I’m very excited to get started on this new series for Soaring. We’re taking a look at social media and what it can do for your writing career. Since it’s 2017, most people are online in one capacity or another. This series is great for those of you who are still holding out on joining the party or for those who are online, but need some help using social media as a way to promote your writing and your brand. In this post we’ll look at Instagram and go over some essentials for getting started and marketing ourselves as writers.
This series will lead up to the launch of our new Spalding MFA Alumni website. While we’ll go over the new website in more depth, for right now, I’ll tell you that the site will be a great resource and community for alums.
What you can look forward to in this series:
Pinterest is an image and video-sharing community where people save images and have conversations around them. IT’s also a social bookmarking site for images and videos. You “pin” or save images or videos from web sites and connect with other people around them. Pinterest calls itself a tool for collecting and organizing things you love. Because of this, Pinterest can be a really fun tool for creating followers. It’s one of those platforms that feels more like play than work to me, which is a welcome change. Pinterest can be used on desktop or laptop computers as well as mobile devices.
What Can Pinterest Do for Your Writing Career?
Inspire story line ideas- The most obvious, in terms of helping you immediately, is potentially giving you ideas for your writing, or help with writing productivity. This is part of why I think Pinterest can feel less like work than other social media platforms because you can do more than try to “collect” followers.
Showcase your work- Show off your blog posts, your book covers, or photos from your play. This is a great place to share information that might be useful to users.
Drive traffic to your website- Push your posts in Pinterest to get users to your site. Especially if you have “how to” or similarly useful posts that users want to find, you can really push traffic to your site. Remember, it is about your writing (your primary writing), but it’s also about what else you know and how useful you can be to users.
Remind people you are more than your books or blog- Pinterest is a great place to showcase who you are as a person. You can create boards around your other interests and hobbies to give users a better sense of you. It’s becoming more and more important that Internet users see you as a person rather than just a book cover.
Stats of Pinterest
- Instagram receives the silver medal with 32% of users (After Facebook), Pinterest is in third with 31%, and Twitter at 29%.
- 93% of Pinterest users use the platform to plan or make purchases.
- Pinterest drives 25% of all retail website referral traffic.
- 81% of Pinterest users are female
- Millennials use Pinterest as much as Instagram
- Half of Pinterest users make $50K or greater per year with 10% making greater than $125K.
- 60% of Pinterest users are from the US
- There are over 75 billion ideas on Pinterest
- 87% of Pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest
- Over 5% of all referral traffic to websites comes from Pinterest
Creating your Pinterest Account
- Go to Pinterest.com
- You have three choices when you sign up: with your Facebook account, your Google account, or by providing an email. Choose whichever is easiest for you.
- Follow 5 topics: Because you want to show your personality to your followers, find general things that interest you like Home décor or Health and Fitness. But don’t forget to follow things like Writing, Writing Tips, or Writing Prompts.
- Go to your profile, click Settings, and fill in any information necessary. (If you’ve connected to Facebook or Google most of this will be finished for you).
- Most importantly, make sure you give yourself a profile picture, double check your pinterest URL, write an About you, and add a link to your website.
Pinterest Options and Features
When first logging into Pinterest, you will see your Homepage. Much like other social media sites you will see the activity of those you follow. On Pinterest, you will see the pins, likes, and repins from these users.
When looking at these pins, you have three ways to interact with it.
- Save– Or rather, “repin.” This will take this pin from your homepage, and display it on your board. When you click Pin It, you will choose which of your boards you wish to copy it to, as well as making your own caption for the pin. When choosing a board, you can choose from a board you’ve already created or start a new one.
- Share– You can send the pin to another user within Pinterest or send it as an email.
- Like– This will let the user know you like their pin, as well as show up in your liked pins.
Beyond your own Homepage, you can search various categories. There are set categories, like the ones you chose to follow when signing up, or you can search in the search bar for your own.
If you want to upload your own pin, one that does not already exist on Pinterest, like a blog post you published, or a link your followers might like, you can do this by pressing the Plus symbol in the upper right corner, adding the URL, and choosing an image to be displayed on your pin.
This Plus button can also be used to create new boards for your profile.
Maintaining your boards:
Once you have started pinning and arranging your boards you should check and maintain your profile page to give it a nice, clean look. Go to your profile and you can see all of your boards with a few of the top pins from each board. You can edit how these look by hovering over the board and clicking Edit. Here you can change the name, give a description, and choose a category.
- Be respectful
- Be Yourself
- Give Credit
- Stay Alert
- Let us Know
The most important part of these rules set by Pinterest is “Give Credit.” Like anything else you borrow or share from the Internet, you should give credit where credit is due.
Strategic Pinning for your Career
- Pin covers of books that inspire you.
- If you have a book/blog or project, pin what inspired it.
- Pin other people’s posts about writing.
- Pin images based on your other interests.
Tips to Boost Traffic to your website
- Get involved with group boards- Group boards are a great way to widen the reach of your pins. You can start your own or find boards that fit your interests.
- Be active- The more active you are, the more you show up in others’ timelines. Continue to repin pins that interest you and share your own work.
Pinner: User of Pinterest
Pins: Images from around the web (accessed with a Pin It Button) or those uploaded from your own computer that are added to Pinterest.
Boards: A board is where you organize and collect your pins. Boards are sorted into subjects like architecture, cars, colors, recipes, crafts, etc. as determined by the pinner.
Repin: To copy a Pin to a different board within your own site or to “grab” a pin posted by someone else and putting it on your own site.
Like: When you “like” an image it is added to the Likes section of your profile, but is not added to one of your boards or shared with your followers.
Follow a pinner: You can choose to follow other users. You can choose to either follow all of their boards or just one. These people’s pins will show up on your homepage. You do this by clicking the “follow” button at the bottom of a person’s board or clicking the “follow all” button under their profile picture.
Mention a pinner: Just like Twitter, you can mention fellow Pinterest users in the comments of your pins by using the @ symbol and the username of the pinner you want to mention.
Pinterest Boards to Follow
- How to Edit Board
- Getting Help with Your Writing Board
- Cover Lovin Board
- Writerly Inspiration Board
- Home Office Inspiration Board
- Organizations Solutions Board
- Social Media Tips and Tools Board
- LaptopCafes/Wifi Board
- Work From Home and Get Paid Board
- For the Love of Books and Music Board
- Writers Toolbox Board
- Tips for Drafting Board
I’m looking for contributors for the following posts:
DEAR SOARING!: Send me your questions to be featured on the blog. Other alumni will help in answering your questions.
Where in the World: Where have you gone recently? Send me a picture with information on your trip and any writing you may have done about the trip.
Awards and Accolades of Alumni: Time to brag! What have you accomplished recently? I want to help spread the word and show just how great our alumni really are.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured.
Mackenzie Jervis is a Summer 2016 Graduate. She lives in Texas with her husband, two cats, and puppy. She has way too many books, more cameras than she knows how to properly use, and a never ending need to keep moving. She writes about her life and adventures at home and around the world at A Wandering Scribbler.