Pinterest for textile artists: the basics
Pinterest is the perfect platform for textile art. Whether you are aiming to increase your audience by getting more traffic to your website or blog, sell more of your work on Etsy or from your own online shop, or simply showcase your work in a stylish online gallery, Pinterest offers the opportunity to do all of this and more.
The biggest advantage Pinterest has for textile and fiber artists over Facebook, Twitter and the plethora of other social media sites, is that its main purpose is to engage its visitors visually; textile art is most often a visual experience.
And did you know that Pinterest is the fastest growing of all social networking sites and has a proven track-record for driving more traffic to sites and blogs than its competitors? SFMOMA receives almost 50% of the traffic to its site via Pinterest.
Done with the right spirit and expertise, having an active Pinterest account can help visual artists build a loyal team of followers and fans. Images have the potential to be shared and spread like wild-fire, bringing your work to people who might never have discovered it otherwise.
This is the first in a series of posts aimed at teaching textile artists how to get the most out of Pinterest. Today I’ll be covering the basics. In the next few posts, I’ll be digging deeper to help you understand exactly how to use Pinterest to its full potential as an artistic platform for you and your work.
The advantages of Pinterest for textile artists
Here are a few reasons why many artists are finding success using Pinterest to attract new fans or followers, drive traffic to their blog, website or online store, and engage with art enthusiasts and potential buyers from all over the world.
- If you have a blog or run a website, you’re probably already aware of the importance of original content. If what you share on Pinterest is beautifully photographed images of your work and the right people see it, they will share it for you allowing you to reach a far wider potential audience.
- Did you know that people are 71% more likely to make a purchase if a product has been recommended by a friend on social media? Pinterest is particularly effective for selling art, but could be a great platform for your book releases or upcoming exhibitions.
- People still like to engage on a human level. The more of your personality you can show on Pinterest, the better. Give them a glimpse into the world of the artist behind the work. People are far more likely to engage and share if they feel they are getting to know you.
- Pinterest can be a constant source of inspiration for artists working with textile techniques. Because so many wonderful artists and art enthusiasts are pinning great content, there’s always something new to discover; check out these 10 textile artists on Pinterest. But why stop there; if you find inspiration in nature, check out boards like this one. If you find architecture stimulating, how about this board? You can find practically anything using the search bar in the top left corner of the homepage.
- You’ll attract like-minded artists if you curate a page that’s interesting and engaging enough; Pinterest is a wonderful way of creating a community, who eventually can convert into buyers of your work.
The basic premise of Pinterest
If you already know how Pinterest works and have set up an account, skip to the bottom of the article for 10 small things every textile artist can do on Pinterest straight away.
Ben Silbermann is co-founder of Pinterest and believes there is a collector in all of us. Pinterest is based on this very simple concept; collecting, organizing and sharing.
Users ‘pin’ images or videos to boards on Pinterest; these images or videos can be pinned directly from websites or uploaded from your computer. Anything you pin to a board on Pinterest can be re-pinned (shared) by other users. The great thing is that all images retain their link back to their original source. So, if an image of a piece of your work is linked to your website and is re-pinned by several users, think of the potential for getting new visitors to your site.
Pins are organized on boards. For example, you may have a board for sketchbook images, one for things that inspire you, one for pieces which were shown at a particular exhibition, one for the work of other textile artists you admire; the possibilities are endless. You can invite others to pin on your boards if you so wish, but you also have the option to keep complete control.
If your content is compelling and visually engaging, you’ll soon find yourself building up followers on Pinterest; this means that anything you ‘pin’ will appear on their homepage feed. Pins from anyone you follow will appear on your homepage feed.
Where to start with Pinterest
The great thing about Pinterest is you don’t need to be at all technically minded. It’s really simple to use and takes less than 5 minutes to get started. It’s important that, when setting up your profile, you create a solid basis for your artistic presence.
Setting up your account
The first thing you’ll need to do is go to Pinterest.com and create an account. If you already have a Facebook account you can do it by clicking ‘Sign up with Facebook’ or you can do it via email; either way is fairly self-explanatory.
Profile and Username
You’ll be asked to enter these when you first sign up for Pinterest and they can be edited at anytime by clicking on Settings.
Your profile name and username are different. The profile name doesn’t need to be unique; there is more than one Joseph Pitcher on Pinterest but I am still able to enter this information in the profile name field. However, your username will need to be unique; Pinterest will tell you if a user with the same name already exists. If that is the case, you’ll need to make your username unique by adding numbers or your middle name.
