Hey there, friend! Chances are you landed here via a search engine or from Pinterest itself. Many of your questions about how to use Pinterest can be answered in the Pinterest Help Section.
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So what is all of this about? What is Pinterest?
Last month, I shared with you that I am absolutely loving Pinterest. I've been thrilled to discover that more and more of my friends are signing up, and now that I've been using it for a few months, I thought it might be helpful to share what I've learned in an effort to make get started on it a little less daunting.
There is a lot to cover, so let's just get started:
1) What is Pinterest?
You can read from Pinterest's About page that they describe it as
a virtual pinboard — a place where you can create collections of things you love and "follow" collections created by people with great taste.
People use Pinterest to collect and share all sorts of things -- wedding inspiration, favorite T-shirts, DJ equipment. You name it, people are pinning it.
Yeah, that pretty well sums it up.
2) How do I get a Pinterest invitation?
Leave a comment on this post and I will send you a Pinterest invite!
3) How do I get started on Pinterest? How do I set up my Pinterest page?
So, once you've gotten your invite, the first thing you'll do is set up your profile page.
As you can see, your profile will show whatever you choose for your display name, a profile picture, a bio/description if you so choose (and I think you should), and how many followers you have as well as how many you are following.
When you open a new Pinterest account, you will be given these five templates for boards:
You can keep these five boards to get started, but you certainly don't have to. You'll notice in the screenshot from my profile above that below each of my boards there is an "edit" bar. Click on this and you can name/rename a board, write a description for that board, choose a category (required by Pinterest), determine if you are the only one who can pin or if it's a shared board, or just delete the board altogether. Be sure to click on Save Board Settings when you are done!
At the top of your profile page, in the right-hand part of the screen, you'll see various drop-down menus to help you navigate your own settings and boards as well as discover others on Pinterest. That's all pretty self-explanatory:
Click on Rearrange to arrange in which order you boards appear on your profile page.
4) How do I navigate Pinterest?
Great question! This is perhaps the most overwhelming part when you first begin.
If you are logged into Pinterest, you can hit the Pinterest icon in the top left-hand corner of your screen to go to your Pinterest home. Just like going to your home page in Facebook or Twitter, this will show you your feed. Here you will see all of the recent pins of the people you follow.
Bear in mind that everyone who follows you will see everything that you pin in their feed.
From your home page (not profile - your Pinterest home), you will see a link to Discussions. This will show you what is hot on Pinterest at the moment based on comments and repins.
Next to that is the link to Everything. This brings up the feed for, well, everything. The most recent pins from everyone on Pinterest are featured in this feed.
Finally, there is the Gift feed which features pins tagged with prices grouped conveniently into price ranges.
*** At this point, I want to say that my #1 Tip for getting started on Pinterest is this: before you set up your first board and before you pin a single thing, click on the Everything feed and just spend some time looking. This will help you to see what kinds of things people are pinning, what kinds of boards others have created, and just give you a general feel for what Pinterest is about. I did not do this when I first started, and I wish someone had told me to do that first. ***
5) How do I pin something to Pinterest?
As explained by the good folks at Pinterest, use the Pin This bookmarklet. NOTE: I've gotten lots of feedback from IE users that it's difficult to use the Pin This bookmark in Explorer. As a long-time Firefox user, I don't have any good solutions for you. Just know if you have problems in IE, you aren't the only one!
6) What should I pin on Pinterest?
Ah, good question. I am so glad you asked.
While technically these are your pinboards and you can pin anything you want, I want to encourage you to lean heavily on the interest part of Pinterest. For example, Pinterest lets you start off with a Products I Love board. Well, maybe you really love Starbucks Sumatra. (what's not to love?) You could pin a picture of a bag of Starbucks Sumatra to the Products I Love board, but you can also grab a bag of it off the shelf at your local big mart. Starbucks Sumatra, while delicious, is not all that interesting.
What might be a better pin? Oh, how about sharing your love for the unspeakably, incomprehensibly amazing coffee that can only be found at Ruta Maya coffee in Austin? That is interesting.
While you are it, challenge yourself to make your boards themselves interesting. Some of my favorite boards are Rachel's From Texas board, the tiny twig's good writing board, and Nish's Inked board. Don't be afraid to get as specific as possible with your boards, and it never hurts to be original with board titles.
