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Pinterest: The Q And A White Paper

The what, the way, the how guide for Pinterest. Tips for beginners, businesses and non profits. Collated by Danny Denhard

The Intro This small project started off as an idea for a small blog post to show how different Pinterest is and what it means to different sets of people, it quickly became a dedicated Q and A session from UK to both coasts of the US, but by compiling the answers it seemed only right to convert it into a dedicated white paper which people can take inspiration from and understand the different personality that Pinterest bring out of people.

The Purpose This white paper is to guide you through what Pinterest is, what the difference is between personal, business and non profit boards and top tips from top pinners.

The People... There is a great diversity of people involved; all varying in professions - from a successful journalist, to community managers, social media consultant, communications director and a Community Development Manager.

The Questions...                 

Name: Pinterest URL Website or Twitter handle (where applicable) Occupation Location 3 reasons why you love Pinterest Why are you on Pinterest? The reason you pin? Your favourite ever pin? In your opinion what makes a good pin? Top 3 tips for Pinterest? What is the difference between personal and corporate pins? Any tips for companies on Pinterest? Any advice for non profits/charities? If you could change 3 things about Pinterest what would they be? What would make you leave Pinterest? Top 3 social media

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The Key Take Aways... Reason for loving Pinterest Easy, visual, creative. Reason to be on Pinterest Curate, share, inspire. Reasons to pin Fun, beauty, motivation. What makes a good pin? Personality, beauty, inspiration. Top tips for Pinterest? Be yourself, use clear image, be mindful, use as a mood board. What is the difference between personal and corporate pins? Corporate voice – essential pin what reflects you and your firm. Tips for companies on Pinterest Don’t self promote, pin to reflect your company, make it

Advice for non profits/charities Provide good insight, share great images, get infographic designers. Things user would like to change about Pinterest Private boards and approvals on shared boards.

What would make you leave Pinterest? Nothing.

Top 3 social media 1. Facebook 2. Twitter 3. Pinterest

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Name: Jewel Fryer Pinterest URL: Website or Twitter handle:

Occupation: Community manager Location: Northern California

Q. 3 reasons why you love Pinterest: 1. Ease of use. 2. Endless links and ideas 3. Excellent easy way to curated and reference material.

Q. Why are you on Pinterest? It is a fun and beautiful way to find new things on the internet and the best way to organize them. Q. The reason you pin? It is relaxing and I love finding new things. Q. Your favourite ever pin? I can't pick one. I like them all. Q. In your opinion what makes a good pin? Visual appeal and linked back to the source. Q. Top 3 tips for Pinterest? 1. Pin what inspires you. 2. Remember you can follow single boards you don't have to follow everything. 3. Always pin for the permalink, original source. Dead end pins suck. Q. What is the difference between personal and corporate pins? Personal boards should be whatever you like with no thought to what others like or think of you. It is an excellent way to organize many different things in one place so that you can find then again easily or share them with others. If you just like the look of a photo then just pin it for that. Corporate pins should have a purpose to share who you are and what you are about to everyone else. They should have well thought out categories and they should always link back to the original source, and give due credit. Hashtags and simple information in the comments is more important. Page 4

You should consider the balance between promoting others, sharing information about yourself and promoting your own content. You should pin with a purpose on a corporate board and you can just pin what makes you happy on a personal board.

Q. Any tips for companies on Pinterest? Pin with purpose and don't just sell. It is more important to share useful things and ideas. Use it to show people who you are, what you care about, what you do. Always link back to the source and provide accurate information. Do not just use it as an outlet for self promotion.

Q. Any advice for non profits/charities? Same as companies. Let people know what you are about. Give them different ideas of how they can help.

