Pinterest.com is the latest social network taking the photography community by storm. It takes the vision board concept (poster board with goals, ideas, and styles) into an online gallery where people save images to be shared, rated, and commented. Think of it as a visually-based social bookmarking site with thumbnail images. The opportunity for clients to organize what they find online into a personal photo gallery of ideas is HUGE for marketing a photography business.
The Pinterest concept
If you don’t have an account yet request an invite from pinterest.com or a friend like me (contact me with your email address and I’ll send you an invite).
A person can have multiple boards, each with multiple pins. Each pin is a saved image that links to the original webpage showing the image, and a description set by the person who pinned it. Pins are organized by boards – a simple way to connect pins together under a single topic or theme. For example, I have 3 boards, and one of them is called Photographer Pinterest Ideas:
That board has multiple pins inside that link to the original webpage, each with a description set by me.
People can follow other people, or follow individual boards. Following someone allows you to tag them and their pins will stream through your Pinterest homepage – the same way it works for Facebook and Twitter. Follow me at http://pinterest.com/zachprez/ to see stuff I post about Pinterest and about photography marketing.
You can also stream someone’s content via RSS by clicking the little RSS icon underneath their name. Cool if you want to keep an eye on someone’s pins through an RSS reader (I do this via iGoogle).
What do people use Pinterest for?
Now you know the concept of Pinterest… let’s dig into reasons why people might use it.
- Inspiration – scan images for recipes, room ideas, cool quotes, beautiful photography
- Web bookmarks – save something cool for later
- Entertainment – browse photos and comments for fun
- Networking – foster relationships with people who have similar taste/interests
- Sharing – post something others will like, make and/or receive comments
- Organization – categorize ideas
How will you use Pinterest for your business? My favorite example comes from Rachel Durik, who saved elements of life (like a fortune cookie) then used them as props and poses during a session. Read Rachel’s blog post about her inspiration board for a photo shoot. Her use of inspiration boards could be an inspiration board!
Have your clients make an inspiration board for their session. Use it for ideas of color, style, and themes you know they’ll love. You can make your own boards as well that gathers great ideas about props, backgrounds, locations, etc that will come in handy later. For example, Nancy Steele emailed me to say:
“Love Pinterest, currently just using it to show clothing ideas to clients. That has been a HUGE improvement for clothing consultations, cutting down on time since it’s such a visual. I have yet to create my own boards of my work but it’s on the new years list!”
How does this happen naturally? This post intends to leverage Pinterest for marketing: grow your business, reach new people, and get your photography shared.
Ideas for marketing via Pinterest
Encourage others to pin you
Does your website encourage people to pin your images or follow you on Pinterest? Grab goodies like a Follow me on Pinterest button for your website, gallery, or blog. Anywhere you would normally promote your Facebook URL or Like button, add your Pinterest URL or Pin button. For example:
- Pin It button in my blog posts
- Follow me on Pinterest button in blog sidebar
- Follow me link in email/forum signatures
- Email newsletter
Showcase your boards
Add a module that shows your most pinned pages or images. Create a blog post of your favorite pins. Send out an email with pins from your board. Essentially, get your boards in front of potential clients so they’re inspired and want to Follow you.
Follow, comment, re-pin
The default settings email you whenever you have a new follower. Chances are you’ll check out this new person who followed you and you may even follow them back. Following a lot of people gets you noticed. Adding existing Facebook and Twitter connections is easy (in fact too easy, during my setup I accidentally followed all my connections, over 3,000). The cool thing was people reached out to me on Facebook, Twitter, and email saying they were honored I followed them. That’s great relationship building!
Re-pin and comment others’ pins as another way to get noticed. Kind of like Retweeting. You’ve had the excitement of posting something that got a million comments – give that excitement to someone else. I have thousands of connections, but I know a handful by name because they share my stuff consistently. Try and find profiles for your clients. Every time you comment on one of their pins, your name and image get in front of them as a reminder to schedule another photo session.
Embed a pin on your site
The next section has a pin embedded in the post. It’s a non pushy way to remind people of your profile and follow one of your boards or re-pin you.
How to make your pins STAND OUT
Use text in photos
Text in an image adds another dimension that may help capture a pin from another user. People love to save cool quotes and it’s easy to find cool ones. Sometimes text adds more value to the image through inspiration (a quote) or explanation about the webpage the image represents. Either case increases likelihood of getting noticed on Pinterest. I like the below examples: one is use of text on top of an image (added after the photo was taken) and the other incorporates text into the photo in a cool way (with chalk).
