You’ve heard the tales. Maybe it’s happened to your sister. Or maybe your friend had a friend that it happened to. Or maybe it’s even happened to you. One day you’re just doing your thing on Pinterest, and BAM – you’re locked out of your account.
Having your account frozen, or being put in “Pinterest jail”, can happen to anyone if you’re not careful. In this post, we go through the most common reasons people are locked out of their account, and how you can avoid being thrown in Pinterest jail.
Don’t Steal Images
While this may seem obvious, many pinners steal images without realizing what they’re doing is wrong. There are a number of unintentional ways users actually violate copyrights:
- Pinning from a site that doesn’t have the proper source. Unfortunately, it’s really easy to stumble upon pages that pull in images without linking to the original source. If the page is flagged as spam by Pinterest, you could be penalized for pinning from that. Watch out for nonsensical Tumblr pages (often pages with a username that’s seems to be a random set of letters and has no flow) and websites that use too many irrelevant affiliate links.
- Repurposing content from other social platforms. Did you see a hilarious cat meme on Facebook and now you want to share it on Pinterest? Well, before simply saving it and uploading it to Pinterest, be sure you know what URL the pin should be directed towards. Otherwise, someone could claim it as their own and flag your content.
- Relying on Google for images. It can be tempting to jump on Google image search, type in the picture you’re looking for, and take the best image that pops up to promote your site on Pinterest. However, if someone notices that the image isn’t your own, they could report your account and you could even end up in Pinterest jail. To avoid this, you can use free stock photo and editing sites like Unsplash, Canva and Splitshire to find royalty-free images.
Don’t Mass Follow/Unfollow
Back in the early days of Pinterest marketing, there were tips floating around that the best way to gain followers was to follow a lot of them, then unfollow those who don’t follow you back. Following and unfollowing in bulk can get your Pinterest account suspended in no-time flat. Not only is it annoying for those being mass followed/unfollowed, it’s also going to clutter your news feed with potentially irrelevant content making repinning – a vital part of Pinterest marketing – practically impossible.
Only Use Third-Party Apps Approved By Pinterest
There are only a handful of third-party apps that Pinterest has included in their Business Insights API. These apps are the only ones that have direct and approved access to Pinterest’s data. Companies that ask for your Pinterest password for pin scheduling or scrape Pinterest’s data to gain analytics information are actually in violation of Pinterest’s terms of service. Using an app that goes against Terms of Service has resulted in users accounts being frozen, and can be dangerous to your online identity. So why risk it? Go ahead and give one of the approved apps, like Tailwind, a try.
Don’t Repeatedly Comment with Links
I’ll go ahead and admit it. I’m actually guilty of being suspended by Pinterest for commenting too often. Back when I was a young, naive Pinterest marketer, I thought it would be a good idea to comment on pins related to social media marketing with a blog post I’d written. Even though the link was relevant to the pin, it’s still a pretty obnoxious thing to do. Pinterest cares deeply about the quality of your time on the site, so behavior like that is not tolerated. If you must comment with a link, be sure it’s extremely relevant and do not do it very often!
Have you ended up in Pinterest jail? Tell your tale in the comments!
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Melissa Megginson is resident Marketing Manager and Cat Lady at Tailwind, the leading Pinterest tool for brands. Melissa specializes in content creation, social media, blogging, PR outreach and pretty much all things marketing. Find her on Twitter and Instagram at @MelMegg.