For creatives, 2010 was a big year: That's when both Instagram and Pinterest officially launched.
While the two apps appear somewhat similar from the outside — collections of images that tend to fall into lifestyle, food, and fashion buckets — both have expanded far beyond their initial offerings and served as places for influencers to gain a strong footing. If Instagram offers a place to play with your grid, Pinterest is all about creating multiple canvasses of work.
You might know some of the unspoken rules of Instagram success, but Pinterest is a bit more of a mystery. What does it take to attain Pinfluencer status and make boards that will inspire and attract others? We talked to Pinterest's user researcher and personal stylist Larkin Brown and Justina Blakeney, the designer, artist, and author behind The Jungalow (who also has an impressive following of over 1,250,000) to find out.
Stray From The Status Quo
Whenever you create a new board, figure out what distinguishes it from those of other users. "I have a board that's all plus-size clothing, which, four or five years ago just wasn't something you were seeing in the mainstream as much as you are now," Blakeney says. "I think it was really refreshing for people to see themselves reflected in my boards a little more than they were seeing elsewhere — there were more women of color, more plus-size, and just things that reflect me and who I am. My boards steadily grew a bit of a cult following because there just wasn't a place to go to find that kind of imagery all in one place."
Diversify, Diversify, Diversify
It's rare to find a user who only posts recipes or sticks to street style — and there's a reason for that. "Even if your focus is beauty, consider building out boards in other topics to connect with your audience in different ways," Brown says. "I have 15 style boards and one food board filled with easy vegetarian recipes. It's not my focus, but it's a great utility for me and allows me to share another aspect of who I am."
Not Just A Pretty Pin
Going the DIY route is more likely to gain you engaged followers than a scene that looks nice. "The best performing content on Pinterest are ideas that are really actionable," Brown says. "While on social platforms people might post and share for entertainment, people use Pinterest to design what they want their life to look like and discover new possibilities that they can incorporate into their everyday."
Dimensions & Details
Want your pin to stand out? "Pins with a vertical aspect ratio — also known as 'tall pins' — perform well, and text overlays that explain what is inside the pin, such as '5 Classic Items You Need In Your Wardrobe,' also help with engagement," Brown says.
It's easy to re-pin again and again, but actually putting your own voice into your copy is what sets you apart. "When I first started, I would spend a decent amount of time crafting the copy for each pin so it wasn't just about sharing someone else's content or image," Blakeney says. "The copy that I would put on it would be something I would see when I looked at the picture, but that other people wouldn't necessarily see or notice."
Use Instagram — Yes, Instagram — To Your Advantage
The best way to get more people looking at your boards is to engage followers on all your social platforms. "I think one of the fun ways to promote yourself on Pinterest that people don't necessarily do enough is to cross-promote on other channels that you might have larger followings on," Blakeney says.
But it's important to use both in the ways they were intended. Be original and show that you know how to curate a profile page on Instagram. "Then, when you want to collect and share images [that others have posted], Pinterest is a perfect place to do that," Blakeney says.
Don't Worry About Overdoing It
You probably don't want to flood your followers' Instagram feeds with post after post, but the same doesn't apply on Pinterest. "I rely much less on my feed for finding images to re-pin," Blakeney says. "Instead, I go straight to pinners I admire and look to see what they're pinning. It's a little more targeted for me that way."
Now, go forth and pin away.