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Pinterest 101…

Pinterest 101 with Joy Cho of Oh Joy! / via Oh Joy!

Pinterest 101 with Joy Cho of Oh Joy! / via Oh Joy!

Raise your hand if you LOVE Pinterest! Back in 2010, I was one of the first people to try out the then new site before it was available to the public. Since then, it's been a go-to tool for me both as a designer and content creator. My team and I use it daily to seek inspiration and to share ideas and images with one another. Now, more than 200M people use the platform every month find and save recipes to cook, products to buy, home decor and other ideas they want to try. As a business owner, I use Pinterest not only to find new ideas but also to share the images and products we create with 5 million Pinners each month. Since I always get a lot of questions about the platform, I thought it would be fun to share some tips with you for using Pinterest to build your brand and grow your business. 

People on Pinterest are actively looking for ideas to try tomorrow or someday—whether that’s a fresh recipe or a twist on an outfit. That makes them the perfect audience for whatever new ideas you’re cooking up. And Pinterest can help you grow your business because it works differently from other sites…

  1. More traffic for you—When people find an idea they want to try, they can click through to the specific page on your site to learn how to make, do, or buy it. 
  2. Reach beyond your followers—On Pinterest, your followers are the first to see your ideas. And the more they engage with your content, the more it gets shown in other places on Pinterest—like search results, feeds, and recommendations—for hundreds of millions of Pinners to discover.
  3. Your ideas live on and on—People can discover your ideas the moment you post them or months from now. It all depends on what they’re looking for and when they post them. People can discover your ideas the moment you post them or months from now. It all depends on what they’re looking for and when they need it. Your Pins keep delivering value for years to come—not just the first day you post them.

If you're looking for a deeper dive into the nuances of Pinterest, here are some common questions I often get asked…

How do you do you keep your Pinterest audience engaged and growing?

– Consistent, daily activity is better than a once a week flurry.
– Aim to keep your content well-organized in relevant boards, and save your ideas regularly, rather than all at once.
– It’s even okay to have multiple Pins that lead to the same webpage. In fact, it can be beneficial to save a variety of images that might appeal to different types of Pinners. Just make sure to add unique descriptions that are specific to each Pin—it’ll improve your SEO.

What kinds of images do the best on Pinterest?

– Try not to pin images that are too busy; lifestyle images are often more effective and attention-grabbing than product shots.
– Fashion, beauty, and style related Pins that show products in real-life scenarios can have a much higher click-through rates than Pins that show products on a plain background.
– The ideal aspect ratio is a vertical 2:3. Or, 600x900px—square 600×600 work well too. 

Should I try to pin things based on seasons or popularity?

– People do use Pinterest to plan their life well in advance of the season, holiday or event they’re planning for so start saving Pins that are relevant to upcoming trends, seasons and holidays around 45 days in advance of a season or holiday since they will continue to appear through that specific season.
– This is probably way earlier than what you’d post to other social media, but that’s the unique future-looking aspect of Pinterest at play.

Should I add new captions to a pin?

– A good description is key—Pins with descriptions drive more click-throughs than those without. So even if you are re-pinning, change the caption in your feed to reflect something that is useful or actionable.A strong call to action—like "shop," "make," "find" or "buy"—will encourage people to take the next step. On average, your click-through rates will go up if you’ve got a call-to-action in your description.
– Add useful advice to your Pins so people can put your Pins to use. 
– Use up to 20 hashtags that describe the content in the Pin. Hashtags should act as broad search terms, not niche humor (#springfashion is great, #ilookterribleinhats is not).
– Recipes: Describe the main ingredients of the dish, how to cook it, what events it should be served at and specific hashtags like #cleaneating Fashion: Include the type of clothing, designer, season to wear it and specific hashtags like #ootd

Oh Joy / Pinterest 101

Should I name boards more literally or more on brand? The clearer the description the better. While we may want our board names to be more artsy and original, they will be easier to find if they are clear and to the point. Add keywords in your board description and pick a board category to help Pinterest better understand your content. You can add both of these from the board editor.

Oh Joy / Pinterest 101

How can I make sure my e-commerce or blog website is best for Pinterest? Here are some ways to optimize your website for Pin clickthroughs:

– Make sure your landing page makes sense for the Pin. When someone clicks your Pin, they’re looking for more info about it. Make sure that the Pin’s image appears on the landing page, and the page’s content matches the Pin description.
– Add the Save button to your website. The Save button increases saves up to 5 times because it’s easier, faster and more intuitive for people to save your content to Pinterest.
– Create compelling, concise and relevant blog post titles. If you have Rich Pins enabled, the titles you use on your blog posts will be automatically added to your Pins when people save your content to Pinterest.
– Make sure Pins from your site have good descriptions. Fill your descriptions with relevant keywords. If you run your blog on a blogging platform, you can use a platform plugin to add the description and image that you want people to use when they save content from your website. Alternatively, if you aren’t using a plugin, add your description to the “alt text” of your image.
– Add the Follow button to encourage your biggest fans to follow you on Pinterest without leaving your site.

Overall, the best Pins represent the best ideas—they’re inspirational and actionable. Create Pins that have a clear audience, and are engaging for that audience. Unlike social networks where all of your audience reach typically happens in the first 24 hours, your content on Pinterest will continue to grow over the course of months or even years. Publishing consistently over consecutive months is the best way to build a dedicated audience. Here's a quick recap!

– Bring your best ideas. People come to Pinterest to find ideas from brands and businesses like you, and they’re actively looking for new ideas to try.
– Use eye-catching images. Pinterest is visual, so images that stand out and say something about what you offer will give you an edge. Lifestyle images are often more effective than product shots. Much of what works in print ads works on Pinterest (angles, graphic backgrounds, color, use of space, etc.)
– High resolution, high quality images will always look best.
– Steer clear of clutter. 80% of Pinners use Pinterest on mobile, so check out your Pin on mobile to make sure the message is easy to digest (and text is legible in the feed and closeup).
– Use a vertical aspect ratio. The ideal aspect ratio for Pins is 2:3 with a 600×900 px. Pins that are much longer than that are not recommended as they may be shown truncated in some places, and Pinners will need to closeup in order to see the entire pin. The profile cover area uses 2:3 pins as well, so longer pins will get cropped when displayed there.
– Consider adding (a little) copy. If your image doesn’t give enough context on its own, add copy to the image to help land your message. Just don’t go overboard.
– Name your boards wisely. Make sure your board names are specific and relevant to your audience (and contain good keywords). Avoid adding extra spaces between letters.
– Create at least 5 boards which are cohesive and specific
– Organize your boards with sections, where it makes sense. For example, a Spring Fashion board could be divided into sections called “Dresses,” “Shoes,” or “Bags.”

That was a long, juicy post, but I hope that was helpful for those of you looking to really dive into Pinterest!


  1. Hi Joy
    Do pinterest account holders always make their own images ? If not then how can other images be used without copyright issues?
    I mean not all are expert photographers so how can one be on Pinterest if they don’t have original content to share ??
    Thanks in advance ?


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