This is a guest blog post from the Green Chair Stories Pinterest manager, Kirsten Tay. She owns The Pin Bar and helps creatives like you get found on Pinterest!
As a photographer, you’re told on a daily basis thousands of different ways you should be marketing your business:
“Make sure you get on TikTok like, yesterday!”
“Don’t forget to create 10 reels this week for Instagram!”
“Facebook Ads aren’t dead, that’s where you need to be!”
And guaranteed that thrown into that batch of chaotic suggestions is also this one: “You need to get on Pinterest!”
Ahhh yes, Pinterest. That positive little slice of the interwebs built for the dreamers, the doers, and those that just want to be inspired by pretty things. Pinterest is heralded all over social media for its success in driving traffic to online businesses, but is this inspired corner of the online world the right place for your photography business?
As a Pinterest manager and strategist for the past 4 years, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge about what it takes to successfully market a business on Pinterest. And if you’re asking yourself whether you should market your photography business on Pinterest, I’m your gal.
So fellow creative to fellow creative, here’s 6 questions I would ask you if you’re considering marketing your photography business on Pinterest.
1. What are your goals?
The very first question I would ask is what your goals are for your business. Knowing what you’re working towards will help you determine whether marketing on Pinterest falls into that success path. So first, think about the goals you’re working towards in your business:
Do you want to open a new photography studio by the end of the year? Do you want to shoot 10 weddings for your portfolio before you raise your prices? Do you want to gain more email subscribers so you can sell your photography course?
Whatever the goal is, make sure it’s crystal clear! Once that’s narrowed down, ask yourself if marketing on Pinterest would bring you closer to, or farther from, that goal.
For instance, if your goal is to open a new photography studio by the end of the year, that’s amazing! But is marketing your photography services on Pinterest going to help you open a physical studio location? Probably not.
If your goal is to gain email subscribers to sell your photography course, get after it friend! Will marketing that photography course on Pinterest help you gain the subscribers you want? Probably.
If you’re unsure, do some research! Look around and determine whether Pinterest would be an asset to helping you reach the goals you’re already working towards.
2. Is your ideal audience, customer, or client on Pinterest?
Right behind knowing your goals is knowing your audience. And more importantly, knowing if that audience is actually on Pinterest.
So now you’re clear on your goals and you’ve determined that yes, Pinterest would be the bees knees in helping you reach those goals. But now I want you to consider whether your ideal audience, customer, or client is actually on Pinterest at all.
In order to reach the goals you’ve set, you must be connecting with your audience where they are online. So think about your ideal audience or client. Are they likely to spend their time scrolling Pinterest for ideas related to your business? Or are they more likely to be somewhere else online?
If they’re on Pinterest, great! If they’re not, maybe reconsider Pinterest as a primary form for your marketing efforts.
If you’re not sure, do some quick keyword research on Pinterest! Type in a few phrases or search terms you think your audience would search for on Pinterest, and see what sort of results you get. Lots of results with variety, you’ve got an audience! Few results that make you go “mehhh…”, your audience might not be there.
3. What is your photography style (and does it work on Pinterest)?
Next I would ask you to think about your overall style and aesthetic as a photographer. Remember that Pinterest is first and foremost an image-focused platform, and the images and designs you use will make or break your success. If you’re planning on using any or all photos in your arsenal on Pinterest, consider how those images might perform.
Do you tend to shoot outdoor weddings in bright, natural light? Or do you lean towards grainy and moody imagery indoors? Do you center around colorful cities and vibrant fashion? Or focus on warmer toned neutral architecture and decor?
The point here is not to get hung up on what kind of aesthetic you have. The point is actually two-fold.
Number one, you need to know what it is! Get some good grip on your style and aesthetic as a photographer. Number two, make sure that your specific style and aesthetic will be successful on Pinterest.
If you’re not sure, head to Pinterest and type in a few keywords that match your photography style. If you see a ton of imagery similar to yours, it’s safe to say your style would work on Pinterest. If you do this and only get a few funky results back, it doesn’t mean your photography style is wrong. It just means that it might not be a huge aesthetic searched for on Pinterest right now (but this also means there’s less competition!).
