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The Truth About Pinterest and TpT: Let’s Talk Shop With Chelsea Hall | Episode #63

Episode Summary

It’s no secret that a teacherpreneur’s journey with Pinterest is filled with ups and downs. Sometimes it can feel like more downs, but the truth remains that Pinterest is the highest traffic-driver to TpT. Today we sit down with Chelsea Hall, teacher-turned-Pinterest strategist, to learn the best way to leverage Pinterest and its constant changes. 

The Truth About Pinterest and TpT: Let's Talk Shop with Chelsea Hall

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Introduction to The Truth About Pinterest and TpT

Erin: Today I am so excited to welcome Chelsea to our School of Sellers podcast. I met Chelsea over Instagram. She caught my eye because she offers Pinterest services to TPT sellers. And you know that in School of Sellers, we’re always looking for different ways to grow our business, and it really is cool to hear from different people in the TPT world, to hear what it is you do and how you help TPT sellers. So Chelsea, before we dive into the conversation today, why don’t you give us just a little introduction, specifically how you ended up doing what you do today? I’m really curious to hear your story.

Chelsea: First of all, thank you so much for having me on the podcast. I am an avid listener even though I am not a TPT seller myself. Previously, I was a first grade teacher. I was a teacher for eight years. I taught fourth grade, third grade, and then first for most of my career. And then I started a side hustle which most of your audience started a side hustle as a TPT seller. And I started my side hustle as a freelancer. I was looking for a way to add a little bit more revenue into our life. We live a great lifestyle as is. We did well and all that. But I wanted more, more vacations and I know you guys talk a lot about this on the podcast.

So I took a course to learn how to become a freelancer. And I actually started off offering social media management services, and I hated it. I’m not going to lie. I did not like being in somebody else’s DMs or trying to be somebody else. And it just wasn’t speaking to my heart, and it wasn’t aligned with who I was. So I took on a Pinterest client, and I took a course. I have now taken 10 courses. I’m in three memberships.

As a teacher, I have that love of learning, and I feel like I constantly want to be in the know and learning more. And I tried to branch out from working in the education space because I wanted something new. So I love the parenting space. I’m a mom. I worked in that. And I was like, why am I trying to do something that isn’t again aligned with who I am?

I started this as a side hustle, and it has quickly become my full-time job. I left the classroom actually mid-year this past year because my business grew exponentially in the past year to be where it is today. And I was teaching, as most of us were, virtual school. My district made a virtual academy. And so I was actually doing that, and I was a newer mom. I had my first baby last May. And so just trying to juggle a pandemic and having this side hustle. It just was wearing on my mental health.

So, here I am. I have primarily all TPT seller clients. I manage quite a bit of accounts. It’s all me right now. I do it on my own, and I attribute that to systems. I know you talk about that as well as systems and organizing and thinking smarter, not harder. So now I have the pleasure of still keeping my foot in the door in classrooms and still being able to connect with students and help teachers and all of that. And it’s just in a little bit of a different way.

Erin: No, I love it because I really, like when I was getting ready for this episode, I was like, you feel like someone if you are friends with them on social media. Right? But I started thinking. I was like, I don’t know her story. I knew that you had been a teacher. And I was a first grade teacher too. So love it. And so I’m just like fascinated by this for that reason and because I’ve told you this. I hate Pinterest.

To meet someone who makes it their full-time job and feel so passionately about that is very intriguing to me. And I know Pinterest is great, and it’s such a powerful platform for teacher sellers. We need it. It’s always just kind of baffled me. So I’m extra excited to talk to you today about everything. But I have to ask, okay, so I am like a serial course taker as well. I take so many online courses on a bunch of different topics obviously. Do you have a Pinterest course that stands out? Like if you had to pick your favorite or one you would recommend, do you feel comfortable recommending one?

What is your favorite Pinterest course that you’ve taken?

Chelsea: So my favorite is, I’m in a course with Meagan Williamson. Her and I have become friends. She is the owner of Pin Potential, and it’s a membership. She only opens the doors four times a year. So get on her list. It is by far the best course I’ve ever taken, and she is so, so giving. And for the cost of the course and for the amount you get, it goes well beyond Pinterest. She brings on guests to do growth mindset, those types of things. And so it goes beyond just Pinterest. That’s really appealing. She’s just really sweet. And so you have to really like the course owner, and she’s just awesome.

