Pin Selection and Content
On Pinterest, your value to others is curation. Like a buyer for a hip department store, a fashion magazine editor, or the curator for a world-famous art museum, your job is to scour the world to bring only the very best to your customers, readers, or visitors. There are a number of strategies for making sure that you perform this curation role well to attract followers and keep your existing followers happy.
- Pin, don’t just repin. There is a dramatic difference in the number of repins, likes, and followers you get when you pin your own content rather than just repinning something you saw on Pinterest. There are a lot of popular pins that show up again and again on Pinterest and people have already seen a lot of the repinned content already. When you pin something new that you found yourself on the web or content you created, you’ve added real value to Pinterest and it will get noticed a lot easier.
- Don’t pin everything. Remember that your role on Pinterest is that of a curator. People follow you because you are filtering all the content in the world to bring them the very best of some category. If you pin everything in sight, you’re just contributing to the information overload and you’re not adding any value. Only pin the best of the best. While “best” is subjective, if your followers consistently see low quality pins from you, they’ll stop following.
- Don’t just pin your own products and services. If you’re laser-focused on marketing your own brand, products, and services, it may be tempting to only pin your own branded content. Don’t do this. You want to expose your brand to people who have never seen or heard of you before. The most effective way to do this is to first attract a following of people who love the lifestyle or category you’re promoting – and only then introduce them to your brand. For example, if you are Amy’s Bridal Gowns, you want to first attract people who are planning weddings and not just those who are already aware of your product line. One way to do this is to pin about wedding design ideas – flowers, hair, dream locations, makeup. Then, you can also include bridal gowns and include your products. While you don’t need to be so fair that you pin products from your direct competitors, you should consider pinning from sources beyond your own site so that your visitors know that you are bringing them the very best from across the web and not just your own brand. This will encourage more people to follow you and provide you an audience in the future if you want to extend your products and services into new categories.
- Experiment with different image sizes. Most images on the web are wider than they are long. One way to get more attention for your pins is to choose images that are longer than they are wide. This type of “skyscraper” format is advantageous because of the way Pinterest does page layout – your images will be visible longer as a user scrolls down a long list of images.
- Do competitive research. One quick way to find out what is popular for repinning is to look at competitors. Use the Source URL technique (explained in more detail in the “Pinterest Tools” section) to view the type and most popular content that is being repinned on a competitor’s website. Consider pinning similar content as it is likely to be in categories that the Pinterest community is most interested in pinning to their own boards.
- Choose pins that fall within popular categories. Even if your pin is visually stunning and loved by other Pinterest users, they won’t repin if most of them don’t already have a board that your pin fits within. To get an idea of the most popular categories on Pinterest, start by clicking the “Everything” menu in the top toolbar and looking at the categories. Also, keep an eye on the type of pins that show up most frequently when you select “Popular” from the menu.
- Only pin visually stunning content. Your pin image is going to be featured on a long scrolling list alongside hundreds of other images. Pinterest users will quickly scroll through these images to find something that jumps out at them. To even have a chance of getting noticed, your image needs to visually pop. Consider composition, color, perspective, and recognizable faces as important criteria in choosing which images to pin. If your image doesn’t stand out, look for a different image.
- Add variety to your pins. Don’t pin nearly identical things all at once to the same board or your audience will be overwhelmed and stop following you. Especially for products, don’t pin the green model, light green model, blue model, and 20 different variants of the same product in rapid succession. Pick your one favorite to pin.
- Don’t oversell. Think of Pinterest as the very top of the purchase funnel… it’s about discovering new things. The decision to buy comes a little bit later and can happen on your landing page once the Pinterest user decides to click through on the pin image. Focus within Pinterest on making the user curious and emotionally excited about the product or service. Don’t try to turn your Pinterest image into a small ad with prominent branding, comparisons, or ad copy. The PInterest audience doesn’t want their discovery process to be filled with overt advertising and it won’t help you sell.
- Pick the right products and services for Pinterest. If you find you want to add text into your image because your product needs more education and explanation to understand, it may not be the right product for Pinterest. If no matter how you photograph the product, you can’t make it visually interesting or emotionally exciting, it may be the wrong product for Pinterest. You may want to focus instead on brand values rather than promoting the products directly. Refer back to the “What Brands, Products, and Services Can You Most Effectively Promote on Pinterest?“ section for selection criteria.
- Pin what you know. You can’t fake passion. In order to be a great curator, you have to genuinely love what you’re pinning and understand the category. If you don’t, find someone else to contribute to the board – you can even invite someone from the Pinterest community. Your followers who really do love the category will be able to tell the difference.
The previous article was excerpted with permission from Pinterest Marketing Bible: The Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Brand and Products on Pinterest by Leon Cho. The book contains additional tactics including board organization, pin copy, link conversion, and getting followers.