Pinterest logoPinterest is a mind-boggling virtually instant success; the biggest indicator, to me, being the speed with which Pinterest became part of the language of television ads and commentary – literally (it seems) within months of launch.  First it launches, then the next thing you know, there it is; Pinterest’s logo right up there alongside the Facebook and Twitter logos, on television commercial footers.  Ah-mazing.

So let’s keep our internet wits about us as we run to jump on the Pinterest platform.  Do you need to get on Pinterest?  Yes, probably.  Do you need bury yourself in frenetic Pinterest activity?  No.

How do I know that?  Because I know you can’t.  You can’t afford to, if you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur.  You have a business to run and you don’t have the time.  Enough said.  Pinterest? Yes.  How? With reason, and with a plan.

So take a deep breath, analyze, implementize, (Sorry, gotta rhyme here – it just begs for it), and strategize.

Breathe: Close eyes.  Breathe in slowly.  Hold.  Breathe out.

Analyze: Ask yourself who will Pinterest attract for you, and why?  Hint: It will attract people who like visuals, aren’t looking right now for organized, linear information, and want to just feel good for a moment as they look at entertaining images within a category of their choice.

You already know your category, so the only question really is how to provide entertaining feel-good images?  The answer is probably not to pin all you product images in rows and columns on your board. Will those make your visitor feel good – feel entertained?  Probably not.  So what to pin?

Answer – pin stuff that entertains and makes you feel good.  Really very simple.  For example, if you produce gluten-free dog biscuits, your audience consists of people who love dogs – dogs who just happen to have digestive or other health problems.  So – the best images for you to pin will be of dogs, not dog biscuits, not dog digestive tracts, not dog biscuit ingredients.  Find and liberally pin dog images to your board – cute dogs, pathetic dogs, dogs eating treats, dogs being loved by their owners, dogs jumping, dogs sleeping, dogs playing, etc.  Look for “awwwwwww” photos and pin them.  Some may come from your website.  Good.  They will link back to your site.  Many / most will NOT come from your website.  That’s OK.  Your board’s description and title will identify you and help further your brand.

Implementize:  This is actually the easiest part.  Go to Pinterest and request an invite to join.  Why they still require this I don’t know… but I haven’t heard of anyone yet being told “No, you may not have a Pinterest account.”  So just do it.

Once you’re in, fill out your profile and set up your first board.  Then add the Pin It button to your bookmark bar.  After that, you’re good to go.  From that point forward, every time you are online and you see an image that fits your board’s category (you can have multiple boards, by the way), click on your Pin It button and select the board where the image will be placed, add a quick caption, and done.

Keep pinning on the fly, adding entertaining images that will delight your visitors’ eyes and cause their brains to produce endorphins or dopamine or whatever brain chemical makes them go “awwwww.”   Create a pleasing experience.  You won’t sell directly, but that’s not the point of Pinterest – the point is to create a pleasant experience, courtesy of you, the brand that your visitor is coming to know and love.

Strategize:  Add a Follow Button and a Pin It Button to your website.   Add images to your website and blog posts that Pinterest lovers will want to pin to their own boards.

So, for this wildly popular social media platform, my advice is Embrace the Waste (of time), jump into the game, and play well.  At least this time the rules are easy and the play is fun.

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