7 marketing opportunities on Pinterest

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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 décor 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.