Mar 1, 2012

Tips for using Pinterest

I don’t know how many of you are on Pinterest, but I know some of you are, because you follow my Boards. If you haven’t jumped into Pinterest yet (or even if you have, but you’re overwhelmed and don’t really understand how to use it), I thought I’d share with you how I use it and how much time I spend on it.

As far as I can tell, there are two myths about Pinterest:
  1. It’s too big, and you get frustrated because it’s so overwhelming and you literally need to go breathe into a paper bag because you’re hyperventilating over all the ways you’ve found to use Tangerine Tango as an accent color in your house; and
  2. You get sucked in and spend six hours a night on it, leading to the demise of your children and the dissolution of your marriage.
(I’m sure there are people out there who DO spend six hours a night on it, but I’m not one of those people.)
Here are my tips for using Pinterest:
  1. Customize your boards to fit YOUR LIFE. Once you join, create your own Pinboards … don’t just use the ones they set up as default Pinboards for you. You can have as few or as many as you’d like. I started out with maybe six (kids’ crafts, den, master bedroom, girl nursery, boys’ bedroom, kitchen, and recipes) and now I have 15 or 16. Surprisingly, I Pin as many recipes as I do home décor ideas, so I ended up having to break my “Recipes” board down into side dishes, appetizers, desserts, crock pot, etc.
  2. Follow selectively. Choose a few bloggers you like to follow and follow their Pinboards. Don’t just “Follow All” of their Pinboards. They might have boards like “tattoos” and “favorite vacation spots,” which will just junk up your feed if you’re not interested in those things. (But of course, you might want to follow those, and that’s fine, too.) But I’d recommend being selective about which boards you follow, because you will begin following more people as you run across Pinners who have similar tastes, and you don’t want to get bogged down with TATTOOS, for goodness sakes.
  3. Install the “Pin It” button on your browser's toolbar. Pinterest created the button to make it a one-click operation for you to Pin items while you’re online. This enables you to Pin things you find on blogs and other websites, not just from within Pinterest itself. Probably 90 percent of what I Pin comes from blogs I read, not from within Pinterest.
  4. Manage your time wisely. Since I work outside the home full-time, I don’t do a lot of Pinning during the week. That makes it difficult to “catch up” on everything I missed when I finally look at Pinterest on Friday or Saturday night. The best advice I can give you is, give yourself about 30 minutes to scroll through and Pin, and then get out. You can certainly go down a rabbit hole and Pin all night long, but honestly, do you WANT 300 items on one of your Pinboards? I don’t.
  5. Develop a Pinning system. I use Google Reader for the blogs I follow. During the week, when posts come across my Reader that I know I want to Pin, I “favorite” them (with a star), which keeps them saved in a separate folder in my Reader. Then I forget about them until Saturday. On Saturday, I go to that Favorites folder in my Reader and start clicking that “Pin It” button for each image/recipe/idea I want to post on Pinterest. As I Pin them, I remove the star from the post in Reader, and I know it’s safely Pinned to the correct board forever.
  6. Be realistic. Only Pin ideas for things you’ll actually do/make/try, or color schemes/furniture you'd like to build a room around, for example. Don’t Pin a bunch of stuff just because it’s pretty. (Some people will disagree with this concept and will say those items are “for inspiration.”) If you won’t EVER, EVER even attempt it, it will only clutter up your Pinboards and frustrate you when you go to a board to look for something you know is there and want to make … but it's hidden like a needle in a haystack among all that “inspiration.” If you must, just make a Pinboard titled “Inspiration” and put all those images in there!
  7. Don't be afraid to delete. If I make a recipe that I Pinned and I love it, I’ll blog about it. If I didn’t like it, I go back to that Pinboard and delete the recipe. No point in saving something I know I’ll never make again. (See number 6.) 
  8. 'View All' only occasionally. If you don’t have any bloggers to follow or know anyone (friends, family, etc.) who’s on Pinterest, you can click the “Everything” button at the top to see ALL the images all Pinterest members are posting. (Your typical view would be "Pinners You Follow.") In doing so, you might find people who have similar taste to you, and you can opt to follow their Pinboards. It’s also a good way to see what’s “trending” on Pinterest … the things that are most popular right now.

I leave that point for last, because I think THAT is the reason people get overwhelmed by Pinterest … they see thousands of people they can follow, and there are either too many they hook up with, or they don’t see anything at all they like and assume this is all a waste of their time. That’s why I recommend following people you know or admire first, and only clicking over to the “Everything” page occasionally. (Like, I do it about once every two months.)
If you’d like an invitation to Pinterest, leave your email in the comments and I’ll send you an invitation. I think you’ll love it! And if you're a big Pinner yourself, feel free to leave extra tips in the comments ... I'm sure I could learn a thing or two about it, myself!


Keri said...

I'll be honest, I joined Pintrest many months ago, and still haven't gotten the full hang of it. I am trying though :)
I am definitely going to use some of your suggestions, and I'll have to search for you so I can follow you.

Megan said...

I love pinterest. It's so amazing!

One thing that really peeves me though is when someone pins...lets say, a lovely painting of a bridge from etsy. Instead of writing, "Bridge painting, $165, this would be great in my bedroom! love the colors." they says "."

So, if I'm some crazy bridge person, and I go to search bridges on pinterest to see what comes up? That awesome bridge painting that might be PERFECT for me? I would never see. Cause I didn't search "."

Totally grinds my gears. So another tip I would add is, "Use keywords to describe your pin!"

Sewconsult said...

I haven't joined Pinterest and don't plan to...but I said that long time ago about Facebook. I developed my own version of Pinterest from day #1 when I started browsing the internet. I use my Bookmarks (Favorites). I have folders within folders and have save hundreds of sites, items, decorations, recipes and most of all, things that I want to buy for machine embroidery or gifts for others. When a friend puts something by way of FB on Pinterest, I look, but it is something that I have already seen and think, "you're just now seeing that?". I spend way too much time on the computer, so I don't do the FB games or other mind numbing things (as hubby says) that could take me into the wee hours of the night...last night I was up to 2, folding laundry because I had been watching quilting shows online. Oh, dear...

maura said...

I would love an invitaion katherine. I am not on facebook or twitter though. Can i still sign up?

Jessica @ FourGenerationsOneRoof said...

Great tips. I love pinterest but it definetly can be a time suck that is for sure.

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