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Pinterest myths and tips

Updated on October 26, 2015
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Myths and tips - Pinterest

If I remember correctly it was some time in 2010 that I received an email asking me to be a beta tester for a new site called Pinterest. It actually sounded quite boring - a 'virtual pinboard'. But I joined anyway and found that before long, I was spending hours there. Yep. Hooked.

Time was the problem

It was so easy - and still is - to go to the site and spend hours browsing and clicking through to websites and blogs. I'd see an interesting image, click through and explore the site and before I knew it, three hours had passed.

Use Pinterest quickly and easily

It's true that the site can simply guzzle your time; it's almost addictive. So the purpose of this article is to give you ideas and tips about using this great resource in minutes, rather than hours. You might love spending time on the site getting ideas and inspiration but if your goal is to promote your writing, artwork or business, you hardly need to go to the site at all. You can read tips for using social media quickly here.

Debunking the myths

There are lots of these. So long the way, I'll discuss these too.

Instructions:

1. Myth: Pinterest is for women.

This is the most annoying of them all, to me. It's true that in the USA (but not in other countries) more women than men use the site but that doesn't limit it to 'girlie' subjects. (Whatever they are). And we all know that guys like cooking and crafts and girls like cars and computers. The image below shows the most popular categories.

Source

2. Myth: It's for crafts and cooking.

We saw above that this is not the case. There's room for everyone on the site.

I have a board that is devoted to motorsport and often pin books like the one you see here.

No stereotypes. And yes, the majority of users are female but we all have a wide variety of interests and one of them is buying gifts for the men in our lives. Feel free to use the button above to check out this girl's pins and boards.

I really thought the days of gender stereotypes were over...

3. Myth: It's time consuming to get lots of followers.

Unlike most other sharing systems, you don't need hundreds of followers. I don't think I've reached 600 yet.

What counts is the boards that you pin to. I don't have 54,000 followers but I pin to a board that has, plus many more boards that get a great deal of attention. The image shows the number of followers on just two of the boards I pin to.

4. Myth: Repin lots of stuff from other people.

This is a yes-and-no myth. You certainly don't need to spend hours on the site repinning other people's pins. The caveat is that you might do so if a) you have the time to spend on the site (I don't) and b) you see yourself as a curator.

For example, if you sell organic vegetables it makes sense to pin recipes by others that use your produce. But for many of us, there's no obligation or expectation to do so.

5. Myth: Pinterest is social medium.

It isn't, it's a curation service.

On social media (Twitter, Facebook etc.) then the idea IS to be social.

Just in the same way that there's no obligation to repin, there is also no obligation to comment on pins.

It's wonderful when people do - especially if they are endorsing a product you've recommended - but if you're short of time remember that commenting is not an essential part of using the site.

Being sociable on Pinterest can be fun but if you're using the service for marketing and promotion, you'll rarely need to be. You'll see your goals in the image on the right.

6. Myth: It's confusing and difficult.

Once you have set up your accounts and boards (and there are plenty of instructions online and in the site's own 'help' pages) then pinning is simplicity itself.

Most webpages these days have pin buttons - see the examples in the image on the right. You'll see working social media sharing buttons right on this page.

7. Myth: You need to use hashtags.

These confuse a lot of people and yet there's absolutely no need to use them. (They are useful on Twitter but are often used incorrectly.) It's the description of your pin that matters. For example, let's say that you pin an image that leads to your article about abstract art. What is the average user going to search for? 'Abstract art' or '#abstract #art'?

Furthermore, they look spammy and silly - see the image on the right.

8. Myth: People will steal my work.

A few years ago, there was an absolute furore on an arts forum I was using because people thought that their artwork would be stolen if they posted it on Pinterest.

The fact of the matter is that if your post your images ANYWHERE on the internet (including your own website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc) then your work can be stolen.

The image you see here is one of my other half's photographs - would it really be the end of the world if it was 'stolen'?

It's on many other sites and social media - Pinterest doesn't make it suddenly more vulnerable.