And just so we’re clear, there is no wrong style. Your style is YOURS and that’s what makes it unique. Just make sure it’s on Pinterest too!
4. How much content do you have (and how much content will you be creating)?
One of the most important things to know about Pinterest is that they looooove new and fresh content. Long gone are the days of repinning the same image over and over again and getting results. Nowadays it’s all about what Pinterest calls “fresh” pins (brand new images and attached URL’s the platform has never seen before).
So the next question I would ask is again, two-fold. One, how much content (portfolio images, blog posts, courses, digital products, etc) do you currently have that can be used for Pinterest? Two, how much content (portfolio images, blog posts, courses, digital products, etc) are you planning on creating or having in the coming months and long-term?
Take inventory of all the images, blogs, products, etc. you currently have, and ask yourself whether it’s enough to publish to Pinterest daily and consistently. Then look forward a bit. How often do you have new images, blogs, products, etc. that can be used for Pinterest? Every week? Every month? Every quarter? Just get a rough idea of what that looks like.
Now there’s no right answer as to how much content is “enough”. But if you’re able to pin at least 1-3 brand new images per day for one month (30-90 pin images), you probably have enough content. Anything more than that is just icing on the Pinterest cake!
Essentially the idea here is to figure out how much content you have to start with, and if you’re going to be able to sustain that amount of content long term.
5. Who’s going to be handling the marketing?
There’s no way around it friends, Pinterest is hard work. Just like any other marketing platform Pinterest has its own style, and arguably, it’s one of the most challenging to learn.
Because Pinterest has the core and functionality of a search engine, it works differently than most other platforms. It requires its own special type of internal SEO, keyword ranking, image-reading, and AI system. Add to that the creation of idea pins, keyword research, and writing pin titles and descriptions, and you’ve got yourself a tricky situation if you don’t know the ropes.
But this is not to say that Pinterest can’t be DIY-ed, because it absolutely can! But do be aware that it will take more of your time and efforts to be successful, whether you know Pinterest well or not.
With all of that said, I would ask you to think about who is going to be handling the marketing of your business on Pinterest. Are you going to DIY it all yourself? Or would you prefer to outsource it to an expert?
If you’re considering the DIY approach, ask yourself these questions:
Do you have the time and patience to learn how to use Pinterest effectively?
Do you want to spend your extra time creating idea pins?
Do you feel like doing keyword research every month and updating pin descriptions?
Do you want to learn how to read and interpret your own analytics for your account?
If you’re considering an outsourcing approach, ask these:
Do you have the budget to outsource Pinterest marketing right now?
Are you willing to let someone else be a voice for your brand and content on Pinterest?
Do you trust the skills and knowledge of the Pinterest expert you’re going to be working with?
What would success look like to you in terms of someone else running your account?
What matters here is not whether you DIY or outsource; choose whatever option makes the most sense for you and your business. What does matter is knowing whether it’s something you will be adding to your plate, or whether it’s something you’re going to be taking off your plate!
6. Are you invested in a long-term marketing strategy?
Pinterest is what we call a slow-burn platform. Because of its search engine functionality, it takes more time for content to be seen, ranked, and shared widely within the platform. It’s purely the nature of how Pinterest was built. It’s a long-term marketing strategy that is a classic tortoise and the hare style: slow to start, but with consistency over time, it can yield incredible, compounding results.
One of the biggest flat lines I see with businesses on Pinterest is that they give up too soon. If you’re going to invest in marketing your business on Pinterest, know that it’s going to take a minimum of 6 months before you start seeing tangible results, and even longer to really see the lasting effects.
So one last question I would ask you is this: Are you more interested in quick, overnight marketing wins or more stable, enduring marketing successes?
Are you willing to invest in a long-term, slow-burn marketing strategy? Because that, my friends, is exactly what Pinterest is all about. It’s whether you’re willing to choose a slower, steadier, more sustainable way to market your business, rather than a fleeting overnight virality.
However, if seeing those quick wins and viral mountaintops are more your style, then you my hare, belong on TikTok. Pinterest is for tortoises!
So, should you be using Pinterest for your photography business? You tell me!