Recently, I had the honor of speaking at the Central California Women’s Conference held right here in Fresno, CA. The topic that I spoke on was Pinterest and how to get the most out of using the site. I thought I’d share the main points of my presentation here as it was well-received and I’d love to help Pinterest rookies enjoy the site more as well as hopefully increase the benefits regular users get out of utilizing the site. I will separate this into three posts, the first, to help new users learn how to use and enjoy Pinterest, the second the etiquette of good Pinterest use (or “Pintiquette”), and third, how to utilize Pinterest to effectively promote your business and brand.
Pinterest 101: Prepare for the addiction!
Background: Pinterest began as a site started by Cold Brew Labs, a company comprised of a three programmers working together out of a small apartment. The site began as a beta test and was initially accessible only to friends and family of the programmers and later expanded to include 9,000 early users. Cold Brew Labs worked diligently on their site and offered unheard of support to their early users offering home phone numbers for troubleshooting needs! By 2012, Pinterest was officially available to the public without invitation requirements and had become the fastest site to reach 10 million users EVER. As of August, 17 million Pinterest users were registered with 2.2 actively pinning daily and 15 million using the site every month.
For those not familiar with Pinterest, the site serves as an electronic pinboard, allowing the user to virtually pin images of anything they like online. A user can create multiple boards and categorize them as he/she sees fit. Popular categories include recipes, home decor, fashion and beauty, cleaning and organization tips and humorous photos. Pinterest turns the once visually uninteresting and tedious task of creating and filing favorite websites as bookmarks into an eye catching and pleasant experience with its clean interface and user-friendly controls.
How to get started: Creating an account requires the completion of an easy fill-in form or connecting via an existing Facebook account. Once you’re logged in, you’ll begin to immediately view popular “pins” (images of neat things Pinterest users found interesting enough to add to their boards).
If you see something you would like, and wish to “repin” to your own boards, all you have to do is click the image, press repin, and choose a board to place it on. If you haven’t created any boards yet, you’ll just tell Pinterest you want to “create a new board”.
You’ll want to review and adjust the caption to your liking when you repin.
When you’re ready to come back to what you’ve pinned, all you have to do is click twice on the pin and you’ll be directed to the pin’s original source. Below is a screen shot of the website where the broccoli and beef recipe “lives”.
Once you’ve pinned something to a board, you’ll be able to view all of your boards. To get there, just hover over your name in the top right corned and select “boards” from the drop down menu. You will then see a page that looks something like this:
From this page, it’s easy to edit your board names, move pins around or delete pins or boards as you see fit.
Once you’ve got your boards set up and understand how to pin, you’d probably enjoy connecting with some of your friends online. Once you do so, you will be able to “follow” their boards – meaning, you can see what neat things they’ve pinned whenever you log in to Pinterest. If you like what they’ve pinned, you can repin. If you don’t share common interests, you can easily unfollow a person’s boards or a single board — just click on their name and click “unfollow” on the boards you wish to unfollow. Don’t worry — they won’t be notified. You don’t have to like everything they like anyway.
To connect with friends, just hover over your name again, and click “find friends” to search for Pinterest users you know using your email address book, Facebook account and/or Twitter account.
Once you’ve connected with your friends, you will be able to see who likes what you’ve been pinning either by clicking “like” on your pins or repinning them. Don’t worry though, this isn’t a competition! Pinterest doesn’t quite come with some of the drama of other social networks — the real joy comes more from the ideas and inspiration you find in discovering neat new things online than it does in the social part of the site. If people aren’t repinning your pins, no biggie! You just have different taste, and in a world of people too often trying to fit in a box or mold — that’s not a bad thing! Your Pinterest boards are about YOU and what YOU like.
There are some many things I enjoy about using Pinterest to discover and organize ideas. Here are just a few of the benefits I’ve personally experienced:
- Eliminate cluttered bookmarks
- Discover great ideas you might otherwise have not stumbled upon online
- Create your own, personalized “best of the internet” hub
- Save money by learning how to make awesome gifts at home vs. spending a fortune at the store
- Learn new recipes and expand your cooking horizons
- Learn new makeup and hair techniques and fun ways to put together clothing
- Discover ways to organize your home and clean it more efficiently
- Discover places you never knew existed, but would like to visit
- Find things that will cheer you up and leave you in tears from laughter after a trying day
With Pinterest, as in life, there can be too much of a good thing — a few important reminders to keep Pinterest’s potential detriments in check:
- Remember, all of the amazing ideas you see on Pinterest were not all created/carried out by one person. NO ONE is perfect! You don’t have to have the perfect robin’s egg bedroom, gorgeously wrapped gifts, busy books for each day of the week for your toddler, vaulted ceilings and 7-course meals for dinner every night. Be realistic. You are one person capable of many things — but NO ONE is capable of doing all things perfectly all at once. No one. Enjoy the inspiration Pinterest provides, but if it starts to feel like pressure — take a break!
- Watch the time you’re spending on Pinterest. It’s easy to lose hours browsing all of the amazing new ideas you’re discovering quickly all in one place. But remember, your children don’t care how many kids’ science experiment ideas you found if you don’t spend time with them because you’re too busy pinning.
I hope you found this tutorial helpful! Come back tomorrow for part two, Pintiquette: The finer points of great Pinterest use.
[all images and their original sources available via Pinterest/my Pinterest boards]