While most of us celebrate passing the 1,000 Pinterest follower mark, there are those few users who celebrate their milestones in the millions. We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Daniel Bear Hunley, whose amazing Pinterest profile has won him over 1.6 million followers. In this interview Daniel, takes us through his thoughts on building a following, the content he loves and why Pinterest is for men, too.
When did you first start your Pinterest account?
Daniel: I started my Pinterest account when my mother asked me how she could get an invite to the service in October of 2011. I first used the site as a way to share graphic design inspiration with all of my college buddies who were art majors.
Can you remember your first viral pin?
Daniel: I don't remember myself my first viral pin, but I do remember the first time I noticed that my page was blowing up. It was the day after Christmas. I'd taken a break from using the site daily and probably hadn't been on in three weeks. I got a call from a close friend, who'd sent me my invitation to Pinterest in the beginning. She told me to log on and check my follower count and I was shocked that it had risen to over 100,000 in a matter of weeks.
What do you say to people who believe Pinterest is just for women?
Daniel: I'm proof that men can find value in Pinterest. I will admit that most of the men that I know that regularly use the site tend to be guys who work in very visual, creative careers. I know a ton of graphic designers, creative directors, advertising men and fashion types who all use the site. It isn't for everyone, and it doesn't have to be in order for Pinterest to be worth exploring.
Do you think it was harder for you to build up a strong following as a male on a platform with a predominantly female audience?
Daniel: I don't think it was more difficult for me on the basis that I was a boy. If anything, I think it helped me be a bit of a novelty and that might have been a contributing factor to my success. My taste is something that both women and men can appreciate, so it hasn't been a hindrance.
Favorite category? Which one do you pin under most?
Daniel: You asked for my favorite category, but it's truly a three-way tie between pinning great food on my Gastro board, my Men's Style board, and my Ferocious Animals board (which features the best animal pics and videos I stumble across). I'm a firm believer that everyone should watch at least one cute animal video daily to improve their mood.
Do you have a strategy for pinning or are you just pinning things you find personally interesting?
Daniel: My strategy is mainly to pin things that I like. That's what led to my success, so I see no reason to change. I am, however, conscious of refraining from pinning questionable content. I try to keep the language in my pins PG. That's about it.
Do you have much interaction with your followers? Comment conversations? Follow on other social platforms?
Daniel: I've been lucky enough to start quite a few relationships with the people I talk to on my pins. I've found a lot of great people whose taste I really admire. That admiration eventually turns to friendship. I talk with a lot of my followers who comment on my pins... Pictures can start great conversations.
Have any brands approached you to pin content for them?
Daniel: Brands have offered to work on partnerships with me. I won't even consider a project unless I'd pin their products on my own. I feel that's the only way to hold on to my integrity.
What's your best tip for users looking to grow their following?
Daniel: Pinners who are looking to grow their following should make sure that they're consistently posting great content. Comment on pins posted by people that aren't following you. Interacting with others on a regular basis is the best way to see growth.
If you could add one feature to Pinterest right now, what would it be and why?
Daniel: I want to see a better notification and messaging system. I want to be able to "share a pin" with specific people. Tagging someone with their username (like @danielhunley) seems to just slip through the cracks. I know I'm never notified of someone tagging me. But there are pictures that I don't necessarily want to share with the world because they don't fit my personal style, but I know that a friend will love it.
How do you feel about the new Pinterest design? What would you rate it on a scale of 1 to 10?
Daniel: I like the new Pinterest design. I appreciate how they made sure that the overhaul wasn't too dramatic. People don't take change very well and I've not run into anyone who's complained about this upgrade. The larger pictures are great. I give it an 8/10. It looses some points because there's an awkward amount of white space on the right side of the page whenever you adjust your browser size. Overall, though, thumbs up.
What are the main things you use Pinterest for?
Daniel: I mainly use Pinterest as an outlet to curate the things that stick out to me. I watched my mother clip photos from her interior design magazines and make binders that really reflected her taste. This is my modern version of that practice.
Who are your favorite pinners and why?
Daniel: I have so many. I'm really enjoying a gal named Caroline, who also runs a blog called "Back Down South." She has great taste in southern men's fashion (and women's for that matter.) I think my favorite undiscovered pinner is a guy named Nick Sigler. He's also from Nashville, TN and has a great eye. He's a very talented designer.