If you're really concerned, it's easy to add a watermark.

9. Myth: I will lose copyright.

This was something else that the artists were upset about. That's because Pinterest has similar terms to Facebook - that it can use your images for promotional purposes (usually simply a screenshot). But see the image below - you retain copyright.

What's more, Pinterest also gives very clear instructions about what to do if your rights are violated.

10. Myth: You can pin anything you find on the internet.

This is another yes-and-no. If someone has a pin button on their page or site, that's because they would LOVE you to pin it.

If people definitely don't want you to pin, then Pinterest itself supplies code that can be entered into the page to prevent pinning. But there's a grey area.

Let's say that you have an article about palm trees. You cannot save the beach image you see above to your computer, add it to Pinterest manually and then add the URL of your article.

Broadly speaking, any image you pin should be your own or that of a company or site that encourages pinning by providing the button.

Source

11. Myth: You shouldn't pin products.

Oh yes you should. The image you see on the right is one of my most popular pins.

People have boards entitled 'things I want to buy' or 'holiday gift ideas' or 'books I want' and so on. People actively want to see products.

Pinterest is an online scrapbook - a place to collect the things that interest you.

People have boards where they collect items they want to buy for their vacations, movies they want to watch, products they will need for their wedding, d├ęcor items that they want for their home ...and many more.

Source

12. Myth: Images should have text.

In some cases only, and then only if you really have the time to prepare them.

Bad text or ugly fonts can actually prevent people from clicking on your pin so it's certainly not essential. If you do have the time to prepare artwork, then a step-by-step image like the one you see on the right, is far more effective.

The book below is a little outdated in the fine details but if you're starting out with the site, it's an excellent resource that will put you on the right track.

Shopping List

Pinterest For Dummies
Pinterest For Dummies

This book can teach you a great deal about how to make the most of Pinterest.

 

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    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @peachpurple - how long have you been pinning? It does take a little time to accumulate hits.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Country-Sunshine - it's great for my traffic too.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @GiftsByDiana - neither have I but I know that a phenomenal number of my hits come from Pinterest. I rarely hear from people about how they found my sites. As long as they buy,that's OK :)

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      Hi @DavidStone1 - I suppose I'm a little unusual in that I pin lots of 'non-girlie' items. But you know me - I'm English :) To me there are no such things as girlie or non-girlie subjects. Blokes cook, girls like cars ... I guess it depends on who your followers are :)

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Shorebirdie - there is a special code that people can add to their websites if they don't want to have people pinning from it so you should be fine. But it's great for pinning your own work. I have a site that is for gift ideas and during the year I pin daily but the site doesn't make a fortune. But they 'collect' the gifts ideas for the buying season so it really takes off for me then.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Linda Smith1 - it's so simple, isn't it?

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i love pinterest although i don't get much traffic from there

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 3 years ago from Texas

      I've been using Pinterest for a couple of years, and it has become one of my greatest sources of traffic to my articles. It can be a bit addicting - especially in the beginning - but can be a payoff over time.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @bead at home mom -just keep doing it and you'll see the benefits. It might take time but it's worth it.

    • GiftsByDiana profile image

      Diana Burrell-Shipton 3 years ago from Hubbard, Ohio, USA

      I have been "pinning" and searching... too and I like it, but am not sure it has been worth my time as I have had not one person say that they found my website (and thus bought from it) because of Pinterest.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      As always, Jackie, well-written and informative. I'll differ with you a bit on the gender thing. Published stats show that 80% of users are female. It may be more appropriate to say what % are more visually oriented, regardless of gender, but nobody has that stat. I use Pinterest fairly heavily and have for a couple of years, and my experience confirms this. I get follows from other men once in a while, but by a large degree, I get follows from women whose boards are decidedly girlie subjects. No complaint. I don't mind being in a universe where I'm outnumbered by women, but I do think Pinterest has not attracted many men because its natural accent is female.

