Getting Started With Pinterest

I love Pinterest and use it on a regular basis. In fact, I recently gave a talk about Pinterest at our Online Marketing Meetup. That should come as no surprise since I find myself smack dab in the middle of the demographic that has turned this site into an overnight sensation!

In its most basic form, Pinterest is an online pinboard where you can visually organize all of the things you love. Instead of having a long list of URL’s to sort through, Pinterest gives you a functional and beautiful way to keep track of…everything. The search function allows you to find things you like, as well as people with similar interests, who in turn fill your timeline with pins that you should like. It’s pretty sweet.

You do need to be invited to get started, but chances are, some of your friends are already on board. If no one you know is using Pinterest, you can simply request to join. You’ll just have to wait until another member approves you, which usually happens within a few days.

After creating your account (I suggest using Facebook or Twitter to streamline this process), you need to create a few boards. Boards are where your pins live. Pick a few things that you like and start there. To give you an example my recipe board is called “Tasty Bites” and my craft board is called “Making It”. You can call the boards whatever you want – they’re yours!

The next step is to install the “Pin It” button in your browser. This is a pretty simple step but if you get stuck, they can help. This little “Pin It” piece of magic is what keeps Pinterest fresh and exciting. When you click on the button, it will bring up a screen with every image on the web page you’re browsing.

You then select the image you want and it creates a pin. Use this often while browsing! If you don’t install and use this button, everyone keeps re-pinning the same things over and over. Not only is this boring, but Pinterest has yet to introduce a filter that prevents duplication. It’s worth repeating: install the Pin It button and pin new content – daily.

The last thing to keep in mind if you’re thinking about jumping on the Pinterest train is that you’ll need to avoid pinning your own things. At least, you’ll need to avoiding pinning things that have little value to other people. Pinterest is not an e-commerce site and it isn’t your personal website. Pin things that inspire and contribute to the community following your board. If you’re really proud of something you’ve done, pin it. Otherwise, the only approved way to circumvent shameless self promotion is to add a “Pin It” button to your website and get your friends and customers to pin your stuff for you.

Happy pinning! And let me know if you use Pinterest or plan to start.

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