Pinterest is really popping.  It has quickly become one of the fastest growing social networks.  According to a recent Pew study, 15% of American internet users are on now Pinterest—just barely trailing Twitter at 16%.  Pinterest recently launched pages for business—allowing commercial use of the network.  With its aim to “connect everyone in the world through the things they find interesting,” it could be a great addition to your content and social media marketing.

If you have not caught on to the Pinterest craze, here is the lowdown on the visual social network; it allows you to create and manage themed photo and video collections and share them with your friends and other connections.  Although Pinterest is more popular among women than men, it attracts a diverse age demographic.  Pinterest offers users all the standard social networking options, including following the “pin boards” of friends, “liking” and commenting on images others “pin,” “re-pinning” content to their own collections or “pin boards,” and the sharing of photo and video content through Facebook, Twitter and email.  Pinterest could become a powerful channel for your content marketing, especially if your website features high-quality video content and infographics.

Pinterest is a visual social network, so successful marketing on the site must be visual too.  If you sell products, experiment with creative ways to showcase them visually on Pinterest.  If you are a B2B service company, a focus on infographics and video content is the way to go.  Effective content curation entails collecting and sharing high-quality content, which will appeal to your target market.  You should be social and refrain from only sharing or “pinning” your own original content.

Optimizing Your Business Page

You need a highly relevant username.  Usernames appear in the URL of Pinterest profiles.  Use your business name or something very similar so that it will be easier for prospects to find you on Pinterest.  An excellent brand page is the key to attracting a following and developing your unique Pinterest brand.  Display a profile image showcasing your logo or company name.  The photo should be of something that your internet-wide audience already associates with you.

Board covers can make your pin boards more visually appealing.  Select attractive pins for your boards, and then set the best ones as your board covers.  You can also rearrange your boards to ensure that your most important ones are cast in the spotlight.  Adding categories to your boards will boost the reach of your pins—getting them displayed in the “Categories” section of Pinterest.  Even users who do not follow you can come across your pins, when browsing categories.  Adding keywords to the “About” section of your business page greatly amplifies your visibility.  If you create a robust and highly followed business page, it could be included in the top search results for your keywords.  Employ SEO to grow your Pinterest following faster.

“Pinterizing” Your Website

Just “pinning,” “re-pinning,” “liking,” and commenting on images on Pinterest will not advance your business…Optimize your website for Pinterest to encourage your visitors to actively share your content with their followers—thereby boosting your website traffic.  Webpages with embedded share buttons are much more likely to get shared; adding the “Pin it” button to your website will encourage visitors to share your visual content on Pinterest.  Consider adding the button to your blog posts and relevant landing pages.  The follow button is another great option—making it quick and easy for website visitors to find and follow you on Pinterest.

Getting the best results from your inbound marketing requires relevant, information-rich and high-impact content marketing.  Add Pinterest to the mix.  The visual social network is an innovative avenue for attracting a wider captive audience, enhancing SEO and ultimately boosting lead generation.  The key to success on Pinterest is creating inventive and entertaining themes for your “pin boards.”  Get creative, and start “pinning.”

If you are still on the fence about Pinterest, this infographic created by Fast Company Design Editor, Cliff Kuang, should sway you: