pinOnline marketing has become more sophisticated over the years, and rightly so as more and more people become clued up on social media, and become immune to the barrage of advertising that now accompanies their daily feed on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.

The rapid rise in popularity of Pinterest has enabled everyone from every walk of life to curate content from the web that suits their particular interests, hobbies and passions – there is just about every topic you can think of to be found there, from pompoms to pygmy goats!

But how can a business possibly use Pinterest to promote their company? Is it worth investing precious time and effort to build a profile that may have been better spent elsewhere?

You have to view any social networking platform as just that – ‘a social network’, and this one offers another way for online marketers to increase the potency of their business website traffic. The whole idea of Pinterest is to highlight the very best content from any website – and that includes your company website. Having an attractive Pinterest presence can be an added benefit to any business that promotes online, although how one company uses it may vary from another.

The reason why people have become so addicted to Pinterest is because it is a very visual platform to work with. Being very user-friendly, a simple click of a button makes it easy to share a great blog post or website feature, and to save it to a pin-board so it can be revisited and shared again later. You could say that Pinterest is like an online scrapbook where people collect beautiful ideas, inspiring posts, wish-lists, favourite things, and useful well-curated content. It really should be viewed as an online marketers dream!

Can anyone use Pinterest?

If you produce quality articles full of useful legal advice, have crafted a beautiful piece of artwork, provide a service that is both unique and trustworthy, create desirable products, bake the best cheesecakes, or sell the best cars – just about anything that has an end market, you can find your niche on Pinterest.

Once you make a start you can build a highly-motivated audience by letting your ‘pins’ do the work. Users are very adept at finding new niches that you may not have thought about by the simple act of ‘repins’. Essentially, repins are where users reuse your content in a similar way that people will re-tweet a post on Twitter, or re-blog your blog post, or share a Facebook post to their followers or friends. Your content will then be added to that person’s pin-board of their own where it can be re-visited over again and easily discovered by others.

Depending on how you want to use Pinterest to promote your business, you may want consider some of the following uses:

Blogging: While Pinterest is typically focused on images, bloggers have been successful by starting boards to write about their favourite topics. However, these posts will need good visual images to link through, so it would be worth attaching some quality photographs to your posts.

If your business has a blog attached to your website, then it would be worth looking for other bloggers boards that compliment your own, and possibly ask them to share a related board. Board sharing is a great way to have others contributing to your board and supplying fresh content for your followers without having to do all the blogging yourself. For example, a car sales company could connect with a business that produce or sell eco-friendly car care products, or a wedding planning company could link up with a professional photographer and a bridal gown designer.

With Pinterest you get the chance to write your own headline, and here is a great chance to hook curious minds to your post by being as creative as you possibly can with what you write. You could pose an intriguing question, or offer the promise of a solution to a puzzling problem people often experience in your particular niche.

Product sales: If you are a seller of multiple products, then it can be quite easy to put all your products into obvious categories and use Pinterest as an online catalogue to show off your wares. This is a great strategy for visual products such as fashion or food. A whole pin-board featuring beautiful shoes or handbags will be sure to get customers drooling over your products. This is the same for caterers or specialist cake bakers who want to show off their creative talents. Once you have catalogued your inventory you can then focus on new arrivals, seasonal sales and special offers.

But what if you offer a service that is not so photogenic?

Is there a place on Pinterest for firms of solicitors, financial services, security service providers, sanitation and cleaning companies, or even pest control experts? The answer to this is of course there is, but you may have to take a slightly different approach.

Remember that you can create boards on all sorts of different themes, so why not use Pinterest to engage users to participate by running competitions to enter to win prizes or reduced price services etc. For example hold a photographic contest – cutest dog, ugliest vegetable etc., send in a favourite family recipe for fruit cake, strangest place to have used a mop….. (The mind boggles).

No matter how you engage your followers and interact with them, the more likely that they will be to spread the word about your latest quirky competition, which will encourage new followers that may become intrigued with your business.

Show and tell

Let your followers see you! Introduce members of staff, highlight milestones, awards won, charity events run, fancy-dress sponsored days, celebrate birthdays, photograph quirky or fun things around your office or business premises, funny signs, messages on coffee mugs etc. You could have a company mascot such as a soft toy or a gnome, and have lots of fun playing hide and seek with it, or photographing it in an odd place each week.

No matter how you approach using Pinterest with your business, remember not to let it overwhelm you. Choose a few select items each day to pin about rather than become swamped in whole categories. If you present your pins well, people with click and buy!