Through both personal and professional experience I’ve seen the results of a wide range of clients and websites and their efforts to use Though I’m far from being a Pinterest savant, through these experiences I have learned a few things that can help businesses take advantage of this powerful marketing channel. So here are eight things to keep in mind for Pinterest marketing for both new and experienced brands and publishers. #1. Pinterest = Visual Pinterest is visual. Duh. Please don’t stop reading. You’d be shocked how many people don’t truly understand this. One of the most critical aspects of a viral pin is the image quality. For the sake of not using someone’s awful image you’ll just have to trust me that there are a lot of really bad pins out there. On the other hand, good images are worth a 1000 words… Image credit: Coolkeywest.com #2. Infinite Scrolling – Blessing & Curse Due to Pinterest’s infinite scrolling user experience (one of the reasons Pinterest is Pinterest according to some) pins are easily buried. While other social platforms offer the ability to filter home streams, to my knowledge there is no easy way to do this on Pinterest. While users can visit individual boards (more on this in a minute) to see recent pins, most simply navigate to the home page and start scrolling…and never stop scrolling. This means the timing of your pins is absolutely critical to getting any traction. Pin at the wrong time and even the best images can be wasted. #3. Boards > Accounts While it seems counter intuitive it’s more important to have a few unbelievably awesome boards then lots of marginal boards that make up your account. This is because Pinterest users follow boards not accounts. Your users won’t all have the same tastes and therefore will want to selectively follow only the boards they care about. To truly increase your followers you must have a few amazing boards. If you don’t have a handful of boards that are the best out there then there isn’t much of a reason to follow you or the brand you work for. #4. Shared Boards Shared boards are the secret sauce to Pinterest virality. Gaining access to or starting your own shared boards not only gives you a bigger reach but also makes it easier to increase your followers if you own the board. One really good pin seeded on a few relevant shared boards can give the pin enough traction to snowball into something big. #5. Influencers, Influencers, Influencers Even big brands must develop relationships with influential pinners. There is a built in hesitancy at times to pin a “brand’s” latest pin or “marketing attempt”. But with a few influential repins, brands will have extended their reach and received some important social validation by Pinners users trust. If you’re a small publisher then all the more reason to connect with influential pinners who can instantly expand your reach. So while it seems like another obvious thing to do, big brands need to swallow their pride and make connections and stop marketing on Pinterest like it’s a vacuum and they are the only ones there. Pinterest is still simply a web of people so users big and small will benefit from commenting, tagging users and connecting outside of Pinterest in order to help their pins spread. #6. Hooks & Calls to Action With some viral pins and traction, Pinterest is great for brand exposure. But with some marketing it becomes an awesome traffic referrer and not just a brand builder. Pins that have some kind of call to action or hook that entices users to click through are the ones that are going to make you money. Whether you’re a publisher or etailer getting visitors to your site is the ultimate goal. If done well, images that have explicit written copy or simply a visual cue can be effective in getting users to click through. Brand exposure, traffic and money. Check, check and check. #7. Website Efforts Your website itself is just as important in your Pinterest efforts as your activity on Pinterest. There are a number of things you can do to increase traffic to your website from Pinterest despite the fact that the action being taken is done off of Pinterest. The most obvious one is to have some kind of Pin It button. The best buttons go above and beyond the generic “Pin It” option and shows a sleek looking Pin It button on all your images triggered by the hover of a user. The end result is more of your awesome images on Pinterest. Likewise, there are a number of “recent pin” type plugins that showcase some of your most recent pins to website visitors who may not be current followers. These are perfect for sidebars and footers for traffic coming from sources other than Pinterest. The most custom solution is to create some kind of page that highlights popular pins and boards. This can be an effective way to get regular readers of your blog following popular boards and helping popular pins become even more visible. #8. Analytic Driven Pins While Pinterest offers their own analytics data I find it to be extremely lacking. (The fact that they just opened this up to 3rd parties leads me to believe I’m not the only one!) I prefer to use Google Analytics to help create content pieces similar to what has done well in the past. The easiest way to do this is to drill down in your Analytics package and see what specific pins are driving traffic. A quick analysis of this content should tell you what types of content is working and more important whether copy or visual cues (discussed above) are helping pull visitors through to the website. Similarly, bloggers and brands alike can look at location data of Pinterest referral traffic to generate new content ideas. This piece of data can be one more insight into who exactly your visitor and customer really is. With a more thorough understanding of your customer comes content pieces that are more likely to be repinned. Implementing many of these tips doesn’t require a lot of effort but the impact can be exponential for both publishers and etailers alike. So if your customers align nicely with Pinterest’s heavily women and visual demographic then put them into action and reap the benefits of Pinterest’s ever growing audience. Images: “Twin Design/ Shutterstock.com“ __________________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Tweak Your Biz: Would you like to write for Tweak Your Biz? Tweak Your Biz is an international, business advice community and online publication. Today it is read by over 140,000 business people each month (unique visitors, Google Analytics, December, 2013). See our review of 2013 for more information. 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