By Aliza Sherman

Pinterest® is a visual social network, emphasis on the visual, where people can “pin” images and video from the web onto “boards” organized by topic or category, like visual bookmarks. Pinterest was not only the fastest growing social network when it hit its stride, but is also touted as an effective driver of traffic to websites and more effective than most other social networks for driving actual sales.

How can you leverage Pinterest for your business? If you sell products online, Pinterest can be a useful tool for showcasing those products and reaching new customers. If you sell services, you have to get a bit more creative to leverage relevant images.

Here are several things you can do to be Pinterest-ready.

1. Make sure you have a Pinterest Business Page.

If you set up a Pinterest account ages ago, you might not have an actual Business Page on the network, but are instead working with a personal account. If you haven’t seen any metrics for Pinterest, you aren’t getting the full benefits of a Business Page. Visit the Pinterest site and click to the Business section to learn how to quickly and easily convert your account from a personal one to a business one.

2. Install the Pin It Button

Pinterest offers several variations of the Pin It button, including one that integrates with blog posts or web pages and an “on hover” button that shows a Pin It button when someone hovers their cursor over an image on your site. If you’re using a third party solution for your ecommerce functionality, check to see if they offer a plug-in that adds social media icons and links – especially for Pinterest but also Facebook®, Twitter® and Google+®, so you can make the online shopping experience for your customers more social.

3. Publish “Pinable” Images

When you first set out to build your website or online store, you probably used product images that were well-suited for your needs at the time. You may have to rethink your images in order to be successful with Pinterest. Pinterest images are larger and eye-catching. 735 pixels across and any length can help your pins appear properly in a pin stream. Interesting angles, bold colors and sharp images rule on Pinterest. If you sell products, pinable product images are key. If you offer services, you may need to be more creative about the images you post to your site such as infographics, quotes, instructional video and other illustrative visuals.

4. Pin Your Own Images

Make sure some of your boards consist of pins that you’ve added directly from your online store and include prices so Pinterest can make them “rich pins” that provide shopping information to Pinterest users. If you sell items for the home, build boards that correspond with each product line, such as Glassware, Wall Decor, and Vases. Weave in appropriate pins from your site into other boards as well, such as images of the vases you carry onto a board called Centerpieces. If you aren’t pinning your own images, you’re reducing your chances of driving more traffic to your own site.

Pinterest is less about “talking” with your customer and more about providing them with visuals and information that they’ll want to share with others or that they will use to come back to your page or your site when they are ready to buy.

Aliza Sherman is a new media entrepreneur, author, women's issues activist, and international speaker. Sherman has received recognition for her role as an entrepreneur focused on women's issues, particularly women's role in the new media industry and their participation on the Internet.


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank.