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When you first heard of Pinterest your reaction was probably pretty similar to many other people across the globe using the web for business, “another social media site? You gotta be kidding me”. It’s an understandable reaction. Even with someone employed solely to manage social media it can be a time consuming activity. Every time a new social network comes along it’s met with resistance from businesses who are hesitant to adopt because of fear that it won’t last. Well Pinterest is here and it’s slowly but surely gaining traction, especially with the female population.

What is Pinterest?

Think of Pinterest as a virtual pin board that allows you to share photos, create theme based pin boards, re-pin images and “like” photos. It’s hit a niche in the market and has proven to be a highly successful platform for clothing retailers, interior designers and book stores. Many businesses have a lot of images on their website and Pinterest is a perfect avenue for putting them to use in marketing your business. If, for example, your business specialises in vintage cars use the likes of Instagram to edit pictures and give them a funky look that will influence sharing. The Pinterest user base is dominated by women who account for a staggering 97% of all users according to TechCrunch via Appdata which is great news for businesses targeting the female population.

Why should you care?

Pinterest is well on its way to becoming the social media network of 2012 with 10.4 million users and counting. Just like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ Pinterest gained it’s following in America and began to spread across the world. The average time spent on Pinterest in the states is a whopping 1 hour and 17 minutes compared to Twitters 36 minutes. This time on site presents a massive opportunity for businesses with images to share looking to drive traffic and increase their customers base and revenue. As well as the above Pinterest is growing at an exciting rate. Since the beginning of 2012 its user base has grown by more than 145%

You’re still not sold? Worried about your time being wasted?

Like all social media networks when you’re using them for business you need to be strategic, consistent and put out content that your followers will enjoy and find interesting. There is solid evidence that using Pinterest for business can significantly boost traffic and sales. These guys conducted a number of studies to analyse how Pinterest affected website traffic and sales for business pages using the site. One user recorded a 200% increase in traffic in just three weeks while another found that it received more on site sales from Pinterest traffic than Facebook traffic.

OK, but how do you use Pinterest for business?

The most notable benefit of Pinterest is its ability to drive traffic. Each image you upload can be linked to your website which creates endless opportunities for businesses selling their products online. We’ve compiled a list of our top seven tips on how you can successfully use Pinterest for business:

Tip 1 – Keep search engine optimisation (SEO) in mind

Pin your own images not just others. The goal of using Pinterest for business is to drive traffic (visitors) to your site so by pinning your own images you increase the chances of people sharing your content with their friends who might then click onto your site. When naming files use keywords as opposed to generic titles such as may09th2010.jpg. I honestly can’t put more emphasis on the following ; description, description, description……… description. Pinterest allows 500 characters for descriptions which gives you plenty of space for creating keyword dense content. Don’t fall into the trap of making it look spammy, write clear descriptions and incorporate keywords around what the image is about.

Tip 2 – Make your business pinnable!

People pin things they enjoy and want to share with friends so you need to draw a strategy from this. Think with your business in mind, what would your target market find useful? If you’re an Italian restaurant that cooks great food why not have someone whip up some cool graphic menus that can be pinned? Another great way of influencing pins would be to post an image of a dish and 3 or 4 tips on how to make it.  Using Pinterest for business has massive creative potential so don’t just think outside the box think around it, under it and over it!

Tip 3 – Create Targeted Boards

You know the type of people who use your business on an everyday basis so create boards based on this knowledge. If you’re a store who specialises in organic products you can easily create boards based on the organic food and organic clothing you sell. To maximise the level of pinning you receive why not create a board around organic gardening? If your target market purchases organic food and clothing they’ll certainly be interested in the organic gardening side of things so pin images with tips and advice on organic gardening.

Tip 4 – Organise and Categorise

Keep things tidy and in check. Create different boards for different topics as this will not only make it easier for your Pinterest followers it will make the search engine optimisation side of things run a lot more smoothly. If you use Pinterest to upload pictures of the clothing you sell have categories for trousers, cardigans, foot ware etc. Use clear descriptions and keywords in the titles of the categories.

Tip 5 – Don’t forget the URL

Our goal here is to send other Pinterest users who are prospective customers your site so make sure you include the URL of where you want to send them. There are a number of different ways you may choose to use Pinterest for business. For example think about photographers and restaurants who don’t sell online are looking to create brand awareness, so inserting a URL linking directly to your home page is perfectly acceptable to use. Those of you looking to make sales that are uploading pictures of products you need to upload the URL linking people directly to the product itself. Be careful when adding links, if you link incorrectly people won’t go looking for the product so double check it’s right before uploading.

Tip 6 – Check out the competition

Find out what your competitors are doing and use this to create a strategy. Check out businesses that aren’t direct competitors and see how they are doing things. Benchmarking yourself against businesses operating in different countries can be a great way of generating ideas. For example if you’re an interior design company in the UK check out what Interior Designers in the United States are doing.

Tip 7 – Be consistent

Like all social media unless you’re consistently putting out quality content you will not get the kind of results that make the time and effort you are investing worthwhile. Get into a routine and pin every day to ensure your efforts don’t go to waste.

Conclusion

Using Pinterest for business has a lot of potential; you just need to be creative and consistent in how you do it. Pinterest boards look great and can be an effective way of displaying your products in an aesthetically pleasing way. Check out the early adaptors and see how they’ve made a success out of it. Some notable profiles are Nordstrom, Easons and Modcloth

  •   Would you use Pinterest for business? What do you think of the comments that Pinterest is a social network for women?