Personal branding can seem like a full time job when you’re responsible for so many social networks. There’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, a blog, a personal website. Those tools, although hugely important to cultivate a personal brand online, take your time and energy to develop.

So why should you devote more time to a newcomer like Pinterest?

Why Pinterest?

Do you really need Pinterest? Can Pinterest get you a job? As with any kind of business decision, you have to consider the ROI. In our case, the ROI of social media is landing a job. So: is Pinterest worth it?

In sum: Yes. When you look into the data that’s flying around about the success of Pinterest, leveraging those stats will help get your personal brand in front of more eyes and more people who will hire you for your talents.

Consider this table from compete.com:

11 million users and counting is a lot, and that’s your audience on Pinterest. Few other websites in history have had the same kind of rapid growth. Pinterest’s rapid growth hasn’t just been compared to a ‘hockey stick’ moment: others have likened it to ‘hair dryer’ growth and ‘rocket ship’ growth. No matter what you call it, the reality is that a lot of people are using Pinterest. And that’s a lot of potential people for you to get your work in front of.

So Pinterest has a lot of users. It also drives a ton of referral traffic. And, the amount of time people spend on the site is second only to Facebook.

As far as the ‘why should you be on Pinterest’ question goes, that’s a pretty good reason. However, we still have to consider how to use Pinterest, especially from a personal branding perspective.

How to Use Pinterest

Pinterest is image-based, so pinning the right images will be a huge part of cultivating your brand on Pinterest.

That doesn’t mean that people who don’t have a visual product can’t display their work, or cultivate a personal brand. Writers can display images of things related to their writing, or even screenshots of clips. Include quotes below an image and link to a relevant source where the writing is hosted, and you’re set. Even musicians can use Pinterest for their brand by using the same idea.

If your personal brand doesn’t include a product that you produce, you can become a thought leader on Pinterest by pinning content relevant to your field. Always keep an even balance of pinning new content and re-pinning others.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the different ways you can engage on Pinterest:

New Pins: Most pins come from Etsy, but that only accounts for 3 percent of all new pins.

  1. Other Users: Users pin things from anywhere. More and more publications – especially those that are social media savvy or cover image-based subjects – are including a ‘Pin It’ button on their sites. Any Pinterest user can submit a new pin by clicking the ‘Pin It’ button on an article or image.
  2. You: If you do commit to using Pinterest as part of your personal brand, make sure you put a ‘Pin It’ button in your browser tool bar. This will make it easier for you to pin things from other sites as you are browsing. But more importantly, it will allow you to pin your own work from a personal site or publication quickly. Get the ‘Pin It’ button for your browser when you sign up for Pinterest.

Re-pins: 80 percent of pins are re-pins.

  1. Other Users: The big advantage to using Pinterest is the ease at which content can spread to other users: ‘Pinning’ an image or video is seamless and easy to do. For your personal content, the goal is to get it re-pinned and spread around by other users. Make sure you are following others and engaging with their content so that in tern, your pins get re-pinned, too.
  2. You: Set up a variety of boards to pin your content, and stick to a clear-cut theme to each board. Users will follow boards that have a clear theme that appeals to them. When pinning content, make sure you re-pin content that identifies with the theme of your brand. Having a cohesive identity on Pinterest, as well as a cohesive identity across your platforms is incredibly important.

In addition to understanding the type of engagement that occurs on Pinterest, you should understand the sources of content in order to effectively use the platform.

The chart below shows Pinterest’s range of sources. Although Etsy is the largest source, it only represents 3 percent. This means that Pinterest draws from a large variety of sources and you can use this to your advantage, not only in re-pinning valuable content, but pinning your own content and content you find elsewhere.

The presentation of content – the platform itself – is one of Pinterest’s biggest draws. Content is easily accessible and discoverable on the platform, so people spend lots of time engaging with it.

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It’s Not Just The Images…

It’s not just the images that count for branding purposes on Pinterest. The text you use on your profile and in your pins will also give you more visibility and give you an identity.

Like LinkedIn’s ‘Headline’ section, the Pinterest ‘About Me’ section shouldn’t be a one-word title: instead, use keywords to describe who you are and what it is you do. Use Google’s keyword research tool to look up popular search terms that help describe your skills. This is important not only for people come to your Pinterest profile, but for people using the search feature.

In doing a search on Pinterest, you can find pins, boards and personal profiles. To get people to come to your Pinterest profile, the terms you use in your ‘About Me’ section and in your pins should be ones related to your field of interest.  That way, when anyone searches for something related to your field of interest, they will be more likely to come across your content.

Your Pinterest Brand Image

Give your Pinterest profile a coherent feel relative to other social media profiles. Use your Facebook or Twitter profile photo, and share the content you post to Pinterest on those networks.

Beware the Over-share

Depending on how connected to other social networks you want your Pinterest profile to be, you can choose to share content you post as well. Directly sharing all of the content you post across platforms can come across as spammy to others if you post frequently. So although you want to show your audience you are active across many networks, be wary of how often you post to networks and which content you are sharing between those networks.

Sharing is Caring

Vary the type of content you share as well: although you can use Pinterest as a way to drive traffic to a personal website or your content hosted on another domain, you can always share content that you’re interested in. This will develop more of a community atmosphere around your Pinterest profile.

Don’t Forget About Links

If you’re making a specific effort to curate a personal brand across social networks, it’s always a good idea to provide links to those networks on each of your profiles. By connecting Pinterest to Facebook and Twitter, you automatically add links to those networks at the bottom of your profile. The only link you have to manually enter is a personal website or LinkedIn profile.

Conclusion

Even though adding another social network to your existing workload may seem overwhelming, Pinterest is worth it. When a network has the kind of growth that Pinterest has seen in the last few months, it’s the real deal: You want to be present from the start.

Regardless of whether your personal brand involves a physical product like art or music, Pinterest provides an effective platform for exposure. Whether you’re posting content that you create or content that you find interesting, your personal brand is bound to gain traction. Plus, Pinterest can act as a supplement to your existing networks in developing a cohesive cross-platform personal brand. With more eyes on your online professional portfolio, there’s more potential to land a job, the ultimate ROI of the time spent using social media in the job hunt.

Thomas Samph is the Director of Content at Grovo, an Internet education and training platform with online learning resources like video tutorials for how to use Pinterest and how to use Twitter.

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