Pinterest Marketing Mistakes People Make and Quick Fixes

Pinterest? You are doing it wrong!

OK, I admit it, I have been using Pinterest for many years already. Yet I haven’t done any “marketing” over there. I just used it like a normal person would. By now I have more than three million views per month!

I picked some of my most visually attractive interests and pinned a few images more or less regularly depending on the board and here I am.

Some would probably call me a Pinterest influencer by now. I guess I’m among the most influential men on Pinterest as the site is still mainly attracting women. Yet Pinterest is not about gender.

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

Abstract topics that have no visual representation do not work well evidently.

Some people just act as if Pinterest is just another social networking site though. They make many mistakes, often in the name of marketing. Here are the common Pinterest marketing mistakes and how to fix them.

Pinterest is about Inspiration 

Pinterest is mostly about photos. It’s similar to Instagram 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 special will get more repins than those looking average:

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 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.

Thus 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:

Pinning Marketing Images

I’ve seen some people trying to pin (bookmark) images related to marketing but that’s futile in my opinion. For my own niche there are better outlets:

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

are still more suitable for sharing links about search, social media or blogging. Pinterest is for visually attractive content.

I’d advise you rather to deal with popular topics real people love to see on Pinterest.

Marketing is a niche topic for experts and business people. Also most things marketing are not appealing to mainstream audiences (even charts and graphs are boring).

What to do instead? Do not pin marketing images – that is images dealing with marketing topics. Pinterest marketing is about giving audiences what they want. Pin visually attractive art, design or photography!

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
  • article

Always pin images from a deep link – not the homepage, a category or search page.

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 images without a proper source as an old school blogger. I always added a “via” link.

Clicking the headline or the “permalink” isn’t that difficult. Then you can share the image on Pinterest with the correct source link!

The worst you can do is to pin something from the Instagram or Tumblr “homepage” which loss different for everybody. There is no way to find such an image source or context by clicking through then.

How to fix it? Just post an image on your website or blog, click the link to the article and share it from there! Bingo! You just made people who click through happy and also promoted your won site.

On Pinterest you can even directly link to your online store and some people are also happy to buy stuff from you! Just ensure that the image you posted to Pinterest can also be found an on the landing page.

Social Media like 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 worst sites to use as a source is Tumblr.

Most Tumblr blogs are really low quality and publish images from other sources without attribution.

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 on Google or TinEye to find the real source of an image than to click through those Tumblr links.

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”. You end up at the log-in page or random other content when clicking those links.

That’s completely useless. It’s often as bad to link to other image bookmarking sites as the source. We Heart It etc. are great but in most cases they aren’t the real source and just obscure the real one.

In general Pinterest de-emphasizes images from other social media sites like Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr. They simply get way fewer views by default.

The images I share usually get a few hundreds view within a day or two yet those pinned from Instagram or Twitter often hover at zero or a few dozens for days. Only the best images from those sites get any traction at all.

Flooding Pinterest

I have no idea how they do it but some people manage to flood Pinterest by pinning twenty or more images in a row. Others amass tens of thousands of pins but have only a bunch of followers.

Are you human or a robot? How do you think other people are meant to view dozens of images in a row?

The Pinterest algo by now limits the number of image shown at once from one source or account.

Bookmarking more than a few images at once doesn’t make sense unless you want to turn people off and make the algo devalue you. When you pin 10, 20, 30 images most of them will get overlooked.

You are actually sabotaging the Pinterest experience. It’s about quality not quantity! Pin only the best images!

How to pin correctly? Don’t become overzealous. A few images here and there are much better. Focus on quality not quantity! Thank you Captain Obvious!

You can pin 5 times a day a few images if you really want to bookmark that many of them but don’t flood by posting dozens at once.

Mostly Pinning not Engaging

I don’t know why, maybe people are already tired of reacting to everything on Facebook but most Pinterest users mostly pin and repin while they rarely respond to images. Comments are still the exception.

In my case it’s the other way around. I comment a lot because I can’t repin all the time due to lack of 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 possible and want to get more attention this way because you can’t network and comment easily. Some even pin the same image over and over.

Everybody wants to be the person who owns an image. Luckily Pinterest allows as many owners as you want. 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.

How to pin more than once? Yes, you can show your appreciation of images by sharing them more than once and more people will notice them. Yet, don’t overdo it! I simply pin images to different boards each time. Make sure to engage in other ways as well though!

Mostly Repinning the Same Images

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 visitors only see the last person that has shared the image.

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 same photos repinned by the dozens, mostly without proper sources. It renders many searches useless.

Whenever people start a new parkour board they share the same parkour images I published to my “parkour moves” board years ago. In contrast I will go the extra mile and

  • seek out the real source
  • link to the original
  • publish the pin with proper credits anew

or even better look up real sources and add some images from those sites.

I highly recommend researching and sharing the original sources of quality images.

What do do instead? Pin your own images or other visual assets that haven’t been published to Pinterest yet.

Only with “original content” you will be able to hook your followers in the 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 people 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 follow all of my boards?

Are you really 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 because we socialize on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn already.

In case we share interests I will follow your boards though, maybe, it depends on some of the aspects mentioned above.

How to follow then? Just look up boards that interest you. Don’t follow people because you know them from elsewhere. Follow well curated boards with inspiring imagery – no matter who curates them.

Bait and Switch

One of the most common annoyances on Pinterest for several years is so called bait and switch. People will post a popular image that had lots of likes on Instagram or Reddit and then link to their online store instead.

Sometimes these bait and switch link lead to completely unrelated sites, downright scams or malware spreading sites.

Many people simply link to Amazon to make affiliate commission each time someone buys something there. These misleading tactics only get you banned or ignored.

Sure, you can fool some people to click the link.

Do you really think they will trust you enough to buy something from your site after they’ve been misled that way?

Sadly most even legit brands do that. Even my favorite source of meditation quotes – uses a bait and switch strategy to trick people into signing up. I can’t repin those quote images.

Instead of ending up on a page that features the quote and adds some contexts ideally or more similar quotes Calm will mislead you to a squeeze page with sign up form but without any quote whatsoever.

How to get clicks then? Just show the exact same picture you showed on Pinterest on your landing page as well. It’s like with Google Ads.

When you say table link to a table. When you say house link to a house but not just a random house by the exact house you show. It’s simple. Isn’t it?

Need Help with Pinterest? Get a Social Media Manager

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 elaborated on building an audiences by pinning as I offer Pinterest services.

Just like blogging for clients I can also use Pinterest to spread the word. I can amplify your message or rather “improve your image” in the direct sense.

Write me to onreact at when you need help with Pinterest. I have many years of experience as a social media manager.