Pinterest continues to be a valuable traffic-driving source for fashion and style bloggers. Pinterest claims over 100 million users and strong referral power that rivals Facebook. Bloggers and brands alike have pinned their way to new heights as far as engaging their community and finding new ways to express their creative selves. Even with social media newcomers like Instagram and Vine, Pinterest has a solid place in the world of sharing images online. Whether you’re a pinning pro, need to bring your boards back to life (like me) or new to the game and maybe a little overwhelmed, I hope these tips help you to make the most of Pinterest as a blogger.

Think ‘vision board’

Pinterest can be best described as your digital vision boards. Pinners share images of things they aspire to, whether that’s their next purchase, a new recipe they want to try, or places they’d like to see. It can also be considered a visual bookmarking tool, to save articles and other things you want to read later.

Remember your core audience

Who’s reading your blog, and what kinds of posts are they responding to? If you have yet to start pinning, a good place to start is by pinning the popular topics of your blog, like outfit posts (yours and other bloggers you like), trend reports or style editorials.

Expand your horizons

When your blog is focused on one subject, Pinterest is a fabulous way to show readers what else you’re interested in. From your favorite NYFW runway looks to new recipes you want to try, your pins help your audience have a better understanding of you who are as a whole. And who knows – maybe all that pinning will lead you to your next blog post idea, or a whole new blogging venture altogether!

Stand tall, & pin your best images!

Studies show that when you pin vertical images (at least 800px), those get higher click-through rates than shorter or horizontal images. Now that you’ve got a trick of the trade, find your best images from your blog and pin those! If you don’t have very many vertical images on your blog, consider cropping a few specifically for Pinterest. You can even consider customizing some of your images with special text (such as the title of the blog post) to up their repinnability (is that a word?). And while we’re on the subject of images, remember to include your url in the description when repinning images from your own site. Don’t go overboard (you should be pinning from multiple sites, after all), but many people will click a link directly from the image caption, so use that to your benefit.

Good karma

Re-pinning (It’s since been renamed, but we’ll still call it that) and commenting on brands’ or other bloggers’ pins is yet another great way to break the ice and build relationships with them. In turn, while you don’t need to thank everyone for a re-pin, make sure to respond to everyone who leaves a comment on one of your pins.

Sprinkle in some SEO strategy

Just like any responsible blogger, you need to measure what you’re doing to know if it’s worth your time. Remember, Pinterest images are indexed by Google too! While it’s good to be witty and fun in your pin descriptions, it’s also smart to describe that image accurately, using optimal keywords. If you’re interested in seeing what people are pinning from your site, you can verify your blog and install Pinterest’s Web Analytics tool. The Pinterest analytics dashboard is really good for seeing what your most repinned and most clicked-on pins are, but you can also just scroll through your recently pinned items, and see which photos got the most repins, likes, and comments.

Go for longevity

You know how you see a tweet or Facebook update, then hours later it’s buried under thousands of other updates? Quite the opposite is happening on Pinterest. You’ve got a streaming home feed, but images will often be more ‘evergreen,’ meaning they are seen for a much longer period of time. This is where those keywords in your pin descriptions come in handy. Do it right, and people who are searching for that keyword will see your image for weeks after you first pinned it!

The not-so-basic basics

It’s all about visuals on Pinterest, so make sure your profile has the freshest and cleanest images around! Upload your headshot or logo for a profile picture. Choose compelling images for your board covers – or create custom ones (I’m a fan of Pattern Daily’s.) Reorganize your boards so the most active ones are top left and onward. Your profile shows the top 3 users you’ve repinned on the top right side – and users can glance at that to get a glimpse of users who have a similar pinning style to you. Make sure those are 3 great ones!

The changing landscape

While Pinterest is notoriously known for attracting a high-female audience, in 2014 the number of men using Pinterest doubled. There’s even a 50-50 split between male and female pinners in emerging markets like India, Korea and Japan. With this in mind, Pinterest has made several product improvements so that no matter who is searching for Pins, they’ll find things that they’re interested in. Most recently, the Pinterest Guided Search System has been updated to serve results that differ depending on whether the user is male or female.

75% of Pinterest usage takes place on mobile devices. Mobile usage for Pinterest is especially high in the evenings and weekends. For this reason, it's critical that your blog is mobile-friendly and ideally, responsive. You’ll also need to think about how your pins will appear on a mobile device.

Promoted Pins

Promoted Pins enable you to pay to show certain pins at the top of search results and category feeds. Launched in early 2014, results have been so promising that Pinterest has made them available to all U.S.-based partners. One of the key takeaways from initial findings with Promoted Pins is that promoted pins perform just as well, and sometimes better than organic Pins. Advertiser’s Promoted Pins were repinned an average of 11 times per advertisement. That’s about a 30 percent bump in earned media from their campaigns. That earned media often saw an additional 5 percent bump in the month following the end of a campaign.

This is another reason to be mindful when crafting your pins. The evergreen nature requires you to publish content that’ll stay fresh and valuable for months at a time.