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If you think Facebook and Twitter are the "end-all be-all" of social media marketing, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to take advantage of the rapidly growing and highly engaged audience found on Pinterest. Some cool stats associated with Pinterest include a total user base of 176 million, 150 million of which are active, with a grand total of 75 billion pins. If your target audience favors a female audience, Pinterest is the place to be, as 85% of their registered users are female. Pretty amazing, huh?

Pinterest is also a great network to be on if you are going after millennials, as they make up 67% of their user base, and 55% of online shoppers in the United States have selected Pinterest as their favorite social media platform. That should give you enough reasons to start taking advantage of this social media channel today, and here is how you can improve your reach and visibility using Pinterest:

Choose The Right Images

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Pinterest is, of course, a visual-based social media platform, meaning images reign supreme and you need to choose the right images in order to attract the maximum level of engagement. Social Media Examiner provides some great tips on choosing the right images, including:

  • Capitalize On Image Height - Being vertical pins, or pins that are tall in nature, perform better on Pinterest, you should take advantage of image dimensions from 2:3 and 1.3:5, with the minimum recommended width being 600 pixels.
  • Use Light Images - Images that are dark in nature are not going to pop and grab your eye, and thus will not perform well on Pinterest, or really any social media platform. Social Media Examiner recommends in addition to using light-colored images, to use strongly contrasting colors to draw the attention of the eye.
  • Include Text Overlay On Your Images - As with any social media platform, when you are including images, remember people are simply scrolling through their feeds and will stop when something catches their eye. A good way to accomplish this is to include text overlay on your images, meaning adding text directly on top of the image. A good example from ESPN is shown to the right.

Create Multiple Boards

If you are pinning everything into a single board, not only will it make it extremely difficult for you to find what you have pinned, but your followers will share the same experience. The reasoning behind creating multiple boards is to enable your company to appeal to multiple facets of your audience who may not all be interested in the same kind of content. How you choose to organize your boards is completely up to you and what interests your target audience has.

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Pinterest suggests setting your boards up like window displays. You want content that is going to keep people coming back time and time again. While people do use Pinterest for online shopping, they also use it to discover and do things that interest them. For example, instead of only showing off a product you may have, show them what they can actually do with that product in your pins. In the video below, Pinterest provides the example of showing people using hiking boots the company sells for, well, real life hiking. That will in turn inspire customers into actually wanting to purchase your product for the application you've shown it being used for.

Don't Use Pinterest Just To Sell

Potential and current customers are not going to keep coming back to your profile time and time again if you are only using it as an avenue to sell your products and services. Think about it like a television channel. If all they did was run commercials non-stop, you would quickly move onto another channel that is showing content you're actually interested in. So the same thing applies to Pinterest, where you want to balance selling versus serving complementary content that is of interest to your target audience.

Whole Foods has done this particularly well by becoming a go-to source for food tips and tricks. All of their content centers around food, which you can of course purchase at Whole Foods, but by providing various recipes, entertaining ideas, healthy tips, and so on, they are providing their followers with content that will keep them coming back to their profile on a routine basis, while at the same time promoting the Whole Foods brand, making it a win-win scenario for everyone involved.

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Install Pinterest Plugins On Your Website

You want to make it very easy for potential and current customers visiting your website to pin content from your website onto their Pinterest account and you do that by installing plugins. This is accomplished by taking advantage of "Pin It" buttons, so when someone clicks on the button (example shown below), a new window will appear allowing them to create the pin and post it to Pinterest. Here is how you can go ahead and create this button: https://developers.pinterest.com/tools/widget-builder/?.

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Additional Pinterest buttons are available as well, including a "Follow" button (encouraging potential and current customers to follow you on Pinterest), a "Board" button (allowing you to display thumbnails of your latest pins on your website), and a "Profile" button (allowing you to show your profile on your website and some of your recent pins).

Run Contests

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Pinterest contests have been becoming increasingly popular, as they present companies with the perfect opportunity to increase engagement and drive sales at the same time. However, before you start planning your Pinterest contest, make sure you pay a visit to their Brand Guidelines to ensure what you are planning is permissible by Pinterest. According to Maximize Social Business, Pinterest does not allow sweepstakes or voting, and your contest needs to have an original and unique name, but you can ask your followers to use a hashtag, ask for repins, and ask followers to create boards. The general idea behind a Pinterest contest is to encourage sharing, which very easily leads to new customers.

Robbins Brothers run a successful Pinterest contest where you had to follow them on Pinterest, create a board, upload original pins that inspired your love for marriage proposals using the hashtags they supplied, then send them the link to the board. Not only is this a highly interactive contest that excites your followers, but it creates the perfect environment for the contest to go viral and bring in new business.