An expert panel of top bloggers and social media influencers gathered in The Motherhood to discuss Pinterest – and the result was nothing short of the best how-to on Pinterest we’ve ever seen.
Read on to learn more from those in the know about how to get started on Pinterest, using the platform well, and how it can impact your life, blog or brand.
1. Pinterest Basics
Who’s on Pinterest and why?
The panel agreed – Pinterest users are more like Facebook users and are not necessarily “social media” types. And they are primarily female.
Rachel of A Southern Fairytale said, “TONS of the teachers at our elementary school are completely NOT into social media, and yet they all use Pinterest. Same with Bible study groups. They don’t get social media, don’t read blogs … but they understand and LOVE Pinterest. For party planning, saving and filing recipes, craft ideas, ideas to use in their classrooms, etc…”
“I find Pinterest really helps me organize and save my ideas for my business, my blog and my personal life. Before I would have this endless list of bookmarks and I wasn’t always sure what was what,” said Jill Simpson.
Pinterest is not necessarily about the number of followers you have, either (yet). “You know… I have noticed something interesting. Pinterest is a real leveler. When you look at most popular pins, it is OFTEN someone with very few followers who first pinned it. You don’t need thousands of followers on Pinterest to have a huge impact, unlike pretty much every other social network,” observed Kelby of Type A Parent.
Everyone uses Pinterest for different reasons, but Tracy named a common one: “I love to pin for inspiration or to bookmark something I want to go back to.”
Jen of The Big Binder tells people to “use FB to follow everyone they know, then see what kinds of things are interesting to them … eventually you’ll create your own boards and even start pinning things on your own.”
“I recommend installing the bookmarklet immediately for your browser, so that anywhere on the internet you can pin straight to your boards with ease,” said Lindsay of Rock & Roll Mama. “I found this to populate them FAST.”
What’s This Pinterest Website? from Wall Street Journal
Pinterest and How To Use It from A Mom’s Take
Cool Mom Picks guide to getting started on Pinterest
NPR, Pinterest is a Woman’s World
Is Pinterest a “girl thing”? conversation thread
Pinterest is not about number of followers (yet) conversation thread
What is your favorite thing to “Pin”? conversation thread
The Secret to Pinterest’s Success: We’re Sick Of Each Other on Huffington Post
2. Using Pinterest – The Next Steps
Organizing Your Pinterest Boards
“Keep it simple in the beginning until you get more comfortable and understand the platform,” said Josh Gingold, managing editor of CBS Interactive. “Also, know what you intend to do with it so everything you do early will help make it more useful later.”
As a start, you can take a page out of Ciaran of Momfluential‘s book with “a few boards that I consider big catch alls and then I filter down to more specific stuff.”
Pinterest is a visual place with obvious applications for design and style, but as Amie of Mamma Loves pointed out, “If you think of Pinterest as a tagging system and less a vision board, I think the applications grow exponentially.”
Pinterest as a Website Traffic Driver
“I have seen a big increase in followers [since starting to use Pinterest],” said Dagmar of Dagmar’s Momsense. “Maybe because I’m doing a lot of decorating/craft posts right now.”
Added Kimberly of Foodie City Mom, “It has helped me to see which posts on my blog are the most popular. Without fail, the images that have been pinned correlate to most popular posts according to Google Analytics. It also sends traffic.”
Cross-Promoting Blogs and Pinterest
When it comes to linking from Pinterest to your own blog, “be sure it looks good and is interesting (and you do WAY more pinning of other content),” said Kelby of Type A Parent. “You also want to be sure your [blog] content is PINNABLE … good images, easy to pin.”
To tease future posts and pique interest, Robin “recently started a ‘to be continued…’ board for future story ideas.”
As Rachel of A Southern Fairytale noted, “Do I think about Pinterest and StumbleUpon before I put up my images? Sure … am I writing things TO get them on Pinterest? Heck no.”
“But I can imagine that a lot of people are – much like people blog for SEO, etc,” said Aimee of Greeblemonkey. “But as they say – the creme rises to the top?”
“I crack up at the post where it says something about thanks to Pinterest for making me feel creative when I really have been sitting at my computer screen for 2 hours – BUT IT IS TRUE!” said Aimee.
Instagram and Pinterest – Made for Each Other?
“Instagram and Pinterest seem like a match made in heaven. Images are essential for Pinterest,” said Josh of CBS Interactive.
Others disagreed. “Pinterest feels to me less like a place to share personal pictures. I know you CAN, but I really don’t too often,” said Kelby of Type A Parent.
