The Art of Pinterest

Things You Should Know Before Pinning Your Art and Other's Art on Pinterest

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(This blog entry was republished in FineArtViews, April 21, 2015.)

Pinterest is a fast-growing social networking site which allows users to build interest collections based on images.  Pinterest is perfect for art - displaying it, finding it, and loving it.  Not only do I love art, I love Pinterest.  It allows me to be the curator of my own personal art museum and do art related research.  I have boards dedicated to figurative work, landscapestill lifesculpture, and illustration, and, yes, baking and that polka dot dress I just adore.  Everything I want to save and look at again and again, goes on my Pinterest boards.  

I pin my own work, as well, in hopes of driving a little traffic to my website.  This is what I want to talk to you about, today.  There is an art to pinning art on Pinterest and some important things you should know, to make sure you get the most out of your own marketing efforts in this venue and protect the rights of other artists online.

Start Using Pinterest

To start using Pinterest, you'll need a Pinterest account.  If you already have a Facebook account, Pinterest will allow you to start your new Pinterest account with your Facebook profile.  Once you have your account set up, you'll see you have a few sample boards you can pin to, to get you started and you can create new ones.  

Create boards for anything you're interested in, especially, your own work.  Keep in mind, if you're wanting to promote your own work, you'll want to organize your boards in a way that enhances your work and displays your love of art. You don't want the boards "above the fold" on a computer screen to be about making your own laundry soap, with the board with your own work buried down under crock pot recipes you're dying to try.

You can always add more boards, edit your boards, and drag them around to order them the way you want them.  You can also move pins between boards.  So, if you don't get it exactly the way you want it in the beginning, don't worry.  You can fix it.  However, your pins will appear on your boards with the newest pin first.  While you can move pins between boards, you cannot move pins within a board.  Keep this in mind when displaying your own work.  If you want your newest work to appear first on your own artwork board, you have to pin it last.  Pin your older work first.

Tips for Pinning Art 

  • Always, always, always give attribution to the artist's work you are pinning, even your own.  Make sure your name is in the "Description" box (see below) when pinning your own work and be sure to give credit to any other artist's work you pin.  If you forget to put your name on your work in a pin, it could be repinned all over Pinterest and nobody would know who created it.  That won't do you any good, if you're trying to promote your own work, and it's unfair and unprofessional to other artists to not have their name attached to their work.
  • When pinning your own work, pin it from your website, your Etsy shop, your Daily Paintworks gallery, or anywhere you'd like to direct interested Pinners to find that work.  Pinning directly from your site via a Pinterest browser widget creates a link on Pinterest back to that image on your site.  Simply uploading your images from your computer does not help a person find more of your work or where to buy it.  It's also important that the file names of the images you pin from your website, or upload from your computer, include your name.  That way, if the file ends up floating around the internets, there is a better chance it will remain attributed to you.
  • If you see a work pinned by another Pinner that you would like to repin to your own boards, and there is no attribution attached, try following the link from the pin to the site it was originally pinned from.  You may find the attribution there, but not always.  If I really, really like a a pin of a work of art that has no attribution, I'll do a Google "search by image" to see if I can find the work elsewhere on the web with the artist's name attached.  Then I can pin or repin, adding the attribution in the description box to the pin on my own board. (If you'd like to know how to do a Google search by image query, leave me a comment and I'll write another post with instructions on how to do that.)
Edit your pin.  Be sure to give attribution to the artist and link to their website or their gallery's website, if at all possible.

Edit your pin.  Be sure to give attribution to the artist and link to their website or their gallery's website, if at all possible.

  • (To find this editing box on your own pins, hover over the image you'd like to edit and click the pencil in the top, right corner.  Another way is to click on the pin to open it and click the "Edit" button on the top of the opened pin.)
  • Use the browser widget to pin art directly from other artists websites.  Your admiration of their work will create a link to their site, as well, and, hopefully, generate a bit of traffic for them.  
  • Now, here I need to add a couple of caveats:  There are artists, photographers, and others who are vehemently opposed to having their work pinned on Pinterest.  Personally, I don't understand this as it's free advertising and a traffic generator to the artist's website, but these people do exist, and they have their reasons.  Respect their wishes.  If they give any indication on their website or blog that they don't want their work pinned or shared elsewhere on the internet, leave them alone.  Don't pin their stuff.  They get mad.  Sometimes, they get real mad, and there's nothing worse than a semi-anonomous person screaming at you in cyberspace, except, maybe, somebody flipping you off on the freeway, when you didn't even know you'd done anything to upset them.
  • The second caveat is: you usually can't pin from a website built with Flash.  I'm not a total geek, so I can't tell you why, but it doesn't work.  If you have a flash-built website and are hoping others might want to pin your work and generate a little traffic for you, you may be out of luck.  As one of my Facebook friends, Damian Chavez said, "Flash is so 2000."  That means it's old.  You might want to change it.  By the way, that reminds me, you usually can't pin directly from Facebook, either.
  • If you'd like to see if anything from your website has already been pinned to Pinterest use the following URL in your browser: http://pinterest.com/source/URL  Only, replace the "URL" at the end with your domain name.  For example, http://pinterest.com/source/kimberscott.com .
  • Be social.  I mean it is a social networking site.  Don't go on Pinterest and start yelling, "Look at my work!  Look!  Look!"  Like any other social networking site, you need to provide your followers with Pinteresting content and not just run around tooting your own horn.  Find people and boards you'd like to follow in order to fill your main stream with content you're Pinterested in pinning.
  • Lastly, consider using descriptive words in your descriptions.  Pinterest has a great search feature, but it needs descriptors to find anything.  If you post a photo of a beach, put "beach" in the description.
  • Very lastly, have fun and Don't Stay on Pinterest All Day!  You have to paint, or do whatever it is that you do, so you can post it on your website and pin it on Pinterest so people will see it, love it, and repin it, thus driving hoards of potential collectors back to your website.  Ok.  Not, hoards, but you only need one person to like a painting enough to buy it, right?  It could be that one person who found you on Pinterest.

If you have more questions about how to set up and use a Pinterest account or anything else Pinteresting, let me know in the comments.  I'll be glad to help.  And, be sure to follow me on Pinterest!