Pinterest is a visual search engine first, and a social media website second. Yes, you can follow people and/or their boards on Pinterest, but that’s not a vital element of the site like it is with sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Rather, in my opinion, Pinterest is a great search engine to use when you’re looking for resources on topics that interest you, and you want to see dozens of options instantly rather than having to scroll through Google or Bing, reading each listed link one by one. The visual nature of Pinterest is really appealing to me (and many others), and the organizational element of Pinterest boards makes archiving the resources you find and/or create extremely user-friendly. In today’s post, I offer a few tips for using Pinterest boards and go through my main Pinterest boards in case you’re looking for resources connected to the topics that I focus on in this blog.
Tip 1: Your boards can be private or public
If you want to collect resources (or “pins”) on Pinterest, but don’t want anyone on Pinterest to see what boards you have or what pins you’re collecting, simply turn on the “secret” switch when creating a new board. For example, don’t want anyone to see you’re collecting pins about baby clothing and toys because you haven’t announced that you’re pregnant? Just make the board “secret” and not even your followers will be able to see that the board exists. You can create a board that’s all about gift ideas for your family and friends, and make it secret so no one will be able to see what ideas you’ve been collecting for future use. Really, if you just don’t want anyone seeing any pins you save, just make all your boards secret and you can benefit from this site without making your interests visible to anyone else on the site.
If you want one or more of your Pinterest boards to be viewable by anyone who passes by your account or follows you, the default setting for a new board is “public” so you don’t need to do anything special to make the boards visible to anyone on the site. For your public Pinterest boards, it’s helpful to fill out their basic information (general topic and description), so that anyone viewing them can get a sense of what’s in them. If you want to use Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog/website/Facebook page/etc., then it’s a good idea to have plenty of public boards tied to topics or products that connect to your social media sites. You can add your website/blog to your Pinterest account (go to settings), so anyone interested can easily find your site.
Tip 2: Make sure to check your account settings
Your settings page includes a lot of information that needs to be personalized for your preferences. I suggest filling out your profile information, for example, even if it’s just with vague information like “I’m a high school English teacher” or “I love to read graphic novels and watch Netflix.” Perhaps more importantly, though, Pinterest sends emails suggesting pins that might be a good fit for your boards. If you don’t want to receive these daily emails (among others), you can turn off that option using your setting’s “notifications” tab. There are other setting functions, like social media connections and security options, so make sure to check out all your settings when you make a new account or keep using your old one.
Tip 3: Follow specific boards so that Pinterest can get a sense of what you’re interested in
Because Pinterest is first and foremost a search engine, giving the site a sense of what you’re interested in seeing when you go to it will be beneficial to your experience. Are you on Pinterest because you’re looking for teaching resources, recipes, blog post ideas, DIY craft ideas, real estate buying tips, etc.? Whatever your reasons are for being on Pinterest, search for boards others have created that are about these topics and follow them. Not only can those Pinterest boards be a starting point when looking for ideas and resources to pin to your own boards, but following them gives Pinterest a sense of what pins they should be showing you when you go onto the site.
Tip 4: Not all pins are created equal
A lot of Pinterest users create pins to market their products. As such, there are a lot of pins out there that are just about buying a product or that require users to sign-up for something (usually an email list) in order to actually access the information stated in the pin’s title. I always make sure to check out the pins before adding them to my boards, so I can make sure that the information is actually there rather than hidden behind an email sign-up or other requirement. Some pins don’t work at all because the sites they’re connected to no longer exist, but that’s pretty rare in my experience. Basically, I suggest checking a pin’s link to make sure it actually has what it says it has before adding it to your boards.
My Pinterest Boards
Now that I’ve offered some basic tips about using Pinterest, I’ve listed below a few of my own boards with topics tied to this blog. You can access them by clicking their titles below, or you can always go straight to my Pinterest account by clicking the Pinterest icon at the top of my website’s sidebar. Clicking the icon will take you to my page, but it won’t automatically make you a follower of my account or boards. You’d have to click “follow” manually on the site, if you wanted to make sure you don’t miss the resources I pin to my boards. But remember, if you don’t want notifications every time a person/board you follow is updated, then you need to change that setting in your account.
My Pinterest Boards Tied to This Blog
College Life: Instructor Edition – all my pins tied to my blog posts (after I narrowed down my niche to focus on teaching tips, tools, and resources)
Productivity (Tips and Resources) – general pins about productivity apps, habits, routines, and resources (podcasts, blogs, books, etc.)
Teaching Tips (College) – mostly pins about teaching English-related college classes, but a lot of them are more general teaching resources (i.e. class management tips, icebreaker ideas, etc.)
Grad School Life – pins with advice on getting into and surviving grad school
College Student Tips – pins with advice for all kinds of college students, though a lot of them are intended for freshman
Creative Writing – pins with tips related to the creative writing process (especially outlining and drafting novels), publishing, and marketing
Young Adult Literature — pins that include suggestions for YA Lit to read at a later date, along with my YA literature reviews
Academic/Teaching (My Blog) – pins that derive from my blog (including those written before I niched down)
Books, Movies, and More (My Blog) – pins that derive from my blog (not focused on teaching)
My Other Public Pinterest Boards
Blogging Tips – pins with tips for new bloggers, bloggers who want to grow their audience, bloggers who want to monetize their blogs, etc.
Social Media Marketing – pins for marketing blogs/books/other products on various social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Digital Planning – inspired by creating my own digital planner (see blog post here), these pins have ideas on page spreads and stickers that can be created for digital planners (or really, any planner)
Creating Online Courses – pins to help with planning and creating online courses outside the university setting
Fantastic Quotes – pins that feature powerful, beautiful, introspective, inspirational, etc. quotes
So, here are some tips for using Pinterest and some of my own ideas of what kinds of boards to create in your own accounts. Pinterest is not just recipes and advertisements. It holds a lot of fantastic information for anyone who takes a bit of time to explore.
What other tips do you have for using Pinterest? What Pinterest boards are you most likely to follow? Let me know in the comments below!
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