Everyone’s buzzing about Pinterest, a rapidly growing social site that’s all about creating and sharing collections of images (photos or illustrations) that you find around the Web or create yourself.
Pinterest calls itself a “Virtual Pin Board’ and members can use it to share their favorite artwork and books, organize recipes, plan weddings, post travel photos, and more.
The site is basically a giant online bulletin board that people pin images to. As a user, you create "boards" geared to different topics or interests.
As you’re cruising around the Web, you see an image that you’d like to share with others and you "pin" it to one of your "boards." When someone clicks on the image, they can be directed back to the website that the image came from. You can also upload images from your computer.
You can post images related to your personal interests or hobbies, as well as images related to your book. You can also "follow" other people or boards, "like" or comment on images, and "re-pin" other images on the site to your own boards.
To the left is an example of a book cover that someone posted on a board called "Must Reads". You can see that it has attracted 218 likes and 113 comments, and it’s been re-pinned 5,393 times.
Pinterest can be integrated into your Facebook timeline, and you can add a “Follow Me on Pinterest” button on your website and cross promote the site through your other social networks.
After an incredible growth spurt in late 2011, Pinterest is now attracting nearly 12 million monthly unique visitors and generating a lot of buzz. Shareaholic recently reported that Pinterest is driving more referral traffic to websites than Google Plus, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. (Referral traffic is defined as visitors who land on a website through a link from another website.)
Naturally, many businesses are taking advantage of this new way to promote their brand and their products visually. But it’s easy for authors and other entrepreneurs to get caught up in "shiny object syndrome," chasing after each new thing that comes along and losing focus on what’s most important in their business.
Should you join Pinterest? Here are some things to consider:
* How well does your book topic lend itself to sharing relevant images? Travel guides, cookbooks, and gardening books would be a natural, but authors in many other topics can probably find relevant images to share. Novelists could share images related to the storyline or setting of their book. Children’s authors can share images from their books. All authors can share their book covers and images from their blog posts.
* Is Pinterest a good use of your time? The good news is that Pinterest doesn’t require as much time as other social sites like Facebook.
* Is Pinterest something that you would enjoy doing for fun, to share images with friends and family or others you meet on the site? I have found that people pin a lot of beautiful artwork and photos and it’s fun to browse the site.
If you think you may want to use Pinterest, I recommend signing up right away so that you can secure the user name of your choice.
Right now, you have to be "invited" to join Pinterest. You can ask someone who’s already a member to send you an invitation, or click the red "Request an Invite" button at www.Pinterest.com.
To help you get up to speed fast, I have created the Pinterest Guide for Authors. This 35-page ebook contains numerous screenshots, so it’s a quick and easy read.