How to use Pinterest as an effective tool to build your wedding photography company.
I'm often asked if Pinterest is a worthwhile way for photographers to spend their precious marketing time. I personally experience many benefits utilizing Pinterest, both digitally and financially. Digitally, it has increased my SEO rankings, website traffic, and created a new way for clients to find my company. Financially, I have been fortunate to have booked clients who's initial connection was finding my work on Pinterest.
Generally the follow-up question I receive is, "How do I Pinterest?". The site is known for its extreme simplicity. Create a board, search interests, pin things to board. It's the 21st century version of the scene from bad chick flicks, where the down-on-her-luck gal is randomly inspired to pursue fashion and begins clipping every magazine she owns on her bed (Source: P.S. I Love You). But below the surface, Pinterest uses many complexities to ensure that content is relevant and worthy of being seen. This means those who jump on the social network and pin wonderful images to their boards, may be very saddened when their analytic graphs show no movement. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to ensure that your content gets seen, and benefits your business.
Before You Pin
1. Start out making all the right decisions
Many photographers jump on Pinterest for the first time and immediately start uploading their work, without a clue as to how the site operates. I know, I was there. If you are just starting out on Pinterest, do your research first to make sure you do not waste time. And if you already have a presence, take the steps to modify your past content to make it more friendly for the future.
2. Make sure all your branding is in line before your first pin
Make your account of the business variety. Upload your Profile picture. Connect your website and networks such as twitter. Name your page with Wedding Photography (or other niche if you are applying this to a different business model) and make sure to talk about that and location in the bio. All of these things ensure that, if one of your pins makes an impression on the right person, they have the means to find you.
3. Find friends you've already made
Initial pins are important. You do not need a huge following to get started, but using the available friend import tools can help you get a small following of people you know. This ensures that someone is seeing your uploads as they are hot off the press. Pinterest doesn't really care about images that have 0 repins, so you'll never reach the rest of the world if someone doesn't make the first repin. Bribing / shaming / crying to friends is also appropriate at this stage to get yourself going.
4. Create a specific board and describe it well
Now that your page is up and properly branded, it's almost time to start pinning. Make sure the board(s) that you create has a well-described title and even more specific description. Include style, locations, type of work, etc.. For instance, "Michigan Wedding Photography Inspiration" will be far more successful at getting potential clients to see my work than "Weddings". Make sure the title and description are focused on the same topic, and describe the pins well..
While you pin.
5. Always include a source
There are a variety of ways to pin. You can upload directly, drop in a link, or use external resources to get images to your boards. Whatever the method, always include a source. If you are going from URL or pinning on a site using an external method (such as the "right click to pin" add-on for Google Chrome), the source will automatically be entered. The source is important because, without it, your traffic will never leave Pinterest. Users know when you click a pin, it takes you to it's source URL so you can find out more, without it most users will quickly move on (even if your link is in the description).
6. Use your description area wisely
This is your biggest weapon in acquiring organic search traffic of your wedding photography on Pinterest. This is also the trickiest area, as the algorithms are about as mysterious as the Google search bar. We do know things that work. Put your most important descriptors first. Do not put "My Name Photography" as the first words because nobody is searching for you. You can be image specific, or generic (if you are like me and copy paste the same into every description for time saving purposes). Next, you want to open yourself up to many different searches, so try to add relevant terms to each of your pins.
7. Think like a client
One of the biggest mistakes people make when using Pinterest for marketing purposes is they describe theirs pins like a professional, as opposed to how a client would seek it out. Avoid jargon and verbiage that clients are unlikely to use, or at minimum, include both in your description. Yes, you may have to get off your horse for a moment and call your beautiful photography "pictures", but it's worth it when the end result is a new client finding you.
After you pin
8. Share your new board on other social networks
Pinterest is one of the more unique social media sites. Sharing your Pinterest content on your other social networks will create an opportunity for others to store what they love from your work. Also, you want your new pins to get traffic as soon as possible. Unseen pins will never move up the search ranks.
9. Repin other users
Now that you have a Pinterest account, it's important to use it for reasons other than self promotion. Share pins that inspire you, even if they do not directly relate to your industry. I have boards of all the different niches of photography that I enjoy. Just realize that what you pin is attached to your business, so try to keep everything professional.
10. Avoid trying to keep track of where your pins go
A repin is a positive thing, and that's all that matters. I have images that garnered very little attention from my board, but have hit the popular page from someone else repinning. This is why you want to source from the start. This ensures no matter where your pins catch fire, the traffic always finds a way home.
I hope this guide helps you get started to an effective Pinterest strategy that is beneficial to your wedding photography business. Feel free to comment with any additional questions and I will respond to the best of my knowledge. Check back for future educational posts on Pinterest regarding the use of hashtags, and the map feature. Happy shooting everyone!
Robert Hall is a professional photographer in Southeast Michigan. His work primarily consists of weddings, commercial and editorial. He is constantly improving his skills through trading of techniques and critique with fellow photographers. Robert is always looking for new connections on social networks!