A Hubber’s Guide to Using Pinterest

If you spend any time on social networks, chances are you’ve heard of Pinterest. If you follow social media news, chances are you’ve read multiple times over that you have to establish a presence on Pinterest now. Maybe you’ve looked at the site, but haven’t yet “pinned” anything. Maybe you’re already knee-deep in your friends’ boards. But how can Hubbers best use the service to attract and engage readers? Wonder no further.

Pinterest Logo

What is Pinterest?

If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, you’re probably wondering what the heck I’m talking about. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you. (And if you are familiar, you can easily skip this section.)

Create a Pinterest boardPinterest is, essentially, a virtual pinboard — or, more accurately, collection of pinboards — where you can easily share images and videos from around the web. These images (or “pins”) can be “liked,” commented upon, or repinned by other users, and they link back to the original source. You can sort your pins into boards like “Food,” “Craft Ideas,” “Shoes I Need,” “Cute Dog Pictures,” “Wedding Reception Planning,” or any other category you can think of.

Just like on HubPages or Twitter, you can “follow” a particular user whose pins you like, but you can also follow an individual board. Boards can also be collaborative; by granting other members permission, you can all pin to the same place, creating a shared collection of images together. This makes Pinterest a great tool for brainstorming and party planning.

Using Pinterest with HubPages

You may already see the appeal for your personal life, but have you started to understand the potential for content producers (like Hubbers)? It was hidden back up there in third paragraph: Each pinned image links back to the original source page. That means more traffic and backlinks whenever your pin is clicked or reshared!

But wait! Don’t run off and start pinning images from every Hub you’ve ever published. As with any site, it’s important to read the Terms of Service and understand the community’s etiquette and rules before diving in. In this case, there are a few key points of which you need to be aware before you start contributing:

  • Only pin your own content. Pinterest’s Terms of Service require that you either hold the copyright to each image you pin, or have permission from the copyright holder to do so. While this isn’t how most people are using the service, if you want to stay on the right side of the law, we recommend that you exercise caution.   This means that you must have the rights to the images/videos you are pinning, not just the text content of the Hub on which they appear.  (If you are confused about image copyright, please visit our Learning Center entry on the legal use of images.)  Because of the way Pinterest allows others to repin and share your images, they need legal protection in case a disgruntled copyright holder files a complaint. The bottom line: If you pin it, you’re legally responsible for it.
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  • Don’t sign up solely to self-promote. You might be doing a double take. If you can only pin your own content, aren’t you solely self-promoting? Well, no. There are lots of ways to interact on the site, not just pinning from your own Hubs. “Liking,” commenting, and repinning are all valid ways of interacting with other people’s pins. If someone else pinned it first, you don’t have to worry about holding the copyright.
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  • Report objectionable content. Here at HubPages, we ask you to flag content that doesn’t conform with our rules. Similarly, Pinterest does not allow hateful or obscene content. Obviously, you won’t be pinning any of that from HubPages (since we don’t allow it either), but if you run across it on the Pinterest site, be a good citizen and report it for them.

How to Pin from HubPages

Whew! Now you’ve made it through the TOS and you’re ready to pin, but you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin! Luckily, from this point onwards, it’s pretty easy. Click the “Add +” button at the top right of the Pinterest page, and you are prompted for a URL. Enter the address of the Hub where the image appears, not of the image itself.

"Add a Pin" on Pinterest

If I put in the URL of my Hub Simple Cornbread Recipes (which contains all original photos) and hit “Find Images,” I’m then directed to choose an image to pin, based on scrolling through thumbnail previews, as well as pick a board to pin it to.

Pinning from HubPages

You can also choose to share your pin straight to Facebook or Twitter, if you have those accounts connected.

Pinterest also has a Goodies page where you can install a “Pin it!” button on your browser toolbar or download the iPhone app, to make pinning from anywhere smooth and easy.

Pin On and Prosper

That’s not so hard! So what are you waiting for? You’re finally ready. Go forth and pin!

25 thoughts on “A Hubber’s Guide to Using Pinterest

  1. Thanks for the info. I created a pinboard, but have been unsure how to pin. The first board I created was for favorite books. I tried to pin a picture of Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth from Amazon’s site, but it wouldn’t show. Is this an illegal use of a photo?

  2. I love Pinterest and in addition to finding great food, party, and teaching ideas for myself, I get a lot of views from Pinterest. I find that food, crafts, and teaching activities get a lot of interest on Pinterest. I have pinned some of my hubs and also those of fellow hubbers. It would be great to have a Pinterest button added to the share section of hubs! 🙂

  3. This is a strangely addictive site, and is also forcing me to add decent (legal) images to my hubs I am sharing! I’m re-pinning lots of other people’s work into my Groups and getting re-pinned myself!

