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I recently saw a few tweets between friends on twitter saying that just didn't get Pinterest and weren't sure exactly how to use it. I was surprised and replied back saying how much I loved it and maybe I should do a tutorial. They both replied back with please do. So since I aim to please and I think Pinterest is a great tool for both bloggers and non-bloggers, I decided to write up a how to. Hope you find it helpful.
What is Pinterest?
In a nutshell, it is a virtual pin board with social media components.
Why use it?
Prior to Pinterest the bookmark folders on my computer were overflowing. Even though I had everything in themed folders, it just was not very helpful or easy to find what I was looking for. Pinterest has solved this problem for me. It is the virtual version of browsing through a magazine, tearing out a picture, and pinning it to a corkboard. Expect way better because you can create unlimited themed boards that can be accessed from anywhere. In addition, the social media aspect allows you to see what other people find interesting or inspiring. I love that part of Pinterest, it is a essentially a collective pool of ideas. Now, they may not all be good ideas, some will be down right weird but my experience has been that most are useful or at least thought provoking. Here's a few ways I use Pinterest:
- Meal Planning
- My Daughter's 2nd Birthday
- Gift Giving
- Outfit Inspiration
- Photography Inspiration
- Homeschool Activities
- Party and Holiday Planning
How do I join?
It is currently by invite only but invites are not that difficult to come by. You can request one through the Pinterest website or ask a friend for an invite. I have several. Leave a comment with your email or email me your info and I'll send you an invite. I am limited to six but most people have extras so reach out on Facebook and Twitter, I'm sure others would be happy to share.
I have an account, now what?
Once you receive your invite, you can create an create an account and a profile. A few things you should include or update in your profile, especially if you are a blogger:
1. Your bio: Yes, I know mine is blank in this screen grab. Bad blogger. I fixed it ;)
2. Add your web address.
3. Link to Facebook. Unfortunately, Pinterest does not allow you to link to a Facebook fan page or at least I couldn't figure out how to do it. So, I have mine linked to my personal account. I tweeted at Pinterest to inquire if it was possible. When I get a reply I will post an update and retweet it.
4. Link you Twitter account.
When you click save you will be taken to your profile page with "your boards." You can also always access this page by hovering over your name in the top right menu bar, a dropdown menu will appear, click "your boards." This is also the page people will see when they visit your profile.
Your Profile Page and Your Boards
Ok, let's look at what is on this page. On the right you will see your profile picture, the number of followers and the number of people you are following (more on following in a minute). Below your photo you will see your linked accounts. As a blogger, this is a great networking tool and free advertising.
Below your links you will find a feed of recent activity. In the example above, it just lists things I pinned because right before I took this screengrab I pinned a few things. However, it will also list when someone has repinned, liked, or commented on one of your pins as well as if you have new followers or if you were mentioned in a pin (I'll explain what that all means in the next section). Think of this like a facebook feed basically just an FYI, it doesn't necessarily require any action. However, this is a great way to interact with new people. I often find great need boards and blogs by visiting those who appear in my activity feed.
In the center are your boards. When you first open an account you are given 6 or so standard boards. These can be renamed or delete by clicking on the edit button. You can also add as many additional boards as you like. I have 66 boards. I know that sounds like a lot but it's what works best for me. For instance, in instead of just having one food board, I have "Cooking", "Baking-Dessert"and "Kid's Food" boards. This helps me stayed organized and makes it easier to find a recipe later. I actually have 8 boards that are kid related. Very helpful for planning activities by theme or season. Another example, I have a party board but then also a separate board for a Curious George Party because that was the theme for my 2 year olds party this year.
One of my new favorite features is a collaborative or joint board. One of my friends is engaged. She create a board and invited myself and a few others to joint the board. This can be done in the edit section of any board. Now we can all pin wedding ideas and inspiration to this board. I think this option has so many possibilities; it's really fun and useful.
Organizing Your Boards
The menu bar above the boards tells how many boards, pins, likes, and mentions you currently have. On the far right of that bar is a "rearrange boards" button. I like to keep mine organized by "theme." For example, I try to keep my food boards close, school/kids boards together, etc. Just click the rearrange button and you can drag and drop them in whatever order you want.
Following and Followers
Anyone can follow you and you can follow anyone. You can also choose to only follow certain boards of a fellow member. When you visit the profile page of a person you will see all their boards. Under each one will be a "Follow" button, click the one you want to follow. If you choose to follow all their boards, click the button under their profile.
Alright, you have your boards set up and you are ready to pin. There are two ways to get items on your boards. A Pin is created by you from a site on the internet and a Repin is when you pin an image you saw on someone else's board within Pinterest. I'm going to explained these separately and share how I pin but first you will need to add the "Pin It" button to your Bookmark Bar. Here's a link to a video from Pinterest explaining the very easy process, just a drag and drop.
