Pinterest: How I Increased My Engagement by 4000% in One Week

If you use Pinterest for business-related purposes, you may have asked yourself at one point or another whether promoted pins are worth it. Will the conversion rates be high enough? Will there be a significant enough of an increase in site traffic to justify paying for advertising? I argue that yes, both high conversion rates and increases in site traffic are entirely achievable. In my case, by using Pinterest Ads, I was able to increase my pin’s impressions by 4300% in one week. More importantly, user engagement with the pin shot up by 3600%. Need proof? Take a look for yourself:

Before Promotion:

pinterest engagement impressions views increase grow

After 7 Days of Promotion:

pinterest engagement impressions views increase grow

The best part about all of this? I spent less than $10.00 to advertise on Pinterest for one week.

Note: I created my Pinterest Ads account on the same day that I promoted my first pin. The “0%” increases in “Total Impressions”, “Total Engagement”, etc., reflect the fact that the Analytics and Ad portions of my Pinterest account had not been established for a long enough amount of time to gather such information.

pinterest engagement impressions views
My Pinterest Ads overview banner. Total spent: $8.58.

Now you might be thinking, “Great, so promoting a pin wouldn’t be a complete waste of money – but what purpose would it serve?” My personal goal in promoting a pin for the first time was to jumpstart a small amount of traffic to my brand new website. Although there are plenty of free ways to gain exposure for and increase traffic to a website, I was aiming to see growth beyond interactions from people within the network I’d already established organically.

Here’s why promoting my pin got me the results I wanted:

1. I can now analyze Pinterest Ads’ summary of users who interacted with my pin, making it easier for me to specify (and further streamline) my target audience.

While I chose the keywords and phrases through which to target users who might be interested in my pin, Pinterest has now done the rest of the work for me. After a few days of pin promotion, Pinterest Ads automatically sorts user information into a downloadable Excel sheet. This data includes information such as where the engaged users’ genders, where they are from and what languages they are searching in. This takes a large amount of the guesswork out of deciding who to target when promoting similar pins in the future.

2. Unlike an ad on Facebook or Instagram, my promoted pin will continue to earn organic engagement through the users who first interacted with it.

Although Facebook and Instagram could be better platforms to appeal to different age groups, geographic locations, etc., than of the majority of Pinterest users, using Promoted Pins has plenty of advantages. For example, if I were to publish an ad on Facebook or Instagram, creating one would take more time and more money to achieve similar results.

Additionally, it is much more likely for your pin to appear on a user’s feed regardless of how long ago it was published. In fact, most pins achieve their highest rates of engagement between three and a half months and two years after they were first published (Piqora).

Piqora Study, Pinterest engagement

Compared to the chronological timelines of Instagram and Facebook, those extra months (or even years) of exposure provides you with a much better opportunity for your content: a longer shelf life for less money.

What can I do to increase my Pinterest engagement if I don’t want to promote a pin?

  1. Make sure all of your content is original and high-quality.
  2. Share the content with your Facebook network.
  3. Share that you’ve published new content in an Instagram or Facebook story.
  4. Put the link to your Pinterest profile (or pin) in all of your social media profiles.
  5. Join a collaborative group board on Pinterest to share your pins with a community of users with interests relating to your content.

Have you ever thought of advertising on Pinterest? Why or why not? Would you consider doing so after reading this post? Feel free to comment or send me a suggestion at allisonldooley@gmail.com.

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Auxiliar de Conversación: A Day in the Life

Have you ever considered living in Spain for a year to teach English? Maybe you already applied to work as an auxiliar de conversación in Spain but don’t know what to expect? Here you’ll find a detailed summary of my day as an auxiliar de conversación while employed by the Comunidad de Madrid under the Consejería de Educación e Investigación.

