Have you been avoiding Pinterest? Why? With its 40 million users, Pinterest is a relatively small social network compared to Facebook (which hit 1 billion users late last year), but it’s an active one. 80% of Pinterest’s pins are repins – that is, someone enjoyed something that someone else shared, and pinned it to one of their own boards. There is a thriving art community on Pinterest, and it’s just waiting for you to join in.
Setting Up Your Pinterest
A Pinterest account is free and easy to create. Once you sign up, be sure to edit your profile. Make sure the name you use is your professional name (so, if you create art under a pseudonym, use that name), and if you have them, link it up with your Facebook page and Twitter profile. Be sure to link to your portfolio site if you have one, even if for now it’s just a site through your online college.
You may decide to start out with just one board or a few, but you will have to decide early on how you want to organize your pins. Some artists keep just one board for their own artwork, mixing in no one else’s. This is great if you already have a following. However, if you are a new artist or just trying to build up your Pinterest following, you may have greater success pinning to boards by subject.
If you often paint landscapes, for example, create a board for landscapes, and pin both your own paintings to it in addition to others’ landscapes, be they other paintings, photographs, illustrations, or another format. Create a new board if you want to start pinning your portraits or paintings of animals. People may find your boards through something you repinned, then follow it and discover your artwork.
Pinning Your Artwork
If you have a portfolio or a website where you sell your design services or prints of your work, it is important that you pin your images from your website. This ensures that if someone views your pin on Pinterest and wants to read more about it or see more of your work, they can find more information. If you are selling prints of that design, be sure to list the price in the description – adding the price to the description of an item automatically lists it in the Gifts section of Pinterest in addition to the normal channels.
Describe, Describe, Describe
Make sure you always have a meaningful description on your pins, especially ones containing your own artwork. Ideally you want to create a description that can stay exactly the same if someone else pins it – so instead of saying “My vector of a dove,” fill out the description with your full name, name of the piece, when it was created, and perhaps the URL of your portfolio. By speaking in third person, you’re not forcing someone to have to alter the description to repin your work – or inadvertently take credit for it!
The description isn’t just for understanding the pin; it’s used for finding it. Pinterest users are always searching Pinterest for things that interest them. Make sure the description contains all the obvious keywords. Even if it’s obvious to any viewer that your photograph features the Eiffel Tower, if you don’t include the words “Eiffel Tower” in your description, searchers will miss your pin.
Promoting Your Pinterest
When you join Pinterest, be sure to interconnect your social sites so your followers can find them. You can tweet about your new Pinterest to your followers, or share the link on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+. Next, be sure to add the link to your portfolio. If you choose, you can go one step further, and add sharing buttons to your portfolio so others can pin your work, too.
As with any social network, it is important to stay active on the site. Try to log in at least once a day and spend a few minutes pinning from your site as well as from others’. With a little effort, you’re sure to start seeing a Pinterest following in no time!
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