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You may have heard about Pinterest before in a social setting, perhaps from your aunt who’s constantly pinning photos of living room designs in the hopes that she’ll eventually get around to remodeling. Maybe you’ve even dismissed it as a social network that couldn’t possibly be useful in a business context. After all, what use could pinned photos of gaudy curtains ever be for your business?

But the reality is that Pinterest is a valuable tool for more than just your aunt.  Businesses can harness the power of Pinterest to further their brand. Like any social media platform, the key is to understand Pinterest well enough to gain followers and increase your engagement with potential customers. Here’s what you need to know about the world of Pinterest.


Launched in March of 2010, Pinterest’s growth is phenomenal, reaching 10 million unique visitors faster than any other website. Although still in open beta, requiring an invite to join, Pinterest one of the top ten social media networks. Pinterest’s ease of use and connectability with Facebook & Twitter have helped boost its use and interest.

Pinterest is a social network allowing members to create, share, and discover virtual scrapbooks of likes and interests. Images or videos found on the web (or uploaded) are pinned to a board organized by category or topic.

Members can repin, like, or comment on others’ pinboards. Using the Pinterest bookmarklet to pin images ensures the pinned item links back to its original source. While the no-follow link-back doesn’t directly impact SEO, pins could ultimately boost website visitor traffic and online visibility.

Pinterest Primer


  • Request an invite through your peeps, tweeps or through (Follow me on Twitter, request an invite by DM, and I will send one.)
  • Use an email account associated with Twitter to set up a new Pinterest account, since it will simplify creating your profile and Facebook currently doesn’t allow biz Page pin activity.
  • Include company name, logo, site link, and description for profile. By default, pinboard content is visible so it’s indexed by search engines. To check, go to profile > settings to edit profile.


  • Install the browser Pin It button available on (About > Pin It button or on Goodies page). Invite friends through Facebook via Pinterest or by email.
  • Add a Pinterest follow button to your product, service, or article images by embedding the code provided on Goodies.


  • Peek at others pinboards. Browse categories by using the “Everything” drop down in Pinterest’s top navigation bar or search by topics or names, then by pins, boards, or people.
  • Follow folks with similar interests or influential users. Choose to follow all pinboards by that user, then unfollow boards of less interest.


  • Be social: comment, like, and repin, promoting others’ related pins. Repinning will pin the item onto your pinboard, while likes are shown on your profile.
  • Be polite. Give credit when it’s due and share considerate commentary. Use @ profilename to mention followers in a pin description or comment.


  • Create pinboards with purpose. The goal is to gain traction, so avoid self-promotion. Instead, position yourself as a pundit by developing industry related pinboards that provide visual value and compelling content.
  • Find something of interest, click Pin It on the page, then select image in order to accurately credit source site.
  • Craft concise, thoughtful descriptions including keywords that are less than 500 characters. Be search friendly, including hashtags to tag pinboard content. Position yourself as a topic leader by developing useful distinctive boards with emotional impact.


  • Evaluate and refine pinboards to build interest and engagement. Innovate, using Pinterest in a variety of ways. User-generated pinboards provide insights into your audience. (Under pinboard Edit change settings from Just Me to Me + Contributors.)
  • Consider other Pinterest possibilities, including motivation, quote, destination, event, and project planning pinboards.

Pinterest continues to grow both as a social media network and as a tool for business owners. Once you understand the platform and come up with a targeted plan to engage customers, you can boost your brand and gain followers. Who knows, perhaps you might even catch the attention of your wayward aunt!

Jon Whitbeck

As a web designer and developer, I have managed, built, launched, and maintained websites that meet my clients' objectives. I develop dynamic websites with content management systems based on the latest design trends. My background as an educator and instructor helps me create user-friendly interfaces and teach my clients how to update their own sites.

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