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Why Pinterest Is More Popular Than 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

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10 Ways Businesses Can Take Advantage of Pinterest Properly

By now many of you have heard of Pinterest, the fastest growing standalone website in history.

What is Pinterest and why is it so popular?

Pinterest is a virtual scrapbook that allows you to share and curate videos and photos by posting or “pinning” them to themed boards. Members are able to follow the boards posted by any person, company or organization and comment on as well as share or “repin” images onto their own boards. This makes Pinterest an incredibly popular social network that has grown to over 11 million members in less than 1 year. The site refers more traffic to websites and blogs than Twitter and Google+ combined.

Pinterest is popular because many people find viewing visual images and videos more relaxing and enjoyable than reading text. Women between the ages of 25-44 represent the primary demographic. They spend over an hour a day on the site which means that the enjoyment, and dare I say distraction value is quite high. Participating on the site does not take extraordinary skill and the interfaces with Twitter and Facebook make the sharing process very easy and efficient. Members can follow total strangers who pin interesting and appealing images without having to be friends with them or connected in anyway. So you can enjoy someone’s boards with no strings attached. No need to date or spend money, just view and enjoy.

While Pinterest is somewhat addicting, you can spread out your participation throughout the day. You can pin images as you browse websites and blogs with the click of button and then review the images when you have time.  People are able to enjoy quick as well as long term sessions with the network. While commenting is encouraged, it is easy to nurture relationships without a long stream of conversation or commitment, a simple Like will suffice.  Pinterest offers an easy and fun outlet to express your creativity, explore your fantasies and discover new places, things, people, objects, shopping finds, recipes and home decorating and gift ideas along with information that will help you in your profession. Best of all you only need a computer or mobile device and you don’t need special clothing or equipment.

Businesses and nonprofit organizations have an opportunity to use Pinterest to promote their brands, drive traffic to their websites and expand their community of adoring fans.

Top Ten Best Pinterest Practices for Businesses and Non-Profits

  1. Set up an Account and Provide a Bio with Keywords that Describe your Business, Industry or Mission.  When Pinterest launched the site, new members had to receive an invitation. You can obtain an invitation by contacting me at RColner@DigiStarMedia.com or requesting one from the site. Keywords are important as members use the search function to find interesting companies, people and nonprofits to follow. When you receive an invitation you can login to the site directly or connect through Facebook Connect or Twitter.
  2. Create a Series of Boards that Highlight a Variety of Subjects Including but not Limited to your Industry or Area of Expertise.  Remember to use keywords as well as clever titles to categorize your boards.  You will find that people like to create boards for recipes, things that inspire them, clothing, marketing advice, infographics, causes, services and products. I recently changed some of the titles of my boards so they would be more likely to show up in typical searches.
  3. Pin- Follow-Repin-Repeat – When you get started you will be given the opportunity to connect with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers on Pinterest. It is a good idea to do this. Remember that you can follow selected boards or all of the boards for each follower and you can unfollow a member at any time.  You will be given the opportunity to connect with your Twitter followers when you initially set up your account. If you do accept the prompt at this time, you won’t be able to do this at a later date. I am sure this will change in the future. If you connect your Pinterest account to Facebook, you will see which Facebook friends are on Pinterest and be given the opportunity to follow them or invite them to the site by checking the “Find Friends” tab under your name. It is a great idea to periodically search for industry terms and topics of interest in the search function to find new and interesting people, companies and boards to follow.
  4. Add a “Pin It” Button to your Browser Bar so you can Pin Images as you Browse on a Website or Blog.  You will find the instructions in the Goodies section of the site. The most important way to brand your business is to pin images that you create and own from your website, blog, photo sharing or video sharing sites. The URL associated with an image stays connected to the image even when it is repinned. This ensures that the image will stay linked to your business. B2B marketers should be sure to pin images linking to Slideshare presentations and blog posts.
  5. Pin Images and Videos that are High Resolution, Interesting, Informative, Humorous, Whimsical and in Good Taste. Your boards are a reflection of you and your business or organization.  Be creative and show a range of interests.  Most importantly, don’t just pin images that promote your business or cause. This will turn off your audience. You can even selectively overlay an inspirational quote onto an image using Photoshop or PicMonkey.
  6. Add a Keyword Rich Description to Each Pin and Include a Link to Your Website or Blog. This is a critical step to make certain that people can find out more information or buy a product from your website. Hashtags with topic terms are also used in descriptions to help pins be identified in keyword searches.
  7. Add a Watermark or Logo to Certain Images to Maintain Control over the Integrity of Your Brand.  Although the URL for the source of an image is embedded in a pin, it is recommended that you click on the image before you repin it to confirm that the source for your image is a legitimate website. Don’t share pins from sources that are not legitimate.
  8. Be a Social Pinner.  Engagement is the fuel that powers all social media.  A key way to build awareness for you and your brand is to repin, like and comment on images pinned by the people you follow. Be sure to thank people for their comments. You are able to tag other pinners in a comment with an @mention. You can also arrange to receive notifications about comments, likes, repins and new followers by email under the settings tab.  Try to pin to the site over the course of a day as opposed to pinning a lot of images all at one time.
  9. Research What Your Customer and Client Prospects are Pinning and Repinning. This will help you identify the type of visual content that resonates with your target audience. Track Repins from your site at www.pinterest.com/source/yourcompanyURL. Track referral traffic from Pinterest to your site or blog through Google Analytics.

10. Integrate Your Pinterest Account with Share Buttons on your other Social Media Platforms and include a "follow me on Pinterest Button" on your website and blog.

11. Bonus tip: Add a price to the description of images of products that you sell so Pinterest will create a price banner for it, and include the item in its gift recommendation engine.

I look forward to reading your ideas on what makes you, your company or organization Pinteresting. Thanks for sharing.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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