Pinterest for Craft Sellers
Welcome to Episode 12 of the Craft Seller Success podcast. In this episode I will be talking about my favourite social media network – Pinterest. It is particularly handy for craft sellers in two distinctly different ways. Plus it is easy to use, and fun!
Listen to the Pinterest for Craft Sellers podcast here, download it for later or read the transcript below.
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To see the other episodes available – Craft Seller Success Podcast Main Page
This is the Craft Seller Success podcast from Tin Teddy. Episode number twelve Using Pinterest for Craft Sellers
Welcome to the Craft Seller Success Podcast – helping craft sellers sell their crafts
Hi, I’m Deborah Richardson from Tin Teddy.
Pinterest is my favourite social media. I know a lot of craft sellers share this sentiment. It is free and easy to use, works on computers, tablets and smart phones, and has multiple powerful benefits for the craft seller.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a sort of image gathering and sharing system, and then some. It revolves around what it calls boards. These are like virtual pin boards, or mood boards.
Each board has a theme, whatever you choose. You can have as many boards as you wish.
Users “pin” images to their boards.
You find these images on Pinterest itself, whilst using the internet in general or by creating your own, new images. Each image is referred to as a pin. The Pin is not just a picture though. It is also a link to the webpage that it came from.
Imagine you are planning a holiday to Egypt. You create a board on Pinterest called “My Egyptian Holiday”.
Next, you begin searching the web for information for your holiday. You find a few travel agents with package holidays that may be just right. You pin each holiday to your Egyptian Holiday board. An image is added to the board, which links to the holiday details on the travel agents site.
You then search for details of travel insurance, and again pin the most suitable looking sites to your Pinterest Board.
And then you search for hotels and again find some that you like the look of.
Next you go to Pinterest itself and search for images of Egypt. You search for “Egyptian sites” and “Ancient Egypt”. Lots and lots of beautiful images come up. You pin the ones that catch your eye to your board.
You now have a Pinterest board with pictures and links to your useful information, for later when you decide who to book with, or to show to a partner or friend who is going to be coming with you. It will also be an inspiration to encourage you to keep on track with saving up for this dream holiday!
How to Use Pinterest
You can search Pinterest to find pins on a particular subject. Then you can follow people or boards that you find particularly interesting.
Pinterest therefore serves as a very powerful search engine – you will find pins on every conceivable subject.
Want to know how to knit a particular stitch? There is probably a pin linking to instructions. Want to see some examples of tabby cats as reference for a toy you are making? Pinterest will have thousands.
When you log into Pinterest you will see a “stream” of pins on the home page.
These are pins that Pinterest has decided you might like. It bases this on the people and boards YOU are following, and the pins you have been looking at recently. If you have been looking at a lot of weaving related pins, you will see more in this feed. So over time the feed will become more relevant to the sort of things you are actually interested in, and therefore more helpful.
You can have as many Pinterest boards as you wish. You can set each board to be visible to other Pinterest users, and searchable by Google (this is the default) or you can set them to private, viewable only by yourself and anyone you specifically choose to allow access.
You can have subdivisions on your board, called Sections. So with the Ancient Egypt board example above, one might have sections for Hotels, Travel Info, Sites to See and Inspiring Pictures.
You can even share a board with other people (called collaborators), allowing them to also post to the board. This is very handy if you share your business or projects with someone else.
Pinterest is very popular with craft sellers because it can help one’s business in two distinct ways.
Pinterest is a Powerful Research Tool
As you saw in the Egyptian Holiday planning example above, Pinterest is great for researching and gathering information. You can easily collate(?) themed pictures, articles and links in one handy place.
It is particularly good at doing this for crafts and craft related subjects as this niche is very well represented on Pinterest.
You can follow movers and shakers in your niche. You can follow supply sellers you are interested in for future products. You can even follow competitors (remember you can have private boards!).
There are a few ways that Pinterest can help your business as a research tool.
1 – Boards for projects
You can create a board for a project. So if you are writing a book, preparing blog posts, scripting a podcast or any other project you could have a board, or boards, relating to this.