Erin: That is so true. I feel like it’s all about finding the person that you learn the best from.

Chelsea: Yeah. And her community. I mean the community is a big one too.

Erin: Well, I ask because I feel like a lot of times we hear about the same courses over and over and over again. Because there tend to be a couple that are the most common. But usually it’s the ones we don’t hear a lot about that end up being the most valuable. So I appreciate that input. Because listen, I’m not about to take a Pinterest course, but I know that there are probably a lot of people that will listen that will either be like, I need Chelsea in my life or I want to take a course. So it’s always helpful to throw out those recommendations.

What are the biggest benefits with Pinterest and how can it help TeachersPayTeachers sellers?

So let’s back up to just like the bare bones of Pinterest for anyone who’s listening that is still not convinced that Pinterest will help them as a TPT seller. Because even though I don’t love Pinterest, I know how important it is. So you don’t have to convince me. But if you were to tell someone who is kind of like iffy about jumping into Pinterest, what would you say are the biggest benefits and how can it help teacher sellers?

Chelsea: So when it comes to marketing, you always want to consider where are your people hanging out? And so you have to really think about where are teachers hanging out? And you and I, Erin, as former teachers, we hung out on Pinterest or on TPT to find products. Sure, I followed people on Instagram, but it was more so following them for like their behind the scenes or maybe how cute their classroom was and those types of things. Your people are on Pinterest, and Pinterest is still an extremely powerful platform that I feel is still very underrated, undervalued, all of those things. And what I think a lot of people don’t do is they don’t know their numbers.

The Truth About Pinterest for TpT Sellers
A podcast for teacher sellers

Know Where Your Traffic is Coming From

As I mentioned, a lot of the times I get on calls with teachers, and they’re adamant that Instagram is their go-to. While it’s great to build brand awareness, if you look at your numbers, if you go to insights and look at the amount of website taps you’re getting to your website, most of them are below a hundred. I manage accounts where they have 100,000 plus Instagram followers, and they’re only getting like 400 to 500 website taps from Instagram but we’re bringing in 10,000 plus sessions from Pinterest.

So that’s the thing is that you need to be aware of your numbers. If you look at Instagram right now, and maybe you have a following of like 6k, 7k followers which is fantastic but you’re only getting like 50 website clicks from that. But if you’re on Pinterest and you could be bringing in more like thousands to your website, where do you want to spend your time and energy?

Pinterest Can Help Grow Your Email List

The biggest thing with Pinterest that I value the most is, and what I want to be a goal for most of my clients, is to grow their email list. Because that’s where the sales are going to happen. And so Pinterest is very powerful with that because you can create pins that link directly to your landing pages or to your freebies and whatnot to grow that email list which is not as likely to happen on Instagram or Facebook or those types of things. So I think knowing your numbers and knowing your goals and knowing that your people are on Pinterest is a big why behind it. It’s a lot of work but all platforms are a lot of work. So if you’re going to be putting in the time and energy for one platform, I recommend it to be Pinterest.

Erin: You make really good points because I’m sitting here thinking like yeah, I think that so many people put stock in Instagram or whatever social media platform they’re in. But then it’s like you have to think about too like how people are behaving on those sites. Because people don’t necessarily go to Instagram to buy or to visit websites. Like I rarely click through to people’s profiles. I mean whereas Pinterest has become this gigantic search engine. So we have to assume if people are on Pinterest, like they are probably more open to clicking through and like finding the information that they came from. So that’s important.

Pinterest is a Search Engine

Chelsea: Well, and with that, like Pinterest is a search engine. It’s a search. It’s a search engine discovery platform. People go to Pinterest searching for solutions to their problems. We got an Instapot like three years ago when we got married. And let me tell you, I’ve used it three times. So I went on Pinterest, and I instantly was like Instapot recipes. I’m just filled with all of these recipe ideas because I’m looking for a solution to the problem I have of the fact I haven’t used this Instapot in three years.

Teachers are doing the same thing. Like my class is really struggling this year. I need some classroom management ideas. Or my guided reading groups, I’ve got these really high kiddos this year. What are some enrichment ideas that I can go search for? You go to Pinterest to find that. How in the world are you going to find that on Instagram? I mean sure you can search hashtags, but like you’re not going to find it. So people are looking for your solutions, and you just have to give them to them.

