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Pinterest for Marketing & Brand Building

We have all heard this chatter about Pinterest. According to Compete, unique visitors to Pinterest.com increased by 429% from September to December 2011, and the social network already boasts a user base of 3.3 million.Pinterest 1

Pinterest is only growing in popularity as the hottest new social network, and in December 2011, it made Hitwise’s list of the top 10 social networks, currently sitting at #5 and beating out big names like LinkedIn and Google+. And as with any hot new social network that comes onto the scene, marketers are chiming in with, “Can I use it for marketing?” “…and, how?“

The short answer? Absolutely.

What and How?

Pinterest is a social network that allows users to visually share, curate, and discover new interests by posting (AKA ‘pinning’) images or videos to their own or others’ pinboards (i.e. a collection of ‘pins,’ usually with a common theme) and browsing what other users have pinned.

Pinterest 4Using a visual emphasis, the social network is very much focused on the concept of a person’slifestyle, allowing you to share your tastes and interests with others and discover those of likeminded people. The social network’s goal is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.”

Users can either upload images from their computer or pin things they find on the web using the Pinterest bookmarklet.

As with most other social networks, users can perform standard social networking functions such as following the boards of their friends, liking and commenting on other users’ pins, re-pinning content to their own boards, sharing others’ pins on Facebook and Twitter or via email, and even embedding individual pins on their website or blog.

Build Your Following on Pinterest

Once you get started, you’ll want to create a few pinboards before you start trying to build your Pinterest following (check out the list below for some great ideas!). This way, new followers will have a reason to follow your pins; it’s the same reason why you would populate a brand new blog with a few posts before you start promoting it.

Unfortunately, because the ‘Find Friends’ feature on Pinterest leverages a personal Facebook profile (not business page), this tool won’t be very useful for your business.

Therefore, you’ll want to promote your presence through other means to jumpstart your Pinterest following:

_Add the Pinterest follow button to your website.

_Promote your presence on Pinterest through your other social networks by encouraging your followers/fans on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter to follow your pins!

_Consider launching your presence with a Pinterest contest (see below), and write a blog post to promote it.
_Start following users you think would want to follow you back.
It’s all about marketing and here is a great graphic by Maria Peagler, founder of SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com.
Here are 64 cool ideas to help you market your products and services on Pinterest.
So get started before it gets cluttered!  What are you waiting for?
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