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What Not To Do On Pinterest

This post originally appeared on ’s blog, Lorna is a regular contributor to Tweak Your Biz. 

Like all social media platforms, Pinterest has its do’s and don’ts. Not following the written and unwritten rules means that your presence will look less than professional so do ensure that you are following the correct pinetiquette.

What Not To Do On Pinterest

# 1. Do Not Confuse Ownership

What Not To Do On PinterestDon’t include your url in a descriptor on someone else’s pin!  I was really surprised when I happened to spot this repin of one of my own pins.  I was chuffed to see the comment that stated there were great tips in my article but somewhat bemused to see someone else’s url under the comment. When I clicked on it, it brought me to their website, yet when the pin was clicked, the source was still my article so that hadn’t been tampered with. However, by putting the url under the comment, it suggests that person wrote the article rather than the comment.

# 2. Do Not Repin Indiscriminately

There are spammers out there, even on pinterest so don’t repin articles without checking links (It’s a good idea to check pictures too but people do appreciate it is timeconsuming to check all your repins).  However, each repin acts as a recommendation for the content so it is important to check pins that are clearly linked to articles, not just to check that it isn’t spam but also to check that you endorse the content.

 # 3. Do Not Pin Too Much Of Your Own Material

Repin or pin other people’s material too, not just to share but also to share quality pictures / ideas / articles with your followers not to mention showing your personality via a variety of pins.  Many argue that the 80/20 rule is a good one to follow, 20% of your pins being your own content.

 # 4. Do Not Pin At Length

Pinning and repinning constantly for an hour (or even half an hour) will fill up the page for your followers and is particularly noticeable  if the pins are all your content and are similar in theme.  Seeing a page filled with pins that are similar almost feels like being spammed so do pin with caution particularly if each pin is being tweeted or shared to your facebook profile.

If pinning from your own website, use a scheduling tool such as pingraphy to spread the publication of your pins throughout the day.

If you see lots of pins you would like to repin and you wish to spread them out, like some of them and then go to your ‘likes’ page later and repin them then. Alternatively you could repin them to a secret board and then repin them for public view later.

# 5. Do Not Make It All About Your Niche

Pinterest is a great place for each and every company to show their personality, their passion, what they get up to behind the scenes. Whether businesses are made up of a single sole trader or thousands of employees, they can engage with potential clients and customers by including boards showing their community work, what they do behind the scenes or their hobbies.  My own pinterest boards will reveal my enthusiasm for crochet, my appreciation of interiors and my love of scenery as well as including many social media themed boards. Hubspot, a large social media company, has numerous boards focusing on social media but also includes ‘orange’ boards (their signature colour), marketing cartoons and unicorns!

# 6. Do Not Ignore Your Boards Page

What Not To  Do On PinterestRemember to re-arrange your seasonal boards as nothing suggests a neglected pinterest account (and business) more than seeing Christmas themed boards at the top of your boards page in January or Hallow’een boards in November.

If you have set your board covers too, it’s a good idea to re-arrange them occasionally too, partly to update them and partly as if someone clicks on your board in order to see the board image pin and then can’t find it as it is so far down the page. This is something that is easy to forget so it’s worth while spending an hour every now and then resetting your board images.

# 7. Don’t Forget To Be Sociable

Apparently pinners only spend 0.5% of their time actually commenting on pinterest.  Social media is about being sociable and while repinning someone’s pin is also acting as a compliment, do take the time to comment on those pins that offer something extra special be it extraordinary photography, beautiful design or a well researched or written article.

If your pins are being tweeted, remember to check into twitter to see if anyone has responded to your tweets/pins with a reply.

# 8. Don’t Forget Your Quality Images

Remember to include quality images within your blog post – preferably ones that are either strikingly beautiful or demonstrate that your content will be useful to the readers.  Those images are what you are using to drive traffic back to your blog so they need to be good.

It is also important to name each of your images appropriately. If you pin this post, you will see that the title will come up automatically in the descriptor box for you, this is because it was named thus when I uploaded the image.  If it had been named ‘pinterest’ or ‘fence’ or some other one word term that might be meaningless, I’d be relying on the pinner taking the time to write in the description which they may not do. Spend the extra seconds on it for more success with social sharing of your blog posts.

There you have it – 8 Tips of what you shouldn’t do on pinterest. Have I missed any? Do let me know in the comments if you can think of any others.

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Lorna Sixsmith is a social media trainer at Write on Track, providing mentoring, training and content creation services to SMEs. Particularly passionate about blogging and Pinterest, Lorna also teaches these courses online at We Teach Social. Married to a dairy farmer in SE Ireland, Lorna recently self published her first book 'Would You Marry A Farmer?', a humourous look at life married to an Irish farmer.

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  • Thanks Lorna, These are great tips. I’m still very much just figuring out Pinterest and we’ve seen a dramatic increase in traffic on Tweak Your Biz from there in the last few months. It’s gone from 10s of to 1000s in a very short time. That’s also probably largely due to your content? 🙂

  • Hi Lorna, I don’t really spend that much time on Pinterest, because I don’t have that many images on my blog. but I think that they should use a warning system like on Inbound Org. That tells you if an article or blog posts has already been posted, and then gives the original author credit for their work.

  • I agree, Nishadha, too many similar pins especially if there’s lots of them in a short space of time can appear like spam. I like the 80:20 rule – 80% being from other websites or repins

  • Would be lovely to think it’s my content Niall ;0) I’ve found that traffic from Pinterest has doubled that of traffic from Facebook to our website (and our images aren’t pretty or striking – only useful). Once we set up the online training courses, it will be interesting to see how the hits from Pinterest convert into business.

  • If the image is pinned from the website, it will carry the link to the original work so the author will be credited.

  • Cheers Julie, glad you found it useful,

  • I wanted to use Pinterest for quite some time but was not sure on how to approach it, your article definitely pointed me in the right direction.

  • So am I right in saying,that someone can get a direct link back to their site if they place their URL link under any image on Pinterest?

  • Yes they would but that’s unnecessary (and can look a bit spammy I think). If the image is pinned from their website, the link is contained within the image so matter how many times it is repinned – if the image is clicked, the pinner will be brought to the relevant page on the website.

  • Elish Bul

    Grea post – I have a Question: I have several threads of interest in my boards page. Do you believe is it better to approach the boards page with grouping board themes vertically down the page so all your interests can be made obvious at once or group boards horizontally?

  • That’s something I’ve been wondering about my own board layout too Elish – at the moment I have all my social media ones grouped horizontally and at the top as I want followers who are interested in learning more about social media. I then have my interests boards such as crochet etc further down. I do, however, bring a seasonal board near the top when the time is right e.g. Hallow’een, Christmas. To be honest, I’m not sure if there is a right or a wrong way to do this as long as most of your ‘business’ boards are visible so it is clear what the main focus of your account is

  • yep I am working on the same principal. I have several streams of interest so am toying with the vertical look , and seasonal boards are dead centre top row e.g. the most recent event I am on. I have not done the company page yet but when that happens it should take the pressure off my to row – elish

  • Yes, one topical/seasonal board at the top is a good idea. The thing to remember too is that your boards will appear different on different browsers and laptops according to size/width etc

  • Adam L

    I find most people are fine with a sackload of pins on a specific topic since they have subscribed to that board. For instance I once pinned 50 images on Ancient Egypt in a few hours and gained a good number of followers and didn’t lose any.

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