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Friday, March 7, 2014

Pin-D'oh! What I learned about Pinterest and Twitter Handles.




We've been trying to use Pinterest to drum up — well, for lack of a better word — interest. We started with 2 boards for our book reviews. One lists all reviews, and the other lists the books that "tip the Masq Scale." Yesterday I created a new board for book promos.

Every time we have a pinning session, we see a dramatic rise in traffic, much more than if I'm just sharing extra tweets on Twitter. I think the reason for that is the bulletin board effect of Pinterest.

When someone visits one of our posts from a tweet, they may stay for a while, clicking around a bit. I can always tell when someone has discovered us for the first time and is checking us out. The page views for that hour soar while the unique visitors remain consistent.

This new visitor phenomenon is sort of random. I don't know what tweet will trigger it. For that matter, it may not be anything encouraged by me. That person could have found us any number of ways.

We see a "new visitor effect" from Pinterest tweets just about every time, at least to some degree. My thinking is that since our other pins, our other posts, are just a click away, and Pinterest is so dang addictive, more than one post visited (on average) is the usual result.

But it isn't all good!

While I was pinning book promos, I discovered a nasty little glitch. Took me a while to figure out what was causing it, and since it isn't necessarily limited to us, I thought I would share it with you.

It's quite simple, really ... but annoying.

You can refer to a Pinterest user inside a pin description with their pin-handle, but the problem is the @ sign is how you identify someone on Pinterest, just like how you refer to someone on Twitter.

We use Twitter handles in our post titles, since Twitter is by far our greatest source of traffic, and we like giving authors the extra boost. It's also a silent signal to the authors we promote and review, demonstrating how much we expose their work.

It's usually all good.

When we pin something, we use the post title as the pin description. Quick and easy, right? Here's where the problem is: if a Twitter handle has a corresponding pin-handle, not only will the pin-handle link to a profile on Pinterest (oftentimes the wrong one), but Pinterest also changes the text to match the name of the person behind the pin-handle, not the handle itself.

That's sounds a little confusing even to me, so let me give you an example. Consider this pin. It's a pin linking to our promo of Jill Cooper's 15 Minutes. Notice the name of the author in the pin description.

@Elaine Pruitt


Who is Elaine Pruitt? At first I thought maybe Jill Cooper was a pen name, and Pinterest was being really smart. Not the case!

If you click on @Elaine in the pin description, you come to this Pinterest profile. Her handle is jillybug. And who has the handle jillybug on Twitter? None other than Jill Cooper, the author of 15 Minutes.

What makes this even worse is that when you share a pin on Twitter, using the incorrect handle, the wrong person is mentioned. Not a good thing!

How do we fix this?

Well, I'm not going to worry about fixing all the pins that are currently wrong. I don't want to pull my hair out. So, we'll just move on from here, instituting a workaround I don't really like since I really like using Twitter handles to mention authors ... but, whatever.

Instead of using a Twitter Handle in pin descriptions, we have to simply use the author's name without any @ sign, like how I did on this pin.

Do you have any Pinterest tips?




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