Keeping up with the latest developments in marketing for your small business means staying up-to-date on the world of social media. Aside from the challenge of simply staying informed about new platforms and changes to existing platforms, figuring out how to maneuver within the sometimes overwhelming sea of actual socializing to make your company’s presence felt – and not ignored or resented – presents a serious challenge to small business owners and marketing professionals.

Not to add to that challenge (but we’re about to), the time has come for all small businesses to take a look at the new kid on the social media block, Pinterest. Realizing that you could be using Pinterest to engage with your online audience is a far different thing from knowing how. And even knowing how is sometimes a far cry from knowing how to best engage with them. So to start sorting all that out, and to build a plan for your small business to start “pinning”, here are some tips to follow:

Think visually

Across all social media avenues, posts with strong images attached to them get on average three times as much user engagement as those with no images. This is especially true on Pinterest, being almost entirely focused on image content. The more immediately captivating your pin is, the more likely it is to be repinned. No matter what your content, find a stunning image to accompany it. Or better yet, translate your data into charts and infographics. Infographics are insanely popular. Not only will it appeal to your audience based on the content, but it will reach a whole new audience just for its sleek design.

Pin book covers

If you, or someone in your company, has a book or e-book, pin that cover! Pinterest is primarily a visual medium, but people do dig deeper into posts. So if you want people to download your book, or read a specific excerpt, post that cover. Ideally, the cover of the book that you post will be in line with your brand, so that it gives people a better insight into your business. People who are interested enough in the topic will follow up on the suggestion.

Have a guest pinner board

Getting your followers involved in your boards (collections of pins) is a great idea for small businesses. It increases your user engagement, makes your followers feel more personally invested in your brand, and gives you automatic feedback and insight into the interests and opinions of your audience. Similarly, creating a board specifically to share stories and feedback from customers is a great idea to represent how deeply your small business wants to connect and service its clients. Showcasing this board prominently on your website will also allow you to more effectively demonstrate your ability to satisfy customers, which will encourage future prospects to engage with your business.

Introduce yourself

As is true on all social media, your small business will have a stronger brand if it’s built on the actual people running the social media outlets. Introduce yourselves! Pin a photo of an employee’s face, attached to a profile or fun interview with them. Post one per week, and collect them all on a board that serves as a truly personal, vibrant company profile. It’s the Pinterest version of an “About Us” page, and is much easier for customers to connect with than a simple wall of text.

Pin videos

By now you’ve probably grasped the idea that Pinterest is a hyper-visual environment, and extends beyond just 2D images. Pinterest also allows you to pin videos, and this is a feature that you should certainly take advantage of. You can post videos either produced in-house or from relevant industry sources. This can either be content that directly communicates something from your business to your customers or something you think would interest them. Remember: social media for small business is almost entirely about becoming a hub for information that’s of interest to your clients and customers, not just about selling your particular business. Online users want to see brands that are about their needs and wants, instead of just about your business agenda. And if you can find and/or create content that achieves both goals, then you’ve hit the jackpot!

Promote deals with graphics

Translating any deals, sales, or special offers into smart-looking graphic coupons is a powerful way to boost their circulation. The days of simply putting a sign in your shop window to let people know that you’re having a sale are long gone. Nowadays, many people will either shop online or at the very least decide where they’re going to spend their money based on online searches. If you want to capitalise on the online market, you’ll need to notify people of your sales. Using graphics to promote sales and deals online can further develop your company’s brand in a way that doesn’t just offer great deals, but looks chic while doing so.

So, these are just a few of the ways that you can make Pinterest work for you and your small business. It’s quite a unique social media platform in comparison to more generally applicable mediums like Facebook, so you’ll have to see if it works for you. There are no doubt some businesses that will find more success using Pinterest than others, but it’s worth a shot regardless. The potential reward is huge, as there are a lot of committed users on Pinterest that almost solely consult the platform for everything from deals to meal ideas. So get going, and make your boards Pinteresting!