A few years ago, my friend Megan Gilger practically forced me to get a Pinterest account. I had seen her pinning, and knew a bit about it... but I have to admit I was hesitant to add yet another form of social media to my already busy daily routine. Gradually, I have discovered the value of this online tool- as an asset to all of my creative endeavors. Friends and clients keep asking me about Pinterest, So I thought I would lay out for all of you exactly why it is so vital. In this post I outline a few of the benefits of pinning.
+ Find Inspiration
I guess it is pretty obvious that Pinterest can be a place to gather and store inspiration. It is filled with images, videos, and articles from all over the world. To me that is reason enough, but I know that we live in a time when we are bombarded and saturated.
+ Narrow your aesthetic
Pinterest, if done well, betrays your inner-most aesthetic and vision. As "knowing thyself" should be pretty high up on your list of priorities, I would add that knowing your aesthetic self should be pretty high up there as well. This won't be true for everyone, of course. The effectiveness of your account will depend on whom you follow, how regularly you pin, and how willing you are to be vulnerable, honest, and brave. When a client comes to me for help deciding "their style" I always point them to Pinterest. Here they can see thousands of styles, and after pinning for a while can notice trends in their own tastes, that they might not have discovered otherwise.
+ Get to Work
Each of my boards is organized around a theme I write about, or upcoming shoots I will be styling... so I use Pinterest as a way to access images quickly. I create mood boards, and actually offer a discount to brands that pull images from my boards. My thought being that if they are pulling from my inspirational store-house, they are already working within my aesthetic. Any time I have a project, even a mural commission like the one I am working on this week- I head to my Pinterest to pull from the images I have been collecting.
The value of pinning is all in the organization of you boards. Plan wisely, and don't hesitate to rename, delete, or start over. Try not to have more than 15 boards, as it will slow down your pinning / finding process. I realized that I was constantly pinning vintage posters, and with no specific folder for them, they were getting put in my "Art" board... So I created a Poster board to pin them to. I had a board I was not using, and even though it had thousands of followers, I deleted it, because I realized that in the long-run Pinterest is my business tool, before it is a social media.
I must honestly tell you that some of my pins are sponsored. I don't earn much from pinning, but enough for me to care about how many followers I have and how each pin fares in the re-pinning process. There are plenty affiliate organizations/brands that will pay you per sponsored pin or click-through. I pin an image regardless of who will see it and how it will be received. I pin first for myself. I am also loyal to my personal aesthetic. I dare you to discover which of my pins are sponsored... if I am doing my job correctly, you really won't be able to tell.
Honestly, I would say that if you don't feel the need to gather, store or share inspiration I would suggest you avoid Pinterest. Keep your life simple, and present. For me Pinterest is an invaluable resource, that streamlines my working process.
If you do get a Pinterest account, fill in the self-description in your profile. I click to find out more about each person I follow. If you sound interesting, I will probably continue on to your website as well. If you are my friend I will follow you, but unfollow boards that won't interest me... I don't craft, cook, or take care of babies... forgive me for not following those boards. I tend to unfollow boards as frequently as I follow them, because my time on Pinterest is limited each day- fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen minutes in the evening.
I save (almost daily) screen shots of who I am pinning from, and how many followers I have on Pinterest. Call it blogger OCD... I want to know who is providing me with inspiration.
Here are the people from whom I regularly gather inspiration: