What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social media website where people look for inspiration, ideas or entertainment and is an important platform often underutilized by authors.

“Pinterest drives more referral traffic to websites than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined.” ~ Mashable.

Users upload images either from their own computers, websites or other Pinterest boards and place them in an organized manner onto boards which can be created as different categories or themes. Each time you upload a new image you can pin this image to your board. Images can be shared from one board to another between those who share similar interests. People who like what you place on your boards will often follow you to see what you will be uploading in the future.

Pinterest for Authors

Pinterest gets a lot of traffic. In fact, it is the third largest social media platform after Facebook and Twitter. Therefore, it is a social platform that cannot be ignored. But how can you use Pinterest as an author to drive traffic to your website and ultimately to sales?

  1. First things first, set up a business account. Terms and services are different between a personal and a business account, and as you want to establish an author brand then you want to set up a business account.
  2. Use your author name and your profile picture so that people can immediately recognize you when they see your boards.
  3. Maximise the About Page so that your readers can learn more about who you are and what you write. You can link to your Twitter and Facebook accounts, and add your website author page.
  4. Check your settings in your Pinterest account by making sure that your setting is marked to ‘no’ for Search Privacy. This means that Google can search your profile and index this, which will probably be more readily be indexed than your personal blog.
  5. Adding the Pin It button to your browser bar makes it a lot easier to upload images to your boards from websites. To do this, go to https://help.pinterest.com/en/articles/add-pinterest-browser-button and follow the instructions accordingly for your particular browser.
  6. To save an image to your board: Click the Pinterest icon up in your browser. Choose an image for your pin. Pick a board and press the Pinit button.
  7. Start searching for boards to follow. The first boards you should search are those who like reading per se and follow these. If you write only a specific genre then look of genre-specific boards and follow those people who like reading say romance books, or crime thrillers.
  8. Add the Pinterest button to your websites by using a site such as Share This: http://www.sharethis.com/publishers/get-sharing-tools
  9. Add the Pinterest Follow widget to your website to increase your followers: https://developers.pinterest.com/tools/widget-builder/
  10. When to Pin to get maximum notice? Pinterest users are usually most active between 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. weekdays, and quite active on the weekends, especially on a Sunday.

Creating your Pinterest Boards around your Books

  1. Know your target audience and create boards for these people. Start with 8 boards and pin at least 10 images per board.
  2. The more images you pin, the more people will share, the more followers you will get. However, the basic trick to being seen on Pinterest is to pin images often and have pins that are consistent to what you upload. Avoid pinning random images. You want to be an authority of certain boards/themes and always pin images to these boards. And do so weekly in order to keep your followers around. If you only pin once in a blue moon your followers will forget you and go elsewhere.
  3. If you have an awesome book cover then pin it. It can become the central pin to your board around which other pins can be placed. For example, if you have a murder mystery set in Scotland, you can pin your cover, and then pin the places mentioned in the book. Pin tartans belonging to the families, specific objects that were used in the murder, images that invoke feelings of mystery, etc. You want to create an online storyboard pertaining to each book.
  4. Write 100 – 200 words for each image, either leaving clues for your potential readers, or an explanation as to why they have been included. Here you can use your keywords to your advantage and this is also important for discoverability.
  5. Think about turning an exciting passage from the book that can stand on its own, and turn it into a pin.
  6. Take your best rave reviews and turn these into pins, accompanied by relevant images.
  7. On your book cover you can publicize your book, from where you can purchase it, price points, versions, book signings, readings …
  8. For an excellent example of how an author uses Pinterest is Joanna Penn. Here is her profile page: https://it.pinterest.com/jfpenn/

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