- Pinning: You can "pin" any image on the internet onto one of your boards. A pin is like a bookmark. I like to pin as I read through my blogroll. So as I read through my favorite blogs I am also browsing for pins. If I see a tutorial for the cutest ruffled butt onesie or a recipe for the perfect grilled pizza or even just a photo I like and may want to try to duplicate with my family, I click the "Pin It" button. When you click the button on your bookmark bar a window will pop up with a grid of all the images from that page, hover over the image your want to pin, and a "pin this" button will appear. Here's an example:
Click the button and this window will appear.
Then, click the arrow next to the name of the board (it defaults to the last board you pinned on) a drop down menu will appear. Scroll through to find the board you want to pin the image on, I selected "Kid's Food." If you need to create a new board for this pin, scroll to the bottom. The last option is "create new board."
Fill in the description as you like. You can enter @ followed by a person's name, just like Facebook and Twitter, to mention them in a post. Also, similar to Twitter you can create a hash tag (#). Finally, you can also add a $ and the cost of the item in the image, this will create a small price tag on the corner of the image. None of these little extras are necessary, a simple description is fine but keep in mind there is a social media aspect of Pinterest and the overall concept is sharing. That being said "Haunted House Lunch" is better then "cute lunch idea." An even better description would have been "Haunted House Lunch #Halloween #Kids."
Just next to the "Pin It" button you have the option to publish your pin to Facebook and Twitter. I rarely do this but it's your preference. If I could link my Fan Page to Pinterest I would definitely ultilize it more.
Finally, click Pin. Hooray! You pinned something. Since, I'm usually reading through blogs, I just close the window and move on but you can follow any of the other options that appear in the window.
As I said, I mostly Pin as read through blogs but I also pin images from various other sites. For instance, if you look at my Cooking Board you will see many Pins from Cooking Light and other websites.
Your Feed of Images
Here is a screengrab of my Pinterest feed. There are four ways to view images on Pinterest. See where I highlighted below, that is where you look to know which feed you are viewing. Just click on one of the views to refresh your page. A brief run down of what each means:
- Pinboards You Follow: By default, when you sign in you will automatically be shown the feed of the boards you follow.
- Discussions: I could not find a definition or explanation by Pinterest for this view. As best I can tell, this groups the images from all users with descriptions that end in a question mark. I'm not kidding. I guess they consider that you starting a discussion.
- Everything: A view of the most current pins on all of Pinterest by all users.
- Gifts: Groups images from all users who entered a price in their description.
Now that you understand your view options you can start repinning images in your feed. Repinning is essentially copying an image from a follow Pinterest member and pinning it to one of your boards. This is akin to a retweet on Twitter or sharing a post on Facebook. Let me show you an example:
I saw this Pumpkin Baked Ziti in my feed. So I hovered over the images and the repin button appears. Click it and the repin window will pop up. The rest of the process is the same as pinning from another site, mentioned above.
If you click on the image you will be taken to a page that looks like the one below. A few things to take note of here:
- On the far left you will see the board that imaged is pinned onto. This can be a great way to find new boards to follow. If you like this image you may like others on this person boards.
- Below the board picture is a "Also from ..." box. Another good way to find new friends but most importantly the source of the image.
- When you click on the image it will take you to the source page. For this particular image it will take you to Paula Deen's site.
- You will notice I left a comment on this pin. Commenting on an image is just like commenting on a facebook status or image. You can mention people in your comment, as I did here. When you leave a comment, it will be sent to the person who pinned the image and anyone you (@) mentioned in the comment.
- Finally, note the options to the far right of the image. You have several social media options here. The fourth option is not clear in this image but says "embed" and is the html code for the image. It can be cut and paste into blog. Embedding the code automatically includes the source and backlink info under the image in your post so you don't have to worry about the extra step of siting the source.
A Few Final Tips
Pin from a permalink. If you don't know what that is, no problem. When you are on a site look at the address (highlighted example below) it should have additional text after the .com (or whatever the domain may be, .net. .gov, etc) The example here is a permalink.
- Why is this important? Well, if you don't pin the permalink it will be difficult to find the source of the image when you need it. This is a frequent problem when pinning from a blog. The solution, before you pin check the address. If it's just the blog address, then click on the title of the post within the blog and the page will refresh with the permalink. Pin away!
- Check out the Pinterest Goodies page to add buttons to your blog or images.
- Pinterest also has a free app. You can find more info here.
Some people will tell you that Pinterest is additive and a total time suck. Although this may be partly true, it can also be a great organizational tool and an asset to your blog. I really hope this post helps those of you who are hesitate or unsure of the awesomeness of Pinterest.
Feedback always welcome. Any follow up questions? Did I leave anything out?