Vertical Pins: How Embarrassing

Everyone says, “make tall pins.”  I say it in class.  I show examples of tall pins when I teach.

I wrote a post about creating “before and after” pins that stack vertically because they are more visible than side-by-side images (which look better in a blog post).

I repinned rugs for exposure.

I got traffic.

I wasn’t happy with how my “Rag Rugs, Hand Made in America” board looked, but it was my work and it was colorful.

And one day, I realized that I could rotate most of my rugs 90 degrees and make tall pins.

OMG.  I am embarrassed.

Red Rag Rug pins, showing the difference between horizontal and vertical image alignment.

Red Rag Rug pins, showing the difference between horizontal and vertical image alignment.

The longer the rug, the worse it looked before the rotation, and the better it looked after. Seascape was so bad before I removed all of its horizontal pins across my account before I thought to write this post.

The round rugs will take a slightly different approach. I haven’t finished processing and uploading them.

Here’s another example of the difference between vertical pins and horizontal pins of the same images:

Gold rug pins, showing the difference between vertical and horizontal image alignment, and cropping a round rug to fill the space.

Gold rug pins, showing the difference between vertical and horizontal image alignment, and cropping a round rug to fill the space.

In this set, I have zoomed in on Red and Gold Spiral and cropped it to a rectangular shape so it fills more of the image space. Will probably do this will all of the spirals; not sure about the triskeles (triple spirals).

I will be deleting the horizontal pins over the next few days.  By the time you read this, the boards will all look different and only the screen shots will document my lesson learned.

What happens with an @ mention in a pin?

I wasn’t quite sure what happened when I @mentioned another pinner in a pin caption, so I tested it today. When I typed the “@” symbol, followed by my other account name, Pinterest started displaying a list of possible pinners. I selected the one I wanted, and Pinterest inserted the full User Name into the pin’s description.

Pin with @ mention

Pin with @ mention to my other account.


When I checked the email associated with the other account, I found this message:

@mention email content

What a recipient sees with an @mention from a pin.

Now you know, too. If you repin pins that have @mentions of other pinners, delete the @+name and spare them one more email.

How to Backup Pinterest Business Boards

If you have important business content on your Pinterest boards, create a backup file of your pins for your own reference and peace-of-mind. Making a backup copy of your business boards protects you from someone hacking into your business account and deleting content.

Another reason to print your boards is so you can cross-check board content against an inventory list. Verify that you have pinned everything you want people to know about.

The current best / easiest way to save your pins is to create a PDF of each board.

First, install a “Print to PDF” driver for your printer, if you don’t have one installed already. (Search on “free PDF converter” and follow the instructions.)

Display the board. Make sure all your pins have loaded and are visible in the browser window. (Scroll down to make sure you don’t see a “loading pins” message.) Schedule backups in the middle of the day, when fewer people are pinning and the Pinterest servers are not as busy as they are before and after work hours.

Next, Select Print from your browser window, and under Print options, select Print to PDF.

Print to PDF Option in printer window.

Print to PDF Option in printer window.

 

Select OK and wait. You will see a pop-up window asking for the name of this file. Name the file with the board name. Add the account name if you have more than one Pinterest account. Some people include the date in the file name and some people let the file metadata provide the date.

File name printer window

File name printer window

Because I am backing up two Pinterest accounts to the same directory, I add account name prefixes so I can sort the backup files easily. I could also save the files into different directories.

If you need to crosscheck against an inventory list, printing the board file can make it easier. Some PDF programs allow you to write in the PDF itself.

Humor Stash board backup

Humor Stash board backup, in PDF format

Repeat with your next board.

If your boards have commercial value to your business, you will want to repeat this process at some regular interval, perhaps monthly. Recreating a board from memory is way less fun than creating and loading it the first time around.

(Real world update: Pinterest is not sending ALL of my board content to the print file–only the first page and the last row of pins. I have a request in to several other services, but the output is incomplete on all of them. Pinterest says it is working on a print upgrade.)

How to Make Cover Pins for Your Pinterest Boards

Board “cover pins” are the pins you select to be the largest image on a board in your Pinterest account’s Board View. Setting board covers can help to identify the content of a board.

If you don’t set a board cover image deliberately, the first image you pinned will be displayed as the largest image under “Boards view.” Sometimes, this works, but more often,

Board title + the first image pinned = random = confusion

“Confusion” is not a good state for a Pinterest business account’s visitor. As the owner of a business account, you want to help a visitor understand what each of your boards is about.

Look at how the cover pins on the labelled boards below help explain what the board is about, compared to the boards that don’t have a branded label:

Cover pins from Small for Big

Cover pins from Small for Big

I help my clients create specific board cover pins, with text that provides more information than the board name can provide by itself.

