Pinterest has nearly five million users, and is rapidly growing. Nearly 1.5 million unique users visit Pinterest daily, spending an average of 15 minutes a day on the site. Think those inspiring vision boards don’t result in referral traffic to websites and blogs? Think again. In January 2012, Pinterest drove greater traffic to websites than LinkedIn, Google Plus, Reddit, and Youtube — combined. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how beginner, intermediate, and black-belt Pinterest users are using it to grow their businesses and connect with their customers using these appealing online collages.

Here are 56 powerful ways I’ve come up with to incorporate Pinterest into your content marketing mix …

  1. Make sure you feature your business name on your profile for maximum exposure. Use your business name as your username, or change your profile name to your business name after your profile is set up.
  2. Add a paragraph about who you are and what you’re interested in to the “About” section on your Pinterest profile. It will show up right under your photo, and will be one way that users can find out more about you.
  3. Connect your account with your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Not only will it help you gain followers, but making this connection adds social media icons under your profile picture that link to your Facebook and Twitter profiles.
  4. Don’t forget to add your website URL in your profile, too!
  5. Pin lots of stuff. Pin content steadily, instead of in huge bursts, to maximize your exposure and engagement.
  6. Come up with creative and interesting board names. They get shared whenever you pin something, so make them enticing. But be creative — you need to keep your board names short. There isn’t a lot of room for long descriptive titles.
  7. Tag other Pinterest users in your pins by using “@username” in your descriptions. Network with other professionals and vendors in your field by using this feature. Not many people are doing this yet, so it’s a great way to build your following and stand out.
  8. Comment on other people’s pins. Just like with tagging, this feature hasn’t really caught on yet, so use it regularly to really engage with other users. Obviously, use the same good manners and common sense you would when commenting on a blog or other social media site.
  9. “Like” other people’s pins to give a thumbs-up when you want to recognize great content.
  10. Pin from lots of different sources, instead of just from one or two sites. Variety is important on Pinterest.
  11. Mix pinning your own unique finds with doing lots of “repinning,” which is repeating someone else’s pin to your followers (just like a Retweet on Twitter). The person whose image you repin gets notified via email, and they also get a credit on your pin, which increases their following.
  12. Feel free to pin your own blog posts, but don’t over-promote. Follow the usual etiquette rules of any other social media site, and don’t be the boorish one at the party who only talks about himself.
  13. Pin videos! Pinterest has a special section just for pinned videos, and there are far fewer videos than images on Pinterest at this point, so use them to distinguish yourself. Any YouTube video is easy to pin.
  14. When you pin an image, add a description under it. Be smart about these descriptions — a good description will stay with an image as it gets repinned all over the Pinterest world. If the image is something from your own site, definitely use your business name in the description.
  15. After you pin a new image using the very handy Pinterest browser bookmarklet (a great tool in its own right,) use its built-in social media prompts to re-share your pin on Twitter and Facebook, too.
  16. Use Pinterest’s embed option to publish pins as content in your blog posts and website pages. Note: As Pinterest is catching on, you may need to tell your users that they need to click on a Pinterest image to get to the original source. When I tried this last week, a reader wrote to me and asked, “Is there more to that Pin thing? Or is it just a pretty image?”
  17. Get the Pinterest iPhone app, so you can repin on the go, pin from your camera and add a location to your pins so others can find your images.
  18. Optimize your website content for Pinterest sharing (Part One): Use images in every single post you write, so your post can be shared on Pinterest. When you find yourself getting lazy about this, remember –- not using an image in your post means no one will pin it. And remember — the prettier the picture is, the more it will get pinned. The images that appeal to Pinterest members are powerful and emotive, so keep that in mind when choosing your pictures. That combination tends to work well for your blog readers, too.
  19. Optimize your website content for Pinterest sharing (Part Two): Consider watermarking your images, or adding text to them. If you’re using your own images on Pinterest, one of the best ways to help your image stand out is by adding a clear description to the image itself, or adding a watermark with your business name. Make sure it’s clear, but that it doesn’t block out the main subject of the photo.
  20. Create seasonal or holiday boards that relate to your brand. Example: New Year’s Resolutions, Fourth of July, etc. Users love these.
  21. Add a prominent Follow Me on Pinterest button to your website to advertise that you’re a pinner!

 

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