Luke Dean-Weymark: The path to 840K+ Pinterest followers
Admittedly on Husskie, we do tend to get wrapped up in the wonderful world of Instagram. Of celebrating the curated creative content that fuels a need to travel, shop and eat avocado toast. But we have begun branching out – of recognising there are other social media platforms out there just as deserving of our attention. And our latest obsession? We’ve recently joined the Pinterest party [and yes, we do realise we’re rather late comers to the festivities…]
Someone who definitely wasn’t late to the Pinterest party though is Luke Dean-Weymark. Named one of the “King Pins” by Marie Claire magazine, Luke has notched up an incredibly impressive 840,000 Pinterest followers thanks to his travel, sports and motoring photography. Jumping on to the platform in its beta stages in mid 2011 – Luke’s Pinterest success has seen him be tapped by major brands including Tiffany & Co, Chevrolet, and Turkey Tourism.
While this year has seen Luke’s focus lean predominantly towards the launch of his PR & marketing agency Compass Studio with wife Nat, his Pinterest success continues to be a rewarding side hustle. Here we chat to him about secrets to success, growth strategies, and how businesses should be using it to help build consumers and audiences.
Why did you first decide to get into Pinterest?
It was while I was working in London – I found it was a really great way to get some extra traffic to my travel photography blog. I also found that it was a great visual resource to discover interesting places around Europe to visit and it even assisted with our trip planning.
You’re a very early adopter of the platform. How did you originally find out about it?
I was working in a start-up share space on Old Street in East London. A friend of mine was a developer for another company in the building and he sent me an invite to join Pinterest. Back then you could only sign up to Pinterest if you were invited by another user.
What do you think has been the secret to your success when it comes to Pinterest?
Producing and uploading original content has a lot to do with my Pinterest success at the time. While living in London we were spending lots of long weekends in different parts of Europe – so I was capturing some great travel photography content, which really started my following.
Do you think that being an early adopter has helped with the growth of your platform?
Absolutely being on Pinterest in the early days definitely helped to jumpstart my success on the platform. Having early access also meant that I had time to fully utilise all the different applications that Pinterest provides to its users, and also best understand my audience.
How did you originally start growing your following on Pinterest?
It was completely organic, started from a simple desire to share all these travel images that I was capturing around Europe. I created boards around specific places and interest, and pinned more of what my community engaged with the most. Like any social platform, it’s just about frequency of posting and responding to your audience.
Do you think Pinterest is becoming like Instagram and getting harder and harder to grow?
Yes, I think it is definitely becoming harder for all the same reasons; more users, loads more content, and changes in the platform’s feed and search algorithms.
Do you need to dedicate a certain amount of hours every day to Pinterest in order to grow?Dedication sums it up nicely. A lot of companies don’t understand the full potential of Pinterest in terms of boosting inbound traffic to their websites, therefore don’t allocate the time and resources that is required to really see the benefits of Pinterest. If you could spend 10 – 30 minutes per day using Pinterest correctly, you would be likely to start seeing benefits quite quickly.
When you first began, how much time did you spend on the platform?
When I really started to get the hang of it, I was probably spending 30 minutes to an hour per day.
What do you see as the key benefits of having a successful Pinterest account?
Pinterest has definitely presented me with some financial benefits, but the biggest benefit for me is that it has opened a lot of doors with brands that I wouldn’t necessarily have been able to contact/work with otherwise. It’s also been great for travel as we’ve been able to stay in some beautiful places and be involved in some incredible experiences that were once in a lifetime moments.
Has your success on Pinterest lead you to many brand campaigns?
Yes! I’ve done some great campaigns over the years for brands such as Tiffany & Co, Chevrolet, Sandisk, Manfotto, Homeaway, and Turkey Tourism.
What has been your favourite Pinterest-generated campaign to work on?
There have been a couple of highlight campaigns that I’ve been able to work on. One of the standouts was with Corvette, where I was given their latest sports car to photograph around the west coast of America. I did the trip with my wife Nat and it was such an iconic, memorable trip for us. This is a vehicle that I would have probably never otherwise been given the opportunity to drive – so it felt like a pretty surreal experience. And better still, because it was a really natural integration in terms of content for my account, the collateral that the campaign produced was incredibly successful in terms of engagement.
You originally launched Pinterest to drive traffic to your photography blog. Did it achieve this aim?
It definitely did. But because I never intended to commercialise my blog, this wasn’t the end goal – it actually just turned out to be a great afterthought to what I was already doing on Pinterest. It just shows that the right content on the right platform always drives results.
Is it still the key driver of traffic to your blog?
Unfortunately my photography blog has taken a bit of a back seat since my wife and I started our own PR & marketing agency Compass Studio back in April this year.
Congratulations on the agency launch! Has your success on Pinterest helped gain clients to and awareness about the agency?
Pinterest is still finding its uptake locally in Australia, but we definitely have had international interest thanks to this platform. It also always makes for a good talking point when brands want to discuss working with influencers to boost their brand presence with us – as this is something I’ve got plenty of experience in from both sides of the fence!
What would be your tips for a business wanting to use Pinterest to maximise clients?
My key tip would be to not overlook the Pinterest as a key platform in the first place. Most people default to only needing Instagram and Facebook for their social presence, however according to Shareaholic, Pinterest accounts around 5% of all referral traffic to websites – making them the second biggest referral tool behind Facebook. For brands that sell products through their site, Pinterest is also the second overall source of all social media traffic to Shopify stores. What this means is that if you’re trying to sell a product or if you’re trying to build up your site traffic, then you’d be mad not to give Pinterest a red-hot go.
Can you talk me through your key advice to someone wanting to grow their presence on Pinterest?
Pinterest can be really helpful for a range of different reasons, but if you want business benefit from it – it’s important to identify what you actually want from it. Spend some time reading up on the benefits to a business and establish how this would best help your situation and develop your strategy around it. For example, if you’re an online retailer, then you should be looking to post your products to particular e-commerce boards. If you’re a food blogger, then pinning your recipes is a great way to get more eyeballs on your site. Also learn about rich pins and back-linking your pins. Pinterest’s algorithm favours pins which are 1/ original and 2/ pinned correctly (including a proper caption and a decent URL).
Where do you see Pinterest heading as a platform?
As e-commerce becomes more and more important to content both globally and locally, Pinterest will continue to rise in importance as a visual way for users to categorise and collect all the multiple shoppable options that consumers are presented with on all platforms. Brands who are using Pinterest well will be the ones that rise up in this new Amazon economy.
To find Husskie on Pinterest, visit www.pinterest.com/husskie. We’ve also just started up two new Tailwind Tribes: Fashion and Beauty Instagram Influencers and Travel Instagram Influencers. Click on the links to join!
Do you use Pinterest to help drive awareness? Are you part of a Tailwind tribe?