Think of your Pinterest boards as if they were actual 3D inspiration boards. What is it that is beautiful to you? What do you dream of having, seeing, doing, hearing, reading, wearing? What is that you want to remember and come back to? Pinterest is all the best about inspiration bulletin boards combined with all the best of social bookmarking. Let that premise guide you as you pin.
7) Who should I follow on Pinterest? How do I unfollow a board on Pinterest?
When you begin, Pinterest will help you find friends on Pinterest using your email, Twitter, or Facebook. That's a great place to start. Pinterest will then make suggestions for you and display those suggestions on your home page. Pinterest has also compiled some nifty Tastemaker lists which are also a fantastic place to find great people to follow (check out the upper right hand corner of the page and find the People drop-down menu; you'll find the Tastemakers lists there).
You have the choice to follow all of someone's boards or follow individual boards they have created. If you follow all, that means that you will follow every board they have at present and all future boards they will create.
Unfollowing a board is super simple. For example, quite a few people have boards related to celebrities. That's not really my bag, so if someone I follow has pinned quite a few things to their celebrity board, I just click on that board from my feed, click the Unfollow button from the top right-hand corner of that board, and voila. Gone from my feed.
8. How do I practice good Pinterest etiquette? Is it okay to pin my own materials (writing, products, etc) to my Pinterest boards?
Absolutely! You can pin something you have blogged or that you carry in your shop (in fact, Pinterest now has a Pin It! button you can use for blog posts or product pages).
You can even create something specifically for the purpose of pinning. I was inspired by this quote from The War of Art, so I whipped this up in PSE for the sole purpose of pinning it:
Depending on your blogging niche, Pinterest could be a fantastic way to share your work and boost your traffic. Fashion, food, crafts/handmade, art, photography, and home bloggers might find Pinterest to be particularly important.
MISCELLANEOUS PINTEREST TIPS
* For every pin, there is a space for a description. I'm more prone to short commentary like, "LOVE" or "want this" or "oh yeah, totally." But you can also provide a full description of the pin or a brief explanation of why you are pinning it (like "this would be perfect for Dacey's Hello Kitty birthday party"). Note that when repinning, the description from the person who pinned it before you appears in that space by default.
* Choose to receive email notifications from your Preferences. This will alert you to new followers, new repins, @ mentions, and likes.
* "Like" is a wonderful and helpful feature on Pinterest. If you come across something that you like but don't necessarily want/need to pin, you can simply Like it. This won't show up in the feed of those who follow you, but you can click on Likes from your profile to see a list of everything you have Liked on Pinterest.
* To tag another Pinterest user when you pin something, use @ just like on Twitter or Facebook.
* Pinterest now has an iPhone app! YAY! I have it and find it to be useful for skimming my feed when I have some downtime or on the rare occasion that I want to snap a pic and pin-on-the-go.
(Like this little guy from AJ's bag of animal crackers who HAD to go on my OWLS OWLS OWLS OWLS board)
Is this just another pretty float in an never-ending parade of time-sinks?
I don't think so. Not at all.
As with all good things, it's a good idea to set up some boundaries if you are prone to the time-sinkage. I like to sit down with a cup of coffee right after lunch to really dig into Pinterest for a half an hour or so, and I'll often set the tiny timer to help me keep track of time. You'll find ways to manage time there.
I would love for all of my friends to be on Pinterest because
Beauty - lots of it, everywhere. So inspiring.
Funny - people are endlessly clever.
Practical - projects, recipes (I found a queso blanco dip on Pinterest that is nothing short of divine), home solutions, wardrobe inspiration - Pinterest is nothing if not useful!
Connections - so fun to see what other people are pinning, and you may find, as I have, that you have more in common with someone than you could have ever imagined, and how would have known until you both found yourself swooning over the same vintage sheet cloud mobile?! (hi, Erin!)
Thanks for letting me share what I've learned and loved about Pinterest. Hope to see you there soon!
Want even more Pinterest tips? Click here to read more Pinterest tips, tricks, & FAQs!
Pinterest users - what would add to this beginner's guide?
Anyone want an invite? Let me know in comments below!