14 Tips for How to Use Pinterest for Business

Pinterest pros provide 14 keys to help you use the virtual bulletin--or 'pin'--board to promote your brand and drive traffic to your website or business.

By Jennifer Lonoff Schiff
Wed, March 21, 2012

CIO — By now you have no doubt heard about Pinterest, the virtual "pin" board (aka online scrapbook) that is the current social media darling. Pinterest is the fastest growing social network and has been driving more traffic to online publishers (i.e., stores or brands) than Twitter or LinkedIn or Google+ the past few months—and Pinterest has become the go-to site for women aged 25-34. Pinterest wasn't designed to be a business tool (with Pinterest stating the site should not be used for self-promotion), but that hasn't stopped retailers and businesses with a visual bent from setting up shop there.

It may not have started out that way, but Pinterest can mean business.

To help you determine if Pinterest is right for your business and learn how best to use the social media tool to drive traffic to your site or store, CIO.com surveyed Pinterest pros and came up with 14 ways to make your business pinteresting.

1. Decide if Pinterest and your brand are a match. "Before you take a dive into the newest time suck available on the Internet, it's important to determine your brand's compatibility with the platform," says Heather Sundell, marketing manager at The Search Agency, an integrated search and marketing agency. "Is your brand visual? Pinterest is about things that look good. So if you don't have a visually appealing product you'll have a challenging time and may find it hard to gain traction," she warns. Sundell also advises businesses to take a hard look at their marketing resources, "since building and maintaining a new social presence takes time and manpower. If your resources are already stretched to capacity, it might not be worth the effort or right time to start a Pinterest campaign."

2. Get invited. Pinterest is currently invite-only. Though wrangling an invitation is pretty easy. Either ask someone you know who is already on Pinterest to send you an invite or request an invite via the site.

3. Get pinned. Be sure to add a "Pin It" button to your product pages, so visitors and customers can pin your products onto Pinterest. In addition, add a Pinterest "follow" button to your website, alongside your buttons for Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Finally, install a "Pin It" button on your browser (or the browser on the computer of the person or people who will be in charge of Pinterest for your organization), in the bookmarks toolbar so you can easily "pin" images. Note: All buttons can be found on the Pinterest Goodies page and are easy to install.

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