Sunday, 4 January 2015

Pinterest Tips

Hello, I’m A. F. Stewart, and I’m a Pinterest addict. Well, maybe not an addict, but I can definitely lose an hour or two on the site if I try. But it’s not all fun and games, it’s also serious marketing for my writing and books. And that’s what I’m here to discuss today on the blog.
I see many, many writers over on Pinterest, but not all of them are using the site to their full advantage. Pinterest is designed for shoppers, and their click-through-rate (which means consumers click the pins and go to the links) is high and growing. The stats for Pinterest as a viable (and still free) marketing tool are too good to ignore.
So why aren't authors and writers utilizing it properly?
I can’t say for certain, but I do hear some writers express qualms and confusion on how to use the site to their favour. So here’s a brief explanation of how the Pinterest site works, and a few of my tips specific to writers and authors.

Pinterest is a visual site; it’s for sharing graphics, photos, memes, cool geeky fan stuff, and book related stuff, like covers, trailers, blog posts, etc. You join the site, create a profile, then you create what the site calls boards. Think of them like virtual scrapbooks, or photo albums, full of pictures. Each board gets a name, a description and a category, and you’re ready to pin your pics to your boards via their bookmark extension widget thingy.  Easy, right?
But in case you’re still confused, here’s the site’s guide to getting started that explains things in better detail:

Okay, you've setup your profile, gotten somewhat familiar with the site, and you’re ready to pin.  Now what?

Here are some things you need to know:

Following/Followers:  Just like other sites you can follow users, and they can follow you.  You may press the big red follow button on a profile, and you’ll follow every board and every pin of that person, or follow individual boards (which is what I recommend for most people). Following individual boards (with pins you enjoy) as opposed to everything vastly reduces the possibility of clutter on the home page, and makes it easier to find pins you like on the site.
Repinning:  If you find a photo you like on the Pinterest site you can repin it to one of your boards, either from the Pinterest home page or the profile of a user. I recommend beginners make use of this feature as it’s a simple way to get started filling boards.
Board Covers: You can leave a board with no cover and the latest pin will show as the face of that board. Or you can pick a cover by choosing a nice pin (via the editing mode). You can also change covers when you like (by editing), but once you choose a cover you can’t return to the former mode.
Group Boards: Groups boards are just that, a group of users who are pinning on the same board. You can join them, or make your own, but like all groups be sure to read and follow the description and rules.
Comments/Messages: Comments can be left on pins, and Pinterest now has a message system, so if you need to contact a follower you can.

Now for my tips for writers:

  • Post a bio (and this goes for every social media site writers use). THIS IS IMPORTANT. Tell people who you are and what you do, even if it’s just one line like: I’m a writer. Especially if you want invitations to group boards geared towards books and writers. If they don’t KNOW you’re a writer, you may not be invited to pin. Don’t make people guess.
  • Create book boards. You can do an all inclusive board, such as “Books I've Written” or boards for a book series, or individual book boards or a combination of the above.
  • Put your book/writer boards on the first row. You want your work front and center. Not everyone scrolls half-way down to find your hidden gems.
  • Create niche boards (also see next tip). Showcase your personality and possibly other talents. Geeky boards, fan boards, craft boards, boards for quotes, are all popular and help sell you on Pinterest. There can be some overlap in board topics, but don’t overdo. Six boards on the topic of say, doilies, is too much.
  • Be professional, but still fun (see above tip). You’re on Pinterest to market and sell books, but that doesn't mean you can’t display other sides of your life and personality. Just keep in mind the image you want to craft on the site.
  • Do not create an empty profile. Once you've generated boards, pin something to your boards. Pin your book cover, find some pins on the site, find something to pin on Google, but put pins in your boards. You can start out slow if you like, with a few boards with a few pins each, but fill your boards. Which brings me to the next tip.
  • Do not leave empty boards. They’re unsightly, they’re lonely, they scream “I don’t know what I’m doing”, “I don’t want to be here”, “help me, help me.” In other words, not the image you want to project of a capable, professional writer.
  • Do not use cutesy names for boards. Again, not the image of a professional writer. Now, you can be clever with names, have some fun, but text speak with cutesy-pie hearts is not what you should be using. Leave that to the teenagers.
  • Do not have all group boards. Now I’m not suggesting you restrict the amount of group boards you want, just have a balancing amount of non-group boards as well. Not everyone wishes to join group boards so if you want followers give them choices to follow. 

What To Pin:
That is up to you, but book covers are a must, book trailers are fun, images with quotes from your books are great, and representative images for places and things from your books can be cool.  You can check out my profile for what I've done to get some ideas and examples:
And feel free to repin anything.

Remember you want to present an interesting profile on Pinterest, one that will encourage followers, and repins.  So avoid boring and annoying at all costs.
If you have any questions, or tips of your own, please leave them in the comment section.

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