The most obvious way to use Pinterest is to make wish lists. That is, in short, the main function of the site and, as such, you will likely have many boards listing things you want (it’s a universal registry!). To optimize your boards for the holidays, designate one as your personal wish list, a.k.a. specific things you want to receive as gifts. Name your board something indicative of this function so that anyone on Pinterest will know where to look for gift ideas for you. For instance, mine is called, “A few of my favorite things.” Other ideas include, “Dear Santa,” “Want it,” or simply, “Wish List.” Set the item you most desire from that list as the cover photo for the board. Now, when anyone asks you for your Christmas list, send them a link to this board!
Once you create your wish list board, fill it with pins. Here is where skill comes into play. Don’t just pin everything you see that looks desirable; this is how people get lost down productivity-sucking holes. Ever heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals at work? You can use the same criteria for your pins.
- S: Pins that show “15 winter wardrobe essentials” aren't very helpful when looking for gift ideas. Be specific. Pin the exact thing you want, or as close as you can to it.
- M: This isn't really applicable, but the rest of the acronym works, so let’s just skip this letter.
- A: Pins that don’t lead anywhere aren't attainable and therefore aren't worth pinning. This goes for all boards, not just your wish list. Double-click the pin to ensure it leads where you want it to. For instance, you wouldn't want to pin a photo from a photographer’s blog of a dress you love if there's no info detailing where you can get the dress.
- R: Be realistic. You may really want a 2014 Tesla Model S, but that isn't going to make the $50 Secret Santa price limit this year. This applies to all boards. If you see a Christmas dinner recipe that looks amazing but requires a blow torch and an immersion blender you don’t have, don’t pin it.
- T: Pay attention to time sensitive pins. For instance, pins from big sales where items disappear quickly or from Ruelala, Groupon, and other daily deal sites aren't great because the link stops working as soon as the product sells out or the shop goes away. However, you can often get around these time constraints by googling the product in question to find it on a more stable site. Pin it from there instead.
Keep track of the pins you've executed, successfully or not, by repining them onto a new board once you've tried them. I keep 2 boards: "Tried and True" for the pins I've tried and liked enough to keep, and "Tried and Ew" for things I've butchered and never want to try again! This works well for craft ideas and recipes, but it is also a great way to ensure you don’t receive duplicate gifts. Once you've received something you pinned in the past, move it off of your wish list board onto a tried board, noting who got it for you and when. You could also keep just one board for all tried pins, good and bad, (see Bestie O&O’s “The Reviews Are In”) and note your analysis in the description.
'Tis the season to give the perfect presents, and this is where Pinterest’s secret boards come into play. In addition to regular public boards, create a secret board that only you can see and designate it as a gift giving board. I surreptitiously call mine, “Acts 20:35” so it won’t be too obvious in case Mr. O&O catches a glimpse over my shoulder one day. I pin gift ideas and make notes in the descriptions about who I want to give it to and for which holiday. Also, bringing these tips full circle, the best way to obtain these present ideas are from looking at other people’s Pinterest boards! Consulting their wish list board is best if they have one, but any board of theirs that has something you can make or purchase for them is fair game – just repin these onto your secret board and remove once you give them.
Pinning something and never looking back shifts the function of Pinterest from a helpful list-making/scrap-booking tool to an unproductive time waster. I recommend revisiting pins as often as possible, but once a month is a good guideline. Revisiting pins is key to maintaining all of the preceding guidelines and more. It helps you:
- Ensure links are still functional.
- Reassess: Is that bunny statue still available? Are you over Frozen accessories? Have you already received those black heels?
- Recategorize: Move recipes made, books read, restaurants tried, gifts given and received, and any other executed pins to your tried boards. Edit the description stating when you executed it, how it went, and anything you’d change for next time.