Q. If you could change 3 things about Pinterest what would they be? 1. Private boards 2. Ability to block people 3. Better support for questions

Q. What would make you leave Pinterest? Nothing.

Q. Top 3 social media: 1. Facbook 2. Twitter 3. Pinterest

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Name: Kelly Lieberman Pinterest URL: Twitter handle: Website:

Occupation: Social Media Manager and Social Media Consultant Location: Atlanta GA USA

Q. 3 reasons why you love Pinterest: 1. So easy to use 2. Focuses on interests 3. Creative and inspiring outlet

Q. Why are you on Pinterest? Personally I am using Pinterest to learn more. Pinterest is full of so much creative inspiration curated by a diverse community. It allows me to easily catalog, search, and share my interests with people that I know in real life and with a much larger community that I have yet to meet. Professionally it has been a wonderful way to connect beyond business and also focus and share my expertise. Q. The reason you pin? Easy way for me to catalog things that I am interested in and easily recall them for later use or for sharing. Q. Your favourite ever pin? My favorite Pin, this is so hard but this one also happens to be one of my favorite quotes Q. In your opinion what makes a good pin? Visually striking, compelling, tells me something without having to read the description.

Q. Top 3 tips for Pinterest? 1. Be yourself. Pin what you are actually interested in not what is trending or popular. 2. Be mindful of the content that you share, you are what you Pin.

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3. Respect other people's creative property if they do not want to be Pinned respect their wishes.

Q. What is the difference between personal and corporate pins? A personal profile is a complete reflection of you and your personal interests - it says who you are. Corporate Pins must reflect the corporate voice, tell the story of your brand - who you are, what makes you unique, showcases your past, present, and future. Must be cohesive and consistent representation that highlights what is important to you and what you value. Ultimately sharing with the Pinterest community how you fit into their life. Q. Any tips for companies on Pinterest? Do your homework. See how you are being Pinned, learn user sentiment about your products/company/brand. Think beyond your products and how you fit into the life of users of your product. Share relevant content and images -- from how to's to new products. Q. Any advice for non profits/charities? Share compelling images, educate, create awareness, offer resources that are easy for people to understand. Connect the community to Facebook, Twitter, website, blog for ongoing communication. Share success stories, highlight who you are helping.

Q. If you could change 3 things about Pinterest what would they be? 1. Love to have a few private boards 2. Easier to switch between profiles 3. See individual followers on boards

Q. What would make you leave Pinterest? I can't imagine anything driving me away from Pinterest.

Q. Top 3 social media: 1. Pinterest 2. Twitter 3. Facebook

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Name: Samantha Loll Pinterest URL: Website or Twitter handle : Occupation: Communications Director at a Nonprofit Campaign Management Company Location: Atlanta, GA Q. 3 reasons why you love Pinterest: 1. You can be very personal, pin your interests, your dreams, your desires, without being too exposed. You don't have to provide tons of personal information to get started, and there's a certain freedom in that. I would never approve a friend request from a person that I didn't know on FB, but I get so excited and feel like a rock star when I see new people follow me on Pinterest! 2. I love the control I have over what I follow. I can follow a person, their board, or just repin a single item of interest. It allows you to filter your interests so you don't get overwhelmed. 3. How easy it is to use!

Q. Why are you on Pinterest? I started out on Pinterest at a friend's recommendation to get inspiration for my wedding. I quickly became obsessed, spending hours a day pinning, and I kept having thoughts like, "This nonprofit should be on Pinterest. That nonprofit could create such a cool board about this. I know a nonprofit that would really benefit from following this board," and that's how Pin4Nonprofits came about. I just had to find an outlet for all the ideas that kept popping into my head. Q. The reason you pin? I pin to inspire myself, motivate myself, and (oddly enough) educate myself. People are using Pinterest to organize so much great information now, and I find out about all sorts of great nonprofit fundraising campaigns via Pinterest. I'm a total slacktivist, and Pinterest feeds my need to help nonprofits with just a few clicks of the mouse. Q. Your favourite ever pin? This is cruel question and I refuse to answer it! I love all my pins. That's why I pinned them! I do regularly shout pins that are so awesome I just have to share them on my twitter page though. My most recent "Genius!" pin is this one: This nonprofit, the Heritage Humane Society, totally capitalized on the popularity of the Ryan Gosling "Hey, Girl" meme's to promote their cause. I can only imagine how many women stumbled across this pin on accident, and I know I voted for them (4 times!) just because of this pin. Keep in mind I've never even visited the state of Virginia before, much less visited this animal shelter.

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In your opinion what makes a good pin? Inspiration. A great pin inspires you. Whether it's to make that recipe for dinner, do that project with your kids, help that nonprofit, or learn more about that issue, a great pin should always inspire you to take action.