“But what about images of stuff – food you’ve tried and want to recreate, a bag at Anthropologie you love, a new nailpolish color or room vignette?” asked Ciaran of Momfluential. “A lot of my Instagram stream is not so personal.”
Self-Promotion Not Welcome
Rachel of A Southern Fairytale said, “I have once or twice pinned something of my own, but I really think it should be more of a pinning others to show and share the love and respect for what they’ve created.”
Added Kimberly of Foodie City Mom, “I think that as long as people are pinning things of others that they genuinely think are great, it’s fine to include some personal pins from time to time.”
And Josh of CBS Interactive pointed out, “I don’t see how you can avoid self-promotion completely but agree that too much will turn people off. Maybe that’s the point though… let the market decide… if people don’t like what you’re doing then they’ll simply ignore you.”
The Motherhood Conversation Threads:
What is the difference between following a board and following a user?
3. Pinterest: Issues and Concerns
In many cases, re-pinned images are not attributed or linked to the original source on Pinterest, and people don’t get the credit they deserve for their work. How can you avoid contributing to this issue?
“The main thing is to be sure you pin from the original source and keep the link intact,” said Kelby of Type A Parent. “And avoid pinning from places that are never original sources like Google image search.”
For those uploading original work to their Pinterest boards, “I would watermark my images with a copyright and URL if you’re concerned. Only way to protect yourself,” recommended Amie of Mamma Loves.
Information for Bloggers and People Who Use Pinterest by Living Locurto
Is Pinterest A Haven for Copyright Violations? on Hubpages
4. Brands on Pinterest
What Not To Do
Pinterest is becoming a big deal in social media for businesses – but there is a right and a wrong way for businesses to get on the Pinterest bandwagon.
“I am seeing businesses creating only boards of their items. I won’t follow these pinners because I don’t want to be advertised to,” said Amie of Mamma Loves.
On the flip side, Aimee of Greeblemonkey noted, “I still maintain it is a haven for anything artistic and any brand that sells creative things are *bleeps* for not at least looking at Pinterest.”
She also recommended that brands use shared boards, “where they are sharing interesting things in their field, and getting bloggers to the the same – adding to the community – rather than blatant self promotion.”
Doing It Right
“Look first before jumping in. See whom other people are praising in your “space” and learn from what they are doing well,” said Kimberly of Foodie City Mom.
Amie of Mamma Loves added, “Brands should work to develop content that is ‘Pin-worthy.’ It will get on Pinterest if it interesting, creative, beautiful, informative.”
“I would add ‘Tell your brand story visually,’” said Lindsay of Rock & Roll Mama. “Are you quirky? Colorful? Global? Funny? Symmetrical? Show me, don’t tell me.”
“Look at this board created for Lily Pulitzer! I’d follow this .. it’s eye candy so I’m in,” said Cairan Blumenfeld, mominfluential.
Cairan added, “I like Hayden Harnett’s “Stuff We Love” board. They have used boards like catalogs as well, which is interesting but I’m not as in love.”
“Scholastic has a board of vintage Scholastic books, flyers, etc. that is super cute,” said Kelby. “I also love that Michael’s pins projects from all over (I thought for sure they would only have their own instructions from their own site, but not at all).”
I like that Chobani repins bloggers who make dishes with their products. It seems kind of self-serving but at the same time, they are also promoting the bloggers too, said Jennifer Rees.
Why small business cannot afford to ignore Pinterest, by Josh Gingold (a host for The Motherhood Talk)
How Pinterest Is Becoming the Next Big Thing in Social Media for Business, Entrepreneur Magazine
Related conversation threads on The Motherhood:
5. The Future of Pinterest
Pinterest creator Ben Silberman recently announced that the company is considering offering private boards. He also noted that an application programming interface for the site is on its way – allowing the creation of offshoot apps and services.
What will that mean for Pinterest? Ciaran of Momfluential speculated, “It will definitely be helpful for the ability to track a hashtag, for example. It will provide groups and services with the ability to sort and share info in new ways. I also see offshoot companies forming that can pull specific content.”
“I could imagine feeding them into a Facebook app,” added Lindsay Lebresco. “I would imagine an API would help with getting good analytics (if you’re using it for work) as well. PRINTING stuff. And even doing collaboration more easily perhaps. Yes – limitless!”
Thank you to the fantastic Talk hosts for leading the conversation! You can visit the full transcript of our Live Talk on Pinterest here.
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