Red and White P icon for Pinterest

In How To Use Social Media To Market Your Craft Business, we reviewed the basics of selling your crafts via various social media platforms. In our opinion, Pinterest's exciting image-rich experience deserves a focused look.

Remember the days when we all tore articles, pictures, and recipes from magazines and saved them for future reference or inspiration? That's the general idea behind Pinterest. There are some 21st century differences that users have latched onto with gusto. Pinterest is free with registration and you can easily share what inspires you. There’s a quick connection with others who share your interests. Plus, the clippings don’t clutter up the house!

Like most social media communities, the language sets participants apart. Pinterest users are known as "pinners" and they store their "pins" on personalized "boards." Retailers and other websites even include the now-familiar red and white 'pin it' button to encourage pinners to save their images.

The Case for Pinterest

Pinterest earns its place as a social media darling with consistent high rankings in social media statistics. Available figures on the Pinterest phenomenon show:

  • Most popular action is repinning content
  • Average time of Pinterest visit is just over 14 minutes
  • 23% of users are on Pinterest at least once a day
  • Average pinner spends 98 minutes per month on Pinterest

In December 2014, eBizMBA.com ranked Pinterest the fourth most popular social network with an estimated 250,000,000 unique monthly visitors. Experian.com's 2014 Digital Marketer Report explains that Pinterest is now driving 10% of visits to retailer sites.

In the RJMetrics.com article, Pinners Be Pinnin', researcher Robert J. Moore calls Pinterest pins "aspirational" -- a reflection of pinners hopes and dreams. Stats from the article reveal:

  • 80% of pinners are women
  • Crafts make up 12 percent of all pins
  • Home decor total 11 percent of all pins
  • Pinners are loyal and get more active over time
  • Etsy generated more "rich pins" - embedded with product data - than any other commercial site.

These are some impressive numbers, but what do they really mean? Simply that promoting yourself on Pinterest is a must if you are a crafter who wants to increase online sales. Pinterest offers targeted searches, business accounts that offer rich pins and analytics, and group board communities. This presents a growing opportunity to market your crafts on Pinterest. It also offers a range of off-site options, such as pin-it buttons for websites, blogs, and Etsy shops. You can even schedule automatic posts to your Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Here are five steps to help you get the most from Pinterest:

Step 1: Hit 'em with your best shot

Look at product images the way professionals do.

Pinterest is a visual site and images are THE experience. Pinners are drawn to unique and beautiful photographs. They like the photos and repin them to their own boards for others to see. They also click the links to visit marketing sites like Etsy, where they can purchase the items that grabbed their attention. The following tips will help your photos be pin-worthy every time:

  • Post only great photos of your crafts - If you believe your crafts will sell online, put your best effort into presenting them to the world. A well-done photo will highlight your craft skills and show your attention to detail. Great photos are the best way to get your craft pins noticed, pinned, and repinned by others.
  • Set the stage, then shoot - You don't need a professional to photograph your crafts. Use a simple background; heavy paper on a table or desk will work. When composing the shot, don't let surrounding objects overpower your item. Include a piece that provides scale or interest for your item. Make sure the lighting is right--no glare, no dark shadows. For smaller craft items, a light box will provide even lighting.
    Carol's Tip: Read Product Photography Basics to learn more about lighting, composition, and photo editing from Country Brook Design®.
    Pinterest has a page full of DIY light box ideas.
  • Capture high quality images - You can use an economical digital camera that allows for high-resolution images. (Country Brook Design® graphics specialists recommend at least 16 megapixels.) Pinterest recommends high-quality, high-resolution, vertical images that measure a minimum width of 600 pixels. Be sure to check for glare or reflective surfaces that might show unexpected images in the shot.

Step 2: Make search engine optimization (SEO) work for you

The online universe is vast and Pinterest is a segment of the bigger online world. Search engines locate and organize all of the information that is available online. There are ways to make sure your marketing efforts appear closer to the top of the the search list so that when you share a fabulous pin, the non-Pinterest world will be more likely to find it.

