In its first three years, virtual scrapbooking site Pinterest has taken social media by storm -- growing to an impressive 70 million users.
If you're new to Pinterest, it's a virtual scrapbooking site that allows users to "pin" images they like and share those pins with friends. It's akin to online window-shopping, with the option to flag and organize photos of items you like for later viewing.
These images are often linked to online content, such as product websites, making Pinterest a viable marketing tool for retailers with interesting, visual products -- especially those conducive to consumer impulse buying.
Pinterest's user base was initially dominated by female consumers, who today still make up about 80 percent of total users. Next to the table were big brands, with recent studies citing about 60 percent of the world's top brands having Pinterest accounts.
According to USA Today, Pinterest now has its sites set on the small business market, with many small businesses keenly aware that most "pinners" are in shopping mode while on the site and open to spending.
As with most social media sites, you need followers for your pinning to be worth your effort. Bear in mind that the total quantity of followers is less important than the number of targeted followers, as the latter are more easily converted to buyers.
Follow these tips to generate more followers to your brand's Pinterest page.
1. Pin regularly -- at least five to 30 times a day depending on the number of active boards (groups of pins about a single topic) you maintain.
2. Product pins featuring pricing are 36 percent more apt to be "liked" according to socialfresh.com.
3. Add meaningful comments to popular pins, but focus on pins that relate to your market.
4. Include a link to your Pinterest account in your other social media bios, on your website, and in your email signature.
5. Place your most popular boards in the top row of your Pinterest page.
6. Contribute quality pins to group boards with a lot of followers.
7. Follow pinners, with a large following of their own, who follow boards related to your business category. At least 20 percent are likely to follow you in return.
8. Pin newsworthy content so you're seen as a thought leader. Be one of the first to create pins for news items or new product releases in your industry.
9. Use search-friendly keywords when writing captions for your pins so they are likely to show up in relevant searches. Avoid a laundry list of keywords; instead, work them into your captions in a meaningful way.
10. Follow those following your competitors, as they are likely to be interested in your boards as well.
Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and CEO/Founder of RedRover Sales & Marketing in Memphis, TN, www.redrovercompany.com. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).