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10 Pinterest Pointers For Businesses

Pinterest is gaining interest and users. We recommend 10 tips for making effective and purposeful use of the platform.
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It's one thing to know that Pinterest is hot. It's another to know how your business can conduct some of that heat. You have probably heard about Pinterest's rapid growth in registered users and its success as a referral engine. And you may know that Pinterest is like Facebook and Twitter in many ways, but that it has some big differences. In this slideshow, The BrainYard provides 10 tips for understanding, getting started with, and using Pinterest over time.

Pinterest is a kind of visual bulletin--or inspiration--board. Users create boards with categories like "Books I Love" or "Beautiful Places" or "Products That Save Me Time," and can then link or upload images and "pin" the images to the boards. Users can follow other users, and Pinterest images can be repinned and shared.

Pinterest, which was launched in March 2010 and has more than 10 million registered users, recently emerged as one of the top 10 websites in the Experian Hitwise Social Networking & Forums category. The site received more than 11 million total visits during the week ending Dec. 17, 2011--almost 40 times the number of visits six months prior. According to the Experian Marketing Services blog, Pinterest users skew female and young. Fifty-eight percent of users are women, and 59% are between the ages of 25 and 44. Compete.com found that the number of unique visitors to Pinterest grew 84% from May 2011 to January 2012, and 50% from just October to November 2011.

Pinterest is also showing its chops as a referral engine. Lifestyle magazine Real Simple has noted, for example, that Pinterest now drives more traffic to its website than Facebook does.

Brands like Real Simple make sense on Pinterest. Indeed, Pinterest users' boards overwhelmingly focus on food, fashion, home decor, and hobbies--things that are visual and usually visually appealing. But even companies that, say, make widgets or host cloud-based services can leverage Pinterest. Data, for example, can be visualized in many ways and showcased on Pinterest.

That's not to say that every company should jump on Pinterest just because. As with any social network--or any technology, for that matter--you have to establish why your organization is using it, what your goals are and how performance will be measured.

In the following slideshow, The BrainYard offers some recommendations and advice for using Pinterest effectively. We also welcome your Pinterest stories. Please let us know how your organization is using Pinterest (or why it has decided not to) and what you have learned along the way. Contact Deb Donston-Miller at debra.donstonmiller@gmail.com.

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