Pinterest is a phenomenal resource for anyone creating content or selling goods and services. In February 2018, 600 million people hopped on Pinterest to search for products or information and that number continues to rise. And the beautiful thing about Pinterest users?
Many of them are there specifically to get new ideas and learn about new products and brands! In fact, 97% of Pinterest searches are unbranded.
This platform is oozing opportunity and everyone is in a race to stand out among the crowd. If you want to get your content seen, you’re going to need a strong Pinterest strategy.
While the best practices for Pinterest are fairly straightforward, I’m going to give you five things you need to AVOID in order to have a strong Pinterest Business profile.
1. Don’t copy other people.
There’s a BIG difference between getting design inspiration from other content creators on Pinterest and flat out copying their aesthetic. Whether you’re a Pinterest consumer or creator (or both), you’ve probably noticed in your searches that variations of the same pin seem to keep popping up on your feed.
It’s the same font combinations, same color palettes, even the same designs! It’s clear that your competitors are working off the same Canva templates. Whereas these designs can look really great, you still run to risk of getting lost in the crowd. Even beautiful pins will not do as well if a dozen other creators are putting out pins that look exactly the same and explore the same topics.
Let me show you what I mean.
These pins are by three different content creators, but you would hardly know it by looking at them. For the same reason that you want to avoid using popular, free stock photos in your pins, you want to avoid imitating the design aesthetic of other creators.
When a Pinterest user clicks on one of these pins, Pinterest is going to recommend dozens of pins that look exactly like this pin on similar topics. Translation: your content is going to get lost. Look at the three pins above.
Which would you click on if you were interested in this topic?
There’s no clear reason to pick one over the other because they are essentially the same. Unfortunately, there is a lot of pin stealing (NOT suggesting any creator above stole anything) and copycats on Pinterest. You might have created a BEAUTIFUL design aesthetic for your brand and suddenly you see similar or identical looking pins popping up all over your feed.
If someone steals your pin outright, you can, of course, report them to Pinterest, but copycats? Not a whole lot you can do besides continuing to update and evolve your own pins.
2. Don’t use the same template for ALL of your pins.
As a consumer, nothing turns me off more than clicking on a profile and seeing rows and rows of the exact same pin with different words. You can (though you don’t need to) have a branded “look” for your profile. This makes a lot of sense if you’re niche is visual in nature like fashion or design. But it’s important to understand what a branded profile really means.
There are some creators who take the idea of “branded pins” a bit too far. Instead of being strategic or thoughtful in the color scheme and images, they take the easy way out. They pick 2-3 Canva templates and reuse them until their boards begin to look like this:
Sure, this takes way less time than creating more original and varied pins, but from a consumer perspective, this looks spammy and lazy.
If you are going to create a consistent “look” for your pins, you still need to show range in the design. Here’s a better example:
This blogger clearly has a color palette and font pairing aesthetic that she loves, but her pins still have variety. This is a better approach if you’re going to brand content pins.
If you want to see what an expert level of branded Pinterest profile looks like, check out the “Queen of Pinterest” Joy Cho’s Pinterest profile. She does an incredible job of making all of her pins flow together visually without feeling repetitive. (This is why she has over 13 million followers).
Joy’s profile is an example of one that is well-curated, like an art gallery. BUT if you’re not in a visual niche, this strategy probably doesn’t make a lot of sense for you.
What should you do instead?
If you want to do a branded, CONTENT-driven profile, you still need to approach it with a designer’s eye. A blogger who does a pretty good job of this is Simply Amanda. Her pins match her entire brand. The color scheme, mood, and font pairings are consistent throughout her Pinterest profile AND website. It’s a really pretty continuity.
She does create pin templates for readers to buy, and whereas these templates follow the same general aesthetic, they are different enough that people who buy them won’t appear to be copying her pins.
