how to tips

pinners’ guide

I mentioned in my small goals post for March that I’ve been starting to help friends and coworkers get more use out of their closets. One of the things I talk about a lot is how I use Pinterest to come up with outfits and remix different items in my closet. Constantly, I hear from people that they don’t really get Pinterest or that they’ve tried it and didn’t find it useful. I’m not an expert or anything, and I don’t even have 1,000 followers (yet! go follow me!), but I get a lot of use out of Pinterest and I want to share some of my best practices.
This is not a guide for bloggers or brands who want to use Pinterest to gain followers or spread original content. These are just some tips for beginners to help you get the most out of pinning!

Add the Pin It button // If you don’t have it, get it…yesterday. The Pin It button is an extension you can put in your browser so that you can pin images from anywhere you are, whether it’s a blog, online retailer, magazine’s website, etc. As a word of caution, if you can find the original source of an image or article that you’re going to pin, pin it from there! Not only does this give credit to the content creator, but it helps people find more info on the product, recipe, craft, etc. (More on this later in the post!) Also, be sure to pin from the individual post or product page, rather than the homepage, to make sure the pin links back to the right place.

Organize your boards now…and later! // One of the best things about Pinterest is that you can curate your content however you want. I recommend starting by making broad boards for the things you’re interested in (e.g. style, food, home decor) and then pinning whatever you find to them without having to think too much about it. Once you get enough pins on a board, you might consider breaking your boards into more narrow categories (e.g. fall outfits, breakfast foods, bedroom decor). For an aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-use profile, consider consistency when naming your boards, as well as the cover photos you choose for each one.

Be specific in your search terms // There are essentially three different ways to find content on Pinterest: the people you follow, categories, and the search function. Categories are good when you’re browsing generally within your various interests (e.g. DIY & Crafts, Quotes, Weddings). The search function is great for pulling up really specific results to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. I personally use it a lot when I’m wondering how to style a particular item in my closet, or if I’m making a drink recipe and have certain ingredients available to me. If you can think of it, it probably exists on Pinterest. Some of my favorite recent searches are Arrested Development embroidery, baseball tee outfits, and boozy popsicles.

Follow the people who you follow follow // This is one of my favorite Pinterest tips! When you first get a Pinterest account, you’re prompted to follow your Facebook and Twitter friends. You might also follow some bloggers or celebrities, but it can be a challenge to get really good content on your main Pinterest feed if you’re not following avid, quality pinners. My favorite way to find new people to follow is to go to the profile for pinners I like, and then click on the profiles to the right of their bio under the heading “Pins From.” These are people who your favorite pinner has pinned from recently, which means the content you liked might have come from them, and they probably have more content you’d enjoy. Some of my favorite pinners are Tori Simpson, Elizabeth,, Mrs. Lilien, and Kate @ Wit + Delight.

Peruse before pinning // When the pin is a recipe or another set of instructions, it’s usually a good idea to click through the image to the source to see if it’s actually something you want to pin. It takes a few extra minutes, but it can save you time later and help to not repin poor content. If it’s a pin for, say, cinnamon roll cake, be sure to click through to see that the whole recipe is there and that you can follow it. Don’t forget to check the comments section, both on the original post and on the pin, to see what other people who tried it have to say. This can be a quick way to find out if you should steer clear of a recipe for homemade lip balm or enchilada casserole.

Reverse image search // One of the complaints I hear the most often about Pinterest is that users can’t find the products attached to the pins because the image wasn’t pinned from its original source. My solution isn’t foolproof, but it works more often than not. Right click the pin and choose Copy Image URL, you can go to Google Images, click the little graphic of a camera in the search bar to search by image, and paste the URL in the box. Google will pull similar images, hopefully including the product you’re looking for from the original source! If you’re a really good person, you’ll even go into your pin and edit the link to reflect the original source so that other people can find it too.

So there it is! Those are my best Pinterest tips. Want to know more? Feel free to ask in the comments. Leave your best practices below too! Oh, and let me know who your favorite pinners are–I’m always looking for new people to follow!
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