pinterest logoThe odds are very good that you have at least heard of Pinterest. If you haven’t then I’ll include a brief explanation below. For the rest of us, Pinterest is the newest sensation and the thing that everyone seems to feel they need to master. I know I need to master it too and so I’ve been doing a ton of research to find all the best tips and tricks on how to use Pinterest effectively. Here’s what you need to know:

About Pinterest

Folks who know what Pinterest is and how it works can skip this section. For those who are new to online marketing or who just haven’t been paying attention for the past couple of years, Pinterest is in essence a pin board. It’s a place for people to share pictures they found elsewhere on the web or that they uploaded to the site.
Why would you care about this? Well to put it simply, if you want to drive traffic to your site, having a great Pinterest account is the way to do it. Pinterest allows you to either grab images from an existing website (be careful here because there are questions of copyright on the images) or to upload images of your own.
There are currently millions of pin boards dedicated to all manner of different things, from the zany to the mundane.  Many people actually run multiple Pinterest boards in order to showcase their specific interests. The big advantage for you as an Internet marketer is that Pinterest will allow you to sell to new potential customers by driving more traffic to your website.
That’s the very brief intro to Pinterest. You can find lots of tutorials online telling you what it is and why it’s so popular but let’s get into some specific tips I’ve gleaned on how to make this social network shine for you.

Remember that Content is Still King

No matter how often I mention this to folks, it seems they think there is some magic trick they can use to get away with ignoring it. Fact: nobody is going to care about your Pinterest board if you don’t have something interesting to share on it.
This means that if all you plan to do is grab images from and then hope people will click them and buy from you, you’re wasting your time.
In fact, it is best to ensure that the content you post onto your Pinterest board is not always exclusively about your business. There is actually nothing wrong with posting some photos from your own family and making your Pinterest board more personal.

Be Careful on Descriptions

Neither Google nor any other service can search exclusively based on a picture. Even though there are some services which can compare photographs, the fact is that you still need great descriptions with good keyword usage if you want to get people to notice your Pinterest board.
Be sure to make the descriptions interesting as well as relevant to whatever it is that you are putting up on the site. Don’t be afraid to get descriptive but at the same time, don’t use the keyword over and over again. That will just get you labeled as a spammer. Finally, be sure that you keep your descriptions to around 200-300 characters (although 500 characters are allowed, shorter descriptions will show up complete in search results).

Consider Building Your Board in Secret

Pinterest has a pretty cool feature available which allows you to build an entire board without allowing anyone to see it as you are adding content to the board. The big advantage of this is that you can add things in over time and then spring it on the world so that it appears as if it’s a huge, well thought out board instead of something with very little to look at.
Oh and on the same subject, consider the fact that Pinterest boards do take time to mature. Often, it’s best to use the secret feature to build up a board but not to add everything you ever expect to want to add to it. This way, you can use it to build things up slowly but surely so that you have something substantial to show while at the same time, you can build an audience by continuing to add content to the board.

Be Specific

If you look around on Pinterest, you’ll find plenty of pin boards devoted to things like personal finance, Internet marketing, SEO, even recipes. The thing is, these boards are so general that unless they have some kind of major name recognition, nobody is going to pay attention because they simply don’t have the kind of focus they need.

Instead, consider creating pin boards which are highly specific. Instead of just writing about Internet marketing in general, consider doing a board which deals with how to create infographics. Or instead of creating a generalized recipe pin board, try creating a pin board dedicated to making all kinds of great cookies.

Bottom line, try to make your pin board something which actually will develop a niche following as opposed to one which will gather a broader audience.

Keep in Mind Who Your Audience Is

For all that Pinterest has become incredibly popular with a whole lot of people, mostly because it seems to be the kind of website which can make some serious money for people, it still is dominated by women. This means that you need to think carefully about each of your potential pins and make them appropriate for the audience you are targeting.
Mind you, it’s possible to go after other demographics using Pinterest. However, it is important to keep in mind that your potential audience is going to be smaller because the number of potential visitors to your boards will be smaller. But do keep an eye on the demographics at Pinterest as they are changing and it’s useful to know where they are now so you know which audience you need to target.

