Pinterest for Writers
I’m always on the lookout for Authors who use Pinterest to promote their books without selling, and in The Future of Ink’s article “The Art of Social Media for Writers”, Peg Fitzpatrick highlighted how well Elizabeth Gilbert (Author of Eat Pray Love) was using Facebook.
Peg said “She posts from her heart and from her life. Liz’s excitement and joy comes through in the post and you can’t help feeling like you are right there with her. A fantastic connection with her Facebook community.”
So I headed over to Elizabeth’s Pinterest board to see whether her skills on Facebook carried over to Pinterest.
Pinterest Board Critique
I actually had trouble finding Elizabeth’s profile on Pinterest because when you search “Elizabeth Gilbert” there are 176 Pinners with the same name. So in order to locate her board I had to visit Elizabeth’s website to locate the Pinterest button to take me back to her Pinterest board.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s Pinterest Avatar
There’s so many better images of Elizabeth available than the one she’s currently using on Pinterest. If you’re using multiple social media networks the best approach is to establish a branded level of consistency, this makes it easy for your audience to recognize your profiles quickly and easily.
On Elizabeth’s website she features this lovely image to illustrate her bio, and it’s the same image she’s using for Facebook and Twitter. Not only does this close up image work better for avatars – by using the same image on her website and social media networks is an consistent way to tie her web presence together.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s Profile Name
There’s lots of Pinterest users that share her name. In order to differentiate herself from all of the other Elizabeth Gilbert’s out there, she has enough characters available in her Profile Name to add “Author” after her name.
- Pinterest Profile Name Characters Available: 37
- Elizabeth Gilbert Author
You can change your Profile name without causing any negative impact. So Elizabeth could access her setting and add “Gilbert Author” to the Last Name box of her profile. It’s ok to do this because your Pinterest URL is based on your User Name not your Profile Name.
Elizabeth is using “lizgilbertpins” as her Username which makes her Pinterest url is https://www.pinterest.com/lizgilbertpins/.
- Pinterest User Name Characters Available: 15
Elizabeth Gilbert’s Pinterest Bio/About Description
Elizabeth is maxing out the characters in her Bio, but has overshot the capacity available. So she just needs to tweak it a little to make it look more polished. She uses a friendly and conversational approach to her bio content, which is a a great way to connect with her audience.
- Pinterest Profile Description Characters Available: 160
I’d recommend tweaking her bio to get in in under the 160 characters available, without affecting the casual and approachable tone Liz has set.
Elizabeth’s Pinterest Board – her books
Although Elizabeth has written over 10 books, she only features three of them on her Pinterest profile, and today I’m going to focus my Pinterest evaluation on these.
Pinterest Board: Eat Pray Love
Even though this isn’t the first book she wrote, it’s the one that propelled her into notoriety and is easily the most recognizable of covers. So in order to cement her branding I would move this to the top row of her Pinterest profile (currently it’s on the 2nd row). As soon as visitors land on her page they would have that instant recognition factor.
What I like about this board is that it contains an eclectic mix of inspirational quotes; images from the movies; Elizabeth at events; the real characters from her book; and lot’s of Eat Pray Love cakes. There are also a couple of spoof takes on the book title “Drink, Play, F**k” and “Drink, Smoke, Pass Out”, which let’s Elizabeth’s sense of fun shine through.
This board is an excellent example of how to showcase your book without selling. I would also include more international cover images of the book to show the languages it’s available in. I’d also add additional articles from the press coverage about this book from other sources. Elizabeth should also include articles about the book from her own website
I would also recommend changing the Board’s cover image so that the full title is visible.
Based on the size and orientation of the book’s title it may not be feasible to tweak it to create a version that displays the full title in the Cover window – but there are a couple of cake images that could be used that mean that the full title is visible. This approach also aligns with Elizabeth’s sense of playfulness.
Pinterest Board: Signature of All Things
There are two things that bug me about this board title #SIGNATUREOFALLTHINGS. One that it’s a hashtag, and the other that it’s all caps. It’s not easy to decipher the book’s title – “Fall Things” jumps out at me, but it’s actually All Things, and I’d vote for making this book’s title easier to read by changing it to: Signature Of All Things.
- Board Title Characters Visible = 26
- Board Title Characters Available = 100
Although some Social Media networks fully leverage hashtags for content discoverability, Pinterest doesn’t. On Pinterest, hashtags are only clickable in a Pin Description, and not when they’re in your username, bio or board titles.
I noticed that this board was a collaborative effort between 3 people. As well as Elizabeth, there was Viking books and what looked to be a Social Media assistant.
There are two ways to tell that the board is a Collaboration:
- The icon on the front of the board (which shows a group of 3 people)
- In the board itself (where the collaborators avatar is displayed on the upper left hand-side of the board). When there are a lot of collaborators, they’ll be a circle with the number of people involved in the board.
Pin to Win Marketing Campaign for Signature of all Things
A quick scan of the pins in this board showed a social media campaign based around the #SIGNATUREOFALLTHINGS hashtag.
In return for:
- A Penguin Books Follow on Pinterest
- Creating a board called #SIGNATUREOFALLTHINGS
- Re-pinning the “Pin to Win” image to the board
- Adding other favorite flower and dream garden images to the board
- Submitting the Pinterest entry to the penguin website
Entrants could win a call with Elizabeth Gilbert for their book club.
So this explains why this board was named with a hashtag. B
ut even with this insight I’d still recommend naming the board with a more audience-friendly title and using that to tie the entries together.
At this point, now that the campaign is over I’d recommend renaming the board to Signature Of All Things to make it audience-friendly.
I may not be a fan of the board title, but I do like the nebulous description of this board “None of this will make sense until you can read the novel…but here are some lovely images to stir the imagination.”
So what was the response to this campaign? Not as much as expected, based on the worth/value of the prize. There were 16 entries, plus the Penguin and board from Elizabeth. I’d be interested to learn what kind of post-mortem Viking and Penguin did after this event to track the ROI.
I love the concept of a Pin to Win Campaign, and I’ve been researching how other authors and publishers are using this as a book marketing strategy, and will post those insights in other articles throughout the year.
Signature of all things board image:
- Here’s the actual board image (on the left) and a couple of potential options.
- During the campaign I would hope that they used the Pin to Win image for the board to help with the branding of the campaign, and then afterwards they could switch to one of the book cover images.
Pinterest Board: Committed
This is the final Book Board I’m reviewing, and there’s a couple of easy fixes to elevate it to a good Pinterest board.
Pinterest Board Cover: It would be easy enough to create an iconic image for the board cover. My alternative shows not only the book title but its tag line as well.
Pinterest Board Content: For the Eat Pray Love board I recommended including more press coverage, and although the Committed board only has 7 pins, 6 of them are press coverage – this is a great start, but this self-promotion needs to be balanced out with some non-promotional pins and content.
Pinterest Board Description: There’s no description on the Committed board and as this was a New York Times best seller and the follow up to Eat Pray Love, there’s plenty of content fodder for this description.
Pinterest Summary for Author Elizabeth Gilbert
Overall, Elizabeth’s informal and friendly approach to create her Pinterest boards is a perfect approach for this social media network.
She’s definitely on the right track, and with a little bit of focused effort a social media expert could expand her Pinterest board content to increase her brand awareness and grow her following. This could be achieved easily, and still keep the look and feel aligned with Elizabeth’s brand positioning.