I love Pinterest. I’m an addict. And apparently our library cardholders are too.
One of the first things I did when I started work at my library was to build up the library’s Pinterest board. It had 400 followers and about 25 boards, mostly promoting aspects of the library like the branches, the mascot, artwork, vintage photos from our collection, and upcoming events. It was a good start.
But as a Pinterest lover, I knew we could do better. I wanted to use Pinterest to drive traffic to our website. I wanted to give our fans value that was separate and distinct from our brand, thus creating trust by curating great resources. I wanted the library to become the go-to account for information. Pinterest is now, essentially, a search engine for a large amount of online users. I wanted those searches to lead to us–the information experts.
We started by adding boards with sharable Pins that extolled the virtues of reading. We made book recommendations based on age and genre. We started a board for every season of the year, to share book-centric ideas on celebration. We started a “Tips” board, a “Crafts” board, a board full of Makerspace ideas, and a board dedicated completely to recipes! We quickly grew our followers into the thousands.
Once we were firmly established with a great following and a process for Pinning and cross-promoting Pins on our other social media channels, it was time to start driving action–to get our cardholders to do more than repin our content.
Right about that time, I ran across a great article on the Social Media Examiner site with tips for upping our Pinterest game. We quickly got to work making a few small changes to the way we managed our Pins and let me tell you… it made a world of difference. In the course of a month, we saw our website traffic numbers change. We started with driving about 6% of our traffic to our website from Pinterest. By the end of the month, 15% of the traffic to our website was coming from Pinterest. One week, we saw 17% of our website traffic coming from Pinterest, surpassing the amount of traffic we got from our Twitter posts. We did it with two easy steps.
We did a Pin audit. We went through each Pin on every board, making sure every link worked. Any Pins with dead links were deleted. Next, we replaced the url’s of the remaining Pins to drive traffic to our website when applicable. For example, on our “Books We Love” board, we had a lot of titles that we repinned from other Pinners. Any user who clicked on those Pins would be directed to the original Pinner’s website-not to ours. If we had the title in our collection, we changed the url to drive traffic to our catalog. This is really easy. Just click on the “edit” button at the top of any pin, and then copy and paste your url into the line marked “Website.” It took two people about a month to go through each of our 7,000 Pins and complete the audit.
We started pinning books from our collection. Every. Single. Day. I have three main boards on which I pin books-one is for new books, one is for YA selections, and the third is called “Books We Love” for popular or classic books that are no longer classified as new. Every day, I pick 3-4 titles for each board and Pin them. I make sure the cover I’m Pinning is as big as possible. I track holds on the books I am Pinning but sometimes, people repin a book, then they place a hold on that book a month down the road. So don’t get frustrated if the holds don’t move much after you Pin a book. I started using Google’s URL Builder and tying our Pins to our Google Analytics account to track the number of clicks we get on Pins each day. The most important thing to remember is this– make sure you pin your books every day. It’s that consistency that really built our audience and trust in our boards as a place to find new stuff to read. It’s sounds like a lot of work, but once you get into a routine, you can move through the task pretty quickly (20 minutes a day for me). It’s a great task to delegate to someone at your library who also loves Pinterest. And it drives results.
Here are some more tips for experimenting with Pinterest for your library.
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