If you think Pinterest is nothing more than just eye candy, well, think again. A lot of people underestimate the power of Pinterest and so they think it won’t be of much help to their business.

Let’s check out the stats:

Pinterest has over 500,000 business accounts. With over 70 million users worldwide (as of July 2013), Pinterest even surpasses the traffic of LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube combined. While 90% of US online specialty retailers use Pinterest, its international traffic grew 125% in 2013.
Now, if you’re still not that convinced, then you could probably question why Nordstrom has their own Pinterest account, having the largest following at 4.4 million.

Again, why should you use Pinterest for your business?

Simply because you might just be unlocking opportunities in your business you’d never thought possible with a social media platform as overlooked as Pinterest.

If you’re considering creating a Pinterest account for your business, there are several things to keep in mind to make sure you’re leveraging this platform to its maximum potential.

    • Consistency is key. Just like any other social media platform, the more often you use it, the more it generates attention and traffic.
    • Content is king. Again, content is the soul food of any social media platform. With great content, you’re more likely to get more engagement that consequently drives more traffic to your site.
    • Create your own visual content. Use great images for your blog. Variety is also a plus. Don’t just pin photos all the time. Pin some text, videos, or infographics from time to time. No tinge of creative artistry in your blood? Not a problem. There are tons of DIY image creation tools you can use that will help you become the modern day Da Vinci. Tools like Picmonkey, Canva, Pixlr, and WordSwag will do the magic for you.
    • Watermark original content. Add a watermark of your site name on the image so even if your content is re-pinned multiples of times, you still continue promoting your site.
    • Less is more. When designing a text image for instance, play around with the fonts and the colors. But make sure it’s not too overwhelming to the eyes. Always remember to keep everything simple and clear.
    • Create info graphics. An infographic is a graphic visual image used to represent data, information or knowledge. As they say, “a good infographic is worth a thousand words.” Additionally, remember that 80% of pins are repins. Repins refer to pinning things that have already been pinned in Pinterest boards. So just imagine how one great infographic, or any great original content for that matter, can go viral and spread like wildfire.
    • Add a Pin-it button to your site. And while you’re at it, also include the Follow Me button and the Pin It BookMarklet button. Pinterest’s business section has a breakdown of how to add these widgets.
    • Integrate your account with other social media platforms that you’re using. Link Pinterest to Facebook since Pinterest posts can now be featured in a Facebook album. This way, you’re hitting two birds with one stone as you’re able to post content in both platforms simultaneously. A lot of businesses have also found it very helpful to link their Pinterest account to Twitter.
    • Cook up a contest. Contests are so popular on Pinterest. Think out of the box when it comes to designing your own contest mechanics; for instance, asking people to re-pin images from your site or re-pin an x number of images using a specific #hashtag. Be creative with your prizes as well. Check out other brands that are holding contests to get more and better ideas.
    • Keep your target market in mind. Learn the behavior of your target market in terms of what inspires them or what drives them or what their problems are. Then you would know what kind of content you should be creating for your market. Search for ideal clients under Keywords and Categories on the Pinterest dashboard. Ultimately, your goal is to be able to inspire them, drive them, and provide solutions to their concerns.
    • It’s not a one-way street. You can’t just expect people to follow you without any engagement. Building relationships is critical so interaction is a must. Follow other users and boards. Comment or like pins. Engage in conversations. It’s not called social media for nothing. So build that relationship!
    • Get rich. Pinterest has this “rich pin” feature that allows you to include additional relevant information and topic-specific details to your pin. Currently, there are five types of rich pins available, namely: Recipe, Article, Movie, Place, and Product. So for instance if you’re applying for Product pins, you may now add details like availability, real-time pricing, and buying information.
    • Pin tutorials. Pins about tutorials, guides, and DIY have a 42% higher click through rate. And what better way to become an authority by teaching your clients.

Pinterest may or may not work for your business. But if you haven’t tried it yet, then it would be worth it to test the waters. Do you have any tips for freelancers looking to leverage Pinterest to promote their business?