Pinterest is a picture-based social network. And despite all the traffic-generating promises it held, my blog is so not picture-based I couldn’t see how to use it. But I signed up because, eh, better make sure I owned my name on it. And once I had signed up, I started using it because, eh, better not waste a traffic opportunity.
My first instinct was to pin my "Which" posts. Built with nothing but photos around an elected theme, they make for rather nice, unified boards, as well as being identified by my Google Analytics as my most traffic-generating entries. But they’re limited. Pinning these posts taught me that a successful board is one which can be expanded with time rather than relying on the few pictures previously selected for a post. In the future, I could see these boards being useful to pin all the fashion editorials and movie stills I find while researching, but end up casting aside due to sheer volume.
In an attempt to build traffic, I’ve also started monthly boards pinning all articles I write, but Pinterest doesn’t really work that way for me: over the past 30 days, the social network has only brought me five visitors. None spent more than 1:30 minutes on the blog, with a bounce rate of 60%. People seem to consume visuals on Pinterest itself, rather than clicking through links.
My second move was to use Pinterest as a way of displaying the Fashion Abecedaire world, going to the reader rather than bringing the reader to me. Social networks are all about bragging and showing off to people how much greener life is your side of the fence. In that spirit, my Twitter feed could be summarised as “look how cool and extensive my readings are”. So I started a board "In praise of stripes", because I love showing off about how many stripes I own, another one on my readings as a way to take over my (mostly defunct) book review category, because I love showing off how much I read, and another one on stationery, because I love the idea that I send a lot of letters. In terms of Liking and Repinning, these are my most successful boards.
My third usage of Pinterest is for research. I used it that way for the first time when writing about the sad demise of Beatrix Ong. I found it a great tool to gather all interesting links in one point and to get an easy overview of her work and marketing strategy in one place. At the moment, I have two posts in the work, one on new French ballerina shoes brand Avant-Minuit and one on the role of fashion in The Bell Jar, and the boards to prove it.
My fourth discovery was that Pinterest was a great way to penetrate other bloggers and fashion cognoscenti’s creative and visual world as well as giving an overview of how brands want to be perceived. It also allows for a glimpse of what people are interested in on any given day, is good for trend forecasting and could be useful in coming up with blog post ideas on one of those inspiration block days.