Pinterest Optimization: The Value of a Pinventory

Summary: For individuals and organizations using Pinterest for professional purposes, creating and managing a “pinventory” is a recommended best practice that enables you to reduce unnecessary duplication, improve board focus and content, and better manage new pins going forward. This post provides suggested steps and related tips, as well as an Excel inventory template. (from the Denovati SMART Blog)

Author: Sean Pearson

In late 2012 we performed an inventory and restructuring of our presence on Pinterest. We then published two S.M.A.R.T. Blog posts about how our presence was evolving and the lessons we learned along the way. This is the first of those two posts, which has been updated to reflect our current engagement and refined lessons.

In 9 Pinterest Pointers for Organizations, we described how we established a presence on Pinterest in mid-2012 after realizing some of our original content was being shared by others on the platform. Since then we’ve come to view it as a vital part of our overall digital portfolio and engagement. To help other organizations leverage Pinterest more effectively, we’re committed to sharing updates on how our presence is evolving and the lessons we’ve learned along the way, as well as best practices tips. The Pinterest Pointers piece is the first in a series of three posts from our old blog that we’re updating and republishing here. In this post I share recommendations on how to optimize boards by creating a (what else!) pinventory. In the third post – Pinterest Boards: Making them Work for You – I provide further board optimization guidance by offering tips to manage board content.

Our goal with these posts is to inspire you think about how you can use Pinterest not just for fun, but for work too. We hope our pins – and our progress – provide some “pinspiration” for your own boards. If you’d like to stay abreast of our Pinterest updates, please follow our Pinterest Resources board. You can also subscribe to the Denovati SMART Blog to receive other great Denovati content.

And as always we welcome feedback and other great examples of how individuals and organizations are leveraging Pinterest in professionally-oriented ways.

Why We Needed a Pinventory

After establishing our Pinterest presence in the spring of 2012, our pin number grew to over 600. While there are many positives to this growth, it also brought some issues. Pins were being duplicated, there were inconsistent captions, and the boards’ purposes had become diluted due to the large number of pins in them. We also had some boards that only had a few pins.

To help alleviate these issues – and more importantly, to create a better foundation for future growth – we realized we needed to create an inventory of our pins (i.e., a “pinventory”), revise our boards to better reflect the content we were curating and sharing, and reallocate our pins to their “proper” homes.

This was a tedious and time-consuming task. Was it necessary? We think so. Although individuals using Pinterest for personal purposes may not have to be super-disciplined with their boards and pins, organizations that are using Pinterest as part of their digital outreach and engagement efforts need to be more vigilant about ensuring their presence and activity create a positive user experience. This is especially true if one of your major objectives for engaging on Pinterest is to curate content created by others.

Below we share are our recommendations, based on what we learned.

Creating a Pinventory & Restructuring

Ideally, you should be able to create a set of boards and a content pinning strategy in advance, but for most organizations that may not be practical. Sure, you can come up with a first-cut approximation, but after an initial period of engagement you’re likely to realize that your activities have caused you to deviate from your original plan (as we discovered). So, like us, you’ll probably need to regroup after about six months. Here are our suggested steps:

  • Create an inventory of the content you’ve already shared. On an excel spreadsheet, for example, you can include a sheet for the board info, as well as a sheet for the detailed inventory, including each pin’s board, caption, and URL.*
  • Once the inventory is created, review each pin and determine group commonalities. Don’t be limited to your existing boards – think more broadly about the content reflected in the pins.
  • Using the freshly-identified commonalities, assign pins either to boards that are already established or determine if new boards need to be created. You are also likely to realize that some boards should be deleted. Be prepared for an iterative process during this step. Depending on how many pins you’ve shared, it will probably take at least two passes through the pins to identify the boards that make the most sense and the pins that should be included in each board.
  • Once the final home of each pin is decided, move them as needed. This is also a good time to clean up your captions, make sure you’re pinning from the original source, and delete any duplicates.

*Note: We focused our inventory primarily on content created by others, because managing our own original content (and related boards) was less challenging.

Please email [email protected] if you’d like a copy of our Pinventory template.

Managing the Pinventory

Managing the pinventory is an important part of maintaining a Pinterest presence. Since there is no easy way in Pinterest to list all your pins and boards, besides hitting the Pins tab and continually scrolling down until all your pins appear, your pinventory should be your first go-to in determining if you have pinned an item before. (You can now do a search and then choose the option to show “just my pins”, however if the term you are searching for is used often you still have to continually scroll.) Having your pinventory in a spreadsheet allows you to sort by board or caption. This allows you to find pins quickly and enables you to keep a consistent captioning practice. Also, you can keep notes such as where an item has been repinned or when a dated pin should be deleted.

We have much more to say about managing your pinventory in our upcoming post on content management. Stay tuned…

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