10 rules for success on Pinterest

Pinterest has gained a lot of attention recently. Combining easy, one-click sharing with a highly visual approach, it's captured the attention of some 10 million monthly visitors (and done so faster than either Facebook or Twitter). It is also sending more referral traffic than Twitter which has made businesses sit up and take notice.

Pinterest's early users were focused mainly on sharing fashion and consumer products. But now it's steadily expanding to cover all manner of visual content. So is Pinterest all about people sharing cat photos and craft projects? Or can you use it to help you generate more leads and greater engagement for your business?

pinterest-rules

Here are 10 ways you can begin using Pinterest for your company:

1. It's all about visual content

Pinterest is designed to give users the ability to pin up visual content (as if pinning something to a notice board). While you may be focused more on text-based content in other areas, on Pinterest you should be thinking photos, infographics, charts, ebook covers, videos etc.

2. Follow me, follow you

As with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, the value of Pinterest lies in the network of followers you can attract. The best way of getting followed? Follow others (and pin and re-pin great content).

3. Keep your content fresh and varied

Success on Pinterest is founded on endless variety. So look to pin regularly and span different types of content. (Also, bear in mind when pinning third-party content that there is a current debate about copyright that has yet to be resolved – see here for more details.)

4. Engage with other users

As with most other social media, with Pinterest you reap what you sow. The more engaged you are, the more your community will engage with you. So make sure you actively like, comment and re-pin other users' pins.

5. Cross-promote with other social media

Don't let Pinterest be an island. Integrate it with your presence on Twitter and Facebook etc so others are aware of what you're pinning. Plus, add a ‘Follow me on Pinterest' button to your sites.

6. Be easily to recognise

Make sure your profile name is your business name, it'll make you easier to find (if you join as an individual, you can change your profile name in the settings). Pinterest has also just rolled out new member pages where you can have up to 200 characters to give a bit of background (you can include a text URL in addition to the weblink button Pinterest includes as standard).

7. Show your human side

Pinterest is an excellent place to give customers a behind the scenes look into your business. It offers you a chance to show off your people, your events and where you work. Ultimately, it can help your customers put a face to the (brand) name.

8. Invite customers to play

While you may get busy finding and creating new visual content for your Pinterest boards, there's nothing to stop you inviting customers to share their content too – this may be photos of them using your product, or at one of your events, or simply around a theme that you choose. You can even incentivise activity with prizes or just a bit of kudos.

9. Choose your board names carefully

Pinterest will happily suggest a number of ‘off-the-shelf' board names. But to stand out (and be more findable on search), you should give some thought to what will really spark people's attention.

10. Make descriptions work for you

Good pins get liked and re-pinned – often without any additional comments or descriptions being added. So make sure you include your brand name and URL into the description of your pin. That way you can travel with it.

It's early days for Pinterest. As with most early stage services, you shouldn't look at it as the solution to all your social media challenges. But with a low cost of entry and a significant amount of take up by users, now is the time to begin experimenting to see how Pinterest could fit in to your social media strategy.

Happy pinning.

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