Monday, 23 April 2012

15 Tips for Using Pinterest

I mentioned last week that I would write up a guide to Pinterest, it seems like my Timeline and Blogging articles were popular so I might as well continue imparting my nerdy skills. If you are at all involved with crafts/design you will probably have heard of Pinterest, that is if you are not already a member. It's a website  where people share their taste via virtual pin boards, basically it's like bookmarking with pictures in a shared community. For designers its an amazing resource for two reasons, one it's fantastic for research and information; I've learned tons of new techniques for both crafts and computers since joining. Secondly it's as a way of sharing your own creations, I pin most of my blog posts and some of my etsy listings so my followers (and virally millions of others) can see them.  Even though it has one twentieth the users as Twitter it generates nearly the same referrals, which just shows you the power it has to generate traffic for yourr brand/website. I've been addicted since before Christmas (go here if you would like to follow me) so I've learned a few things along the way:

1. Set up an account;
For some weird reason the site is still invite only, but you can either request one when you go to Pinterest, or if you leave your email in the comments section I can send you an invitation.

2. Don't just repin; 
There are two ways to pin; either by repinning an item that someone else has pinned or by pinning something new to the site. After you've been on the site a while you will see lots of the same tutorials floating around, the community depends on people adding fresh items or it's gets stale very fast. Some of the hardcore Pinners say that you should contribute 1 new pin for every 5 that you repin. But I'm gonna be realistic and say that I do 1 for every 10, I see way too many cool things not to. You can install the pin button on your tool bar that makes pinning cool stuff from the internet really easy.  

3. Pin with the correct link; 
After a while you will notice that not everyone knows how to use Pinterest properly and that some images don't link to the proper site, as a user this is insanely headwrecking!! Please don't be one of those users. for instance if you are on a blog and you see a great post, don't just pin the whole site and click the picture you like, you have to click into the link of that individual blog post and then click your 'pin it' button. Otherwise other people will be brought to the main site rather than that specific post. I hate it when I see a pin for a fantastic tutorial and then I can't find the page. Another thing that people do is pin images directly from Googe images, giving that as a referral link rather than the website, leading people to a dead end, which is also really annoying and breaks the rules of Pinterest.

4. Find a lost pin;
If you get stuck in the above situation but you really want to find the source there is a way. Right click on the pin, then 'open the image in new tab', right click on that and 'save as'. Open up Google Images an drop the file into the search bar, it will then give you a list of sites that this image has appeared on (this is also a good way to see is anyone stealing your images online without permission).

5. Organise your brain and your browsing;
I used to use bookmarks but I really hated them as I always lost sites or forgot what I named them. Pinterest is fantastic for sorting out this kind of information. I have a borad for loads of helpful articles for selling online that includes loads of marketing tips that I can refer back to when I need them. The same goes for card making, sewing tips and cookery. Now when I sit down to make cards I take a look at my board first and scan for inspiration (just like I do with my scrap booking magazines). I also keep a cookery board, so if I can't think of anything to make for dinner I can take a peek at my board and see if anything takes my fancy. I use Pinterest as a place to store ideas until I need them. 

6. Add text to your image;
This is something I haven't quite gotten in the habit of doing yet, but I see it used a lot to great effect. If you are doing a blog post that you intend to pin, or something useful that you would expect others to pin then add text to one of the images. For instance for my blogging article I made images to go with the piece and included the phrase '20 blogging tips' in the picture. There is a pin description, but sometimes people leave this blank, for these instances your pin will still have an explanation embedded into the image. Another tip I read was also to include your website address in the image. This has two benefits; 1. If the link gets lost along the way or someone pins it incorrectly then people can still find your site. 2. It creates brand awareness on Pinterest, if your posts get popular people will start to recognise that brand. 

7. The ins and outs of linking to FB and Twitter;
I have to raise my hand and say I learned this info the hard way. In my settings I linked my account to my Facebook timeline, thinking it would show on my page; not knowing that it would update all my friends about each pin (can I add that I'm addicted so that's a lot of pins). When pinning something it gives you the optiont o share on Facebook and Twitter, you can do this sporadically so you don't spam all your friends. At the start I was frustrated that I couldn't share my business page, but I figured out how to do it. After you pin something a box appears asking if you want to share your pin, click the Facebook one, then go to your page in the drop down menu. 

8. Write good descriptions;
Writing a good description makes it easier for people to search for this item. Even though it's tempting to write 'amazeballs' as the descriptions, ''chocolate sponge with caramel glaze,they are totally amazeballs cookery# baking# cake# chocolate#' will mean that more people will find it. I must admit that when I'm repinning I don't always edit them to make them better for searching, but it's worth the effort. You can also use the @ and # symbols like you do on Twitter.

