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Craft your social media: Pinterest

by Camilla

Social media is hugely important if you want people to see your work. So we’ve put together a social media crash course, focusing on a different channel in each post, with tips from makers who really know what they’re talking about. We started with Instagram, and in this second instalment we’re looking at Pinterest: the home of procrastination (look carefully and you’ll find hundreds of lost hours wandering among its boards). Guiding you through the Dos and Don’ts of Pinterest is Flora Jamieson from Folksy shop Through The Round Window, whose collection of boards have inspired thousands of fans. Over to Flora…


Craft Your Pinterest (Or How not to let Pinterest ruin your life)

Pinterest is a wonderful resource. If you’ve never used it before, or if you’re just getting started, it can seem a little overwhelming. This simple guide will help you to get the best out of it – and hopefully prevent you from feeling that Real Life is ultimately ugly and disappointing, with rather sub-standard cakes.

So you know all those great, useful, inspiring, funny, helpful or interesting images that you come across in your day-to-day meanderings around the world wide web that you’ve saved to your hard drive never to be found again in a file marked ‘Untitled Folder’? Well, Pinterest is a kind of online scrapbook where you can sort and arrange those images into categories for easy access at a later date, without clogging up space on your computer. I know. Sorting and arranging the internet: sounds dreamy, doesn’t it?

There’s also a social media aspect to it in that you can follow other ‘Pinners’. You might want to follow your friends and family, creative people whose work you admire, people who have similar tastes to you or magazines/brands/blogs/shops that you like. All the images they pin will now appear in your ‘feed’ and you can then repin their images to your own boards. The more people you follow, the more interesting and varied your feed will become. People will also follow you and pin your images to their boards.

I’ve been using Pinterest for quite a long time now, and it’s become a really important part of my creative process. The three main reasons I use it are:

1) Inspiration
2) Motivation
3) Procrastination

Oh yes, and 4) Cake pics (which I usually look for at about 2.25am for inspiration as I’m about to start icing a daughter’s birthday cake, and then come away, utterly defeated by the MIRACLE cakes I have just witnessed, sobbing into my lop-sided sponges)

You can also use it to promote your business or wares, and set up a board of your own work and images. Make sure you always put your name and a link to your website in the caption, because that way if anyone repins your work (and you want them to do that because it feels good and will spread the word about how amazing your stuff is) then it will send traffic back to your site or shop.

If you’re just starting on a new project, product or venture and don’t want everybody to see the images that you’re pinning for reference or inspiration, you can keep your cards close to your chest by using a Secret Board that won’t be seen by your followers. This is especially useful if there are a few of you working on the project – you can invite them to be part of the board by email and then pool all of your images together. It will all feel terribly exciting and clandestine.

Sheep and fox cake, DIY cake decorating, Pinterest, pinterest tips, handmade charlotteSheep and Fox Cakes from Handmade Charlotte

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So to sum up, here are a few Dos and Don’ts…

DO follow other Pinners, comment on their pins and repin their images. The more you do this, the more followers you’ll get, and therefore the more repins and ‘likes’ your images will receive.

DO create varied, interesting, well-defined boards with snappy (or just plain accurate) titles. You’ll never find anything again if you just have two boards called ‘Stuff I Like’ and ‘Everything Else’.

DO state the name of the artist, photographer or source of the pin in the caption. It’s bad etiquette to pin other people’s work without crediting. (If you are repinning an image from someone else who has neglected to do this, it takes a few seconds to click on the pin, which should take you to its source on the net, where you’ll find the information you need.)

DO try to pin images from their source – not from Google Images or Tumblr, but from the original web page it came from. This sometimes involves a bit of detective work, but since you’re probably doing some major procrastinating anyway, why not go the whole hog and pretend you’re Columbo.

DO pin regularly and create a recognisable ‘style’ to your boards. You’re more likely to get followers if there is a consistency to your feed. People have often told me they know which pins are mine in their feed before they even look at the caption. This is probably because I tend to pin stuff like this:

cactus costume, knitting, pinterest tips, how to use pinterest, through the round window

DON’T get completely sucked into the vortex of perfect houses, holidays, clothes, crafts, food, bodies, pets and macrame plant holders you will see there. When you feel like you might be about to run and hide under your (10-year-old, faded, bobbled) Ikea duvet, simply type the words “Stop Comparing” into the Pinterest search bar (I forgot to mention there is a search bar there, but you probably know how they work) and let the wise words of fellow stressed-out Pinners wash over you. There, that’s better.

DON’T get all spammy and only pin your items for sale, complete with price tag and BUY BUY BUY in the comment. This is offputting. I think all social media works best for business if you pretend you’re not there to sell your wares, but to show what a jolly nice and interesting human being you are (while subtly linking to your shop and website).

DON’T be greedy and repin hundreds of images from another pinner in one sitting, just to fill up your boards. That’s lazy and won’t be a real reflection of who YOU are and what you are interested in.

If you’re pinning pictures of ideas for your future tattoo, DON’T pin pictures of people’s tattoos that are all red and scabby and haven’t healed up properly yet. Or maybe that’s just my pet hate.

There, that should be enough to get you started. Now go forth and PIN. See you at 3.45am, red-eyed and high on pictures of kittens in teacups.

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• Find Flora swooning over pictures of cakes, knitted cacti and kittens on Pinterest
• Read more in our Craft Your Social Media series



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1 comment

Deadlines and their legacy – Part 2 | August 15, 2015 - 9:26 am

[…] The next bit of sorting involved settling down on the sofa with my tablet and sorting through my Pinterest boards.  I’m not a Pinterest junkie but I do find it a really useful online resource.  My first boards were initiated by my daughter in the run up to her wedding but since then the themes have inevitably turned to patchwork & quilting. I used a board to keep together ideas and information as I planned this blog and one of my latest is just a useful pinboard as we shop around for kitchen appliances!  It is so handy to be able to keep a picture and a link to any item of interest found as you are reading or browsing online – I’d definitely recommend having a Pinterest page! Camilla has some useful do’s and dont’s for Pinterest users. […]

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