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April 05, 2012

Boosting Business with Pinterest

When Pinterest first launched in March of 2010, it was dismissed as a girly scrapbook for wedding gowns, cupcakes and all things DIY. But over the last few months, Pinterest has become a hot social network with over 16 million users. According to Compete.com, Pinterest saw a 155% increase in visitors from December 2011 to January 2012.

Who should join? Any business that wants to drive high-volume traffic to their website to increase sales and generate leads. Research shows that Pinterest can be more effective at driving traffic than any other social media site, even Facebook.

But like all social networks, Pinterest frowns upon blatant self-promotion. Marketers need to find creative ways to go about their business, ways that showcase their brand’s lifestyle, not their brand’s products.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few tips to make sure your Pinterest campaign kicks off on the right foot.

Feature Visual Content

Pinterest is all about organizing and sharing the beautiful things you find on the web, and finding how your products or services fit into the lifestyle of your ideal audience. Some businesses, such as interior design firms and clothing retailers, are inherently visual and will have no problem finding things to post, while others will have to work at it. If your company isn’t obviously made for Pinterest, sift through visual content already in your possession: fun photos from around the office (photos of parties and volunteer events work just as well), photos of your customers using your product/services, beautiful imagery from blog posts, infographics, data sets, even ebook and book covers.

Add the Pin-It Button to Your Website

Making your content incredibly easy to share helps expose your brand to a new audience.

Link Your Pins

Whenever possible, link your images and image descriptions back to your website. Pinterest links are nofollow, but they will drive a high volume of traffic. You can use analytics software to track which people arrived at your website via Pinterest, and to learn what they’re most interested in and which items or services convert to sales.

Link Your Accounts

Pinterest understands that interconnectivity is necessary for social media survival. You can log in using your Facebook or Twitter account, and even choose to automatically post new pins to your Facebook feed for others to see. Users browsing your pins have the ability to instantly share them through Facebook, Twitter or email. As of right now, however, you can only connect your account to your personal Facebook page, not your business one.

Use Hashtags

Like Twitter and Google+, Pinterest users employ hashtags to make content more search-friendly. Use the same hashtags across all social media platforms for the most effective cross-channel campaign.

Create a User-Generated Pinboard

Involve fans and customers in your marketing by allowing them to contribute their own pins to your pinboards. You can pick out a few of your top customers, ask them to showcase what they love most about your brand and create boards dedicated solely to their pins.

Hold a Contest

To really make the most of this type of engagement, consider holding a contest. Ask users to create pinboards on their own accounts that showcase their love for your brand, product or service. You can either pick the winner yourself, or re-pin the top boards to your own Pinterest page and ask followers to vote on the boards to select the winner.

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