Online photo sharing platform, Pinterest, is growing rapidly and now boasts a whopping 70 million users. It does, however, often get overlooked when it comes to most brands’ social media strategies.

When it comes to driving traffic and building a fan base, the usual networks that brands tend to turn to are Twitter, Facebook and usually Google Plus too. Pinterest however, can actually be a brilliant place to generate referral traffic from and is a great platform on which brands can build up a loyal fan base.

Pinterest-Marketing-Strategy-1 How to Make Pinterest a Key Part of Your Social Media Strategy

We’ve already heard how big visual content is becoming, with research showing that the brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than it does text. With this in mind, it is important to include Pinterest in your social media marketing strategy, and here’s how to get started:

Create a Business Account

The first thing you need to do on Pinterest is to create a page specifically dedicated to your business. This needs to be branded in-line with your website and other social channels so that they all work together to boost your online presence.

Your profile will be the first thing users see when they are on Pinterest, so it is important to make sure your account looks appealing, as they could make their decision on whether to engage with you based on that initial page visit.

Pinterest-Profile How to Make Pinterest a Key Part of Your Social Media Strategy

Optimise Your Site For Social

Pinterest is all about pictures, and most websites have visual content on the majority of their pages. You want to be encouraging users to visit your website from Pinterest and visit your Pinterest profile from your website.

Make sure you have visible social media buttons on all of your landing pages, so if your viewers want to quickly access any of your social media platforms they can do in just the click of a button.

Also add “Pin It” buttons next to any content that can be shared, as this will allow users to pin your pictures onto Pinterest, generating a link back to your site. From this image and link, Pinterest should then generate referral traffic back to your website.

Create Unique Boards

A big part of Pinterest is all about inspiration, not just about selling your own business. Of course you can create boards dedicated to your own products or services, but that doesn’t have to be where it ends.

There are tons of different categories available on Pinterest, so why not choose some others that can tie in to your industry. If you sell insurance, you could create a board of places you would like to go when you have your travel insurance in place, or a board of cars that feature in the lowest bracket for car insurance.

Pinterest-Travel How to Make Pinterest a Key Part of Your Social Media Strategy

Build Relationships With Users

Just like with any social media platform, the key is to build relationships with fans and potential customers. Without this relationship you will not be able to engage with other users and you will find your Pinterest efforts are likely to be unsuccessful.

There are many different ways to build relationships with Pinterest users, the first is to just re-pin their pictures. This will draw their attention to you and make them more likely to visit your profile and check out your different boards.

The other thing to do is to comment on their pictures. This will help generate a level of conversation around a similar interest and help to build up a relationship that can be developed over time.

Use Rich Pins

There are five different types of rich pins that can be used on Pinterest: movie, recipe, article, product and place. The aim of these rich pins is to allow you to add more specific details to each individual pin.

Place pins can be used for travellers, as discussed above, article pins can be used to generate a reading list around a specific topic, product pins provide pricing details, recipe include a list of ingredients, and movie pins include ratings and cast information. The possibilities are endless with this many extra details available.

Pinterest-Recipes How to Make Pinterest a Key Part of Your Social Media Strategy

Develop User Generated Boards

Fans and users love to get involved and they like to know that the brands they have a connection with are interested in what they like and think. The great thing about Pinterest is that you can create public boards so that everyone can contribute to a theme.

Ask your fans to pin their favourite product of yours as part of a competition, or even ask for their opinions on a new redesign. There are lots of different ways to get users involved and it’s a great way to build up relationships with the people who are influential in your industry.

Pinterest also recently launched Place Pins, which allow users to upload a photo and place it on a map, so other people can see where that photo is from. This is a great way to get fans around the world to join in and engage with you. If you have a brand of clothing for example, you could ask fans to pin photos of themselves wearing that item of clothing in different parts of the world.

Optimise Pinterest for SEO

The last thing you need to do is to make sure both your profile and pins are optimised for SEO. Pinterest actually acts as a search engine in its own right, meaning that it has its own algorithm and can tell what a good picture really is.

There are different factors that will affect not only the weight of your picture in Pinterest, but also the ranking the picture is given. Use relevant key words and phrases in your title, file name and description, as these will all have an impact on how your picture is viewed.

Just like with individual pins, make sure you profile is well written and contains the keywords you want to target, connect your Pinterest account to your other social networks and make sure you have a clear link back to your website.