Wednesday, January 25, 2012

From My Mad Pinning Skills Comes - The Pinterest Tutorial

As you all know I’m moderately obsessed with a website call Pinterest. When people ask me what Pinterest is my first reaction is to laugh evilly and say “internet crack.” But a better way to describe it is a massive bookmark function that moves with you and even gives you suggestions on what to bookmark. Do you ever come across a website or article and say, “Wow this is great I need to remember this!” and then forget? With Pinterest you don’t have that problem you just “pin” the website/picture/video/blog/etc to one of your “boards” and you can go back to it whenever you want. It’s great because unlike the bookmarks in your web browser it moves computer to computer with you. And my favorite part is that you see what everyone else has pinned and you get to “steal” those pins from people.

I’ve been trying to get my twitter/blog bff, Nina, to get on Pinterest for a while now. And finally a few days ago she said she was ready and to send her an invite! That was promptly followed by a DM tweet saying, “I’m confused.” So I quickly banged out a few helpful tips and emailed them off joking that I should blog a Pinterest tutorial. She and a half dozen other people said yes please blog it! So here it is Pintrest tutorial extraordinaire.
This by all means isn’t everything you need to know but it is enough to get you started and get you comfortable. I’ve broken my tips out into two sections, the bare basics and hints/tips to make everything run smoother.

The Basics:
1) In the beginning follow lots of people so you can get lots of ideas – What makes Pinterest so great is that you’re not scouring Google to find what you want someone else already did the searching! Even for stuff you didn’t know you wanted/needed/loved until you saw it on Pintrest.

2) If you click on the red Pinterest logo at the top you will return to what I call your "wall". Your wall is comprised of all the pins that only people you follow have pinned, in order of most recent. Clicking on the red Pintrest logo is also like hitting “refresh” it will update your wall to the most recent pins.

NOTE: If you have friend who follow the same people you follow you will most likely see lots of repeats as people "steal" other people’s pins.

3) Right under the red Pinterest logo are headers. Hover over the "Everything" with your mouse and you can choose categories of pins you want to see. These will be from EVERYONE on Pinterest not just people you follow. If you find yourself repinning someone a lot follow them so they show up on your wall.

4) Speaking of repining, you’re asking “what’s that mean anyway?” That's when you're on Pintrest (not an outside website) see something you like and want to save it to one of your boards. Repinning puts it to a specific board making it easier to find and it will show up on your and your follower’s walls.

5) But wait what’s a board? It’s especially a category. I have a food board that I call “Nomtastic”, a shoe board that I call “Shoes I drool over”, and a… ahem… goodies board that I call “Things I could look at all day long” (go check that one out, you can thank me later). You can call them anything you like and create as many as you want. This helps keep your pins organized and thereby easier to find later when you actually want to make that lamp out of a mason jar. You can access your boards by hovering over your user name in the upper right hand conver and clicking on Boards.

This is what your just your board page will look like. Click on individual boards to see which pins you've added.

6) Clicking on pin will bring you to that pins specific page within Pinterest. This will give you no more information than what you’ve already seen. Click on it again and you go to the original website.

7) Pinning an original pin. You can download a button to your web browser so you can pin original pages. This is found by clicking on the About drop down menu. So let’s say you're out on a blog and see a tutorial on decorating that you love and want to keep. You use the downloaded button to pin it to your decorating board. The only frustrating thing about this is that you have to download this button on each computer you want to pin from. Since I can’t download stuff to my work computer I can pin original pins from there… I mean really? What am I supposed to do all day if I can’t pin?

8) You can tag someone in a pin if you think they'd like it by using the @ symbol. It should give you a drop down of people’s names just like twitter or facebook.

9) Don't trust the "recent activity" bar on your right it lies. It's not recent at all.

Tips to on getting the most out of Pinterest:

1) What about liking? Liking just sticks a pin on one mass like page. Pins that you like will NOT show up on anyone’s wall and it will not show on your board. I rarely use this function.

