Selling Art Online

Trying to Sell Art Online with Pinterest



Can we use Pinterest to get traffic to a brand new online art store? Jessie and I intend to find out – and you can help.

Our new Pinterest profiles are below – if you follow us, I do promise I’ll follow you back. If you watched the video you know why that’s important:

Pinterest seems like a perfect fit for artists who are trying to get traffic back to a new website…

…because it’s an image-sharing site, and paintings and sculptures look nice in photographs.

However, there are some tricky problems, which I discuss in this video. Pinterest doesn’t work the way it used to. Back when it was new, I threw a few images up on Pinterest for UltimatePaperMache.com and then wandered off and forgot about them. Yet my paper mache boards have 1,499 followers, and my pins get almost 150,000 views every month.

From looking at those stats, you can see why I decided to concentrate on Pinterest for my new website selling animal wall art. But things have changed rather drastically since I haphazardly created my first Pinterest profile.

They now have an algorithm that determines the popularity of a pin, and that’s how they (or their computer) determines how often your pin will be shown in other users’ feeds. And it determines to a great extent whether or not your pin will be shown ifΒ  someone does a search for a specific keyword. I’m working hard to put keywords in all my image names and pin descriptions so the Pinterest computer will know what the images are about – and that’s all I did when I built my paper mache boards way back when.

But now, that’s simply not enough.

Today, because the algorithm determines popularity before deciding which pins people see, we need to have a popular board or profile before anyone sees our pins at all. And that’s the point of this article. I do hope you’ll take the time to follow our boards or profiles, so we can start showing up in the Pinterest algorithm. And yes, I promise we’ll follow you back.

To help me figure out how to use Pinterest the right way for marketing a new site. I signed up for a rather expensive course. I then found out that most of the same information was available on YouTube and in Kindle books. However, there’s a lot of conflicting info, like how many pins you should post each day, whether or not you should have a board with just your own stuff, etc.

And, most frustrating for me, most people who teach Pinterest for marketing are “Lifestyle bloggers.” (I’m not sure what a Lifestyle blog is, but they seem to make a lot of money.)

I have not been able to find anyone who specializes in using Pinterest to market physical products, like art, for instance, except for one quick overview by the Shopify team. If you know of a video or website I should know about, please give us a link in the comments. Specifically, I’d like to know the best way to design our images. The Lifestyle folks all use quotes and cute sayings over faded-out stock images. That obviously won’t work for an artist.

Teaming up with another artist:

Since Jessie also started a new online art store, where she’s selling her new abstract paintings, we teamed up to do our social media campaigns. She agreed to create an Instagram account for me, and I agreed to create a new Pinterest profile for her. Thank goodness, because I don’t own a smart phone, don’t want a smart phone, and I don’t understand Instagram at all.

But she seems to have it all figured out. Here are our new Instagram accounts, in case you’d like to check them out:

For my new animal prints: https://www.instagram.com/animal_wall_art/ (Evidently there’s a guy already on Instagram who is using Jonni Good for his account, although that’s not his name. Go figure.)

For Jessie’s abstract paintings: https://www.instagram.com/jessierasche/

What’s next?

In the next few weeks and months, we’ll be able to tell if our new social media campaigns have worked. Will we get enough visitors to our new online art stores? If we do get visitors, will they want what we have to offer? Since the Shopify sites do cost money (and the scheduling services we’re using to help us with our Pinterest and Instagram campaigns cost money), we’d like to figure this out as soon as possible.

If it does work, and people do start buying our artwork, we’ll be able to spend a few dollars on advertising. If it doesn’t work, we’ll need to shut down our websites, because there’s no point in paying the fees just so people can look at our pretty pictures online.

Want to contribute to UltimatePaperMache’s Pinterest boards?