    • Shorebirdie profile image

      Shorebirdie 3 years ago from San Diego, CA

      I've never had any luck with Pinterest, but others do. I'm still weary of the site because of copyright things and I don't want to get sued for pinning or repinning something. There are a lot of people who will post things with a pin button or on creative commons, but get mad if you use their images.

    • LindaSmith1 profile image

      LindaSmith1 3 years ago from USA

      That is all I do Brit. Click the pin button, put what I want on the board I chose, or create another one, and done.

    • bead at home mom profile image

      Teri Hansen 3 years ago

      As always Jackie, helpful, informative and full of quick and easy tips...still trying to 'get it' but working to do better. I figure if I just do it it will begin to click.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Adventuretravels - a) you're probably not doing anything wrong - there is no wrong :) b) don't go to the site itself, you can waste too much time there.Pin from the browser button.

      It's truly not a waste of time.If you use the browser button it takes seconds to pin your work. I have articles that get over a thousand Pinterest hits per day but I rarely go to the site :)

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 3 years ago from Perth UK

      My big problem with Pinterest is that I keep getting the feeling that I'm doing something wrong, either that or that I've completely missed the point!! You're right though, it is totally addictive1 But so far it seems to be a complete waste of my time!! lol. I shall carry on with it though and your tips and guidance have reassured me on many points. Thanks.

    • profile image

      leonvd 3 years ago

      Thanks for the great artice!Ive been playing around with pintrest for some time but never had any success with it

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Namsak: You're right, stealing certainly isn't OK. When we've found that our online images have been stolen, we've simply sent the perpetrator an invoice.

    • profile image

      Namsak 3 years ago

      Your number 8 is interesting. Even if your images can be stolen from ANYWHERE on the web that doesn't mean someone stealing them from Pinterest is OK - all theft is wrong. Having said that I think we must resign ourselves to the fact that copyright of images on the internet is a complete train wreck. i'm damned if I know what can be done about it other than not uploading images you don't want stolen onto the web - and that would spoil all the fun. If only everyone would stick to the rules - yeah, right!

    • ThreeQuarters2Day profile image

      Dawn Romine 3 years ago from Nebraska

      I joined Pinterest in 2011 when you had to receive an invitation, yes, it sucked up my time, much easier to do on the phone app now. I follow people in my target audience, military, Marine and Patriotic pinners. When you find a pin you like you can also follow the board(s) on which it appears. It's a good way to find more content and have people follow you back. Pinterest is the biggest refferal for my lenses now.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Aibrean82: Thanks so much!

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 4 years ago

      This was really helpful! I detest social sites, by the way, and I like your description of Pinterest as a curation site. I like to curate, so I feel right at home (since I just started using Pinterest). My biggest hurdle was the thought that when people pinned my content, they WERE stealing it! That is, they were using it for their own purposes without my permission. But it gives me additional publicity, so I'm fine with it now.

    • Aibrean82 profile image

      Aibrean82 4 years ago

      I am an absolute Pin-a-holic! My husband laughed at me as I used to sit in front of the TV at night with my laptop or iPad in my lap and pin things. Then I got him his own account and... well, he got hooked too! That taught him! :) I have tried so many delicious recipes that I've found on Pinterest, and I find it the biggest source of traffic for my Squidoo lenses. Great lens!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Pat Goltz: You'll find it a great way to get hits too :)

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @favored: When you pin from a button on a lens, the lead image is automatically chosen. When you use the pin button available to add to your browser from the Pinterest site, you can pin any image. It also lets you pin images from any site on the web (as long as the webmaster hasn't disabled pinning, which is quite rare). The button is a real time saver and very useful.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @CalobrenaOmai: I pin food a lot too - it's a popular subject.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @John Dyhouse: Thank you! Try this - every time you work on Squidoo, pin five of your lenses. Because we have the buttons right there, it will only take a minute, literally. Start with your top lens and work down the list. When you get to the end of the list, start again at the top. One minute a day will be worth it!

