Q&A With Alisa Meredith: How To Generate Leads For Free

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Are you on Pinterest? And I don't mean just to pin cute outfits for your next family photo shoot or to pick your next elaborate meal, I mean are you working your business on Pinterest? Today I am so excited to actually have the pleasure of talking with Alisa Meredith, the content marketing manager of Tailwind! If you have questions about Tailwind she is answering them all right here. Ready for some Q&A?!  

Q: You've heard me talk about Tailwind before, I'm a big fan. We've been using them now for a little while. For people who have not heard of Tailwind can you briefly explain what it is and why we should care, why we should be on this platform?

Alisa: It’s a scheduling and analytics tool that works with Pinterest and Instagram. Now, we also have our integration with Facebook and people should care because if you don't schedule things it doesn't get done.

I tend to neglect my Facebook page, but what you can do is when you're scheduling a pin in Tailwind you can elect to have that also go to your Facebook page. What's really cool is that it doesn't just send the pin to your Facebook page, which wouldn't be a optimal image, it will actually go to your website and choose a Facebook image. You can enter a separate description for your Facebook update and everything. Any time I can mimic my effort and have it count in more than one place.

The thing about the Tailwind scheduler is that it's a smart scheduler. So whether using Pinterest or Instagram it looks at your followers and can see when they're most likely to be engaged on a platform and it will recommend those times for your post to go out.

Q: Now, it really makes a big difference when you know the good times. So we're looking at that every single week to figure out when are great times when are the not so great times. Just so you understand some of our posts were getting doubled the engagement and it was all it having to do with the times we were posting them. When I think of Tailwind I really think of Pinterest. Would you agree with that?

Alisa: Oh my goodness, yes! I've been using Tailwind for many years. I had an agency and the first requirement for any new customer would be you need to have a Tailwind account because you just cannot separate Pinterest and Tailwind and it's not just because I'm on the team now!

Q: What are some of the biggest things that we need to be aware of that Tailwind can help us with to really grow our reach and just get those numbers up?

Alisa: So recently Pinterest has really made a commitment to help content creators get their content seen and it makes sense because Pinterest as a platform wants to have that fresh content on their platform. It makes for a better user experience for people when they can see fresh content all the time.

So Tailwind is really great to help us keep consistent and to learn what is working. You can look at your pin inspector. It will show you which pins get the most engagement, what kind of images work best, what kind of content work best. I find that that Pinterest is really great for helping you plan your content calendar.

I get an email update from my most popular pin for an old account that I haven't really used in a long time and it's consistently the ugliest pin ever! I probably made it five years ago. It's an investment in the future of your marketing. I know a lot of people are very concerned lately with group boards. Are they helping? Are they hurting? So it’s something that to me, is kind of my favorite feature of Tailwind as far as the analytics goes is the board insights. You can look at each of your individual boards and see how it's performing for you. So if you're wondering should I be spending time on this group board or not...that's how you find out.

Your whole Pinterest strategy needs to be built around your own content now. So in the past I think we thought more about as a whole what was interesting to your followers but now it's really important to realize that it's kind of about you. Not that you can't share other people's content as well but the core of it needs to be built around promoting your own content.

Q: Let's say somebody jumped on Pinterest and Tailwind for the first time or they just need to clean everything up, how much content do they need to start with right away in the beginning?

Alisa: You could absolutely start with your first post. If you've never blogged before and you're blogging, it’s time to start with Pinterest. At that point you definitely need to be sharing other people's content. So Pinterest wants content creators to be creating new content. If you can do that once a week that's great, you're gonna do great! But they also want to see that you're pinning consistently. So aside from pinning your own content, if you don't have enough so that you can just keep pinning your own content or keep creating new pins for older content, you need to be pinning other people's relevant content so that you remain consistently active.

There are a lot of people who talk about an 80/20 rule and it depends on who you speak to what the 80 and 20 stand for. It could be 80 percent your own content or 20 percent your own content. Maybe at the beginning you're starting out with 20 percent of your own content and 80 percent of other peoples. But like you said as you start to create that library of content, that number is going to flip. When you see it through a lens of you know what you have to pin it kind of makes sense, right.

When you put your effort into Pinterest it could be somebody three years from now that sees it and then it still goes down that funnel so if you're overwhelmed understand that you might just need to re-evaluate what you're doing and put your effort and your focus in the right direction. I would tell you that committing to putting out a blog a week or a newsletter a week or anything like that is so important because your customers want consistency.

Alisa: Another thing to keep in mind is that you can absolutely create multiple pins for the same content. So if you only have 10 blog posts you could have 100 different pins. By changing up a description on them and even the images you're going to reach a totally different audience. You will reach different people because it will appeal to different people in a different way but you can also increase the reach in a search engines or increase the number of searches you might appear in. If you're pinning an educational item you might focus on a certain group of keywords in one version of it and maybe even pin the same image but with a different description that focuses on something else.

Q: Keywords makes a huge difference, so how important is that board description?

