Building your Brand with Pins & Boards
Pinterest has just celebrated it’s 5th birthday and has nearly 80 Million unique visitors. If you still think Pinterest is only used by American females to create wedding wish-boards and share recipes – think again.
Pinterest is currently the fastest growing Social Network. According to Pinterest, over the past year male Pinterest users grew at a much faster rate than female (62% vs. 42% respectively), and now more than 40% of Pinterest users are outside the United States.
Pinterest Tops the Charts in Growth in 2014
So it’s time to brush away any preconceived notions you have about the value of Pinterest as part of your social media strategy for your Author Brand.
If you haven’t started already, now’s the time to start using Pinterest to:
Here’s a summary of Pinterest terminology to familiarise yourself with the basics of using Pinterest.
Pinterest is a visual bookmarking tool where you create and curate images for your own reference and benefit, and then other people with similar interests get inspired by what you pin and repin it on their own boards.
80% of the pin activity on Pinterest comes from repinning rather than from new pins being added
As well as pinning and repinning, your audience can interact with you by liking your images, leaving you comments, and following you or your boards.
Pinterest is Social with a Difference
Pinterest often gets lumped together with other popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but whereas these networks are used to push information out, Pinterest is used to draw your audience in. Pinterest users can see what you’ve pinned whether they follow you or not. Your books and interests are all laid out on your Pinterest boards for all to see (unless of course you create a secret Pinterest board for those special interests you’d rather not share!)
Pinterest Steals Google Search Engine Traffic
Pinterest has even started to steal some of the Google search engine traffic, and more and more users use Pinterest, rather than Google, to make purchasing decisions.
Pinterest Sells More Product
Twitter and Facebook may have more visitors than Pinterest, but Pinterest has a higher percentage of purchasing conversions, making it the darling e-commerce social media site. So if you’re looking to sell more books, Pinterest could be the efficient and effective business partner you’re looking for.
Optimised Descriptions on Pinterest
There’s a plethora of articles on the web that provide step-by-step instructions on how to set up your Pinterest account, so I'm not going to cover that here. But the key thing to remember is that search engines need well-written content to find your profile, pins and boards.
You have to make it easy for people to find your content. If the search engines can't find you and your content, your audience won't find you either. So use simple and descriptive language for your keywords and descriptions.
Now let’s focus on Building your Author Brand on Pinterest using Pins and Boards.
Connect with Pinterest
Pinterest can act as an initial introduction to your author brand and help you get discovered, but it can also help you to create a deeper connection to your audience after they’ve already discovered you.
Use Pinterest to convert casual readers into avid fans. The more brand ambassadors you have “working” on your behalf, the easier it is for you to grow your readership. (This is especially useful for introverted authors who have trouble promoting their work).
7 Strategies for Authors to Connect with Pinterest
Throughout the entire lifecycle of your writing cycle, you have numerous opportunities to create compelling Pinterest content to connect with your audience.
Pinterest can be your visual partner during your unsteady first steps of being faced with a blank page and searching for inspiration; through the frenzied launch activity; and into the continual cycle of promotion activities to keep your book buoyant, visible and current. Pinterest can be there every step of the way.
Here's 7 strategies for creating content to draw your readers in:
As an author, it’s all about making a connection with your audience, so let’s look at how to use these 7 connection concepts for forging a strong bond with your audience using Pinterest.
Writing Inspiration and Research Boards
If you’re at the beginning of your story-creation process, this board may be a little erratic and disjointed, but it’s a pictorial view inside the creative mind and a view worth sharing.
Your inspiration board is a catch-all content board, and doesn’t have to be too structured. You can always delete pins you decide aren't relevant, or use this board as a source-board to repin images to other boards later on.
As your story begins to develop you can create writing inspiration boards for specific topics and story elements.
These Pinterest boards can become a useful part of the creative process as you brainstorm the different story elements, but they’re also an engaging way to connect your audience to key elements within your story after your book has been released.
These inspiration boards are where you can let your imagination run wild, and help to illustrate your story for your readers. Create boards that inspire you and you have a greater chance of inspiring others. Here's a few examples of Inspiration Boards I've encountered on Pinterest:
- Brainstorm a Character (the most obvious is what they look like, but if could include images of their hobbies, favorite meals, their personality traits or favourite quotes.
- Cast a Character (if your book were being made into a film, what famous people would you like to cast in the roles)
- Location Inspiration (This is a broad topic and could include interior or exterior locations. It could be something as small as a room or as big as a continent.)
