Perhaps you’ve been hearing about Follow / Un-follow on Instagram? (Reason #1,209 I don’t love Instagram…)

After posting an offer to answer some Pinterest questions in a Facebook group this week, I fielded this one:

“Jana, what do you think about follow/unfollow game on Pinterest? On the Gram it’s a total no-no, but I saw so many videos where people actually suggest it for Pinterest…I’ve just started my own Pinterest account and thinking how can I scale up number of followers quickly.”

Here’s what I told her about this dangerous game:

Follow / Un-follow is not a good idea on Pinterest… To understand why, you have to think about how Pinterest works (as a search engine, not as a social network). A few things to know: 

1) Many of the people who see your pins (in their smart feed and in their searches) are NOT even your followers. Instead, they were served your pin because Pinterest’s algorithm determined it was a match for their interests or a current search. (This is totally different than on FB or Insta). So, the number of followers you have is simply not as important as it may be on social media. (See more below about what IS important.)

2) When you pin a new original content pin (that points to your website or content), the Pinterest algorithm first shows it to your followers. If your followers (regardless of how many you have) engage* with it even a bit, this shows Pinterest that your content is interesting/relevant to your followers, and that helps your pin in the algorithm.

*(Engaging could be clicking to get a bigger / better look, clicking through, re-pinning, or even liking or commenting – though these last two are not as common on Pinterest as on social.)

Conversely, if you have a slew of followers that don’t engage EVER, this actually hurts your account. Hence, you don’t want to rack up followers that don’t care about your pins!

3) The last reason not to do the follow/un-follow is that it can look spammy to Pinterest and could possibly get your account shut down. That would be a shame after you’ve put so much work into it!

>>> Here’s what to do instead:

1) Create really good content. Focus your time on creating good content, well-designed pins, and on KEYWORDS! People will find your pins this way and follow you because they actually think your content is relevant!

2) Follow influencers and people in your niche. (And don’t unfollow them.) They may follow you back… because they want to! Use the search to find them, and follow either their accounts or some of their boards. Doing this also helps Pinterest to understand what your account is about. It also makes your smart feed (and your followers feed if you have one) more relevant for you, which makes easier to find and re-pin other people’s high-quality, relevant content.

3) Read this blog of mine about how to grow your followers on Pinterest. It covers strategies and tactics for gaining followers who are genuinely interested in your content – and will be ideal clients or buyers for your offers, too! 


Overall, remember that the Pinterest algorithm will always favor creators who produce good content. Any attempts or strategies to hack the system and create false engagement will not be rewarded.

Oh, and… If you want to know what DOES work, get started by grabbing a copy of my free Pinterest Checklist. Just add your deets below👇 and I’ll send it right over! 

Free Pinterest Quick Start Checklist - for Coaches & Service Providers