Pinterest Tutorial: How to Use Pinterest?

Pinterest: the next 'hot' social network?

Another new social network?

You might be wondering....can it be any good to waste your precious time learning about another new social network when you already have been networking pretty well on Facebook and Twitter?

I would say, that it is subjective depending on how well, rather in what manner you are willing to use ‘free’ resources at hand! Pinterest is certainly the latest buzz in the social media world and ranked up to became one of the web’s top 10 social networks in December 2011.

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What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard where you can pin (or social bookmark) images and videos - pretty much like a bulletin board where you physically pin your favorites.

Like any good social network, you can follow and tag other users, like and share their content and make comments. You can also share your pins on Facebook and Twitter.

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A typical Pinterest home page looks like this...

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How do I join Pinterest?

As of today, I know that you need to sign up and request an invite to join Pinterest. All you need is an email, enter it and click on the ‘Request Invitation’ button and wait for your approval. You will get approved within a few days time but you can speed up this process by asking a friend to send you an invite if he/she is already using Pinterest.

If you do not have any friends on Pinterest and would like to join, I can send you an invite. Please email me your email address with the subject line, ‘Pinterest invite’ and I will send you an invitation within a few days.

Note: The above doesn't hold good anymore. This was required back when they started out! Now anyone can create a new account using their email or log in using their existing Facebook or Twitter accounts.

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Click on 'sign up with your email address' to create a new account

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Enter your details to create a new account

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Login with existing Facebook or Twitter accounts

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Joined...now what do I do?

Once you log in you will see pins from the people you follow - similar to a Facebook or Twitter news feed on your home page. Since you have just created your account you are most likely to see an empty page. You need to find some friends to follow (if they are already using the tool) or you can invite friends who are trying to get in.

To invite friends, click on the arrow next to your name and click ‘Invite Friends’. You can invite friends from Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo or just enter their email directly and send them an invite.

To find friends on Pinterest, you would need to sync your account with your existing Facebook, Twitter, Gmail etc. accounts. Let’s take care of that in the next section when we talk about how to change your Pinterest settings.

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Invite your friends or search for them

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Find friends and follow other users

In order to find friends who are already using Pinterest, you need to set it up. Click on the arrow next to your name and click ‘Settings’. Here you can link your Pinterest account to your existing Facebook and Twitter accounts. Once you do that, when you click on ‘Find Friends’ you will see a list of all your friends who are already on and can start following them.

Now when you go back to your home page, you will see that it has pins from all the people you follow.

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Sync Pinterest with other social media to find friends from 'Settings'

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These are your user settings. Change to suit your taste and click 'Save Profile'

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To follow others users, just click on their name and click 'Follow All' if you wish to follow all their boards or click on 'Follow' to follow a particular board which interests you.

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Following all boards

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Following only a particular board

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Set up your profile

Your settings page also lets you edit your Pinterest profile. You can set up your profile, add your image, location, website etc. Now here’s one thing I should warn you about! By default, Pinterest will send you an email notification for each and every activity on your profile! This can get pretty overwhelming as you start gaining more followers and engage in more activity on the site. In order to avoid that, go to your ‘Email Settings’ and change it accordingly.

If you don’t want your Pinterest profile to show up in search engine results, you can turn ‘Hide’ on. But I wouldn’t recommend that, specially if you are looking to connect with others for business.

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Click to change your email notifications

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Email settings

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Create boards and start pinning!

Now that you are all set, you can start creating boards and pinning on them.

Pinterest starts users off with a bunch of default boards but you can either delete or rename these according to your preferences.

To create a board click on the ‘+’ next to ‘Add’. Click on ‘Create a Board’. Enter the board name, select its category and click ‘Create Board’. You can also allow others to pin on your boards, if you would like your friends to contribute to your boards, add their names here.