Erin: Yeah, I love that. I mean it’s making me rethink all my, because I don’t like Instagram particularly either. If it were up to me, I would just not have to go on any other platforms, and I would just create content all day. But yeah, I mean it really paints it in a positive light when you phrase it that way. And I also wanted to ask because one of my beliefs about Pinterest that gives it a leg up on other platforms is it’s true, right, that once a pin goes out on Pinterest, I mean it’s out in the Pinterest world for potentially ever. Right? Like it never fully disappears. Is that correct?

Pins Are Forever

Chelsea: That’s the beauty of it. Again, I mean on Instagram, the shelf life of a post is 24-48 hours. I mean your stories are gone. Nobody’s scrolling back in your feed unless you’re really intriguing or somebody’s creeping on you. But on Pinterest, some of my clients’ pins they’re still appearing in the search feed a year from a year ago when we posted it and now they’re there. So yeah, it’s very relevant and the ability to make those pins last.

Erin: The benefits are very clear and obvious to me. But I also see on the flip side, I feel like Pinterest is one of the people either love it or they hate it. Like there’s really no in between. So why do you think people get frustrated with Pinterest?

Why do TpT sellers get so frustrated with Pinterest?

Chelsea: That’s the big thing I wanted to discuss. I know a lot of people are frustrated with Pinterest, and I don’t blame you. I’m even like, oh my goodness. In my memberships, in my masterminds I’m in, we’re talking about these things. Pinterest has made more changes this year than they have in their entire existence. And so we can be frustrated with it. But the fact of the matter is they’re making these changes for the user. Okay? They’re doing this for the user in mind.

It’s not about us and our businesses. We can pout and ba-humbug, but that’s not going to do us any good. We’ve already stated that there’s so much power in Pinterest. And so we have to adapt to those changes. How many of us were stomping our feet when reels came out on Instagram? We hated them. We were all like, they’re trying to be Snapchat. Or not Snapchat, they’re trying to be TikTok. And like, who are they? And now we all do them, and we use them to grow our following. Like what reel though is linking through to your website? None. So you’re doing them because it’s part of marketing, and you have to do them in order to play the game.

Sometimes You Just Have to Play the Game

So on Pinterest, a lot of it is playing the game. I think the frustration with Pinterest is because there is a lot of change. But change is inevitable. It’s going to happen no matter what platform you’re on. I mean I have a friend that started on YouTube like 10 years ago, and it was the easiest thing. She was getting thousands of leads from it. Now it’s pulling teeth. I mean it’s not as easy as it used to be, but it still is a search engine that is going to outperform these other platforms that you’re trying to market on, that you’re just spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere.

Keep Up with Best Practices

So yes, there’s frustration, but it’s staying up-to-date with the best practices. I think a lot of the frustration is coming from things that people are trying to still do that worked two years ago and they’re not anymore. And then they’re like, Pinterest doesn’t work. But Pinterest does work. It’s just reworking your tactics and what you’re doing.

Erin: And that makes a lot of sense. I think you hit the nail on the head with just the changes. Change is uncomfortable for most people. Like obviously, we would like certain things to stay the same. But usually, I mean change usually ends up with good results in my opinion. Like you said, the reels is a perfect example. Because of course, we resisted that, and then now everyone’s doing it. So I think too though the fact that it changes so often is another vote in my book to consider hiring out for Pinterest services because it’s a full-time job to keep up.

So I tell sellers this all the time. The reason why it’s so hard to do it all, like Pinterest, Instagram, all those things is because each of those things, people make a full-time job out of doing. Like you make Pinterest your full-time job. There are people who run Instagrams as their full-time job. There’s a reason why it’s hard to do it all. So I think that that would be a definite reason to think about hiring out for Pinterest in your teacher seller business. So someone else can deal with the changes and explain them to. Because that would be a lot to have to keep up on. So I think that is probably one of the biggest frustrations for teacher sellers.

