What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is an online pin board of ideas and inspiration. If you, like me, have a stash of pages torn from magazines in a corner of your house somewhere (they *ahem* might even be categorised and alphabetised) then this is the 21st Century format. It’s based on the age old premise that a picture tells a thousand words. And it’s a gift to those of you lucky enough to have a tablet, where images play a very significant role in use.
I imagined that it was predominantly for people who craft or make stuff with their children, based on the people I knew who had raved about Pinterest, but it is a tool that has much more versatility than that. Here are a few examples of the types of boards that you can build:
- Photography tutorials & tricks of the trade, or beautiful and inspiring
- Ideas for outfits, latest Fashion-Week shots, pictures of celebs and what they are wearing
- Amazing recipes, from haute cuisine to heart sandwiches, slow cooker recipes and astonishing cakes
- Holiday planning, or a wish list of places you’d love to visit
- Interior shots, mood boards for redecorating your home, tips for the domestic goddess on how to get stains out of everything
- Craft, as you would expect, from the simple to the amazing. You could also pin things that you’ve seen that have sparked an idea of something you would like to do
- Books, films and videos you have read/seen or would like to
- Gift ideas, whether homemade or shop bought
- Videos- you can pin them too, and lots of people do. This is not an area I have really explored so if you have any suggestions about how to use it to your advantage, I’d love to hear them.
- Words of wisdom, funny quotes or pictures that make you smile on a dark day
By ‘pinning’, you are saving an image to your Pinterest page. If you pin an existing pin from the site, this is a ‘re-pin’ (like a retweet). Obviously you can repin anything directly from Pinterest itself. You can also add a button to your browser toolbar so that you can pin images directly from the web onto your ‘boards’.
The key benefit to pinning, as a blogger is the linkback: the act of pinning also saves the image source so that you don’t have to go searching for the original link if you want to reproduce, quote, or share the link love.
There is a search facility too. You can search by word, say Easter, for example, and see either all pins, all boards, or all people featuring the word ‘Easter’. Images are updated in real time, so you can see what the people you are following are pinning almost immediately. You can also browse by category, or see what is popular (i.e.: has most comments/repins).
How do you get started?
- You need an invitation to get on. Either find a friend who can invite you, or contact Pinterest and they will email you one. This can take up to two weeks.
- If you are a blogger, think about whether you want an account in your name or your blog name. Take time with your details, make sure you link to your blog & other social media. All these things are part of your online identity and you want people to follow you.
- Follow people- I have included a handy list at the bottom of this post, but you can also check out the blogs that you read: increasingly, people have a ‘Follow me on Pinterest’ icon with their Twitter and Facebook one.
I. Follow bloggers who are in the same ‘niche’ as you, the big bloggers that you have on your G-Reader, to keep an eye on what they are pinning….is there a trend that’s upcoming? Is this something you should be writing about?
II. You have the option of following everything that someone pins, or just specific boards, and this can be adjusted over time. So, for example, you might be really interested in the photography tips board that a blogger has, but nothing else. Or you might want to follow all the boards of your best online buddy.
- Get pinning: when you hover over an image on the Pinterest website, you are given the option of repinning, liking (as you would on Facebook) or commenting. Bear in mind that whatever you pin will get viewed by lots of people: this has been the perfect encouragement I needed to get better at taking photographs.
- Clearly label pins so that it is easy for others to find when they are searching. You can use hashtags to help with this. Label your boards so that they are easy to search too: you can search through individual pins, boards or people so labels will always be helpful.
- You can also @people that you follow in comments, so if you find a pin on upcycling sweaters that you know would be perfect for @missielizzieb, let her know.
- Comment. It’s what the blogosphere is all about, and Pinterest is no exception.
- Link your feed: you can link your Pinterest feed to Facebook and Twitter so that your followers on other social media can see what you are pinning.
- Limit your time: it’s addictive and you can lose hours pinning.
There is a comprehensive ‘Help’ section on the Pinterest Home Page, and if you can’t find what you are looking for, why not try tweeting some of the great bloggers who are already master pinners:
If you fancy putting your toe in the water, then follow the collaborative boards some of your favourite bloggers are involved with, such as Cool Family Stuff and Photographs. And tune in on Friday when I will tell you how you can use Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog.
With thanks to Nickie at Typecast, who sparked the original idea for a post, proof-read and encouraged me to write it.