Launched in 2010, Pinterest is an image-sharing and social media platform designed to enable saving and discovery of information on the internet, by allowing users to pin images from across the web to pinboards. The site was created by Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra, and Evan Sharp a decade ago, and in 2020 was recorded as gaining more than 100 million monthly active users, increasing its total to 400 million, and exceeding that of Twitter. Whilst the platform used to be renowned for its large female user base, the demographics have been shifting over the past year, causing a change in the type of content that can be found there. What’s more, one of Pinterest’s main verticals is Art and Culture, making it increasingly attractive as a social media platform to Arts Organisations.
What any arts organisation needs to understand about Pinterest is that it is as much a search engine, as it is a social media platform, with most users heading to the app to discover new ideas and inspirations rather than following specific brands, creators and businesses. Almost 97% of queries carried out on Pinterest are unbranded, leaving lots of potential, if you optimise your content correctly, to be found. As a result of this, Pins have a longer life-span than any other social media post type, meaning your content reaches further for longer and for contrast, whilst a Facebook post is on average discovered in the first 90 minutes after posting, a Pin gains interest for up to three and a half months after it was created.
Whilst many have heralded TikTok for it’s affinity amongst young people, 18-25 year olds are also key drivers to Pinterest’s growth. Therefore, arts organisations that wish to reach a younger audience can not dismiss the role Pinterest could play. But, it’s important to note that whilst the platform is visually led, like Instagram, cross posting content is not always the best approach, as this social media platform has it’s own style and best practices. Read on to discover how best to utilise Pinterest in promoting your event, museum, theatre or festival.
Think like a pinner
Pinners are planners. Much navigation on the site involves users having premeditated ideas about what they’d like to see. The app was conceived as a place to save and revisit key information you find across the web, and still has a legacy of being a place to plan. So whether they’re redecorating their home, looking for a new look, or planning a trip, pinners will have a board for it.
Unlike other social media platforms, the success of content is not determined by ‘likes’ and ‘comments’, but the amount it is saved, or ‘pinned’. This means it’s important to create content that inspires, educates or offers a solution. Foremost, your images, GIFs or videos need to fit into the boards users may have already created, as well as your own. Like any great organiser, everything has to be labelled, there’s no posting into a void.
For Arts Organisations, you’ll particularly want to appeal to those planning trips; looking for new things to do; or seeking creative inspiration. So, when starting out, you should create boards that collate information about your local area and the key interests of your art organisation: whether that’s a specific medium, artist, period or style.
Don’t forget that at its basis, Pinterest is an extravagant bookmark tool. So pinning content that has done well on your website or other platforms is actually encouraged. Like with search engines, you’ll go through a process of indexing your content so you can be easily found; the first thing you should do when starting out on Pinterest is making yourself visible. This means trowelling through your website, or your archive (more on that later), and posting images and links you to your boards. Including keywords and search terms in your descriptions.
Top Tip: when thinking of keywords and phrases to include, type one word into the pinterest search bar to see popular related terms.
Go through your archive
On Pinterest, evergreen content is key. There’s no need to post updates and news like you might do on other platforms. Instead, users interact with tutorials, educational videos, strong imagery and visual storytelling. All things arts organisations are usually rife with. If you have any educational activities or school worksheets that live on your site; large galleries of images, or have even been included in local or seasonal listicles, make sure it’s all pinned. This is Pinterest gold.
Utilise Idea Pins
Like many social media apps, Pinterest has started to adapt to new features that are familiar to users across other platforms. Most recently, they launched Idea Pins, which are visually similar to story formats (9:16 dimensions), but are designed to specifically host ‘ideas’.
As the feature is still very new, Pinterests editorial team are on the lookout for individuals and organisations that are utilising it creatively to feature on their Today tab, or in the several other places that are popping up on the app – including during search queries. Right now, a user can essentially create a monopoly on a specific search term if they optimise their idea pin to fit it.
With this feature also appears a new shift in Pinterest’s hopes of navigation. Where previously the success of a profile could be determined by how many monthly views their content gets, as followers are now alerted of idea pins at the top of their feed, this could be a sign that Pinterest wants users to increasingly follow and identify creators.
What’s important to note about Idea Pins however, is that you cannot currently outwardly link them.
Follow the wave
As I briefly mentioned, Pinterest has an editorial team, who curate the Today Tab – which is essentially a page seen by every user of a specific region, and features 5-9 boards and idea pins from across the site. Getting your content featured here can be a great way to get extra eyes on it, and isn’t as difficult as it sounds.
Each month the editors will have specific themes the content will revolve around, based on pinterest trends and cultural events. For instance, in June they highlight Pride related content, and in October Black History. Being conscious of trends and checking the kinds of things that are included in the Today Tab, can help you to stay relevant on the app, and may guide you as to how to steer the pins you create.
About the author – Hollie Hilton
Hollie Hilton is a Freelance Social Media Strategist and Digital Content Producer who works exclusively with Artists and Art-led businesses such as galleries, grassroots organisations, tech start-ups and charities, to help create compelling digital content that reaches new audiences. She also writes and hosts workshops to help Artists navigate online spaces and expand their digital presence.
Her degree in History of Art and experience working in-house for a gallery’s marketing and communications team, encouraged Hollie to use her skills and contextual knowledge to make Art and Culture more accessible to audiences that are often excluded or intimidated by it, and equip Artists with skills that help them achieve greater independence in the marketing and storytelling of their work.