Savvy Marketing Advice by Jen Cushman
I swore that I wouldn’t jump on the bandwagon and talk about Pinterest, a social media start-up site that launched in early 2010 and has grown exponentially. However, with more than 5 million registered users worldwide and 1.5 million unique page views each day, Pinterest has become a social media phenomena with a marketing bite.
Here’s my personal Pinterest story. An artist friend of mine sent me an invite to join Pinterest more than a year ago. I accepted her invitation, looked around, created 2 pin boards and pretty much forgot about it. At the same time, I discovered Instagram on my new iPhone and fell in love with it. Realizing I didn’t want to learn both, I decided to put a self-imposed moratorium on any more social media time-suck sites.
But then it seemed more and more mixed-media artist friends of mine were joining Pinterest and singing its praises. I had a recent talk with a friend of mine who became so addicted that her family did a “Pintervention,” imploring her to spend time with her husband and kids instead of Pinteresting until midnight every night. I’m not kidding.
So what’s it all about? Pinterest is a virtual corkboard; a concept so simple that it’s truly brilliant. As creative people, how many of us spent time ripping pages from magazines and gluing them to an inspiration board or an inspiration journal? I did. When my husband and I decided to gut and remodel our house in 2005, I spent the entire year before construction scouring magazines and the Internet for home decorating ideas. I created a folder on my computer to save images to, printed them on my inkjet printer and taped them into my idea journal. If I did a similar project today, I’d have Pinterest on my iPad.
If you have a Facebook or Twitter account, you can easily join Pinterest. If not, you will need to have a friend send you an invitation to join. Again, another brilliant marketing concept by the company’s originators because when someone makes you feel special, you already feel like a cool kid welcomed into the group and are more receptive to the what’s being presented. Here are the simple steps to begin:
- Create a Pinterest Account. You can create it in your name or your business name.
- Install the Pin It button for your browser’s tool bar.
- Fill out your profile information and add a photo.
- Create a board or two or 20.
- Start pinning.
Good imagery is the driving force of Pinterest. Beautiful images found on the web will get the most attention and activity. This is one place where I believe print magazines with an online presence can hit the Gen Y demographic. Also, it’s interesting to note the early adopters of Pinterest were women interested in DIY crafts, parties and decorating and home decor. These are still the strongest categories of interest on Pinterest.
As artists, there are two ways of looking at and using Pinterest. You can use it simply to create a virtual inspiration board of colors, mediums and ideas that spark your creativity and can easily be categorize and saved. You can also begin taking advantage of marketing capabilities and add it to your social media platform. Here are some easy ways to incorporate it into your marketing program:
- Create a professional profile using a similar bio or language that you use for your company website and brochures.
- Include your website or blog address in your profile so new followers can find you.
- Watermark your art images that you publish on the Internet with your name and website or blog URL. When you or others pin your images, it not only gives proper credit, but it’s also free advertising.
- Pinterest was originally set up to share ideas, rather than shameless self-promotion. While it’s perfectly fine to pin photos of your art, do so thoughtfully in order to maintain the spirit of community it’s founded on. You can pin items from your Etsy or ArtFire stores and even type the $ and a price to the pin so it shows up as a banner across the top, letting people know your work is for sale. It’s a powerful cross-promotional tool, but again, an area to tread lightly.
- To encourage people to follow you, give your boards interesting titles. As my artist friend and social media expert Niki Miners says, “The more descriptive your titles and the more inspiring your photos, the more you are going to be able to grow a Pinterest following and a social media fan base.”
- If you are already using Twitter, you will find it easy to incorporate hash tags (the # symbol) into your pin’s descriptions. Hash tags are a way of alerting others to topics of mutual interest and gives yet another way for new people to learn about you and your work. Be respectful as to how many hash tags you add to your description, as this can get annoying quickly.
Remember that social media is all about the love. When doing social media as part of your business marketing platform it’s better to be inclusive, so from time to time, take a look at your followers and follow some of their boards back. Not only is it good etiquette, it’s another way to fill your creative well with wonderful images. Plus, it saves you from having to do all the work on Pinterest since you can re-pin what you like and share with your peeps too.
Of course, I’d be remiss writing about Pinterest for an artist-based audience without mentioning its recent copyright controversy. Fortunately, the Pinterest team re-worked its Terms of Service to quell the furor, and artists who were up in arms last month seem to have calmed down now.
One of the best things you can do is to pin ethically by ensuring the images link back to their original source, meaning another artist’s direct blog/website or work. Like telephone tag, images that are pinned and re-pinned over and over can get diluted to the point that the originating artist or photographer is erased.
If this like what you read here and agree it’s Pinteresting information, feel free to follow me on Pinterest under Jen Cushman. I’m slowly but surely building my inspirational corkboards. Also, if you want to see what some of my amazing artist friends are saying about Pinterest, check out my blog at www.jencushman.wordpress.com.
Jen Cushman is a natural storyteller who found mixed media art a decade ago and never looked back. She is drawn to the imperfect, the funky, the quirky, the artsy and the authentic: be it people or objects or art. She writes a business advice column for artists at CreateMixedMedia.com and also for Belle Armoire Jewelry. She’s also the Director of Education and Marketing for Susan Lenart Kazmer ICE Resin®. To learn more, visit her website www.jencushman.com or follow her blog at http://www.jencushman.wordpress.com.
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