Pinterest For Dummies : Pinterest Getting Started Guide
Pinterest is a relatively new social networking site with a twist. It’s all about creating and sharing collections of images that you find around the web or create yourself. They call it themselves a “Virtual Pin Board’ and their members use it to organize recipes, plan home improvement projects, share favorite books, plan weddings and more. You’re only limited by your imagination.
Currently, to join Pinterest, you need to be invited. Without an account, you can browse and search what people a “pinning”, but you can’t enjoy any of the functionality.
Below is an example of what you might see by browsing the site without an account. However, if you sign up, you can follow specific people with interests common to yours. So if you’re not interest in makeup or beading, you can choose to follow people with other interests.
Pinterest currently has about 4 million users and about 80% of their audience is female, but there is definitely male representation on the site. With this large audience, it’s relatively easy to secure an invitation and get started.
Here are two main ways you can get into Pinterest…
Method #1: Request an Invite from Pinterest
If you go to Pinterest.com, you can click the “Request an Invite” button.
On the next page, enter your email address and click “Request Invitation”.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll be greeted by this message.
How long it takes to get an invitation is unknown, so the best thing to do is actually try Method #2 and contact a member directly for an invite.
Method #2: Contact a Member Directly for an Invite
If you’re active on other social media sites, chances are, you know somebody who is using Pinterest. Have a look on Facebook and if you see something like this, ask that person for an invitation.
Or if you look at someone’s timeline, you might see a section dedicated to their Pinterest activity.
On Twitter, a Pinterest update looks something like this:
When you find someone using Pinterest, send them a message directly and ask if they don’t mind sending you an invitation. All that person has to do is log into their account, fill out the “Invite Friends Form” and then you’ll get the information via email. They can also choose to invite you by Facebook, so if that’s the case, you’ll get the invite through Facebook.
We’ll demonstrate the email process in the next section.
Accepting Your Pinterest Invitation
After your friend sends the invite, you’ll get an email that looks like this. The subject line will be “Check out my stuff on Pinterest”:
Click the link at the bottom of the email you received (we’ve blacked out the sensitive information in the link in our sample) and you can start creating your account.
Side note, if you’re invited through Facebook, you’ll see the invitation in your Notifications and it might look something like this:
But let’s keep going through the process of accepting an email invite.
Setting Up Your Account
Once you click the link in the invitation email, you’ll see a page that looks like this:
In order to use Pinterest, you have to either register with a Facebook or Twitter account. They say they do this because they believe it makes it easier for people to find you, cuts down on spam and you can easily share your updates with those sites. It doesn’t matter if you start by registering with Facebook or Twitter, you can link both accounts at a later date.
We’re going to go through the process by signing up with Twitter, so we click “Or sign up with Twitter.”
Don’t worry about Pinterest doing things with your Twitter account that you don’t want it to. You have complete control and if you don’t want Pinterest to update anything on Twitter, you can set it that way too. If it sounds good, click “Sign In” as shown above.
On the next page, you’ll see that Pinterest automatically grabbed your avatar (we’ve blacked out this one for privacy reasons). Then you can choose a username, add your email address and password.
Click “Create Account” when you’re done. Next you’ll be presented with 28 categories that you can choose as being related to your interests. Pinterest uses this information to automatically follow people with common interests. You have to pick at least one category to continue.
When you’re done choosing, click “Follow People” at the bottom of the screen.
On the page page, you’ll be able to see who you are now following and remove them, if you prefer. If everything’s a-okay then you can start creating boards.
On the next page, you’ll see five suggested boards you can create. You can edit these, delete these or do whatever you want. If you’re not sure about all the boards you’re going to create, you can just start with one and add as many as you want later. You can also see further suggestions to the right. If you click one of those, it will automatically be added to your list.
Click “Create” when you’re done deciding on your boards. Again, you can add whatever you want or delete any boards later too. Now you’re ready to get started with Pinterest!
Using Pinterest: Pinning Basics and Terminology
In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to start creating your boards, pinning, repining and more. Before you dive right into Pinterest, there are probably a few terms that you need to know, so let’s start with those:
- Boards: Think of these as cork or pin boards, much like you may have or have had in real, but now they’ve gone virtual. You can set up topic-specific boards and add pictures that are relevant to those boards. For example, you might create a “Places I Want to Travel Board” or a “St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Party” board. How general or specific you want your boards to be is completely up to you.
- Pin: The main idea with Pinterest is to “pin” pictures to your boards. Pin is used both as a noun (what you put on your board is a “pin”) and a verb (the act of putting a picture on a board is “pinning”). For example, you might pin a picture of The Great Wall in your “Places I Want to Travel Board”
- Repin: When you see someone else’s pin that you like, you can “repin” it and place the picture on an appropriate board of your own. It’s a way of showing appreciation for a great find by another Pinterest member and it also helps you create an even better board for yourself.
