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Getting to know Pinterest, the new online ‘it girl’

Have you heard all the buzz about Pinterest, but can’t figure out how to get started with it? In the first of a three-part article series, Nancy Georges looks at getting your business or brand acquainted with the newest online craze.

For those of us who have been using Pinterest for a while now, we are not surprised it’s becoming the ultimate connecting & sharing tool.

I started using it in May 2011. I try almost everything new, it’s my job, but Pinterest was different from the beginning, I loved it and found it pretty addictive, one click lead to a board which lead to another…

From the start, Pinterest was a god-send for me. I had been saving images to my computer in folders and taking up a lot of space, on and offline. Now my pics are available online, in groups and I can share them.

Pinterest, for those who do not know what it is, is an online bookmarking tool/online pin board. It is total eye-candy; beautiful, delicious, creative eye-candy. It reminds me of when Facebook was new and we all uploaded and shared our pictures – that is what drove us to easily adopt it.

But Pinterest is better! The minute you start, you realise there’s a wonderful world that awaits your discovery. You become a curator of what you see online, but remember, with great power, comes great responsibility.

Pinterest have created a tool, the ‘Pin It’ Button, which allows us to do what comes naturally;

• See a picture we like on the web;

• ‘Pin it’ to a board (save it organised in a group/theme);

• Check out our friends’ activity; and

• Share and like their pictures – on Pinterest and on other social media sites.

It also makes these things easier than ever before:

• Finding new friends, contacts, influencers, products, customers and suppliers, based on common interests;

• Finding new sources;

• ‘Following’ people, businesses and brands we like; and

• Gaining insight into a person’s creativity.

I was instantly impressed by the quality of the images and the variety of people on Pinterest. Over the last month or so, I have noticed a lot of the ‘geeks’ have started boards, so this will add another dimension. Whether this will be popular with hard-core Pinners will remain to be seen.

Unlike other sites, Pinterest does not manipulate us to do its bidding, as users we don’t have to do anything that is odd – we are simply flicking through pages of the web and cutting the pics out that we like and pasting them to a board… online.

By simply adding the ‘Pin It’ button to your internet browser toolbar, you can ‘Pin’ almost any picture online to a board of your choice. Almost you ask? Yes. You can’t Pin pictures from Facebook and sites who opt out of having their contents pinned.

Have you heard all the buzz about Pinterest, but can’t figure out how to get started with it? In the first of a three-part article series, Nancy Georges looks at getting your business or brand acquainted with the newest online craze.

Getting started

New accounts are still by invitation only from a Pinterest user. You can request an invite on the site itself or email me and I’ll send you one. There are a limited number of invites I can send, so be quick.

You can only start a new account via your Facebook or Twitter log-in so get one or both if you don’t have already (I am sure all business owners reading this do, right?) You can’t have more than one Pinterest account feeding into one Facebook account and one Twitter account. At the moment, Pinterest only adds to your personal Facebook timeline and not your business page.

You will need to select a username with less than 15 characters, and Pinterest starts you off with:

• People to follow suggestions. First select the topics you like, then it automatically follows people in that category (you can unfollow at this stage or later but they are probably great and I always think it is good to look outside your current reference zones in any case).

• A few general boards and you can add your own as you go so you aren’t starting in the dark! Don’t be concerned about the names of the boards before you start Pinning, you will edit and add to these as you start pinning.

• Easy and clear instructions for adding the ‘Pin It’ button to your bookmark bar

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

1. Fill in the Profile information about yourself so that people get a good sense of you, include your website & business name. Keep in mind that this is not LinkedIn so adapt your profile to the audience.

2. Put in your Facebook and Twitter details too so that they are linked under your profile as well as increase followers.

3. Start pinning before you start following – this will do a couple of things:

a. Won’t colour your activity by what you see your friends doing

b. Will let you explore ‘under the radar’

4. Start on the www.pinterest.com page, you will see this on the top of the boards:

* Pinners you follow * Everything * Videos * Popular * Gifts

Click on each one so you can see all that Pinterest has to offer and orient yourself.

5. Remember you will be pinning for years to come so be discerning about what you

pin, make sure that your boards are interesting and attractive.

6. Don’t pin in ‘chunks’ – space out your pinning so that you are ‘woven’ through the

feed rather than appearing all at once and then disappearing.

7. You can add friends through Facebook or email. Use the search box to find people and brands you like.

8. You can follow all of their boards or just the ones that resonate so check before you click (this is one of the many things I like about Pinterest). Don’t follow boards that don’t interest you – it will clutter your screen.

9. Add the ‘Pin it’ Button to your Bookmark Bar.

10. Once you find an image you like in Pinterest, you can:

a. ‘Repin’ it onto one of your boards – or Create a Board if you don’t have something suitable already set up (it is an option in the list of boards)

b. ‘Like’ it – it won’t be attached to a particular board but is placed in the ‘Likes’ section and the Pinner will know their image has been appreciated.

c. ‘Comment’ this will show under the picture but the image will not be pinned to a board.

11. If you find an image online you want to add to a board:

a. Click your ‘Pin It’ Button

b. Select the image you would like to pin – all of the images show on once screen.

c. Follow a,b,c above.

12. You can upload a picture on the website or take one using your phone and the app and Follow a,b,c from point 11.

13. You can rearrange and edit your boards at any time.

14. Pinterest sends email notifications of new followers and all activity with your pins, so act on this; reply, re-follow and comment.

The site has a great ‘Help’ section, which is simple and easy to use. Click here to view.

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Nancy Georges

Nancy Georges

Nancy is The Retail Miss Fix It, using over 20 years experience in sales, marketing, retail, manufacturing, wholesale & importing to support her consulting clients as well as seminar attendees. Nancy is a speaker and trainer in addition to her consulting work, and is the author of '7 Powerful Ways To Boost Retail Profits, In Any Economic Climate'.

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