someone you know, ask them to add you to the group board. Depending on the board settings, a contributor may be able to add other contributors. Or, they can tell you how to contact the owner.
Should You Host Your Own Pinterest Group Board?
Trust me – it’s a job to moderate a group board. You’ll want to think twice about this.
The biggest benefit touted is growing your followers. That’s because you typically tell people to follow your entire profile before requesting to be added. But even IF you can verify that they’ve followed all your boards (since they have to follow the group board to be able to pin to it)…
If you have a handful of followers now, sure, adding 50-100 followers by hosting a group board sounds amazing!
But, who wants to join a group board with a handful of followers? Good luck…
If you have some business buddies in your niche, by all means, creating a group board could be helpful to all of you. It probably has a much better chance of succeeding than a board of collaborators who don’t know each other, and have no interest in helping each other.
But DO set these Pinterest group board ground rules:
- Limit the topics to your business niche. Who needs new followers if they’re not interested in your niche?
- Limit the pinners (I suggest 50 or fewer).
- You don’t have to accept unknown pinners! You can create a board just for your peeps.
- Encourage repinning.
- Delete off-topic and spam pins.
- Remove repeat offenders.
Want to grow your group? I recommend you check in with people who aren’t actively pinning and sharing. Weekly activity is best, however I set a minimum of once a month. Below that, I’d rather replace them with someone more interested in the board.
My Pinterest Group Board story
I have a group board I created many years ago, for a blogging circle I was part of. For a few years after their initial interest, I was the only one pinning on it. It performed well.
About a year ago, I opened it to all bloggers, and its average repin rate started declining – until it finally dipped below 1 repin per pin.
After much consideration, I decided to try to salvage the board by limiting the topics to only business-related.
I eliminated the original pinners who hadn’t posted in years, then sent an individual message to each of the 30 or so remaining pinners (this took hours!).
That was just yesterday, but so far people have been understanding.
You don’t have to do this! You can just remove people if you want. But I thought it would be nice to give them a warning, and a grace period.
I’ll report back with results.
My suspicion is that a board of unrelated pinners who have no accountability, or vested interest in repinning their board mates’ content, is doomed to fail.
Hoping I am wrong…
Update on my own group board:
I can’t justify keeping this board open to collaborators. The repin rate is .64, which is less than 2 for every 3 Pins on the board.
If I knew who was repinning, I would keep them, but Pinterest makes it impossible to know.
I would open a group board only to people I know, who want to support each other’s success.
Here’s a sample message:
Hi, apologies in advance… I’ve been doing a lot of digging into group boards. Due to the ineffectiveness of my “best blog posts” board, and other “any topic” group boards, after July 17 we will only accept vertical pins about online business: starting, running, and marketing a small business online.
I’m giving a month’s notice in case you have pins already scheduled. After that date, non-business related pins will be removed.
If you have relevant pins, you are most welcome to stay. I’ll be limiting the number of contributors to 50 people who can commit to pinning their own and others’ business-related content from the board at least once a month.
I’m sorry about this change – I don’t make it lightly. However, the board is performing so poorly that I don’t believe it’s helping anyone in its current incarnation. My choice was either delete the board, or try to improve it.
Thanks for understanding.
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We covered these topics:
- Should you join Pinterest Group Boards?
- Should you leave underperforming boards?
- How do you find them in the first place?
- Once you’ve found a good one, how can you get added?
- Should you host your own group board?
- And, my experience hosting a group board.
This is all my opinion, based on my experience and stats. As I’ve noted, you may have different results. But I think this is a great place to start.
For an in-depth look at boards you already contribute to, read: How to evaluate group boards.
Feel free to pin, tweet, or FB-share any image on this page, with a link back. Hover the image and you’ll see the bright green share buttons in the center. Your shares will automatically link to this page. Saving to Pinterest works best with your browser extension.
If you’ve joined or hosted Pinterest Group Boards, please share your advice or experience in a comment!