Guest Blogger: Beth J. Hayden
No doubt about it – Pinterest has definitely reached a tipping point. Lately everyone seems to be talking about it!
So, what’s Pinterest?
Pinterest is a relatively new social networking site that allows users to “pin” images, organize those images into collages called “pinboards,” and then share those collages with other Pinterest users. You can also follow other site members, comment on images, tag other users in your comments, and “like” other people’s pins.
Pinterest lets you share the beautiful things you find on the Web. People are using Pinterest for all kinds of things: planning weddings, organizing recipes, developing ideas for their dream houses, and more.
Pinterest’s About page says, “Our goal is to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” Sounds awesome, right?
So how can artists use this trendy new tool to market their work and inspire their art? Here are some suggestions for artists who want to harness the power of Pinterest.
Create a portfolio!
You can create a board (or even several boards) on Pinterest to share your work. Pinterest is a great way to showcase your best stuff to a targeted audience of artists, galleries, and potential customers. Although Pinterest’s terms of service ask that users don’t use the site purely as a tool for self-promotion, it’s okay to showcase some of your best work by pinning it.
Pinterest is a whirlwhind of color, texture and beauty. What I particularly love about it – and the reason it can be such a wonderful source of inspiration – is that on your Pinterest home page, all the pins of people you’re following are mushed together. So you get a wonderful sampling of images in lots of different topics.
On my Pinterest home page right now you’ll find:
- A beautiful photo of a polar bear from the National Wildlife Federation
- A recipe for strawberry shortcake kabobs
- An infographic about the hectic life of a social media manager
- A luscious oil painting by artist Lori McNee
I love that kind of variety! When I feel like I need a little visual boost of creativity, Pinterest is the site I turn to. The site’s beautiful, simple layout makes it easy to focus on the images.
It’s like healthy steroids for the artist mind.
Snazz up your other content!
If you write a blog (and you do have a blog, right?) you can embed your pins into your blog posts. To do this, click on one of your pins. You’ll see some options for social media sharing on the right side of your screen, and one of them says “Embed.” Click on that button, and you’ll get the HTML code that you can put into a blog post to create beautiful, compelling post content.
Pinterest also makes it really easy to share you new pins and re-pins on Facebook and Twitter. Again, click on any pin and then look over on the far right to see lots of cool options for sharing your pins, including sharing on Facebook and Twitter. I like doing this because I can pin something and also share it on my other social media sites, which helps me create content for all my social media accounts quickly and easily.
Show your audience who you really are.
The whole point of Pinterest is to be yourself. You want to pin and share things you think are beautiful, interesting, and exciting.
Yes, you can use Pinterest for marketing – there are tons and tons of ways to do that – but remember the goal of Pinterest is to connect people around the world through the things they find interesting.
Being yourself and pinning interesting things – not just self-promotional items – is going to build your brand because people want to do business with you as a person. They will enjoy connecting with you through the personal self-expression of Pinterest. They will consider buying your art or working with you because they like who you are and what you’re about.
Focus on creating beautiful and compelling visual content, just like you focus on making great art, and the rest will fall into place in time.
A note about copyright issues.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the copyright issues on Pinterest – about images appearing on the site without proper attribution. Clearly, Pinterest is still working out some problems in that realm, and it will be interesting to see how things play out over the few next months.
For now, be aware (as artists) that you need to monitor what’s going on in the Pinterest world. If you find that your work is being pinned on Pinterest without a proper link back to you, you have the right to ask that user to either remove the pin or provide correct attribution.
As a user, you can get yourself in trouble when you pin without proper attribution.
Be respectful of other artists’ work, and never pin something that doesn’t have a link back to its original online source.
Pinterest is not only picking up steam in social media circles, it has become an excellent source of traffic for blogs and websites, quickly surpassing current favorites like LinkedIn and YouTube.
Currently, you need an invitation to join Pinterest. Get a buddy to send you an invitation and then you can start pinning.