Now that I know about group boards on Pinterest, I’d like to invite you to contribute to the UltimatePaperMache Pinterest boards. I’m trying to update the account with pins of your images that you post here on the site, but there are tons of them, and it will take forever to get to them all. Plus, I don’t have time to scour the Internet for images of great paper mache art from people who don’t post here. People like Dan Reeder, for instance. There are many, many more, but I just don’t have time to find them.

If you would like to become a contributor to one of my boards, you’ll need to follow that board, and then I need to follow you back. So go ahead and hit the follow button, even if there aren’t any images on that board yet. Then send me an email telling me what your Pinterest user name is, and let me know you’d like to be a contributor. Paper mache images only, please – no pictures of your breakfast or favorite movie stars or whatever. You wouldn’t do that, of course… πŸ˜‰

And, as always, tell me what you think about this whole idea of selling art online. If you have any suggestions for us, please comment below. I’ve really enjoyed the feedback I’ve received from this series of posts.

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47 Comments

  • Jonni,

    You say “so far my favorite book on marketing with Pinterest is” and then it stops. Do you not have a favorite book or am I missing something. I’m from the generation that still looks to books first for my knowledge, so if you have one please share!

    Thanks for all you do,

    Michelle Collins

    • Heh – I lose my train of thought all the time when I’m talking to someone, but I usually catch it when I’m writing. Not this time, obviously. I can’t remember what book was my favorite when I wrote that, and at this point I can’t wholeheartedly recommend any of the books I’ve read, but I wasn’t unhappy with Social Media Marketing When You Have No Clue. It’s a silly title, but it does discuss the big platforms, and gets you started. Since I’m a little luke-warm about it, I took that unfinished sentence out of the article.

      However, I do recommend that you watch this video. They really do tell you everything you’d find in any book (they all say the same thing, essentially), and the couple is fun to watch.

      Do you have a website? If so, do you have any tips for us?

      All of the training I’ve found so far is for bloggers, not e-commerce stores. They all say that people will re-pin and follow links that go to an article, but they won’t go to a product page. Maybe that’s why only 3 people so far have found my site through Pinterest, in spite of all the work I’ve done. I don’t have a blog yet on my new site, and I’m having a hard time thinking up subjects for articles. I did try getting into group boards after so many people followed me (thanks everyone!) and not one person I contacted responded to me. And I can’t find my own pins using the Pinterest search, even when I use the exact words that I used for the title of a pin. I guess you have to start out with the Promoted Pins, just to get them to show the images to people. I have not tried that yet.

      My daughter is in charge of our Instagram accounts, and people (at least a few of them) do go to my site after seeing images on Instagram. Plus, she spends way less time on it, and she doesn’t have to spend any time at all re-posting other people’s stuff. I think that’s where we’ll be concentrating our efforts from now on. As soon as I have my autoresponder system set up, and some articles in a new blog, I’ll start advertising to see if it helps bring in some traffic to the new site.

  • Thank you….I opened the photos link and found him following your helpful advise. Yes, the young man in the photograph is who I wanted to capture in my sculpt. Were you able to scroll to the half image with the headband and get a better comparison look? Not a lot of resemblance …. but I’m happy with how he turned out. Etsy automatically cropped the image to fit the screen

    Haven’t gotten to the jam making. Today I’m draggin…. I’m blaming it on spending so much frustrating time wasted on searching around the internet trying to find helpful answers on the issues I’m running into. I’m looking forward to taking a break from it this week … and don’t feel one bit disappointed that I have to πŸ™‚

    Once again, Thank You Jonni Good (love your last name) for all your help and support. I really appreciate every bit of it.

    • This just popped into my mind….Chuck Berry turned Your name into a song…did you know that? ….Johnny B Good. Inspiring woman you are. πŸ™‚

      One more question, promise not to drive you crazy anymore …. today. I just went to my PI acct. wanting to look at your print I pinned and thought it would take me to your PI page. Is there a way I can post a link directly to your PI account. from my PI account that will do this?

