How to Use Pinterest to Promote Your Business

LTSM Ed: Pinterest has evolved from its origins and is now hugely important in providing marketing opportunities for companies who are oreoared do do some planning before exploiting some of the features. This earlier article provides some sound advice.

The latest social media craze, called Pinterest, is a website that allows users to create digital pin boards of items they want to remember or share with others. For example, if a member sees a dress she likes on a clothing website and she either does not want to forget where she saw it, or wants to get friends' feedback on the dress, she can “pin” it to one of her boards on the site.

You as a business owner have the ability to market your products or services using Pinterest, as you can with Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site. One pin on the site can gain quick exposure as other members “repin” the original pin as they see it on their friends' boards. Anyone who clicks on the pin will automatically be directed to your business' website, where people can learn more about your product and follow through with a purchase.

Pinterest offers a unique way for people to interact with each other online, and it also requires businesses to learn a new method of social media marketing. You can leverage Pinterest to better promote your business and its products using these tips:

1. Establish your own account. You can sign up for Pinterest as an individual, but it is only by invitation, so ask all of your friends to see who is on the site and can invite you. Once you are on, start building pin boards that relate to your business. For example, if you are a boutique, set up a “shoes” board, a “dresses” board, a “handbags” board and so on.

2. Pin excellent photos of your products. Pinterest is a visually intense social media site since each pin is represented by a picture. Products that are naturally visually stunning catch attention on the site, but only if the picture of the product is high quality. Avoid snapshots or poorly edited photos since they will not capture the same level of attention.

3. Get creative with your pins. It might be easy to create pins for products such as shoes or toys, but other products and especially services might be more difficult to represent with a pin. This is where you creative side needs to come to life. Find or even take pictures for your company's website that represent what you do well. If you own a restaurant, take a picture of one of your cook's performing a fancy maneuver while cooking. Hotels or other hospitality-centered businesses can take stunning pictures of their accommodations.

4. Talk about your products. When you pin something on Pinterest, you can leave a text description of the pin that shows up below the picture. This is your chance to explain your product or service, expounding on why it is unique and useful to the potential customers on Pinterest. You might even go so far as to encourage users to click on the link for the pin's source and visit your website for more information.

5. Pin case studies and testimonials. Many businesses post case studies or customer testimonials on their website or even use them in mailers. With Pinterest, you can pin a picture of your customers and include a blurb of the case study or testimonial. If Pinterest users are interested, they can follow the source link to your website and find out more.

6. Encourage your customers to create pins from your website. The first step is to load your site with high-quality, rich graphics they can put on Pinterest. You can also encourage customers to make their own pins by photographing themselves using your product or visiting your business. Start up a contest where each customer who creates a pin featuring your product or business is entered into a drawing.

7. Think beyond pictures. Pinterest does not just allow you to pin pictures, but it also allows for pinning videos on boards. This means your website should have striking and informative videos relating to your products or services. Pin these videos on the site and encourage your customers to do the same. You can also create coupons that you use only on Pinterest, pinning them on a coupons or promotions board. This encourages customers who are already using Pinterest to follow your account, increasing your exposure on the site.

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