7 Questions to Consider Before You Pin On Pinterest

by Karen Leland

Excerpted from the new book, Entrepreneur Magazine's Ultimate Guide to Pinterest for Business (Ultimate Series)

The right boards, beautifully named, won't do you much good if they aren't housing winning pins. And let's face it: the pics (and videos) you post are what will make or break your Pinterest reputation and determine how far you can go.

Not all pins are created equal. Just posting any old photo or video won't get visitors to follow your boards or find out more about you. In general, you want answer these 7 questions before you pin.

1. Is it Appropriate?
Be sure to think before you pin anything that might violate another's privacy or your own. A good rule of thumb: If you wouldn't want the image or information to appear on the front page of The New York Times, then it doesn't belong on Pinterest.

2. Is it Interesting, Cute, Unique, Beautiful, and/or Funny?
The only thing a visitor to your Pinterest account may use to determine whether they want to stay is their first glance at the pictures you post.

Anyone who has ever read a Match.com profile knows that certain attributes are highly desirable in a potential date. The same goes for Pinterest pins. Pins that are interesting, funny, cute, beautiful, or unique stand a better chance of getting repinned and asked out on a second date.

If visitors aren't intrigued enough by the image to go further, they may never get to your bio, click through to your website, or even read the description of the pin.

3. Is It on Brand, Message, and Target?
A high-end cosmetic dentist's Pinterest boards probably won't feature photos of cute little bunnies lying in the sun-but a veterinarian's site just might.

Whatever images you end up pinning, they won't move your marketing forward if they aren't congruent with your brand and on message and on target for your audience. Likewise, spending your efforts posting things that help craft an accurate and powerful picture of who you are as a business and brand makes viewers want to further engage with you.

For example: GoGirl Finance has a board called "Personal Finance," which offers a host of "how-to" pins on how to handle your money, including one on "5 Ways to Help (or Hurt) Your Credit Score."

4. Does it move and/or inspire? 
Check out the "Happiness" board pin from Passion and Positivity, which focuses on aspirational messages and images.

5. Does it show us how to do something better, faster, cheaper, etc?
Fitness Magazine has a whole board titled "Work Those Abs," with pins showing ways to get tight and toned.

6. Does it educate, enlighten, or entertain? Dr. Mehmet Oz, of Oprah fame, has a strong presence on Pinterest, with over 100,000 followers. His "Oz Lists" board offers educational information on healthy foods such as the "100 Foods Dr. Oz Wants in Your Grocery Cart" pin.

7. Does it tell a Story, with Feeling?
A picture is worth a thousand words. Photos that evoke a strong emotion, tell a story, or communicate a clear message make great pins. One way to evaluate whether your image has the right stuff is to think of a single word that expresses the idea, meaning, story, or message you want to convey. Then take that word and find images that match.

Keep in mind that even pins that meet these criteria are subject to size limitations. While Pinterest doesn't limit the vertical size of the image you can post, it only allows for a horizontal width of 600 pixels. Anything wider will be resized. However, it's best to avoid a long vertical that requires visitors to scroll down to view the entire image. Instead, keep your vertical size to under 5,000 pixels. On the other side of the coin, images that are too small (under 250 pixels wide or deep) end up looking teeny-tiny and don't catch the eye.

About the Author: Karen Leland is the bestselling author of 8 business books including the recently released Entrepreneur Magazine's Ultimate Guide to Pinterest For Business, which can be purchased at. She is the president of Sterling Marketing Group, where she works with small businesses and Fortune 500 on building stronger personal and team brands. She writes the Modern Marketing Blog at www.karenleland.com.


Nikki said...

Good morning Deborah - Thank you for sharing these great questions with your readers. Pinterest is so addictive that we can easily just post anything that strikes our fancy. But for a Pinterest account that will represent a business - there is a strategy that makes it more effective and Karen shares many tips and suggestions on how to do this better :)

Nikki Leigh

Deb Bailey said...

Hi Nikki,
You're right. Karen has a lot of very helpful tips and I can't wait to check out her book.
Thanks for your comments!

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