Social Media 101: Utilizing Pinterest

By: Kelly Smith; Photos by Brooke Dennis and Justin Hackworth for Alt Summit

With all the changes taking place within Pinterest, it can feel daunting to know how to use it effectively. Good thing Alexandra Even came to Alt Summer 2015 and broke everything down for us.  She took the audience members through her process of defining what the space has to offer, brainstorming possibilities, and then utilizing a best-fit scenario.

It is easy to see that Pinterest is a discovery tool, but the challenge is getting the Pinterest audience to engage with the content with likes, follows, comments, re-pins, purchases, and click throughs. The key is realizing that helpful content is key.

12 Things to Do When You Pin

In addition to providing relevant and helpful content (which includes DIY's, how to's, step by step guides, and targeted information), visually appealing photographs will always produce more reaction. Here is a helpful list of things to consider when documenting your process or pinning other content to your board.

  • Vertical orientation looks best on Pinterest
  • Clear photography with sharp imagery stands out 
  • Colorful images do best 
  • Don't forget the details - focus on one element 
  • Lifestyle images are relevant and set the mood 
  • Process photos are golden 

Besides creating and pinning informative and thoughtful content, enabling the following elements will set you apart from the pack and create a cohesive stream of content.

  • Write natural pin descriptions 

  • Use text overlays to highlight information 
  • Always use rich pins 
  • Experiment with stoppable pins 
  • Focus on relevant hashtags only 
  • Include a call to action 

5 Tips for Sharing without Spamming

Just like any other form of social media, Pinterest should become a seamless extension of your original blog/brand/business and should create a community that is interested in your process, feels like they are a part of the magic, and encourages participation. Below are some proactive tips on how to share with your community without spamming. 

  • Host boards on a variety of topics that you regularly talk about/engage with
  • Put your most popular boards on top and branded boards on the bottom
  • Pin one image at a time 
  • Pin similar content around your ad (or post from your blog) 
  • Schedule your pins 

Think about your audience as you would a best friend. You want to share the most valuable, most interesting, and most important information but not all at once. You wouldn't call your best friend to relay an entire magazine, but you might get excited enough to share one article. As much as we all want to shout to the world, "look at me - I am doing cool stuff over here", being patient, informative, and authentic will yield a more committed community over time.