Pinterest now boasts more than 11 million unique monthly visitors. According to comScore, the average Pinterest user spends 98 minutes per month on the site. The visual bookmarking website also has a higher rate of engagement than Twitter. What do all these staggering stats indicate? That Pinterest is all set to become a major player in the social media arena in the coming years. If your business is not leveraging this online platform yet, you might be missing on potential opportunities to engage your target audience.

Before we delve deep into how you can get your business up and pinning on Pinterest, let’s have a look at the top ten categories on this site.

1. Home (17.2%)
2. Arts and Crafts (12.4%)
3. Style/Fashion (11.7%)
4. Food (10.5%)
5. Inspiration/Education (9.0%)
6. Holidays/Seasonal (3.9%)
7. Humor (2.1%)
8. Products (2.1%)
9. Travel (1.9%)
10. Kids (1.8%)

If you want to create your business presence on Pinterest before it’s too late, given below are seven tips that you can use.

#1. Set Up Your Profile
To get started, you need to create a profile on Pinterest. Since the social media site is still in beta-invite only mode, you can ask a co-worker, colleague or friend of yours to send you an invite. Once you receive the invite, you can register on the site and complete your profile information. While filling out the profile, you should include links to your business website and social media pages. You can also include the link to the RSS feed.

                                                                             [This is the new improved look of Pinterest Profiles]

Since you’re using Pinterest for business purpose, you should select the profile picture carefully. Choose a picture that represents your brand or company so that consumers can easily identify who you are.

#2. Create Boards
After you’ve completed the profile section, it’s time to start creating boards. While creating boards on Pinterest, you need to think what’s significant to your business. Depending on your specific requirements, you can create multiple boards and name them appropriately.

If you’re in an interior design business, you can create boards like ‘home décor ideas’, ‘ideas for home’, ‘dream bathroom’ and ‘kitchen makeover ideas’ among others.

#3. Upload Items (and Grow Them)
Next, you need to add images to each of the boards that you’ve created. Add at least 6-12 items (images or pins) to every board. Be careful to choose only those images that can quickly grab the attention of the user. You can also add videos.

#4. Learn the Pinterest Etiquette
Now that you’ve a business presence on Pinterest, it’s time to have a closer look at the Pinterest etiquette. Pinterest is a thriving social community and you should always remember to abide by the community guidelines. Pinterest doesn’t support blatant self-promotion. Be authentic and treat other community members with respect.

Read the Pin Etiquette now.

#5. Follow Other Pinterest Users
In order to grow your business presence on Pinterest, you also need to follow other users. Following other Pinterest users, re-pinning and liking their pins is vital to spread the word about your own brand. You can also choose to comment on other people’s pins as well as respond to those that are left by users on your own pins. Re-pinning and commenting on your followers’ pins is indicative of the fact that you don’t excessively self-promote.

#6. Add the Pin-It Button to Your Website
You may have added different social media buttons to your website already. Add one more – the ‘Pin it’ button (grab the code here). Placing this button on your site makes it easier for visitors to pin your visual content.

#7. Run a Contest on Pinterest
Launching a contest on Pinterest is an excellent way of creating awareness about your brand and drive social momentum among the audience. Several small businesses have already launched different types of contest on Pinterest in the past few months. If you’re sure it’s something you need, you too can announce a contest on Pinterest to fulfill your business goals.

Make sure you launch the right kind of contest (Best Pinboard, Most Repins, Sweeptakes Entries etc).

Is your business on Pinterest yet? Please feel free to share your views and opinions.