Pinterest for Placemaking

To Get Eyeballs on Pinterest, Deck Them Halls!

Let’s get one thing clear, right up front. Technically, Pinterest is not a social media channel. For many, that’s not news. For the rest, it’s mind-blowing. It feels social. You follow people and get followers. You can see who’s pinning what and invite folks to join a communal board where everyone can save and pin based on a topic or category. So social!

But, regardless, Pinterest is first and foremost a search engine. Think of it this way: People go on Instagram to look. People go on Pinterest to look for.  According to stats on the site’s blog, people perform more than 2 billion searches to find ideas and inspiration on Pinterest every month. And over the course of a year, they pin more than 750 million holiday ideas.

So, to recap: Pinterest, search engine. And holiday ideas are a hot search topic. Let’s continue.

Operation ‘Find Me’

Because Pinterest is a search engine, as with Google, there’s an algorithm at play (you knew that was coming, didn’t you). It’s called SmartFeed, and it’s responsible for ensuring users see a mix of good content they actually care about. Your home feed—the scrollable content populating your screen before you fire-up a specific search—includes pins posted by people you follow; pins related to those pins; and pins representing your interests, as gauged by Pinterest based upon your search topics and history of pinning.

For marketers looking for eyeballs on Pinterest, therefore, there are three objectives, and they’re (happily) interconnected. One, to be found by search. Two, to get pinned. And three, because you’re such a popular pin, to end up in users’ home feeds. Capisce?

A Place to Pin

That’s where placemaking comes into play. Arguably, the holidays are the season of placemaking. When you set the table with the good stuff for a holiday meal, or twine tinsel around your tree, or embark on an ambitious DIY project involving pine boughs and mistletoe, you’re creating a sense of place. You’re sending a message. Saying, ‘This is how I feel about this momentous occasion,’ and, ‘I have chosen to do these things on purpose, because this is the kind of person I am.’ Now, replace ‘I’ and ‘person’ with ‘brand,’ and you can see the opportunities inherit on Pinterest for our clients, especially those in the real estate category. Home = holidays. It’s an age-old association.

So, step one in holiday Pinterest success is to take advantage of all the homey settings at your disposal and get placemaking, keeping in mind that very scene is an opportunity to highlight design features or the architectural attributes of a space by using them as backdrops. Like:

  • Accentuate exterior architecture with twinkle lights.
  • Highlight a front porch with a front-door decoration.
  • Draw attention to high ceilings with a sky-high tree.
  • Change up table settings to evoke festive holiday occasions and showcase a dining room’s seating capacity.
  • Put a fireplace—inside or outdoors—in the spotlight with mantle decorations, like candles and sprays of winter greenery.
  • Show off a sparkling kitchen by staging the preparations for a holiday feast.

Do You See What I See

To be pinned, your images need an online home, because when you pin, you’re actually pinning the URL where your content (represented in the feed by an image) lives. Obviously, this is the time for an image-driven blog post. But don’t overlook Instagram: Pictures posted on the platform can also be pinned, just be sure to edit the link to drive traffic back to your site or blog posting. You’re creating a tidy package: a story about home for the holidays, with ideas for how to make it more festive, illustrated by photos featuring the home’s design and architecture, promoted across social media, and, last step…

Keyword strategized for Pinterest (you knew that was coming, too, didn’t you). Like Google, SmartFeed uses keywords to identify relevant content, so if you want to be found, you’ve got to use the right vocabulary. Want to know what’s trending? Check out the ‘Explore’ function to the right of the search bar, or start typing phrases into the search field to see what auto-suggestions pop up. Or start with a basic search, like, ‘holiday décor,’ and note how Pinterest provides you with a handy grid of drill-down categories, there to help you refine your search. There’s a lot of information at your fingertips, you just have to know where to find it. And then, how to us it: Create a list of keywords that work with your images and content, and use them in your descriptive fields, including your pin’s image caption.

After that, it’s all visions of sugar plums (which, by the way, could be a great scene to promote an eye-catching bedroom).



[Amy Finley is a senior copywriter at Greenhaus. Her SmartFeed is currently heavy on landscaping trends, Oslo attractions, and winter wear.]


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