Pinterest’s meteoric rise has made it the number three social network, behind Facebook and Twitter. As Pinterest develops, people are using it to go beyond recipes and home décor. Here, we suggest ways authors can use Pinterest to build their brands and generate useful traffic.
What Is Pinterest?
Pinterest is an image-based social networking and social publishing site. Think of it as virtual scrapboarding. Pinterest makes it easy to create themed image boards that are visually stunning. Popular categories include crafts, weddings, travel, recipes, and home décor. As well as creating boards to keep note of things they have discovered, people often browse boards in search of new ideas or products.
Who Uses Pinterest?
Pinterest is the most female-friendly social media site, with women making up 82 percent of users. Users spend longer on Pinterest than Twitter: an average of 16 minutes per day. Even the president of the United States is now pinning! The site drew 19 million unique visitors in March 2012, although there are signs its growth may be leveling off.
Create an Author Snapshot
Pinterest can enable you to convey what you are all about at a glance. Your inspirations, your books, your characters, and your writing process can all be compelling themes for boards. Here are a few ideas:
- Give a behind-the-scenes glimpse into your process: pin photos of your writing desk, manuscript, finished book, or even balled-up pieces of paper in the trash—anything that invites readers inside your world.
- Create a board for the main characters or settings in your book.
- Create a board of your favorite books (book covers work very well) or photos of your favorite authors.
- Post inspirational quotes or images that will appeal to aspiring writers.
- Create a teaser board that hints at the storyline or characters of upcoming books.
- Make a couple of boards that highlight your personal passions, but keep them consistent with your author brand. (You may want to nix that board of fluffy kittens if you are a master of murder and mayhem!)
- Consider having a mix of private boards (which you control) and public boards (to which others can add).
Pinterest can be an effective traffic driver, so check that the links behind each image go to useful places (like your website or blog, or your excerpt on Scribd). Linking to retailers is fine, but link to several—or to randomhouse.com, which shows multiple retailer links.
Popular images are likely to be repinned by others. Because users often retain the same caption when they repin, make sure yours will still make sense on someone else’s board.
After investing time creating boards, you’ll also need to drive traffic to them. This is most easily done by connecting your Pinterest and Facebook or Twitter accounts.
Check Out These Authors
Here are some authors who use Pinterest particularly well:
Allison Brennan—Good selection of tightly focused boards. And yes, she does have one with fluffy kittens.
Tahereh Mafi—This YA author has interesting inspiration boards for her books.
Nicholas Kristof—This journalist uses image captions to tell a story within each board. And the board devoted to his wife creates a real emotional connection.
Michael Scott—Michael uses the boards to build out his mythology and science fiction credentials.