How to Use Pinterest

If you've followed our tutorials up until now, you should have an idea of what Pinterest is and how to join it.  So, the next two questions are: how exactly does Pinterest work, and how can you make it work for you?  Read on to find out.

How does Pinterest work?

Pinterest is what is known as a "visual bookmarking tool".  A bookmark helps you remember what page you were on when you put a book down, so you can pick it up again and continue from the same spot, right?  Similarly, your Internet browser also has a "bookmark" function that lets you tell it to remember important or favourite web pages, so you can get back to them quickly if you need or want to. 

Pinterest takes the principle even further by letting you store collections of web pages that you find, computer files that you upload, or even things that other people have bookmarked on Pinterest!  The "visual" part of the name refers to the fact that bookmarks on Pinterest have to be -- or be accompanied by -- a picture, animation, or video.  After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes!

But Pinterest also functions like a social media website.  As just mentioned, most things that are bookmarked by others on Pinterest can be added to your bookmark collection.  Conversely, most things that you bookmark on Pinterest can be added to the bookmark collections of others.  You can also find and connect with people you know who use Pinterest by way of your other social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.  Once you do that, you can create collections that your friends can add bookmarks to as well; things get bigger, done faster, and more fun when you work together!  Or, if you want to share a collection privately with your friends, create a "secret board", and only the people you specifically choose will be allowed to see it or add to it.

As for how Pinterest works in practice, here's a quick overview:

  • Choose what you're interested in, so Pinterest can show you things that you might like that other people have already bookmarked.

  • Create custom categories for organizing your bookmarks, known as "boards".

  • Add visual bookmarks -- known as "pins" -- to your boards by searching for ones that others have posted on Pinterest, creating them from websites that you've visited, or uploading files from your computer.

  • Find and connect with people you know who use Pinterest by linking your Pinterest account with your other social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.

  • Create "group boards" and invite your friends as collaborators, so that you can all add pins to those boards at the same time.

  • Create "secret boards", where the only people who can see them -- and what pins you've added to them -- are you and people whom you specifically invite.

We'll get into how to do many of these things in our later tutorials.

How you can use Pinterest

Now that you know how Pinterest works, what can you use it for?  As simple as Pinterest may appear, you'd be surprised at how many uses people have found for it!  Here are some popular ideas.

Create your own custom cookbook

Striking a balance between eating delicious and eating healthy is tough these days, and not every recipe collection will have exactly the kinds of foods that you want.  So why not make your own?  Create boards for recipes that are organized by meal time (i.e. breakfast, lunch, or dinner), type of dish (appetizer, snack, main course, dessert, drink, etc.), type of cuisine (French, Italian, Chinese, Mexican, Mediterranean, etc.), and more!  There are tons of pins on Pinterest that feature delectable dishes for every occasion, so go ahead and pick your favourites! 

Plan a (surprise) party

Does a relative have a major life event coming up, like a wedding or a milestone birthday?  You can use Pinterest to help plan a party or reception.  Set up a board, then look for pins that will help you pick out the venue, decorate in style, cater to food needs, manage everyone's wardrobe, pool gift ideas, and more!  Plus, if you want your bash to be a surprise, make it a "secret board" and only invite friends to it who will be helping you with the planning (and whom you trust not to spill the beans).

Coordinate your fashion sense

Whether your style is classic, cutting-edge, thrifty, or something else, Pinterest can be a source of inspiration for you.  Pinterest has lots of pins that help you pick out your must-have clothes or accessories, try out a trendy new hairstyle, learn how to use today's top-tier cosmetics, and even do some interior design to make your home as welcoming as possible!

Stay fit by organizing your workouts

It's important to stay active, especially as you grow older.  Pinterest can help by letting you organize pins with ideas for your daily regimen, or ones that take things up a notch with advanced workout ideas.  Whether you're into yoga, swimming, biking, hiking, aquatic aerobics, Zumba, Pilates, or just plain hitting the gym, Pinterest has pins that will give you inspiration for how to stay in shape.

Promote your business

Got a small shop or start-up that could use some more customers?  "Pinterest for Business" has you covered!  You can sign up for Pinterest as a business (or turn a regular account into a business account), and then put up pins to show off your products, space, personnel, and more!  Plus, you can put a link on Pinterest that leads to your official website; conversely, you can place a link on your website to your business's page on Pinterest!  Pinterest also offers you tools to help you know how many people are looking at your business's page and pins, and create special pins that let your customers see prices, business hours, and more as they change!  And it's all free!


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