At this point you can also tell Pinterest the name of the site you’d like to link back to from your profile.
Linking to Facebook and Twitter
When you edit your settings, you’re also given the option to link the account to your personal Facebook page. At first, I was unsure whether this was a good idea; I was concerned that my personal friends would be bombarded with pins from TextileArtist.org. I needn’t have worried; Pinterest won’t post to Facebook every time you pin a new image. Instead it groups images together and updates in sets, so there’s no need to worry about your friends getting annoyed with constant posts from your Pinterest page.
It’s a good idea to link to Twitter too. Just select ‘On’. Pinterest won’t auto-publish anything, but linking the accounts allows you to sync profile images and log in using Twitter if you like.
Once the account is set up, it’s time to create a great profile. Don’t under-estimate the importance of your profile; it’s where people can learn more about you and a chance for you as an artist and as a person to make a great first impression.
Click on your name in the top right corner of the screen and from the drop-down, select ‘Your boards’. When you’re on that page you can click on the centre area to upload an image and edit your profile.
Uploading a photo
Upload a photo. I’d recommend uploading an actual photo of yourself as your profile image rather than a piece of your work; this will allow people to feel they can engage with a real human being. Pinterest will automatically use your Facebook or Twitter profile image if you give it permission; if not, upload one from your computer.
Of course there may be circumstances where you might prefer to upload a logo (if you are running a Pinterest site on behalf of a group of artists like this one for Urban Threads Studio).
Next, write something interesting about yourself that people will find engaging. Try and be professional but show a bit of personality and individuality too. Keep it short – a couple of sentences is enough. You won’t be allowed to enter more than 160 characters. This all keeps in line with the ethos of Pinterest being a purely visual platform.
Hopefully, you’ve seen that Pinterest can be a powerful platform for textile artists and learned the basics for setting up your account. Now you’re ready to start following some other like-minded people. Here are ten to get you started:
Of course we’re going to ask you to follow us! We’ll be pinning our favourite images by artists we admire and feature on the site.
- Cas Holmes
A fantastic textile artist who has written some great stuff for TextileArtist.org. Cas has a great online presence and is a savvy internet-marketer.
- Sue Stone
The inspiration behind TextileArtist.org; a brilliant textile art practitioner and an even better mum!
- Mr X Stitch
The kingpin of contemporary embroidery.
- Selvedge Magazine
A visual feast of textiles – this board features sumptuous images from the magazine.
- The Victoria and Albert Museum
The famous design, fashion and textiles museum provides constant innovation and inspiration.
- Francie Ryder
A whole host of inspiring images from a fabric and fibre enthusiast.
- Art Girl 67
A plethora of inspiration from a teacher and lover of art – also has a board dedicated to fiber art.
- Carol Naylor
Carol is a great machine embroidery artist who has featured on TextileArtist.org a couple of time – she’s new to Pinterest. Help her get going!
- Pattern Bank
Inspiration for print, pattern and graphics.
10 small things every textile artist can do to make the most of Pinterest straight away
- Use Pinterest as a digital portfolio; this seems obvious but Pinterest out-performs other social-networking sites in this area. Name and organize your boards well, curate the page with care and you’ll have a stylish online gallery to send people to.
- Create boards for your references and inspiration. As the success of our Artist interviews shows, people love to know what lies behind a piece of art; what is the inspiration?
- Create a sketchbook board. Again, textile art enthusiasts love to see the seed of an idea.
- Show how a piece progresses. Take high quality photos of a piece at different stages and give that piece it’s own board. This gives people a reason to come back time and time again.
- Pin on a regular basis. It makes sense to pin consistently; don’t leave a long gap and then go crazy pinning for a few days before another big break.
- Add prices to any work that is for sale. The image links back to you so potential buyers have a way to get in touch.
- Build contacts and community by sharing other people’s pins as well as your own.
- Take note which of your images gets re-pinned regularly. This will give you a good idea of what people are interested in. You can then focus on pinning more in a similar style.
- Create boards to highlight any classes or workshops you’re running. You can direct students there for research material prior to the class and use it as a chance to showcase their work too.
- Create a board for testimonials from clients who have bought your work. Social proof is the best way to engage others.
If you’ve found this article useful, let us know by leaving a comment below. Or perhaps you have a tip for using Pinterest you’d like to share with our readers? And why not follow us on Pinterest?