If you were, for example, planning a new range of jewellery inspired by Art Deco you could create an Art Deco Pinterest board and collect images of the styles, colour schemes and motifs of the Art Deco movement to serve as reference material for your designing.
You can collect images, links to articles, infographics and resources and so on that relate to this project. You can decide whether to have this board public for everyone to see or private, just for you.
I use this feature a lot for research. I write and set up boards for books and articles I am working on. For example, I am currently writing a novel set in late Victorian London, so have a board with pictures of the area at the time for inspiration and reference.
2 – Boards with skills and techniques
Pinterest can be an excellent way to gather information that is useful for you and your business. You might have a board full of SEO tips and information. Or one with pins about wood working techniques. Or one that is different knitting stitches.
Again you can choose whether to make these public or private. I would suggest that you make them public wherever possible. The reason is simply that the more public boards you have, the more chance that other Pinterest users will repin from you and follow you. Building up your Pinterest stats can be beneficial.
I enjoy crocheting and have a board full of links to patterns, stitches and inspirational projects.
3 – Private boards with inspiration
Here is one of the most powerful uses of Pinterest for the craft seller. You can create boards full of things that will inspire your creations. In other words, virtual mood boards.
So, if you thinking of making a range of jewellery inspired by Celtic designs, you can create a board and collect all sort of beautiful Celtic images.
Some crafters like quite general boards for this. So, if you are going to create a range of bags with a summer theme you might want a board that is general summary pictures. You can look at the board when you want to get in a summary mood before designing each bag.
Private Pinterest Boards
There is also the option of having some private boards that are of a slightly more sensitive nature.
You can create private boards with items that inspire you. Of course I would never suggest that you directly copy another seller’s creations, indeed it makes no business sense to do so, let alone the ethics of this. But being inspired by and getting to know the market is a time-old tradition and not evil.
So, if you make fabric bags you might have a private board full of bags, both handcrafted and mass produced, to give you ideas for future designs. You then take a bit of this bag, and a bit of this one, and a bit of that one over there, mix it up and add your own features to make something unique to you. You are not copying anyone, you are being inspired by elements.
I tend to collect things like this with the thought of “Oh, I could do a version of this” or “This is cool, I could use this basic principle to make something even cooler” or “Hmm, I could try this with a different medium, I think that would be even better” and so on. So, I am not looking to copy anyone. I really don’t want to copy anyone. It makes no business sense to sell copies. I want to make and sell unique items. So I am looking for inspiration.
Other reasons for using private boards include:
1 Gathering resources for an upcoming blog post or product line without revealing it early
2 Prepare a board in advance so you can reveal it all at once
3 To work with other crafters on a projects
Pinterest is a Powerful Marketing Tool
There are over 200 million active users of Pinterest every month. That’s a lot of folks who might see what you are pinning!
Therefore many craft sellers pin their latest products (and more) to Pinterest, and find that they get good traffic from it.
If you are going to use Pinterest to market your products it is best to have a Business account. It is free and very easy to change a Personal Pinterest account into a Business one. The main difference is you will get access to more advanced analytics and rich pins (more on these in a minute) – two things that are really important for a craft seller.
Set up Your Profile
To get the most from Pinterest as a craft seller you will need to set up your Pinterest profile carefully.
Use either your brand logo or a good picture of yourself as your profile picture. You could also use a picture of one of your products if that represents your brand well.
Whilst you will probably be using your brand name as your Pinterest name, many business users add a couple of extra words to describe what they do, for SEO purposes. So one might use Bob Smith // Portrait Artist rather than just Bob Smith.
Be sure to tell your potential followers why you are worth following! As with any business profile, avoid including too many unnecessary details and ensure you are including things that will strengthen your position in your niche. If you can sound friendly and upbeat too then that will really help!
Include some strong keywords in your Pinterest profile to help you get found.
Verify your website or store page – you can only do one though. This allows Pinterest to know which pins are your own, and give them priority for you.
What Should I Pin?
