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Knowledge is Power: 3 Steps to a Higher Pinterest Education

Submitted on 2/13/2013 by Kelly Kauffman

As a Content Marketing Intern at Thunder, I’ve managed multiple Pinterest campaigns for our clients and have become familiar with this unique social network. Launching only in 2010, Pinterest has gained a great following and continues its prominence among other social networks.

While women users dominated early Pinterest demographics, usage among men is on the rise. More importantly, studies show that the Pinterest audience is both educated and more likely to spend their higher disposable income.

Today, it seems Pinterest is becoming more business-friendly with several brands marketing on Pinterest, and a verification process that will help them build a community on the popular social network. From electronics to education, brands are using Pinterest to connect with an important audience.

Getting started on Pinterest is one thing, but earning Pinterest Pro status is another, so I’m going to walk you through 3 steps to a higher Pinterest education! Let’s get started.


Pinterest 101: Connecting with Pinterest Users

While it might seem very tempting to jump on the bandwagon and start pinning, let’s first figure out if your audience is on Pinterest. By using, you are able to see who has been pinning images from your website (or any website), and the type of people who have been sharing your images. This preliminary research is a great way to see if Pinterest is right for you.

If Pinterest seems like a good fit for your business or industry, start off by repinning from popular categories, like “Food & Drink”, “DIY & Crafts”, “Home Decor”, and “Animals” (like any other part of the Internet, cute pets are always popular). While repinning, a great way to start connecting with other users is to like and comment on other pins in order build a community around your profile. If you discovered anything pinned from your website in the litmus test above, now is the perfect time to start engaging with those users.

Another way to grow your Pinterest community is to participate on community boards. With community boards, multiple Pinterest users can contribute to the same board. This increases your exposure exponentially, since you now have more people pinning to one board, and there is an opportunity for their followers to be introduced to your brand and Pinterest profile through this community board.

Currently, there is no search category for community boards, which makes it difficult to find these boards. In fact, searching for a keyword like “interior design” and selecting the “boards” results will not even help you identify relative community boards. Instead, you must visit an individual Pinterest profile that is the owner of, or a participator on a community board, and look for this icon:

You can also identify these community boards by the multiple contributor thumbnails at the top of each board.

Unfortunately, you can’t request an invite for a board either, so it takes a bit of effort to get invited to a Pinterest community board. Here are some steps that might make this process easier, and help you “earn the love” in terms of contributing to community boards.

  1. Identify Pinterest community boards you want to join. Make sure you are a good fit for the board, and that you have similar boards that show off your expertise in this niche or industry.
  2. Research the Pinterest user that owns the board. Do they have a blog? Are they active on other social media channels? How many community boards to they own, and do they invite pinners of all types? This post on creating link building personas with Pinterest will guide you through this process.
  3. Engage with the community board. Slowly start repinning the pins, and comment on relative pins. If possible, attempt to reach out on other social media channels.
  4. Ask to join! You’ll have to tread lightly here. Make sure you’ve earned your contributor status by building up your own relative boards, repinning their pins, and positioning yourself as a leader in the space. If you’ve started engaging with them on other channels like Twitter or their blog, it might be easier or less noisy to ask there. If that isn’t an option, consider leaving a comment on one of the pins in the board that you’re interested in contributing. Remember that adding you as a contributor to their community board helps them gain more exposure, so most people will be open to the idea. However, if your pins and profile don’t impress, they might pass. Don’t give up!

Once you have taken the time to build up your profile, don’t forget to analyze the results. Is one board more popular than another? Which pins do your users enjoy the most? What type of content is driving traffic to your website?

One free Pinterest analytics service I like is PinPuff, which offers up-to-date information on your top three boards, the amount of repins for each board and the reach, activity, and virality score for your account. We’ve also heard good things about Curalate and Pinfluencer too.


Pinterest Undergrad: Creating Content for Your Pinterest Community

After you’ve built up your Pinterest profile by repinning other people’s content, it’s time to drive some traffic to your own website. Now that you have a good idea about your Pinterest audience, you can create content by the people, for the pinners.

To get started, create blog content that matches your audience’s interests. As mentioned, food recipes and DIY projects lead the top of the pack when it comes to popular pins. Why is this? Users prefer pins that offer up instructions and tips for their everyday lives. 97thFloor coined these types of graphics as “Instructographics”, and they are used for hairstyle instructions, recipes, and even gym workouts.

But what if you don’t have this type of content on your own site? Leverage other people’s content. For example, Lilly wrote a post about Heather’s Homemade Tootsie Rolls. In Heather’s post, she posted step-by-step recipe directions, but kept each photo separate. Lilly saw this as an opportunity, and combined all of the images into one “pin-worthy” instructographic. Guess which one is pinned more often? No contest.

Another great way appeal to Pinterest users is to create content that is seasonal for holidays or events. This keeps content fresh for the user, and they are more likely to click on the pin to your website. Also, when next year comes around, you can bring back your old pins and repin them on your board because unlike other photo sharing websites, there is less resistance to reposts on Pinterest. Also, feel free to post one of your images to multiple boards if they seem relevant. For example, a food recipe for Valentine’s Day can be added to both a food board and a holiday board.

Right before you pin your image, make sure to include important and relevant keywords and hashtags in your description, as it will become important for users to find your pins and share it with their followers. However, remember to keep this simple! Keep hashtags down to only one or two #and #dont #do #this.


Masters in Pinterest: Advanced Pinterest Engagement

With Pinterest gaining a large following, brands have been creatively going above and beyond to engage with their audience. Social media sweepstakes have been popular on Facebook and Twitter, but now we are seeing sweepstakes on Pinterest too. Sephora and Refinery29 are collaborating on a Pinterest sweepstakes that requires the user to follow, repin and include a hashtag in the description. Then, they’re collecting Pinterest usernames and emails on their site. So, not only is the sweepstakes encouraging their audience to share their products on users’ Pinterest communities, it’s also building up a targeted list, complete with usernames and emails, of their Pinterest audience.

Another way brands are engaging with users is through guest pinning, which is very similar to the process of guest blogging, except the guest pinner has their own board on the brand’s Pinterest profile. Examples include Whole Foods pinning to Etsy’s board about Valentine’s Day (see seasonal? I’m not making this up). Another option is identifying an influential Pinterest user, and having them contribute to a board, as Refinery29 did with Bekka Palmer when she pinned from the Art Basel festival in Miami.

At the end of the day, Pinterest is for the hobbyist in all of us. We go on to learn more from other users and maybe we can teach them as well. The best way to earn the love on Pinterest is to start sharing what we love with our users.

3 Responses to “Knowledge is Power: 3 Steps to a Higher Pinterest Education”

  1. Kelly! What an awesome first post on the Thunder blog! Looking forward to many more from you. Great job!

  2. [...] Knowledge is Power: 3 Steps to a Higher Pinterest Education, [...]

  3. Marlene says:

    Great first blog, you are amazing and bring interest to readers, keep it up

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