The biggest buzz in social media right now is all about Pinterest. This site allows users to create visual boards by “pinning” images on the screen. Pinterest is currently drawing record amounts of traffic, and has a high appeal with a female audience.
Here’s how to get started and promote your books with Pinterest.
Get a Pinterest Account
Unlike other social media sites, you can’t just join Pinterest immediately. You need to either be invited by a current Pinterest user or request an invitation to join. This is a bit gimmicky and seems to be a way for Pinterest to build some anticipation. However, it takes just a day or two after requesting an invitation to receive one. Then you can login to set up your account.
Once you’ve received permission to join, set up your account. Be sure to give a content-rich bio and author photo for maximum exposure. Note that you can also link your Pinterest account to your Twitter and Facebook accounts so that you can share your new “Pins” with your other networks. Pinterest will also give you the option to install a “Pin It” button on your browser, making it easy to pin images as you surf the web on a daily basis.
Create Pin Boards
When you choose to add a new board, you can use one of the default board names, but take the opportunity to get creative. Each board should have a theme—and ideally this is where you can start to promote your book by sharing images that will attract your target audience. Also, a very important note: Include a content-rich description with each image that you share. Pinterest will automatically include a link back to the web page where the image is located, though if you want to provide a separate link you can include it in your description. This is a great way to use Pinterest to drive traffic to your site!
Here are some potential board themes:
Your Books – If you’re an author or publisher of multiple books, create a board specifically for your catalog of titles. Make sure you pull the book image from your website or from the book page on Amazon since Pinterest will link back to the page where the image originated.
Industry Books – Choose books from the same genre as yours and create a board with some similar titles, and don’t forget to include your book(s) in the list.
Blog Images – If you write a blog (and you should if you’re an author!), each post should have an image to add to appeal. From there, pin each new blog image with the blog post title and a link back to the post.
Topics Related to Your Book – Feature images based on topics from your book. For example, if you are an author of a travel memoir, you could create a board with photos of the places you visited. If you’re an author of a cookbook, you can share “Quick and Easy Recipes for Healthy Living.” If you wrote a book on parenting, you could share pictures of educational toys. If you wrote a vampire novel, share some spooky images! The point is to create boards that follow the theme of your work or that have items of interest to your potential readers.
Topics You and Your Audience Like – There are plenty of ways to get creative with Pinterest. If you have an interest, why not create a board? Ideally you want to share topics your target audience would also enjoy, but don’t let that drive all of your decisions. People will also enjoy seeing some personality and learning more about you via your boards.
Create Collaborative Boards
When you create a new board on Pinterest you can choose whether you are the only one that can pin to the board, or whether you want to allow others to add images to your board. Allowing others to add images can be a fun way to get audience engagement. Invite your Facebook users over to share their favorite images too. Boards like these will require some moderation so you don’t get pinned by spammers so you will need to monitor them closely.
Build Your Audience on Pinterest
Users can search for key words and phrases to find pins (images) of things they are interested in—which is why it is so important to write content-rich descriptions for the images you share. The hope is that Pinterest users will find your boards, click on your links, learn about your books, and repin your images on their boards. But you can also promote your Pinterest profile by adding a link to your website and sharing new pins on your social media profiles. Pinterest will also auto-follow other users for you based on similar images, and conversely they will send you some followers.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about social media in general, in order to be most effective you need to get actively involved. Add comments on other people’s boards, like them, and follow them. The more time you invest, the more results you will likely see in return.