People’s attention go to the photo and not the link. Insure you’re watermark is on every photo from your site. I quickly noticed my error when I saw some of my blog posts pinned. My posts used generic images (like a photo of the ocean for my post about Splash pages) with no attribution or description. I started using @zachprez as the watermark, leading people back to my social media profiles. I felt this was cleaner and better than trying to put photographywebmarketing.com in the photo.
Stuff goes viral fast, especially when a pin hits the pinterest.com homepage as a popular item. Just 10 minutes ago I saw the same recipe appear on my page about 10 times because everyone was re-pinning it at that time. The key to popularity is consolidating response in a short time frame. 100 re-pins in one minute makes your item HOT (100 over a year does not). On rare occasion, you may have an image or page that could make it viral. Coordinate the promotion to happen at a set time, and explicitly ask as many people as possible to help you promote it.
Have a catchy description
Pins show only two things: a thumbnail image and a description. Make that description count with eye-catching text that add more value to the image. Use calls to action (text that tells someone to do something) like Click me to view the entire cool gallery about XYZ. I’ve seen photographers use links within the description to try and achieve better click through… not sure if I am a fan of this quite yet.
Amie Reinholz said:
“I had someone call me once to book b/c they found me on pinterest…crazy! I keep a board of my work and I always put ‘engagement portraits’ then #Amie Reinholz Photography and several have been repinned. I also have inspiration boards for poses, etc.”
Create cool topic hubs
There’s a million boards out there on the same topic – what makes yours unique? Why would a potential client want to follow your board? Make your boards interesting and valuable for clients by gathering information they can’t get elsewhere. You’ll probably need to aggregate ideas from other businesses to do this. For example a board of wedding planning ideas from many sources is more beneficial to a bride than a board of wedding photos only from you. Essentially, build a board that someone else would want as their own that leverages a range of ideas and topics.
Ideas from smart photographers
Julie Clegg photographs a dog a day in her board Dog-A-Day for Canine Cancer. The regularity of photos and pins keeps her consistently front of mind for clients, while also promoting a wonderful cause. Attaching herself to a larger mission makes her photography more visible to people she wouldn’t otherwise reach. She says:
“Every day I get to remind people how big canine cancer has become. I want to put this together in a one-a-day calendar or book and sell it to raise funds and awareness for Canine Cancer. I made these digital calendars from a few of my favorite images for peoples desktops. Then put it on Pinterest as a place to share and download. Again, download page goes back to my site. Added bonus if they use the calendars, my logo and pictures are in front of them and friends/office mates etc all year long.”
“I love the use of Pinterest for business purposes. Its an amazing tool to help organize my creativity. I have a board (What to Wear) that is purely for linking to clients to help them when they are deciding on their colors and outfits for the session. I love to be super involved in that decision since I believe it can take an ordinary session to the next level just by adding cohesive and bold color choices. I also use pinterest as a source of posing. Who need posing guides anymore when you have pinterest. Of course I never want to copy a pose but I like to get inspiration and then make the poses my own. I have only ever pinned 2 of my own images because I know the rules on pinterest are not to use pinterest as a self-promotion of you or your business. I do however post images from other photographers that I am friends with in hopes that they will return the favor and post my images.”
Denys Kelley has a board for fun photo gifts. Photo gifts create a need for more photos, and will ultimately share the photography with the recipient of the gift (your next potential client). Note: to add a price to a pin, type the $ or £ symbol followed by the number amount in the description.
Amy Hoogstad blogged cool photos showing kids holding a canvas print of their own photo. The unique photo style created buzz in the Pinterest community and send lots of traffic back to her blog, even a year after it was originally posted. Learn two things form this: unique photography does great in social media, and social media can drive considerable website traffic even when you don’t expect it.
J Nicole has boards for each holiday as well as photography beauty tips and one called my equipment. I think every photographer can benefit from similar boards – clients love seeing this sort of content. She told me she plans to work on her photography session clothing recommendation boards and include them in emails to her clients pre-session.”
Cynthia Piekarski had a good idea to blog a pic a day and pin that post.
Molly Doan had an idea for contests: “There are a lot of great contests on facebook, most of the photographers are giving you an extra entry if you ‘pin’ one of their photos to pinterest! I just started doing this too! Seems to be working out okay!”
StudioTrainer Kate offered one of my favortie suggestions, which was to build a Facebook tab using a Pinterest board.
“A lot of people mostly don’t utilize pinterest to it’s full advantage. It can build visibility for your business and widen your market, you can build a tab on your FB page for your boards, and so much more, increase readership for blogs, etc.”
How do you market with Pinterest?
Use the Tofurious Pinterest plug-in (affiliate) for WordPress allowing you to easily create a Pin It button for each image.
If you liked these Pinterest marketing ideas then you’ll love my ebooks. Browse ebooks for marketing ideas about search engine optimization (SEO), blogging, Facebook, and Twitter.