10 Ways To Get Noticed On Pinterest

More companies are trying Pinterest, but not all are successful. Here's how to make your mark.

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Increasing numbers of individuals and organizations are trying out Pinterest, but not all of them are doing a good job of it.

I spoke with Daniel Maloney, CEO and co-founder of Pinterest marketing and analytics firm PinLeague, about the ways that companies are -- and are not -- effectively leveraging the visually oriented social platform. Here are 10 tips for getting noticed on Pinterest, from simple tips and tricks to more advanced strategies.

1. Experiment.

Maloney said it is early days for Pinterest, adding that it is still a couple of years away from mainstream adoption. However, he said, an increasing number of businesses are establishing a presence on the social network and are at least experimenting with what works for their brand.

[ What are Pinterest's business possibilities? Read Pinterest's New Analytics: What Business Gains. ]

Although we are seeing some general best practices for Pinterest, because it is relatively new there is still a lot we don't know. Companies should try new kinds of content and new methods of engagement, carefully observing and tracking what gets traction and what tends to die on the vine.

2. Go Bold.

Pinterest is all about visuals, and the use of richer, brighter colors will make your pins stand out from among the hundreds they will be competing with.

3. Consider Image Orientation.

Pinterest is oriented vertically, so it's best to make sure your images are, too. Maloney said he has seen some organizations experimenting with the use of images that are taller than normal, so that they will take up more real estate on the site. He cautions users, however, to make sure that the Pin It button is always easily visible (and hence clickable).

4. Don't Neglect Cover Photos.

When it comes to profiles, whether for individuals or brands, the cover photo is important, said Maloney. Eye-tracking studies have shown that "when people hit your profile, their eyes are immediately drawn to color photos on the first row," he said. "That will entice someone to click and engage more deeply."5. Put A Pin It Button On Your Website.

Maloney said 80% of the value from Pinterest comes not from anything brands have done on Pinterest but what they have done off Pinterest to engage their community. "The biggest thing is to have the Pin It button on your website," he said. "You are already getting the traffic; you might as well convert some. It's the single biggest thing any brand can do to get noticed on Pinterest."

6. Cross Promote.

In addition to including a Pin It button on your website, it is important to promote your Pinterest content on other social networks, including Facebook and Twitter. For example, said Maloney, Jeep successfully jump-started its Pinterest presence by sharing photos from the site on Facebook. The photos went viral on Facebook and at the same time pushed people to Jeep on Pinterest. "Think about Pinterest as where you can organize and share interesting content, and then think of Facebook and Twitter as potential platforms on which you can broadcast that content," said Maloney.

7. Know Your Users.

It's important to know who is engaging with your brand on Pinterest -- it might not be who you think, and the kind of user engaging with your brand on Pinterest might not be the same kind of person who is engaging on Facebook or Twitter. Once you know who is engaging with your brand on Pinterest, make sure that you are engaging with them authentically. In other words, give the people what they want. "Organizations need to understand what audience they are connecting with and what is resonating," said Maloney. "For example, maybe animated infographics do better than live photography."

8. Tap into People's Passions.

One of the reasons Jeep has done well with its social campaigns is that people are passionate about their Jeeps and love to share photos of their souped-up or mud-caked vehicles. Jeep successfully tapped into that passion, said Maloney. Organizations should likewise think about what customers most connect with and want to connect with -- and honor that with relevant content. This might be a product, but it also might be a cause, an area of interest, a holiday, and so on.

9. Don't Create. Curate.

The content we have been discussing here can come from organizations themselves, but it can also be curated from other sources. For example, a food company might ask people to share recipes using its products. In this way, all organizations -- not just the ones with content development budgets -- can make effective use of Pinterest. "Not having a content creation budget doesn't mean you shouldn't be on Pinterest," said Maloney.

10. Reward Brand Ambassadors.

People who talk positively about your brand and pin and repin your content are your organization's best friends. Taking note of this kind of activity, and rewarding it somehow, will almost certainly foster more.What is your brand doing on Pinterest? Share your expertise and thought leadership in the comments section below.

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.

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