Monday, November 19, 2012

Social Media Monday—Pinterest Basics

Pinterest can be a fun addition
to your social media plan

Pinterest is growing by leaps and bounds. Although it’s not one of my MUST use sites for writers, it’s worth your time to check out. Even better, Pinterest basics are easy to master. Here are some of the ways writers can utilize Pinterest.

  • Build boards with your book’s subject.
  • Build boards that help you with world building or setting.
  • Share blogs from others who write in your genre.
  • Build boards from books you love—you can legally post the book covers and links to Amazon or the author’s blog.
  • Build a board and share the blogs you follow—as long as the blog has a picture you can post it.
  • Build boards with your personal interests, like knitting, sewing, bird watching, there’s no limit to the topics you can choose. 

Pinterest Setup
Here’s how to setup a Pinterest account, and some of the things you need to do during the setup process.
  • Go to and sign up for a free account.
  • Fill in your email, this will be how you get notification that someone is following your boards, or you have something repined, etc.
  • Fill in your name and location. Location can get you interest on several levels, people who are searching for local authors, or people who are looking for authors from a particular part of the world.
  • Utilize the ABOUT section. This gives people an idea of who you are and whether or not they want to follow you. You have approx. 150 characters to do this.
  • Be sure you upload a photo. It needs to be a face shot, with a smile!
  • Be sure you add your blog and/or website so people can connect with you there.
  • It’s fine to publish your activity on your Facebook Timeline.
  • Do NOT hide your Pinterest profile from search engines.

Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board
Using Pinterest
To start a board, click the ADD + in the top bar. There are 3 options from this popup menu.

The first one you’ll want to use is CREATE A BOARD. Click this and another popup window will open.
  • Name your board.
  • Select a category.
  • Specify who can pin.

To add a Pin to one of your boards you also click the ADD + in the top bar. There are two ways to add a pin:
  1. ADD A PIN is what you use when you want to add something from a URL.
  2. UPLOAD A PIN is what you use when you want to upload a personal image from your computer.

When you click the ADD + in the top bar, you can also add a PIN IT button to your Bookmarks Bar. In this popup window, there’s a yellow header bar with these words: Pin images from any website as you browse the web with the “Pin It” button. Click PIN IT and it will take you to the page to upload this.

Pinterest is easy to manage
Other important tips:
You can set your cover for any board you set up. This is the image that comes up on any particular board. Here’s how:
Go to a specific board and hover over the pins, you will see a pop up option of SET BOARD COVER. Click this to choose the image as your board cover.
NOTE: if you’ve been added as a pinner to a board, you can’t change the cover photo.

It doesn’t matter who follows you. You don’t have the option to approve followers. If someone is doing something inappropriate, you can report him/her to Pinterest.

You can change the arrangement of your boards. Go to your home page and in the bar above your boards, in the center you’ll see the words EDIT PROFILE. To the right of that is a small icon. Click the icon to rearrange the order of your boards.

Pinterest Etiquette
It’s common to follow the boards of those who follow you, but you are under NO obligation to.

Like all social media, it’s important to avoid the hard-sell approach. If your boards are all about you, it’s advertising, not sharing. 

Now I'd love to hear from you. If you're on Pinterest already, what are some of your favorite boards & pinners? Also, if you have any questions, post them in the comments section. 

Don't forget to join the conversation!


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  2. Edie, I've been on Pinterest for awhile, but just recently became aware of the idea of using boards to develop character/setting ideas for novels. I love that new use of this site! And with the new "hidden boards" function, I can develop boards for my current WIP and publish them later. Thanks also for giving tips on how to tweak the appearance of boards, etc. Great stuff, as always!

  3. I love Pinterest! My followers are growing there, slow but steady. I'm having some trouble deciding how to organize the boards, but so far I know my blog traffic has increased because of Pinterest. What I particularly like is that once I pin something, it stays there until I take it down. With something like Twitter, it could be completely off the screen/grid/whatever-you-call-it within just a few hours.

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  5. Thanks for the great post, Edie. I'm signed up for Pinterest but haven't dug deep into what some of the perks are for an author in this area. Great info here to get me started in the right direction. :)

    I've heard some authors use Pinterest for storyboarding. Have you seen it used in that way?

    How do I know what I can and cannot pin when searching for board material. Will an item refuse a pin if you aren't allowed to use it?

    Thanks for your help.

    1. Cindy, you're right to be cautious about what you can and can't pin. Here's a post that covers the specifics. (If you can't click the link, just copy and paste it into your browser.) But if there is a PinIt Button on the website, you should be fine if you pin something from the site.