Romance Your Social Media Campaign with Pinterest
by Giulia Torre
What? You’ve never heard of Pinterest?
Pinterest (like a digital bulletin board, where you can ‘pin’ what interests you) has four primary elements:
- the images you pin (‘pins’)
- the description of your images (text that can be located in searches)
- a web link to the source of the image (outside of Pinterest, possibly your buylink)
- the social network (your audience of followers, the people you follow)
You can garner followers for you (all of your boards at once) or specific, individual boards.
The goal when using any social media for book promotion is to connect: to introduce your book to new readers and to maintain connection with your existing ones.
Can Pinterest help?
Although I have a Pinterest board for my current book and upcoming release, I’ve yet to use them to actively build a readership. Instead, I use my boards as a way for existing readers to connect with my characters, and as another way to build out my social identity as an author. I consider my Pinterest book boards as another tool in my identity kit.
I don’t use Pinterest to promote my books yet, and I’m not alone.
I found Vampire Academy author’s Richelle Mead’s Pinterest profile. This NY Times / USA Today bestselling author has three boards, one of which has only a single image of two goats. Mead admits, “I don’t really get Pinterest.”
But Pinterest gets her. Vampire Academy and Richelle Mead fan boards abound.
Historical romance novelist (and newly elected RWA Board member) Courtney Milan is on FB, twitter, tumblr and Goodreads, but I couldn’t find her on Pinterest, and she doesn’t offer her readers any clues how to find her there.
The “official” Nora Roberts pinterest site has only 13 pins but 5,495 followers who searched for her on the platform, and are holed up and waiting for some activity.
Our future fans are on Pinterest. But can we find them?
Authors like Mead, Milan and Roberts are getting promoted on Pinterest in spite of their limited participation. Readers are pinners and, on Pinterest as with all social media, the rich get richer. If you’ve already got readers, you’ll get more.
But there’s still something to learn from authors effectively using Pinterest as part of their media tool kit.
NY Times and USA Today bestselling paranormal romance author Heather Killough-Walden has 1,167 followers across her Pinterest Boards. Heather has a different board for each series, and none of her manageable 23 boards are extensively pinned.
Killough-Walden has 4,999 FB followers of her author profile, to give you a sense of the impact of Pinterest vs Facebook on the social media scene.
With 1,400 followers, I asked Amy how she uses Pinterest to promote her books, and she pointed to her memes:
“I use Pinterest the same way that I do any other social media–as a platform to show myself as an author and showcase my books. I make memes to put up on my website that I can pin to Pinterest. I also make memes for book reviews, book quotes, and other information about my books I want to share. Anytime I blog, I make sure that I post a meme that I can in turn pin to one of my boards.”
“Pinnable” images that contain author, title, and a quotation from your book are memes that could go viral. Pinners love quotations. Quotations are highly re-pinned, especially if they’re funny or inspiring.
One fan’s board dedicated to Milan includes images of her book covers and memes apparently created by the reader herself.
And although there should always be some reference to any original copyright or source, pins can link directly to your author page, or to your book on Amazon.
Pinterest for Business
If you’re ready to take it to the next level on Pinterest, resources are out there to help. If you’re going to be actively selling your book on Pinterest, then Pinterest for Business, according to their terms of service, may be for you. Best practices are offered by the Pinterest for Business team. Review this helpful how-to for setting up a business account on Pinterest, and how to track traffic sources with Google Analytics. And it never hurts to read a basic but comprehensive how-to use Pinterest for internet marketing.
Finally, because we all know that just because we build it, it doesn’t mean that anyone other than our mother will come, check out 9 Ways to Build Your Pinterest Audience.