Alisa: That is very important and it can be frustrating for certain niches because there isn't anything that really fits well but just choose the closest that you can. They do use that to kind of try to figure out what your content is about and how to distribute it in search. But if we were talking about actual board descriptions those are also important. If you do a search and then filter it by boards, you're going to probably see a lot of those boards that come up at the top don't even have a board description.

When you save a pin to a board, especially the very first time you save your own content to a board it picks up that data from the board. It picks up the board title, the board description and the board category and it picks up information from the source URL and all of that stuff. It helps Pinterest decide what that content is and where it belongs in search. So all those pieces do matter. They come together not so much for having your boards discovered in search but for having each pin categorized properly for search.

Q: Definitely take the time to do this right because you will be reaping the rewards for years to come. What is the difference between a Pinterest board and Tailwind tribes? Somebody wrote in and said it seems like they do the same thing. Is that correct?

Alisa: A group board on Pinterest lives on Pinterest and it's a collaboration where you have two or more people who have access to saved pins to that board. Tailwind tribes live in Tailwind and they are groups of like minded bloggers who get together to promote each other's content. That can be a real time suck looking for great content to share on Pinterest, but tribes removes that issue.

That's pretty much my place to find content to share on Pinterest because I know it's all going to be relevant to what I care about what my followers care about. It's going to be quality content. There aren't going to be stolen images or broken links because these are all people that I kind of know or you get to know over time. It's also a great way to find people to collaborate with on projects or on roundup posts.

Now, with group boards you kind of never really knew if the quality was very good or people were just coming in and kind of dumping other pins and not sharing anybody else's reaction. In tribes, the owner and the admin can see if people are reciprocating or not and if there's something in the tribe that doesn't belong there they can remove it. People take pride and ownership in their tribes so they can have high quality.

Q: Any suggestions when it comes to tribes? I know tribes are a big thing that we're getting into more and more now too. So is there any suggestions you can tell people when just starting to find a tribe and finding people to connect with?

Alisa: "There is a 'find a tribe' feature that you can search by keyword and I would definitely suggest that. You can join some of the newer tribes and it will give you extra opportunities to add your content without having to upgrade. So the brand new tribes want to get get them filled up with great content.

Look for some of those brand new tribes get in there and you'll have a little bit of a bonus. The other thing is people want to be in big tribes or they want to be in tribes with people who have some kind of influence in the community but don't neglect the smaller tribes or the ones where people are newer because oftentimes those people are very generous with their time and their support and those might be the people that you end up cooperating with."

I think it's so easy for us to want to find somebody who is more successful than us. But you have to question and say well maybe they're looking at the same type of person, maybe they're not going to look at you and say, oh this would be a great fit, where somebody who's more at your level or just a little bit bigger than you might think OK this would be somebody great, we're very similar!

So I always tell people, it's great to take those big risks and ask some of those bigger names but it's also great to see who your peers are because your peers are who's really going to help you get your business to that next level. You never know how big somebody can get or how fast they can grow or what their is going to look like when they just get started. So be careful that you don't undervalue some of those relationships that somebody brand new coming in.

Q: Any struggles or things that you see people doing when they first come to Tailwind and you're going oh don't do this do that. Do you see anything that stands out to you?

Alisa: "I think they go kind of in two directions. One is the kind of spray and pray which we see in every area of marketing. So still doing everything without an idea of why you're doing it. And the other idea is that they get so engrossed in the nitty-gritty that if a pin doesn't have five saves on it in the next two hours they delete it. I would say focus on your content and creating and sharing fresh content to Pinterest and don't worry too much about having 100 pins a day and don't bother deleting pins that don't perform because it doesn't really make that much difference.

If you are continually sharing pins that get very little engagement that that will hurt you over time but going back and deleting those isn't gonna help you if you're already out there. They've already shown to be not that engaging though so in general just look forward, don't look back too much in the sense that you don't want to be wasting your effort. Just keep on creating great content. That is what Pinterest has come right out and said they want.

You can always, always put a positive spin on your content so when you pin to Pinterest ideally the content and the description of your pin is going to match the keywords of your blog title. That is something Pinterest does look at but if that doesn’t work on Pinterest then change it up."

I think we have to understand too that all of these platforms are different and I think Pinterest is vastly different because it is a search engine so things that are working on Facebook might not work on Pinterest. They're purposely seeking out that information so they'll spend more time looking through and not just scrolling so quickly because they're there.

I love using Pinterest to kind of test out my new free ideas. I can see what's working and it's a lot less risky to go spend paid advertising in other platforms when I know it's already converted on Pinterest. It's something to use as a guideline. If this is going to be the next big thing for you and your business.

Q: Do you have one last tip for people thinking about jumping on Pinterest and using Tailwind?

Alisa: "So when you start definitely go to your smart schedule and let Tailwind suggest for you what time to post and don't overwhelm yourself by choosing 50 slots in a day. Maybe start with 5-10 and definitely get into some tribes right away so that you'll have great content to share from other people."

If you are interested in joining Tailwind or want to learn more be sure to check them out at www.tailwindapp.com. If you had a big takeaway from this interview with Alisa, tag me @stacytuschl and I would love to hear from you!

Stacy Tuschl