Chelsea: And you can take a course. But I’ve taken 10 courses for the fact that like a lot of them kind of stunk. Like they weren’t great. So the reason I’m in memberships now is because they are up-to-date. We’re doing weekly coaching calls, getting in the know. We’re constantly up-to-date with them. And that’s what I think is like of value is knowing the best practices. So if you don’t have the funds right now to hire it out, then going that route of being in a membership. It’s also important to make the distinction between hiring a VA and hiring a Pinterest strategist or expert.

Make Sure You’re Making the Right Investment

I know whether it’s in the TPT space or any space, you have to know what you’re buying. You can’t go and spend Walmart prices and get Saks Avenue transformation. You have to invest. So if you’re going to invest in something, make sure you are investing in somebody that does this and is an expert in it.

I mean if you right now have the funds to maybe hire a VA to do a little bit of it. But like when you’re hiring something for Pinterest, you want the strategy. You want the know. You want them to know how to use keywords, the best practices, being up-to-date on all those things. So kind of keeping that in mind, it’s almost like hold on to your money until you’re ready for the bigger investment or invest in a membership where you can stay up-to-date. So kind of thinking those things as well.

Erin: That’s an important point. If you hire a VA to do your pins, you’re still kind of driving the bus. Right? In a lot of those situations, you still have to be a part of like the creation process and the strategy process. Whereas a Pinterest strategist, which is what you are, they come equipped with the knowledge and the up-to-date trends and all of that stuff so that you don’t have to. It’s kind of eliminating that work for you. And I also think that it helps for anyone that has a business to learn at least a little bit about something before hiring out for it. Because it’s impossible to know if you’re getting good value, what needs to be done. So I think it really does pay to kind of feel it out a little on your own first before you’re ready to hire out.

Chelsea: Yeah, absolutely. And what I do is a lot of times, like I’ll get on strategy calls with clients, we’ll go over, and they’re like, I don’t want to do this myself but now I’m at least glad I know what I’m getting myself into and what I should be looking for. And I think with all things, it’s important for us as business owners to know, like I’m about to hire out my email marketing, but I have the understanding but I don’t want to do it. So like you know what I mean? So hand that one off.

Erin: Yes. You know enough to feel comfortable having someone else do it because you’ll know whether or not they’re doing it the right way.

What Pinterest tips do you have to offer for TpT sellers?

Erin: Oh gosh, so many good gems. So we’ve talked about how sellers like are feeling frustrated and just have certain pain points with Pinterest. So do you have some tips for us about how to get like unstuck or just things that sellers should be doing that they might not be? Just any Pinterest gold you can drop on us would be—

Consider Creating Your Own Website

Chelsea: Yeah, for sure. So especially with TPT sellers, now I don’t want this to scare you, but it is very important to be on the path of creating your own website. As a TPT seller, yes, you can sell solely on TPT. But using Pinterest, Pinterest favors websites. And they favor blogs, they favor content creation, they favor fresh. And so I don’t want to sit here and say that you can’t be successful on Pinterest if you only have a TPT store.

But it’s going to be a lot harder because Pinterest and TPT, like TPT is a third-party platform and they love when they’re supporting the content creator and there’s a claimed website. So once you have your website, make sure it’s claimed and focus a lot of your energy on creating fresh content that can lead back to your website. So a lot of the frustration again comes back to the fact that people are like, Pinterest isn’t working.

The thing is is Pinterest is getting harder, like all platforms, where you need to be creating more content. So you need to be creating whether you have a podcast and you’re doing like short form notes, like a short form like blog post with your notes or you have a YouTube channel and then you’re creating a little blog around that or you’re actually creating blogs. I recommend for all of my clients to at least be creating a blog a week. I mean that sounds like a lot. But to be successful, like it’s worth it. And I hope I’m not scaring your audience away right now.

The Power of Repurposing

Erin: Well, let me just jump in here really quickly. Because I’m thinking on the surface, someone might be like, oh, I can’t do that. But I just recorded a podcast this week actually just about different ways to repurpose your content. So I feel like if you are someone who is already posting somewhere else.

Let’s say you are an Instagram person, and you have these posts or these reels. I mean those can easily be turned into something that you can put on your website. Right? I mean it doesn’t have to be like the next New York Times bestseller every time you write a blog post. Like some sort of content. So it doesn’t have to be scary. But I agree. Like I think people hear that, and they’re like, oh my gosh, I don’t have time for that. But you can get really smart about the way that you reuse everything. And give Pinterest its fresh content that it loves.

