7 Ways to Use Pinterest in Your Small Business

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Pinterest is a social network that focuses on the power of images. Since it is so different from its social media counterparts, namely Twitter and Facebook, a whole new set of rules and best practices apply when it comes to using it for your small business. Researching how other small business owners are using Pinterest is vital.

Along with research, it's important to have a well-developed marketing plan first.

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, review a marketing plan tutorial for additional assistance.

When you're ready to get started with Pinterest, consider these seven ideas to get inspired and to help you 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 those products. Your photos can feature 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 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 also can 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 also should 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 also can 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 a board that includes pins linked to various pieces of marketing advice.