Is there such a thing as the perfect post? The holy grail of social media engagement?
According to Curalate, a digital commerce start-up, the perfect Pinterest image exists, and it’s this:
What are you looking at? Well, this is a picture of chef Paula Deen’s “Aunt Peggy’s Cucumber, Tomato, and Onion Salad.” This image has been repinned 307,000 times, liked 8,000 times, and commented upon 300 times. You could say it’s kind of a big deal.
For the researchers, this image exemplified everything that makes an image attractive to Pinterest users. The right proportions, a flush of color, lightly saturated. Yowza!
All joking aside, there’s clearly a science to selecting just the right image to post on Pinterest, and it’s clear that what works for you on Facebook or Instagram doesn’t necessarily carry over to Pinterest. So, let’s review some of the key traits of a perfect Pinterest post and discuss how these qualities translate to maximizing the repinning potential of your content.
Remember the Golden Ratio (No, Not THAT Golden Ratio)
As you’ve probably noticed, Pinterest has a very different way of arranging its content from other social media giants like Facebook or Instagram. On Pinterest, images are displayed in multiple vertical columns, rather than a scrollable feed of single images. That’s why tall pins do better than their “vertically challenged” peers.
In the Pinterest feed, each pin will always be 236px wide, but it will scale according to height. That means the taller your image, the more space you’ll capture in the feed. Basically, make your images taller than they are wide, and shoot for an aspect ratio between 2:3 and 4:5 with an ideal dimension of around 600px wide by 900px tall. However, don’t go too big. So-called “Giraffe Pins” may be penalized by the Pinterest algorithm.
If your image doesn’t fit this ratio, Pinterest will truncate it within the feed and make your post less visually appealing.
Red doesn’t always mean stop. Sometimes, it’s the color that beckons us to come closer. According to that Curalate study, predominantly red or orange images get twice the repins of predominately blue images.
The way the Pinterest feed is arranged means that you’re competing with multiple other images on the user’s screen at the same time (whereas on Facebook or Instagram, you see only one and have to scroll or swipe to see more). Bold colors help you stand out from all the other pins vying for attention and draw people in.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should start painting all your office walls red. It does, however, mean that when you’re selecting colors for an infographic or arranging a shot, you should consider using strategic pops of bold colors, including orange and red.
Avoid Plain-Jane Backgrounds
Photographers use “white space” to pull focus toward a subject. It prevents the image from looking too cluttered and draws the viewer’s eye inward toward the thing that the photographer wants to highlight. White space, however, doesn’t need to be (nor should it be) a plain white background.
White space, aka negative space, aka open space should still evoke some visual interest. It can be made up of multiple elements as long as the overall result is subdued. Subtle, natural textures (wood, stones, walls, water) all provide visual interest without competing with the central focus of the image.
Looks Aren’t Everything
Words matter too. Imagine meeting the most perfect, beautiful person, but the first words out of their mouth are complete nonsense. That’s what it’s like when you create the perfect image for Pinterest but neglect the description.
While Pinterest descriptions can be up to 500 characters long, 200 and under is really the sweet spot for user engagement. In that short space, your description should do three things: 1.) Tell the reader what they’re looking at, 2.) Let them know how that information connects to their lives, 3.) Ask them to further engage with your brand or content (i.e. a call to action). Within that description, make sure to also throw in a few hashtags to make it more likely to show up in related searches. For example, say you’re launching your new clothing collection, a good description could go something like this:
Introducing the fall collection of TotallyRealClothingCompany, perfect for cuddling up on chilly October evenings with a cup of hot cider. Get ready to get cozy at totallyrealclothing.com. #fallfashion #TotallyRealClothing
The perfect Pinterest post is a combination of style AND substance.
The Total Package
As with any social media strategy, it’s important to remember that what works on one platform doesn’t necessarily work across the entire social sphere. Optimizing your posts to capitalize on the platform’s unique format and features will allow you to maximize your impact on Pinterest. To create the perfect post — on ANY social platform — familiarizing yourself with the central philosophy and vibe of the platform is the first step to creating content that attracts and converts.