This article was updated on 9/27/12. This year, Pinterest has become more popular than ever before:

  • 72.8 million visitors users in 2015
  • 47.1 million users Pinterest is estimated to reach in the US in 2015
  • 85% female users
  • 42% of users aged 18-34

Does that sound like an audience you'd like to reach? If you want to tap into the fastest growing social network to date, Pinterest is ready and waiting. The ever-growing and addicted Pinterest fans have taken this virtual bulletin board from a startup to one of the most used social platforms in only two years. If you think Pinterest is only for soccer moms and wedding planners, you're missing out on a largely-untapped audience of consumers. While the middle-aged female demographic largely overwhelms the site's user base, Pinterest's rapid growth pattern indicates that it is far from done attracting new members. Pinterest brought in more than 3 times the traffic of Google Plus, YouTube, Twitter, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn and Reddit combined, according to Shareaholic's Q3 2014 Social Media Traffic report. Now with the addition of Pinterest's Promoted Pins Program, brands who want to experiment with social media advertising can gain more exposure through what looks to be a promising addition to the site. As Pinterest continuously grows, this new venture could be the answer for brands on social media who are looking to generate more sales, and increase visibility. Want to start pinning? Here are 8 simple and essential steps to getting started and becoming successful on Pinterest:

1) Jump on the Bandwagon

As we've established, this is one social media marketing channel that is worth getting involved in. Already have an account? Great! Not signed up yet? Create an account and begin pinning! To incorporate your business, it is a good idea to install the "Pin It" button on your website. Visit the "goodies" page on Pinterest and follow the instructions provided to do so. Create a new board on your account by clicking the "Add +" button in the upper right corner, select "Create a Board" and give your board a name so your followers can identify it. To upload your images to Pinterest, go to your main feed and click the "ADD +" button in the right corner - you can add a pin by pasting the URL of the website you are pulling the image from (or by uploading a photo from your computer). The more you pin, the quicker you will get the hang of it!

2) Create an Engaging Board

One essential trick to succeeding on Pinterest is to create boards that focus on lifestyles, not products. Determine what the real ethos of your company is, and then create a board that projects your company's character. For example, Whole Foods reaches the heart of their consumers' eco-friendly attitudes with a "We're Used to Reusing!" board, while the Travel Channel appeals to followers' sense of adventure with "Daily Escapes." Centering boards around a specific feeling or style (which may or may not happen to include your company's products) will be far more effective than attempting to make one more sales pitch. Once you determine who your target audience is, provide them with engaging content rather than only trying to sell them your brand. Users come to Pinterest to shop for ideas rather than specific commodities. Take the opportunity to personify your company and show its virtue and personality. By creating a community that your followers will want to be a part of, you can then naturally lead them to your content and merchandise.


3) Link your Accounts

Link your Pinterest account to a personal or company Facebook Timeline where your pins will be housed in a Pinterest app. All of your recent pins will appear in one consolidated Pinterest box on your Timeline. This will make it easy for your fans to click from one profile to another, making your company's social accounts in sync with one another.

4) Create Engaging Captions

The success of an individual pin is determined by the level of engagement it receives. A pin will acquire the most engagement if it offers genuine visual interest to its viewers. However, due to the way Pinterest is set up, these images will be seen without any of the context provided on their original pages. A caption that entices readers to view the image will increase its "sharability." Then, once your photo is uploaded or pinned, the web address will automatically appear under the photo as well as a dollar amount in the caption and put a price tag on the image.

Pinterest caption

5)Give your Content a Pinterest Background Check

Established brands and websites with existing photography may likely already have some of their content "pinned" across user profiles. See if your images, products, or photos have made their way onto someone's board by using the following URL (replace "" with your homepage's address): Take the time to evaluate what content users are already gravitating towards, and use that information as a starting point as you move forward with your future Pinterest usage.

Pinterest content

6) Reward Top Pinners

One of Pinterest's best features is the ability to create collaborative boards with your followers. If you found a list of people who have regularly posted content from your site, create a board on your profile dedicated to your unrecognized "brand ambassadors". To do so: To do so:

  • Follow the profiles of your top users.
  • Create a new board or edit an existing one and next to "Who can pin?" select "Me + Contributors"
  • Type the name of your desired contributor and click on their name when it appears
  • Save your settings and you're done!

Your board will now appear on your profile as well as the profiles of all contributors. Contributor boards work best when there is a unifying theme for everyone to collaborate around, such as the "Critic's Corner" board where contributors write reviews of recipes found on Pinterest. Your hidden "brand ambassadors" will now have access to post on your Pinterest board. This encourages participation with your brand, and will provide you with free Pinterest advertising for your business. You can reward your top pinners in many ways. For example, you could send them one of your products as a "thank you" for their committed pinning services, and loyalty to your brand. Building relations with your audience will improve your brand identity, and make your pinners more likely to continue interacting with your Pinterest content.

Pinterest picks

7) Embrace Keywords

Pinterest's search function is heavily utilized, especially for recipes, home goods, decorating, style, and event planning. If your area of expertise lies anywhere in these domains, it is especially important to include relevant keywords in your captions. A Mashable post also announced that Pinterest is driving more referral traffic than YouTube, Google+ or LinkedIn, reinforcing the potential of Pinterest to send high-value visits directly to your product pages. Data was analyzed from over 529,000 ecommerce store orders to find that Pinterest was the second largest social source for traffic (over Twitter), and resulting visits had beat Facebook by bringing in the third highest average order value.

Pinterest ecommerce chart

Sales and traffic from Pins can occur long after the item is pinned. In fact, 50 percent of visits happen after 3.5 months, according to Piqora. Compared to other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, where the content is forgotten about after mere hours, ecommerce marketers should be investing more into Pinterest.

Pinterest sales chart

8) Make your Content "Pinnable"

Anyone who has spent more than five minutes cruising through Pinterest boards will acquire an understanding of the community's sense of style. If you don't already, be sure to include engaging, interesting photos on your website and blog which lend themselves to the network's theme. While people are able to pin images from any website, adding a "Pin It" button to images adds a subtle, yet easily accessible invitation for web visitors to share your content. Have more "Pin-teresting" tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!