You don’t have to create covers for all your boards. Title the boards that are most important for your business, as well as those on the top two rows of boards, which is your best Pinterest real estate.

Here are three ways to create cover pins for your Pinterest boards:

Use a Photoeditor to Make a Board Cover Pin

  • Use your favorite photo editing program or application.
  • Select your own photo for the background.
  • Add a frame.
  • Fill the inside of the frame with a contrasting color.
  • Add text that describes the contents of the board. Make the text large enough to be clearly visible when visitors view the image on the “board view” display.
  • If your account and/or website have a clear graphic style, make the colors and fonts match your business’ graphics. My art site is brightly colored and I can use different colors for each board and still “fit.” I am use the same font for all of the board labels; the same font I use on the website header and my price tags and other collateral.
Rug Board Cover Pin, created in Photoshop Elements

Rug Board Cover Pin, created in PS/E

  • If you don’t have a strong color sense of your own, select colors from the background image using the eyedropper for the frame and font. This will make a more cohesive board label than selecting random colors.  Both the purple and the green in the frame above were eye-droppered from the image in the background.
  • Save the completed image with text as a jpg.
  • Load it to the correct board using the Upload image feature. After you load this image as a pin, edit the pin to point the URL to a useful page on your website.
  • Set the board cover. Add a few more pins to push the cover image off the front row pins and hide it a bit lower in your collection.

Use PicMonkey online photoediting to create a cover pin if you don’t have Photoshop Elements.

Make a Board Cover Pin with Quozio

If you don’t have a useful image of your own, create a cover pin using Quozio. I don’t own the copyright to the images I pin on my teaching boards, so I can’t modify the images for my own purposes.

For example, I created a pin in Quozio (see Use Quozio to Create Text Pins for instructions) to explain that the pins on the Cancer Care board were examples of what you could pin if you were pinning for a health care practitioner in a specific condition-related field.

Cover Pin for Cancer Care board, created in Quozio

Cover Pin for Cancer Care board, created in Quozio

I allowed the title pin to point back to Quozio. When I write the blog post explaining how readers could create similar boards of their own, I will edit the cover pin to point to that blog post.

The board description also points out that this is an example of possible Pinterest Marketing information for a health care provider, NOT a board about any type of medical care.

I scrolled through the images available at Quozio to find one that was appropriate for a board about cancer.  Not all of the images worked as well as this one.  Quozio doesn’t offer any good “sky” or “cloud” pins. I can’t use Quozio to make a title pin for a flight school.

Select a Pin That Contains Text

Select a pin from the board that clearly explains what the board is about. I did this on the board I use for Accountants and CPAs. I found a pin of a book that teaches accounting. The book cover clearly explains the content of the board. I simply selected this with “set board cover.”

Accounting Board Cover Pin

Accounting Board Cover Pin

When you look at the RedTux Board view, it’s easy to tell what’s on this board.

Labelled vs. unlabelled boards

Mix of labelled and unlabelled boards on the Red Tuxedo Pinterest account.

First Row, Left

From the upper left, you can see that the first two boards are clearly identified. Residential Real Estate needs a better cover, with less overlap at the margins. It’s not at all clear what the three boards on the right are about (pins from the businesses of people who have taken my class) and they all need attention.

Second Row, Left

First board is clear enough; second and third need help. Four on the left are either labelled or clear. The text for the Flying board seemed big enough when I made the pin but it’s harder to read than its neighbors. May increase the size next time.

Third Row, Left

The image for Golf is reasonably clear. “Transferring” is a board I use to move pins between accounts, and is labelled as such. The other boards all need cover pins but may be left as is for teaching purposes.

Repin for (Re)Exposure

After you’ve been in Pinterest for a while, you start to notice pins that have “been around.” For me, the first pin I noticed again and again in the pinflow was glass candlesticks made to look like sea glass with Elmer’s glue. (Epic Fail, BTW—bugs got in the glue).

Seaglass Candlestick Pin

Seaglass Candlestick Pin

A silver beaded dress does the rounds of the Art Deco boards, too.

Last weekend, I noticed a book cover pin come through my pin flow one too many times. I had already read the caption. The book didn’t appeal. I didn’t think that my pin-friends would be reading it, either. But the book kept showing up in the pin flow.

I investigated.

It turns out that the author was repinning the book. There’s only one pin of the book on the relevant board. The author deletes the old pin when the book is repined.

Repinning your own pins to keep them visible in the pin flow struck me as a useful Pinterest marketing practice.

Benefits of Repinning Older Pins

I noticed the book because I saw it so many times. The price banner in the upper left tells me the book is for sale (Kindle store).

