Over the past few months, you may heard some buzz about a brand new social network called Pinterest. Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that allows users to visually share and discover new interests by posting, or “pinning” as they call it, images or videos to their own or other’s pinboards.
Users can then either upload images from their computer or pin things they find on the web using the Pinterest “Pin It button”, or just a URL.
As with any hot new social network that comes onto the scene, some are touting Pinterest as the “new Facebook.” It is not only rapidly growing in popularity among people who want to share the latest hot stuff, but also for businesses who want to drive high-volume traffic to their web site to increase sales and to gain brand recognition.
So, if you haven’t started using Pinterest yet for your business, let’s look at how you can create a Pinterest account. I will also touch briefly on a few ways you can use Pinterest to market your business.
However, the purpose of today’s article is to help you set up an account in Pinterest. In next Friday’s issue, I will share some specific strategies with you on how to leverage Pinterest to market your business. So, be sure to watch for this upcoming article.
But for now, let’s look at a four-step process you can use to set up a Pinterest account.
Step 1: Create A Pinterest Account
Believe it or not, user access to Pinterest is still by invitation-only. To request an invite, click “Request an Invite.” Enter your email address and Pinterest will then notify you when you have access to create your account.
Unfortunately though, it may take Pinterest up to a couple of weeks before you are approved. So, if you do not want to wait, you can ask a friend who already has a Pinterest account to invite you. This is a much quicker way to gain access than waiting for Pinterest to grant your request.
Just be sure though to register your account with the same email address you use for your business. For example, if you have a Twitter account, be sure that your email address for your business is the same one you use to register for Pinterest so that you can easily share your new pins.
Once your invitation has been approved, I recommend that you sign up through the Twitter option that Pinterest offers and not the Facebook option. This will enable you to tie your Pinterest account to your business Twitter account.
The Facebook option only links to your personal profile, not to any Facebook business page. Currently, Pinterest does not offer a connection to Facebook business pages. So to leverage the power of Pinterest for your business be sure to use the same business email address for both your Twitter and Pinterest accounts.
Once your account is activated, the next step is to set up your Pinterest profile under the “Settings” tab.
Step 2: Create Your Pinterest Profile
Under the “Settings” tab, you will want to choose your company name as your username, add a company description, upload your company logo, and link to your business web site. You will also want to check “Off” to “Hide your Pinterest profile search engines” so that you profile can get indexed.
Once you have completed your profile, the next step is to create a pinboard so you can start to build your following.
Step 3: Create A Pinboard
A pinboard is a set of theme-based pins that you can create on any topic. You can have as many pins on the board as you want, so be creative on how you market your business.
To create a new pinboard, click “Add” on the top toolbar on Pinterest. Then select “Create A Board.” You will then need to type in a board title, choose a category, and then determine whether you only want to post pins to your pinboard or whether you will allow others to pin an image to your pinboard as well. By enabling other users to contribute their own pins to your pinboard, you allow others to become part of your community. This is a great way to involve customers in your marketing.
Now that you have created a pinboard, you can “Add a Pin” or “Upload a Pin” to your pinboard. You can do this manually or one of the easiest ways to do this is to install the “Pin It” button to your web browser.
The “Pin It” button lets you grab an image from any web site and add it to one of your pinboards. When you pin from a web site, Pinterest automatically grabs the source link to credit the original creator. Plus, by adding the “Pin It” button to your product pages or blog posts, it allows your customers or other users to pin your products onto Pinterest. This is great way to increase exposure for your business and to gain brand recognition.
Once your pinboard is complete, the next step is to create your following.
Step 4: Create A Following
Creating a following is always key to increasing exposure for your business. With Pinterest, it is no different. However, Pinterest functions a little differently than how you follow on Twitter or other social network sites. For example, on Pinterest, there are two “follower options” a user can take. A person can follow a specific board of a Pinterest user, or can follow all the boards of a specific user’s account.
When a user is following a specific board you have created, you will be notified when a user pins a new piece of content on your board. But, when following a specific user, you will be notified every time a user pins content to any of the user’s boards. As a result, a Pinterest user’s board may have more followers than what the user does. So, determining how you want to create a following is very important.
To begin with, let your customers know that you have a Pinterest account. This is the quickest and easiest way to build your followers. Tell them where they can find your information and let them know what products you are featuring on a specific pinboard created just for them.
Another way to create a following is to start following users you think would want to follow you back. You simply like and comment on their pins. When they see you interacting with their content, they will want to check out your account and follow you back.
You can also add the “Follow” button to your web site. Pinterest has several image choices you can select from under the “Goodies” page. You simply embed the html code for the specific button you like onto your web site. All of these are ways to create a following.
So, there you have it. A four-step process on how to set up a Pinterest account. In Part 2 of this article, I share several specific strategies on how to leverage Pinterest to market your business.
If you want to learn step-by-step how to create your own social media consulting business, then check out this special Social Media Manager report that Denise and I created.
*Originally published as Issue # 78- March 16, 2012