Q. Top 3 tips for Pinterest? 1. Make sure that any images you pin have a clear focus. Most people are scanning on through small thumbnails. If you take a picture with lots of little details, odds are they won't get noticed. 2. Keep your boards organized and on topic! I personally won't follow any boards that seem to be just a jumbled collection of pins. There are so many people on Pinterest now, why should I follow your "cute puppies" board that has pictures of kittens, cows, and rainbows on it? I'm sure I can find another board that will give me exactly what I want: cute puppies. 3. To any nonprofit working on Pinterest, ask yourself, "Would I stop to look at this picture?" Part of what makes Pinterest so appealing is how pretty it is to look at. Make sure that there is something about your image that stands out in the crowd so that people will take the time to look, click, and learn about you and your mission. This might not always be possible, and there are certain instances when that's ok, but most of what you pin should be visually appealing. Q. What is the difference between personal and corporate pins? Personal pins don't have to have any rhyme or reason. I can pin a picture of a boat just because the ocean is pretty shade of blue and I want to paint my walls that color. It's all about what makes sense to ME. Corporate & Nonprofit pins have to have more intent behind them. What is the point of that pin? To promote an event? Demonstrate a need? Give a "behind the scenes" look at your organization? It's all about what makes sense to THEM. If the person looking at your pins doesn't get the message you're trying to share with your pins, even if they do follow your board of "neat looking chairs," they won't take them time to learn more about you.

Q. Any tips for companies on Pinterest? Q. Any advice for non profits/charities? Use Pinterest as a way to complement and enhance your other social media efforts and promote your cause! For instance, I'm working with a nonprofit that provides affordable housing to low income families. They recently received a large donation of books from a major book store chain. We're asking all of the kids in the program to pick out their favorite book and tell us why it's their favorite. Then, we'll create a Pinterest board called "Our Favorite Books," Pin images of those books from the donor's website (which is great for them), and use the kids comments in the description boxes. It will be great way to round out the donation accouncement in their upcoming newsletter, it let's volunteers and donors feel more connected to the members of the program because they can get personal stories from the pin comments, and it's the type of simple, eye pleasing content that is great on Pinterest!

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Q. If you could change 3 things about Pinterest what would they be? 1. I could create "private" boards. It's hard to plan a surprise party for a friend if they are following you online! Likewise, for a nonprofit, maybe they are updating their office and need to organize all the furniture they like somewhere. Pinterest is great for that, but it doesn't exactly enhance their message. 2. If you could easily switch between accounts. Like FB, I forsee people becoming content managers for several accounts (I already manage 3!), and it's a pain when I am logged in to Account A and see something that would be a great pin for Account B. I have to save the URL, log out, log back in, and then pull up the image and pin it. 3. If you could "approve" content on shared boards. I think that collaborative boards offer a lot of potential for nonprofits, but it's scary to have something out in public with your name on it when you can't control the content. It would be nice to have a "manager" that allows others to pin to that board, but the manager has the ability to approve or delete pins.

Q. What would make you leave Pinterest? For me personally, nothing. I am perfectly happy to ignore everyone else on Pinterest and just use it to organize ideas I get from other places on the internet. From the point of view of a nonprofit, however, I could see them leaving Pinterest if their content was getting missused. For instance, spammers lifting their images and redirecting the links to bogus sites. Nonprofit organizations have too much to do with too little time and money. If someone was able to undo their hard work, there wouldn't be much point in investing their time there.

Q. Top 3 social media: 1. Pinterest 2. Facebook 3. Twitter

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Name: Juliette Rule Pinterest URL: and Twitter: @sierratp and @jkrule Website:

Occupation: Community Development Manager for Sierra Trading Post, a top 100 Internet Retailer Location: Cheyenne, Wyoming. (Seriously! We’re based in Wyoming!) Q. 3 reasons why you love Pinterest: 1. I see stuff there I’d never see anywhere else – who can spend that much time online in search of cool infographics, time-saving tips and polyvores? Pinterest is very rewarding. It lights up my brain’s happy center in a big way. 2. I love the idea of “knowing” people through the things/ideas/infographics they pin. What we share says a lot, I think, about what we value and the essence of our humanness. 3. I love filing systems, and boards are a natural intersection in my mind of filing and list making. Boards are now the file folders of my brain. Three years ago I cut back – way back – on my print subscriptions and my home deco file folder with the pretty stenciling on it died with those ignored renewal notices. Enter Pinterest Boards!

