Pinterest's Black History Month Initiative: A Conversation With Ghenet Randall

Hester Bates
Hester Bates
October 7, 2020
Influencer’s marketing director Hester Bates sits down with lifestyle creator Ghenet Randall to discuss Pinterest’s Black History Month...

Influencer’s marketing director Hester Bates sits down with lifestyle creator Ghenet Randall to discuss Pinterest’s Black History Month activation, what it means to be a black creator in today’s world, and the best content strategies to optimise your Pinterest game.

Can you start by telling us how you use Pinterest as a content creation platform?

I am obsessed with Pinterest, and it’s a great platform for me as a content creator. It’s all about inspiration; I have a tonne of secret boards saved that are all about photography styles I like, content ideas that inspire me. It’s a great way to compile my thoughts and ideas into one place. Beyond that, I also use the platform organically, and not just from the viewpoint of a content creator. Outfit ideas… interior ideas… holiday inspiration, you name it!

What sets Pinterest apart from other social media platforms?

I’d say the life of content is a lot longer. Instagram changes a lot so you don’t know how long people will see your content, but I’m still getting saves on pins I created years ago! It’s really good for evergreen content, and equally as good as a search engine, so my relevant pins are always receiving great engagement rates. I wrote a blog post about my trip to Alghero in Sardinia a few years ago, and if you search Alghero, those pins still come up!

Can you offer any best practices for those looking to level up their Pinterest game?

I’d suggest using Pinterest for your personal brand, as well as for your business. I have boards about things that genuinely interest me, and I think it shows a lot more of my personality, which in turn leads to more engagement with my content. The more you use Pinterest, the more it works for you!

Also, take advantage of being able to archive boards. I do this all the time, so that my profile can be a bit more focused (there’s no point having a winter outfit ideas board in the middle of summer, right?) I change up my more seasonal boards on a regular basis, to mix with my evergreen content… I’d also suggest making sure you’re using the scheduler and Story Pins. It’s really helpful to be able to bulk plan and then just leave it to post later on.

There is such a vast amount of content on Pinterest. What is the coolest thing you’ve come across?

That’s a tough one because there is so much! I’ve compiled a board of truly beautiful photography. I come back to it when I’m feeling a bit stuck, and it always offers up some inspiration.

Can you provide any strategies for other content creators trying to find their feet on Pinterest?

It’s better to have more boards on narrower topics, than one board with hundreds of pins. So, that’s the most important thing I can recommend; break things down. I have a tonne of outfit inspiration boards, but I’ve broken them down into seasons, specific prints, ideas for one item of clothing, that sort of thing. Then it’s easier to curate and archive things so your boards are relevant without being overwhelming…

What is the impact you would like your content to have on your followers?

I’d like my content to encourage people to find joy in the little things. I don’t live an extravagant life by any means, so for me it’s about the simple things and I hope people see my content and think, yes, that’s great! That’s my speed! We get so caught up in consumerism and having to outwardly have the perfect life and every hair in place. I lived like that for a long time. So, I want my content to encourage people to slow down, take stock, and find that joy.

What does Pinterest’s Black Gold activation mean to you?

It’s nice when a platform you love recognizes that there’s more work to do, and tries to do what it can. I’m excited at the prospect of being in a space with lots of Black creators - honestly, I’m so used to being one of the only ones in the room…

How can brands work with creators to become more diverse and be more inclusive?

Just do it. Take stock of your roster of creators, and be intentional about adding a diverse range of voices who fit in with your brand and their ethos. Do your research. Engage with people’s content. Build a relationship with them. It’s more than a box ticking exercise, and it’s for more than just Black History Month.

What does it mean to you to be a Black creator in today’s world?

The thing that keeps coming to my mind is that the most radical thing I can do is live my life freely, joyfully and unapologetically. People are going to see my Blackness first and foremost, but I’m a multidimensional woman with a story to tell. Either people see that or they don’t. The problem is when people put that above everything else.

In June, when everything was happening with the Black Lives Matter movement, I suddenly gained a huge amount of followers. People were sharing my profile in an effort to diversify their feeds, which is fine. The intention was there, but it meant that I suddenly felt like I had to put my Blackness at the forefront. People were sharing me because I was Black, not because I talk about baking and slow fashion and being an American in the UK. So I gained all these followers, but then my engagement went right down because people were like, cool, I’ve followed, I’ve done my bit. They weren’t engaging with my content.

It can really mess with your head sometimes, so I just keep reminding myself of that: the most radical thing I can do is live my life freely, joyfully, and unapologetically. Those who want to see and engage with it will do just that.

What can other creators (allies) do to support Black creators?

Listen and do the work. Stop putting the onus on us to have the answers and the solutions, it’s exhausting. Even a well intentioned question like this puts the onus on me to give an answer on how to support all Black creators. When you’re in spaces where you’re the only person of colour, often you become this mascot, and whatever you say is taken as fact. My experience of Blackness is different to someone else’s, so I can only speak to my own feelings. For me, the biggest thing is to listen, and don’t put me in a box. If I feel like I can talk to you about my experiences without you dismissing me, gaslighting me, or explaining it away (which happens A LOT, even among the most well meaning of people) that’s a big thing. If there are Black creators who you love, listen to them when they speak about these things, and support them like you would any other, but go bigger because their voice needs amplification.

Finally, give us 3 Black Pinterest creators that inspire you…

Not Pinterest-specific but three creators I love are: Sade of In My Sunday Best; Emilie of Les Coquetteries d’Emilie, and Zaria of A Dose of Fab. There are so many to be honest, but these are three ladies who’s content I really love!

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