I finally joined Pinterest over the weekend—I have to be honest, I did it for the same reason I do a lot of things these days: because I want to be knowledgeable about what’s going on, and I want to be able to talk intelligently with my authors about things that are important to them. I didn’t go into it thinking it would be for me.
But once I browsed around and created some boards (check them out!), and especially after I read a couple dozen articles on the Internet about Pinterest, I’m sold! I think it can be a tremendous way for authors to interact with their readers… something that’s hard to do through the other social networks where writers tend to connect mostly with other writers. So I gathered a few tidbits of info for you. (After you read this, be sure to click through to my companion post, 10 Tips for Authors Using Pinterest.)
Most of us are way past saturation with social media. BUT… you may actually find Pinterest more enjoyable than Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, even Facebook or blogging. Plus, I think it’s more than just the “flavor of the month” — it has so many advantages that it’s probably here to stay for a while. So I recommend you at least pop in and see what all the fuss is about.
Traffic on Pinterest has increased over 2700% (yes, nearly three thousand percent) in the last ten months. With over 10 million monthly page views, it’s the fastest growing standalone website in history. Translation: I don’t think we can ignore this one.
Users spend more time on Pinterest (average of 15 minutes per visit) than they do on Facebook (average of 12 minutes per visit) or Twitter (3 minutes). And by “people” I mean your potential readers.
Nearly 70% of Pinterest users are women, which is a good thing for those of you wanting to sell books to women. This has, of course, caused some male-oriented clones to pop up, notably Gentlemint and Manteresting.
As an author trying to sell books, you’re an advertiser. So you should know that the demographic of Pinterest users tends to be young (25-44), upper middle class, and female. Those are people who buy things. And many of them read, too.
Pinterest drives more referral traffic than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn, combined. This means if you want people clicking through to the book page on your website, Pinterest may be your best bet. From what I can tell about Pinterest, I believe it might prove to be more effective than any other current social network in driving READERS (not other writers) to your books. However, take note…
Don’t just post your own books. Treat it as a conversation, a way to share things you love and learn about others interests, a place to be inspired and have fun. Avoid “sell” language.
As a writer, you may be more attuned to words than visuals. You may not be a YouTube fan, and you prefer to read a written blog post rather than watch a vlog. But the rest of the world – your readers – isn’t like you. They enjoy pictures as well as words (or more than words). They’re on Pinterest in huge numbers. Don’t take your own lack of “interest” as a sign that you shouldn’t explore Pinterest.
Pinterest seems to have had some technical difficulties and may load slowly during peak times. With its rapid growth, this isn’t surprising, but the folks at Pinterest assure us they’re working on the problem. Don’t let it stop you from looking into it.
But it’s easy to get one. Go to Pinterest.com. You can request an invite by clicking the red button, or, you can ask one of your friends who’s already on Pinterest for an invite.
If you aren’t a member of either of these sites, you won’t be able to join Pinterest. Once you sign up for Pinterest, it will automatically notify other Pinterest users who are your friends on the site through which you signed in. (i.e. I signed up to Pinterest through Facebook, and I noticed that I immediately had many followers. Turned out they were my Facebook friends.)
If you don’t want images from your website to be pinned, Pinterest has a small piece of HTML code that can be added to your page to prevent people pinning your images. (Very relevant for artists and photographers who don’t want their images “stolen.”) Find it on Pinterest’s help page.
What writers should know: If you “pin” images you find around the web, you may be harming the artist who created the image. I suggest you only post images that include a link back to the source; consider only posting images from websites that include a “Pin It” button; carefully consider whether to use the “Repin” button, and only do it if the pin links back to the original source. When you’re pinning books and linking back to your site or an online retailer, I don’t think this copyright issue is a concern for you.
a) Stats are from this article and infographic on Huff Post.
b) There are a lot of great articles on how to use Pinterest; I found this one particularly helpful.
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