What does it take to succeed on Pinterest? Some Viraltag users with serious Pinterest mojo are taking us behind-the-scenes of their daily routines. Today, we meet Chicago-based Katie Carlson, who does content marketing and social media for ImproveNet.com. The home-improvement site has been owned by CraftJack, a service that connects home-improvement professionals with homeowners, since 2013.
It’s fitting that Katie Carlson pins home-improvement ideas from an office that won an award for interior design.
At CraftJack’s headquarters, the entry hall is a series of portals that represent phases of a home construction project. The theme continues inside, with touches like a garage door-like entry to the conference room. The playful space earned an award this year from Design Evanston.
Fortunately, the theming doesn’t extend to actual construction noises. The open-concept office is quiet and conducive to the creativity Katie needs during her workday, a big part of which is devoted to Pinterest.
More Content, More Interaction
Katie started working at CraftJack/ImproveNet in March. That was just in time to join the company’s push to increase ImproveNet’s content and its Pinterest presence.
Pinterest is a natural fit for Improvenet. After all, home-related topics are some of the most popular on the site — what Pinner doesn’t have a board with home ideas or design inspiration?
Katie helped the site start producing more blog posts. Sharing that content has helped ImproveNet rack up more than 2,700 followers for its 45 Pinterest boards. Katie says that that ImproveNet content gets Pinned both directly from the blog and from the Pinterest boards. And Pinterest drives traffic back to the site, she says.
ImproveNet’s most popular Pins tend to be bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms, so Katie will often focus on these areas when she Pins. DIY Pins and “man caves” also do well. Besides inspiring users with pictures of dreamy homes, Katie also makes a point to help them find helpful information – like how much a painting project might cost.
But it isn’t just having more of its own content to share that’s helped ImproveNet grow on Pinterest.
“I’ve started Interacting more with other users,” Katie says. And to show personality and relate to followers, she’s also branched out in the type of boards the account features. The Daily Delights board, which includes some Pins that aren’t home-related, has been a hit. She started building up the Food and Wine board because Pinterest analytics showed strong audience interest (and Katie is a passionate foodie herself).
Another audience-building strategy Katie uses is tracking which Pins are getting re-Pinned a lot and then sharing them to more of ImproveNet’s boards and even her personal Pinterest account to drive traffic. “It takes time, but it’s worth it,” she says.
And she’s not afraid to experiment. She invited some of ImproveNet’s followers to Pin to secret boards to give them a special experience. “It’s just another way to reach out,” she says.
Structure and Flexibility
Katie devotes the first part of her workday to social media: tracking analytics for Pinterest and ImproveNet’s other social networks, finding images for Pins, writing captions, scheduling Pins in Viraltag, assigning Pins to a co-worker who helps her. “It takes me about a half a day every day, give or take,” she says. “I’m noticing that the more time I give to it, the more followers and more interaction.”
If it’s Monday, she’ll map out a schedule of posts for the next couple of weeks. But plans can get adjusted in real time based on what’s working and what isn’t. “We try to cater to our audience,” Katie says. It’s an approach that blends structure and consistency with creativity and interaction.
Weekends are a key time for ImproveNet on Pinterest, but that doesn’t mean that Katie spends her weekends Pinning. She uses Viraltag to schedule posts in advance.
“I love it,” she says. “I don’t need to be working on the weekend. I can rely on Viraltag. It always works seamlessly. It’s a huge stressor off me.”
She also appreciates how easy Viraltag makes it to edit a Pin or assign a Pin to a different board. She’s looking forward to using Viraltag’s Instagram integration with ImproveNet’s account.
A ‘Social Being’ Outside Work
Katie’s time on social media doesn’t end when her workday at CraftJack/ImproveNet does. She maintains her own lifestyle blog, The Social Being 721, and social media accounts associated with it, including a Pinterest page, where she shares home, food, fashion, and travel content, as well as posts from her blog.
“Managing my own social media and my own blog has helped me in my job,” she says. “It’s the perfect mix. I’m learning new things personally; I’m learning new things at work.”
That’s a lot of online time, so she makes sure to balance her life with some low-tech pursuits. She’s deliberate about taking a break from from her phone and social media by spending time with her husband, cooking, running, and doing yoga.
“Then I’m doing something besides just staring at technology,” she says. “I need those breaks in order to be productive the next day. I practice mindfulness — it’s what my blog is all about — and I do make sure I make time to clear my head.”
Katie’s Pinterest Tips for Businesses
If you’re thinking about starting a Pinterest account for your business, Katie has some advice.
- Start with an overall content and social media strategy before you decide what networks to use.
- Look at whether Pinterest makes sense for your business. Is it the best social network to connect you with your audience?
- “I think having a dedicated person is important,” she says. With too many people involved, a Pinterest account can feel disorganized to the audience.
- Processes are key. Map out your daily tasks, like how many Pins you’ll do per day, “so that every day you’re not just doing random things and throwing darts at the wall.
Sarah Beckham is a freelance writer and editor based in Austin, Texas.