These tips will get SEO mileage for your virtual billboard:

  • First, be sure you are visible to search engines. Pinterest settings for "Search Privacy" should be set at "no."
  • "Aspirational" pins entice a pinner to want what you are selling. Don't use just keywords and hashtags when you post a craft listing.
  • Always include relevant key words.
  • Add your own description to a repin.
  • Use descriptive phrases that people might use if they were looking for your specific craft.
  • Find actual search phrases people used recently with Google Adwords Keyword Planner (requires a free Adwords account for access).

Step 3: Engage followers

Pinterest can be a great way to spread the word about your latest craft offerings. To make your efforts worthwhile, you must connect with followers and stay engaged. Your experience will be more positive if you follow some of the traditional social media rules.

  • Frequently pin original content - Your crafts might be fabulous, but they will be forgotten if you don't show off something new on a regular basis. Post fresh content every day if you can. If you can't, at least post regularly. It helps keep your followers engaged.
  • Be a content curator - One of the biggest online marketing ideas to flourish in recent years is the idea of content curation which means collecting and sharing work from others. Pinterest is a great site for content curation. It doesn't require taking the focus off of your own work. You simply present ideas from other pinners and other websites. Your curation efforts can reveal you as a pinner to watch. This will bring followers to your boards to see what's new.
  • Hands holding social media signs
  • Follow your followers - When you receive a notice of a new follower to your boards, the decision to follow-back or not is completely up to you. But like most social media sites, a follow-back is an unwritten but expected courtesy. When you're marketing your crafts, it's a simple move that can help keep your customers and followers engaged and interested.
  • Comment on followers' pins - After you've created your crafts, photographed them, listed them on your selling site, and then pinned them to Pinterest, it's easy to slip into a me, me, me attitude. You might not feel like you have enough time to like, follow, and comment on other people's pins, but connecting with other pinners will keep them connected to you. Your activities can lead to pins, re-pins, and craft sales.
  • Know what your followers like - When you check out your followers’ Pinterest boards, you perform free marketing research that will guide you in deciding choosing new craft products. It also keeps you up-to-date on the latest trends and prevents craft items that won't sell.

Step 4: Create group boards

Pinterest group boards will increase exposure for your Pinterest profile. A virtual pinning community grows when multiple pinners add content based on a single theme. The right pin can reach thousands of viewers. As the creator of a group board, you can invite others to pin. When you or any member posts a pin, all board members will see it and can comment, like, or repin it for their followers to see. As a creator or a member, any pin posted to the group board will be included in your Pinterest stream.

You can improve your visibility as an Etsy marketer by creating a group board based on your craft expertise. While you shouldn't spam any board with new craft listings, you can always post DIY and craft tips with links to your blog, website, or marketing site. The expertise offered by others will also beef up your image as a curator of crafts information.

Step 5: Pin your blog posts

Pinterest is the perfect venue for generating traffic to outside sites. A photo with a link to your blog is an opportunity to show your crafts without coming across as a sales pitch. Your personal blog can be a subtle connection for sharing your work and craft process. It can develop a following outside of social media and help you define your unique style and brand. Statistics show that blogs are the most popular destination of Pinterest users who click through pins.

If you get into the habit of posting new blog entries to Pinterest as soon as you publish them, it will soon be an automatic task that you're not likely to overlook. As with anything else you do on any social media site, always consider the courtesies:

  • Blog regularly, but not too often.
  • Blog about crafting, but never be so self-promoting that your posts are considered spam.
  • For maximum visibility, pin your blog posts to a board with a theme that makes sense. Don't create a dedicated "Blog Post" board.

Since Pinterest first went online in 2010, it has grown into a premier social media venue for marketing. With a little effort, Pinterest will help make your online craft business a success. For more information, Pinterest's downloadable guide Pinterest for Business Best Practices Guide: Tips and tools to help you get more from Pinterest will help you get started.