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It won’t be wrong if I say, Pinterest is the new star rising on the social media horizon. It once appeared that Facebook, Twitter and other primarily text based social networking websites are the only way to connect socially.  But, Pinterest is indeed a refreshing change and the virtual world has welcomed Pinterest with open arms. It is visible from the fact that in a very short time it has been able to generate more traffic to the publishers than Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Pinterest can be defined as a virtual ‘pin’ board and that is it or maybe not. A closer look reveals ‘that only’ (pin board character) is not it. Smart entrepreneurs have found it to be new, smart and very effective medium to connect with their clients. Even though Pinterest isn’t a business tool but businesses with an eye for visuals have already set shops there and are using Pinterest for business promotion.

In this article I would show you how you can determine whether Pinterest is for your business or not. I would give you an insight into the best ways to promote your business and drive traffic using Pinterest.

1. Is Pinterest right for my business?

There may be hundreds of amazing business marketing tools available in the market. But it is important to determine that which one is in sync with your business goals. Similarly, if you are planning to use Pinterest for business promotion then your first step should be determine that it is the right promotional tool for your business.  Compatibility of your business form with the platform is crucial.

Pinterest is primarily a platform which is driven by appealing visuals. So if your brand is not visual or your products do not please the eyes of the looker then Pinterest may not be the right platform for you. Secondly, like any other social media promotion campaign Pinterest business promotion campaign would also need you to invest manpower and time. So if you lack marketing resources and or your resources are already stretched to their limit then this may not be the right time to start running a Pinterest promotional campaign.

2. Request Invitation

As of now Pinterest is invite-only.  But getting an invite is pretty easy. There are two ways that you can take to get invited.  You can either request an invite via the Pinterest website itself or ask someone you know who is already an active user on Pinterest to send you an invite.

3. It’s Time to Get Pinned

‘Pin It’, add this button to all of the product pages on your website. It will enable the visitors coming to your website to Pin your products onto Pinterest. In addition to the Pin It button you should also add the Pinterest ‘Follow’ button alongside Facebook, Twitter and Google+ buttons on your website. And finally, install the ‘Pin It’ button on your browser or on the browser of the person responsible for your business activities on Pinterest. Doing so would help you ‘Pin’ images in the bookmarks toolbar.

Pinterest is a great website to use and all the buttons required are available on Pinterest Goodies page. These buttons are easy to install.

4. Know Customer Behavior and Pin It

The boards that you create should match with your customer’s lifestyle aspirations. It is advised that you should Pin images of that lifestyle, a lot of them. But at the same time make sure that you do not end up pinning only your own products/images. When you create Boards that fully target your customer’s behavior and not just Boards advertising your products then the message to the customer is loud and clear- you understand them and know exactly what they want.

5. Start Categorizing your Boards

When my clients come to me and say that they are not getting followers I suggest them to simply start categorizing each Pin. And if you also do so, this would mean more people viewing whatever you Pin. And if they find it interesting then they would certainly start following you. So you will have more followers. It is important to smartly use Pinterest for business promotion otherwise you may end up nowhere. Let us take an example. I see people posting a lot of wedding related stuff but most of them do not categorize it under Wedding & Events.  This means waste of time and loss of business that was supposed to come if they had posted images in the right category.

6. Create Boards that Speak for Themselves

Just pinning images onto a Board and expecting people to follow is not smart. The Boards that you create must speak for themselves. Each Board must carry a theme and should present a story that clearly depicts the flavor and personality of your unique products. If you go the right way you can see an upward growth in the traffic. I have clients who are small business owners who have witnessed a growth rate of 20 to 30 percent  by merely doing simple things in the right way.

7. Create Exclusive Content for Pinterest

When asked to do so my clients simply respond with a ‘Why’ in reply. I ask them if I am already getting the same information on your Facebook page then why should I follow your business on Pinterest.  In order to make new followers and keep the existing followers engaged you must give your audience a reason to follow your new business channel. So when using Pinterest for business promotion understand that you should not end up pinning advertisements of your products. Instead create something exclusive.

8. Use/Create Images that are Insync with Pinterest

Images that are well-lit, generate interest and are vibrant will definitely get noticed. One thing which you should keep in mind while creating images is the vertical nature of Pinterest.  So the layout of your images should be vertical in order to look better and enhance the user experience.

Photography is key to get noticed, get pinned and repined. Images that are eye-popping will generate interest. Make sure the photos please the eyes of the onlooker and encourage the users to re-pin them. One of my clients was able to achieve over 1000 re-pins and close to 500 likes. This resulted in increased flow of traffic to his website and helped multiply his sales.

9. Do not Forget to Include your URL

Yes, do not forget to include your URL. If you are on Pinterest for business promotion and do not give prospective customers your address to buy your products then you are on loosing side. And in addition to that, also include the name, price and keywords in the description. Name and price would help those who are ready to buy and keywords will help with the Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Again, be subtle with your marketing efforts on Pinterest as it is not meant for advertising and if you do ‘obvious’ kind of advertising, you are going to turn off your prospects.

10. Be a Good Member. Follow Others as well.

Engagement is key to social networking. Make sure you re-Pin, Follow and Like Boards of other members as well. To thrive and grow on any social network it is important to engage with the members of the community. And this is true about Pinterest as well. I advise to Follow your prospective clients and existing customers and re-Pin their images if they fit your brand in order to effectively use Pinterest for business promotion.

11. Engage Your Employees

To get things in motion you should ensure that all your employees have Pinterest accounts. Ask your staff to engage on Pinterest, Pin/re-Pin your product images.

12. Time Your Pins. Understand What is the Right Time To Pin.

The best time to Pin images is around lunchtime, anytime around the end of the day, or at bedtime. However, if your customers are in different time zones this may not work for you.

13. Consider Data Sharing

Pinterest is widely used in the retail and fashion sector. However, there is a lot more you can do with Pinterest for business promotion. You can start sharing date in the form of Infographics and data charts. I have clients who are using Pinterest to display data on several topics which serves as a vital resource of information for their customers.

You can brand the charts with the name of your company, website address and title of the research along with the link to your website.

14. Know who are Pinning your Images. Analyze Competitors and their Customers Activity-What are they Pinning?

Using Pinterest only for your business promotion is not sufficient. You should also keep vigil on your competitors activity. Spend some time to understand what your competitors are pinning. Find out what users are pinning from their website. And tweak your Pinterest business promotion strategy accordingly.

Type in http://pinterest.com/source/WEBSITEURL/ to find out who is following whom . Replace with URL of your website where it says WEBSITE URL.

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