Early Morning

I get up at 6:30 AM and proceed to get ready, eat something and have coffee. I walk a few minutes to the metro stop closest to where I live and catch the metro around 7:45. After moving here I was lucky to find an apartment close to my ideal subway line, so it’s a straight shot to get to the public, non-bilingual high school I was assigned to work at.

Morning Work Schedule

I’m on the metro for around 30 minutes and I get to the high school at 8:20. I start assisting in English classes when school starts at 8:30. In my case, I work with four different teachers in the English department, and the students are between the ages of 12 and 18 years old. The education systems in Spain and the United States are somewhat different, so the particular instituto/secondary school that I work at is a middle and high school combined (this can differ depending on the population of the surrounding area, whether it is a public/private/charter school, etc.).

Learn about the Spanish education system from the organization itself through this old auxiliar guide; see pages 3-7.

Today there is a students’ strike (the exact goal of the “strike” remains unclear to me, but it seems like it was a good reason for the older kids to skip class). There are only 3 students in my first class, so the teacher and I discuss topics for future presentations that I will give. We also pass the time talking about differences between Spanish and American healthcare systems.

I get my materials from the teachers’ lounge and head to class #2 to find that they have an exam today. The teacher tells me that I’m not needed, so I go back to the teachers’ lounge to read until my next class.

Class #3 is made up of about 40% gamberros (hooligans), 60% decent kids. With this particular professor I tend to teach a lot, so I pretty much spend the whole hour yelling over the few kids who won’t shut up; Discipline is very rarely utilized at my assigned school. The students generally pay no attention and the majority don’t have much prior knowledge of English, so it takes 10-15 minutes to explain instructions for the exercises.

Recreo (Recess/Break)

There’s a half hour break between 11:00 and 11:30 AM, so the students run out to the courtyard, screaming and pushing each other. The younger kids eat their bocadillos (sandwiches) and the older ones head to the front of the building to smoke a couple of cigarettes. I tend to go for a walk or grab a small sandwich from the school’s cafeteria.

Afternoon Work Schedule

After the break, as the auxiliar I have an hour assigned to practice English conversation with whichever professor is interested. Although they are sometimes busy grading papers or planning lessons, today I chat with a teacher about current events and about differences between Spanish and American cultures. I help her translate some phrases and better understand English phrasal verbs.

My last class is from 12:30 to 1:30 PM, although, depending on the day of the week, this varies by an hour or two. Because I help with different groups of students every hour of each day (I only have one class repeat twice a week in my schedule), some classes are better than others. Certain days I have mostly “good” classes while a few times a week I help “teach” some extremely difficult students, most of whom are gypsies (which unfortunately coincides with negative stereotypes). Their collective misbehavior – screaming, shouting, moving consistently and sometimes becoming violent – makes me anxious to end my “work day”, which wasn’t even that long to begin with.

Most auxiliares in Spain work between 16 and 22 hours per week and are paid 700 or 1000 euros per month, depending on the region.

I catch the metro around 1:30 and catch up on a TV episode that I downloaded to watch offline. The metro becomes packed as we get closer to Madrid center, but I’m able to spend half the ride in a seat.

After Work

During the afternoon, one of two things usually happens:

1) I go home to eat something, relax for a bit and head back out to teach private English lessons, or

2) I go home to eat something, relax for a longer “bit”, exercise, etc.:

Considering I only got 6 hours of sleep the night before, I contemplate taking a siesta (nap). According to science, the ideal siesta length is 30 minutes, but considering that socializing in Spain doesn’t tend to start before 8:30 PM, it’s difficult to get a full 8 hours of sleep with my job. Most Spaniards hear what time I get up in the morning and gasp in horror. Oh, the luxury of working a nine-to-five…

After I drag myself out of the house, I head to the gym. Despite my restrictive salary, I continue to justify the cost of a gym membership, which is 25 euros per month. Exercising consistently keeps me happier, and it helps me be able to enjoy the endless supply of tapas and cheap wine that Spain has to offer.

