It would be difficult to write an informed post about the intersection of Pinterest and the interior design industry without focusing on Irene Turner. As an early adopter of the platform, the Sonoma County designer currently has more than 4,500,000 followers, and has pinned nearly 55,000 images.
In my ongoing quest to learn about (and share about) how social media impacts our industry, I decided to reach out to Irene – to ask some simple and pointed questions about the impact Pinterest has on her business.
Here’s the Q&A.
When did you start Pinning?
I signed up in 2010, and starting pinning in earnest in 2011. I wrote a blog post about it your readership might find interesting, you can find it by following this link.
How did you amass such a large group of followers?
First of all, I pin a lot! I started because I was traumatized after throwing out my library of images, and felt that I needed to amass a new library as quickly as possible. And I continued pinning because it made my eyes and soul happy, plus I was working on some personal projects around my own home – and wanted some ideas. From there it moved into pinning for client projects.
Now I pin a bit in the morning as I wake up, but mostly at night if my husband is watching a baseball game or something else on TV. I sit next to him and pin from my iPad. It’s easy, fun, and always stimulating.
Second, I changed the name of one of my boards from Entertaining to Entertaining Sonoma Style™. It seems that the combination of Pinterest promoting those posts, and that folks search for Sonoma on some level, that’s when my numbers starting climbing at an incredibly fast rate. That’s when I trademarked Entertaining Sonoma Style. It’s obviously a very Google friendly name.
(and she’s right, Google does index Pinterest. Learn more here.)
Do you have a strategy for generating business leads on Pinterest?
No, I’d like to say I do, but I pin for myself first, and for my clients second. For every client I set up a board (sometimes private boards if they request it) and pin my ideas there. They comment on what they like, and pin their own ideas there as well.
I really work with my clients to design their home or business space to reflect their aesthetic and lifestyle. Pinning ideas is a terrific way for me to gather ideas and to narrow the focus of what they want. The board can educate and show the client many possibilities, and they all like that. It’s a great way to exchange ideas, and as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
What are some of the ways people have engaged your design services through Pinterest?
The few that have come my way from Pinterest start by sending me a private email. I’ve done several color consultations, and am in the process of discussions for some long-term and larger projects with people who have followed me on Pinterest. We’ll see where it goes.
Others have approached me through my blog, telling me that they found me on Pinterest. I think like many social media platforms, it’s sometimes hard to tell where the clients come from, but the way they find me via Google or my blog is usually because of my social media presence.
Do you have any advise for designers that are new to Pinterest?
Do it yourself. Pinning helps your Google worthiness, so it’s more of an organic way of generating business. I still believe the best way to get business is by word of mouth. After that I’d have to say my blog generates the most leads – and most people find my blog through Google, or one of my social media platforms.
Personally I’d say that Pinterest is primarily a tool that stimulates my personal and professional creative process, as a tool to exchange information with my clients, and finally a way to increase my internet presence. In the end I pin because I love it, I’m a visual person.