The Early Days of Pinterest
I joined right at the start of the UK rollout of Pinterest in 2010 when it just sounded like a new fangled idea. Facebook hadn’t quite ruled my life yet and Pinterest fails hadn’t even been heard of.
It was like a glorious new vice, a combination of re-enacting my preteen obsession of picking things out of magazines or Argos catalogues, coupled with day dreaming and creating vision boards. To top it all off it was all wrapped up in a lovely security blanket of being a place where you could keep all your amazing dreams and ideas safely in one place. It was love at first pin.
I told my friends and family about it and they just looked a bit perplexed and gave it a half-hearted nod and moved on. It was at the point where you could only get an account by being invited – so invite people I did. But no one really joined, they didn’t see the potential, or even really ‘get it’. The only person that did was my brother Steve who joined at the same time too. So I pinned away by myself and over time I came to see that as a good thing because I could pin my hopes and dreams in privacy.
It wasn’t about businesses then, like the early days of Facebook it was just about the individual. I could make things, cook things and find things to buy that no one else knew about. I planned my wedding on Pinterest and it was a treasure trove of ideas and a failsafe storage facility to house my ADHD- level, amount of ideas.
She Ruined My Fun
Then Melanie Duncan came along and ruined my fun 😉 she had a course – The Power of Pinning about using Pinterest for business. I was off work on maternity leave and trying to build a baby goods business with an Angel Investor. It seemed perfect! I loved Pinterest already and she made it sound as if using it for business would be soooooo easy.
I did the course, set up our account and was full to the brim with hope. We’d show what a great brand we were and how much we cared through our brand image, we’d get tonnes of followers and get repined a million times and our business would get catapulted into the social media stratosphere! Or so I thought……
Loads of Hope but Zero Results
I spent hours pinning, re-pinning, planning photoshoots to get beautiful images of our products, dreaming up ways to represent our brand and finding just the right hashtags. I put energy, enthusiasm and hope into it with pretty much zero results. We had minimal followers and even less repins, meaning it all felt like a massive one-way, time suck.
I fell out of love with Pinterest a bit during that time. I felt disappointed and even a bit hurt that all my hope and enthusiasm had been dashed, and no matter how strong my hope had been it wasn’t strong enough. Other businesses were smashing it on there – why not me?
A Failed Business & Shattered Dreams
I returned to work at the end of my maternity leave late 2011 with a heavy heart, missing my baby. I had a failed business behind me, some shattered dreams and a major disillusionment around the business growing abilities of Pinterest – I just felt thoroughly disappointed.
BUT I still loved Pinterest for me, it was still a not so guilty pleasure, a harmless vice. A place to store the ideas I still had, and where I could slowly rebuild my hope again. Around that time in 2012 secret boards were launched and it was perfect timing. I could do secret things with my secret ideas. It felt like an amazing free, endless, secret journal for me to cram full with my overactive brain’s ‘brilliant’ ideas.
I planned my daughters first birthday, my Dad’s 70th party, I actioned a gluten-free diet, a new exercise regime, several hobbies and an even stronger desire to be an entrepreneur. I made crafts with my kids and elaborate baking creations and favours for a friends wedding all with the marvellous wonders of Pinterest. My love affair with Pinterest was reignited <3
In 2013 I got sick, and while I had to sit still and rest it became my escape, where I could drift off and look at all the things I’d do when I felt better. I had a major operation and spent 4 months off of work recovering and Pinterest was part of that recovery.
Secret Boards & Book Planning
In that time I changed my perspective on lots of thing. I was so inspired by how different I felt I wanted to write a book about it. So I started seeing Pinterest in a different way and as a tool to plan my book. I used Pinterest secret boards to plan the entire book. Every aspect of it’s planning was done using Pinterest – was there no end to it’s uses?
I started to see more and more brands spring up on Pinterest and noticed that business accounts had been released. It seemed different this time, it seemed like maybe as Pinterest was doing it differently that I could too and that I could be good at it – some of my hope returned. If I loved Pinterest so much surely it was the platform I should use to promote the book?
Filled Up With Hope
So I filled myself up with hope again, and I started a business account. I set up boards for each chapter and I pinned away to start promoting. But again, nothing much happened. I felt like I was in a room talking to myself. It stung just like last time and made me think I just couldn’t get the hang of Pinterest and I should stick to my personal account.
But I’m so stubborn – I knew Pinterest was just a puzzle I had to work out, but I just hadn’t sussed it out yet. I was determined to solve it and make it work for me.
Just Get Started
I started studying Pinterest with the same, if not more, determination I had when studying for my Masters degree. I watched power pinners, I learned from the popular pins, I absorbed as much Pinterest content and knowledge as I could cram in. Most importantly – I JUST GOT STARTED.
I started testing, trying, failing, floundering, wondering, puzzling, comparing and gradually…. I started winning. Slowly but surely my efforts paid off. I began to see patterns and themes that I could use and adapt and see success with myself. Over a 5 month period our account went from 200 followers to 11,000 – and the book launched with a bang.
I went back to work again but carried on my Pinterest experiment while the book grew exposure. I heard how it had helped people and how people engaged with the similar content around that style on our account and I could see the power of Pinterest so clearly.
My business background combined with what I’d worked out made me realise Pinterest’s potential even more. I knew how sh*it it felt to use it and get nowhere. I knew how overwhelming it felt to not know where to start. I knew what it felt like not to really understand it or its power. I’d failed twice, I’d felt the sting of being ignored. I’d seen my business fail and I knew first hand the frustrations of feeling my efforts had been wasted.
But now I’d had this marathon of studying, learning, testing and consolidating – I knew it could be applied to any account. I knew I’d formulated a process that was actionable. I realised that most people with business accounts just didn’t know this stuff and could have been floundering around aimlessly like I had been. Even better I knew that people who didn’t even have business accounts also had the opportunity to set things up right, from the start. I continued to grow the account for the book and I also grew my own personal account to 5000. I documented everything I learnt and tried so it could be used for others as a road map.
In late April 2015 I was ill again (only the flu this time) and a week in bed with time to think resulted in me realising I really could help other people with this and along with my fellow entrepreneur and pin addict brother Steve, Pinright was born. In the three months since that flu-fuelled creation marathon, the Pinright Pinterest account has amassed nearly 20,000 followers and has been re-pinned thousands of times, we regularly have over 1000 repins per week and we only launched this account 3 months ago.
If you want to learn the tools we used to get us from zero to 20,000 and beyond you can download our FREE cheat sheet now.
Everything we’ve learnt, we share, so other people don’t have to do it the long way or the hard way, like I had to. Whether they just don’t understand Pinterest or they want an expert pair of eyes to tell them how they can improve what they already have – we have free content to help. We love Pinterest and want to help others get rid of the confusion, the sting of rejection, and the feeling of overwhelm. We just want to make it easy.
I went on a journey from hope, to failure, to building my confidence back up again only for it to be dashed once again. But that journey was what had to happen for me to realise how it works and the power of Pinterest. YOU don’t have to go through that journey, you can just join us at the good part. The part where you get to use Pinterest to grow your business, engage your customers and get more exposure, just like we did.
If you would like to learn about Pinterest and how you can harness it for your business Check out our Pinterest for Business Course now and just get started 🙂