Why You Should Use Pinterest

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So, ok, I have never been an early adopter when it comes to this whole social media stuff. It took me ages to get on Facebook, my LinkedIn profile is still not filled out and I haven’t got the hang out of G+ yet. So what do I do on Pinterest? And what the heck is Pinterest actually? Basically Pinterest is a site that lets you bookmark websites in a visually appealing way ;-) by pinning what interests you to one or more boards you have created. Plus it offers the usual network possibility of friends, following etc. The last one comes with a twist, you can either follow all of the boards a person has created or only a selection. This is great if you come across a weirdo like me that has boards about dogs, Harry Potter and internet marketing ;-)

Pins can be ‘liked’, ‘commented on’ and, most importantly re-pinned. The later means that if you have a great pin it can easily go viral and be re-pinned by people over and over again.

If that all doesn’t sound very special to you, believe me, there are some really cool ways to use Pinterest, here a short list of how I have used it so far:

Keeping track of useful resources with Pinterest
That one is a biggy for me, as I am a very visual person. If you have a look at my board ‘Beautiful Free WordPress Themes http://pinterest.com/hospitalera/beautiful-free-wordpress-themes/’ you see what I mean …With Pinterest I can create a board for each group of resources I want to collect and pin whatever I find online to the respective board. In the long run I hope to replace my messed up bookmarks with Pinterest books.

Planning something
Getting married? Having a big party? Baby shower coming up? Pinterest can help to organize things visually and to get track of great ideas / inspirations you found online.

Wishlist
Does your significant other knows what you want for your birthday or Christmas or simply because s/he thinks you deserve a gift? You can create a Wishlist Board on Pinterest and point him / her to it for ideas … This way chances are better that you get what you want.

Affiliate Links
Actually, I am not holding my breath on that one, but as I have a board (and more to come!) about books I have read I decided it couldn’t do any harm if I use my Amazon link for that ;-) So far it works well.

Do-Follow No-Follow Links
Again, I am not holding my breath, but Pinterest links are dofollow links. Now don’t go wild and ‘pin’ all of your sites, I don’t think that a) they carry much ‘juice’ and b) if Pinterest gets overwhelmed by spammers it only takes a few lines of code and all outgoing links will be nofollow overnight. Happened to Twitter, is bound to happen to Pinterest also sooner or later. Update: it just happened ;-)

Get real visitors to your site
People do click through from Pinterest to the source site, so if you have a site that has a visual appeal, caters to the right audience you should showcase it on Pinterest. Just be careful not to overdo it, only post your best work, less is more ;-)

How to use Pinterest
This is basically a short run down of what you can do with Pinterest, how to get an invite and some workarounds to get what you want ;-)

Pinterest Invite and Waiting List
To join you need to ask for an invite (handy link here: http://pinterest.com/landing/), wait a bit, or longer, and register your details when you get the invite. Actually pretty good as this warranties that the system runs smoothly and isn’t overwhelmed by sudden mass-registrations, for example if all my zillions of readers decide to join the same day (just kidding ;-) ). For the case that you want to have a Pinterest invite NOW, I have still some left ;-) Just leave a comment with a working email address (only I can see it, nobody else and I will only use it for that purpose) and indicate that you want an invite and I send it to you straight away. Or hang around on the waiting list until your turn comes …

Fill out profile etc.
Like always with social media of any shape or form, give people some info about who you are and what you look like. The good thing is that you can edit / fill out your Pinterest profile as much or as little you want. Just the usual common sense when it comes to online privacy will do nicely. For the real weary ones, you can hide your profile from the search engines wish to do so. Pinterest is certainly ‘safer’ than Facebook in that respect.

Creating your first board
When you sign up they give you some suggestions, but you can dismiss them and just do your own thing. Creating a board is as easy as Add>Create a Board, name and categorize it and be done. I set all my boards so that only I can pin to them, but you can also specify co-contributors (is that a word?) for each specific board. This could be cool for projects you plan to do with others like traveling. After you have created your first board you can edit it to add a description (I keep mine always short and sweet to not to distract from the content) and then you can start with pinning away.

There are two main ways to pin things to your boards, one by simply doing it on their website and one by using the Pinterest bookmarklet. Both work well and are pretty self-explanatory. Here some workaround if things don’t seem to work how you like them.

Useful Workarounds for Pinterest

‘No Large Image found’ comes sometimes up when the url you have specified doesn’t provide any large images. What you can do is to go directly to the image url you want to use and let Pinterest ‘find’ that image, pin it and then edit your pin putting the correct url you want to use in.

The second workaround is to upload a saved image as a pin and then edit it to include the reference link.

Re-arranging pins
Unfortunately you can’t re-arrange pins as easy as you can re-arrange the boards (by drag and drop). Your newest pin ends always up on the top and pushes the older ones slowly down. The only way I came across to avoid this is to re-pin the ones you want to keep on top to the same board, making them the first one, and deleting the duplicate that is further down. It is also a good idea to bear in mind the space limitations. In the overview only the first nine pins for each board are visible and in the board view only the first four are really above the fold. So planning things a bit out and starting more boards instead of cramping all into a few might be a wise move … Be careful when re-pinning and deleting pins that have already been ‘liked’ and ‘re-pinned’ by others, they lose their counts and start from scratch, not good as pins that have a lot of likes tend to end up on the frontpage of a search and attract even more re-pins …

Social Networking on Pinterest
The usual stuff really, follow people and boards you are interested in and that have similar interests, re-pin stuff and so on. Don’t waste too much time, but make the best use of the time you spend on Pinterest. BTW, there is a handy search function in the top left corner that lets you find things and people you might be interested in.

Summary
Pinterest is great for keeping visually track of possible resources and ideas I might want to follow up on, but I don’t hold my breath for any possible affiliate marketing success there nor that their links stay dofollow long term. Like always with social media, be careful not to waste too much time with it, Pinterest is a great bookmarking tool, but could also be a horrible time sucker depending on your self control ;-)

And last, but not least, if you are a member of Pinterest, please feel free to follow me and / or some of my boards by clicking the nice banner below, it is free and not even an affi link ;-)

Follow Me on Pinterest

If you like this blog post and found it helpful, why not share it with your preferred social network? Handy links and bookmarklets above ^^^ ;-)

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