With Pinterest now ranked among the top five social networking sites, it's getting harder and harder to ignore for your business.
Think old-school cork board gone digital, Pinterest is a place where users "pin" visual images, including infographics, onto virtual pin boards to highlight their products, interests and expertise.
It's quickly becoming a go-to place to do business and worthy of paying attention to even if you're not necessarily in a highly visual business, say experts.
"I think businesses, if they don't come on board, are missing the boat," says Hilary Topper of Melville-based HJMT Public Relations Inc. and president of the Social Media Association, a networking and educational organization. "It's a way to connect and engage with your community."
As of June, Pinterest had 20.5 million unique monthly visitors, according to Internet analytics firm comScore. For companies that sell products it's a natural venue to showcase your goods via compelling imagery, says Topper. And for companies that don't sell products, it can also be a place to showcase your team, clients or expertise.
"As a business blogger, you want to make sure you have a 'Pin It' button on your blog," suggests Denise Wakeman of DeniseWakeman.com, a Los Angeles-based online visibility expert and business blogging consultant, who is on Pinterest.
To get the "Pin It" button, move your mouse over the "About" header on the upper right-hand side of your Pinterest page and click Pin It Button from the drop-down menu. It will give you options to add the link to your Bookmarks bar and your website/blog, she explains.
Make it easy for followers to pin your images/content. Keep in mind that not only can you pin images, but also videos and PowerPoint presentations via SlideShare.net, says Wakeman. See what's engaging your followers by monitoring analytics tools such as Pinerly.com.
Pin compelling images. "The key is to pin as compelling an image as possible," she notes, adding businesses should be on Pinterest if their customers/prospects are there.
Engage. Create boards that focus on business, but also your interests, says Topper.
"Don't just broadcast on Pinterest, but engage," suggests Kelby Carr, author of Pinterest for Dummies (Wiley; $16.99) and publisher of Type-A-Parent, a social network and blog for digital moms and dads.
Interact. Like Twitter, you can click follow and follow people back.
Share content from other sites, not just your own, she advises, adding you should repin and like other users' pins, and comment on them.
"Social media is about interaction, not pushing out your marketing message," says Carr, of Asheville, N.C.
Alison Gilbert, a Rockville Centre-based social marketing consultant and graphic designer, says she frequently will repin other people's images and make comments on their pins.
"I think it's a very important part of engagement," says Gilbert, who has two Pinterest accounts: one tied to her social marketing and graphic design business (pinterest.com/alisonsart) and one to showcase socially-conscious causes, (pinterest.com/ecojournalist).
Source: comScore, Shop.org, The Partnering Group