It’s clear she has a handful of go-to templates that she routinely uses. That’s okay. It’s not the same one or two templates for all the pins so the combined aesthetic is not off-putting. That likely has a lot to do with the fact that the templates she does use are uniquely her own.
If you’re not a particularly design savvy individual, even with tools like Canva at your disposal, see if you can hire this out. It’s better to have someone design custom templates for you to use rather than buy templates on another blogger’s website because you are far less likely to have pins that look like a bunch of other creators’ pins, and that is the big goal.
3. Don’t repin content that directly competes with your own.
If you’re an intermediate Pinterest user, you know that in order to be successful, you need to pin and pin often. It shouldn’t, however, be 100% your own content. Pinterest wants to see you engaging with the platform and sharing the love.
But what should you pin?
You want to pin high-quality, third-party content related to BUT NOT IN DIRECT COMPETITION WITH your content and/or brand. If you’re promoting an article about how to design beautiful Instagram stories, you don’t want to repin content on the exact same topic. You want to repin content that is complementary.
For example, I have a board called “Pin Design.” Because my business profile is relatively new, I DO have some pins pointing to content that gives design tips, but the suggestions within the articles address different aspects of pin design than my own article on the same topic. The rest of third-party pins deal with Canva tutorials, templates, and beautiful font pairings – none of which I write about currently.
You want your boards to be useful to your readers AND to highlight your own content. That’s a delicate balance to strike. You can certainly (and should) repin other content creators in your niche, but make sure it’s content that differs from yours but still adds value for your readers.
4. Open the links on pins before repinning them.
I’m guilty of not following this rule for my personal blog, though I am much more purposeful with my newest Pinterest profile. It is VERY tempting as a busy entrepreneur trying to get ahead in the Pinterest game to pick a pretty pin with a nice title and say, “Okay, this looks nice. Repin!”
Don’t do that.
- Pin thieves. There are people out there who steal pins and redirect it to their own site or sites that are COMPLETELY unrelated. You don’t want to participate in that.
- Some people are better at pin design than content creation. You don’t want to direct your Pinterest followers to crappy content.
You’re not just on Pinterest to get your stuff out there, you’re there to curate an experience for your followers. If you accidentally spam them with terrible or misleading content because you didn’t bother to click the link before repinning, it erodes trust. If I’m on your board and I click on something that turns out to be spam, I’m thinking twice about repinning your content.
This process may slow you down in the beginning, but after a while, you’ll start to learn which content creators you can reliably repin and it will become much faster.
5. Separate the personal from the professional.
When you’re first starting out, you want your boards to be topically connected. You’re trying to build a profile as a creator of content, services, or products within a given niche.
My professional board for Alicia Nicole Creative is centered around all things Pinterest, blogging, and social media marketing and design. You will not find boards where I collect recipes for my daughter’s ever-changing dietary preferences on that account. (That board does exist by the way).
You have TWO choices here.
- If your business account is just your personal account upgraded to a business account, go back and make your personal boards “secret.” If there’s no real connection to your original content and a board, keep it off of your business profile.
- If you don’t want to make your boards secret (maybe you have sooooo many of them), you can make a separate account for your business. It means starting completely over in terms of followers, but will be easier to manage in the long run.
Some older, well-established Pinterest creators may have a variety of board topics unrelated to their niche on their profiles, but they can get away with it because people already know who they are. For newer creators or those still trying to break through in their niche, you want to keep it niche-focused.
Don’t have time to do all of this stuff?
Not a problem. I do offer Business Account Setup services to help Pinterest creators design a highly-optimized profile that incorporates all of these best practices. (I’ll also go in and clean up any mess you might have made.)
I’m also available for monthly Pinterest management services if you’d rather hire someone else to open links and vet content on your behalf.
I genuinely want people to succeed on Pinterest because it helped me get my blog in front of the right people, and I want other people to experience that as well. If you want some extra help and think we may be a good fit to work together, feel free to reach out and we’ll chat!