One of the most talked about networks lately has been Pinterest. In a nutshell, Pinterest allows users to create an online vision board that they can post images from websites to. Why should businesses care about Pinterest? Simply because Pinterest is growing at a fast rate, going from 11.7 million visitors in January to 17.8 million visitors in February according to Business Insider and comScore. It also has the potential to drive more traffic to your website than Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube according to a study by Shareaholic. If you want to capitalize on exposure and traffic from social media’s newest network sensation, here’s what you should do.

Use Great Images

Images are the heart of Pinterest – no one is going to pin a page from your website if you don’t have an image on it. Therefore, if you want to be pinned, make sure every page on your website (including your blog posts) have a great image. Some great ways to get images include:

  • Using Flickr Advanced Search and searching for photos with a Creative Commons Attribution. This means you can use the photo on your website in exchange for crediting the photographer.
  • Searching for Creative Commons images on Wikimedia Commons.

  • Creating screenshots using free programs like Jing.
  • Searching for related infographics and adding them to your content.

As an example of the last point, here is an infographic designed by Column Five Media and published by Intuit about whether your business should be on Pinterest.

Click on the above image to see it in full resolution.

Add the Pin It Button to Your Website

Want to give a friendly nudge next to your content? Add the Pinterest Pin It Button for Web Sites (about halfway down the page). This will remind Pinterest users to pin your image and make it extra convenient for them to do so on browsers that they haven’t installed the bookmarklet on.

Join Pinterest

If you want to take your Pinterest experience further, you can go beyond waiting for others to pin your images and pin them yourself on your own account. While Pinterest does discourage self-promotion by saying it is against Pinterest etiquette, they don’t prohibit people pinning their own content. I wouldn’t suggest going the Mashable route and pinning nothing but your own content (although it does work for them), but you could do a mix of pinning your own content along with pinning other’s content.

Some good tips about images to pin include the following.

  • Pin images that your target audience would be interested in. Whole Foods is a great example of pinning content that your target audience would love and getting results in the form of 23,000+ followers.
  • Repin images from your target audience. When they look at their images, they will see that you repinned their image.
  • Pin great images from your own website. Maybe you don’t pin everything, but you pin some of your favorite images from pages you want to get extra traffic. If you have a lot of followers, they will see this in their Pinterest image feed when they log in to the network and hopefully repin them to their own boards, adding to the exposure.

Another thing you can do with your own account is thank everyone who pins your images. You can do this by going to http://pinterest.com/source/domain.com/ and replacing domain.com with your website. This will show you everyone who has pinned an image from your website.

By doing these three things, you should start seeing some traffic boosts and other great results for your website from the Pinterest network!

Ps. If you aren’t interesting in allowing people to pin images of yours onto Pinterest, you can install a no pin code to prevent people from sharing your images on Pinterest due to copyright or other reasons. For the most part though, I wouldn’t suggest it!

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