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Click on '+' next to 'Add'

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Click on 'Create a Board'

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Add board name, select board category and contributors

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Boards are used to organize your pins. The more specific you are, the easier it is for you to add your pins. For example, I have created boards such as ‘Earth Friendly Coupons and Promotions’ or ‘Healthy Snacks’ as opposed to just ‘Coupons’ or ‘Recipes’. This makes it easier for me to pin my selected images to the appropriate category. If I just pinned all recipes on to a general board ‘Recipes’, I would get lost if I had to search for a specific healthy snack!

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Organize your boards

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To add a pin, once again click on ‘Add’. There are 3 ways to add pins right now. You can either add an image from a site, upload an image from your computer or just repin someone else’s image.

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Add or upload pins

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Repinning is the easiest, go to your home page, find an image to your liking and just click ‘Repin’. Add it to the board which best describes the pin and you have just pinned your very first image!

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Repin your friend's pins

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To add a pin from another site, click ‘Add Pin’, enter the site url and find images to pin. Pinterest is a very visual social networking tool so the site you wish to pin from should have adequate number of large images. Unfortunately you cannot pin any text right now.

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Add a pin from the web

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Enter the site url and find images to pin. Also share them on Twitter

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Pin it button

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There is another quicker way to pin from the web. Some websites have a ‘Pint it’ button at the bottom of their posts. Click that button to pin images from the post. If the website does not have a 'Pin it' button you can add one to your browser’s bookmarks bar.

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To add an image from your computer, click on ‘Upload a Pin’, choose your file and pin it.

Remember to add a short description to increase the chances of others finding and repinning your pins.

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Upload a pin from your computer

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Upload a pin, share it on Twitter

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And that’s basically all you need to do to start your very own virtual pinboard! Happy pinning!

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But wait....what about Pinterest etiquette?

Remember, you might be pinning from someone else’s site/blog so do remember to give them due credit. Mention their site’s name, url in the short description and do not copy and paste any content from their site.

Be polite when you comment on other’s pins and try to like the pin before you repin it. After all, you are repinning because you do like the image, right?

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Is Pinterest really going to help me or is it just another time waster?

Again, that depends on how you plan to use it. True, it can be a huge time waster if you just keep on pinning stuff without having any idea as to why you are doing it! But you can also use it wisely and well.

Pinterest can be a great social networking tool for your site, blog or small business. (I will cover how you can use Pinterest for online marketing in another hub). Even if you are just using it as a personal pinboard, it could be a great source of inspiration. You could use it to pin your favorite recipes that you found on the web, home décor inspirations, DIY projects, outfit/style inspirations and many more. The key is to limit yourself to use it for a few minutes each day and stay organized.

I hope this hub has helped you to get started on Pinterest. Do share your Pinterest experience in the comments section below.

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An inspirational pin to wind up!

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Comments 9 comments

Ruby H Rose profile image

Ruby H Rose 4 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

Ditto, this explains everything in an easy to read way, thank you! I am getting many pins and trying to figure out the best strategy and such, this will really help. Great Hub!


ponx profile image

ponx 4 years ago from USA Author

The Engineer and Ruby - Thanks!


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 4 years ago from Bishop, Ca

Well done, ponx, and thanks for the brush-up!


ponx profile image

ponx 4 years ago from USA Author

Thanks lorlie6! Glad you enjoyed it!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Great hub. Thanks for sharing this information. It was very well organized and comprehensive.

Voted up, useful and interesting.


Kenja profile image

Kenja 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

Helpful Pon, thanks. Just invited a bunch of friends to my Pinterest pages. best, Ken www.pinterest.com/kennito


learningtofly profile image

learningtofly 3 years ago

Thanks! Very useful. Is there anything one shouldn't pin to avoid being overly promotional?


ponx profile image

ponx 3 years ago from USA Author

Thank you learningtofly! According to me pinning anything is fine as long as you are sticking to the basic guidelines of the site. Overly promotional could be a case when you are pinning something from your site repeatedly, entering your url repeatedly in the comments section etc.


JPSO138 profile image

JPSO138 3 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

You practically nailed it. I now understand the whole thing. Actually I have heard about this from the comment.. like i have pinned your hub or something to that effect. Was planning to join and now I know what its all about. Great hub!

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