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11 Pinterest Tips for Your Business

business tips Credit: Laptopmag.com

Within the past year, Pinterest has seen its popularity skyrocket from relative obscurity to rival the likes of Facebook and Twitter, becoming one of the largest social media networks on the Web. As of April, the network was estimated to have approximately 8.3 million users. And with such a large number of users, businesses large and small are looking for ways to cash in on the craze in any way possible. But because Pinterest is so heavily reliant on visual elements, marketing on the site is quite different than Facebook or Twitter.

To help you get started, we dug into the service and spoke to social experts to compile a comprehensive list of best practices for establishing a business presence on the hottest social media network around.

The first and most obvious step to getting on Pinterest is to make a dedicated brand page for your business. Before creating a page, though, you’ll have to create an account. You’ll be asked to authorize the setup using either your Facebook or Twitter account. Because Pinterest doesn’t currently support Facebook brand page linking, you’ll want to authenticate the account using your brand’s Twitter page.

Once you’ve created a Pinterest account, you’ll want to customize your page with branding specific to your business. For instance, under the Settings menu, you can add a brief description of your business, as well as its location and website. You should also upload an image to your page that’s relevant to your company. You may consider using the same profile image as the one you use on Facebook or Twitter to ensure continuity across the social networks.

Above all, we highly suggest turning off the “Hide your Pinterest profile from search engines” setting. This will help ensure that users can search for your Pinterest page using such search engines as Google and Bing.

Building a strong following on Pinterest requires that you provide your audience with material they find interesting. Part of that process includes knowing exactly who your audience is so you can tailor shared material to their interests. Maggie Georgieva, inbound marketing manager at HubSpot, suggests getting to know your audience by visiting the Pinterest pages of some of your fans. The goal: to see what interests they may have in common so you can work boards and pins on similar topics into your page. But don’t start throwing random boards onto your page. The content still needs to be relevant to your brand.

If you hope to keep followers coming back to your page and re-pinning your posts, you have to pin material that holds their interest. If you run a small athletics retailer, for instance, you may want to create boards relating to various sports. You could then pin images of local sports teams under the appropriate board to draw in area residents and fans. You want to create boards and pins that will truly resonate with your audience. In addition to photos, we also suggest pinning interesting videos to your page. Unfortunately, Pinterest only supports embedded videos from YouTube and Vimeo at this time, although the company says it’s working on increasing video sources.

There is a wrong way to post material on Pinterest. The social network discourages its users, even marketers and businesses, from engaging in blatant self-promotion. So adding pins about your company alone won’t cut it. Georgieva, however, says businesses can use this restriction as an opportunity to get creative by pinning topics that showcase the lifestyle their brand represents. Try working pins about your business into these lifestyle boards as a reminder to followers that that board’s particular topic is exactly what your business is all about.

If you’ve posted pins related to information on your company’s website, it’s highly recommended that you add the appropriate links to your site somewhere in the pin’s description. And since Pinterest has instated a 500-character limit for pins, you may want to look into using a link-shortening service such as bit.ly. An added benefit to including links to your pins is that they carry over when users re-pin them.

Like Google+ and Twitter, Pinterest supports hashtags, which makes targeting your pins to users with specific interests a cinch. If you run a coffee shop, for example, you can tag images of your available products with the hashtag #coffee. The more you add the hashtag to different pins, the more likely your coffee shop’s pins are to show up in search. It’s worth noting that hashtags used with Pinterest don’t function the same way as they do on Twitter. Instead of providing you with a list of similar pins using the hashtag, Pinterest searches for the word following the hashtag.

Unsure of which hashtag to use? Websites like hashtag.org provide regularly updated lists of trending hashtags. Type the topic in the search box at the top of the screen and you’ll be provided with a comprehensive list of all the most appropriate hashtags.

Like any social network worth its salt, Pinterest has a “Pin It” button available for website owners. The button functions exactly like similar offerings from Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, providing users with a quick and easy way to pin your content to their Pinterest pages. Pinterest includes the code for adding the “Pin It” button to your website under the Goodies tab in the About section at the top of your Pinterest page.

In addition to the “Pin It” button, Pinterest has also made a “Follow Me” button available. Unlike the “Pin It” button, “Follow Me” serves as a means to get users to follow your entire Pinterest page. Once someone clicks the “Follow Me” button, any updates you make to your Pinterest page will show up in theirs.

Nothing is worse than visiting a business’s social media page and being bombarded by boring corporate doublespeak. Adding a more personal touch to your Pinterest page can do worlds of good for your brand and make potential customers feel more at home. For example, you can create a board dedicated to fun business outings or parties showing off the fun times you and your employees have while on the job. Pin candid photos of employees working at their desks with their favorite tchotchkes in the frame. You want people visiting your Pinterest page to see that your business is just as much about the people who work there as it is the customers it serves.

Georgieva also recommends pinning photos of customers enjoying your business’ services when possible. A restaurant, for instance, could pin photos of customers having a good time with the waitstaff. Of course, as Georgieva suggests, it’s best to ask for your customers’ permission before posting photos of them online.

One of the keys to gaining and keeping followers on any social media site is interacting with other users. On Pinterest, that could mean commenting on or sharing a follower’s pins. When followers comment on your pins, it’s wise to reply to them to let them know that you’re active on the social network. Naturally, followers who engage in negative behavior (trolling) should be ignored and their comments removed from your pins.

In the end, the goal of creating a Pinterest page for your brand is to drum up interest in your business and, depending on the type of industry you’re in, drive traffic back to your company’s website. Monitor your metrics using tools such as Google Analytics to measure how much interest your Pinterest page is generating for your main website. Georgieva suggests checking whether certain pins perform better than others and leveraging that information to help increase traffic. Above all, be willing to change things up.

This story was provided by Laptopmag.com, a sister site to BusinessNewsDaily.