Monday, January 9, 2012

Pinterest has been one of the hottest new social networks on the radar for a few months now. In fact, Pinterest has cracked the current list of top 10 social networks — and it’s technically still invite-only.

For many users, Pinterest serves as a comprehensive wish list of sorts. Users (a.k.a. Pinners) post Pins to Boards that they organize by topic or theme. For instance, a user who is planning to remodel a house may Pin interior decorating ideas to a Design Board. Or a bride-to-be can post wedding dress inspirations to a Wedding Board. With 32 different topic areas, users can browse everything from fitness to art to science.

Like many new startups that experience an unprecedented spike in popularity, Pinterest has yet to streamline some of its features. The search tool, for example, needs a serious makeover. When the server isn’t overloaded entirely, a simple search often takes a while to load. Plus, we’d like to be able to create private boards and, ultimately, to filter categories for better Pin discovery.

Still, the service is fresh, relevant and entirely different from any social network we’ve encountered thus far. If you’re still getting used to the network like many of us, take a few minutes to review our tips and tricks for Pinterest. And let us know how you use Pinterest, and where you see it going in the future.

1. Become an Expert

Just as you would curate your personal brand across other social networks like Twitter, decide what topics you're most interested in, and then dedicate yourself to those spaces. People will be more likely to follow rich, full Boards than sparsely populated Boards.

If you have time to dedicate your Boards to a super specific niche, go for it! Fashion director for Marie Claire, Nina Garcia, separates each spring 2012 fashion trend into its own Board.



2. Use the Browser Extension

Drag and drop Pinterest's Chrome browser extension onto your Bookmarks bar. That way, every time you come across a cute pair of shoes or a kickass motorcycle, you're able to click "Pin It," choose an image (left), attach a description and add the Pin to one of your Boards.



3. Connect to Social

When you create your Pinterest account, you can choose to connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts, along with your personal website. Not only do the account widgets appear below your profile bio, but you can also choose to share your Pins across the networks, or to embed them onto your website.



4. Contributors

You have the choice to add contributors to your Board by editing a selected Board and then adding a Pinterest account. Keep in mind, however, that you have to be following at least one of the user's Boards before adding them as a contributor.


5. Likes

When you choose to Like a Pin, it will appear in a separate feed from your Boards. You may choose to keep a Like list for several reasons.

I keep a folder of Likes for those random Pins I encounter that make me laugh or pique my interest, but to which I wouldn’t dedicate a whole Board. For instance, I don't have Boards for tattoos or kitties, but I Like them nonetheless.

You may also choose to make your Like section an unofficial wish list that friends or family members can browse for gift ideas.


 
6. Mentions

Similar to Twitter, mention users you follow by typing “@” in front of their user names. Add the mention either to a Pin/Repin description or to a comment. The user will receive a notification.



7. Sell Pins

Add a "$" or a "£" to the Pin description and Pinterest will automatically add a price banner to the photo. The Pin will then appear in the Gifts category. Within the Pin, remember to link to the website where fans can purchase. Just remember to remove the Pin once you’ve sold out!

8. Mobile Pins

Along with the basic Pinterest Pin and Board functions, you can also take a picture with your iPhone, add a location and Pin via mobile.


9. How to Find Pinners

To find Pinners with similar taste and interests, seek out the users behind your favorite pins. Then look at the users that Pinner follows. As of now, Pinterest doesn't have a suggested users tool, so in the mean time, you have to do your own heavy lifting.


10. How to Find Pinners (Cont'd)

Another way to find interesting Pins or Pinners is by going to the Popular category to discover trending Pins. However, be prepared to encounter a wide variety of Pins. (A fork bracelet next to a bubble project?)
Or to narrow down the search, go to the Everything category and search by topic (i.e. Women's Apparel or Geek). When you see a Pin you like, view that Pinner’s other Boards, who they follow, and so on.



11. To Follow or Not to Follow?

One of the curious but potentially awesome things about Pinterest is your ability to follow a Pinner's specific boards, instead of her entire content output. Most of the time, I take a quick survey of a Pinner's taste and decide which Boards I relate to best. Then I only follow those Boards, so as not to get bombarded by irrelevant Pins.



12. Repeat Pins

Once you start combing the Pinterest feeds, you’ll encounter repeat Pins that have gone viral. Currently, there’s no way to filter out repeats just yet.

Therefore, the best way to get more eyes on your profile is to add new Pins as often as possible. Fresh content is guaranteed to get more original Pins.



13. Search Pins by Site
Once you're done taking a peek at our content, type in any website to see whether anyone has pinned from it.