      Sorry, I didn’t answer your question regarding having anymore work I can post. The only stuff I have new is LARGE format photos that won’t post here without doing that unknown thing that makes the images smaller.
      Forget kindergarten level Win 10 student….I’m thinking its more Nursery School level.

      • Ah, yes, Chuck and I go way back…. No, just kidding. πŸ™‚

        I think if you re-pin something from someone’s PI board, the description or a link below the re-pin will say where you got the image. “Re-pinned from …” If it’s an original pin from a website other than Pinterest, it should also give the web address of the original website. At least I think that’s how it works. Can you tell that I’m still learning?

        • OK…. Is re-pinning different from pinning? I’m beginning to feel like a moron.

          I asked because I clicked Mike and his pal’s image on my PI site and wanted to visit your PI site but was taken to your shop. Maybe that’s how it works with a Business acct. I’m just curious, but my stupid is showing….again. I just wanted a link so I know how to find it, your PI site, otherwise I’m going to have to (a) write your PI acct. title down on a little piece of paper, that I will probably lose…or… (b) have to come back here on this post and get it.
          Guess I just have a knack for making my life as complicated as I can.
          Sorry if it rubbed off on you.

          Chuck’s music and I go back a long way. Appreciated his humor in song. The last video of him, was Chuck singing with his son playing guitar.

          Yes, handsome. I didn’t think of that when I sculpted my piece but I agree with you … he is handsome. I was just thinking that I enjoyed looking at him on my mantle, wondering if some day he might fall off and trying to decide if I should move him someplace safer.

          Well, jam is made, eye drops are in, and I’m looking forward to looking over my horse head sculpt and see how she really looks.

          • I think the way to get a link to my new PI board from your board is to go here: https://www.pinterest.com/jonnigood153/animal-art-by-jonni-good/ and click on the Save button on one of the images to save it to your own board. I think that will put a “saved from” link below the image when you click on it on your board, which would lead to my board. Hopefully…

            To do the same thing with the boards for this blog, you would re-pin an image from one of these boards: https://www.pinterest.com/jonnigood/

            Are you already back from your eye procedure? Probably not when you typed your comment, since the docs probably want you to rest your eyes for a few days. I hope it all goes well.

    • And this is a funny coincidence. I just got an email from Pinterest about the paper mache account. They said “Did you know Ultimate Paper Mache is providing major gift inspiration for Father’s Day? In fact, your Pins are already on 3 Dad’s Day-focused boards!”

      I hope some of those dads will show off the presents they get. I’d love to see them. (And now I’m really feeling guilty for not paying more attention to that Pinterest account. )

  • Jonni I think I’m having some trouble with the pining procedure on pinterest. My pinterest site is lacking….but now I have an image of my two favorite sweethearts posted…that I can look at if or when I log in EVER AGAIN.

    Heres what I was hoping to do….

    I set up a board….Art of Sharon Moreno after reading your comments about pining bac. I thought I’d post a couple of my completed pieces that you might pin back to your site …even tho the only site I have them posted on is my FB page at this time. There is one that might be appropriate for you to pin … but I can’t find any information on how to post the pictures from FB to pinterest. How in the world do you get an image on site? Do you know anything about this?

    It’s just a test for me to get something out there to see if there is any interest in my kind of art.

    Thanks for any suggestions you might have.

    • Hi Sharon. I had to go do some research, because I’ve never tried doing that before. It looks like Facebook doesn’t want us to pin directly from our Facebook page. You can upload a photo from your phone or computer directly to Pinterest without having it on a website first. I think you sign in to your account, go to the board where you want the image, and click the red button that’s up on the very top bar, then hit Upload Image. Some people seem to have found some other ways to grab an image directly off Facebook, but this seems easier. Do you still have the image on your device?

      Now I’m really curious, and I’d love to see that photo. You can attach it to a comment and then pin it. In fact, we could all pin it. That would be kind of fun. πŸ™‚

      If you don’t still have the image on your computer, let me know and I’ll look around some more.