- Wardrobe, Hair & Makeup Inspiration (Whether your story in in a specific era, or you’re creating your own world, you can reveal where you’re drawing your inspiration from)
- Focus on an era (A topic where you can focus on one element of the era, e.g architecture, or include everything you can gather about a specific era).
Behind the Scenes Boards
You can create a board that features different elements of your writing space, or if it's too boring or uninspiring to share, create an imaginary or aspirational writing space and share that instead.
What activities do you like to do to trigger your imagination? How do you get your inspiration to write? If you like specific music playing in the background you can share You Tube video of the songs on your Pinterest boards.
You only have to look at the popularity of the behind-the-scenes content on films and TV shows to know that there’s a voracious appetite for this kind of special access and insights.
Getting to Know You Boards
Include links to your Authors pages on websites like Goodreads, Amazon, Smashwords. Most well-built personal websites have an About Page, so create a Pinterest version of your About Page and include all the information that would successfully introduce you to your fan-base.
Recommended Reading Boards
All of the major online book retailers offer book recommendations based on related authors or books in the same niche and genre. So why not create your own Recommended Reading or Novel Comparison Boards, e.g. “If you like my book, you’ll like these too”.
This is a great opportunity to showcase your book, but also associate your author brand with that of other successful authors or those with a higher profile. This way, when people are searching for more well-know authors, they have an opportunity of discovering you too.
Pin other books in your genre. For example if you write Historical Fiction set in the 1800’s, pin other authors who write in the same genre. If you don’t know who they are, just do a search on an online retailer like Amazon.
Writer’s Quotes & Reference Pinterest Boards
Quotes are popular on Social Media and tend to get repined frequently, so start your own Writer's Quotes Pinterest board or focus on specific topics like: Writers Block, Writing Software, Grammar Reference etc.
Is there a writer’s process you follow at the beginning of your day, or Writing Techniques you enlist to help get your creative juices flowing? You're not the only author looking for this type of help on Pinterest.
When you use your knowledge and experience to help other authors, it's a great way to connect, and embodies the essence of the philosophy at the heart of social media.
Book Promo Pinterest Boards
This benefits other writers by providing a promotion outlet for their books, but is also a useful way of drawing your readers in by providing a service. You can either set up a generic Book Promo board, or set up something more specific that only features books within your genre.
Author Donna McDonald set up a Book Promo Group Board for her and some of her author friends to pin images about their book promotions and special offers:
These Group Boards and an ideal way to spread some of the pinning and repinning responsibilities across a team of people.
Get behind a Cause you believe in
In my travel guides I recommend shopping at local markets, and that passion led me to create a connection with the local Slow Food movement that promotes organically grown produce to help support the local community of growers.
If you’re written about a cause, charity or organisation in your books, get behind it on Pinterest. For example, if the characters in your book have an illness or condition you want to support, you can create some momentum around the topic to help educate and inspire others to get involved.
This is where integrity and authenticity as an author is important, only include pins about a cause if you support it and believe in it.
You’re not just an Author
Pinterest is a place where you can pin images that inspire and interest you. They may have absolutely nothing to do with writing or you as an author, but your interests are another way to help you get discovered by others.
Social media is about making connections. People want to find ways of identifying with others, and these shared interests are a great way to connect.
Pinterest is a spider’s web of interests. Some threads of your web will interest your readers and others won’t. The great thing about Pinterest is that people can follow you (and all of your boards) or just follow the boards they’re interested in.
Your Book, Launch and Promo Boards
Book Boards: Each of your books should have it’s own board and include links to where your audience can purchase it (e.g. Amazon links). As well as including these links, you can include links to your press release and book launch activity.
Whether you appeared on blogs as part of a virtual book tour, or you hosted events or book signings at a bookshop or event – these all make great additions to your book boards.
If you've written multiple books, it's helpful for readers to see all of those in one spot. Author Laura Frantz set up a Pinterest board that includes all of her books, as well as a separate board for each book.
Not only does Laura do an excellent job of branding her book boards, she's obviously embraced Pinterest as a key part of her author and book promotion strategy. See how well Laura's using Pinterest to Promote Her Books in my Author's Assessment.
Promos and Giveaways: If you’re hosting price promotions or giveaway activities for your book launch or re-promotion activities, this should be included on your book boards. These pins should include the dates the promotion is running so as not to cause confusion or disappointment at a later date.
Tweets and Facebook posts are gone in a flash, but the long-tail concept of Pinterest extends the shelf-life of your content. The images you pin on your boards have the opportunity of being discovered in perpetuity. Pinterest’s bulletin board approach to content curation means that images are being pinned to be remembered. If you include links and useful descriptions in your content, it’ll get discovered and repined over and over again.
