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Buying Pinterest Followers: A Good or Bad Idea?

Pinterest is growing to be the most engaged social media network in the world. I love Pinterest and have spoken on the topic several times annually for the last two years.  What’s the #1 question I get asked by attendees? Whether or not they should buy Pinterest followers.

Getting a large following on Pinterest isn’t easy, especially if you’re a business without a strong following online.  It’s true that some businesses purchase Pinterest followers. But is this a good idea?

In my research I’ve found that you can purchase Pinterest followers from $10-85 per 1000 followers, with the average price around $20/1000.

Pros of Buying Pinterest Followers

Well, the most obvious benefit is that you look like you or your business is popular. This works on new Pinterest folks who haven’t checked out your account before (unless they look at your re-pins).

Buying Pinterest re-pins will make your pins look like they are very active.  These tend to come from inactive accounts, but it will still make you look very active and this is good for faking that you’re amazing.

Organize pinterst 637x412 Buying Pinterest Followers: A Good or Bad Idea?

Above is a screenshot of Organize’s Pinterest account, a company I help out with.  Did I purchase followers with this account?  Nope. I’ve built this account from the ground up.  I’ve worked on this for a long time and put in countless hours to be able to get 10k+ followers.  You’ll notice that my followers are very active and actively re-pin things that I do.

Why didn’t I buy followers? I’ll explain the cons of buying followers below.

Cons of Buying Pinterest Followers

When you purchase Pinterest followers and/or re-pins, to your Pinterest friends you will look like you are killing it. But your robot “friends” will see right through you.

Pinterest’s algorithm (much like Facebook and other social networks) works on popularity signals. This basically means that when your posts attract a lot of engagement, Pinterest will show you more often and at the top of the stream. If you post something and nobody likes or re-pins your shares, you’ll become less relevant.

Facebook used to refer to the concept of filtering content based on popularity factors as Edgerank. I’ll call Pinterest’s ranking on pinners and pins as Pinrank.  The more people that follow you that don’t indicate your pin is important, the more your Pinrank will go down. The more your Pinrank goes down, the less your pins will show up at the top of the Pinterest search results to popular pinners. (So if you’ve purchased Pinterest followers make the effort to keep your Pinrank up or you’ll be worse off than before.)

It reminds me of the old question “Would you rather have a million friends or 5 amazing friends”. Most people (especially ranking robots) say that it’s better to have 5 amazing friends.

Another reason not to buy Pinterest pins or followers is you run the risk of getting your account banned by Pinterest.  I’m aware of 2 or 3 accounts that were banned due to buying followers.  This is in violation of Pinterest’s Uses policy.

One account that got banned was for a company that had hired a full-time employee to manage their Pinterest account. After 8 months, the employee purchased about 10K followers and subsequently got the account banned.  The company lost everything, including the money they paid for the followers.  I wonder how many people have had this happen.

Another con for buying followers on Pinterest is traffic related reasons.  We all know that social networks influence traffic.  I’ve found and tested that when I buy pins I see an increase in traffic for 2-3 days then almost all the traffic will go away.  This potentially will hurt your search results and could cause ALL your traffic to go away because of spamming.

So should you buy Pinterest followers?

My personal recommendation would be to do everything legit and to not purchase Pinterest followers.  I think it’s just a safer bet, long term.  It’s much like black hat SEO.  You might get away with it for a while, but eventually you’re going to get caught.

Have you ever purchased Pinterest followers?  What was your experience?

 

Featured Image Credit: Screenshot of buycheaplikes.com

 Buying Pinterest Followers: A Good or Bad Idea?

John Rampton

President at Adogy
Editor-at-Large John Rampton is an entrepreneur, full-time computer nerd, and PPC expert. President at Adogy. I enjoy helping people and am always online to chat +/@johnrampton
 Buying Pinterest Followers: A Good or Bad Idea?

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14 thoughts on “Buying Pinterest Followers: A Good or Bad Idea?

  1. I had never even considered the option of buying Pinterest followers or re-pins. My first thought on the idea is that organic and natural is always better than manufactured and fake. Next, as a business, if I have product pins I want people clicking through and making purchases so I want to find the people who actually want what I’ve got to sell, those most likely won’t be the robot people that I pay for so having those as followers will do little to help my business. Finally, if it’s against Pinterest user policies then it’s just not a good idea.
    As a side note, It’s so easy to spend hours on Pinterest, I wonder how it is to be a full time Pinterest account manager.

    1. Lots of people out there are buying followers on all the social networks and they don’t realize that they could be damaging their account a lot more than helping it. ps, Pinterest is a great place to get lost for a couple hours!

    2. I totally agree with you, Jennifer. The whole idea of buying social media followers–Pinterest or otherwise–has a very black hat SEO feel to it, and it just seems wrong from a social media manager perspective. Besides, I think social media is maturing to a point beyond vanity metrics; instead of getting wowed by the number of likes, we should be looking at how valuable our audience is in terms of conversion and engagement. Purchased fans/follows/likes/pins are not going have the same value engagement and ROI-wise as organically earned fans, so I’d hope that those in the C-suite would realize that and opt not to go down that shady road of purchasing fans anyway.

      …and if you ever find out what it’s like to be a full-time Pinterest account manager, I’d love to hear! That sounds like a dream job. :)

  2. Definitely not a good idea buying followers. Businesses need real followers so that they know their target audience.
    You can always have fun with Pinterest, be little creative and then it’s so easy to gain followers instead of buying them.

  3. Depends on the needs you have….If you want to create the illusion that your site is popular on all social networks then it’s a good idea (seo wise) …If you want for something else then no … I don’t recommend

  4. I wouldn’t recommend buying followers, likes, pins or anything of the sort.. First of all, you never know what methods, what accounts, and what IPs the person that takes your order uses. And in general, they do use quite some black hattish techniques, that have a higher chance to damage your site than actually helping. Second of all, think of what Google will see. It will pretty much see a whole big bunch of popularity signals at a certain date, and after that date — 0, or very few similar popularity signals of the sort. Considering that, the popularity of that site/page for which the pins/followers/likes were made, should rapidly deteriorate.

  5. Hi John,

    What is your source for the idea that there is Edgerank for Pinterest? Is there some blog post you can direct me to?
    Is this for the stream to followers? Or does it include whether one pops up at the top of the page in searches?

    Thanks.

  6. Well, the most obvious benefit is that you look like you or your business is popular. This works on new Pinterest folks who haven’t checked out your account before (unless they look at your re-pins).

  7. I’ve already seen Pinterest become so saturated with not only phony accounts but phony group boards. What’s the point of creating a phony group board (aka group board with tons of dud account followers).

    It’s misleading !