Welcome to the world of pinning! Pinterestis a social network that allows you to share visual interests and discover new inspirational imagery. It’s important to remember that Pinterest isn’t really a social network in the same way as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are, and that you can build a really strong following on the platform by being quite insular and just generally doing your thing “curating imagery” really well. Pinterest itself doesn’t ascribe the term social to its description, instead presenting themselves as a visual discovery tool. Which, given that design bloggers generally deal in the power of the visual, makes Pinterest a really great tool for defining your own visual aesthetic and driving traffic back to your blog.
We’ll let Pinterest tell you how to do the real basics but here are a few things we’ve learnt along the way.
It is advisable to set up your account as a Business Account if you want it to be associated with your blog and help drive traffic back to your site in a meaningful way. If you have already set up a personal profile it is very simple to convert to a business account, just select “Business” in the menu section on your account page and click “convert now”.
You have 160 characters to sell yourself as a person to follow so get creative with your bio but remember to be informative too. Try to stick with a consistent username if you already have social media accounts. That will make it easier for anyone who follows you to find you via searching on Pinterest. It also helps to use the same profile photo as this will begin to become identifiable to your followers. Make sure you also link your Twitter and Facebook so they appear in your profile header.
Create a New Board
To create a new board on your account, click the “Add +” button in the upper right-hand corner of your main Pinterest page. Select “Create a Board” and give your board a descriptive name so your followers know what types of pins they’ll find on it. You have 100 characters to play with in naming your board but it is important to remember that only the first 26 show on your homepage.
Add Multiple Boards
Don’t fall into the trap of creating just one or two boards and overpopulating them with imagery. Be mindful of your board topics and make sure all images fit within that narrow theme so you can ensure the interest of your audience in each image you post. Having too many boards can of course be overwhelming, but its good to split content out into specific rooms, specific trends, specific design styles etc. so each board has a coherent aesthetic and obvious overall appeal.
Install the Pin It Button
The easiest way to add content from any site is to add the “Pin It” button to your web browser. Visit the “Goodies” page on Pinterest to learn how to install it. You can also add pins via the Pin It button that often appears on imagery across the web, just hover over the image you like to see if one pops up. To add an image you like to one of your boards, you simply click the “Pin It” button and a screen will pop up asking you to select the image you want to pin (if there’s more than one photo on the page). After selecting the image you’ll get another window to create the pin, allowing you to choose which board to add it to and write a description.
Pinterest requires that pinned imagery include a description. Many users get around this fact by simply adding a single character (i.e. – / . / +) but in order to optimize your pins to be more discoverable it is useful to add a more thoughtful description. You have 500 characters to play with and while it is not advisable to write a complete essay under a pin, consider adding commentary such as what it is you like about the image, where a particular item is from if it is a product, why you want to visit a particular place if it is a travel snap etc. Hashtags and keywords have the ability to make your pins appear higher in search results so consider what terms people might be searching on the site and ensure that your image comes up when they do by including these keywords in your description.
Hashtags on Pinterest are only clickable and searchable in pin descriptions. Clicking on a hashtag in a pinâ€™s description will not only result in pins that include that hashtag but also in pins that include the same word or phrase in the description. As a result, hashtagging on Pinterest is not really required and excessive use of hashtags in pin description can look overly spammy, as well as unnecessary.
Like and Comment
As well as repinning you also have the option to ‘like’ an image on Pinterest and this is where the term social can be loosely applied to the network. Liking is great when you come across an image you really like but can’t see where it would fit on any of your boards, as the original pinner will be able to see that you’ve liked it, but it won’t be added to the feed of pins that your followers see. However, the purpose of ‘liking’ in order to be social is somewhat vague and although the pinner can see you like to image this doesn’t often drive them to seek out your feed in return, in the way it might on Instagram. A more effective way to be social on Pinterest is through commenting. You can also a comment to a pin by clicking on the comment button, for example if you want to congratulate a photographer on a great shot or ask a question about a recipe etc.
If you’re using Pinterest to support your blog and are keen to drive traffic back to your posts (why wouldn’t you!) it is important that you confirm your website in your account settings. Doing so allows you to see what other people are pinning from your blog and adds your logo to any pin that came from your site. Following the instructions in your Pinterest settings you can verify your website with an HTML file or meta tag added into the code on your blog. Once your website’s confirmed you’ll see your logo or profile picture on pins saved from your site across Pinterest. You’ll also gain access to web analytics in Pinterest Analytics (more to follow).
Keeping an eye on what’s trending can certainly be beneficial. You’re more likely to get other users interacting or repinning your content if you stay ahead of the curve. A good way to keep up-to-date with trends is to ensure you’re following Pinterest’s own boards including their 100 for 2016 – and keeping an eye on their board updates as these reflect emerging trends from their online community. Also keep an eye of the pins from your favourite tastemakers in different categories as these will again provide inspiration for what’s to come as well as providing inspiration for your posts on your own blog.
Given that Pinterest can provide a wealth of inspiration for posts you might like to create for your own blog it is wise to take advantage of Pinterest’s secret boards. Secret boards are, as the name suggests, boards that are visible only to you and allow you to pin images that may become the basis of future posts on your blog without anyone else seeing what you have planned. Secret boards are a great safe space for pulling together products for round-up posts into one place while retaining the link to the website you want to credit in your post, as well as getting a general overview of the style of imagery you’re drawn to when a new season begins or trend emerges.