Isabelle Spanu, press officer at Orange France, is a big fan of social media sites, where she can let her creativity run free. Under the alias PrincessZaza, Isabelle spends her time tweeting, instagramming, liking, checking, plussing… and pinning. That’s right, our Princess has become very fond of Pinterest, the design-focused social network where users share different images and create pinboards with specific themes and content. In this interview, she tells us more about her experience using Pinterest, how she uses it, her favorite boards, tips and tricks, and reveals more information about her first Pinterest competition.
How long have you been using Pinterest?
In March, it will be a year since I first signed up to Pinterest.. I heard about it on Twitter and decided to create a profile, both out of curiosity and because I was happy to have found a new social network which was completely different yet also complemented the sites I was already using. Then, after the first few pins I was hooked!
What do you like about this social network?
Pinterest is very easy to use. It allows people to express themselves and to share their world, their interests and their tastes by grouping them into themes. It’s based on the emotional power of images and represents a real online artistic community. The iPhone app is also very intuitive and allows users to add to their boards whilst on the move.
Which are your favorite boards?
I’ll tell you about a few Pinterest accounts that I feel demonstrate the influence this digital platform is having as a genuine tool for communication and promotion, for use by individuals and artists, as well as by the media and big-name brands:
- Two incredible artists with energy in abundance: Sandy M, an American illustrator, and Amylee, a French painter
- Media: Vogue Paris, NBC News and NRJ
- Big-name brands: Burberry and Coca-Cola Light have just joined Pinterest
- My two personal favorites: Estelle Chauvey for her artistic take on the world, and the travels of Mikaël Posty
I’ve also created a board dedicated to some must-follow accounts on Pinterest.
What can people see on your Pinterest profile?
So far, I’ve created 125 boards containing over 11,000 pins. I’m very particular about the content of each of my boards. I want to create a pleasing space that will inspire emotion and motivate people to share. I also think carefully when choosing the cover images for the boards, as they need to both catch people’s attention and fit in with the overall look. I add content mainly via the Pinterest search tool, which also allows me to look at new profiles, repins from other boards in my community, Instagram and occasionally 500px. My choice of themes has also evolved, extending outside of my own personal universe to include boards for brands.
How do you choose the themes for your boards?
I always choose themes that I can relate to and I try to create boards that are both authentic and inspiring, and which all have a common thread – the idea of sharing moments, rather than things. Recently, I decided to shine a spotlight on my favorite brands, but from an artistic, “lifestyle” perspective, rather than a commercial approach, in order to remain true to my underlying thread which reflects my personality.
Tell us about your Valentine’s Day board…
I’m a romantic at heart and also a bit of a foodie, so in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day I felt compelled to create a board dedicated to #Valentines days treats and sweets, as a nod to the “sweetness” of love. I’ve also taken the opportunity to launch my first Pinterest competition.
How did you come up with the idea of a competition?
Quite simply, because I wanted to see how other people would interpret the romantic vision of love in an image. I’m also hoping the competition will help me to increase my number of followers and interact with them more. The idea is simple: participants should send a photo which best conveys their romantic vision of love to ValentinesDayByPrincessZaza@gmail.com. I’ll share the images on the #ValentinesDay board and the one that receives the most likes on Pinterest between February 1 and 14 will win a romantic surprise…
Have you thought about creating other boards for special occasions?
Yes, I’m thinking about it… still in the spirit of sharing moments. It could be my next Pinterest experiment, after the brand boards; boards dedicated to events, provided that there’s enough inspiring content associated with the event of course, as it’s the content that matters!
What would be your advice for increasing your presence on Pinterest?
I often say that Pinterest allows people to tell their story through images. We all have a story to tell and I love to hear stories from my friends, or mes Z’Amis (as my alter-ego Princess Zaza would call them). Here’s my secret:
- approach other people, and not just your own community… the idea is to open yourself up to the world (by liking, commenting and sharing content);
- make sure you keep updating your profile: create new boards and/or regularly pin new content, change the cover images and the order of your boards now and again; add the link to the site where you found the picture in the description; use hashtags that relate to your images; use foreign titles for some of your boards to add an international flavor; add a “follow me on Pinterest” button on your blog/website; start a competition, and so on;
- interact with the other social networks you use (I’m thinking mainly of Facebook and Twitter) by posting occasional links to your best pins along with an update (when you create a new board, for example), or make reference to something or someone (when you post on Twitter, remember to add a hashtag and one or two relevant accounts, if there’s space). But be careful not to keep duplicating your posts as your community might get bored.
You have profiles on a number of social networking sites. Which are your favorites and why?
It’s hard to say but if I had to choose just one I’d keep Twitter because it acts as my main news feed from first thing in the morning, it’s a real treasure trove of information, it’s where I enjoy interacting with my followers, it’s a way of expanding my network and it’s a very powerful communication tool.
Look out for Isabelle and her creative Pinterest boards and, for the more romantic among you, don’t forget that you can take part in her Valentine’s Day themed competition. Be romantic, be inventive, and above all, be madly in love