Why Your Pinterest Board Sucks

Don’t suck pins.

By Kevin RR Williams

SOCIAL MEDIA If you are an image content creator — photographer, artist, chef or marketer — you are undoubtably looking for ways to gain more exposure. Pinterest is redefining marketing methods. What other company can dare to rival Google for search results? Not even Microsoft Bing has had such success. When using the phenomenal Google image search (like facial recognition on steroids), Pinterest images often dominate the results. Therefore, it is not surprising to learn that millions of people are flocking to Pinterest, both to create boards and to simplify pinning from their personal websites. Perhaps you plan to or already have joined Pinterest. Make certain your presence is professional and doesn’t suck.

5 Ways Your Pinterest Board Sucks

Sip 1: Don't suck all images from another board. Sure, repinning is the nature of Pinterest and for branded boards (linking to original pinner’s site) may be quite desirable in some cases. But grabbing dozens of non-branded pins from one person’s board to create a new one may be considered bad taste. Unsuck: Follow the boards you admire and pin a few at a time from the boards of multiple users, supplementing with content located from your own Web surfing or searches.

Sip 2: Changing the captions and links to promote your own products is devious. Some caption modifications are improvements over the original, particularly when they add proper author attribution. Yet, making another site’s visuals seem like an endorsement for your products is frowned upon. Unsuck: Discovering art or photos on the Internet does not negate the creator’s copyright. Assign proper attribution to pins. If original authorship is not possible, consider adding a link to your current board.

Sip 3: Avoid pinning images with broken links. It is expected that after some time, site structure for various pins may change. Unsuck: Initial pinning should not take the user to a “page not found.” Verify links before repinning.

Sip 4: Pinning tiny images when larger ones are available creates a bad user experience. It discourages repinning for many users. Often a larger image is available on the same linked page. If this isn’t the case, a Google image search can display various sizes. The caveat is that such options may be restricted on mobile devices, where most repins take place. Unsuck: It is suggested to “like” tiny-image pins (under 400 pixels wide) and look for larger versions (preferably vertical 650 to 736 pixels wide) when back on a desktop computer.

Sip 5: Avoid themeless boards. We might begin pinning with one theme in mind. Over time, we make allowances for tangent pins. Several hundred pins later, the content bares no resemblance to the original topic. Unsuck: Choose descriptive board titles. Move pins to newly created boards for clarity when necessary. (Recently, I separated Best Painted Portraits from People Still Paint.)

Erroneous captions, incongruent captions, broken links and indiscernible tiny images cause confusion, less followers and fewer pins. Save sucking for healthy smoothies.

January through May 2014 there has been an average of 21,000 visitors viewing 29,000 pages monthly. Of these, 55% of visits are from mobile devices. To address this growing trend, I recently adjusted product pages within my Doctors Anatomy Posters board to open mobile page formatted pages within my online store.

Should you follow a user or just a few of his boards? If only one board interests you, the answer is obvious. However, if most boards are appealing but you have special interest in a specific few, follow the user as well as the key boards. (Multiple follows of one user are still counted as one.) If the user begins posting too many inappropriate pins, you can easily unfollow the user while maintaining your key interests.

Tags: optimization, social media

Photo by Matt Koenig.