How to be a Polite Pinterest Pinner

So you’re addicted to using Pinterest, are you? Isn’t it fun? The site has made it so easy to find inspiration!

Polite Pinterest Pinner

Since Pinterest is just a few years old, many users are still learning its best practices and how to be effective there. One of these best practices is Pinterest courtesy. We should always strive to be courteous on any social networking site that we use. Are you a polite Pinterest pinner? Stay tuned for some quick tips.

1. Polite Pinterest users pin photos from the original POST where the photo appeared.

For example, if I spot some fabulous polka dotted pillows on the Design Sponge blog and want to pin them to my polka dot board, I need to find the permalink of that blog post and pin the image from that permalink.

In the polka dot pillows example, I found that post on page 2 of the Design Sponge blog. Notice the URL in the browser bar below. That URL is not the permalink of the polka dot pillows post.

Design Sponge Screenshot
HERE is the permalink for that post. It includes the date of the post (month and year) and the name of that particular post.

Design Sponge Screenshot
If you spot a pinnable image while browsing your favorite websites or blogs, follow these steps:

1. Navigate to the permalink of that particular post.
2. Use the handy Pinterest bookmarklet to select the image that you want to pin.
3. Write a short description of the pin. See tip #2 below.

What happens if you don’t pin images from the permalink where they first appeared?

The pin will still link to the site where it appeared, but if you pin from the main domain of the site, anyone who clicks on the pin will end up on the main page of that site. If a person arrives on the site days, weeks, or months later, the post with that image will be buried, and they might never find the image!

By the way, this rule goes for re-pins, too. If you see an image that you’d like to re-pin to one of your boards, check to see if the image links back to the original permalink. If it doesn’t, try to find the permalink and create a new pin.

Be kind. Pin from the permalink.

2. Polite Pinterest users write a short, meaningful description of the image.

I must admit that when I first started using Pinterest, I wrote shallow descriptions like “I love this!” or “Yummy!” Now that I’ve used the site a bit more, I’ve started to put more thought into my pin descriptions.

Take a peek at this pin description (not mine), for example:
Pinterest Description Example

This wording includes great keywords and makes me feel like I can actually create eggs like these myself.

Here are some tips for writing pin descriptions:
* Tell why the image is meaningful to you.
* Remember that other Pinterest users can view your description. Is it helpful? Appropriate?
* Mention the source (blog name) if you wish.

If time permits (and especially if you’d like the image to be re-pinned by others), write the description in elevator pitch style.

By the way, have you ever wondered if it’s okay to keep the description of the original pinner when re-pinning an image? I’ve never read a hard-and-fast rule about this. In my opinion, if the original description matches your thoughts about the pin, keep it! If you want to tweak it to suit your taste, feel free!

3. Polite Pinterest users do not copy wording from the image source’s website and paste it into the pin description.

Instead, tell how the image or post inspired you.

4. Polite Pinterest users pin their own images sparingly.

According to Pinterest etiquette, “If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion.”

How about this idea? Why not create a Pinterest board of images that coordinate with one of your products? For example, if you sell necklaces, you could pin clothing, patterns, and accessories that would pair nicely with your product. You could share a screenshot of the board on your blog or on your Facebook fan page — alongside a photo of your product. Now that’s a fun way to use Pinterest!


What other Pinterest etiquette tips would you add to this list? Please share in the comments.

Julie Signature
P.S. I’d be honored if you followed me on Pinterest!

Other Pinterest posts you might enjoy:

How to Optimize the Traffic You’re Getting from Pinterest

How to Use Secret Pinterest Boards for Your Handmade Business

6 Ways Pinterest Can Boost Your Handmade Business

  • Unfortunately I got to know pinterest the worst way for a crafter, I began to see my products for sale in pinterest albums named “DIY” or “To do”, and, with descriptions of how they could make that product!
    When I re-pin an image that I see, I’ll first look the page where it comes from, and if it’s not copy of anything, then I re-pin it.
    As to the part of the promotion, the way I found to use in promoting my creations was creating an album just for my things, and the other albums about other subjects of my interest. Thus, my followers can easily identify my creations.

  • Unfortunately, we can’t control what people do with our images. That’s a good idea to be conscious of whether an image is a copy of anything or not. Thanks for your input, Raquel! :)

  • Yes, Pinterest is such fun (and addicting). I’m so glad you enjoyed the post!

  • Thanks so much for the helpful tips. I’ve seen a lot of debate about whether it’s OK to pin your own items. It actually seems to be spelled out quite clearly :)

  • Exactly, Elise. Pinterest instructs users not to use the site “purely as a tool for self-promotion.” Thanks for your comment!

  • Eah

    Thanks so much for this information. I believe I may, unfortunately, be doing exactly what you’ve noted not to do, as I am very new to the site. I’m signing on from my mobile phone and seem to always have a hard time when trying to change the previous persons comment. I do hope I can figure out why I am having this problem, and soon! I really enjoyed your article spelling out exactly what needs to be done to give the proper person credit! Thanks again.

  • That’s a good point about accessing Pinterest from a mobile device, Eah. While it is fun to browse the site on the go, it is not as easy to tweak the product descriptions and/or check to see if the pin came from the original image source. Thanks for your comment!

  • Tess

    What about following? If someone follows you, should you follow them back?

    Sometimes people follow me that have pinned all my pins. I feel like why should I follow them, when all their stuff is mine.

    But it is nice to follow or like at least something of someone else’s that have found interest in your pins. But that is tough to do when someone doesn’t have a lot of varied pins or got mostly everything from you.

    Also I think you are right to pin back to perma link and give a decent expression but also if you described the easter eggs that detailed…some people might not even follow the pic back to the permalink at all…thinking they got all they need from the description.ReplyCancel

  • Julie @ On the Dot Creations

    Thanks for your comment, Tess. As you mentioned, it is nice to reciprocate if someone follows you. I very rarely follow ALL of a person’s boards, though. I pick and choose boards that inspire me.

    My practice is to search through that person’s boards and find something that catches my eye. I either pin it to one of my boards or like it – just so my action appears in the person’s Pinterest feed. This is my little way of saying “thank you.” Sometimes I don’t find anything to pin or like (especially if the account is new), but I try my best. :)ReplyCancel

  • Ro

    Hi thank you for this info, very useful to a new pinner like me! I’m trying to find out what is polite -I had someone repin 20 pins within a matter of minutes. I started following them and they have kept on repinning and not followed me. It does take me ages to pin ie checking sources looking for attractive pins – it’s happened a few times now – I do realise it’s the point of Pinterest – but is there a point when enough is enough – or maybe I shouldn’t worry and take it as a compliment ?ReplyCancel

  • Julie @ On the Dot Creations

    I know what you mean, Ro. It does take lots of time to curate great Pinterest boards, and if a person just re-pins but doesn’t follow any of your boards, it’s easy to get frustrated. I think it’s a good idea to take it as a compliment and just keep on curating great content and building a Pinterest following. Keep up the great work! Thanks for your comment.ReplyCancel

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