Legal and Effective Pinning on Pinterest
Guest Blogger: Erin MacPherson
Last week, I kicked off our “Pinterest for Marketing” series with a blog post on using Pinterest as a content marketing tool. This week, I want to spend some time talking about some of the nitty gritty details of effectively (and legally) using images on Pinterest,
Pinterest is primarily an image sharing tool. If your pin doesn’t have a great image, it’s probably not going to be noticed. Which means the images you repin and upload can make a big impact on your marketing efforts.
So, what types of images should you be pinning? And how do you find them or make them? And how can you make sure you don’t break any laws while you’re doing it?
Let’s get the boring legal stuff out of the way first.
There was quite a bit of buzz on the legalities of pinning images a few months back. A few people I know went as far as deleting their entire Pinterest account in order to make sure they didn’t break any copyright laws. And, while I appreciate their integrity, I’m going to say that was a bit extreme.
Image legalities on Pinterest are no different from image legalities anywhere else: You can’t pin images to Pinterest that don’t belong to you.
Just like you can’t post images on your blog that don’t belong to you.
Or you can’t use images on your website that don’t belong to you.
I’m not a lawyer. So it’s probably best if I don’t share legal advice, but I can share with you my own personal Pinterest strategy (a strategy that I happened to adapt from the strategy I use at work):
- I repin liberally and without hesitation, knowing that it’s the original pinner’s responsibility to make sure they follow legal practices when pinning. (Note: The exception to this is if you know for a fact that the original pinner used an image illegally.)
- I assume that any article, post or idea that I find on a major, corporate site (ie. Disney or MSN or Yahoo) follows legal image practices. I pin using the “Add a Pin” button by copying the URL.
- I do the same when pinning from personal blogs as long as I know and trust the author.
- I only use the “upload a pin” button (the button that makes me the original pinner) to upload images if I took the photo myself or designed the image myself or if I know I fully own rights to it.
Now, on to more fun things:
Before I can talk about the effectiveness of images on Pinterest, I need to give a little Pinterest 101 lesson in case some of you reading this are Pinterest newbies. If you’re a Pinterest expert, then feel free skip ahead.
There are two things you should be striving for as you pin content on Pinterest: Repins and Click-Thrus.
A repin happens when someone sees a pin on one of your boards and clicks that little “repin” (or soon to be “Pin It” in the new Pinterest) button. This is a good thing. It means your pins (and boards) are being shared and seen by other users on Pinterest.
A click-thru happens when someone sees your pin and clicks through to the original site that contained that image and information. This is a very good thing. Who doesn’t want interested eyes on the content they post?
Now here’s where this gets interesting. Lots of research has been done to figure out what types of images will entice people to repin and click-thru. It’s fascinating to read about—Google “best images for Pinterest” if you have some extra time. But if you don’t have extra time, I’ll summarize:
Images that are most likely to be repined are:
- Clean and clear
- Show an actionable item like a finished craft or recipe
- Clearly state what it is (either through words or imagery)
- Use bright colors
- Are inspirational (ie. with a poem or quote or verse)
Images that are most likely to be clicked-thru are:
- Tall and slender
- Have words on them.
- Have some sort of collage element (ie. a step-by-step process, multiple images)
- Promise step-by-step instructions or multiple pieces of content (ie. “10 ways to cook broccoli” or “10 crafts for preschoolers”)
As a pinner, you have to decide what ultimate result you want with each pin you pin. In a perfect world (one where someone brings you breakfast in bed each morning so you can spend your morning uninterrupted and pinning away), you’d strive for click-thrus on all pins. But since I’m guessing most of us have things like families and jobs and houses that need cleaning, I’m guessing that most of us don’t have time to make every pin click-thru worthy.
And so, you have to come up with a strategy on how you’re going to make your Pinterest images and boards most effective. Here’s my personal strategy:
- I repin pins from any source that have a clear, clean image and are bright or inspirational. These give my boards some depth. I am not going for click-thrus on these pins, but instead I’m aiming for repins.
- If I’m going for click-thrus on a certain pin (read: pins with links to my personal website, my influencer’s websites or websites that directly relate to my marketing efforts), I always add a title and website URL to any image that will link back directly to my website. I use PicMonkey to do this.
- For my favorite articles—especially ones that I feel really speak to who I am as a writer—I create a tall and thin image collage or compilation in order to encourage maximum click-thrus.
I could go on and on about images on Pinterest, but I’ll stop now. To summarize, for those of you who are like me and want a simple checklist on what to do, here are my top 3 Pinterest Image tips:
Tip #1: Only use the “Upload a Pin” button when you took or made the image yourself.
Tip #2: Repin liberally, focusing on pins that immediately catch your eye.
Tip #3: Get acquainted with PicMonkey so you can create your own eye-catching and Pinterest worthy graphics.
See you next week for 3 creative ways authors are using Pinterest. Happy Friday!
What types of images catch your eye on Pinterest? Where do you get the images you pin?
Erin MacPherson is an Austin, Texas mom by day and writer by night. She works as a staff writer for Dun & Bradstreet where she writes social media and marketing copy for companies like Disney, Nissan, LeapFrog and Discover Card. Her new series of books, The Christian Mama’s Guide series, releases on April 9, 2013 from Thomas Nelson. Drop by to say hello on Facebook, on Pinterest or at christianmamasguide.com.