Can Pinterest Help You Cut Your Social Media Effort By 80% & Double Results?
Jason Miles

Tim Ferris’ bestselling book The 4-Hour Workweek popularized the idea of extreme time management and the art of creating draconian non-work rules to force productivity. Instead of destroying your business results, he promises this approach will help you achieve new levels of success. Can his philosophy be applied to your social media efforts? Let’s explore that idea together and see where it leads us.

The 4-Hour approach is based on the Pareto Principle, which loosely applied to this topic suggests that 80% of your social media results come from 20% of your effort. In other words, you can cut 80% of your efforts without a negative result. He further suggests that by doing this difficult exercise, and carefully analyzing the productive 20%, you’ll find ways to increase productive actions, and see further improvements.

The trick is to have a solid measurement method so you can determine which actions are time wasters, and which are powerful drivers of business success. For our exercise let’s choose referral traffic to your website as the goal.With our goal clearly established, we need to ruthlessly eliminate social media activities that waste time.

They would include:

  • Writing
  • Any action that has a very short shelf life. In other words, things that won’t be relevant to our social crowd hours or days later. This would include activities like tweeting (already banned by the first rule) and ‘real-time’ updates like checking in at a restaurant using Foursquare, or snapping a picture and posting it on Instagram
  • Editing of any type, either audio or video

Without these primary social media activities in play, what social media platforms are still possible? Let’s review the devastating effect of our decisions.

  • Facebook Fan Page: Clearly without the ability to write status updates, or respond to fan comments, Facebook Fan Pages are out.
  • Twitter: No.
  • Instagram: Sadly, although it is ‘social media light’ we must refuse it as this ‘real-time’ social sharing behavior does not have a long-lasting impact.
  • Google Plus: Chris Brogan would call us a fool, but we must decline.
  • YouTube: Unless we can shoot a video in one take, it is also banned.
  • Pinterest: Interestingly, Pinterest would survive the cut.

Let’s review how we can use Pinterest without breaking our rules:

  • The primary social behavior in Pinterest is to repin an item. Statistically, 80% of all items pinned in Pinterest are repins.
  • The secondary social behavior in Pinterest is to follow another person, or one of their Pinboards. This only requires one click.
  • The third social behavior in Pinterest is to like a pin. Thumbs up for this simple social action.

So Pinterest meets our harsh criteria for non-work, but does it meet our measurement of success? Remember, we indicated that traffic to our website was our goal. Let’s review that metric and see if Pinterest can stand up to the challenge.In September of 2012 Pinterest passed the Yahoo Network to become the Internet’s fourth best source of referral traffic. The top four traffic sources now rank as follows:

  • Google Organic Search
  • Direct typing of a domain into a browser
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest

Pinterest has a user community a tenth the size of Facebook, yet it is delivering these massive results. Pinterest is a referral engine unlike any we’ve ever seen before.Additionally, based on our own Google Analytics, we’ve seen the long shelf life of Pinterest pins. We frequently observe that the top referring Pinterest pin to our website was added to Pinterest months ago. That means work you do today will benefit you for months to come.

When we wrote Pinterest Power in the Spring of 2012 we stated that Pinterest had become our top source of social traffic, passing Facebook. Since then Pinterest has zoomed up even higher and now refers four times more traffic to our website ( than Facebook. And in that time, our social traffic has more than doubled with Pinterest traffic accounting for the only real increase.

We have to wonder: what would our results have been this last year if we had abandoned all our other social sites and simply focused on Pinterest?

So can Pinterest help you cut your social media activities by 80% and double traffic to your website? It would appear it is possible. The choice is yours.

Jason Miles is the co-author of Pinterest Power, co-founder of Liberty Jane Clothing and the Vice President of Advancement at Northwest University near Seattle. He blogs at
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