Most craft sellers will pin links to their various items for sale. They create boards for their products. If you only have a few products, and they are all in the same niche, you may have just one product board – Knitted Bags By BettysBags.
Or you may have multiple boards for different products. This is what I do. I have a board with all the Fantasy themed graphics and digital papers from my Etsy shop. I have another with Cat and Dog themed graphics and so on. The handy thing about doing this is you can link to the board in a blog post or on social media.
You may also want to add your products to boards that are about the niche in general.
So, I have a board on my Pinterest that is full of inspiring pictures of Artist Trading Cards, something I very much enjoy making myself. That is the links are to many different artist’s blogs and pictures. Amongst the pictures there are pins to some of my Etsy products that are especially suitable for use in making Artist Trading Cards. There are also links in there to Artist Trading Card tutorials on my blog.
If you blog then you can create pins for your blog articles. This Podcast has a blog post that goes with it, on the Tin Teddy Blog – it is the shownotes and a full transcript (you are reading it!) There is a Pin linked to the blog post which I have pinned on some of my relevant Pinterest boards. I have a board that is all the episodes of the Craft Seller Success Podcast, for example. And another, called Selling Crafts Online, that has links to all sorts of useful resources for craft sellers.
As helping craft sellers is my main niche, there are of course lots of useful boards on my Tin Teddy Pinterest – maybe worth checking out when you finished reading this blogpost, yes?
Pinterest links to blog posts do very well for me, and I know lots of other bloggers also love them.
Remember that you can create multiple pins that all link to the same product or article.
You can also Pin images from sources such as Flickr, Tumblr and Instagram. So, you might use this option to pin pictures of your products under construction, in use or lifestyle pictures you have taken of them. You can change the links to go directly to the product for sale if you wish.
Why might you want multiple pins?
Creating pins takes precious time so you might be wondering what the benefits of creating multiple pins for products or articles would be.
1 – You can experiment to see which pin gets the most attention and repins. This is particularly handy when you first start out on Pinterest and are getting into the groove of what pins work best for you.
2 – You can target different pins at different audiences. For example, if you have a knitted hat for sale that is suitable for both men and women, you might make two pins, one featuring a man wearing the hat, another with a lady so as to target both male and female buyers.
3 – You can use different pins to highlight different features. So let’s imagine you indeed sell knitted hats, and write about relevant articles on your blog. You have written an article about ways to save money whilst keeping warm during the cold months. You might have one pin that emphasises the saving money aspect, perhaps with a picture of some coins, and another that emphasises the keeping warm aspect, perhaps with a picture of someone wrapped up warmly, or a blazing fire.
Different pins might be more suitable on different boards
Creating your own pins can be better than using automatic ones
If you sell on Etsy (and this is probably relevant for other online selling venues) you can pin items to your Pinterest boards as you list them, directly from Etsy. Other people can also pin your items too. The pins link back to your product on Etsy so this is a useful marketing feature.
Etsy generates a pin based on your first listing photo and your product title.
But there are advantages to creating your own pins for Etsy products too.
1 – You can create a pin that is the optimum size and matches your branding for Pinterest. You could use a picture that is a Pinterest friendly size for your actual Etsy listing, but it will be cut off when shown as a thumb nail in Etsy search.
2 – You can create pins for multiple products, such as for a category or a search result. So if you want to market all your scarves you could make a pin that links to the scarf section. And if you want to market all your jewellery that has blue stones, you could search within your shop for “blue” then use the URL of the result as the link for the Pin.
3 – You can create multiple pins to target different audiences, as I described in the previous section.
4 – You can create a pin that has text on it, but you might not want text on your Etsy images.
Create the Perfect Pin
If you spend some time browsing Pinterest boards you will soon notice that Pinterest pins have a certain look to them.
Generally speaking it is advised that your pins should be of a vertical aspect, ideally around 2:3 in proportion. This is the ratio that is recommended by Pinterest themselves.
Pinterest also recommend a pin size of 600 pixels wide x 900 pixels tall.
For a long while it was all the rage to make Pins as tall as possible. Recently Pinterest have announced that they will crop very tall pins in the feed.
