How to Make the Most of Pinterest

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.

Pinterest

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.

Using Pinterest as part of your creative process and why it’s a good idea for creatives to use it.

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!

Comments

  1. says

    I joined Pinterest early on when it was invitation only too. I wasn’t even blogging then! I remember just pinning lots of random things. Then I cleaned out my account and started fresh. After awhile I kind of stopped though. Recently though I’ve been trying to get on daily and pin stuff of importance. I love your tip on pinning as you read. I used to only re-pin things, but I’ve been trying to pin original content and it’s definitely paid off. I’ve also been focusing more on pinning things related to my niche, which seems to be proving useful. Whew, long comment. Thanks for linking to my post!

  2. says

    Awesome tips! I feel like Pinterest has been such a learning process. I can’t tell you how many times I find an awesome recipe or something and it’s spam or a dead link or someone linked to the main page of a blog instead of the post – now I know to check. I so need to organize my pinterest at some point, too! Thanks for the shout out! (:

  3. says

    This is such an interesting post – thanks for all the links! I pin very differently now to how I did when I first started using Pinterest back in 2011. I’m very intentional about what I pin now – I tend to ‘like’ things then go back and repin them once I’ve checked the link. I do REALLY hate it though when I see a gorgeous image that I can’t find a link for – so frustrating!! I’m in the process of going through my boards and cleaning out the stuff that isn’t linked properly etc, but its taking forever!

    • Kate says

      I’ve learned that trick, too- especially when I’m browsing on my phone. And I’ve definitely had that happen – it’s so frustrating when the source seems to be nowhere to be found! Although on the flip side, I always feel like a mastermind when I find a source that wasn’t properly linked, haha :)

  4. says

    For some reason, I see less and less of my pins being re-pinned by others. I’ve noticed Pinterest usage is lower than it was, say, 5 months ago. I’ll take these tips into consideration to try to improve!

    • Kate says

      Really? I wonder what the traffic stats are like on Pinterest these days. I definitely have noticed a shift in the things that people repin though- the things that I pin from blogs that are informational seem to get repinned a lot more than my food pins, for example, but I’m not sure if that’s just because that board has more followers or if that’s a general trend. I do think that people are being more intentional with pinning in general and so maybe they are repinning less? I don’t know… interesting!

  5. says

    I’m totally a visual person so I love pinterest! Congrats on your fame :) I’ve never actively tried to gain followers though…just use it for myself. It was fun while I was wedding planning, but now I mainly use it for recipes (again with the visual thing, I like to see what I’m making!), craft tutorials, and most of all for indoor circuit workouts! I am pretty proud of my workout board and have actually gotten in better shape from it http://pinterest.com/amv201/workouts/

    • Kate says

      That’s awesome! I should have made that distinction- this post is really more about how to make the most of Pinterest if you’re hoping to use it to grow and promote your blog/business. If you’re using it for personal use, then just have fun! Well, except for the links thing- I’m kind of a stickler about that :)

  6. says

    These are really great tips Kate! Pinterest can really be a great tool (and a great source of traffic for your blog), as long as you know how to use it correctly. I think that as a blogger and business owner, it’s really important to pin things that match your brand too…I am always really conscious of what I’m pinning, though I do need to work on the source thing more…I’ve been pinning from the original source more, which definitely helps! Again, great tips my dear! xo

    • Kate says

      I totally agree! That’s definitely something important to keep in mind, and sometimes something I struggle with if there’s something I want to save for later that maybe doesn’t totally fit. My Pinterest account is always a work in progress, haha :)

  7. says

    These are some great tips and I’m glad I found your blog thanks to (of course!) a Pinterest pin! You have motivated me to reorganize my boards to emphasize my key content!

    Since we’re on the topic of Pinterest, I’d like to invite you to try a free backup of your account from my company, Pin4Ever. Without a backup copy, your pins are vulnerable to hackers, accidents, and computer malfunctions. Please visit pin4ever.com to earn more about our great features, read testimonials from happy customers, and save a copy of your pins, likes and boards to your computer. Thanks!

  8. says

    Hi Katelyn,

    A great post, thanks for sharing. Like you, I joined Pinterest when you had to be invited and I agree it is a useful tool. I use it frequently as you do but you have some extra ideas that I will now include. Thanks again, Kelly

    • says

      (I made a mistke while typing and validated the message though unfinished)

      I just move to the US (Oregon) from France about 2 weeks ago.
      I already have a blog but working on a new one. One that would talk about my life, so that my family can actually get news on a funny way, and also for french readers to know what it is to live in the USA, and for american readers to have a french point of view on how it is to be an immigrant here.

      Your article here was very helpful.
      If you want to, I’ll keep you posted when the new blog will be online!
      Thanks again for sharing those precious tips for the beginner that I am!

      Take care

  9. says

    Hey Katelyn,

    I am new-ish to Pinterest as a a creative and designer I have found it to be a great tool for cataloguing inspiration. I feel like most guys, not all of them, I got into Pinterest late in the game.

    I loved your post but one thing that I really liked is your color board. I was just curious how do you utilize that and then take it to a client? Do you just pin photos, designs, logos, etc. that you like the colors of on the that board? The do you reference that board when you create colors schemes?

    Sometimes I feel like I have something I want to pin on multiple boards. Just curious about what you do?

    Ben

    • Kate says

      Hi Ben! There are tons of color scheme graphics on Pinterest, so my color board is where I pin those. I actually haven’t used it in a while, but when a client is starting from scratch on their color scheme and wants me to put something together, I’ll go there and pull colors from different boards. It helps to have a starting point!

      As far as multiple boards, I’m weird and don’t like having a pin more than once in my account, so I usually pick the most important one and stick with that. But I know a lot of people just pin things to more than one board! Hope that helps!

  10. says

    Great tips, I learned like you did that just pinning when the link went no where or worse to spammy sites was a bad thing. I try to pin & comment when I find a good post (like this one) but keeping with my brand, I pinned this but to a secret board where I keep all the great articles that I can go back & reference how to use social media properly. Thanks for sharing a great article, now I’m off to follow some of your boards :-)

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>