    Hope to see a nice traffic surge over time!

  4. Hi, Maddie,

    Thanks very much for posting this as you have made me see I’ve figured Pinterest all wrong. I took it to be like Stumbleupon, where it is important to share items other than those which you own/have created, in order not to be a spammer and to engage properly in the community in the spirit it was intended.

    I have been on SU for quite a few years and do well from engaging in the social aspect of the site. I have also made many great friends who publish only on their own private domains. This new site will take a bit of adapting to but I get the principal now having read your post and have just spent the last couple of hours deleting all my Pins that I don’t own the copyright to and haven’t simply repinned.

    I saw the update from Paul E last week (maybe the week before?) about the traffic HP is obtaining from Pinterest and hope everyone reading this takes appropriate note of your advice.

    PS: I’ve Stumbled your post – hope you don’t mind! 🙂

  5. I am confused. If we must have the ownership of the image to pin it, why are we able to pin the image of recipes, etc. that we do not own? If we can only own the image, we could only make boards with our own photos, and no one could share anything from it. This is not logical, and I can’t find anything in fair use that protects an artist from someone sharing a link to their website image.

  6. Pinterest is loads of fun and slightly addictive. I can vouch for that. Activity there skews heavily to the ooh-flowers!-and-pretty-frilly-things! end of content, but that’s just fine.

  7. I have not been able to pin yet, wondering if I have to log in first to pin it? Didn’t pick that up from your post, but when I arrive on pin it page, do not see the layout you describe with the Add + button. Just a facebook and twitter link (I have neither) and a log on asking for email and password. Not sure which pasword? Would I need a new pin it password? Sorry Maddie, hope you can help?

  8. I went ahead and signed up for Twitter, but still need to be ‘invited’ to pin anything. I guess I will await an invitation. Interesting.

  9. Thanks, Maddie. As usual, we can always depend on you to clear things up. I’ve read so many different views about Pinterest here on Hubpages, I didn’t know what to believe. But I believe you.

    I just got invited on Pinterest and I am looking forward to pinning!

    • It ain’t so weird, Wesman Todd Shaw. Just share images from your Hubs that make sense in any boards, you have! For example, I have a board called “GET IN MAH BELLY.” I might pin a photo from my Moroccan Lemon Cupcake recipe Hub, because I like those cupcakes and, like, TOTALLY want them in mah belly… in addition to the other things I pin to that board.

  10. LOL!!!

    Hey, I’m liking the pin..um..interest thingo already!

    Its a never ceasing fascination for me…people make no sense!!!

    I pinned a thingo of a picture of some mushrooms growing out of a box filled with ancient coffee grounds….and folks lurved it Elvis style!!!

    Others….not so much, but hey, some folks say that backlinking still matters, so I’ma pin some shiz!

  11. “If someone else pinned it first, you don’t have to worry about holding the copyright.”

    Isn’t this like saying, “It’s ok if you buy stolen property since you’re not the one who actually did the breaking and entering?” Sure, you might not go to jail, but is it the right thing to do?

  12. Following these guide lines, means pinterest can’t be used as a spontaneous collection of images. Most folks need to go gut their boards and take down any photos they haven’t verified are in the public domain or that they haven’t communicated with the source or artist for permission. That’s a shame. The pinterest folks need to make some changes in how the site is set up (thumbnail size pics, or some way which allows the spontaneous use of it.) I’ve had fun using it and thought I was giving artists or products welcome exposure. It is a way to “collect” my thoughts about a projects or a big purchase I’m contemplating. What solutions would you offer the site for making us all legal?

  13. Is re-pinning stuff illegal? I mean clearly if you don’t own it you shouldn’t pin it. But if re-pinning stuff that isn’t yours is also illegal….thats what I don’t understand. You can’t very well just re-pin stuff of yours that you just pinned….that would be stupid. But re-pinning stuff with the link to the website…is that legal?

  14. I just published a hub on this – pinning images randomly is fairly hit and miss for generating pinterest traffic.

    Creating personalised images for each hub, on the other hand, can increase both the chance of your pins getting repinned, as well as other people pinning your article.

  15. In response to the legality of Pinterest comments, it has come to light that Pinterest does not cover users in there TOS but users shouldn’t worry about facing any kind of legal issues as it is a long shot, to say the lease. Many other platforms use a similar system for example; Tumblr and there has never been any issues with reusing content.

    A few Pinterest tips;

    Keep your boards in the same genre
    Don’t over pin your links
    200 uploads a day is a safe bet

    My Pinterest;

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