      • Thank you Jonni for getting back on this. I think I got it.

        I did research … for hours … on the pinterest site, on you tube…forgot all about cooking dinner on the stove….which burned to a crispy stinky black mess. Didn’t even smell it those hours I searched for an answer. I can sure smell it now.
        Tried to get it off FB, you’re right, it wouldn’t let me. Last effort….goggle came thru. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that first. So, one picture is up, the only one I think might be appropriate for your PI page. The others are just going to wait. On second thought, probably should load em up now before I forget how I got the 1st one up. Will go to Jessie’s site too.
        Like you, I have no smart phone. My images on the computer are very large…VECTOR. I’ll attempt to get them up, then try to figure out the trick of locating the URL (did I get that right?) for my PI page.
        I need to go lay down.

        • Nix that idea that I’d get other images up off my computer to PI. I have no idea how I got the one posted initially. My computer picture directory allowed me to copy the URL of the 1st picture earlier, but it’s not cooperating now and won’t allow
          me to copy URL links now.
          That’s it for this woman. No patience left. I am going to see if I can get a pic posted here on you site Jonni. They may be too large tho.

            • Thanks you Jonni,
              One of the tabs at the bottom right hand corner gives me 2 options to load a pic, neither option is to load directly from my computer. I did it once and thinking about why I could happened because I googled load a pic from my computer to PI. I clicked that on google and since I had the PI open in another window, I went right to it from googling and the option appeared.
              This computer is trying to add another year to my life. That’d be fine if I was 16 and wishing I was 21.

            • When I click on one of my boards and then click on the red cross button at the top, I get the upload option. I’m using Windows 7. Does your screen look like this:

            • I pinned your painting to my board, under Original Art I love. Why haven’t you put more of your artwork on your Pinterest boards? Same reason I keep forgetting to do it?

              And do you have a direct link to the image you were trying to pin from Facebook?

            • Oh, another thing. I just opened up the pin I made on Sculpting on my PI account. Haven’t looked at anything on PI since I first created it, at the urging of my daughter. I was amazed when I just clicked it….there are many, many, MANY links for sculpting horses! I am so happy.

            • I don’t have Windows 7 anymore….sore subject. When the Windows 10 nightmare came on the scene, every time I logged on, Win 10 would start a download, every time I would catch it in process and shut it down. EVERY TIME. Then a day came and I didn’t catch it in time…
              The top right on my PI screen has 3 tabs…Explore, my Name, and Today.
              I have 2 tabs bottom right….. +, ?, . I just clicked on the + and NOW it I get “upload a pin” which took me to my pictures on my computer screen.
              That did Not appear yesterday nor the day before.
              So, I looked at the pics I wanted to pin and I didn’t sign them or watermark them. And, I can’t find out how to add either. (I don’t have photoshop.
              Until I figure out how to do that, I’m at a dilemma … You already know how I view that issue…..

            • Canva is a free image editing program, and people rave about it. I’ve never used it myself, but I have heard good things about it. If you try it, please let us know what you think – it might also be helpful to people who can’t show us their photos here on the blog because their images are too big.

            • I don’t know what happened to the image on the Canva site. I signed up, watched the how to videos, added my name to the pic, then thought I saved it on my computer, and shared the link here.
              There was a button at the Canva page I did this on that said something about preparing it for Pinterest. I clicked it and I guess it must have resized my image. That was good, but I don’t understand why it didn’t include my signature I added.