Q. The reason you pin? Oh, my motivations are completely selfish – to keep track of all the places I want to go, the things I want to make or (perhaps more accurately) cajole my boyfriend into making.

Q. In your opinion what makes a good pin? It’s got to be positive, inspirational in some way. And if it’s useful, too, I am all in!

Q. Top 3 tips for Pinterest for marketers? 1. Don’t pin exclusively from your eComm site. Be useful to your audience. Share good stuff, and trust your instincts that you’re communicating your brand’s values to your audience. 2. Display some brand personality and authenticity. 3. Take risks. I put together a board on sports bras, and it was a complete failure. I wasn’t sure it was the right fit for Pinterest, but other things told me it could work – sporty, athletic women looking for a great price on a sports bra from a company well known for its extraordinary returns policy should

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dig that board, right? Not a single re-pin. And I can see why. To which of my personal boards would I pin a sports bra? It just didn’t resonate with pinners.

Q. What is the difference between personal and corporate pins? You know, I don’t think there has to be a difference exactly. When I pin for, my emphasis is clearly on sharing the new stuff in inventory, but I repin our followers’ stuff and other items that support the mission of each board. Our Share Your Adventure Photo Board, for example, displays the monthly winners’ images, but it also includes repins of content we didn’t create, including photo tipsheets.

Q. Any advice for non profits/charities? Spend some money on or find a talented graphic designer to put together a few very attractive infographics for you. You can use those images as office art, in a booth at a community event, and on Pinterest to spark some interest in your mission. That’d be a great way to ramp up a capital campaign or advance another fundraising initiative.

Q. If you could change 3 things about Pinterest what would they be? 1. Metrics. 2. Analytics. 3. Statistical Insights. (Hey, I’m in marketing!)

Q. What would make you leave Pinterest? Nothing would prompt me to “leave” the platform. In social marketing, you get used to rolling with the punches and adapting to the algorithms.

Q. Top 3 social media: I’m not sure what this means…taking a wild guess here. 1. Facebook 2. Twitter 3. Pinterest

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Name: Allison Tyler Pinterest URL: and Twitter handle : Website: Occupation: Publishing employee by day, artist/writer by night. Oh, and I curate a site called where I share pins I’ve seen on Pinterest that make me say WTF?, as well as various creative projects. Feel free to send me your submissions Location: New York City Q. 3 reasons why you love Pinterest: 1. Discovery. 2. Inspiration. 3. Social interaction minus the interaction.

Q. Why are you on Pinterest? It relaxes me – pure fun. Q. The reason you pin? I like to share the things I find as much as I like exploring the shares of others. Q. Your favourite ever pin? Wow, that’s a hard one. I love so many that it would be impossible to pick, but this one comes to mind because it cracked me up enough that I tracked it down to give to my fiancé for Valentine’s Day. Q. In your opinion what makes a good pin? Hmmm, like beauty, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. Something I might find hilarious or curious or exciting or insane might be completely banal to someone else, and vice versa. I can say that a bad pin is one in which the original source is not credited. Things pinned from Tumblr are notorious for being dead-ends. I’m working my way through everything I’ve ever pinned in both my accounts to be sure I have no dead-ends. Q. Top 3 tips for Pinterest? 1. CREDIT THE SOURCE OF THE IMAGE. I cannot stress this enough. 2. Pin your own finds, as well as repinning the things you like of others. Let your boards express your personality. 3. Get creative with your boards – they don’t just have to contain things you want to acquire or make. Find a new use no one has tried before. I recently interviewed the first guy using Pinterest as

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a dating site. The article is now being picked up by news media across the country. Q. Is there anyone you look up to on Pinterest? I wouldn’t quite put it that way, but I love finding people harvesting the power of Pinterest in unique ways. And some pinners pin things that just make me smile. I absolutely adore nearly everything that Kitschy Cupcakes pins She's happy-making! Q. What is the difference between personal and corporate pins? If I am pinning something for the company I work for, to me that wouldn’t be considered a personal pin. Getting paid to pin is ‘corporate’ in my opinion as well. Not that it lessens the merit of a pin, but I do like to know which pins are there because someone paid for them to be. So I guess the question to ask is, "Were you paid to pin this?". If so, it's no longer a personal pin.