Therefore it seems best to stick to the 2:3 ratio and only use taller pins for infographics and other content-rich types of pins where it is rather necessary to do so.
Many craft sellers use the website Canva.com to help make their pins. Canva has a range of templates, including many for Pinterest, which you can easily customise to create attractive pins. Canva is basically free to use, though you can pay for more templates if you want. As well as Pinterest templates, there are many, many more available.
If the Pin is to act as a link to something, which is what you are doing when using them for marketing, then they will have text on them.
Some Pins are covered in text, but I have seen many Pinterest gurus recommending that no more than a third of the area should be text. Have a look at other Pins in your niche and see what stands out to you.
A lot of Pinterest users develop a particular look for their own pins, using their branding guidelines and carry this look throughout all their pins. This may involve using your corporate colours, including your logo and brand name and using a particular font for all your pins.
For more about branding, see Branding for Craft Sellers – episode 5 of the Craft Seller Success Podcast.
I have saved templates for my pins so that I can make them quickly and easily, and keep them in line with my branding.
There are loads of articles and blog posts about how to get the most from your pins, and, as you might expect, there is some conflicting advice.
Here are a few commonly mentioned guidelines that you might want to consider when designing your Pinterest pins.
- stick to a vertical aspect, ideally a ratio of 2:3
- include your branding on all your own Pins
- do not use more than 2 or 3 fonts per Pin
- keep it simple and quick to read
- ensure the pin links to the item or article featured, not to your website or shop in general
- avoid faces – I have seen this advice quite a lot, but many pins do include faces and for some subjects it is a must
- avoid dull colours – Pinterest users like bright and cheerful
- clean, modern looking pins do well
- you can use more than one pin per item or post
- You can pin to multiple boards
Just like Twitter and Instagram, Pinterest has a newly added option to add hashtags to pins. There has been some debate as to the value of using Pinterest hashtags, with some people feeling they can actually hinder your pin being found.
After reading a lot on the subject it seems that the pervading view at the moment is to only use hashtags if they are very relevant to the pin, and ideally somewhat unique. Using “trending” or very popular hashtags can cause your pin to be less easy to find (yes, I know this sounds counter intuitive).
So it is a good idea to hashtags your pins with your brand name, for example, and doing so may help visitors quickly find all the other pins for your brand.
I recommend you read some of the many articles on Pinterest hashtags to help you decide whether you want to use them – and do a bit of experimenting.
Please note, Pinterest themselves recommend you use no more than 20 hashtags per pin.
Who Uses Pinterest?
Pinterest is very popular right now. According to recent figures around 81% of the users are female. The median age of a Pinterest user is 40 but there are users of all ages.
Pinterest tends to appeal to people in higher income brackets, making it an ideal place to market high-end products.
Pinterest is being used by 30% of all US social media users.
About 60% of the users of Pinterest are in the US.
An exciting statistic for craft sellers is that 87% of Pinterest users have purchased a product because of Pinterest. I know I certainly have. Pinterest is the ideal place for spotting great gift ideas, for example.
The source for these statistics – Pinterest by the Numbers
Pinterest have said that 80% of members are using a mobile device to access Pinterest – I use it on both my tablet and my mobile phone. It is very mobile friendly.
An Expert in your niche
You can create boards to help strengthen your brand and establish yourself as an expert in your niche.
For example, as you sell beads, you could have a board with beautiful bead jewellery tutorials on it – to inspire people to want to create jewelry… and then include pins of your beads on the board.
Or you could have one about India with lots of beautiful pictures of the country, and pins of your Indian beads scattered throughout.
If you sell wedding jewellery you could have boards with pictures of beautiful wedding gowns, wedding cakes, unusual wedding venues, bridal make up and a host of similar things. You will probably not be able to include your products on these boards. But people will follow them, and follow you. They will see you as a useful resource for wedding info. This strengthens your position as an expert in your niche.
If you blog about your niche this use of Pinterest can be especially powerful.
For more information on becoming an expert in your niche, check out podcast episode 16 – An Expert in Your Niche.