How to Repin Your Own Pins More Effectively

In this case, the book description never changes. The image never changes. (That is, I haven’t noticed any other images linking to the same book. It might be that the author is pinning more than one image from the book and I simply haven’t noticed the others.) On one hand, this helps me notice the book; OTOH, once I recognize the pin I have already looked at, I am less likely to investigate a second time.

Recommendations for Repinning Old Pins

Refresh your business product boards by repinning your items. Regular repinning displays your pins to newer followers, in both the “following” flow and in the “categories” listings.

In Karen Tiede Art Rugs, I loaded all my rugs to the Rug board early in my membership, before I had any followers. Nobody noticed a glut of colorful rugs in the pin flow. New followers don’t see the pins on the established boards unless they happen to look at any of my boards in detail.

If you have a limited amount of inventory, don’t overload your boards with more than one pin of the same product (unless the images are different). When you repin an existing item, delete the old pin with the identical image from the bottom of the board.

If you pin more than one, different, image of the same product, point the pins at different website pages. Point one pin to the sales page for the item, one to the newsletter sign up page, one to your home page, and so forth.

If you’re really good at split testing and record keeping, you can keep track of which pins generate the best traffic. I am not and I can’t tell you how to do this. If I figure it out, I’ll write a new article.

Until Pinterest allows us to rearrange pins on boards, repinning is also the only way to adjust which products are next to each other on your boards.

Should I follow this person back?

A question from one of my “Pinterest Done 4U” clients:

Well, this was sort of a surprise.  My first unknown follower.  It is the best etiquette to follow back?

I looked at the Pinterest account that followed hers (she has three accounts following her naturally. One is her personal account, and two are mine). This is what I saw:

  1. He is active (lots of pins, lots of boards), so maybe.
  2. All of his boards are “group” boards with multiple pinners. (Group boards have the little logo of three heads, next to the # of pins.)
  3. This could be a Pinterest spam account, although the boards look legitimate enough.
  4. You don’t have to follow him back today.  You can wait.  He won’t notice your pins in the flow of pins from 17,000 people he’s following.
  5. You can follow some, rather than all, of his boards.  OTOH, none of his boards are in your industry.

All of that said, I might sit tight for a while and not worry about him. With the number of users he has (> 3000), he won’t notice whether you follow or not.

Use Quozio to Create Text Pins

Quozio is a bookmarklet available from Quozio.com.  Intended to create pinnable quotations with attribution, I use it for much more than quoting other people.

First, install the bookmarklet onto your browser toolbar.  I keep it right next to the PinIt bookmarklet.

Quozio Bookmarklet on my browser toolbar

Quozio bookmarklet on my browser toolbar

When you have something to quote, click on the bookmarklet.

Quozio Pop-up

Quozio pop-up

 

Type your quotation or text into the large field, and the person who said it into the smaller field.  See the Quozio how-to if you need more information.

Quozio background and font choices

Quozio background choices

Scroll through the background and font choices till you find a combination that works for the message you want to share.  You can probably get close, although I wish they had a few sky-cloud backgrounds.  Don’t use the casual handwriting fonts for serious messages, and be careful about the black backgrounds–they can look very serious.  You’ll know when you get it right.

(Notice that the thumbnail second from the left in the screen shot above is the US Flag.)

Quozio will pin to your open Pinterest account (or most recently-opened) and your most recently pinned to board.  You can change the board on the fly.  Unless you edit the link, the pin will point back to to the Quozio site.  You can open the pin from the “Success” pop-up window and point the link to a page on your own website that fits the text.

I use Quozio when I hear a useful business idea, or when I find a quotation in a book that I want to share.  (Add book and page information to make the pin more useful to other people.)  But those aren’t the only ways to use the tool.

Other Ways to Use Quozio Beside Quotations

  • (Links in these bullets all go to pins and boards within Pinterest.)
  • Create cover pins for your boards—pins that explain what the board is about, better than the board title can do.  (I use Quozio for a board cover when I don’t own m/any of the images on the board itself, esp. for my teaching boards.)
  • Post text-based information, such as an announcement about a class that would interest people looking at the board.  (Be sure to include a year, because calendar-based information gets old fast.)  Point these pins to the website for the class or event.
  • Passing comments on Pinterest itself.  (Why do they keep showing me boards about Vegans when I have never pinned any food-related content at all?)
  • Live pin-journalism, from an on-going event.  I will point these pins either to the speaker’s website, or to the website for the event itself.  (Article about pin-journalism in process as you read.)

If you find Quozio useful, be sure to like them on their FB page!