Check out my post about some of Spain’s “can’t-miss” foods here.

When I get back from the gym I make a small-ish second lunch for myself. I shower and then either get in touch with family or do some freelance work. While in this job, I’ve also spent a lot more time than I’m willing to admit watching Friends and How I Met Your Mother. As an auxiliar it can be easy to have a seemingly endless amount of free time, but there isn’t a whole lot of extra money to throw around for activities.

Evening

Towards the end of the day I might get together with friends, go to the park, take a walk or call family if I couldn’t catch them earlier. If I’m lucky I’m able to catch a friend or get ahold of my mom. 

___________

So there you have it! As amazing as it can be to live abroad, most of it is just that: living life, similarly to how you would at home, but among new people, in a new place, speaking a new language, etc. It can be overwhelming, but it is definitely an experience that I wish everyone would have – I’ve learned so, so much about myself.

Have you ever lived in a country other than your own? Would you ever consider doing it for a year? Feel free to comment or email me at allisonldooley@gmail.com.

Are you interested in becoming an auxiliar de conversación in Spain? Check out this comprehensive post from Alternative Travelers, which answers common questions such as how to apply, whether you need a TEFL certificate and more.

Disclaimer: Every auxiliar’s experience differs depending on their assigned school’s location, social environment and supervisor involvement.

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Madrid: “Can’t-Miss” Spanish Foods

Are you planning a vacation to Madrid, Spain? Spain is world-renowned for its gastronomy, which can make deciding what to try and where to try it that much more difficult. Luckily for you, after two years of living in Madrid, I’ve compiled this list of must-try Spanish foods and included exactly where you can find them.

Chocolate with Churros

  1. Have your first (and best) “chocolate con churros” experience at Chocolatería San Gines; This is a classic and an undeniable must-do. Don’t forget to drink the leftover chocolate!
Chocolate con churros at San Gines, Madrid. Photo: ROOSTERGNN

Spanish Ibérico Ham

2. Hit up a grocery store and create your own charcuterie board. To try all the Spanish favorites, grab some pre-sliced “lomo”, “salchichón”, “chorizo” and “jamón ibérico”. Add to your basket a block of manchego cheese, a bottle of Spanish red wine and a freshly baked baguette and you’ve got yourself quite the impressive snack.

Left to right: chorizo, lomo, salchichón, jamón. Photo: Tasty Eating

Calamari Sandwich

3. Enjoy one of the greasiest calamari sandwiches (“bocadillo de calamares”) of your life from Bar La Campana. Be sure to ask for some lemon slices to enhance the flavor of the piping-hot, breaded calamari. Ideal for a picnic on a Sunday afternoon.

Calamari sandwich (“bocadillo de calamares”) from Bar La Campana, Madrid. Photo: Time Out España

Fresh Seafood

4. Try some grilled shrimp (“gambas”), cod (“bacalao”) or hake (“merluza”) for lunch at a locally-owned restaurant. Ordering a “menu del día” at midday is a lot cheaper than ordering meat or fish for dinner, plus you are served multiple courses (bread, starter, main course, dessert and wine or beer included) for between 10 and 15 euros.

Garlic grilled shrimp (“gambas al ajillo”) from La Casa del Abuelo restaurant, Madrid. Photo: Savored Journeys

Paella

5. Need your “paella” fix? Although it is located a bit outside of Sol, head to Socarratt to try an individual serving of Valencian paella. This is a great, cheaper alternative to eating the contents of an entire “paellera” (medium- to large-sized skillet that is meant to feed 3-6 people, depending on the size of the pan).

Different variations of paella at Socarratt, Madrid. Photo: TripAdvisor

Other Ideas: Popular Places

Cava Baja

Go tapas bar hopping along the street called “[Calle de la] Cava Baja”. Each bar and restaurant on this street is slightly different, so it’s worth paying a few euros to try some unique, individual tapas or “pintxos” (a pintxo is a tapa of something set on top of a thick slice of bread, typical of northern Spain).