              Yes Jonni, this is a paper mache sculpture photoed in front of a background. He’s sitting on my fireplace mantle, mounted on a 15 inch or so finished piece of a tree trunk that originally had been used to mount a trophy somebody had tossed….trash to treasure find for me that works for this piece, though he barely fits.
              He is about 15″ wide and 16 or 17″ high.
              My neighbor photo’d my piece with his (more professional than mine plus he’s a better picture taker) camera on an overcast day out back. He did 2 shots, one with and this one without his red headband. My Apache with the headband was my project created from a photo my great grandsoninlaw took of the only Apache at a powwow we were at about 8 years ago. I told him I planned to paint him. but He ended up a PM sculpture. I tried to post him here but that image is too big. His headband isn’t PM, I cut it from a piece of red denim jeans and tied it around his head. Saved me time…won’t go into how many hours went into him…and it works very well.
              No website, sorry. I have that blog I set up a few years ago that I’ve done little to nothing with (never figured out the “blogging technique” nor found any interest in figuring it out) and of course, Etsy, that I do nothing with.

              Today is the last day I’ll be fooling around with my computer searches. Surgery early tomorrow morning and I was told I couldn’t read anything or do much but lay on the couch and watch TV for a couple of days. Was your dad told that too? I’m probably going to got nuts, doing nothing. Last night I was up til almost midnight preparing gallons of strawberries to make into jam. Plan to make a couple of batches today …

            • Wow – it sounds like you’ll be busy with those strawberries. Is the young man in the photo on your Etsy page the model for the sculpture?

              Yes, my dad took it easy. I don’t think he minded very much. He does like to read, though. Do you like to listen to audio books? That might be a nice way to while away the hours until you’re fully recovered.

          • I read an article that explained why Facebook doesn’t want images pinned from their site. It’s because so many people post images of their kids and other things that are only want their friends to see. If those images get pinned, anyone can see them. And, on another note, most cameras record the time and actual physical place where a photo is taken, so images of kids that are shown on the internet tell bad people exactly where the kid was standing at the time of the photo. I think there’s a way to erase that information, but I don’t know how to do it, and I doubt that many other people do, either. There are no secrets on the Internet, but Facebook does seem to be trying to keep private images private.

            Not the case with your photo, of course. πŸ˜‰

            • Two thumbs up for Facebook. I have no problem with that and didn’t blame the site for obstructing my plans. Just frustrated
              You’re right, nothing is secret on the web. If this new administration’s FCC boy toy proceeds in dismantle ing Title 2, which I have no doubt he is determined to do….our internet experience is shot…for ALL of us.

            • Thank you Jonni for the reference to Canva. I signed up, tried it out and am ready to post my trial result here on one of the images of my PM sculpt turned picture print ….

            • Sharon, the link you posted went to an error page that seemed to catch me in an endless loop, so I removed if from your comment. I have no idea why it didn’t work, because it looked like you clicked on a “share image” button. But technology wins again…

            • Nope, CAnva site didn’t alter pic size so it’s still too big to load on your site here.

            • Yes, the image came through this time. So this was a sculpture you made, then photographed, and turned into a print? It’s beautiful. How many different designs have you made? I intend to add it to both the paper mache account and my art print account. Forgive my feeble-mindedness, but do you have a website? I know I’ve asked before, and I probably asked last week, but I can’t remember….

            • Well … proof I know not what I’m doing…. The print did post here…. amazing I accidentally did something right! Of course I have no idea how I did it….or if I can ever do it again.

            • If you do try it again, we’ll keep our fingers crossed so we can see more of your work. In fact, you might want to post the first image over on the Daily Sculptors page, too, so more people will see it. It’s really lovely.

            • Actually, after I really looked at my image, it obviously isn’t the one I did on Canva because my signature isn’t on it. And I did create my signature on the bottom left hand corner on that site.

        • I’m so sorry your dinner burned. I thought I was the only one who did things like that! I hope you did get something to eat, though, after all that work.

          I have rather strong prejudices against smart phones. Maybe because I spend so much time on a computer and don’t know why I’d want to carry one around in my pocket, too. But mostly because they interrupt so many conversations. My main peeve is standing behind someone in line at the grocery store, and watching as the clerk does her work with no interaction from the customer at all. Customer is on the phone, or looking at cat videos or something. It’s as if the employee is treated like a mindless machine. But that’s my rant – I’ll get off that subject now… πŸ˜‰

          • My ex husband bought me a smart phone, which I’ve never activated. His reasoning was in the right place … worried I’d get stranded out in the wilderness and wouldn’t be able to contact help if I needed it.