 

PinIt Bookmarklet Passes Alt Tag

Inquiring minds want to know:

What image meta tag gets pulled into a pin?

Does it matter which pinning tool you use?

Your personal Pinterest Investigative Reporter to the Rescue.

I tested Pinterest’s PinIt Bookmarklet (first option on the list) on my Rugs from Rags site (better image collection) to see which of an image’s metadata fields was passed to the Description field on a pin.

It’s the Alt Tag.

PinIt Bookmarklet passes Alt tag to pin description.

Test of PinIt Bookmarklet


When you load images to your website that you want other people to pin, make sure you have useful content in the Alt field. Some pinners will delete this and add their own description (often lame, unfortunately) but if you offer good content, you have a better chance of your words making it into the pin flow.

I’m off to review all my alt tags. (Will test other WP plugin pinning options as I come to them. I use NextGen to manage a lot of the images on Rugs from Rags and I don’t like the way any of the Pinterest plugins work with NextGen.)

I’m writing a separate post about using Pinterest’s image-specific PinIt button (third option on the list).

Adding Pinterest Boards to WordPress Posts

Pinterest’s new Business Accounts allow you to add a Board widget to an external web page. This widget puts a live image of any one of your boards on a webpage. Visitors who click on the board will be taken to that board on the Pinterest side.

It’s a great idea, when it works. Unfortunately, WordPress isn’t always very friendly about “non standard” HTML code. I’m a bit surprised that Pinterest didn’t work this out before releasing the widget, but they didn’t ask my opinion.

I have found that the widget goes into the page easily enough, as long as you add it on the “Text” (WP 3.5) or “HTML” (earlier versions of WP) tab and not on the “Visual” tab, which renders HTML as the text entered, not as the code.

However, I have found that the board sometimes disappears when I come back and edit the page for some other reason. When I asked Pinterest about this, they simply said that the widget wasn’t designed for WordPress and that you could not currently confirm Business Accounts against a Word Press site.

Well, that second part is not true because I have confirmed three WordPress sites as Pinterest Business accounts, and the bit about not being able to display a board widget on a WP pages is not completely true, just more difficult than they provide instructions for.

Pinterest tells you to include this SCRIPT tag once per page, but there’s no where to put it on a WordPress page or post.

Javascript to display Pinboard

Javascript to display Pinboard on a web page.

I tried adding it to the “genesis  after” Hook on a SimpleHooks plugin, but that didn’t work.

When I asked a technical person, I learned that the script belongs on the “Header and Footer Scripts” boxes under the Theme Settings option (for Genesis themes from StudioPress). Other themes probably work similarly. This is the same place you put your Google Analytics tracking code, except the Google code goes in the Header Scripts box and the Pinterest script goes in the Footer Scripts box.

Good luck! Please let me know if you find a different way to use these boards in WordPress! If I learn anything new from Pinterest, I’ll come back and change this post.

How to Pin Existing Blog Posts into Pinterest

One of my clients, Team Nimbus of North Carolina, has an extensive collection of “all star” posts about people who have taken the small business marketing and lead generation course, 100 Days to Abundance.  We would like to send more traffic to some of the older posts, so we decided to pin them to an All Stars board on his Pinterest account.

These are the steps we followed:

    1. Install the Pin It button on your browser.
    2. Create a board labelled “Team Nimbus All Stars.” (You can do this on the first pin.) (Use whatever title works for your business.)
    3. Open the blog post from the outside, NOT logged in.  (That is, do NOT use the Word Press “preview” button from within the blog post itself.)
    4. Click the “Pin It” button in your browser bar, and a new overlay will display all the pinnable images on that blog post.  In our case, one is the image of the business owner, and others are ads from the sidebars.
    5. When you click on the image you want, Pinterest will display a “Pin” box.  Check to make sure the right board is selected.
    6. Pinterest will add some field from the image file to the description field.  This is rarely adequate.  Go back to the blog post and select up to 500 characters of relevant and useful text, including (in our case) the name of the business person and the name of the business.  You can edit text within the description box.
Pin-in-process

Pin-in-process

    1. Click on the red Pin It button, and the pin will be saved to the board.
Post-pin screen

Post-pin window allows you to see your pin. Don’t tweet or FB unless it’s a REALLY good pin.

  1. If you’re not sure about what it looks like, click on “see it now” on the window that appears next.  You can edit the description from this view, too.
  2. Don’t tweet or FB the pin when you’re loading a lot of blog posts into Pinterest; you’ll irritate your friends and followers.
  3. Go to the next blog post and repeat these steps.
  4. From time to time, visit the Pinterest board, click Refresh on your browser, and make sure everything’s working the way you expect. You can edit and delete pins from this view, too.

Happy Pinning!