Rich Pins are like normal Pinterest pins, but with snazzy perks. They include additional information such as prices. Pinterest will give them a slight priority over regular pins too.
If you are posting your products from a marketplace site such as Etsy, the Rich Pin feature may be automatic and you don’t need to do anything to get them.
But if you are posting from your own website, or blog, then you will need to enable it for Rich Pins. Here is a link to Rich Pins on Pinterest (or just search for Rich Pins online).
Other People Pinning Your Stuff
In general, other people pinning your stuff is a good thing. They are spreading the word about your products and articles and basically giving you some free marketing.
Be sure you have done what you can to optimise your Pins so that when people share them, they benefit you.
- Make sure the Pin has alt text if you can. This helps with SEO
- Make sure the Pin links to whatever you want it to link to
- Give the Pin a meaningful, SEO rich description if you can
- If using a stand-alone WordPress site, consider using a plug in like Social Warfare to ensure your Pins are set up properly and that when someone pins your articles or products, they will be using your optimized pins and descriptions
- Be sure that any blog articles have at least one “Pinterest friendly” image that the pinner can choose.
I have seen craft sellers get upset when someone pins one of their finished products to a Pinterest board called something like “Crafts I Will Make” or “We Could Make These” or “Ideas for Next Craft Stall”. Basically the implication is that the pinner is going to copy the seller’s product.
OK. Firstly let me remind you that the vast majority of such pins will never actually be made by the pinner. They really won’t. Lots and lots of Pinterest users are real pack-rats when it comes to pinning. They pin hundreds or thousands of pins a month. They can’t possibly have time to make all the things they imply they are going to!
Secondly, even if they attempt it, they probably are not going to make as good a job as you. And even if they did, they are probably going to make it for their own use not to sell. And even if they did sell it, well, if it is something copyright then you can take action against them, and if it isn’t, well, you are already selling it and building your craft selling business nicely, so what.
Don’t be scared to post your own products because someone might copy them. Someone could equally well do that directly from your product listing itself, couldn’t they? The images they save on Pinterest are often only the same ones you have already put on the internet elsewhere. Don’t fret about it.
Remember that for everyone who just might possibly copy your item, there is someone else who will see it and just buy it – many people are not crafty, or don’t have time to make what they could easily buy.
People sharing your stuff means more people seeing your stuff. That is usually a good thing.
Getting More from Pinterest
Here are some hints and tips on getting the most from Pinterest. Like all forms of social media there is a lot of advice out there, and some of it is very conflictory. Plus things can change, sometimes overnight. Once you have started using Pinterest for a while, you may want to do a bit of research for the latest ways to get more from it. In the mean time, here are some tried and tested ideas.
Many Pinterest experts recommend pinning/repinning at least 5 times a day and creating new content at least once a week. However, I have seen lots of Pinterest guides that recommend as many as 50-100 pins a day!
I rather enjoy browsing Pinterest so find it easy to repin a dozen or so pins every day, whilst checking out interesting things during my lunch break, or last thing before bed.
You will probably find that the more you pin and repin, the higher your impressions go – an impression is someone seeing your pin.
Pin less for a few days and they will drop down again.
I find that I get a lot more traffic to my products and blog posts, from Pinterest, when I am pinning and using Pinterest more.
Create lots of Boards
The more boards you have, the more chances that someone will see something they like and follow the board, or you. Building up followers is useful because your followers are more likely to see your product and other marketing pins when you post them.
Ensure your boards have clear titles that describe what they are about.
Give each board a description. You can include some SEO friendly keyphrases in here to help you get found.
There appears to be some benefits to having at least 10 pins on a board. A board with less than this may not perform so well in search results.
Stats & Analytics
With a Business account on Pinterest you have access to various stats and analytics. These help you see what pins are working, how people are interacting with your pins and the growth of your Pinterest account over time.
You can look at your pin and board statistics over various lengths of time. You can also see how many people you have reached and which pins are performing the best for you.
