So you’re on Pinterest (and probably more than familiar with the joys of late-night pinning sessions) but how is it that while some pinners rejoice in thousands upon thousands of followers and hundreds of repins, your boards mostly go unnoticed? How have they done it?
Well, we asked four pro pinners to share their top tips for getting more fans, more followers and more repins on Pinterest. Here’s what Lou Archell, Kat Molesworth, Nikki McWilliams and Tiffany Grant-Riley told us. They have all been featured users on Pinterest and have more than 3 million followers between them, so they know a thing or two about it…
photograph by Sianuska
1. Have a clear style
Build an instantly recognisable aesthetic and style, and be consistent in what you pin. Don’t just share everything you see – be picky about what you pin. Lou from Little Green Shed suggests: “Keep to your brand aesthetic, the style of your shop and your product. Anything else outside of this, pin to secret boards.”
Tiffany from Curate and Display agrees: “Find your aesthetic and try to be consistent with it. I have private boards for personal projects or pins I find useful but don’t want to display publicly.”
2. Curate & influence
Don’t just pin your own work or copy what everyone else is pinning. Be original. Use Pinterest to show the things that you think are interesting and inspirational. Create boards that relate to your influences, craft and skills, whether that’s Mermaids like the Catkin Boutique, Nice Colour Combos like Sianuska or Ceramic Know How like Mecki Allen. “Pin to show your inspiration and style, as well as your finished products,” recommends Nikki McWilliams.
Don’t be afraid to be niche. If you think the many knots of macrame deserve their own board, make one! Be the pinner people come to if they want to know advanced macrame techniques, the coolest handmade ceramics or the best free knitting patterns.
3. Pin regularly
Pin often but slowly, rather than marathon ‘pinning binges’. The more you pin, the more people will find you, so try to pin every day but spread those pins out rather than having epic pinning sessions.
Tiffany recommends pinning no more than 20 a day. “It’s better to pin slowly and regularly every day than droves of pins infrequently – that can be annoying, particularly if you’re starting a new board and filling it up. You can schedule your pins in the same way you would tweets and Facebook posts, so rather than spamming your followers with too many pins at one time, they filter through gradually,” she says. “This is also useful if you’re going away or want to bring in a new audience in a different zone, and means you’re not having to think about it when you’re taking some time away from the online world.” If you want to schedule your pins, there are some great apps you can use, like Buffer.
Keep your boards fresh and regularly updated by adding new pins, rearranging the order and changing the cover photos. “If you’re building up a board quickly but don’t want to bombard your followers, start it privately then release it to your public feed when you feel you have enough pins to slow down a bit,” adds Tiff.
4. Pin portrait
The most popular images on Pinterest are portrait format rather than square or landscape-shaped, so consider this when pinning, as well as when creating your own product shots.
“Landscape images are far less likely to be pinned and repinned, as they show less detail and Pinterest is geared towards taller images,” explains Tiff. Extra-long images work really well too, according to Kat Molesworth.
Some ideas for ‘pinnable’ images are collage images (eg showing different stages of a tutorial or a product shot from various angles), infographics, and images with overlaid text that help lead people to an article. You can use apps like Canva.com to create different-sized images for all your social media channels and add copy over the top of an image if you’re promoting a ‘how-to’ list, for example. “A header image overlaid with text attracts attention faster than one without,” explains Tiff.
Tip: To make your own products extra ‘pinnable’, upload portrait-format images to your Folksy shop rather than square ones. Folksy will automatically crop the image in the shop and search views but the original portrait image will show when someone clicks through to the product page. Just make sure the image fits the frame well when viewed in its square crop.
5. Write good descriptions
If you think about it Pinterest works like a huge search engine. As well as showing you pins from the people you follow, many people use its search facility to find products or inspiration, and pins and boards also show up in Google results. So think carefully about your descriptions and create content to be found – consider what people will be searching for and include those words in your pin descriptions and board titles. When you pin something it comes with an automatic description, but you can edit that so it helps your pin come up in searches, and you can then also make it more personal to you.
“Always write your own descriptions and be verbose. Think of all the things people would search for,” advises Kat. “For example, ‘blue ombre summer sweater’ hits more searches than ‘sweater’.” So consider the keywords people might use and include those in your description, but as part of a sentence rather than just a list. “Hashtags don’t work, so ditch them,” adds Kat, “and links in descriptions look spammy.”
