Pinterest used to be an excellent place for artists to promote their work — will this trend continue in 2020? Short answer: yes, but you might have to change your strategy. Stay with me, I will explain in detail what you need to do to be successful on Pinterest in this new year.
Promoting your art is key
Creating new art is fun. As a photographer, I love it to explore a new place with my camera, my eyes, and my creative vision. If you are a painter, you can create a whole new world from a blank canvas, brushes, and some colors. Isn’t that inspiring? It sure is, but the hard part of an art business starts when your work is completed. Do you want to sell your art? You better promote the heck out of it!
Most artists start with Facebook or Instagram because, you know, everyone is there. And, you know, there is this influencer with 2 million followers on Insta, I bet she sells a lot!
Usually, many artists realize after a few months that the organic reach on Facebook is now close to zero and that Instagram brings almost no clicks to the website. Why is this? Easy: Facebook wants us to pay if we’re going to promote products or services. Instagram has exactly one clickable link we can use to drive traffic to our Artist Website: in the bio.
Please note that I do not say that these social media sites do not work in general. I know some artists that have success with one or both of them. They managed to build a community of loyal followers and fans. If this is your thing, if you love to shine with your personality and chat all day long: great!
If you prefer a place where people care more about themself then about their selfies, a place where your art business is welcome, a place where more than half of the users (55%) use the site to find or shop for products: welcome to Pinterest! By the way, Facebook and Instagram are in second place with only 12%. The much-hyped Snapchat has a whopping 3%. (Source: Kleiner Perkins Internet Trends report). People are on Facebook to connect with their friends (and to watch cat videos).
Don’t waste your time
Sorry about the rant, but I hate to see fellow artists waste hour after hour on social media without getting much out of it. If you want to learn more about the fact why Pinterest is such a great place for artists, here is a blog post with some surprising statistics and numbers: https://www.elke.com/pinterest-why-every-artist-should-use-it-to-sell-art/
This sounds great, Matthias! So I pin some random stuff to Pinterest, run away, and some days later the sales start rolling in? Hahaha. No.
Pinterest is, as I mentioned in the beginning, still one of the greatest places for every photographer, painter, and any other artist that wants to sell their work — but it is getting harder to stand out, to cut through the noise.
Pinterest went public in 2019. They better please their Shareholders now, just as Facebook, Twitter, and all the others. All sites are selling ads to make money. In Q3 2019, Facebook scored $17.65 billion in revenue. It is still possible (and relatively simple) to gain a high organic reach with Pinterest — but you have to know what you are doing. Let me show you how!
First thing first: get the basic stuff done the right way! This will give you a solid foundation for growth.
Important Pinterest Basics for Artists
Pinterest Business Account
Be sure to use a business account (not a personal one)!
The main reasons are:
- Many important things like video pins are only possible with a business account
- You will be able to claim your website with Pinterest which can lead to a better reach of your Pins
- You will get sophisticated analytics
- The terms of service require you to use a business account if you want to use Pinterest commercially
- By the way: they are free to use
I wrote a more detailed blog post about this topic some months ago: https://www.elke.com/why-artists-need-a-pinterest-business-account-to-promote-their-art/
Pin, Board and Profile Descriptions
Make sure all of your descriptions are good!
- Pinterest is a (visual) search engine, comprehensive descriptions with relevant keywords are very important to be found in search. Pinterest SEO is as important as Google SEO, especially for Artists.
- Use Pinterest (search suggestions and guided search) to find proper keywords. I described how to do this in Chapter 2, Lesson 2 of my Pinterest course. This lesson is free to read, all you have to do is register for the free trial.
- Don’t forget to craft a nice description for each and every one of your boards. Profile and Pin descriptions are even more critical but hey, we don’t want to waste any possible way to enhance our Pinterest SEO…
Always pin fresh content
Guys and gals, this one is crucial! Do you still repin your own content? You need to change your strategy as soon as possible or your impressions, viewers, repins and clicks will go south (if that didn’t happen to you some time ago anyway).
Pinterest wants us to create fresh pins from our own content. Repins are very important, but they should happen in a natural, organic way. What does that mean? Easy: your pin is so beautiful, useful, helpful, whatever that lots of people save them into one of their boards. If you constantly repin your own stuff, your metrics will go down, and (if you overdo it), Pinterest may see this as spammy behavior and may even suspend your account.
One Pin, different boards
Don’t worry, it is still okay (and even desired) to save an image into different relevant boards. Make sure you don’t repin an existing pin but create a new one every time. If you don’t want to craft a completely new design every time (for example, by using different text overlays), be sure to change at least the pin description. Pinning the same image with three different (relevant!) descriptions into three different (again: relevant!) boards is fine. Just wait some days before you pin from the exact same source again.
Create engaging Pins
Don’t just pin all your art straight from your website or your favorite POD site (like Fine Art America, Redbubble or Zazzle), also create your own pins. Combine one or more images with a text overlay (but don’t forget to link back to your art)! Tip: use an online tool like Canva to create fabulous layouts quick and easy. Let me give you an example:
This beautiful golden spiral is one of my Fractals. I sell them via my Artist Website at Fine Art America. This is a pin that I created a quick and easy way. I used the Pinterest browser button to save the image into my ‘Fractal Art’ board: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/349310514841787132/
Then I used a tool to create a vertical pin (they perform way better than horizontal ones) with a text overlay and a CTA (a call to action like ‘shop now’ or ‘visit my website’): https://www.pinterest.com/pin/426786502189921601/
Create Video Pins
Another great way to create a fresh pin (that links to the same image) is to create a short video: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/426786502188368293/
Things are changing all the time on Pinterest, but this new strategy is so important that I decided to write a whole lesson about fresh pins for my online course “How to sell more Art with Pinterest”.
Okay so you have a business account, you optimized your descriptions, and you are pinning fresh content. What else can you do to rock 2020 on Pinterest?
Video. More Video. Lots of Videos!
Video Pins can generate a massive number of impressions, views and repins, you may be surprised! They are currently favored in the search results, especially on mobile within the Pinterest App. You do know that Pinterest usage happens more than 80% on mobile, do you?
We artists have a valuable asset: our images. With modern video creation tools, it’s quite easy to transform them into an engaging animated slideshow with transitions, text overlays, and inspiring music.
Here is an article about Video Pins (and how to create them with InVideo): https://www.elke.com/pinterest-video-pins/
Be curious, try new pin formats
Pinterest is changing fast. Their product teams and engineers are offering new features all the time. Some are here to stay (Video Pins), some are already gone. Pinterest communities, anyone?
In general: be sure always to try all the shiny new things Pinterest has to offer. Carousel Pins, Shop the Look Pins, Story Pins, and Video Pins: they all can spark lots of interest in your beautiful art.
Tip: Story Pins are another great way to skyrocket your impressions (but be aware that it’s not easy to get clicks). I would highly recommend to try them because they allow you to tell stories. I predict that both new pin formats, Video Pins and Story Pins, will make Pinterest an even more excellent place for artists.
There you have it: 5 tips on how to be successful on Pinterest in 2020.
Pinterest for Artists, online course
This blogpost only scratched the surface. If you are an artist and you need more help with Pinterest, feel free to check out my complete, step-by-step online course. It comes with personal support, we have support forums where I will answer each and every question as soon as possible. Click here to register for the free trial (and read the first three lessons for free).