I remember getting an email a long time ago letting me know about an opportunity to be a guest curator for a new website that was launching called Pinterest. They reached out to a group of us bloggers to create boards centered around the idea of "home" and some of the very first boards were born. Now Pinterest is pretty much a worldwide obsession and a staple in almost everyones vocabulary, even if they aren't quite sure how it works. For a long time, my account just sort of sat there but recently its become a really fun place for me to spend time. I love to use it as a visual bookmarking system. I used to keep a massive list of online bookmarks in my browser but it was so hard to find what I wanted just by the title. Pinterest definitely solved that problem for me!
For me, Pinterest isn't a competition but it is about shared inspiration. And I love being a part of that. Sharing ideas with people from all over the world is a pretty cool thing. So even though my first priority isn't how many people follow my boards or re-pin my images, I still want my Pinterest page to be organized and the creative community I have there to be constantly growing.
Here are ten quick tips on how to use Pinterest!
1. Quote something. A great image paired with a quote or original thought has the potential to be huge! Quotes even have their own category on the site. Instead of just re-pinning other quotes, snap a picture of something simple and use image editing software to add some words to it.
2. Mix mass-appeal boards with ones just for you. My most popular pins are undoubtedly from some of my vintage and decor related boards, because those are topics that people are searching. But it's also really fun to create boards that are unique to you, like the "My Heart is in Cambodia" board.
3. Pin with care. A few months ago I started making sure that everything I pin links back to the original source. Sites like Tumblr tend to be a black hole in terms of giving proper credits.
4. Make sure your pins are searchable. Write clear and concise descriptions for your images so other people can find them. Also, make sure that you name your boards creatively yet in a way that still gives people some idea of what they will find there. Use the categories to group your pins whenever possible and take advantage of the ever popular hashtag to plug in keywords to your descriptions.
5. Use the "Pin It" button. Your inner pinner will thank you. It must be exhausting to use Pinterest any other way. : ) Simply click right here, click the white "Pin It" button and drag it up to your bookmark bar. Whenever you come across an image you want to pin, just click that button and select it from the list of eligible images found on the page. Super easy to install and use!
6. Tag your friends! Just like with other social media outlets, you can use the "@" symbol and the persons Pinterest handle to notify them of your pin!
7. Have fun with group boards. They're a great way to connect with other users, gather inspiration with your friends for that bachelorette party you're all throwing or collaborate on a big project for work or school. Once a board is created, click to edit that board and select the option that allows you and other contributors to pin there. Then just add however many people you want and let the sharing commence.
8. Pin your stuff. It's totally okay to do, in moderation, even though not everyone is a fan of the idea. Create a board dedicated solely to your work or blog and make it clear that's what you're doing. Self-promotion is a necessary part of successful marketing as long as you're not being sneaky about it. For example, I have a board thats titled "www.appleblue.org" so people clearly know that everything there comes from my website. I know a lot of artists and photographers that have seen a significant boost in business and traffic by sharing their work on Pinterest. Just do it sparingly and only share the best of the best. If people want to see more, they'll click through to your blog for more.
9. Do some occasional housekeeping. First impressions are everything. Go through your boards and pick one stellar image from each set and select it as your board cover. Focus on boards with less than 5 images and try to round them out so your board preview isn't so bare. Respond to comments. Find new people to follow. Rearrange your boards to highlight some of your favorite or most popular ones. Create an account on PinReach so you can track what people love the most and get some other great feedback.
And last but certainly not least...
10. Link up and spread those wings! Make sure people know where else on the interwebs they can find you. I've stumbled across some incredible blogs, shops and people via Pinterest. Go to your settings and connect your website, blog, Twitter and Facebook. You can include links in your description as well but Pinterest already has built in clickable icons so people can find you easier.
I hope all of these tips were helpful for you in using Pinterest both personally and professionally. As I said before, it's not a competition. But its a great way to share inspiration and creativity with an enormous pool of people... so why wouldn't you want to make the most of it?