- Like : If you see a pin that you like, but it doesn’t necessarily fit into your own boards, you can click a button to “Like” it. It helps you show appreciation for other people’s pins and Pinterest also keeps track of all your “Likes”, so you can refer to them later on.
- Comment: You can also leave a comment on other people’s pins or respond to comments on your own pins.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get started.
Create a Board
You can add a board to your account anytime. To create one, click the “Add+” button in the site’s top right menu.
Next, you’ll get the choice of adding a pin, uploading a pin or creating a board. For now, we are just going to create a board.
Next, you can create a name for your board and select a category.
You can choose to allow others to pin to your board. This is useful if you’re working on a collaborative project, planning an event, trip or something else that requires input from others. If that’s the case, you can select “Me + Contributors”. Add an email address and then click “Add”.
You can also add people who are already following you, by starting to type their name and Pinterest will populate the field with potential choices.
You can edit your board at a later date, including adding or removing contributors later.
To make a pin, you can do it directly from the Pinterest website, add a “Pin It” button to your browser or using a mobile app. We’re going to demonstrate how to pin from the Pinterest website and using the Bookmarklet.
Pinning from a Web Page using the Pinterest Website:
At the top right menu, click the “Add+” link.
You can add a pin from a web page or upload a pin from your computer. To a pin from a web page, click “Add a Pin.”
Now, enter the web page address that you’d like to choose a picture from. Enter the specific page you want, not just the website name.
Click “Find Images” when you’re done. Now, Pinterest will locate the images on the page you specified. Choose the image you want, specify the board you want to pin it to and add a little description. Click “Pin it” when you’re done.
Pinning an Image from Your Computer Using the Pinterest Website
After you’ve clicked the “Add+” button in the menu, this time you’re going to choose “Upload a Pin” instead.
Next, choose a picture from your computer, select an appropriate board and add a description. Click “Pin It” when you’re done.
Pinning from the “Pin It” Button on Your Browser
The “Pin It” button is the easiest way to pin from a website, so I recommend you set it up. To add it, go to http://pinterest.com/about/goodies/ and find the “Pin It” Button. All you do is drag and drop that button into the bookmarks toolbar near the top of your browser.
Now the button is on your toolbar. To use it, go to a web page you want to pin from and click it.
Pinterest will find all the images on that page. Just hover over the one you want and click the “Pin This” button that appears.
It’s as simple as that.
A Note About Images You Find on the Web:
Before you get started, have a look through Pinterest’s Pin Etiquette page at: http://pinterest.com/about/etiquette/. They stress the importance of providing proper credit for the images you use. That means, go to the original source of the image, rather than simply pinning from Google Images. If you are using Google Images to find your photos, click to view the original page and click the “X” at the top right corner of the image. That will bring you to the original web page and you can pin from there.
Repin, Like and Comment
You can find great images, by viewing the pins of other members. Whether you look at the public timeline or people you’re following, you can participate in Pinterest by repinning, liking or commenting on their pins. Here’s a walkthrough of those functions.
Hover over any pin, you’d like to repin and you’ll see 3 options. Choose “Repin”.
Then you’ll be able to choose the board you want to pit in it to and you can also change the description if you’d like before repinning.
To like a pin, you just select “Like” option shown earlier and the pin will then be recorded in your “Likes”, so you can look at it again anytime.
You can also leave a comment on anyone’s pin. Just click the “Comment” button and say what you’d like.
That’s Pinterest in a nutshell. As you can see it can be loads of fun to pin stuff. It can help you get organized, find your creativity and introduce you to people who share similar interests.
Finding People to Follow on Pinterest
Part of the fun of Pinterest, is inviting and finding the friends you already know and finding new people with similar interests as well. This tutorial will show you how to find all those people and more.
Invite and Friends
Pinterest is by invitation only, so if you’re friends aren’t on Pinterest yet, invite them. In the top right corner, mouse over your name and a menu will appear. Select “Invite Friends”.
Invite by Email:
You can choose to invite your friends by email and the form allows you to enter 4 email addresses. You can also enter a personalized message if you’d like. If you have more than 4 people to invite, you can fill out the form again when you’re done. Click “Send Invites”.
Invite and Find Friends Through Facebook
If you’d like to invite friends by Facebook, you can do that too. Just select Facebook from the left side of the invite screen.
Click “Find Friends on Facebook”. Now you’ll find a list of Facebook friends that you can invite and a list of Facebook friends that are already on Pinterest. I have blacked out the personal information in the image below, but you get the idea.
On the left, you can click “Invite” and it will automatically send a request to your friend. Note, you can’t send a personalized message using this type of invite. On the right side, you can select some or all your friends that are already on Pinterest and start following them.
Searching for People
To find people with similar interests, you can look under “Everything” and choose a category that interests you.
You can also look at the list of people who are following you to see if you might be interested in following them back. You can see their names, profile pictures and some of their recent pins. Just click “Follow” if you want to follow someone. You can click “Unfollow” if you later change your mind.
