If you are still on the fence about whether your Library should be active on Pinterest, allow me to help you decide.

Get on it.

The platform is perfect for library collection marketing. Pinterest is really just a search engine. Pinterest is a serious competitor for Google, especially since Pinterest unveiled the guided search feature, which makes it easier for people to find the content they need. Social media expert Peg Fitzpatrick says 39 percent of active Pinterest users will go to Pinterest to do a search before they go to Google. That’s definitely true for me. When I want to find a recipe, a new outfit, ideas for a themed birthday party, even plans for a new house–I go to Pinterest first to search.  And clearly, I’m not alone. Pinterest rewards you with visuals that help you decide whether to visit the parent site. With Google, you get text links, and frankly, clicking on them blind can be a crap shoot.

Plus, the value of Pins will build over time. That’s unique in the social media world. Facebook posts go viral on rare occasion and get play in the news feed for a few days or weeks. Tweets disappear in a matter of minutes, depending on how many people your followers are following. But Pins are forever and sometimes they show a resurgence in popularity.

Here’s a personal case in point. I have another blog about vintage recipes. I pinned a photo link to a recipe for Baking Powder Bread on February 18, 2012. The Pin had moderate success. But every few months, I receive a flurry of messages in my inbox as people start repinning that Pin. Someone searching for an easy, no-knead bread recipe will run across it. They pin it, then it shows up in their friends’ feeds, and we’re back in business for a week or more! To date, that bread recipe has been repinned nearly 5000 times and liked nearly 400 times. And when the resurgence happens, I always notice the hits to my website undergo a similar surge.

I’m not telling you this to brag. I’m telling you this to prove that the value of a Pin will grow. It’s a worthwhile investment of time and resources. With a strategic approach, you can use Pinterest to drive people to your library website on a consistent and growing level.

We’ve used Pinterest at the Library since August of 2013. In that span of time, we’ve grown by about 4.5 thousand followers. But that’s just a vanity metric. The real proof is in the percentage of traffic referred to our website by Pinterest. We started around 3-4 percent and are now seeing that a consistent 16-22 percent of website traffic comes from Pinterest. Sometimes that number surges as high as 27 percent.

Pinterest is the perfect place to market your collection. Pin books with the title and author in the description so your pin will be tagged when book lovers search for that specific title or books by that specific author. Include the genre and a few other keywords in the description, and your chances of seeing a hit on a search go even higher.

Now, here’s a piece of advice that may surprise you. DO NOT pin every book you add to the collection. You’ll discover which books appeal to your Pinterest audience through trial and error. For my patrons, new arrivals are a big hit. I have a specific criteria–I look through new arrivals feed and, if the number of holds are already higher than the number of copies, I pin it on a board we call “New Books” (creative, right?).  I also pin books by popular authors. In a few months, I’ll move the Pins from the “New Books” board to a more generically titled board called “Books We Love.” Guess what happens? Hits and holds go up again, as the mere act of moving a Pin from one board to another causes it to pop up again in our followers feeds!

Don’t be discouraged if your Pins aren’t repinned. Pay attention instead to the number of holds on the books you Pin. You can track them over time using Google analytics. If you don’t know how to do this yet, I’m going to explain the process in a few weeks in a new post but in the meantime, you can also use to track links.

The other secret to Library pinning is to repin your followers content! Our staff will go through the boards of a few of our followers every day, picking content we think will resonate with the rest of the audience, and repinning it to our boards. We pick one Pin each day to highlight on other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, thereby giving a shout out to our Pinterest followers and creating a relationship of sharing and spreading awareness of our presence on Pinterest.

If you have any questions or comments or if you would like to write a guest post for this blog, let me know in the comment section below.

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Slideshare,  Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.