Q. Any tips for companies on Pinterest? Mix it up. Don’t just pin your own company’s products. Get creative with contests and other forms of interaction with your followers. Get their input. And listen to it.

Q. Any advice for non profits/charities? There’s a category that I think is utilizing Pinterest very well. It's a great format for advertising for virtually no cost.

Q. If you could change 3 things about Pinterest what would they be? 1. Better spam control. They’ve been told who the spammers are and they still do not remove the accounts. The site is really still in its infancy in so many ways. 2. Implement better communication of likes/repins/followers/etc. beyond email notification. This is sorely lacking. When you sign in, you should receive an alert and a simple way to see and manage that you have new pins/likes/comments/followers/mentions, rather than receiving this info solely by email. The little ticker is worthless. And they definitely need to overhaul the 'follow' process. I have nearly 1,600 people following one of my boards, but Pinterest doesn't allow me to see who is following an individual board if you don’t have email notification turned on, so I can't follow them back, and I'd like to follow them back. I'd also like a quick way to see if I'm following everyone who is following me. 3. I think it would be cool to have the option to keep corporate/sponsored posts and individual's posts separated somehow – perhaps if you had the option of filtering out corporate/sponsored posts as you look through the site.

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Q. What would make you leave Pinterest? I currently love it, but if I grew bored of it, I’d turn my attention elsewhere. It might become too commercial for me‌we shall see. Q. Top 3 social media: 1. Real-life communication 2. Pinterest 3. Twitter

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Name: Lauren Orsini Pinterest URL: Twitter Handle: @laureninspace Occupation: Reporter Location: Arlington, VA

Q. 3 reasons why you love Pinterest: 1. It's completely different from every other existing social network 2. It focuses on topics, not people, so I can customize the experience to be more "me" 3. I love discovering the creative ways people use it to report the news

Q. Why are you on Pinterest? I'm an early adopter from Jan 2011. When I saw my favorite fashion bloggers talking about it, I decided to join, too.

Q. The reason you pin? To relax and waste time.

Q. Your favourite ever pin? I don't have a favorite pin per se, but I'm most proud of my Celebrities on Pinterest board. Q. In your opinion what makes a good pin? Like my celebrities board, a good pin is something that adds new information or ideas to Pinterest.

Q. Top 3 tips for Pinterest? 1. Read the terms of service and know your rights. 2. Be on the lookout for spam—and report it when you see it. 3. Join #pinchat on Twitter to keep up to date on the latest Pinterest happenings.

Q. What is the difference between personal and corporate pins? Page 16

If done well, there shouldn't be a difference. But I guess corporate pins are for monetary gain while personal pins have a personal motive behind them.

Q. Any tips for companies on Pinterest? I wrote three articles on the subject!

Q. How Pinterest works for businesses, large and small McDonald’s shows the right way to build a brand on Pinterest

Q. Any advice for non profits/charities? Focus on the visual. If you help people, let me see their faces. If you do good in third world countries, let me see some landscape shots. Get some infographics up. Don't rely on captions to send a message.

Q. If you could change 3 things about Pinterest what would they be? 1. Give Pinterest HQ a bigger staff to deal with customer service 2. Educate everyone on Pinterest about copyright and trademark 3. Get rid of spam!

Q. What would make you leave Pinterest? Really, nothing would make me leave Pinterest unless I lost my job. Pinterest is my living!

Q. Top 3 social media: 1. Pinterest 2. Twitter 3. Tumblr

Thank You’s A huge thank you to everyone involved in this white paper – please follow and engage with them. Please look out for #pinchat and #toolchat on Twitter. Logo download -

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Pinterest White Paper - Question and Answers  

The what, the way, the how guide for Pinterest. Tips for beginners, businesses and non profits. Offers great insight into what makes a great...