10Tips for Using Pinterest for Business

#1: Add a Pinterest “Follow” and/or “Pin It” Button

One important way to let your clients and prospects know about your presence on Pinterest is to add a Pinterest button. Pinterest has several choices available on their goodies page. Find the one that works for you. When you add a Pin It button, you can encourage your customers and readers to pin your products onto Pinterest.

Follow buttons are a great way to let users know you’re on Pinterest. (You can see what I’m up to on Pinterest, too.)

#2: Brands and Pinterest

While Pinterest hasn’t yet created a distinction between a personal profile and brand page (like Facebook), early adopting brands are making good use of their Pinterest presences and the pins and boards they’re sharing.

Brian Honigman points out that because Pinterest’s integration with Facebook is still only for personal profiles and not fan pages,* you should choose the email associated with your brand’s Twitter account to set up your Pinterest profile.

“Once you’re on Pinterest, it’s time to either keep the profile photo that’s been pulled from your Twitter account or upload a new one… You can alter the name and email associated with your account, add a location and website and then add a brief description of your brand. Here you can also choose to link your Twitter profile to your Pinterest account publicly.”

*Note: Pinterest is one of the 60 new open graph websites and apps that allow a tighter integration with Facebook’s Timeline.

#3: Crowdsource

Lauren Drell‘s tip about crowdsourcing can be very effective for brands. She suggests you ask fans of your brand to pin pictures of themselves with their favorite product of yours and tag you,then you can repin those photos onto a VIP board. “It’ll give a shout-out to these fans and show potential customers that your current users really like using your product.”

Sharing the West Elm love on Pinterest.

#4: Do Follow Links

Pinterest is not only a great visual representation of your business; it also has the extra bonus of having SEO value. As Angie Pascale points out, “Other large social media sites—Facebook, Wikipedia, etc.—started out with Do Follow links, but eventually implemented No-Follows in an effort to deter spamming. While we cannot predict whether Pinterest will also make this change as they grow… the current setup provides legitimate SEO value.”

Pinterest currently offers Do Follow links.

UPDATE: The links from the images pinned on Pinterest have now been changed to “no-follow” links. For now, it appears that “do follow” links can still be added to the pin description. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.

#5: Etiquette

Be mindful of pin etiquette as outlined by Pinterest: be nice, credit your sources, avoid self-promotion, report objectionable content and tell them how they’re doing.

Brian Honigman has some pointers regarding etiquette for brands: by sharing images and videos from other industry-related user’s boards, you will “keep your profile community-based and not just a promotion center for your assets and products. Repin and like other content that suits your community, which will help strengthen your reach in the long-term.”

#6: Focus Group

Pinterest users’ likes and interests are easily viewable for all to see. Lauren Drell points out that with millions of people using Pinterest to keep track of objects “they love, places they enjoy, foods they devour and things that inspire them” that marketers can use Pinterest as a focus group.

She suggests you look at the pinners who follow your brand and see what they’re pinning and who else they’re following. “They’re volunteering a lot of information about their interests, passions, dreams and sense of humor in a more natural way on Pinterest than they would on, say, a survey or even on Facebook, where they have to manually enter ‘sarcasm’ or ‘travel’ as an interest. Use this information to your advantage to glean insights about your target consumers.

#7: Grow Your Pinterest Pins and Boards

Pin and maintain your boards regularly to keep your Pinterest presence alive and well. If you have a regular update schedule for other platforms you’re on, make a point of going to Pinterest on a pre-determined schedule to see what’s being pinned by people/brands you already follow, everything and popular pins (ones with a high number of likes, comments and repins). By looking at popular pins, you’ll also get an idea of the type of content that the Pinterest community tends to favor.

#8: How to Use Pinterest

Wild Hair Media‘s post about how Whole Foods Market is using Pinterest demonstrates some good takeaways that other businesses can adopt. They write, “Instead of posting things like their weekly newspaper insert to advertise sales, Whole Foods has taken the opportunity to enhance its brand image instead.

With theme-based pinboards such as Edible Celebrations, How Does Your Garden Grow, We’re Using to Reusing, Super HOT Kitchens, Sweet Tooth, and Who Wants Dinner, Whole Foods is pinning items that “relate to a lifestyle that can be achieved by shopping at their store.”

What types of pinboards will enhance your brand image?

Whole Foods Market is a good example of a brand on Pinterest.

#9: Install the “Pin It” Bookmarklet to Your Browser

The Pin It bookmarklet lets you grab an image from any website and add it to one of your pinboards. When you pin from a website, Pinterest automatically grabs the source link to credit the original creator. You can find the bookmarklet on Pinterest’s goodies page.

Grab an image and pin to Pinterest in one easy click from your browser window.

#10: Justification for Creating a Presence on Pinterest

Feeling like you need to justify to your company why you need a presence on Pinterest?

For starters, you can pass along Monetate‘s influential infographic, Is Pinterest the Next Social Commerce Game-Changer? Wow them with this info: Pinterest reached 7.2 million visitors in the U.S. in December 2011, according to Compete.