How to Get the Most from This Hot Social Media Network
by Stephanie Chandler
According a recent report by Experian, Pinterest is currently the third-largest social media site in terms of the number of site visits each month. Putting the numbers in perspective, Facebook stood out above the rest with a whopping 7 billion visits; Twitter received 182 million; Pinterest received 104 million; and LinkedIn received 86 million.
Considering that Pinterest has been in existence only since 2010, its growth has been remarkable. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Pinterest users spend an average of 89 minutes per month on the site.* Compare that with 21 minutes on Twitter and 17 minutes on LinkedIn, and it’s clear that Pinterest users are dedicated.
A social media site built around the concept of sharing photos and videos, Pinterest lets users “pin” photos or videos to their boards for sharing with other users. Its predominantly female audience makes it a popular place to share images about wedding planning, home redecorating, recipes, vacation destinations—and books.
Here’s how to get started with Pinterest:
1. Apply for an account. Pinterest operates by invitation only, but this is a minor technicality designed to keep spammers out. You can submit a request for a Pinterest account at http://pinterest.com, and you should receive a confirmation within a day or two.
2. Create your pin boards. When defining your boards, consider what topics and images would interest your target audience. You can create multiple boards with various themes. Avoid using the default board titles that Pinterest suggests. Instead, rename your boards with titles that are descriptive and rich in keywords to help Pinterest users in your target market find your content.
3. Download the Pin It button. Pinterest allows you to download a Pin It button to the toolbar on your Web browser. This makes it easy for you to get in the habit of pinning interesting content to your boards.
4. Start pinning content. Look for interesting ways to promote visual elements from your books, and remember that one of the great benefits of pinning photos to Pinterest is that the system automatically supplies a link back to the source of the pinned photo. So if you pin an image of a book from Amazon, the image will be linked back to the book’s page on Amazon.
You can add descriptions to each photo that you pin to your board, and you should include a descriptive title for each. Here are some examples of content you might pin to your boards:
● Pictures of books in the same genre as yours, including your book(s), of course. For example, if you publish travel titles, you could create a board called “Favorite Travel Books.” Since Pinterest automatically links back to the source of a photo, be sure to pin your books either from a sales page on your site or from a sales page on an online retailer’s site. To make it still more likely that visitors will click through to buy your book, copy and paste the sales page link into the description for the image.
● Content from your own blog. For each new blog post, add a photo (royalty-free images are available from sites such as www.clipart.com) and pin the photo to a board you have designated for your blog. Pinterest will automatically link back to the source of the photo so that visitors can easily click through to read your content. For example, a gardening-book publisher might create a board called “ABC Publishing Gardening Blog: Inside the World’s Greatest Gardens.”
● Photos and/or videos from events such as book signings, speaking engagements, launch parties, and so on.
● Images that express themes from your book(s). For a book set in a specific city, you could pin photos of various city locations. For a book that includes recipes or other food-related content, you could pin photos of food with links back to the recipes online.
● Photos from readers. Ask readers to submit photos of themselves reading one of your books and pin them to a board. You could ask readers to send photos of your book in their vacation destinations. Or, if the book included content about pets, you could ask them to send pictures of the book with their dogs or cats. Have some fun with this and get others engaged in the process.
Note that there has been a lot of controversy around copyright infringement and sharing photos on Pinterest without proper attribution. The fact that an image is available online does not mean that anyone has the right to use it. Your best bet is to use royalty-free images on your own site, and then pin photos from public sites with proper attribution for the artist and the source of the image.
5. Build your audience. You can cross-promote your Pinterest presence with other social networks by periodically sharing links to your boards on Facebook, Twitter, and the like. And you can integrate Pinterest with your Twitter and personal Facebook accounts to share your new pins automatically there; just be careful not to share too often and risk annoying your followers. Also, add a link to your Pinterest profile from your Web site alongside your other social media site links.
6. Engage on Pinterest. Spend some time visiting Pinterest boards created by other users where you can choose to follow a user, leave a comment on a photo, like a photo, or repin a photo to one of your boards. As with all other social networks, the more you participate, the better the results you will see.
7. Add a Pin It button to your site. To encourage visitors to share your content on Pinterest, install a Pin It button on all pages and blog posts on your Web site. WordPress users can easily install the Pinterest Pin It button plug-in or add the button from the ShareThis social media plug-in (search “plug-ins” in WordPress to locate these).
8. Get creative with your pins. Start paying attention to the content you come across online, and pin interesting relevant articles, news, infographics, short stories, poems, or pictures of products to a board on your site (you can always create a new board if needed). As long as the content appeals to your target audience, anything goes. You might be surprised to discover how many others will begin to engage with you, visit your site, and repin your content as a result.
Stephanie Chandler is the author of several books, including Own Your Niche: Hype-Free Internet Marketing Tactics to Establish Authority in Your Field and Promote Your Service-Based Business. The CEO of AuthorityPublishing.com (which specializes in custom book publishing and social media marketing services) and BusinessInfoGuide.com (which publishes a directory of resources for entrepreneurs), she is also a blogger for Forbes.