If you’re an author building your brand, or even if you’ve already built your brand, but you haven’t included Pinterest in your social media strategy, you must do so now. Though, technically, Pinterest is not so much a social media platform as it is one of the top three used search engines in the world.
Did you know that 2 billion searches are made every month on Pinterest. And 87% of pinners bought something because of Pinterest?
Why on earth would you not want your beautiful books showing up on the feeds of millions of users and potential new readers?
How to Set it Up
It’s easy. All you have to do is download the app on your phone and/or visit the website on your desktop. Sign up for an account first, then start building your profile. Keep in mind, your profile MUST include the following:
- Link to Your Website
- Short Bio
- Your Name
- Your Title (Author)
Your name should indicate that you’re an author, and you may even want to include the genre in which you are writing.
Pro Tip: While you can choose to set up either a personal or business account, for selling books, I highly recommend you set up a business account because there are many more features available to you, like promotions and analytics! So worth it!
Also, you need to validate your website URL so that users can easily pin your posts to their own boards, which is crucial for using Pinterest the right way. You can link to your other social media platforms now, as well. So, be sure to do that.
Setting Up Boards
Once your profile is set up, you’re ready to start creating boards. A lot of fiction authors have trouble coming up with what boards to set up, so here are some ideas that might inspire you:
- Writing Quotes
- Writing Prompts
- Your Book’s Setting
- Your Book’s Characters
- About Your Book
- Your Books’ Covers
Above is a snapshot of Sarah J Maas’s boards to give you an idea of how a successful author sets up their boards.
That should be enough to get you started, and as you become more familiar with Pinterest, you’ll think of more ideas for other boards.
Now that you have a handful of boards set up, you need to create some pins to add to each board. The absolute best way to create pins is by using Canva, as they have templates that are the exact right size for Pinterest. You can even use their premade templates for inspiration or create your own.
Above is an example of just one of the many templates I use on Canva.
Not sure what kind of pins to create? First, spend some time scrolling through other authors’ boards and see what kinds of things they’re pinning. Obviously, don’t copy their original work, but use theirs to come up with some ideas. Also, I found some beautiful drag-and-drop templates on Etsy (which has a boatload of amazing social media templates you can buy fairly cheap) and uploaded them to my Canva account. Then, all I had to do was insert my own images, text, and content, and voila! I had some really beautiful pins to add to my boards.
Pro Tip: Be sure to stay on brand with what color scheme, fonts, etc. you’ve already chosen for your website and other social media posts. Not only will this help bolster your author brand and readers will recognize it’s you instantly, but a cohesive, beautifully branded account that matches across all boards will be more visually appealing to viewers and other authors and followers will be more likely to re-pin your posts.
What content should you include?
When you post your first pin, you’ll see that you don’t just upload the pin you’ve created and publish it. You will see there are also the following sections: title, description, and link.
Above is a snapshot of what it looks like when you go to pin your first image. It shows where you fill in the title, description (and hashtags), and link.
But let’s quickly go over each important element of a great pin:
- Title is pretty self-explanatory. You want to use 3-4 short words to describe what your pin is about. But remember to make it eye-catching as much as you can since these will be the words that are shown on your pins when they appear on others’ feeds.
- Description is where you’ll want to use the character limit (I believe 250) to write a short summary of what your pin is about and/or include your hashtags. I’ve always been taught to use 8-10 hashtags in your description box, no more, and the hashtags are most important, so consider typing those in first and using the remaining room to write your summary.
- Links On the last box of this page, you’ll see a place where you need to copy and paste the link you want to direct your viewers to. In your case, as authors, it’s almost always going to be your website or a purchase link for your books. However, if you’re inviting people to join your reader group, you can use your social media links there, too. But you have to use the entire URL (htpps://……) not just the name of your website in this section or they won’t link.
Once all these sections are filled in, your last task is to select (upper righthand corner) which board you want to pin this image to. Make sure the pin actually makes sense in the board you choose, and if none of them seem to be appropriate, create a new board! It’s that simple.
Pro Tip: If you have a business account (you should), you will be prompted next to promote your pin. I recommend not promoting every single pin as that can get expensive and can waste your resources. But I would absolutely consider promoting cover reveals, launch dates, and other important event pins, even if you only throw $30-$40 at it. Whenever I promote a pin, my analytics skyrocket!
How often should you pin?
Each board should start out with 10-12 pins to really get the ball rolling. Then, once you are ready to begin actively pinning on your board (which you should start sooner rather than later), most Pinterest experts agree you should be pinning 10-15 times per day. Now, I know that seems like a lot, but this doesn’t mean you need to create that many original, branded pins every day. This can be a combination of your original pins and pins you find on other boards then re-pin to yours. Just make sure that anything you re-pin is consistent with your niche (in this case, authors, books, and all things writing) and that it fits with what you’re trying to create for your account.
Overall, the key is to be consistent. By this, I mean, like Instagram, you want to make sure your pins all have similar color schemes that match your brand AND make sure you’re pinning the same amount of pins every day. Even if you’re only pinning 2-3 times per day, the Pinterest algorithm will reward you for your consistency.
I’m sure you feel a bit overwhelmed by all the conflicting advice you’ll find online when it comes to using social media to sell your books. Some experts will say to only focus on 2 maybe 3 platforms and devote your time to nurturing those, while others will tell you that you must be on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tik Tok, and YouTube. My advice is two-fold. If you’re handling your own social media accounts, then I agree it’s best to focus on 2-3 platforms at once. But if you can at all eek out the extra founds to hire a PA or social media manager, he/she can handle most of your daily posting for you. My PAs are amazing, and they only charge $150 each month (standard fee for PAs). In my opinion, PAs are more than worth what you pay them. But that’s a discussion for another post.
Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you remain consistent and post at least some every day of the week. Posting on each takes only a few minutes at a time, and the platforms’ algorithms all reward users who are consistently posting. Plus, there’s that old marketing tip that tells us the average consumer, in these modern times, must see your product (your books) at least 10-15 times before they finally decide to act and purchase. So you want to be as active as possible so you reach as many readers as possible as often as possible.
And, finally. Support your fellow authors by following them on Pinterest and re-pinning some of their pins to your boards. In fact, you can start right now by following us at @christinakayebooks. We’ll follow you back, and we have tons of helpful pins on our boards to help authors write their best book.