Using Pinterest to Pump Your Platform

Pinta-rest.

My 23-year-old daughter claims I say it wrong.

“Mom, it’s pin plus interest. It’s pronounced pin-trist, not pinta-rest.”

It’s an awkward name.

I’d been hearing about Pinterest for months but had no reason to learn how to pronounce it correctly. I didn’t have time for a silly little social media site where people look at photos of puppies, share recipes, and plan weddings.

But social media guru Ingrid Schneider told me it might be a good way to market my book. Surpisingly I got hooked.

Now I’m convinced every author should consider Pinterest as a potential marketing tool.

What is Pinterest? In simple terms, Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board. Instead of using words or tweets, people simply create bulletin boards and pin photos to the boards. Others stop by to see what they’ve pinned. If they like it they re-pin the images on their bulletin boards.

What makes Pinterest unique compared to other social media sites? First, Pinterest requires little effort. If you see an image you like, you click “re-pin” and tell it which bulletin board to go to. Another unique feature is that Pinterest lets you look for images by topic, in addition to people.

Is it really that popular? The site was created two years ago but has since witnessed phenomenal growth in the last six months. Check out these stats:

*In mid-December 2011, the total unique visits hit 11 million. As of February 7, 2012, when I wrote this article, Pinterest was gaining 11.7 million unique monthly visitors.

*Pinterest has 40 times the number of followers it did six months ago!

*Pinterest is one of the top 10 social media networking sites, driving more traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined!

Pinterest blossomed in the middle of the country and its primary followers are women aged 25-44, although that is quickly changing. Men make up 20% of users. As companies see the advantages of putting their products on the site, demographics will surely change.

So is Pinterest The New Amazing Network? Chris Brogan says, “It will be for those who use it to build a relationship that goes beyond the pins. Any network is serviceable, if you learn to interact and help people satisfy their needs.

What are the ways people are using Pinterest?

*Retailers are posting images of their products. Pins contain websites that bring viewers back to the store’s website, leading to sales.

*Bloggers are putting images on Pinterest that link back to their blogs. Imagine how one cool image could go viral and share your blog’s link thousands of times!

Can you show me some examples of how people are using Pinterest to market things?

*Tourism –12 Reasons to Visit Buck’s County

*Since my own book won’t be released until March 2013, and I don’t have a title or cover, I’m promoting my counseling practice.

*Companies like Etsy, Nordstrom and Lands’ End are developing a presence on Pinterest. My friend Jim Simon pins his Koostik. Food bloggers showcase their best recipes. Tech reporters list their favorite gadgets.

So how might an author use Pinterest?

*Use it to create a story line or brainstorm ideas about characters, settings, time periods, costumes, architecture, themes, etc. I noticed author Chris Bohjalian started a board for his latest project.

*Upload images of your book cover and post it on a bulletin board of your favorite books. The people who started the site ask that you keep self-promotion to a minimum and be sure to give proper credit to your pictures.

So how do I get started?

Pinterest is an invitation only website, so you can ask someone who is currently a user to invite you, or ask for an invitation from the website.

Since I write about self care, I thought it would be important to remind you that you don’t have to interact with others on Pinterest and you don’t have to use it for marketing? Fellow WordServe author Katy McKenna has been caring for ailing parents for ten years. Here’s what she says:

Pinterest, in a weird way, is saving my life—and not just my creative life. Because I instantly got hooked, there were no longer enough hours in the day to keep up negative news. I get a kick out of scanning pics and finding those that remind me of the people, places, and things I’ve enjoyed over the years. Now I am thrilled with happiness if I spot on someone’s board a bouquet of roses in my favorite color combo—rust and purple. I am catching myself LOLing about silly stuff like I used to. JOY.

A few more links:

A beginner’s guide

Set up your author Pinterest profile in 10 easy steps

The power of the re-pin

21 must follow Pinterest users  

More tips for getting started

Making your website pinnable 

How to bring traffic to your blog using Pinterest

13 tips and tricks for cutting edge users

The ultimate guide to Pinterest

Everything you need to know about Pinterest

Why more men should join pinterest 

7 examples of brands that pop on Pinterest

56 ways to market your business on Pinterest

Are you using Pinterest to pump your platform? If so, how? If not, why?

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