            Decided to take my chances. Those phones cause cancer. I remember reading a story about a Senator who got brain cancer which was directly linked to his car phone. That was YEARS ago. maybe 20 or so….long before the idea of selling these types of phones to regular people ever existed.

            I’ve nagged my children, so concerned….but they aren’t worried and they carry them with them everywhere.

            • I can understand his concern, though. I bought a really cheap cell phone at Walmart, the kind you buy minutes for on a card, but don’t have to sign up for an account and pay monthly. I use it a few times a year, but I do take in the car when I go somewhere. A few months after I moved to the Midwest I drove about 50 miles to check out a little town I’d read about, and my car died just as I drove down main street. At least it got that far, thank goodness. The car was a complete loss (I can’t remember why, something to do with the engine), and I was stranded. But I had my phone with me, and Jessie and her husband came and rescued me. I even take my phone with me if I take the dogs for a walk after dark or early in the morning, if it’s really cold outside, just in case I slip and fall in the snow. But the danged thing won’t work inside my house, so it’s worthless most of the time. Cheap, though.

              But yeah – I don’t like the idea of sending radio waves through my brain on a regular basis, either. (Is that the kind of waves they are? Probably not…) And yet some people have the things permanently stuck to their ear. Maybe my antagonism towards the things has something to do with my age. I think I’m getting old enough now I can get away with being crabby about newfangled gadgets. πŸ˜‰

          • Jonni, here’s a link with some photos for my sculpture. I have no idea where they are located on my computer or how to find them….which makes me frustrated beyond sanity. Etsy won’t let me copy and save my own work….
            Anyway, they’re in the scrolling section titled About. Let me know if you found them and PLEASE give me any suggestions if you have any about where to find my stuff https://www.etsy.com/shop/ArtofSharonMoreno

  • Jonni, I belong to a Facebook group called The Joyful Entrepreneur. They give alot of suggestions that could be applied also to Pinterest. Some of them do sell from Pinterest.

    • Great – I’ll look up that group. I know I should be doing more ‘networking’ like that anyway, but it’s hard to find the time. That sounds like a good group, though, so I’ll try to fit it in. Thanks for the suggestion.

      I really like that little guy on your Facebook page, the one that’s all red had and nose. Is it a gnome? Do you sell your work off your Facebook page, or do you have another website?

  • https://www.pinterest.com/cassmach/paper-mache-art-for-the-masses/

    This is my pinterest account and you will see morre than 90% of the photos are of the sculptors here on Ultimate paper mache. If y9ou were to repin all of my photos, most of the them will be the artists who post to Ultimate Paper Mache. I h ave not downloaded the Pinterest App, but I like to go to Flickr and see the paper mache art and pin some of them to my pinterest blog. I have 60 followers now.

    • And I’m now one of those followers, too – you were the first real person (not including me and Jessie, of course) who followed my board. Thanks! I love the name of your board – Paper mache for the masses! I’ll take some time tomorrow and repin some of your pins onto my boards – I can’t believe how many photos have been uploaded to this site, and I think everyone should get a chance to see them. There is some seriously creative folks out there, and I’m so glad so many of you found this blog.

    • Christine,
      It was fun going through your pinterest link, so many sculptures over the years! It was like going down memory lane! A lot of them were mine and I thank you for being one of my greatest supporters over the years. Some I had forgotten about because they had been sold at different art shows. Quite fun.
      Jonni- I do not still quite understand all of this marketing business but was only too glad to “follow” you and Jessie. I hope your strategy works for both of you.

      • Thanks for following us, Eileen. I think it’s obvious that I don’t quite understand this marketing business very well either, but we’re learning. Thanks for all your support.

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