9. New profiles;
Pinterest just changed their profile layout recently, and you can now choose what image represents your board. Just click the main image and choose your cover image from your pins. Pinterest users are very visual so try to curate your profile like you would an Etsy treasury, I thought about what images and colours matched each other. Also make sure to add all of your relevant links to your profile, I've stated following lots of new blogs and Facebook pages because I've been interested in their taste of Pinterest. I also added my business name in brackets after my own name just in case people don't know me as Ruth.

10. Find out who is pinning you:
I pin quite a few of my blog posts, but other people pin them too, and it's nice too see what is popular. Just type in and you will see all the pins that link to your site.

11. Be Seasonal;
Every time a new holiday/season rolls around Pinterest is flooded with pins for that event, so at Christmas and Valentines there are endless recipes, present ideas, craft tutorials and shopping guides. If you are trying to promote your own seasonal wares or articles make sure to post them early so that they have time to circulate. Or if you like writing craft how-to's then think about the seasons ahead of time and write up some tutorials geared towards these holidays.

12. Share your profile;
Add links to your Pinterest on your blog and business page. Promote it just as much as the other sites that you are part of, if someone finds you on one platform they will want to know where else you are. Make it easy for people to follow you. I even mention that I'm addicted to Pinterest in my twitter profile. You can also add a link to your account to your email signature. Recently I started using social networking icons on my business cards and labels, and on my latest batch I added the P to represent Pinterest.

13. Add the Pin It button to your posts
Sometimes you will see a little red Pin It button on blog posts, this is just like a facebook or twitter sharing button. You can go here to get your button and just paste the html into you post template so that it appears in each of your blog posts like a signature. You can find this in Settings, and then go to blog posts, and paste in the html.

14. Pinterest is a community
You are able to like and comment on pins just like on Facebook. To take part in the community more comment on other peoples pins to interact with them. You can also use the ' symbol to tag another user if you see something that you think they might like, or to let them know you are talking about them. I must admit that I'm guilty of not doing this, but I'm very excited when i do get a comment because it happens so rarely!

15. Set a timer/limit;
Be warned Pinterest is incredibly addictive, and time can easily fritter away. Because of the nature of the site it always leads you to more sites, with more cool stuff, with other links, and so on. They estimate that the average regular user spends 1 hr 17 minutes on it per day. To stop yourself whiling away the hours looking a pretty things set a deadline for yourself, trust me I've learned the hard way.

Helpful Links:
Pinterest deconstructed infographic
Guide to Pinterest infographic
Marketing tips for Pinterest
How to find the original source on Pinterest
7 Ways to use Pinterest
and saving the best til last...
The ultimate guide to Pinterest


  1. pinterest have become most popular website, I have attain good tips so thanks for shared with us

    Web Design Michigan

  2. Ruth this is such a fantastic article! I've just returned to blogland and was amazed at how many visits i got through pinterest. Turns out my handmade leaf mobile was pinned quite a bit ;)

    Thanks for getting me up to speed X

    1. It's great to see you back Tanya!

      Yeah that's the nice thing about Pinterest, even when you take a break it still drives traffic towards your listings and posts

  3. Thanks Ruth - a great article - good tips. Must go back and go through it better later. Eve

  4. Thanks very much, Ruth.
    Oh dear, it sounds so tempting, but for the thought of that I hour, 17 mins a day, and I fear I would go above average! I fritter too much time on Etsy already!

  5. I hear you on the frittering!!! And yet if it brought sales...I'd be sooo tempted!

  6. Thank you so much, Ruth for the tips. :)
    I will bookmark this link. :)
    by the way, have you ever heard pinfaves dot com?
    it's a great website where you can submit your favorite pins from pinterest.
    you can also vote up the pins you like or vote down the pins you hate.
    it's great, isn't it?
    just go to pinfaves[dot]com and trust me, it's worth the try. :)


  7. still waiting for my pinterest invite...if you have one I would love it

  8. Okay- so I succumed Ruth. I've done it. I'm now on pinterest.

    No idea what I'm doing so I'm here to re-read!!!

    dreker... go to the homepage and ask for invite again. I got mine in about 48 hours.

  9. You have to be very careful you don't copy other peoples art or crafts.Some people take "looking for inspiration " to mean copy exactly what they see !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Thanks for this information, I'm brand new to Etsy and have just begun to explore social media and blogging, but of a cave woman, so any tips are great and I'd love an invitation to join pinterest.

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