If you are a visual person, you will lurrrrrve Pinterest. This new social sharing website lets you browse and share images and videos from over the web. Think of it as your digital corkboard or visual bookmarking site – like Delicious but with pictures. Perfect for event planning (think weddings, conferences, parties), decorating inspiration, food and recipes, travel itineraries and more. I’ve seen people with over 1 million followers on Pinterest, so momentum is building really quickly.
At the moment Pinterest is not open to everyone – so if you need an invitation then let me know in the comments below.
Once you have received your invitation and created your basic profile – what next?
Step 1: Create a few boards
Boards are a bit like folders – create a few to sort all your pins into. Jane Wang (below) has 105 boards covering a whole range of topics. You might not be interested in them all, so you can choose to follow just those boards that interest you. Keep that in mind when you create your own boards – make it easy for people to follow you by clearly grouping pins together. One board called ‘Stuff’ wont get a lot of follows.
Step 2: Find a few people to follow who share interesting things
- Pinterest lets you check to see if your Facebook Friends are on Pinterest, and follow them (Under Find Friends).
- Browse through a Category of interest and follow some of the Pinners you see there who pin interesting images. Just like on Twitter, you will find new people to follow from repins.
- Check out the Pinterest Popular category to see pins that have been received a large number of pins.
- Here is a good article for some popular Pinners to get you started 10 cool Pinterest accounts to follow (by TheNextWeb)
Step 3. Hook up your Twitter and Facebook profiles
Go to Settings, and connect up Facebook and Twitter. Facebook will publish your pin activity into your Timeline and Ticker so your FB Friends will also see your pins, and so stand by for a wave of following and commenting once you do that. You can turn this feature off if you aren’t a big fan of ‘frictionless sharing’. You can also post your pins into Facebook as a status update, and into Twitter too (it posts with a link to your pin on pinterest).
Step 4: Install the bookmarklet. Download the iPhone app.
Adding the bookmarklet to your web browser means you can Pin images as you see them on the web. So easy! here are the instructions: https://pinterest.com/about/goodies/#pinmarklet
Download the iPhone App here for on the go pinning, and for uploading photos snapped by you with your iPhone camera.
And now you are ready to get pinning – away you go! If you would like to follow me, my Pinterest profile is https://pinterest.com/simonemccallum.
Some other thoughts
Pinterest is clever as it taps into the shift taking place from search to discovery – you can browse and find new people, items and sources without the filtering applied by Google, Facebook and other web giants. The highly visual interface and simple design make it easy to use – some would say too easy….!
Because it preserves the original source of the image, it is a great way to drive more traffic to your website or blog. Some sites like Etsy are using it for listing products for sale (although too much on the heavy sales will be punished like all social networks). The Pinterest etiquette rules are here.
Some changes I’d like to see in Pinterest as it develops are:
- Remove the multiple repins from your view (like Twitter with RTs). I don’t want to see that same cute kitten photo 15 times!
- Give us the option to make some boards private (currently either all boards are private or all boards are public
- Allowing pins to be pinned on more than one board at a time (eg Design and Home)
- An algorithm suggesting pinners who are like me to follow. Due to the stellar growth of the network, there are now a lot of people pinning a lot of stuff which I am just not interested in. Sounding like Twitter much?
- Better search – for example within a category
- Alerts to tell you when you have already pinned an image previously
- The default categories have outgrown their use and need to evolve! Its not all about weddings and food.
- Basic metrics on repins, comments and likes. This will be important for brands.
- Bulk uploads and scheduling pinning will be handy for brands too.
- 13 tips & tricks once you are past the novice stage on Pinterest (by Mashable)
- 5 ways for brands to use Pinterest to increase engagement (by Mashable)
- 7 ways for brands to use Pinterest (by SearchEngineWatch)
- 7 ways journalists can use Pinterest (by Mashable)