Cava Baja, Madrid. Photo: El Mundo

Mercado de San Miguel

No time to visit the places I’ve mentioned so far? Catch all your typical Spanish foods in one place at the Mercado de San Miguel, but be prepared 1) to be surrounded by tourists and 2) to pay an 30-50% “tourist tax” (things being more expensive simply because they’re easily accessible and/or extremely close to tourist areas).

Madrid Mercado de San Miguel
Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid. Photo: Viajes National Geographic

Spanish Restaurants: Sol

Around Sol looking for some casual, sit-down Spanish restaurants? Check out La Casa del Abuelo or Venta El Buscón.

Photo: TripAdvisor

Rooftop Market at El Corte Inglés

If you’re interested in rooftop bars and gourmet tapas, head up to the ninth floor of the El Corte Inglés department store in Callao. It is situated just off of Gran Vía, giving you an optimum view of Madrid’s most historical skyline – clay-tiled roofs galore. Unlike other rooftop areas, this “gourmet experience” is free to access if you simply want to check out the view.

Rooftop area at El Corte Inglés Callao. Photo: Guía del Ocio

Have you been to any of these places? Would you recommend other foods for visitors to try? Feel free to comment or send me a suggestion at allisonldooley@gmail.com.

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ESL Portfolio

My name is Allison Dooley and I am from the United States. Although I studied public relations while at university, I looked forward to being an auxiliar de conversación (language assistant) in Spain in order to convey to kids that learning a new language can be extremely valuable. My prior expectations of the program were limited, but I anticipated the opportunity to explore the field of education and to give back to a country and a people that had already taught me so much about myself, about European culture and about the country’s own customs.

Placement: IES Arturo Soria

The school that I was assigned to, IES Arturo Soria, is located in the Hortaleza area of central Madrid. The teachers at the school are very dedicated and tolerant of the occasional student’s unwillingness to learn. The school is not bilingual and does not participate in activities such as Global Classrooms, so I was initially presented with communication issues; Because the students’ confidence in working with English is somewhat low, it was and is necessary to have patience in trying to communicate a command, an idea or an explanation to the students.

Although this job can be a challenge at times, I consider myself lucky to be teaching at this school because of the supportive, encouraging atmosphere.

Teaching Experience

At Arturo Soria, I am assigned to teach 1o ESO through 2o Bachillerato – these classes typically consist of students between the ages of 12 and 18 years old. Because the school is not bilingual, I only assist with teaching English language and grammar. As an assistant focused on helping students practice English as a second language, my goal for the students is primarily to raise their level of awareness as to how useful English skills could be for their respective professional futures.

As for myself, my personal goal as an auxiliar de conversación at this school is to offer my knowledge about the United States and about the English language in a way that keeps students engaged. I feel as though I am most successful at working towards this goal when I present my own presentations to the class, helping to attract the focus of a few additional students that would never pay attention if we were to follow a lesson from a textbook. Such presentations have included:

Original Educational Presentations (Ages 12-18):

My Experience

Overall, my experience as an auxiliar de conversación thus far has been rewarding. My contributions to the program have been beneficial to the teachers whom I assist and (I hope) to the students at the institute, but more than anything I have been challenged. Through being a language assistant I have strengthened certain skills such as leadership, cooperation and communication, as well as learned new skills altogether. My new skills include things like how to lesson plan, how to effectively communicate an idea to an ESL audience, and how to build trust with coworkers of different backgrounds and nationalities.

