Pinterest is useful for so many things –finding fitness motivation, perusing the latest trends, choosing your next travel destination; in short, it’s a consumer and dreamer’s paradise. But can it also be a business owner’s paradise?

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By knowing how to navigate the boards and pins, you can create a new foundation of followers that can be just as interactive with your brand as your fans on Facebook or followers on Instagram. The power is in the picture – here are 8 ways to utilize it.

Hashtag It

Just like other social media platforms, #hashtagging has taken over as the prime form of communication that links (literally) your brand to your followers. Import your go-tos from Instagram and Twitter, but keep it fresh with new hashes that pertain to your new graphics – those beloved pins.

Cross Promotion

Cross promoting on all of your platforms is essential, and Pinterest makes it easy. Connect your platforms by utilizing the same hashtags, but also create incentives for followers by joining all of your fan bases; whether its daily fashion tips that are exclusive to Pinterest, or getting Pinterest contest invites via e-mail only, there are always ways to inspire your loyal followers to join the Pin-side.

Employ Local Optimization

Although Pinterest doesn’t have a regulated location field, adding your whereabouts is a one-step way to validate your existence and confirm that your followers have found you. Then, verify your website through Pinterest’s analytics tool. A location and verification checkmark attached to your profile make all the difference; let pinners know you are a real business and not a spammer. Then further your local love by using Place Pins and allow your followers to pin pictures to their own map board! Now your business is a place your followers can pin down in more ways than one.

Email Pins

Send Pins as you would share content to fans and affiliates in your industry. You can send to people you mutually follow, Facebook friends, and through e-mail – it’s like creating a content blast via three huge mediums to your nearest and dearest. Sending pins employs ultimate outreach for your latest images, like Instagram Direct.

Update Privacy Settings

Your Pinterest profile is public, so everyone can see what you’re pinning. However, make sure to opt out of the automatically set search privacy, which stops your profile from showing up on search engines. Let your pins be found!

Rich Pins

The new feature, rich pins, was added just for optimizing engagement. The kinds of Rich Pins available are product pins, recipe pins, and movie pins. These pins include extra information located directly inside the pin to make them more useful – think pricing, availability, and where to buy for e-commerce, ingredients and cook time for recipes, and ratings and release dates for movies. Rich pins make sifting through pins easier for users; product information can draw them to your pins, maximizing clickability and sharing, and increasing purchase power.

Exclusive Content

Create secret boards for that exclusivity factor. Every customer wants to feel special – just like posting behind-the-scenes content on Instagram and Facebook, starting secret boards for contests, sweepstakes, and pin-athons builds relationships with your customers by exposing them to the inner circle of your brand.

Specific Categories

On that note, make less exclusive group boards with specific categories for pin-on-pin interaction, but also for organization and straightforward searching. Making a Spring 2014 Fashion Week group board and inviting fashionistas, both fans and designers, to pin to your board (under the Women’s Fashion category, of course) inspires creativity, sharing, and e-commerce, while building relationships. Also consider attaching your pins to the Gifts section by including the price tag for ultimate buyer options. What more do you want from a social media platform?

Pinterest is a new world of posting and sharing content, liking, and hashtagging, but with its own unique mode of engagement. All you have to do is wrangle the platform’s sharing features, validate your brand as you would any other, and pin away.

How will you get your fans and followers to join your pinning party? Comment below or Tweet us!