Somehow, I have amassed quite the ridiculous number of Pinterest followers. Not sure how I made the magic million, but it could be the hours and hours I spend lost in a Pinterest vortex repinning photos of
Chanel flatlays punk icons and hunting for the perfect gentlewomanly shoes.
Actually, I jest. While I do occasionally (ahem) indulge in aimless ‘pinning’, I’m usually using Pinterest for research purposes or in a strategic way to raise awareness of my site. And I’ve enjoyed learning some Pinterest insights for brand consultancy purposes, as it’s fast becoming a powerful commercial communication tool. I hosted a Pinterest workshop not long ago with a handful of fashion bloggers, to help understand some of the key ways to build and engage a Pinterest following. So here are five tips that you can utilise if you want to up your Pinterest game.
1. DECIDE WHAT YOUR GOAL IS
Are you a brand or blog wanting to drive traffic or sales to your site? Or perhaps you want to raise awareness of your brand throughout the Pinterest community? It’s important to decide which, because there’s a big difference. If you want to drive traffic to your site, then make sure it regularly features strong visuals, then add a Pin It button and use it to regularly pin images from your site to Pinterest. When people re-pin your pins, anyone who clicks on those images will be taken straight to your site. If you want to raise brand awareness within the Pinterest community and build follower numbers, then it’s about having beautiful, useful content that’s cleverly labelled. Read on to find out how to do this.
2. TAKE TIME TO WRITE USEFUL COPY
This tip is not a popular one. If like me, you have a gazillon chores to do every time you publish a blog post (edit, retouch, resize, upload, tag, add to Twitter, Facebook, ad infinitum), then you’re not really going to love yet more. But Pinterest research has found that ‘rich’ pins with lots of helpful information in the description box, get more engagement. Whether you pin from your own site, or re-pin from within Pinterest, take a look at the description box. Try to write something useful that describes the pin. For an outfit post picture, including a how-to tip is more engaging than a line that just describes what’s in the photo. The more personality you can add to your tone, the better. A bit like blogging I guess.
To help you, Pinterest has a useful function called ‘guided prompts’ (above). For example, if your pin is about denim, type ‘denim’ in the search bar, then look at the words that show up beneath. These are all associated words that are trending in real time that you could use in your description. Why is this helpful? Because that search bar is a bit like Google for Pinterest. So if people search for the words that you’re using in the description box, there’s a better chance that your pin will come up too. (And increasingly, people are using Pinterest as a search site for fashion advice and style inspiration.) But use full sentences, not key words. And no hashtags because they don’t work on Pinterest.
Another tip: when people re-pin they generally can’t be bothered to change the wording in the description box. Therefore, if you add your blog name in the description, this can help spread brand awareness of your blog.
3. TRY TO PIN IN PORTRAIT ORIENTATION
Pinterest users are increasingly using tablets and phones on the go, and for that it’s easier to view long images, rather than wide, landscape pictures. Pinterest’s research shows that long images get more engagement, so bear this in mind when pinning. I’d say this is especially true of outfit posts, although it’s a bit of a pain with flat lays, which tend to be shot horizontally.
4. FOCUS ON ENGAGEMENT
Building a million followers sounds and is impressive. But I don’t think it’s enough. For blogs and brands, the important thing is to build engagement, which means inspiring people to click on your pins or repin them. One way to do this is to think about perennial topics that people are likely to search for, or be interested in. I find that my pins about denim, Chanel, Nike, food and interiors all get lots of repins (the denim pin above has 46 repins). (Side note: Pinterest does not call itself a social network because it’s not about comments or friends. It’s really all about the shared inspiration.) But you can think seasonally too, in the same way you might for your blog. So for now you could consider creating a board about how to get the perfect summer tan, holiday essentials, summer in the city dressing and the sorts of ideas you find in magazines. But try to put your own spin on them.
5. MAKE YOUR BOARDS PERSONAL AND PERENNIAL
Purely for research, I have boards called womenswear SS15, menswear AW15, womenswear pre-fall 2015 etc, because I use them for planning features for my freelance work. But the problem is, in a year’s time, who will want to follow a board called womenswear 2015? If you’re using Pinterest for personal research then that doesn’t matter, but if you want engagement then take a tip from Coco’s Tea Party and use more useful titles that have broader appeal. Pinterest advised me to have boards on coats, boots, knitwear etc, but to name them as something more exciting. And although we fashion types love a pun, it’s better to think of words or phrases that people will search for. So a board called ‘cosy winter knits for work’ or ‘bright winter warmers’ is likely to get more follows.
Another tip about boards. I never used to bother with the description box but you can use it to add more detail of what your board is about. This is where you can inject personality because you have space to add a few lines, so make it engaging and conversational. But remember, people follow boards without necessarily knowing anything about the pinner. They might just be interested in the subject matter, so make sure your content is useful and don’t assume they are following ‘you’ as a blogger.
You can also create unique, fun boards like Lisa Eldridge did with her genius Your Lisa Eldridge Looks board. This was a board compiled of make-up looks tried by her fans which linked to her how-to videos. Not much re-pin value (they’re amateur pics) but a great, useful service which sends traffic to her site.
Finally, as with other platforms, the more you use it, the more you’ll gain followers and engagement. Here are a few Pinners I love: La Garconne; Jamala Johns; Mrs Gorman; Natalie Hughes; Adita Jhaveri. And you can follow me on Pinterest at @Disneyrollrgirl.
Any questions, ask them below!