With any social media platform, proper “Internetiquette” has to be exercised in order to maintain an engaging environment for all to enjoy. There will always be users that disregard the unspoken rules entirely, marring the experience for others. We’ve all seen flame wars on Facebook and Twitter, yet Pinterest is no exception. Though harder to troll than traditional social media websites, there are some key faux-pas to watch out for. Here are three of the worst offences that you can make, whether you’re using Pinterest for your personal pleasure or as a business-savvy social media marketer.

1. Promoting only your product and/or service

If you’re a designer of any kind, it can be awfully tempting to solely promote and advertise your own products and/or services. While this is an effective approach to quickly and affordably reach a large number of consumers, do this in moderation or you risk coming across as too commercial. The point of Pinterest is to share material from a wide variety of sources. If your boards are strictly focused on your brand, you can alienate visitors with your apparent vanity. You give visitors insight into what inspires you by pinning material from other boards, giving your boards more interest and depth.

Aside from shameless self promotion, the next big promotion faux-pas is using paid-for-pins that are selling subscriptions or e-books. This kind of pinning is not beneficial to you and is typically seen as spam by other pinners, making your chances of receiving a re-pin close to none. In addition, the images for these links are usually unappealing – which lowers the quality of the site overall. While these types of pins may seem appealing to social media marketers as a medium to launch a campaign, steer clear of using Pinterest as a tool in your social marketing campaign. The purpose of the site is to pin inspiring images relative to your brand or personal tastes, not generate direct ROI.

An example of several paid-for pins selling subscription services. 

2. Photos with dead ends and improper credits

Pinterest is made possible thanks to users taking the time to carefully curate images and give proper credit to the main source. However, as these images become re-pinned over and over again, the motivation to acknowledge the original source or photographer falls to the wayside. Users can find themselves in hot water if the person responsible for the photos demands credit when none has been given. This can be avoided if you simply take the time to find the original source or photographer of the image and also provide a link to a site, if possible.

Speaking of links, there’s nothing more aggravating than finding a photo of a delicious-looking baked good but no link to the recipe! Do the recipe creator and all ravenous Pinterest bakers a favour and include the link. Hell hath no furry like an unfulfilled chocolate craving.

An example of how to edit a Pinterest link. 

3. Not Pinning Selectively

Now that you’ve realized how counterproductive it can be to shamelessly self-promote your own material all the time, this doesn’t give you the license to pin every photo you come across. Exercise selectivity to maintain the quality of your boards. Ask yourself why you want to pin this image and how it’ll affect the curation of your board, as well as your overall image. Don’t confuse your followers by pinning random things.

Retail giant Anthropologie’s Pinterest account is well-organized, concise and caters to their audience’s interests.

It’s important to note that constantly pinning will scare away followers. By spreading out your pins, you decrease the risk of overwhelming your followers by coming across as a spammer. Less is sometimes more.


To sum up, it’s easy to keep Pinterest a positive and encouraging atmosphere by having the decency to adhere to sharing content that isn’t just your own, giving credit where credit is due and not going pin-crazy. This will help in maintaining Pinterest’s reputation as a well-curated image archive and successful social marketing tool, as well as attracting followers and re-pinners to your boards.

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