By France Caballo (@caballofrances)
The Writer.ly Team is excited to welcome author and social media expert Frances Caballo, who will contribute to our blog regularly.
When Pinterest first appeared on the social media landscape, it caught our attention and left us entranced. It was, in some ways, a revolution in social media. Why? Because like Instagram, images – not large blocks of text – captivate us.
Pinterest’s growth has been exponential. Between September and December 2011, unique visitors to its website climbed by 429 percent. According to Our Social Times, between 2012 and 2013, Pinterest ranked third in popularity, trailing behind Facebook and LinkedIn. (Twitter ranked fourth followed by Instagram.)
According to a new report by Digital Marketing Ramblings, 70 million people now use Pinterest and 80 percent of them are women.
The top pinboards are DIY, crafts, food and drink, home décor, holidays and events, women’s fashions, but don’t become dejected as a writer over this. There are numerous ways that authors can use Pinterest to drive traffic to their blogs and other landing pages to promote their books and services.
Is your novel set in Spain? Create a pinboard of the places your characters travel to or live. Is your book about horses? Assemble a pinboard of beautiful horses from around the world. Did you write a book about grant writing for nonprofits? Highlight nonprofits in your community and from abroad. Do you write about rescued dogs or cats? Upload pictures of animals available for adoption. Do you write memoir? Upload some personal photographs. Do you write romance? Upload all of your book covers. Do you promote your book with your blog? Hyperlink an image from your blog and pin it to Pinterest so that when users click on your image, they will immediately navigate directly to your blog.
The possibilities are endless.
Getting Started on Pinterest
To claim your username on this popular network, go to www.Pinterest.com and sign up for a business account. Complete your first and last name (if you use a pen name, use that instead), and say something about yourself incorporating keywords. Include your website address or a URL for your blog, and include keywords in the About section.
The final step is to add the “Pin It” button to your browser so that you will be able to select and pin photos that you find while searching the Internet and from your own website or Amazon. The process for adding the bookmark will depend on which browser you use. However, Pinterest provides very clear directions. To upload a Pin It button, navigate to this web address: http://bit.ly/1p8PuSm. If you need help, you’ll find answers to your questions here: http://help.pinterest.com/en.
Before creating a pinboard, follow some of your writing colleagues or Facebook fans. Look at their boards, follow their pins, and let your ideas about the types of pinboards you want to create germinate for a few days or weeks. You can even start by creating “My Favorite Books,” “Poets,” or “Writing Prompts” pinboards for the array of images that appeal to the author in you.
Search for the Perfect Pin
When you click on Pinterest in the middle of your taskbar, you will arrive at your news feed where you can see images others are pinning. You can also use search bar to explore images by category, such as romance writers, hiking, memoir, canoeing, or whatever topic you select.
Once you find photos that appeal to you, leave comments, “like them” and then “repin” them to boards that you create.
Once you click Repin, Pinterest will give you the option of creating a new board or pinning the photo to the board you already started.
Add Your Personal Photos
To upload a photo of your own, create a new board, or add an image using a web address, simply click plus sign on the task bar next to your profile image.
Categorize Your Pins for SEO
Pinterest will encourage you to select a category for each board you create. You may find the categories somewhat restricting. For example, there is currently no separate category for books; it is categorized together with music and film. The same is true for other disciplines, but perhaps this will change over time. Using categories, and whenever possible, linking images back to your website or blog, are good search engine optimization strategies.
Review, Revise, and Edit
If you are unhappy with the cover photos Pinterest automatically generates for your pinboards, you can change them. Simply hover over the board and the words Change Cover will appear.
You will then have the option to select and reposition a new picture for your cover. If you decide that you don’t like a certain photo anymore, open the board, hover over the photo, click Edit, and then click Delete.
To rearrange the order of your pinboards, simply hover over the pinboard you’d like to adjust and move it.
In her next post, Frances discusses 15 Best Practices for Pinterest!
About the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter and the San Francisco Writers Conference. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.