Did you know that Pinterest was the fourth largest traffic referrer for all U.S. websites in 2012 and it's gained even more steam over 2013. It’s time for authors to get with the program and start pinning! Talking with writers in the APE Community for Authors, Publishers and Entrepreneurs, I found that many people were overwhelmed by the options for social media and not sure how to use Pinterest as a writer.
The good news is that Pinterest requires less effort than Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn because you don’t need to respond to commenting as much as say Twitter or Facebook. By spending ten to fifteen minutes a day pinning new content or repining other people’s pins, you can establish a presence. This makes Pinterest great for writers who don’t have time to spend on social media.
Here are best practices for authors to observe when using Pinterest:
1. Build a foundation
Start by completing your Pinterest profile. Use your name, not the name of your book, to create your Pin account because you might write more than one book. Add the links to your Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts as well as your website. Include keywords such as “author,” “book,” “writing” and words that describe your genre such as “romance,” “mystery,” and “entrepreneurship.” This is my APE Pinterest board.
2. Start a collection
Pinterest is different from other social media sites where one’s timeline contains everything that you post. On Pinterest, you create multiple boards for specific topics such as reviews, interviews, ideas, and resources.
Your board names should communicate what people will find on your board. Do not keep the default board names. Make sure you use all the real estate available by completing the description for each board and use good keywords to help people find your pins and boards.
One thing to keep in mind is that once you name your board sand share the pin, if you change the title on your board the URL changes and it would break all the links that you used in your blog articles or profiles.
4. Pin pretty stuff
Pinterest has the highest aesthetic standards of any social media platform, so ensure that your pins stand out by using bright and interesting photos. The maximum width of a photo is 736 pixels but you can add taller images. I'm currently testing 700 x 1000 images to see how they work.
5. Write an original description
Each pin has a section to add a description or comment. This content provides the text for shared pins so think in the form of a tweet: brief, interesting and/or funny.
6. Customize your boards
Take advantage of the custom board cover option. Choose interesting photos for the cover and drag to put them in the perfect position.
7. Repurpose your content
Pin your blog posts so that your Pinterest followers will read your blog. You can also pin your longer, more involved Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn posts too. The big picture is that you’re trying to present a personal brand that is interesting, intelligent, and enchanting.
8. Cross-pollinate content
One of the biggest challenges in using social media to build a marketing platform is finding good content every day. Here’s a little secret: If a post is hot on a service such as Google+, it will probably also be popular on Pinterest. Thus, a viable strategy is to monitor what’s hot on other social media websites and then pin the hot stories with nice pictures to Pinterest.
9. Be subtle
Don’t pin only things about your book. Pinterest is for sharing ideas and inspiration, not selling your wares. Just like all social media, you shouldn’t talk only about yourself. Focus on attracting followers because of your content and curation in order to earn the privilege of promoting your book to them.
Use a board to collaborate with other pinners and crowdsource ideas. Don’t blindly accept board invitations because the board will be on your Pinterest page. If these boards feature inappropriate content or spam, your participation in them, no matter how small, will harm your reputation.
11. Show your personality
Pinterest is a great place to highlight some of the things that make you unique. Show your hobbies, places you’ve lived or your travel bucket list.
12. Use your secret boards
You can create three boards that are private. Use them wisely to curate content, save ideas for future projects, or keep time-sensitive items that you’ll want to make public later for a bigger splash.
Pinterest has broken into the mainstream and should be a part of your social media marketing mix for your book. Being a writer gives you an advantage over less creative folks so use this space to help build momentum for your books and stretch your social media efforts. Before you know it, you’ll actually be having fun there!
This post is an excerpt from APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur — How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch, published with their permission.
Featured image courtesy of Thomas Hawk licensed via Creative Commons.