7 Ways to Use Pinterest in Your Small Business

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Pinterest is an image-based social network that focuses on the power of visual images. Since this network is so different from its counterparts, namely Twitter and Facebook, a whole new set of rules and best practices apply. So doing research into how other small business owners are using Pinterest is vital.

Along with research, it's important to have a well-developed marketing plan first and then you can begin to incorporate new social media activity into your marketing strategy.

If you don't have a marketing plan, or need to refine your existing one, start with this marketing plan tutorial.

When you're ready to get started with Pinterest, browse these seven ideas to get inspired with different ways you can use Pinterest to promote your business and strengthen your brand online.

1. Promote Your Products

If you sell physical products, one of the most obvious ways to use Pinterest is to share images of your products. You can share photos of your products, different variations of colors and styles, and even photos of your customers using your products.

In order to designate a pin as a product, add a price with the dollar sign (i.e., $1) to the description of your products. This will also allow them to go into the Pinterest gifts section.

2. Feature Your Blog Posts

Bloggers are using Pinterest to highlight their blog posts, and create visual directories of content they publish.

In order to this, you need to use photos or other graphics on your blog so Pinterest has the right image to pull in when your post is pinned.

3. Share Videos

Video promotion works exactly the same was a blog promotion, except you can actually embed your videos right into Pinterest. We all know that online videos can be very powerful for small business owners, so this is the perfect way to use Pinterest for many.

4. Conduct Market Research

Once you get the hang of pinning, it's time to take a look at what happens after you pin something. Are people liking it or repinning it? Are you getting new followers? Take a look at the profiles of anyone who interacts with your pins to see who they are, what they do, and what other interests they may have. This is a great way to tailor the content you pin going forward.

5. Create a Space for Collaboration

Pinterest can also be a group activity. You can designate boards that are collaboration spaces and add contributors for group pinning and discussions. This is the perfect way to bring your team together to brainstorm, share ideas and learn from each other.

6. Expand Your Website

Your activity on Pinterest doesn't have to be self-contained. You can use Pinterest to build on other online marketing activities you're doing in your business. One idea is to create visual versions of the static content you already have on your company website. You can create an About Us board, testimonials, and even document the history of your business in photos.

7. Highlight Clients, Colleagues and Others

Although your goal may be to promote your own business and drive traffic to your website or blog, you should also consider creating boards that highlight great images, content and information from others.

One way to do this is by creating a board that features your own clients or customers. You can also create general boards that appeal to your target audience and pin a variety of images from a number of different resources. A great example is this board that includes pins linked to various marketing advice.

For more general tips on using social media in your small business, read Tips for Getting Started with Social Media and What Not to Do When Using Social Media for Business.