Selling Art Online – Pt 9 – Pinterest

PinterestPinterest is one of the newest social-networks to hit the Internet and has been quickly becoming a rising star due to the popularity of its highly visual interface. The service was launched as a closed Beta in March of 2010 and between December of 2011 and January of 2012 its user-ship grew by 155%. As of February 2014, its registered users numbered over one billion according to

Pinterest‘s concept is very simple and involves little more than installing an Internet browser toolbar. Once the toolbar is installed, the user navigates to various websites and uses the bar to “pin” images or videos to virtual “Pinboards” that represent topics in which the user is interested and wishes to share. The boards can be anything one desires and mine range from Art and Photography I Like to Art, Craft, and Music Products I Like to Great Blogs and Websites. According to Wikipedia, as of March 2012, the most popular categories of pinned material were home, arts and crafts, style/fashion, and food.

As Pinterest’s legion of users continues to grow, it has become obvious that the visual nature of the service makes it a perfect platform for sharing and promoting an individual’s own artwork and photography. However, Pinterest urges users to keep self-promotion to a minimum and to balance it with the sharing of other’s photos and videos. Remember, promotion through social-media is a two-way street and sharing the work of others can often prompt reciprocation. Marketing consultants recommend you use the Pareto Principle when interacting with any social-network. This 80/20 rule advises the network marketer to engage in 80% social interaction and 20% self-promotion. Some marketing advisers even recommend skewing this rule to a 90/10 ratio. Over-promotion can lose followers quickly so be sure to share the content of others and engage in social interaction more frequently than promoting your own products.

Where to Begin

As with all social-networking sites, the Profile is the starting point for all usage. You can choose between a regular Profile or a Business Account and the two are virtually identical except Business Accounts allow the Page’s title to be the business’ name instead of the name of an individual. Business accounts also incorporate some very nice Analytics tools to help track the effectiveness of Pinned information.

It is important to fill out all information completely and to consider whether you wish to automatically share your Pins on other networks such as Twitter and Facebook. This is a personal decision which may be influenced by how frequently you are Pinning photos and videos through the service. As always, it is important to consider whether you will be clogging the news-feeds of followers on other services by bombarding them with Pinned images. The decision is up to you.

Another key option in the Profile is whether to enable or disable hiding your profile from search engines. By hiding your Profile, you would be severely limiting your overall visibility. This setting will default to keeping your Profile visible to search engines and I would recommend leaving it that way.

Creating Pinboards

Pinterest will initially present you with some suggested boards in order to simplify getting started. However, you can delete these at will and add categories of your own. Like I mentioned before, I created boards for “My Watercolor Artwork,” “Art and Photography I Like,” and “Great Blogs and Websites.” The possibilities for board categories are definitely unlimited and can be added at any time.

An interesting feature of Pinterest that differs from other social-media services involves the interaction of Followers. A person that follows you can either choose to follow all your Pinboard additions or simply the ones that interest them. If there is a particular topic that one of your boards focuses upon, a Follower can choose to only view additions to that specific board in their feed. In this way, one can be very selective about the type of information they see when utilizing Pinterest.

Pinning and Re-Pinning

Once your Profile has been created and you have decided upon a few Boards to use, it is simply a matter of Pinning photos and videos to the Boards as you run across interesting things during the course of the day. The toolbar that was installed earlier makes the process quick and simple and will allow you to categorize the Pins through a pop-up window. You can also add comments that can provide a credit tag-line for the image or additional information. If you want to add a price for an image that is being Pinned, it is as simple as adding a $ or £ followed by a numerical amount in the description. The price will show across the image’s corner when it is viewed in the feed of Pinterest users.

In addition to Pinning, you can also Re-Pin the posts of others. When you Re-pin someone else’s post, it remains on their Board but also appears on your selected Pinboard. The great thing about this procedure is that the Re-pin shows where the original pin came from. Re-pins maintain the source-link of the pinned image no matter how many times it’s re-pinned. This allows you to boost your visibility and increase followership since the Re-pin behaves in much the same way as Twitter’s Re-Tweet feature.

Closing Remarks

As can be seen from the preceding sections, Pinterest is very simple to use and can be an excellent way to explore shared content from the web as well as promote one’s own products, artwork, and services in a highly visual manner. I have found it to be a very effective way to drive additional traffic to my artwork while also being an excellent vehicle for the promotion of other artists whose work I have come to respect and admire.

If the information above isn’t enough to convince you to give Pinterest an opportunity to showcase your products, check out these statistics from  Social Media Today:

  • Conversion rates for Pinterest traffic are 50% higher than conversion rates from other traffic.
  • Pinterest is the top converting social media site for Top of the Funnel advertising.
  • Pinterest buyers spend more money, more often, on more items than any of the other top 5 social media sites.
  • 47% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from Pinterest.
  • Pinterest generates 4x more revenue (per click) than Twitter and 27% more per click than Facebook.
  • 80% of total pinterest pins are re-pins so there is a high probability your images will be re-pinned.

As Pinterest usage continues to explode, more and more websites will offer a simple Pin button for images and videos that will allow users to even more easily share content., for example, has placed a pinning button below every image on its site in order to make it convenient for viewers to share the artwork of others. I have even incorporated the “Pin It” button into my own website at to encourage sharing. Pinterest’s ease of use has definitely moved it into the top 10 of my list of great social-networks to use for artwork and product promotion. There is something to be said for a social-network that is not only effective, but simple to use as well.

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Comments (2)
  • Ian McKendrick February 23, 2014

    Another great article Ken, it’s also worth pointing out that there are some SEO benefits from Pinterest too, and I advise anyone pinning to include a SEO rich description to all of their pinned images because Google uses this for alt image tag data. The SEO benefits have declined since Pinterest changed dofollow to nofollow on individual pins, but the Alt Image Tag information still holds true. Adding full descriptions also makes it easier for people to find your pins, and that’s why I include different spellings, such as “Watercolour” and “Watercolor” in all of my descriptions where I want UK and US visitors to find my work.

    • Ken Powers February 23, 2014

      Thank you for the great addition to this dialog Ian!

      You are absolutely correct in pointing out the SEO advantages associated with incorporating Pinterest into an artist’s arsenal of promotional tools. In my opinion, Pinterest is going to really be one of the big kids on the block when it comes to social media. I fairly recently took the time to incorporate the PinIt buttons into all my ‘blog posts and, more importantly, into my portfolio. I had tried to do it about a year ago since it was definitely an important thing to consider. Unfortunately, I discovered that the way I was displaying my portfolio images meant I was going to have to build each button with PHP in order to get the proper information passed to Pinterest. Eventually I was successful but not after a couple hours of coding research. I might add, however, it was well worth the effort and all the social media buttons in my portfolio had to be created that way.

      Thanks again for contributing you expertise to this series of blog posts. I am sure all artists reading this appreciate your insights!

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