If you have verified your website or store page you will also be able to see analytics such as the daily impressions, visitors and best performing pins for that site. This is very useful information for craft sellers and one of the main reasons why you really should have a business Pinterest account not a personal one.
If you have Google Analytics connected to your shop, website or blog, and I recommend this if possible, then you will be able to easily see exactly which pins are generating the most traffic for you. I will discuss this in more detail in a future podcast about Google Analytics for craft sellers.
Sharing non-Business content
I use the same Pinterest account for both my business pinning, and my personal boards. Because my business is in the craft sector, and my main hobbies are crafting, there is a natural cross-over here, of course.
I have some boards that are not in the least bit related to my niche. For example, I have a collection of picture of guinea pigs, a board about 1930s architecture and one full of things I remember from my childhood.
Although none of the above boards have any connection to my crafting niche, they are public on my Pinterest account. People view the pins, repin them and follow the boards.
As long as the board content is not actually likely to damage your business in any way, I’d recommend using Public boards wherever you can to attract people to your account in general.
If you were wondering what sort of boards might damage your business, here are a couple of examples.
One might be that the board does not fit with, or even clashes with, your overall brand feel. So if you sell classical wedding jewellery, and your branding is all about high-end, classic, classy styling, a Pinterest board about your love of horror movies may seem a bit out of place.
Or, if you have a board about a religious, political or any other potentially divisive topic you may prefer to have it set to private if you think it might possibly upset, offend or annoy your potential customers.
You can of course have two Pinterest accounts if you prefer, one for business and one for personal boards – many people do this. I prefer to have one as it makes it easier to check it every day and I get the bonus of views and followers from visitors to my personal boards.
Tailwind and Pinning Apps
If you search online for information about using Pinterest you are bound to soon come across reference to the service called Tailwind.
Tailwind is a paid service that allows you to schedule pins in advance. It also has other features such as more advanced analytics, information about trends and advice on maximising your pinning that is tailored especially for you.
It is very popular with bloggers.
I personally only use the free version of Tailwind, which just gives me a little bit of extra information about my Pinterest account. Because I rather enjoy pinning manually, I don’t really have a need for the paid version at this point. I can, however, see why it is very useful for many people and is definitely something I would recommend any craft seller checks out as it might be helpful for your particular circumstances.
Tailwind also has a feature which they call Tribes. This allows people to form groups, tribes and share each other’s content. Using Tribes is free. Again many Pinterest users swear by it so it is worth checking out to see if it is for you.
There are other apps and services which help you schedule pins, including Hootsuite and Buffer. Both of these apps can schedule other social media posts too. Again I recommend you check them out to see if they will be of use to yourself.
Many craft sellers utilize the ability to be part of collaborative boards. There are lots of popular boards set up that you can apply to join. The benefits of pinning to these boards is that they are seen by a lot of other people.
There are many boards, for example, set up to promote craft seller’s products on Etsy. You can apply to join ones that are relevant to your niche.
Often they have rules such as you must pin a certain number of products from other people for every one of your own. This prevents people just spamming the board with their stuff. Be sure to read the rules before using the board.
Summary of Pinterest for Craft Sellers
I personally have found Pinterest to be a great source of traffic to both my craft products for sale and to my blog posts. I also use it for research, inspiration and fun.
Pinterest is free and easy to set up and use. It takes very little time to pin new products. Even if you only use it sporadically Pinterest can provide traffic to your shop or blog. With organized, regular use it can provide a significant flow of traffic, and potential sales.
Please check out my Pinterest boards, I have quite a few that are especially aimed at helping craft sellers. My user name is tinteddy, all one word.
In the next episode of the Craft Seller Success podcast, episode 13, is Preparing for Christmas Time Craft Selling. Lots of hints and tips to get the most from this traditionally busy season. This episode will be out on the 2nd of October 2018.
Thanks for listening. Please subscribe to the Craft Seller Success podcast.
Check out www.TinTeddy.com for more Craft Seller resources.
Until next time, bye
The Craft Seller Success Podcast from Tin Teddy.
Featuring Deborah Richardson
Original music by Matthew French
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Craft Seller Success from Tin Teddy
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