Search for Someone by Name
Pinterest has the ability to search for pins, but its ability to search for people is not always reliable. However, what you can do is enter a name in the search box:
On the results page, choose “People” to get your people results. In this case, we can easily find the person we’re looking for.
In the case where you can’t find what you’re looking for, one easy way to find specific people you’re looking for is by conducting a Google search of “[NAME] Pinterest.” For example:
If the person has a Pinterest account, you’re likely to see it near the top of the search results. In this case we see two results at the top and I’ll explain the difference between the two.
The first result shows a URL that has “source” in it. This link shows images that any Pinterest users have shared from Martha Stewart’s website. The second one that doesn’t say “source” and reads as pinterest.com/marthastewart is her actual Pinterest profile, so if you want to follow her specifically, use that link.
Follow People or Boards
You might find that you’re particularly interest in specific boards, rather than users in general. You can actually choose exactly what or who you follow.
To Follow a Person:
Go the person’s profile and select “Follow All” and you will follow all their boards and updates.
To Follow Board:
Go to a specific board and select “Follow Board” and you’ll get updates from the board only.
The nice thing about Pinterest is that it’s very open and you don’t have to worry about following a bunch of people to start with, just to start enjoying the site. There is a lot of interaction between people, even if they’re not following each other. So my advice is to find a few people to follow, start pinning and have fun.
8 Pinterest Marketing Ideas
Whether you’re promoting awareness of a certain cause, want more traffic to your blog or are promoting your business, Pinterest offers a unique opportunity to get your message out there through the use of images.
Another great thing about Pinterest is that you don’t need have to have a lot of followers to be seen. Pinterest is a very open website and people are always searching for images and topics of interest, so it’s easy to get started right away.
Here are 8 ideas for marketing on Pinterest. Feel free to use them, adapt them and expand on them. There are so many possibilities.
URL / Logo on Your Photos
Consider adding a little logo or URL to the images you place on your website. That way, when people pin your content or you pin your own, the source is immediately visible. Just make sure to keep it rather subtle. You don’t want to take away from the quality of your image as that may reduce the numbers of shares.
Here’s an example of pin someone made from retrojunk.com
One of the things you may have noticed searching around Pinterest is that they have a gifts category. You can pin a gift idea simply by putting a $ amount in the description of your pin. When you enter the dollar amount, it is automatically added to the image and it will be listed in the gift ideas too.
Then when you search for gifts in the price range, yours will appear at the top.
Have fun with Pinterest and try running a photo contest. For example, if you sell craft kits or some type of DIY project kits, invite your customers to post their results photos for entry into your contest. Display the photos in a special photo contest board.
Or if you’re promoting a cause, have people submit photos on what the cause means for them and display the photos.
Many companies are creating “Pin it to Win It” sweepstakes giveaways. In some cases, they, get people to repin an image with a specific description. In many of these contests, the winner receives the prize in the picture or you can come up with another prize if you’d like.
In others, companies are asking their customers to create a board of their favorite products and enter it for consideration in the contest. Here’s a pin board created by a LandsEnd.com contest winner:
Create some attractive and hard-to-resist coupons that can be repinned and shared on Pinterest. You can create your own coupon and add a “Pin It” button to your coupon page. You can also look at sites like CouponNetwork.com who encourage the social sharing of coupons.
Here’s an example of a coupon available through Coupon Network:
Again, you can post your own coupons directly and encourage repinning. Have fun with your coupons by adding humor and more. Just make sure the images are relevant to your offer.
If you have a collection or QR codes, create a board for them and add new ones when you have them. Just make sure to include a good description and categorize your board, so they’ll be easily found.
Or if you’re a blogger, who connects your followers with great information, collect QR codes from around the web that would interest them.
Pinterest provides amazing opportunities for collaborating. You can invite people to contribute to your boards for a specific event or project. You can add contributors whenever you set up a new board or you can add them by editing your existing boards.
Why not showcase the development of your next product or slowly leak details about an important upcoming function? You’ll build buzz and hopefully get better results in the process.
Holiday and Seasonal Marketing
Pinterest offers unique marketing opportunities throughout the year. As users prepare for Easter or Independence Day, they’re searching for recipes, crafts, entertaining ideas and more. Or if summer’s coming, they’re getting ready to go boating, camping and they start grilling more. Always keep seasonal needs in mind and create special boards for holidays, activities and more.
Here’s a Game Day Food Ideas example:
How can you incorporate something like this into your niche? What is your target market looking for?
Start Marketing…But Proceed with Care!
Now that you have a few ideas ready to run with, go for it. But before you run off, remember that just like with other social networks, your success will depend on your being a valuable contributor to the community. Focus on providing images that are useful, funny, inspiring, thought-provoking or aesthetically pleasing…rather than worrying about simply selling your products directly.