5 Steps for Using Pinterest for Business

Visual, image-based social network Pinterest has joined the ranks of Facebook and Google+ by offering business profiles. The implications of this change are huge. By many estimates, Pinterest has beat out Facebook in generating more sales and nurturing leads among users. More importantly, 2012 saw usage of Pinterest rise by over 1000% among Internet users. Look no further than the chart below for concrete evidence – included as part of Nielsen’s 2012 Social Media Report:

So, it’s clear Pinterest is of great importance to marketers and business owners. Now, how do you leverage Pinterest for business? I’ve outlined five steps that make using Pinterest for business easy and effective.

1. Use Pinterest’s Business Center

Did you know Pinterest has a Business Center specifically designed as a resource for marketers and business owners? It hasn’t been heavily advertised, but yes, really, it exists! In Pinterest’s Business Center, you can create a new business profile, convert an existing Pinterest profile into a business one, or read some case studies and see how others are using Pinterest for business.

There are also some interesting how-to’s, and instructions for best Pinterest business techniques within the Business Center. Most importantly, however, is the feature to convert existing Pinterest profiles into business ones. Pinterest was open to the public for many months before business profiles became an option for everyone. If your business or brand already has a standard Pinterest profile, do not worry! You can convert your account into a business profile quickly and easily.

Overall, Pinterest’s Business Center is a welcome and essential addition to the social network for business owners and marketers. Bravo, Pinterest!

2. Read Pinterest business case studies

Tucked away inside Pinterest’s Business Center are some interesting case studies of how other businesses and marketers are leveraging Pinterest to build and enhance their brand online.

These Pinterest case studies highlight best practices used by the world’s leading brands, as well as initiatives that did or did not work. They provide even further details about each case, including campaign statistics, user responses, and marketing objectives.

3. Read Pinterest’s business marketing guidelines

Pinterest provides business owners and marketers with an overview of some quality standards and marketing guidelines. Now that Pinterest is marketing to businesses, some new rules and regulations have went into effect to govern business profiles and boards.

Note some of the more controversial rules: Pinterest states that all pins posted to business profiles are the property of Pinterest (even after you delete your account), and will be treated as such. Additionally, it’s important to remember that Pinterest may (and probably does) use some of your personal information to issue recommendations and compile certain statistics/reports.

4. Remember, SEO matters on Pinterest, too

Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential when marketing on Pinterest. First, boards are indexed by Google, so remember to use search engine-friendly board titles. Additionally, individual pins may also be indexed, so name them accordingly. Don’t name your boards anything other than what you want Google to see.

Board and pin descriptions matter, too. Make sure you use search engine-friendly copy when describing individual pins on Pinterest. Remember, keywords remain an important part of overall SEO strategy on Pinterest. Hashtags are equal to keywords in Pinterest language, so use them effectively.

Example: if your Pinterest business board is talking about 2012’s top marketing statistics – in a series of infographics – think of the board as a webpage that would normally be indexed by Google. If the topic is Facebook Usage in 2012, name your pin “2012 Facebook Usage Trends.” Think: what will Google see?

5. Be creative. Go bold. Think viral.

As with any marketing campaign, it’s best to make a big splash and gain noteworthy attention. In the digital era, that means going viral. Fortunately, Pinterest is great for marketers looking to be extra creative, and creating viral content. As a visual, image-based social network, viral images can be made front and center.

Some tips: pin images that are likely to be noticed and be shared frequently by many; create and pin videos that capture – and don’t bore – other Pinterest users; and finally, before pinning to your Pinterest business board, be sure your pins create emotion with other users, and make them love (or hate) you.