Pinterest is one of those things that seems to have arisen out of nowhere and come to dominate the Internet with a force which makes it seem unstoppable. Like Facebook before it, Pinterest has become popular almost overnight and is today one of the hottest websites around. But is it just another way to spam the web? Well, yes and no. Here’s what you need to know.
Just What Is Pinterest Anyway?
For those who have been living under a rock or who are so male oriented that you know nothing about nothing about a site which is much more popular with women than with men, a brief introduction is in order.
Pinterest is another social network, similar in some ways to Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Reddit, Delicious and about a million others. Each of these networks have their own little quirks about how they work and what makes them special with Twitter for example limiting you to 140 words (although John Dvorak does report that Twitter is changing its design and may no longer be what it was).
In the case of Pinterest, the idea is to create a kind of a “pin board” where you put up pictures of things that interest you. You can then go ahead and include a small caption for the picture and you can also include a link back to the website where the picture originated. The idea is to make it into a kind of visual social network whereas Facebook has always been more focused on words.
The other thing is that Pinterest is a bit more like Digg in that it is designed to allow you to share interesting photos from all over the web with your friends as opposed to sharing your own photos, ala flickr or Facebook.
I haven’t been checking the WSO section of the Warrior Forum for the past few weeks, but for a while it seemed like every other WSO was all about how to make lots and lots of money from Pinterest. The thing is that, like Facebook, you were able to put in a link to a particular product and then it would automatically pull in photos. People would then try to put in thousands of photos of products from sites like Amazon and voila – gobs of cash.
Of course this also lead to massive amounts of spam on Pinterest, with thousands of accounts being created solely for the purpose of pushing every bit of junk anyone could think of to sell to anyone who was legitimately using Pinterest and for a while, it was beginning to resemble Twitter during the worst days of Twitter spam.
In fact, one hacker even admitted to having been spamming Pinterest incessantly and to making a six figure income just from doing it. He later claimed to be lying, though some people believe he may have been trying to backtrack because he realized that he’d killed the golden goose.
But Is It All Spam?
The thing is though, while Pinterest is definitely another target for massive amounts of spam, it also has a legitimate charm all its own and it has the potential to be a great place to make money, even if you do use it in a legitimate way. How so? Read on…
What Pinterest Is Really For
Pinterest has a much higher percentage of women members than male members. There are any number of theories about why this is the case but as far as I’m concerned, this is not so important as much as it is important to simply be aware that it does in fact appeal to women more than men.
The thing is, Pinterest is really about sharing photos you find on the web. You know the kind – the very sweet photo of the boy and his dog praying or the funny cat with the orange helmet or the downright beautiful in nature. The idea was for people to be able to share a cool looking photo with their friends in a very simple way, by simply grabbing the URL and then posting it to Pinterest.
This worked very well and photos of all kinds were posted on Pinterest, from the inevitable funny pet photos to the pictures of kids and of course the massive numbers of products from places like Amazon.com.
How You Can Make Money On Pinterest
Okay, so enough of me sharing photos from all over Pinterest and the web (I have to admit, I’ve been having fun with this article, looking up all kinds of time wasting photos to mention to you, our dear readers. I kept trying to find one I saw a few years ago which was titled “best friends” and had a kid kneeling down so another kid could sit on his back and play video games, but alas I couldn’t find it and long since deleted the e-mail of whomever sent it to me).
What I’m sure you really want to know is not so much whether Pinterest is merely another way to spam the web (it clearly isn’t) but instead, you want to know how you can make some money from Pinterest. I’m not going to discuss spamming because frankly I don’t think it works very well anymore on Pinterest since the service has grown up and most people no longer look at all the spammy junk.
Instead, let’s look at ways to increase traffic to your website and actually get some money out of the massive interest in Pinterest.
Start By Pinning Pictures from Your Site
First and foremost, you want to have fun photos on your website. If your photos are boring looking, then check out Every Stock Photo, find photos which relate to your needs and then either post them or make them into something which looks funny. For example, if you were looking to do a story about Pinterest, you might find a photo like the one below and then add a funny comment as I did.
The worst thing you can do though is to simply put up really dull looking pictures. Those will never get repinned on Pinterest and you want for your photos to get repinned (it’s kind of like getting retweeted on Twitter). This means that others see your photos and like them enough to share them with their friends.
The important thing is to have photos which will appeal to a wide variety of people so that you aren’t just putting up pictures of your dental practice and hoping that someone will care enough (trust me, they won’t – unless you find a picture like the one below to publish).
You Can Link to Affiliate Offers
You can also link to affiliate offers on Pinterest if you’d like to do so, however these should not be the only thing that you put onto your Pinterest account. Just like you wouldn’t want to make a page on Facebook with nothing but offers of junk for sale (nobody would visit unless there is something worthwhile for them to do there), you don’t want a Pinterest board which is boring either.
Instead, spice it up. Don’t be afraid to find some funny photos and add them in. This will make your Pinterest board go viral and be that much more likely to attract additional followers who would like to see your latest photos.
Consider Automatically Pinning Photos
You should also consider automatically pinning photos to your Pinterest boards from your website rather than doing it manually. There are any number of different kinds of WordPress plugins which can be found to make this an automatic process so that you don’t have to keep doing it manually (and trust me, it does get monotonous to do it manually).
Treat It Like a Social Network
You also have to remember that Pinterest is a social network. This means that if you want to attract more followers, you need to follow people and comment on their own pins. Don’t be shy about finding others who have photos which are similar to your own interests and or to your own niche and commenting on them.
You can also occasionally try to send some of your pins to your followers or friends on Pinterest and ask them if they’d like to repin them for you, though do this sparingly so as to avoid seeming like a spammer.
Don’t Think Every Pin Must Make Money
Again, Pinterest is a social network and that means that you need to give in order to get. Don’t think that every photo you pin must be one that makes you money. Sometimes, they can simply be funny photos which you genuinely feel that others would like to see.
While Pinterest can certainly be used for spreading lots of spammy junk on the web, it doesn’t have to be. It can also be used to share some stuff which has real value and which really is interesting to glace at and yes, even fun.