2) Speaking of board. Here’s a tip – create as many boards as you like. As my friend Sarah put it, “I’d rather have 15 boards and be able to find something fast.” This really depends on what type of pinner you are. I love to pin, I pin everything I see and think I might like it, then go back later and examine it to see if I really like it. For me it’s important to have lots of specific boards. For others who are very picky about what they pin it’s not such a big deal (they don’t have close to 3,000 pins like some unnamed pin obsessed bloggers who won’t be named).

3) Pinterest starts you out with a set of boards for generic categories. You can easily create new boards. When you go to pin or repin something scroll down to the very bottom of your boards list and click on create new, type in what you want your board to be called and there you have it.

4) Be warned when you're on the Everything page or one of the category pages (i.e. NOT your wall) be very careful that if you want to see something in detail you right click and open it in a new tab or window. If you click on the pin then try to get back to the original search page, even if you use the back arrow it refreshes and gives you all new pins. I've lost pins this way and spent way to long trying to relocate them.

For example you’re on the Geek page and see a Star Trek poster that you just love and right next to it is a Hunger Games bracelet that you can’t live without. If you click on the Star Trek poster to get a closer look then back arrow so that you can repin the Hunger Games bracelet it won’t be there and you’ll tear your hair out refreshing and search for it for a week. Been there, done that. Save yourself the headache and hair loss.

5) This is a personal preference for me. When doing original pins make sure you pin the actual POST not the blog itself so that when people click on the pin they’re not searching someone’s entire blog to find the post they wanted.

6) Likewise be specific in your descriptions. (I'm guilty of this) People often use the "description" box to make their comments about a pin and that makes it REALLY hard to search for things on Pinterest.

7) Change your email setting or you'll go crazy. Only get notifications with someone comments on your pin. One thing I and others find frustrating is that there is no notification when someone @mentions you. Pinterest if you’re reading this PLEASE add an option to get a notification when someone @mentions you. Kthanks.

8) High traffic times – like in the evenings when all those moms are trying to unwind – is when Pinterest is at its worse. One friend said 502 was the worst number ever because that’s the error message you get when Pinterest dies. BE PATIENT! If you click “repin” and nothing happens please wait, if you keep reclicking on it you’ll end up with 10 of the same pin… and we’ll all see 10 of the same pin because we’re following you. I’ve found opening new tabs helps, that way the system can take as long as it needs to repin and I can continue to peruse my wall.

9) Finally unfollow my "things that make me LOL" board because I tend to over pin there and drive people crazy :)

I hope you’ve found this tutorial helpful!! My friend Kristin really hit the nail on the head when she said you just have to play with it until you’re comfortable, learn as you go. I found Pinterest really overwhelming and confusing when I first started. Then I became psycho mass pinner. And now things have evened out… a little bit. It’s great having a place to store my ideas and gain new ones. Pinterest is really only as good as you want it to be and it really is only what you put into it. I’ve recently set up an “Articles to Keep” board because I got tired of losing internet articles that I felt I would have a need to reference back to later. It’s not something I would think of as a common use for Pinterest (most people associate it with recipes, crafts and decorating) but that’s the beauty of it, finding ways to utilize it.

All you Pinterest veterans out there, what advice would you give to neophyte pinners?


  1. That was awesome.

    My advice? Edit the description with your own because sometimes people just repin and it's something about an engagement that I "didn't know happened" or it makes it sound like a recipe they've tried before.

  2. Awesome tutorial Tanya. I love pintrest too. Off topic but great minds think alike.... check out my current blog layout ;)

  3. Here's a question with the answers from a FaceBook post:

    got a question for ya...when i am looking at someone else's boards is there a way to click a single board to see if i want any of their pins or do i have to go through ALL of their pins...Miss 4440 PINS!! Yikes!

    Holy snaps I have over 4000 pins?! Ouch! Yes there is if you're following me click on my pretty face this should bring you to my "page" showing all of my boards. Click on a board you want to look at and you can see all the pins. Alternative if you look at a specific pin to the left it will show the board that that person has previously pined it to. Click on that and you'll see pins to just that board

    Also helpful, right under that shows a box that says "also from" you can see all pins from a specific website.