How to Use Pinterest to Find Your Brand Style + Free Workbook
Creating a Pinterest board and pinning 100+ images that catch your eye and take your fancy seems pretty straightforward, right? But how do you create a truly coherent board where every single image is in tune with the next and together they all look and feel exactly as you wish your brand to look and feel?
Every branding project starts with a vision board or inspiration board of some sorts. Now, I'm a crafty pixie and I think a physical inspiration board is the best, but I also recognize the fact that this might not be very practical, especially if your branding your business for the very first time.
So, is there a way to sift through the world wide web quickly and efficiently and create an inspiration board that makes you excited about your new brand?
As a matter of fact, there is ...
How to use Pinterest to find your brand style
First let me make it perfectly clear that there isn't a magic spell that'll do the work for you. No matter how hard you wave your wand, nobody knows you, your business or your dream client better than you. This is one job you cannot outsource.
And why would you want to? Spending hours on Pinterest on purpose and calling it research feels almost like cheating.
But that's exactly what I'll encourage you to do (not cheat, get comfy on Pinterest). Unfortunately there is a catch here. (You knew it's too good to be true, didn't you?) There are rules to be followed and you can't just pin whatever you see — you'll need to feel your way through the whole process one image at a time.
OK, enough sweet talk, let's begin...
YOU WILL NEED:
a Pinterest account
the workbook (it's in the Pixie Resource Library)
paper and pen, bullet journal or a fresh text document
timer (kitchen timer or your phone in plane mode)
a couple of hours of your day
a hot or cold potion of your choice
Clear out your schedule for a morning or an afternoon.
Download the workbook from the Pixie Resource Library and go through this article.
Tune in your pixie genius and fill up your board with pins.
Leave it aside and prune it the next day.
Repeat once every month or so.
Download your workbook and let's get started!
Gather your keywords
As you may know Pinterest doesn't work with hashtags but with keywords. So, before you start pinning, you'll need a collection of keywords that'll get you suitable images. If you don't know where to start, go through the questions below and by the time you've answered them all you should have around 40 keywords. You can combine them or use them individually when you search for images.
How would you describe your personal style? Make a list of 10 keywords using my favorite two methods:
The Capsule Wardrobe Method
This approach is simple and easy. Think of your favorite clothes. What do you like to wear? What do you like, but don't wear? For example, I love patterns, but I rarely wear them. Same with stripes. I love pastels, but I prefer to wear bold bright colors. Also, I have tons of black clothes for the colder seasons, but my favorite piece of clothing is an off white summer dress with turquoise polka dots (you can see it's skirts here).
Rummage through your wardrobe and write down the words that'll describe your clothes best. Pick 5 keywords that come up most often.
The Dream Home Method
This method uses the same idea, but instead of just inspecting your wardrobe, you go through your whole house. What is your favorite place in each room? How would you describe them? Pick the 5 words that come up most often.
What is your business all about? Make a list of 10 keywords that describe best what you do. You should be able to come up with much more than that, but try to boil them down to 10. If you have difficulties coming up with keywords, think of how you'd describe your industry, your customers, your products or services, your mission, etc.
How would you describe the personal style of your client? Here you can use the Wardrobe Method and the Home Method to come up with your 10 keywords.
YOUR BRAND EXPERIENCE
How do you want your client to feel when experiencing your brand? Come up with 5 keywords.
Imagine yourself in her shoes. Now, imagine you're opening your website for the first time. What is the strongest emotion? It's joy of finding a kindred spirit mixed with something else. What is it?
Then imagine the same situation a couple of months later. You are her again, you sit down and open the website. How can you describe this feeling? Is like coming home after a long hard day mixed with something else. What is it?
YOUR BRAND STYLE
How would you describe your brand? I know that the whole exersise is to answer this exact question, but how do you want your brand to look and feel? I'm sure you have an idea in your head, even if you can't capture it just yet. Describe what you see or feel in 5 keywords.
Make a list of your Pin sources
Now you have your keywords ready, let’s make a list of the places you are most likely to find the best images for your brand.
Your favorite brands
OK, now I want you to look around you. You'll see a bunch of the things you've gathered through the years. Each object came from somewhere. Consider the products around you and make a list of 5 brands you like and often shop from.
Then look through the services you use and your social media profiles. You are certainly following brands that inspire you. Make a list of your top 5.
Your favorite artists
Look around your house. Do you have any calendars, coffee table books, art prints, paintings scattered around?
If you've embraced minimal living or if you're traveling and have no artwork around you, here's how to find artist you like:
go to unsplash.com and find 5 photographers that inspire you. Here are my favorite photographers: 10 Female Photographers on Unsplash You Should Know About
Go to etsy.com and search for art prints that make you feel like you want your brand to feel. Make a list of 5 artists.
Websites and Instagram profiles you like
We all have this little bookmark folder called "Inspirational", so go ahead and open it and make a list of the 5 websites you are swooning over these days.
Every time I open Instagram I have a girl crush (or two). It's quite exhausting, but I'm simply so inspired by what my fellow sisters are up to, it's insane! I'm sure you're following some pretty awesome lady bosses, so make list of 5 Instagram profiles of your favorite women.