Follow Folksy’s board Studios on Pinterest.
6. Pin from the whole web
Don’t just repin other people’s pins. Scour the whole web – if you find something you think other people should know about, pin it! Always try to pin from the original source – so they get the URL credit. You can even pin your own pictures straight from your phone, tablet or desktop. So why not pin photos of your work in progress or your behind-the-scenes studio shots, like Hello Dodo do in their Behind the Scenes and Adventures board. “Adding Pinterest to iPhone’s share settings makes pinning from your mobile lots easier,” explains Nikki. (This pin shows you how.) “But always ensure that your original pins have a URL source linking back to your Folksy shop or blog.” You can do this by editing the pin once it’s uploaded and adding your shop URL to the source field. Find out how to add, delete or edit a pin from your computer, iphone, ipad or android device.
7. Know your audience
Although you should always aim to be original, it’s useful to keep an eye on trends too. Are people still going crazy for succulents or is it all about surprise-inside cakes? What can you find – or create – that fans of those things will want to pin and repin? More importantly, is that actually what your audience wants? Did they ever even like succulents? If you understand your audience, it will help you engage with them. If you sign up to a business account (which is free) Pinterest will even send you emails with suggested pins based on what your audience is interested in. A business account also allows you to view your Pinterest stats, so you can see which of your pins and boards are the most popular and what’s working with your audience. That way you can better tailor your content to target the right people for you.
8. Share & promote
You want as many people as possible to know that you’re on Pinterest and see your pins, so tweet, post and share your pins on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and on your blog if you have one. When you write a blog post, why not include one of your pinned images and link through to your board? (But remember to include a credit if you’re not the owner of the image.) Add your Pinterest account to your Folksy shop (you can do this in the ‘Shop Appearance’ section of your dashboard) so people can easily follow you, and add a Pinterest widget to your blog (find various Pinterest widgets here). Folksy already has a ‘Pin it’ button installed on all product pages so people can pin directly from your shop, and has Rich Pins automatically enabled (read more about what that means here), but “if you have a blog, make sure it’s optimised for pinning with the ‘Pin It’ button,” advises Tiff. “This enables visitors to pin your images quickly and easily.” You can also apply for Rich Pins for your own blog “which display more details below your pin, including a small favicon from your site that implies your site is a trusted source,” explains Tiff. “Rich Pins save you time in the long run,” adds Lou.
9. Embrace the social side
Follow as many other boards and Pinners as you can – their pins will show in your feed and give you a constant source of ‘Pinspiration’. Nikki also recommends you “start conversations” with other pinners: like and comment on their pins. You can even send people pins you think they might like or that would be perfect for one of their boards. Engage with your audience and other pinners as much you can. Here’s how to send message and pins. You can also create Group Boards and invite other users to pin. These are great if you’re doing a craft fair or event together, working on a collaboration, need to share resources with other makers or students (eg workshop participants), or just want to share with friends. Find out how to start a Group Board.
10. Be authentic
When we asked Pinterest to share their top tip for pinners, it was to “be authentic”. Pinterest is your personal “scrapbook and portfolio rolled into one”, explains Nikki, so make it your own. “Pin what you love. Don’t try to guess the market,” warns Lou. “Have fun! I think you can tell from a pinner’s boards when they’re really into the topics that they’re pinning about,” adds Nikki.
Credits: Crochet Polar Bear Hat in featured image by Tea and Crochet, other photography by Sianuska
Lou Archell is the founder of Little Green Shed and our digital editor at large. Lou was recently named by Business Insider as one of the ‘Top 10 Pinners in the UK’ and you can follow her Pinterest boards here. Follow her on Twitter @.
Kat Molesworth is a digital native and social media addict who has been blogging since last century. She is also the co-founder of the incredible Blogtacular – the hot conference for creative bloggers. You can find Blogtactular on Pinterest. Follow her on Twitter @.
Nikki McWilliams is a purveyor of bold, witty (and often biscuity) design for you and your home. Over 1 million people follow her on Pinterest. Nikki started selling her work on Folksy in 2009 and has since grown her business to become one of the best-known designers in the UK. Follow her on Twitter @.