Chelsea: I work with a lot of clients on the content repurposing. And so we repurpose a lot of blog posts into idea pins. I take Instagram stories, turn them into idea pins. I take their video content and create video pins. Like again, teachers, we know we have to think smarter, not harder. And so repurposing that content, like that is key. And so again, I think one of the golden nuggets is to eventually get to the point of having a website.

Create Fresh Pins

Another thing is to be creating fresh pins. Gone are the days of creating 10-15 pins. And the reason like a Pinterest strategist or manager might seem more expensive these days is because it’s more work on them. Like we’re not re-pinning your old content again. I’m creating 30, 40, 50 pins a month for you which is like creating 30 Instagram posts. And so think about the time that’s taking you. But there is a way to do this that is not stressful.

Batch Your Content

Batching your content. I know you stress that. Like you create a product, you create a blog post, create your handful of pins, schedule them on Tailwind. That’s another thing I want to bring up is like Tailwind still works. I don’t know who is out there saying Tailwind doesn’t work. I’ve sat in on so many conferences with Tailwind, with Pinterest who have discussed over and over again, Tailwind still works.

Erin: If anything, it’s Tailwind for Instagram that gives us trouble, like not the Tailwind-Pinterest side. I think people get it twisted a little.

Tailwind Still Works!

Chelsea: Tailwind still works. Pay the $15 a month for that to save you hours that you could be creating other products that you could sell for hundreds of dollars just by investing in that third-party scheduler. So again, I think it’s getting on the path of creating a website, making sure you know your sales funnel, making sure you know are your sales converting? Like what’s working and what’s not? Know your numbers.

Once somebody lands on your blog post, are you giving them a way to opt in or are you just writing a blog post just to write it? Have a freebie. Have something to get them into your world if you’re spending the time. Get them to opt in. So yeah, I feel like that was a lot. I feel like there’s just so much frustration around Pinterest, and I don’t want people to feel stressed. I want them to feel like this something that they can manage. They don’t need a manager until they get to that point. But like batch out your content, thinking about creating fresh content monthly, and creating enough pins that pleases the Pinterest algorithm and using idea pins and all of the things that Pinterest is really pushing right now.

Create Idea Pins to Please the Pinterest Algorithm

Erin: Right. Well, if they’re pushing it, they’re pushing it for a good reason. Rarely have we seen, I mean there are some changes every once in a while where it ends up being like, eh, maybe that didn’t work so well. But yeah, from what I’ve seen and read, I don’t think that, they’re idea pins now, right? Not story pins. I feel like those aren’t going anywhere.

Chelsea: They’re here to stay. And if you even look on the feed, they are ranking top of search more and more.

Erin: Yes. Well, that gives me a lot to think about. I feel like you’ve almost converted me to a Pinterest fan in the course of this conversation.

Chelsea: There you go, there you go.


Erin: Oh my gosh. Well, thank you for all of your insight that you have given. Is there anything else you wanted to add? I know we talked about a lot, but I just wanted to see if there’s anything else we left untouched. But I feel like we’ve like covered a lot of different things.

Chelsea: We covered a lot. I think again, it comes back to just being willing to be open to change, embracing the change, creating a workflow that is manageable that you are doing weekly rather than letting it take over, repurposing that content from Instagram, from other things that you’re already doing, and creating enough fresh pins a month to get the eyes on the content.

Erin: I feel like we’ll need to have you as a special guest in our next course launch because our signature course, the Finishing Framework, is all about like mega batching your blog posts, your pins, everything. So I feel like what you do and what we do inside that is like perfect.

Chelsea: I love that. That sounds perfect.

Erin: Yes, that would be amazing. Well, Chelsea, thank you so much. I really can’t thank you enough for sharing your wisdom. If people want to find you on Instagram, can you share your Instagram handle for us?

Chelsea: Yeah. I’m @ChelseaHallSocial on Instagram. And that’s my website too. And I’m very active on Instagram. So if you ever have questions, like I’m an open book. I’m happy to help support with anything.

Erin: Well, thanks again especially from one working mom to another. I know it’s not easy to find time in your schedule. So I thank you on behalf of all of my listeners because I know that people are going to get a lot of value out of this episode.

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