So, let’s talk about Pinterest for writers.
On 13 June 2018, I was offline for most of the day, due to issues with my internet connection. And yet, when I subsequently checked my blog stats for that day, I noticed a significant spike.
The majority of the traffic came from my Pinterest account. And, since that happened, I’m getting more traffic from Pinterest, on a consistent basis, than from any other source.
Pinterest is awesome for creative artists, including writers, as it’s such an inspirational space.
It can have some advantages over time-consuming platforms, such as Instagram and Twitter. Forming personal connections is definitely fun, and important, but sometimes, it can take over, leaving very little time for actual writing. Not exactly ideal, right?
Pinterest is much more content focused, without the usual emphasis upon engagement.
So, what is Pinterest?
The answer lies in the name itself: a blend of the words “pin” and “interest”. It’s basically an online pinboard. Yes, as in, cork boards – noticeboards.
On a Pinterest account, you set up different boards, representing your different areas of interest. If you’re familiar with Google Plus, think in terms of Collections, because these are roughly equivalent to Pinterest boards. This analogy can be extended, because group boards on Pinterest resemble Google Plus Communities – but more about group boards later.
The usual way in which to “pin” is to capture an image from a website or blog. Pins can also be uploaded directly to Pinterest.
I had a breakthrough, very recently, when I learnt to use Canva, a website providing free – as well as paid – online graphics.
I had tried to use this site via my Hudl previously, but it’s best used on desktop, and runs more smoothly this way.
Through Canva, I’m easily able to create customised images for various social media sites, including Pinterest.
With Pinterest, images should ideally be vertical. There are also specific dimensions, which tend to work best on the platform. And I don’t know what these are, off the top of my head – but Canva takes care of all that for me. If you do want to know this information, it’s definitely out there, so just do a Google search.
I personally use my own photographs or artwork, and quote images, and only use Canva for the backgrounds, and to correctly size my images.
But I still haven’t adequately explained what Pinterest is.
Although it’s generally considered to be a social media site, it really isn’t, in the conventional sense. It’s more of a visual search engine. In many respects, it does fall somewhere between a social media platform and a search engine – and, in that way, can be compared to You Tube.
Because Pinterest is a search engine, keywords are vital to success on the site, just as they are on Google and Bing.
Pins tend to have a longer lifespan than posts on conventional social media sites, such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
It can also take longer to gain momentum.
There is much less focus upon follower numbers than on other social media platforms.
With the introduction of the “following tab”, however, it’s now easier to see posts specifically from accounts you follow.
Technically, hashtags do work on Pinterest, and you can use up to 20 per post. However, they aren’t generally well-received on the site, and using 20 on a single post would definitely be considered “spammy”, by the majority of Pinterest users.
Using 1 or 2 hashtags, on a newly uploaded post, can apparently help its visibility.
Personally, I’m not using hashtags on Pinterest, at the moment. Keywords remain significantly more important, and these are generally sufficient to get your content found.
The two main schedulers, specifically for Pinterest, are Boardboaster and Tailwind. Other scheduling apps, including Buffer, can also be used to schedule Pins. Personally, I’m moving away somewhat from scheduling social media posts, in general. I’ve never used any automation tools for Pinterest, so am not in a position to give specific advice. I would recommend doing Google or/and You Tube searches for both Boardboaster and Tailwind, and researching what each can offer. August 2018 update: Boardboaster has recently closed down, so Tailwind is now pretty much the main scheduler for Pinterest.
If you’re interested in scheduling social media posts for other networks – specifically, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and Tumblr – I did write a post a while ago: How I schedule Social Media Posts. There is also a part 2 to this, giving further information, particularly in relation to Social Oomph.
This is a new area to me, but I have very recently joined a few Pinterest group boards.
These boards look similar, and operate in a similar way to, your own boards, but have multiple contributors, and often, many additional followers. They can be an excellent way to reach a much wider audience, with your content.
You can find group boards via pingroupie.com, or simply by browsing Pinterest. Look at the profiles of individuals and organisations in your niche, and you might find that they are members of group boards, that could be of interest.
Although, at first glance, group boards look like any other Pinterest boards, you can tell the difference, because they have multiple profile images in a circle. On other Pinterest boards, there will only be one image in this circle: that of the person or business, whose board it is.
When you do find a group board that interests you, read the information given in the board description. This can tell you whether or not they are accepting new contributors and, if they are, how to request to be added.
There will often be an email given, or sometimes, the group owner will ask you to message them through Pinterest. Just follow any instructions provided, and make sure that you follow the board itself, and the profile of the owner. That’s both good practice, and also makes the process smoother.
I’m aware that Pinterest group boards is a huge topic, but there’s so much excellent information out there – so, if this has left you confused, I definitely advise you to read articles that deal exclusively with Pinterest group boards. You should find some that will help on my own Pinterest related Pinterest board. Yes, as in – a Pinterest board about Pinterest. Why not, right?
Oh, and it’s kind of obvious, but I’ll mention, anyway – that group boards only work if it’s reciprocal. Repin others’ content, as well as pinning yourself. And, when it comes to your own contributions – don’t overdo it. In addition to ensuring that you comply with any actual rules, use your initiative. Don’t post too many times in one day, or way more than the other group members.
I hope that this post helps somewhat. I highly recommend Pinterest for writers, in general – and would consider a Pinterest presence to be almost essential, currently, for those of us with author blogs.
The best way to learn about Pinterest really is to use it. Have fun with it. And hopefully, Pinterest will drive traffic to your blog.