7 Pinterest Mistakes Many Users Make and Quick Fixes

Pinterest? You are doing it wrong!

OK, I admit it, I have been using Pinterest for some months already. I haven’t done any “marketing” over there. I just used it like a normal person would. I picked some of my most visually attractive interests and pinned some images more or less regularly depending on the board.

Pinterest is good for everything inspiring or otherwise appealing to the eye.

I’ve seen some people trying to pin (bookmark) images related to SEO but that’s futile IMHO. For SEO there are better outlets, Inbound.org for example or Google+, even Delicious is still better for collecting bookmarks about SEO.

So today I’d advise you rather to deal with common topics real people love to see on Pinterest. You might remember I have been an avid user of StumbleUpon for a few years until the site turned rogue. Pinterest is similar to StumbleUpon when it comes to the things people cherish there. Of course it’s topics like

  • animals
  • architecture
  • arts
  • design
  • fashion
  • people
  • photography
  • travel

The more amazing the better. For example when I pin images of modern homes those looking strange will get more repins than those looking familiar.

OK, so after the long introduction let me focus on the actual mistakes many users make on Pinterest. These mistakes aren’t as obvious as those collected by Hubspot lately but they are much more common. Also they may be even worse for your overall content quality and network size. People might not notice you at all due to them or they may unfollow your boards.

So assuming that you have read the list from Hubspot let me elaborate on the less obvious issues when using Pinterest. I will also offer some quick fixes for these mistakes at the end of each item.



Linking to the Homepage

Many people on Pinterest do not care for a proper source link on their pins. Either they will not link a source at all or if they do they will link to the homepage instead of the actual post, page or article the image stems from. I often end up scrolling forever to find the image on sites that were linked as the source.

Linking to the homepage is either annoying or worse than no link at all because I end up wasting my time searching for the actual image. I don’t repin such images as I’m an old school blogger. I always added an via link as the source. Clicking the headline or the “permalink” isn’t that difficult. I wonder why so many people still don’t get it. Are they lazy, computer illiterate, hiding the source on purpose. Please enlighten me!


Tumblr as a Source

Some sources are not sources at all, they are just rehashing content from other sites often “forgetting” to mention the real source. One of the worse sites to use as a source is Tumblr. Most Tumblr blogs are really low quality. They do not add proper sources or worse hide the sources behind a cascading line of other Tumblr blogs that have republished the content. It’s far easier to use the Search by Image by Google or TinEye to find the real source of an image.

I really like Tumblr as a source of inspiration but I hate content theft and thus can’t recommend using Tumblr blogs as sources. Even worse are people who actually use the Tumblr timeline or tag pages as a “source”. That’s completely useless. It’s often as bad to link to other image bookmarking sites as the source. FFFFOUND!, We Heart It etc. are great but in most cases they aren’t the real source. Some people even pin image from ffffound.com and when you arrive there the source sounds like this: 30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m0dgs98Iog1qznavao1_500.jpg


Flooding my Pinterest
I have no idea how they do it but some people manage to flood my Pinterest by pinning twenty or more images in a row. Are you human or a robot? How do you think other people are meant to view them all? Bookmarking more than a few images at once doesn’t make sense unless you want to turn people off. When you pin 10, 20, 30 images all I see on my Pinterest board is your stuff.

You are actually taking over my whole Pinterest experience. Guess what’s the only thing to do in such a case, unfollowing you or your boards. Just keep calm and pin on. Don’t become overzealous. A few images here and there are much better. You can pin 5 times a day a few images if you really want to bookmark that many of them but don’t flood.


Mostly Pinning not Liking

I don’t know why, maybe people are already tired of “liking” everything on Facebook but most Pinterest users mostly pin and repin while they seldom like images. In my case it’s the other way around. I will like many more images than I pin/repin simply because I can’t repin them all because of flooding, lacking or wrong sources like the homepage or Tumblr and last but not least repetition. I won’t pin the same image twice in most cases but I want to show my appreciation to all those who show that same image as well. I want to tell them that I like it.

It seems many Pinterest users want to grab as many images as their possessions as possible and want to get more attention because you can’t reshare or like “likes” but you can do it with pins. So everybody want to be the person who owns an image. Luckily Pinterest allows as many owners as you want unlike StumbleUpon for example. This is my opinion one of the reasons why Pinterest has succeeded. Nobody can “land grab” a particular piece of content like it was the case on most social media sites of the first generation. So show your affirmation of images by liking them again and again and more people will notice and follow you.


Mostly Repinning

One thing Pinterest simplifies is the process of republishing images. Just like on Tumblr you reproduce an image by repinning from someone else. Unlike Tumblr though where you have a long list of “sources” below each post on Pinterest you only see the last person you have taken the image from plus only the people who have repinned from you below.
Sounds great doesn’t it? Well, at the end of the day it leads to monotony. I see the same images shared over and over again and again. Only a few people seem to add new images. For example when I search for “parkour” I see the photos repinned by the dozens, mostly without proper sources. It renders many searches useless. In contrast I will go the extra mile and search for the real source, link to it and publish the pin with proper credits anew or even better look up real sources and add some images from those sites. I highly recommend this. Only with “original content” you will be able to hook your followers in eh long run. Why would they want to see the same images they’ve seen from several pinners already?


Following People not Boards

It seems that many peoiple are so used to the concept of social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter that they will follow “you” on Pinterest as well. It doesn’t make sense though: You will rarely share all of my interests so why following all of my boards? Are you reall interested in parkour images, electric cars and clean websites at the same time? Congrats! Will you marry me. Oh no, I already have a wife.

No, you probably want to follow my “modern homes” or “cycling culture” boards instead. So sorry my dear SEO friends, I won’t follow “you” back just beacuse we socialize on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn already. In case we share interest I will follow your boards though, maybe, it depends on some of the aspects mentioned above.


Keyword Stuffing

Sometimes history is repeating in overtly apparent ways. Pinterest is getting keyword stuffed like in the early days of search engines. Many people have discovered that by repeating the same keyword they will rank on Pinterest search for it. Just search for some places in Europe like [paris], [rome] or even the countries like France or Italy. Images with descriptions like “France France France” abound.

I can’t imagine the Pinterest staff not noticing soon enough and probably banning some overly repetitive users from blatant spam. Again, keep calm and add a one sentence short description instead.



These “less obvious” mistakes aren’t really hard to avoid either and the quick fixes are really simple enough to practice them. Why fail at Pinterest then? It’s really easy to use the site properly.

Once you master the best practices you can think about effectively using Pinterest for marketing in a meaningful way. I may elaborate on that as I’m starting to offer Pinterest services to my portfolio. Just liek blogging for clients I can also use Tumblr or Pinterest to spread their message or rather to improve their image in the direct sense.