Pin it to Win Sweepstakes: The concept of Pin to Win is rife on Pinterest, and there's multiple ways for you to host a “Pin it to Win” competition.
- Ask fellow pinners to follow you and set up their own Pinterest board and pin specific content to it.
- Set up a Group board and ask pinners to add specific content to it.
- Participate in “Pin to Win” Group Boards set up by other pinners.
Penguin Books hosted a Pin it to Win competition for Author Elizabeth Gilbert for her book Signature of All Things. Pinners were instructed to use the official promo image as their book image and create their own flower and dream garden board ( a tie-in to the book).
Here's some links to a couple of other Book related Pin to Win Sweepstakes on Pinterest:
DigiWriting set up a Pin to Win Group Board to encourage Author's to pin their book cover to be entered to win a publicity package.
Cover Images: Book cover images are well-suited for Pinterest. Include some early drafts or concepts of your cover image, or the inspiration you drew on to create it.
If you're working with a cover designer, you can set up a Secret Group board to collaborate on that won't be visible to anyone else. Then when it's ready for prime-time, convert the board to a public board to give a glimpse into the creative process.
You can change a Secret Board into a Public Board, but you can't change a Public Board into a Secret Board.
You could include a cover-reveal series of Pins, and promote them across your other social media networks.
Or use various cover images to host a Voting Competition to see which cover resonates with your audience.
From Connecting to Collaboration
Any of the boards you set up can be changed to a Group boards. All you need to do is invite another pinner to collaborate on your board, and they will be able to pin images to it.
Setting up your “What I’m currently reading” Group board is a simple way to connect with your audience and find out a little bit more about them. Don't forget to include the posting guidelines in the board description and monitor the content to ensure it’s appropriate and relevant.
Collaborating on other people's boards is another way to increase the reach and awareness of your books. Here's a small selection of Group boards you could join and pin your book too:
- What are you reading right now (4.6k followers)
- What are you reading (26k followers)
- 2015 Reading Challenge (9k followers)
- Books worth reading (10k followers)
- Self-published Books Indie Authors (8k followers)
Research Group Pinterest Boards
Visit PinGroupie to research other Group Pinterest boards. Just type in your keyword to find boards to collaborate on, and then join these boards to repin content from your boards onto them. Each Group Board listing shows the number of collaborators and followers for each board as well as number of likes and repins.
The Final Chapter
The world is your oyster when it comes to creating Pinterest boards to increase awareness of your books and raise your author profile. The ideas detailed above are intended to trigger your imagination and help you on your way to strengthening your author brand with pins and boards.
Let's wrap this article up with a slight misquote from the Field of Dreams:
If you build it, they will come.
New to Pinterest?
If you aren’t using Pinterest yet, but I've managed to convince you that NOW is a good time to jump right in, let me help you get started. Tell us how we can help you get the most out of using Pinterest for Authors.
Already using Pinterest?
If you’re using Pinterest to promote your author brand and books, leave us a link to your boards or Pinterest author profile in the comments section below so that we can pay you a visit and connect on Pinterest.
(Please Pin this article to your Pinterest Board and share across social media)
Enter to Win my #IndieReCon Giveaway
- One lucky winner can win a Free Pinterest Audit and Assessment and some free Pinterest Activity. Click here to go to my Author Page on IndieReCon to enter the Giveaway.
- I also host a monthly drawing on my website for a similar giveaway.
Jay’s an Indie Travel Guide Author, as well as a prolific business blogger and stealth ghostwriter. Originally from the flatlands and big skies of rural Norfolk in the UK, Jay currently lives in Los Angeles but is preparing for a future as a full-time global digital nomad. She’s a project manager specialising in Social Media Management and Content Marketing Strategies, and recently joined the Alliance of Independent Authors as their Social Media and Outreach Manager, and is part of the team supporting the social media planning and activity for IndieReCon.
She also recently became a Social Media Mentor at WoMentoringProject. This voluntary team helps to give female voices that would otherwise find it hard to be heard, a greater opportunity of reaching their true potential.
Her social media expertise involves completing assessments and audits of your social media networks and making strategic recommendations for growing your brand and network presence.
Jay’s a staunch supporter of social media (when it’s used effectively) and is currently writing “Pinterest for Authors” an extensive guide on how to leverage this visual bookmarking social network to grow your author brand.
Discover more Pinterest content on Jay's website at www.jayartale.com