Wednesday, 10 December 2014


Pinterest seems to be an enigma for many just starting out. And I must admit when I first signed up to the site, I put on a few pics, named one or two boards, and promptly forgot about it. Periodically I'd get an email from Pinterest suggesting boards I could follow, but I wasn't sure how that could be of any benefit to me.

I am assuming you have a Pinterest account, and have signed in. So now what?

What can you use Pinterest for?

You can use it for any pictures that you like, really. It keeps them in one place. You can refer back to them. For example, if you like gardening or are planning to design your own, you might like to collect some pics of gardens that you like or give you ideas. In that way, Pinterest is like a scrap book. In my case, I'm writing about the English Civil War and I want to see action shots, pictures of real people, the clothes they wore, the items they used and so on. It gives me ideas when I am writing, and will give me ideas for a book cover later. I am also fascinated by pirates and sailing ships as I wrote a pirate novel. The Pilgrim Fathers are another favourite. Spin offs are seventeenth century clothes, Tudor clothes, and so on. I am also fascinated by China (the country) and art and cooking - well as you can see the list is almost endless.

How does Pinterest work?

Pinterest is a social media site. Just as with Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and others, you follow someone, they follow you. Simple. Well, not quite that simple. How do you know who to follow? Probably the easiest way is to put a subject in the Pinterest search box. If you like gardening (let's assume you do), search for 'gardening'. Now you are presented with some options. Click on one, say 'gardening DIY'. Now you are presented with a page of pictures. Hundreds of pictures. You can narrow the field if you like by clicking one of the icons above the pictures, or you can scroll down and look at whatever you want.

Choose a picture. If you hover your cursor over it, you will see the 'pin it' button in the top left hand corner. Like this:
If you click the red Pin it button, you will get something like this:

I don't particularly want a picture related to gardening on my English Civil War board, so I need to change that to something more appropriate, or even create a new one. If you want to share it to Facebook or Twitter click those boxes, but remember next time to un-tick them if you don't want to keep sharing your pins with Facebook and Twitter! It tends to remember the last thing you did in that respect. If you want to add or change the description, do so now. Click 'Pin it'. Job done.

Now what happens next is that the person who put the picture on Pinterest in the first place will get an email saying that you have pinned one of their 'pins'. Now they may decide to follow you. If they do, you can decide to follow them, either all their boards, or just some of them, or one of them. To see all their boards, on the email notification, click on their profile picture, and you will see the options of all or some boards. You can repin other pics from their boards too, if you like.

When you follow someone's board, every time they pin to that board, you get their 'pins' on your feed. To find your feed, click the red 'P' button at the side of the search bar. The feed is updated regularly. You can 'repin' from anything that comes in on your feed, thus starting the cycle of follow and follow back all over again. Be selective when following all of someone's boards. They could have lots, many of which will not be of interest to you. As you get their pins on your feed, you could find a lot of stuff that just clogs up the feed.

That's the basics of how Pinterest works.

How can you use Pinterest for marketing?

You can pin pictures not only from Pinterest, but also from your own computer, or from the net. To do so from your own computer is straightforward. To do so from other sites, you can do one of two things. One, you can download the picture to your computer first. For those who don't know, put the cursor over the picture, right click, click 'save image as', and put it where you can find it again, then upload it to Pinterest. Fine if you want a lot of extra pics on your computer, which rather means you don't need Pinterest then!

The easier way is to get a 'pin it' button. You can try two ways. Put 'pin it button' in the search bar, or go to the question mark at the bottom right of the Pinterest page, and put it in the search there. Follow the instructions. It's very quick and this gives you a red 'P' at the right hand end of your task bar on your internet browser. Now, and here's the clever bit, when you are on the net and you come across a pic you want to pin, put the cursor over the pic, and the 'pin it' button magically appears in the top left hand corner:

Click it. This one is from Twitter, but you can get pins from anywhere on the web, (unless they have managed to disable that.)

Now there is another clever bit. If others have pinned from anywhere on the net, you can find the site they pinned from. This is how.

Go back to the gardening picture that you found on Pinterest, and hover the cursor over it. Now just click on the picture, and suddenly you've got a bigger version of the picture. Now you have some options at the top of the image. You can, of course, 'pin it'. You can 'Like it' (in which case the original pinner gets an email notification), you can 'send it', that is send it to someone who is also on Pinterest, or you can Facebook share. Or, you can go to 'Visit Site':

Clicking Visit Site will take you to the original website. Very useful if you want to know how to put plants in bottles, or if you want a recipe or whatever.

Also very useful if you want to advertise your stuff. Create a board for the items you want to advertise. Start putting pictures on it of anything related to the item. With my pirate book, as I said before, it is anything to do with pirates or ships. Also add a pic of the item itself. You probably don't need me to tell you to go to your own site or selling platform as a member of the public would, and pin a picture of the item of interest from there. Don't upload it from your computer, because it will not take the person looking on Pinterest anywhere. You can add a note about it if you like on the bottom of the picture. You can also add a URL, but it would need to be a shortened one. Periodically, pin a picture of your item of interest again as it will get buried under other pins you've done on that board. Remember, your pins will go out to your followers' feeds, which may cause them to look at your board.

Does Pinterest help in marketing? Yes, definitely, but it is difficult to say how much, as there is no way of monitoring how many people will go to your website or whatever from Pinterest.

I hope this helps all you who are wondering what to do with Pinterest.

Happy pinning!

Evelyn Tidman is the author of:

 Available on Amazon

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