Beth Hayden
Beth Hayden
Social Media Expert

pinterest_badge_red.pngThere’s no doubt about it -- Pinterest is a very popular social networking platform that has millions of rabid fans. But is Pinterest more than just casseroles and wedding dresses? Should you give it a second look as a way to help promote your book?

And if you decide to use it for marketing, how can you utilize it in smart, effective ways, so pinning doesn’t turn into another time-wasting social media sinkhole?

Should you use Pinterest?
Let’s take a look at the first question – should you be using Pinterest to market your book?

The short answer is – yes.

Pinterest now has 70 million users and is driving an avalanche of referral traffic to websites and blogs. Right now, Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+ … combined.

And contrary to popular belief, that website traffic is converting into sales. According to recent marketing studies, 21 percent of Pinterest users have purchased something they found on a pin, and each pin is worth an average of 78 cents in sales — which is more than a tweet is worth.

This makes Pinterest a powerful tool for ecommerce.

So if you’ve been ignoring Pinterest as a tool for selling books, it is absolutely worth taking a second look. Pinterest statistics are showing no signs of stopping their upward trend, and smart authors will take steps to grab a piece of the Pinterest pie for themselves.

How do you use it to sell books?
Pinterest allows users to create online image collages, then share those collages (called “pinboards”) with other Pinterest users. What makes it a powerful marketing tool is that each of the images (“pins”) on those collages is a link to a website or blog.

So there’s a key principle to keep in mind when you’re using Pinterest to market your work as an author. In order to get the most out of your marketing efforts on Pinterest, it’s important that you stay focused by regularly driving Pinterest users back to a web page where they can easily buy your book. It doesn’t matter if you drive them to your website, your book’s page on Amazon, or another bookstore website or blog -- as long as it includes a seamless and easy way to buy your work.

Of course you can’t make sales with every single pin. But if you keep your end goal in mind, it will save you wasted time and effort on Pinterest and ensure that you see a real difference in your sales numbers!

Using that philosophy as your guiding principle, here are six creative ways for you to market yourself as an author:

1. Create an author pinboard. Use Pinterest to tell your story as an author. Tell your followers and readers who you are, where you came from, how you came to be a writer, and why you wrote your book(s). Give them a glimpse into your world, allow them to get to know you and discover what’s important to you.

2. Ask your readers to share feedback or testimonials of the book along with a photo of themselves. Ask them to share why they decided to purchase it or adopt it for their course. Post photos of the book in use in the classroom or other settings.

3. Create a dedicated board for each of your books. Use those boards to pin:

  • The websites or Pinterest profiles of all of the people, events or organizations you mention in your book. Your readers will enjoy getting further information and follow-up updates on those stories. Nicholas Kristof does a great job with this on the Pinterest board for his book, Half the Sky.
  • Praise and reviews — when people write reviews of your book on their websites or blogs, make sure to pin them! Danielle Walker, author of two very popular Against All Grain cookbooks, features her book reviews on one of her Pinterest boards.
  • Any guest posts or articles you’re publishing in support of your launch. Do you have free e-books or e-courses you’re giving away that accompany your book? Make sure to link to all that great content on your Pinterest boards.

4. Pin images (and videos) from your in-person book signings and talks. Use your book signings, conferences and other speaking engagements as an opportunity to take photos and create videos to post on your Pinterest boards. Make sure to feature lots of readers and fans in the photos, and then use the @ sign in your pin descriptions to tag those people (tagging in Pinterest works similarly to Facebook).

5. Create a board for (other) book recommendations. Talk about what you’re currently reading and the books that you recommend for further research and information on your book topic. Update this board often, so people have numerous recommendations from you.

6. Be a trusted content curator. Your job on Pinterest is to gather and display awesome content in your niche — and that makes you a curator. Select the best images, resources and ideas on the Web about your topic –– then pin that great content on your pinboards.

This is a great practice no matter what the subject of your book is. Your goal is be the go-to expert in your field, and content curation on Pinterest can help you become that!

Become a Pinterest book marketing pro!
Do you have other creative and effective ideas for using Pinterest for book marketing (or do you have examples of authors who are killing it on Pinterest)? Share them with us in the comments!

Beth Hayden is a social media expert and author of Pinfluence: The Complete Guide to Marketing Your Business with Pinterest. To learn more about Pinterest marketing, download Beth’s free report, The Definitive Guide to Driving Traffic with Pinterest.