What to Pin?
Just opening Pinterest and seeing all these colorful images can be overwhelming. So, to give you a little bit more structure, here's a list of topics you should focus on when creating a vision board for your brand. There are links to some of my Pinterest boards to get you started:
1 | DESIGN: LOGOS, PACKAGING, PRINT, ETC.
2 | COLORS THAT FEEL SUITABLE FOR YOUR BRAND
3 | FONTS: TYPOGRAPHY, LETTERING, CALLIGRAPHY, ETC.
4 | ILLUSTRATION - FIND YOUR FAVORITE STYLE
5 | HOME DECOR - HOW DO YOU LIVE?
6 | PERSONAL STYLE - HOW DO YOU DRESS?
7| NATURE: LANDSCAPES, FLOWERS, GEMS, ETC.
8| IMAGES SPECIFIC TO YOUR BUSINESS
9| PHOTOGRAPHY and ART work THAT SPEAK TOO YOU
Follow the 7 Pinning Rules
These rules are all made up by me. They are "best practices" I've noticed while spending countless hours on Pinterest, doing research for the Brand Design Kits and the Branding Sisters. Here they are:
1 | LOVE IT!
The first and most important rule of all is to love every single image on that board. You must answer with a big fat ‘YES!’ to at least one of the three questions (coming up down below)
2 | Pin first, prune later
Yes, it’s just like the “write first, edit later” rule. Two different approaches are needed: feel and pin/write, think and prune/edit.
3 | Quality over quantity
It’s better to have 20 pins you absolutely love than 80 filler pins that you feel “kinda OK” about.
4 | Don’t over-think it
I came up with these rules and questions for a reason, but ultimately one of the three simple answers ("I love it!", "It fits perfectly!", "She’ll love it!") is more than enough to pin an image.
5 | Don’t just pin from Pinterest
You have the World Wide Web at your fingertips — go wild, use your Pin Sources!
6 | Take your time
You can pin everything in an hour and be done with it, but in my experience it takes a couple of hours of two days to assemble a good Pinterest board. I’m a firm believer in the ‘sleep on it’ technique.
7 | Have fun!
Make a party out of it. Feel your way through the process and trust your gut unconditionally!
How to Pin?
There's a little bit more to Pinning with purpose than to randomly filling up your boards with vegan mac and cheese recipes. Here are my 5 steps for quality pinning:
Make a cup of tea, arrange your stones, put on some music, set your timer — do whatever you usually do to prepare for journaling, meditation or any kind of soul work.
Open up Pinterest, go to your boards, and create a new one.
To find suitable images to pin:
Copy a keyword or write down a combination of keywords in the Pinterest search bar.
Copy the web address of one of your Pin Sources and click the red + button in the upper right corner on the Pinterest website. Pick ‘Save from site’, paste the link and hit ‘Done’.
When you do a search you’ll see hundreds of images all at once. To make the process less overwhelming use the space bar to scroll. This way you’ll see one screen at a time. Stop to look at each screen and click only on the images that catch your eye.
Answers these 3 Questions
To help you decide which image to pin and which to drop, I came up with three questions you can ask for each pin. It doesn’t take much time and you get a clear YES/NO answer almost every time. If the answer is “I’m not sure” or “I don’t know” close the image and move on — there are bajillions of images on the internet, you can be picky and pin only the ones you truly love.
Open one image at a time and as quickly as possible ask yourself these three questions. If you answer ‘YES!’ to at least one of them, pin your image and move to the next.
Does this image makes me happy when I look at it?
Does it look and feel like I want my brand to look and feel?
Would my dream client will love it too?
In all three cases you are asking "Why do I want to pin this image?" and the answer should sound something like this:
"Because it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside."
"Becasue this is 'sooo me!'"
"Because I feel my brand needs more of this look."
"Because Daisy, one of my clients, will fall in love with it instantly!"
"Because the clients I want to attract will love it."
Or to make it even simpler, here are three super simple answers:
I LOVE IT!
IT FITS PERFECTLY!
SHE'LL LOVE IT!
Got everything you need?
Download your workbook and let's start pinning!
How to prune your Pins and take care of your board?
When you’re done pinning, close up everything and go get a reward for a job well done!
How to edit your pinterest board
Sleep on it. Let the dough rise.
The next day, ask the three questions again.
Delete the images you're not sure about and schedule an hour to add pins if you wish.
How to maintain your pinterest board
This board is a great brand styling tool. It’s most important during your branding process but you can go back to it on a monthly basis, do subtle changes and sync your brand style with it.
Schedule one hour of board maintenance each month.
Go through your images and ask the three questions.
Delete the images that don’t fit anymore and add new ones.
Look at your website, printed materials and social media and make sure they still look and feel the same as your Pinterest board.
Download the free workbook:
Now I want to hear from you...
How did you find your brand style? Or if you are still looking for it, what is your biggest struggle? Is it that you have too many ideas, not enough ideas, or something else? Let me know in the comments below.