Don’t Be In a Rush to Post

On Pinterest, quality is much more important than quantity. You want to ensure that you put up really good content which actually grabs people’s attention and gets them to want more as opposed to lots and lots of junk which you post just because you want to post something. It’s kind of like where you don’t need to post every random though on Twitter but want to put up plenty of quality tweets.

Of course, you also do need to make sure that you post plenty of quality pins on Pinterest. Bottom line, strike a balance between trying to post good quality material and posting lots of pins just for the same of posting. Get it right and your pin board will continue to get more popular. Get it wrong and you’ll be wasting your time.

Make a Pin Contest

Another great way to build up your Pinterest board is to create a pin contest. The way this works is that you offer some kind of prize to folks who make the most interesting pin on a specific topic, usually related to whatever your niche happens to be. The beauty of this is that not only do you not have to create the content but the people who post pins on your board will also promote it to their friends.
Of course, you do need to make sure to promote the contest properly so as to get enough people to come by. You should also have a reasonably good prize for the best pin along with a few second and third prizes so that you encourage people to really try to win the prize.  A $25 gift card is not likely to grab the number of people you want to get onto your pin board.

Include Prices

Pinterest actually has a section where their visitors can browse the products available on the site so that they can buy presents for their friends. In order to get listed in this section, you need to include pricing information. Pinterest will automatically find the pricing information and put your products into the appropriate section.
Of course, it also pays to ensure that you have excellent photos of whatever it is that you are selling along with great descriptions which actually sell the product. If you don’t do that, you’ll find that even though you get listed, you may as well be invisible amongst the hundreds of thousands of other products available as gifts on the site.

Don’t Be Afraid to Curate Someone Else’s Content

Pinterest is a lot like many other social networks. It’s much more about being helpful to your fellow Pinterest users than it is about simply giving your customers a look at whatever it is that you happen to have for sale. This means that you should never be afraid to gather up useful pins from your competitors or even from other general sites so that you can help your customers.
Remember – Pinterest is a social network and those who treat it as such are the ones who are by far the most likely to get plenty of traffic to their pin boards. Of course at the same time, do make sure that you get plenty of your own content onto you board and always make sure that you have the legal right to repin whatever it is that you are pinning.

Be Sure to Fill Out Your Profile

Pinterest offers you the opportunity to fill out a profile explaining to the world what your business is about and what you have to offer. The profile will often be read by your potential customers and will also help in getting your boards into the search results. For example, if you run an SEO company, making good use of keywords such as SEO, search engines and the like will help you get noticed.

It is also important to ensure that you keep your profile fun and personal looking. While you do want to be a professional about things, you also want to make yourself sound like a real person. People tend to buy from actual people as opposed to companies which seem more impersonal. So keep a balance between the two and you’ll find that your Pinterest profile can be incredibly important to you.

Say Hello to the Neighbors

Probably the single best way to ensure that you get your pin boards noticed on Pinterest is to show an interest in pin boards owned by others who also share your interests. Drop by pin boards from other people and leave comments on the photos they’ve put up on their boards. Be sure to leave insightful comments as well so it doesn’t look like you’re just trolling for visitors.
You can do a search on Pinterest to find appropriate pictures to comment on but don’t discount the idea of simply dropping by random images as well. These kinds of images are often going to be the ones that get you the best kinds of visitors – to the ones who would never have found your pin board otherwise. So be sure to comment on whatever you find interesting and don’t worry so much if you don’t always comment on things that are related to your own niche.

Consider Using Analytics

Finally, consider using one of the many analytics programs available for use on Pinterest. There are three that I have found, Piqora, Pin League and PinReach. All three services offer largely the same kind of information — who is dropping by your pin boards and how much time they are actually spending there. This kind of information can be invaluable to you when you are trying to figure out which of the photos you’ve pinned seems to resonate the best and which ones have been a waste of time for you.

Bottom Line

The bottom line with all these things though is that you need to be involved. You should actively use Pinterest and participate in the community. If you do it regularly, you are much more likely to get some good results from the service.