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Auxiliares Project: 2018-2019

Proyecto Final by Allison Dooley

Auxiliares de Conversación 2018-2019

IES Arturo Soria, Comunidad de Madrid

Topic: Rutinas Diarias

Subject Area: Days

Students’ Grade: Primero ESO

My final project represents pedagogical innovation in the way that it employs a combination of interactive and digital activities. Although writing exercises and worksheets are an essential part of learning English as a second language, digital activities are of increasing necessity due to students’ lessening capacity to devote attention to one topic for a considerable length of time. This final project and the resources included in it can be adapted for use at other levels of study by incorporating more advanced vocabulary, additional analytical exercises and/or the utilization of further comprehensive skills. The basic formats of the enclosed resources could also be adapted to address other topics or subjects.

Outline:

What topic are you teaching?

My final project revolves around teaching students of 1o ESO about how to describe daily routines in English.

What are your objectives?  

The objectives are to 1) ensure individual participation from each student, 2) encourage prolonged engagement through the use of both group and digital activities, 3) promote the practice of English speaking skills regarding the relevant topic.

What materials are you going to use?  

The majority of the materials used are digital activities shared with the class by projector. Such digital activities include videos and games in the form of power points or PDF presentations.

What is the timing for your lesson?  

The materials included in the final project can either be combined to fill an entire instruction time or to be used individually by the language assistant as supplemental materials.

What is the teacher’s role?  

Based off of the project that I have designed, the teacher’s role can vary; the materials can be utilized exclusively by the teacher, shared through instruction by both the teacher and the auxiliar, or used through primary direction by the auxiliar (this can vary depending on the teacher’s instructional or pedagogical preferences).

What is your role as a language assistant?  

My role as a language assistant is to foster a more relaxed atmosphere for students in relation to the instruction of English as a second language, as well as to supplement teachers’ instruction.

How are you and the teacher working to complement each other?  

In relevance to the materials included in this final project, the teacher and the language assistant should work together to encourage participation in activities from each individual student.

What activities are the students going to do?  

The students will utilize oral conversation, reading, dictation, videos and games to learn how to talk about daily routines using present simple.

How will you be evaluating the activities?  

The majority of the activities will be evaluated based off of group and/or individual participation.

How will the students know they have achieved the learning objectives?

The students will know they have achieved the learning objectives by being able to speak at length about daily routines and by being able to recall related vocabulary and phrases in simulated conversation.

How will you be responding to diverse learning styles and levels of achievement among your students?

The ideal way to respond to the diverse levels of achievement among students would be to employ the possibility of one-on-one “conversations” with struggling students. Because some students are stressed by the idea of speaking in front of the group, this technique could help them build confidence in their speaking skills and anticipate better participation in future lessons.

Digital tools and resources to be used for instruction:

  • Powerpoint presentations
  • Student presentations (Rubric for oral presentation provided.)
  • Multimedia content
  • Games and activities


Powerpoint Presentations

Student Presentations

Multimedia Content

Daily Activities Present Simple Song

Daily Routines Song

Present Simple Daily Routines Song English

Games and Activities

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Writing Samples

See additional articles, skills and more on my LinkedIn profile.


Articles by Allison Dooley:

Review: The World’s Most Exceptional Watches

Milan Fashion Week SS 2018 Review

What to Wear: 2017 Monaco Yacht Week

Articles by Allison Dooley:

How to Land an Internship Abroad – College Fashionista

4 Ways to Try the Power Red Trend – College Fashionista

Contour, Highlight, and Repeat– College Fashionista

Style Advice: Polished Spring Graphics – College Fashionista

All in the Details: Seemingly Sequin – College Fashionista

What to Wear: Spring Saturdays – College Fashionista

Style Guru Style: Mix & Match – College Fashionista

Intro to Advertising Campaign Competition: Placed 4th out of 17 Groups

H&M Campaign Video by L. TEK ADS

Shot and Edited by: Allison Dooley
Track: “What You Know” by Two Door Cinema Club
Featured: Lindsey Phillips, Emily Sutherland, Shona Wilson, Tony Huang and Allison Dooley

H&M has not endorsed nor funded this project; all use of the logo is theoretical. “H&M” and its logo is protected by copyright belonging to H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB.

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