I was talking to a client recently and she mentioned that she has been meaning to set up a Pinterest account. It got me thinking about everything that I’ve learned since I set up my Pinterest account 2 years ago, and I realized that I’ve never devoted an entire post about Pinterest before. So today I’m gonna fix that!
A little background: I set up my Pinterest account in January of 2011 (See?) I discovered it through reading blogs (of course) and had to find someone with an account to invite me, because for a long time you couldn’t just sign up. I was addicted from the start and tried to convince all my roommates and friends in college that this was the coolest thing ever, with little success. At first I mostly used it for wedding inspiration (and you know- pretty stuff) and it evolved a lot as I got more into blogging and design.
Here’s where it gets a little crazy- at the end of September I had about 650 Pinterest followers. Today I have 2,480- almost 4 times that in just 4 months. How did this happen? To be honest, I’m not totally sure. I know that the majority of those new followers follow one of two boards (#1 and #2 on my most popular board list below.) I think part of it is that in December a post that I published in September really started to pick up steam, so my guess is that some people found me that way. For all I know, someone linked to my account or one of those boards, but I haven’t discovered who did if that’s the case.
Regardless of how this happened, these are the things that I’ve learned and that I wish I knew when I started pinning. These are the things that I have put into practice that I really feel have helped me get the most out of my Pinterest account.
Look at it as an organizational tool. It’s easy when you get on Pinterest to go nuts repinning every pretty picture you see. But try to keep in mind that you should only repin something if you want to save it for later. Bonus points if the value isn’t just in the pin itself but rather to the link attached to it.
Focus on content. I go to Pinterest for two reasons: to learn and to be inspired. Pinterest is a great place to organize tutorials. And if you’re trying to collect inspiration for something, there’s no better place to be. Keep these things in mind when you’re pinning. The pin itself doesn’t have to do one of these things as long as it’s clear to people who see it that it’s linking to something of value.
Be link conscious. Trust me. I know how much of a pain in the butt this is. But it’s worth taking the time to check to make sure that the image links to the correct source. How helpful can something be if it doesn’t actually take you to the right place?
Quality over quantity. If you’re taking the time to check links, this will happen naturally- I promise. Try to be thoughtful about what you’re pinning.
Be the original source. Sure, Pinterest is there so that you can repin stuff. But make sure that you’re adding your own finds to the mix. It makes your account more original and has the added bonus of making it more likely for the blogger you’re pinning from noticing that you visited their site!
This is a marathon, not a sprint. The two boards that have been getting a lot of followers lately weren’t curated overnight. They are the result of years of collecting images and resources. In order to have a Pinterest account that is useful and helps promote your blog or company, you have to incorporate it into your regular social media practice. It’s better to pin a few things per day than to flood your followers’ feed once a month.
Pin when you read. This is the best way to achieve the last one. I used to comment on a blog post when I really thought it was helpful or interesting, but a lot of times I wasn’t necessarily adding to a conversation- I was just chiming in and telling them that I liked the post. For the last four months or so I’ve started pinning those posts if there is a graphic or image that is pinable. That way you’re helping that blogger by getting them more traffic and you’re making yourself more credible on Pinterest by sharing something that your followers are likely to like. It’s win-win.
Focus on your niche. As a blogger, it’s important to look at your Pinterest account as an extension of your brand. Part of that happens naturally due to the last one- most of the blogs that I read have to do with design and blogging. But I also do this by how I organize my boards. I like for my boards to flow sequentially, and I start with the ones that pertain most to my business, so that when people go to my account they see that things relating to web design and blogging are most important.
But you can be more than your niche. Do you to know what I honestly use Pinterest for the most? Recipes. Am I a food blogger? No. But when I want to try a new recipe, I always go to my food board– it’s where I collect any recipe I see that I want to try. I haven’t come close to trying all of the recipes, but I have tried several- yesterday I made this and today I’m making this. My point is that just because you’re focusing your account on your niche doesn’t mean that you have to give up on all your other interests- you are a whole person, and it’s okay for your Pinterest account to reflect that.
My Most Popular Boards
1. Tips and Tricks and Infographics || Again with the learning. This has become my most popular board by far- and it’s really helpful for me too when there’s a tutorial that I want to save!
2. Beautiful Words || This has always been my favorite board to curate. People love quotes that I are beautifully designed, and I’m no exception.
3. Logos and Branding Strategies || I love finding beautiful brand boards, and they are really popular on Pinterest.
4. Color || I use this board when I’m trying to come up with a color scheme for a client. I rarely use two colors from the same board, but it’s so helpful to have swatches available to look at rather than just picking a color from the color picker in Photoshop!
5. Web and Blog Design || This is where I pin most of my work as well as work that I admire from other designers. This board goes first because I want it to be clear that this is what I do!
More Posts on Pinterest
My new favorite Pin-it plugin.
How to verify your Blogger blog on Pinterest.
Using secret boards for your blog.
Some more Pinterest tips.
February’s blog brunch is all about Pinterest! Don’t miss it!
Whew! If you made it to the end, thanks for sticking with me! What is the most important thing that you’ve learned about Pinterest? Have you found any other posts on Pinterest that you love? Have any questions? I’d love to chat in the comments!