pinterest

Pinterest, with over 100 million active users, is a great social media site. But beyond sharing or organizing pictures and memes, “the world’s catalog of ideas” is a great platform for business, too. Thousands of people now are using the site to support their overall business, or to market and sell items outright. Here are 6 great tips for turning Pinterest into a powerful business tool for your company.

1. Build traffic.

If your business is web-based, Pinterest is a powerful marketing tool. You can post pins that will help drive traffic to your primary website. Pinterest enjoys one of the highest referral rates out there, surpassing the rates of Internet powerhouses such as google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined. Running successful Pinterest boards can steer would-be customers right to your website, which is essentially free advertising for your company.

2. Set up a business account.

If you are going to use Pinterest to make money, it is worthwhile to set up a Pinterest business account. While a standard account gives you wide access to the site, a Pinterest business account allows you to display your company name in your profile (as opposed to your first and last name in a standard account). Pinterest gives you access to critical analytics to help you better track activity on the site. It also gives you access to rich pins, which contain more information than standard pins, and help facilitate sales. A business account is not free, but the small fee is money well spent.

3. Use product pins.

Once you have a business account and the ability to make rich pins, you can pin your products right on one of your boards. The rich pins, when viewers click on them, will enable you to go directly to your e-commerce website and make a purchase. Moreover, people that like your pins will in turn pin them to their own boards, which equates to free viral marketing of your products.

4. Put Pinterest widgets on your website.

One of the best ways to generate future sales is to place a “pin it” widget on your website. This will enable pinners to window shop on your site, and, if they like a particular item, they can easily pin it to one of their boards. This will enable them to easily access the item at a later date to purchase it, and will allow other pinners to place it on their boards as well, generating even more sales.

5. Build a following.

The best, most creative Pinterest boards in the world will do you little good if no one ever looks at them. Work hard to cultivate and maintain your followers. You should put a great deal of thought into how you name and use your boards – people want to follow boards that post interesting, authentic content. Work to find thought leaders in your business’s niche on Pinterest, and post and share content on their boards.  Finally, make it as easy as possible for people to follow you. Ensure your primary website has a “follow me on Pinterest” button, and use your overall social media strategy to drive pinners to your boards.

6. Interact and incentivize.

Once you have a substantial following, work hard to make the sale and keep them coming back. Interact with your followers, and give them a reason to continually check your boards. Respond to comments rapidly, so that people know your boards are active. Occasionally post super hot deals for brief periods of time, a reward for pinners who diligently check your boards. Consider posting coupons every once in awhile, so that pinners are encouraged to return to your board in an attempt to redeem them in a discounted purchase. Don’t ever let your boards lie static for too long, continually update them with new, original pins.

Pinterest is a place where you can show your human side and really have fun. Your use of Pinterest doesn’t need to be lengthy nor daily – but it truly becomes addictive pretty quickly.

William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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