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7 marketing opportunities on Pinterest

7 marketing opportunities on Pinterest Rosa Terrazas

Is your brand Pinteresting enough? In the marketing sphere, it seems everyone is taking an interest in Pinterest. And so it goes, if you're not pinning, then you're not branding. With Pinterest garnering 11.7 million monthly uniques in January according to ComScore, this social media outlet is clearly here to stay -- which is why marketers must understand how to leverage it for their brand.

The idea with Pinterest isn't simply to promote your brand; it's to be an outstanding citizen in the midst of your customer community by contributing quality pins. And like any other social media platform, you must earn their trust through this process. But before we get into the details of how to do this, you first need to dip your toe into the Pinterest waters.

To get started, just head to Pinterest and create an account for your brand. When you set off for your exploration, you should become familiar with the tenants of the Pinterest community -- the most important guideline to note is to avoid self-promotion, which a brand can easily dodge with a thoughtful Pinterest strategy.

Immediately after logging in, Pinterest will ask you for your interests so it can suggest people for you to follow. Following others allows you to view the pins generated by these users, which gives you the opportunity to "re-pin" their artfully curated content.

When selecting those to follow, make sure they align with your brand and pay special attention to photographers and tastemakers, as they frequently pin sticky content. Pinning quality content will drive more users to your profile and boards, therefore providing you with an opportunity to engage potential customers. Check out this list of influential Pinners as identified by our friends over at The Next Web to get started.

Now that you're up to speed, it's time to start the conversation! Here are seven great tips for creating and maintaining a winning, pinning brand.

Drive engagement with boards

Now that you're feeling comfortable on the platform, it's time to create a board so you can organize your pins. When creating boards, think of categories that align with your brand. For example, West Elm, a home d├ęcor retailer, established boards that directly relate to its products, such as Urban Backyard + Outdoor Spaces and Morocco + Moroccan Style.

Remember to get creative when naming your boards by thinking about your brand holistically. West Elm mastered this with its Modernist and Naturalist boards. These titles invoke the lifestyle of the users of its products. West Elm can keep with the Pinterest spirit by adding pins from its followers that relate to these aspirational categories as well as its product images that correlate.

Turn customers into evangelists

Pinterest provides your brand another important touch point with customers. Use this opportunity to turn your passionate customers into evangelists by inviting them to contribute to your boards.

Start off by looking up your brand name in the Pinterest search to identify who is pinning and re-pinning your product images. Identify the users who are pinning your content the most and check out their boards. If you like what you see, get in touch with them and find out if they have tried your products. If you hit it off, ask them to contribute to your board. Be sure to provide these users an excellent customer experience and compensate them for their efforts by offering product, discounts or payment. Before you know it, you'll have a win-win situation where your contributors are evangelizing you to their offline communities and you are benefiting from their expert eye by growing your online Pinterest community. Learn how to add contributors to your board in the Pinterest Getting Started page.

Help customers help you

Make it easy for consumers to contribute your product images to Pinterest by adding the "Pin it" button to your content. Liz Stanley, author of the lifestyle blog Say Yes to Hoboken has seamlessly integrated the button into her posts that feature images. Since October, Liz has seen the traffic to her blog increase up to 20 percent from Pinterest referral traffic. Take advantage of this audience driver by implementing the button to your website images. The more Pinterest users are pinning your content, the more exposure you'll have to potential customers, and the more you're contributing to the Pinterest community.

Make it beautiful and they will come

Another sure-fire way to ensure re-pinning of your content is to produce beautiful pins and boards. The purpose of Pinterest is to create collections of your interest. For marketers, this translates as a curated collection of images that are beautiful and inspiring which, ultimately, bring us joy.

Inspire your potential customers to share your product images by investing in art direction and high quality photography. Kate Spade is a great example of a brand that consistently generates gorgeous images of its products and, coupled with its active pinning, have generated a 30K+ following.

Drive purchase intent

This is another area where Pinterest makes it easy for you to convert Pinterest clicks into dollars by utilizing their Gift section. In Gifts, users can filter by price and click into a pin to review product details. Once there users click on the image, they are directed to your online store to make the purchase. To take advantage of this feature, simply add a pin with a price and it's automatically listed in the Gifts section.

Leverage social networks

If you follow all the steps above then you are a savvy pinner with great content, but the way to launch your Pinterest influence to the next level is to share your pins with your social networks.

Pinterest gives you the ability to share pins with your social media followers. Simply connect your brand's Facebook and Twitter accounts to your Pinterest profile via the settings area and each time you pin an item you can choose to share it with your networks.

We know that if you're interested in using Pinterest for your brand then you probably have worked hard to grow a sizable Facebook and Twitter following. Provide these audiences a more engaging and visually exciting experience on these platforms by sharing your pins. You'll be surprised at how many of your fans are already pinning masters and who are thrilled that you've joined the pinning party.

Pin to win

Now that you've mastered the Pinterest basics, it's time to engage your target audience by running a contest on Pinterest to publicize a milestone such as a product launch or sale.

Microsoft's Windows Pin it to Win it sweepstakes does just that by inviting the Pinterest community to re-pin images of its colorful mice collection and place them in a board inspired by this hardware collection. Pinners simply post their completed board as a comment and one lucky participant will win a Microsoft prize package. In no time, Microsoft will have scores of Pinterest boards inspired by its artfully designed mice collection surfacing on Pinterest as well as Facebook and Twitter.

Now that you have these seven Pinterest marketing methods in your customer engagement toolkit, you're ready to become a Pinteresting brand (no, the puns won't stop!) Your brand will soon be a visually enchanting medium for regular customers and new ones, without having to think up a 140-character branding blurb. So sit back and enjoy an increase of traffic from Pinterest and the peace of mind knowing that your brand is blazing a trail with this innovative social media darling.

Rosa Terrazas is a director of publishers and communities at Federated Media Publishing.

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"The pins of various colors" image and "Abstract bright textile" image via Shutterstock.

Rosa Terrazas is a Director of Publishers & Communities at Federated Media Publishing, where social media is her game and she knows how to play. At FMP Rosa has focused on audience development for FMP's owned and operated properties, DailyBuzz...

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