How Libraries are Doing Pinterest Wrong

Ok, I admit it I am one of the 71% of women on Pinterest. I use it to get travel, culinary, decorating inspiration and I pin whenever I find something awesome I want to remember later. I also pin for my library, but unlike my personal Pinterest account, my library account is much different. I have noticed recently that many libraries are (in my opinion) using Pinterest incorrectly. Here are some of the ways:

1) They are glutting up people’s feeds

Posting a lot at one time gluts up your followers’ feeds. I don’t want to see a bunch of books that take up several pages of my feed.

2) They are pinning the same thing on different boards.

In the example below this pinner pinned the same book on different boards. Which is fine, but when pinned simultaneously it results in duplicates in my feed that I don’t want to see. It is my recommendation to select one board per pin and stick with it (even if it falls into multiple categories).

Wrong Way to Pin

3) They are using Pinterest like they use Libguides

A lot of library accounts that I have run into post all the new books in their collection. That is great for a Libguide but not for Pinterest. Pinterest is public, with a much wider user base. And as such, you as the pinner, should only pin a smattering of your collection. “The best of” so to speak. If you’ve noticed that you’re not getting a whole lot of repins on a certain type of pin that you pin frequently, stop pinning. Chances are, it’s not relevant to your audience. In my opinion a “New Arrivals” Libguide would be better for this. If you don’t have Libguides and want to use something comparable don’t use Pinterest try using a website like Wix.

4) They are posting things they personally find useful/interesting 

I love cats, but I’m not going to post cute cat pics all over the library’s Pinterest account because not all students necessarily share my fondness for felines. If you come across a great collection development resource or cute picture pin it to a private board or onto your personal Pinterest account.

5) They are using poor quality images

Small and/or pixelated images do not encourage repins or clicks. They are normally bypassed for visually appealing images.

In my opinion libraries should be using Pinterest they way brands do. It can garner interest, spark participation, and promote innovation if used properly. The infographic contest that I created was a huge success in my library and showcased the awesome graphic abilities of our students. If you look at major brands on Pinterest they are not pinning like crazy at one time. They are pinning relevant interesting material, in spaced time increments, that organically works as a promotion tool. Here is a great list of 5 Brands Winning at Pinterest that would be a great tool to utilize. Also the Mashies nomination list for Best Use of Pinterest is another awesome resource.

According to a recent study by Piqora “a pin on Pinterest is worth 25% more in sales than last year and can drive visits and orders for months.” How does this translate to libraries? If used correctly Pinterest can drive more checkouts, more visitation, and more interaction.  Redpepper has a fabulous article about how Kirkland successfully used Pinterest, which includes using Pin-worthy photography, sweepstakes, and partnering with bloggers. Libraries could use many of these tips for their own accounts.

4 thoughts on “How Libraries are Doing Pinterest Wrong

  1. What about the percentage of gentlemen who pin!? Yes I agree, its really becoming a phenomenon, and everybody should try to post more efficiently. Fun fact, pinterest is valued at over 3.8 billion dollars, despite not reporting one penny of revenue yet!

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