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The girls in the office are talking about it, your bestie is planning a wedding using it, and you are scratching your head wondering how to go about using Pinterest for your business.

Recently declared one of the web’s top ten social media sites by Hitwise, Pinterest is a virtual pin board on which you can post and pin photos into categories and share them with your followers.


Originally a platform for people to save and organise ideas for weddings, home decor and recipes; it is fast evolving into a space for pinning and commenting on photos of anything that tickles your fancy.

Sounds kind of like Facebook, right? Far from it. This is not a platform for posting wine-infused photos from Saturday night; it’s about treasure hunting for inspiration, discovering new things and collating it all in one easy-to-access place.
 

The stats speak for themselves

There are over 4 million active users registered on Pinterest and according to Shareaholic Pinterest is driving more referral traffic than Google+, Linkedin and Youtube combined.

There were 11 million reported page visits in one week in December, and the company has received $27 million in venture funding. Enough said.

For the ins and outs of navigating the site check out Pinterest’s blog Oh! How Pinteresting. Once you have mastered the art of pinning it will be clear why Pinterest is so addictive for individuals, but don’t overlook its ability as a cost effective marketing tool for your business.

Before we go any further I should point out that Pinterest should not be used as a broadcasting platform. To be respected by other pinners (and for your account to remain active) you need to engage the Pinterest community with interesting content. Sales material is a big no, so you will need to think of others ways to get your point across.
 

The business example

Say you’re a touring company selling high-end tours in Australia. You have some great imagery and videos but you need to get people to your website or Facebook page in order to view them, and get a ‘feel’ for what you provide. With Pinterest you can arrange your images into different pin boards aptly named after the places and sights you tour to, just as Melbourne Private Tours has done. This way people searching terms like Australia/Melbourne/Winery Tours are likely to stumble across your images. Of course the same applies to almost any industry sector with a little creativity.
 

The tips

Use suggestive images rather than sales images to get your point across. If you’re a gourmet touring company don’t pin hundreds of images of people enjoying your tours – instead post images of fresh produce, artisan products encountered, wineries visited, cellars, sunsets etc.

Add a description to your pin, but keep it brief and don’t make it a sales pitch. If you’re a food blogger add a little excerpt from your blog with a link. If you’re a tour company add a teaser about the itinerary.

Be sure to use the ‘link’ area for each pin and add a source like your website, blog, Facebook page etc. This way pinners can identify where the photo came from and get in touch.

Add prices to your pins if appropriate. Use the “$” symbol in your description to add a price to a photo, and it will automatically appear in the ‘gifts’ category. If linked back to your website it’s a great way to drive sales.

Pin videos but keep it real and make it educational. This is not the place to show off your latest promotional video.

Allow collaborators on your boards to encourage interaction and sharing. Your collaborators will become your brand ambassadors and new business besties.

Link your account with your social media profiles. At present you can’t link to your Facebook business/brand page, but you can help send pins viral by linking with personal profile.

Most importantly – enjoy Pinterest because there is so much to discover! Social sharing is not only driving website traffic, it’s also driving interaction and a new wave in cost effective marketing tools.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about using Pinterest for business. And hey, if you want to check out my Pinterest profile, you’ll find a whole lot of homewares, food, travel and dogs.

     
Quentin Aisbett is the strategist at OnQ Marketing. He loves social media, SEO, CRO and mobile. Blogging all the time, tweeting even more so and found rambling on Google Plus at+Quentin Aisbett. Be a little old school and email him.

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