You've heard the buzz about Pinterest, set up your account, and optimized your Pinterest page. Congratulations!
But now what?
If you're like most people, you probably jumped straight into Pinterest and quickly discovered pinning can take an enormous amount of time.
When I started using Pinterest to promote my business, I was happy to scour the Internet for cool photos and upload images and blog posts from my website. But within a few days, I realized that unless I managed my Pinterest activities, I could end up spending hours each day pinning.
There is no doubt Pinterest can be a phenomenal tool for both product and service-based businesses. But you need to schedule your pins effectively because it can be a colossal time suck.
It takes time to source photos on the Internet, write effective, keyword-rich descriptions for the images you upload, and optimize the pins to offer value to your followers and, ideally, drive traffic back to your site.
Before you know it, two hours have passed and you haven't done a thing on your to-do list.
Until recently, your only option on Pinterest was to go on a pinning rampage. I've been guilty of this in the past, but blasting 30 pins in one go is like gate-crashing someone's party. It's a no-no. You end up overwhelming your Pinterest feed and turning people off. Most likely, people will unfollow your boards, or worse, report you as a spammer.
The ideal approach is to log into your Pinterest account several times a day and drip pins into your stream at each sitting. But who has time to do that? We're busy people with businesses to run. Even though Pinterest is an awesome marketing resource, you don't want it to eat into your productivity.
A couple months ago I tested different Pinterest tools to find out if any of them allowed you to schedule pins. Some resources promised to, but they were still in beta and the service was unavailable.
Then I stumbled across Pingraphy, and everything changed!
Pingraphy is a remarkable new tool I've been using daily in my business, and I can honestly say I'm a devotee. Besides being free, Pingraphy is easy to use.
Here are eight quick steps to help you schedule your pins like a pro with Pingraphy:
1. Get an account with Pingraphy.
Sign up for a free account at www.pingraphy.com. Once you log in, sign in to your Pinterest account in a separate tab. You'll need this to be open at the same time.
2. Grab the bookmarklet.
Next, go back to Pingraphy, click through to your dashboard, and grab the Pingraphy bookmarklet.
This bright pink button works exactly the same as Pinterest's pin it button, which you probably already use to pin images.
Click the Pingraphy bookmarklet and drag it to your browser area until it attaches to the tool bar.
The Pingraphy bookmarklet lets you pin from any website, including your site or blog. This is an extremely handy feature because it not only lets you schedule pins in advance, but upload images in bulk.
This means that, in just a few clicks, you can instantly reduce your pinning time from one hour a day to one hour a week! Can you imagine the time you would save?
Once you find a website with appealing content, just click the bookmarklet and it will pick up all the pinnable images from that page.
3. Select pins.
Choose the images you want and unselect the ones you don't by unchecking the box in the top left-hand corner. Then click the green "next" button on the far right.
4. Optimize the pins ' captions.
On the next page, add captions to each of the pins. If you are pinning your content, be sure to make the description keyword-rich for search engine optimization purposes. Also add a call to action, a price tag if appropriate, and the URL to your website to get the maximum benefit from your pin.
5. Add links to the caption area and URL box.
Pinterest will hyperlink any URLs you add to the caption area, so this is a great way to get more exposure for your brand or business.
Besides gaining a backlink from a high-ranking authority website like Pinterest, putting a full link in this field will help you visually brand your website and make it easy for people to find you on the Internet. This will help you quickly build a strong community of loyal followers.
If you are the originator of the content, don't forget to add a relevant link in the URL box, too. This link can direct traffic to the home page of your website or blog, or better still, an internal page such as a specific blog post or product page.
You can also link the pin to a squeeze page to build a list of subscribers, send visitors to an affiliate landing page to increase sales, or even drive traffic to a recent press review for your product or service to boost your credibility.
Just remember to link other people's content back to the original source to avoid copyright infringement.
6. Select the appropriate board.
You need to select which board you want to pin the images to. In this case, I pinned to my "EpreneurTV Blog" board.
Pingraphy gives you two options: You can click "upload" and pin the images immediately, or you can schedule them using the orange button, which is the focus of this article.
7. Schedule your pins.
When you click "schedule," the following window appears:
Pingraphy lets you choose the date, time, and even time zone for your pin. If you hover over the time box, a drop-down calendar appears where you can select any date you desire.
To specify the hour and minute you want the pin to go out, just slide the cursor toward the right along the scale on the relevant bar.
Research by Pinerly, the Pinterest analytics tool, suggests the optimal time to pin to get the most repins and highest amount of referral traffic is Saturday mornings and late weekday evenings between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET. It's a good idea to set your pins to go out during these peak periods.
Once you do this, you can return to the dashboard (click on the blue "dashboard" link) and view the pins you just scheduled.
Thanks to Pingraphy, you can schedule your pins from anywhere in the world at a time that suits you. You don't even need to be in front of your computer to get the most out of Pinterest.
8. Rinse and repeat.
Now that you know how to schedule your pins, there's no excuse not to pin consistently.
You could either upload five to seven pins and pin them directly, or upload 30 or so pins at a time and schedule them to drip into your Pinterest feed throughout the week. This could also be an activity you outsource or delegate to a team member.
And remember, Pinterest doesn't restrict you to flat, two-dimensional images. You can apply this technique to videos from YouTube or Vimeo.
The thing I love most about Pingraphy is that it stops Pinterest from becoming a chore. It allows you to easily pin and consistently provide fresh, valuable content to your followers. And as with any social network, consistency is key for engagement and the best way to get people to follow you.
How do you manage your Pinterest activity?
Tehmina Zaman is an entrepreneur, Pinterest expert, and host of the forthcoming Web TV show, Epreneur TV. Tehmina also offers Pinterest marketing services to businesses. A version of this article originally appeared on JeffBullas.com