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Pinterest.com seems to have come from nowhere. The social bookmarking site, similar to Stumbleupon in the way it works, is being pitched as a social pinboard, a place to collect your cool curious finds from the web and share them with other 'pinners' around the world and the site has grown rapidly gaining over 13 million users in just 10 months. There's lots of Pinterest tutorials online but we wanted to focus on some of the basics to help get you started.
1. Claim and Edit your profile
Just like with every social network it's important you claim your username. This is even more important for food bloggers as many of you will already have an online presence associated with yours or your blog's name. The same applies to filling in the profile information - tell the users who you are, what you do, what you like and what sort of things you'll be adding to your pin board - this basic info encourages users to connect and follow you. So even if you're not ready to start pinning your interests just yet, it may be a good idea to go and claim that username.
However you choose to look at it, Pinterest is a social network, and with that comes the usual factors of social engagement. Comment on other peoples boards, re-pin their finds and allow users to add to particular themes you've set up. Maybe you have a board called 'great kitchen designs'. You can just keep it private and add your own finds but imagine how much faster it would grow and how many new connections you can make if you allow others to add their great kitchen design suggestions to your theme. We think this is one of the best ways to build your own following on the site.
3. Image is King
Dull, dark, underexposed and generally boring images will not work well on Pinterest. When a user pins a particular page or topic it's the image of that is most prominently displayed. Pinners are required to fill in details about what they're pinning but it's most important to remember that most users are looking for exciting images that catch their eye. The best way to attract users to items you've pinned is to remember that the image is key - always look for the most striking pictures you can find. We honestly think this is one of the most important factors to remember when starting your pin adventure.
It's hard to talk about Pintrest without mentioning copyright. Because of the way the service works and because it is an image driven bookmarking site, the usual rules of copyright do apply. When sharing content from your own blog you should already have the rights to use the pictures you're pinning but when pinning content from other sites remember to check whether the image you're sharing is royalty free or falls under a creative commons license - providing you're a non commercial entity of course. If anything is going to halt the growth of Pinterest it's the obvious issues of copyright that a site like this presents.
5. Arrange and categorize
Finally, don't just pin things at random. If you have your page, your profile pic uploaded and your general info filled in, have a think about what sort of content you're going to share. What sort of theme does it fall in ? A person's board can quickly becomes messy when they just pin finds at random - it's much better when users create specific categories and themes for different items.
Recipes are very popular on Pinterest as they are so image driven. As a food blogger chances are you have lots of recipes so try to create different themes like 'sweet recipes' 'hard recipes' 'homemade classics' Whatever you decide remember to try and keep your board neat and tidy with some engaging theme names to really draw the users to click on your content.
All in all we think the number of users, rapid growth and huge click through percentages on the site make it the perfect place for food bloggers. But just like every other service online with lots of noise, you have to be creative and original to stand out.