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Pinning Down Pinterest Best Practices

Oh the joys of pinning new ideas, trends, videos, and so much more on Pinterest! I’ll admit it…I have a little obsession, racking up thousands of pins between professional and personal Pinterest accounts.

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Use Pinterest best practices to create more meaningful conversations and increase followers.

Just like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media channels, Pinterest has its own culture and communication style. After countless hours of reading, pinning, and repinning throughout the past year, I’ve recorded some Pinterest best practices and etiquette tips to share with you.

Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Streamline content (Some Pinterest accounts have a board for every topic, but only have a few pins. Make it interesting for followers by providing broader range board topics that they can follow rather than segmenting topics too specifically. And try not to create empty boards until you have items to post to them.)
  • Leverage social channels (When appropriate, share your pins with Twitter and/or Facebook communities as well. It’s a great way to expand your reach and the conversation.)
  • Use keywords (One of the main features of Pinterest is the ability to search keywords by pins, pinners, or boards. Make sure to take advantage of this feature by using keywords in the descriptions as we do for other social media channels.)
  • Understand policies (Pinterest stirred up quite a bit of controversy regarding siting sources, etc. Take the time to understand Pinterest’s policies as well as your company’s guidelines (if using it on behalf of the brand) to protect yourself.)
  • Joining group boards (It’s flattering to receive invitations to join group boards. However, before clicking the tempting “accept” button, evaluate how many pins you would like to receive from those boards. Getting inundated with pins, from a certain topic each day, may have an adverse effect on your participation!)
  • Share information (Vary the type and format of content you pin to boards. While we all like infographics, they can get a little old on Pinterest if that’s the only thing that’s pinned. Mix it up with videos, case studies, reports, SlideShare presentations (if for business), articles, blog posts, and other types of content. I like to use the 70% new content/30% repins rule of thumb.)

And here are some etiquette tips to keep followers interested and to attract new ones:

  • Site sources (Always include the source, especially for items that have copyrights, etc. If the source is on Pinterest, use the @ format to link to the person/organization.)
  • Include a description (Insert a description, with keywords, to help followers understand the item more clearly, leading to more repins.)
  • Acknowledge comments (I find that 2-way exchanges are still a newer trend on Pinterest versus other social media channels. Since participants are still getting into this feature, it’s important to respond to posted comments. It will go a long way with followers and we can learn from each other!)
  • Pace pins (Space out the number and frequency of pins so that followers do not feel bombarded all at one time. By pacing the pin posts over time, it will also give you the opportunity to share new content without having to do a lot of research work ahead of time. And lastly, try not to duplicate pins. It gets confusing for followers.)
  • Maximize boards (Pinterest is dynamic and social. Leverage it for sharing a variety of information and use Instagram or Flickr for photo postings instead.)
  • Reciprocate information-sharing (Monitor followers and how the content you share is repinned. If you find there are certain followers that consistently repin your content, try repinning their content in reciprocation.)
  • Follow others (The same principles from other social media channels apply to Pinterest. We do not need to follow everyone that follows us. Check on the type of content the new follower pins and evaluate if the content matches your needs and what your other followers are interested in too.)

Lastly, if you are prepping items for Pinterest, here are a few details to consider:

  • Images: Use images in blog posts or other communications to make it easier on Pinterest users to post.
  • Pin Features: Include pinning capabilities as part of your “share” social media icons on websites, emails, and more.
  • Captions: Incorporate a short, but descriptive caption for each photo used to brand information more clearly.

Did the details above “pinpoint” the best practices you were thinking of as well? (Sorry, just had to play on that word!) Do you have other tips you are using as well? I’m interested in reading your insights and learning about the different ways you are using Pinterest too!

And in the meantime, if you are interested in other types of social media training, check out our new complimentary Cisco Social Media Training Program.  Take short on-demand courses or sign up for customized one-on-one team training sessions by emailing ciscosmtraining@external.cisco.com.

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4 Comments.


  1. February 6, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    This is a good breakdown on best practices using Pinterest. Well done Elizabeth.

       1 like

    • Elizabeth Houston

      Thanks for the great feedback Matt. I appreciate it and am glad to hear this post is helpful!

         0 likes

  2. February 6, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Elizabeth, I just sent you invitations to 6 of my group boards. Just kidding. But, seriously, you make a good point about correct set up of notifications for group boards. I prefer to turn off notifications for new pins, so that my Pinterest friends and I don’t receive an email every time someone adds a new pin. And yes, it is very important to acknowledge and reply to comments. Thanks for the helpful summary!

    P.S. If you have a funny picture of a cow, please pin it here: http://pinterest.com/silviakspiva/cows-of-the-world/

       0 likes

    • Elizabeth Houston

      Hi Silvia, I love it! Keep the invitations coming. Just kidding. And you make a good point as well about turning notifications off. While this does help to cut down on getting bombarded by email, I’ve found that some boards just have too much activity and end up taking over the live feed, making it harder to notice other pins as well. It definitely comes down to personal preference, but very happy to hear you are finding value in using Pinterest. Thanks for the feedback!

         1 like