Social Media: How to Use Pinterest

A step-by-step Pinterest tutorial

Want to learn to use Pinterest? We can help!

Since Pinterest catapulted to the forefront of social media networks three years ago, the site has become one of the go-to web destinations for, well, everything. Essentially a cyber-bulletin board, the site bills itself as “a tool for collecting and organizing the things you love.” Users can then share those ideas with others inclined to the same aesthetic, syncing Pinterest with other social media networks, like their Facebook page or Twitter account. Peruse its pages to find aspirational, inspirational photos of just about anything you can think of — clothing, recipes, woodworking techniques, décor, DIY projects, you name it  — all under one virtual roof. It’s also great for doing a little bragging, as a place to show off your crafty or kitchen accomplishments. Moms specifically use it to post and cross-pollinate pics of products, projects, home-improvement ideas and time-savers they’d like to try.

Although the URL currently boasts 25 million-plus unique users worldwide, many still struggle to navigate the Pinterest platform. And we don’t blame them. For all the visual glory on its individual boards, at first glance Pinterest can be visually overwhelming. A single screen displays up to 88 images, all vying for your attention. So how do users log in and pin?

Follow these simple steps and you’ll be pin-spired in no time. (Visit to follow along.)

  1. Learn the terms: A “pin” is an image uploaded by a user. To “repin” means to share a pin on your page with other users. Images are pinned to “boards,” which can be named and categorized.
  2. Understand the format: Like most social media platforms, Pinterest has a personal profile page and a refreshable feed that lets you follow and like an endless array of people, places and things.
  3. Get picky: To minimize anxiety over the grid layout, choose the users you want to follow rather than allowing the site to load a generic front page for you. This will limit the images on your feed to those shared by people you’ve selected. (Hint: Interested in being, say, a “Trendy Mom” but not ready for “Teens and Tweens” yet?  Opt to follow individual boards instead of all boards by a user.)

Optimize your experience

Be specific. The more specific your boards are, the easier it will be to find what you’re looking for. Move the boards you pin to most toward the top of your page. The top row on MetroKids’ profile page, for instance, is in constant rotation based on relevance and popularity. (Our handy “What to Do This Weekend” board, for instance, is updated weekly with the area’s latest, greatest family activities. See an example below.)

Know the secrets. The newest addition to the pinning world is the secret board, which only you can see. Why would you use this? Secret boards make it easier than ever to organize a surprise party, create holiday gift lists and plan a special date night.

Utilize the search option. Located at the top left corner of the screen, the search box allows you to enter keywords in order to quickly find what you’re looking for. This tool is usually overlooked in favor of scrolling, but it’s a lifesaver in a time crunch.

Reference your pins. The attraction of Pinterest rests in its ability to inspire you. So don’t just pin. Actually make those red velvet Oreo brownies. (Find the recipe on our “Indulge” board.) You can thank us later!

Marcy Katz, who handles marketing and circulation for MetroKids, is our go-to Pinterest guru.

Categories: Tech Talk