In its own words, Pinterest is “a visual discovery tool that you can use to find ideas for all your projects and interests.”
If I were to explain what Pinterest was a couple of months ago, I would have said it is a social media driven digital pinboard where one can gather images or pins for anything from Star Wars posters to Chocolate Chip cookie recipes. Intriguing to the uninitiated perhaps but not illustrative of the fun and creativity that Pinterest awakens in us. Those preconceived ideas did not prepare me for what I encountered when I signed up for an account and started puttering around.
It was strange. It was refreshing. It was joyful.
It was addictive.
Now I knew why Pinterest was a social media phenomenon.
Okay, so it’s a phenomenon. How does that help me? How can I make use of said phenomenon as an author? Should I use it for fun, for serious business stuff, or maybe for both?
Although I have not completely nailed down my Pinterest game plan yet, I am planning to do a bit of both. Here is, in no particular order, my agenda for using Pinterest and its massively addictive boards.
1. Inspiration–The primary use. The zillion pins on the site covers almost every topic one could be looking for. When I am writing about a place or location, I enjoy digging up pictures that fit that image in my mind. Most times, I find that looking at a picture and rewriting the descriptions make the scene more nuanced and detailed. Sometimes, the pictures make me rethink location choices too. Here’s a peek at my ‘Book3’ board, this is how some places in Book 3 will look like-
Another favorite pastime of mine is finding faces to match my characters. They are like a casting roster for my books. Try it, it’s fun. I’ll share my character board.
2. Promotions–Authors have been using Pinterest to announce their promotions and I think that is a fantastic idea. Humans retain more information via visual cues than through any other stimulus, so what better way than to announce promotional activities on Pinterest? Especially effective would be contests that are designed around photographs. Simply though, even nicely designed announcement flyers do great on the site. There are boards dedicated to announcement pins like this one
3. Project Showcase–I recently created a board to store all the marketing related banners, pics and promotional graphics for my books. As I get more organized on Pinterest, I plan to use this board to be a repository for everything I use to promote the books. It is a fun way to highlight a project or a subproject for people to look at and get an interesting snapshot of someone’s journey.
4. Collaborate–Pinterest lets you to allow people selective access to post pins to your boards. Say I am working on a book cover for an anthology that I did with a few other authors and we wanted to collect some inspirations for the mood we want for the cover, so the cover designer may look at it and gauge our interest. I create a board, allow my fellow authors access and we all put in our findings there.
This could also be used to collaborate on book research and book marketing research, to name a few. It could be used as a tool for crowdfunding of ideas.
5. Reward fans– Pinterest has a sweet feature called a ‘secret board.’ I didn’t quite get the utility of the concept until I came across a post somewhere–you would use this secret pin board to reward special customers/fans. Say you have a sneak peek for a select group, you can make a special board that only the invited few can see. Cool, right?
There’s my top 5? Do you use Pinterest at all? If so, how do you use it?