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 4 years ago from UK

      Very useful, never really got into Pinterest in a big way - except to pin my web sites. I thought this was probably a waste of time but I did it. If as you are suggesting you are suggesting Pinterest is nnot a sociaal media site then maybe it does do some good. Great myth busting! Thanks

    • profile image

      CalobrenaOmai 4 years ago

      I gave myself a crash course in Pinterest late last year. To date I shared links to my works on other sites, links to select lenses. So far I've accumulated quite a few pins; most of which revolve around food. XD

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      If you use a board for the things on a wish list is there a way to connect it to a product that will go toward a sale for the person other than a lens? I do like using it as a scrapbook like you said. It saves me looking for it later when I have no idea where I first saw the thing in the first place. Thanks for the info.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Merrci: That's great - thanks!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Great lens--thanks so much for putting it together. Like how you did it too. I'm trying to understand all the social media/pinterest type stuff. This helps a lot!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Sir Daniel UK: Well, you know what I'm like ... any Brit stuff will go right here:http://www.pinterest.com/jackie_jackson/britain-sp...

    • Sir Daniel UK profile image

      Danny Gibson 4 years ago from Northampton

      Well I never even heard of it till I joined Squidoo. I suppose I should join and try to get to grips with it. The fact that I have landed here and read through all your advice must mean I'm toying with the idea, I guess.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @MsBertie: Thank you!

    • MsBertie profile image

      MsBertie 4 years ago

      I Love pinterest! Great lens,very helpful!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @GrammieOlivia: That's great! So many things are much easier than they first seem to be :)

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 4 years ago

      Thank you for this, it makes Pinterest much clearer to me!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @fullofshoes: Thank YOU - I'm so glad that the info is helpful.

    • profile image

      fullofshoes 4 years ago

      Excellent lens - I had a few questions about Pinterest that this lens clears up totally!! Thank you Jackie!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @David Stone1: Thank you Dave.I hope it will help new lensmasters and new contributors. Things are rarely as complex as they appear :)

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 4 years ago from New York City

      Smart stuff and very informative, Jackie. Thanks.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @ThreeQuarters2Day: That's great. After all, it's much better to have 300 people who want to hear what you say than 3,000 who don't!

    • ThreeQuarters2Day profile image

      Dawn Romine 4 years ago from Nebraska

      I have a little less than 300 followers but I'm getting sometimes 30-50% of my referrals from Pinterest depending on the lens

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Craftymarie: I think sometimes that the very phrase 'social media' can put people off - especially (if I dare say so!) some older people. (Social media is for youngsters, I keep hearing. What nonsense). It's actually a lot simpler than some people think so I hope I've addressed their concerns. Thanks for visiting!

    • Craftymarie profile image

      Marie 4 years ago

      Yes I'm always calling pinterest social media and you are quite right that really it is not social! You done a great job of answering lots of common questions here and issues that people have with pinterest. I love it - it brings a lot of traffic my way even with less than 500 followers. I make sure to pin to boards which have a far bigger reach too :)

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @shay-marie: Thank you shay-marie! I appreciate your visit and comment.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @SusanDeppner: Thank you Susan! I hope it helps people who are a bit unsure.

    • shay-marie profile image

      Shay Marie 4 years ago from Southern California

      Great points here Britflorida! I especially like #12. There is a big difference between good and bad graphic design, and bad graphics can definitely hinder you.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I especially like myth number 12 (images should have text) - that truly can get ugly. I'd much rather read a brief but informative description of the pin. I like to search on Pinterest, so good descriptions are important to me. These are really great tips. Thanks for sharing!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Brite-Ideas: Thank you! Yes, it's certainly good for hits. I made this lens because it seems that lot of people are a little confused by it to begin with so I hope this will help them.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      excellent! love all the points you covered here - accurate tips for those who want to use pinterest - pinterest is a part of my day in terms of visiting and marketing and it's a wonderfully simple platform to use (plus I do get a good chunk of traffic from there as well)

    working