The first step in social media marketing for small business is to learn which social media platforms to focus on (Check out “Social Media Overload– How to Get Focused). After you have determined this, the next step is to break each platform down and determine it’s best uses. More and more businesses are using Pinterest for marketing their business. Pinterest is very different from other social sites and isn’t good for all businesses. Businesses that have visually appealing products can benefit highly from Pinterest. Businesses that are service providers and don’t have visually appealing products can still find benefit by posting things like infographics, images and videos about their industry.

1. Post pictures of products and link back to your website

This is the essence of Pinterest and the reason that Pinterest is good for marketing. People are extremely visual. Retail stores, especially boutiques, have really been able to optimize Pinterest’s benefits. You can insert a url straight from your website to pin the image or you can upload it from your computer. Once the image is uploaded, you can go to “edit” on the pin and see what url is in the “link” box. This is where people will be directed when they click through your pin.

2. Have a contest

Pinterest allows you to create public boards and let everyone contribute. Set a time frame and see who can upload the best, worst, funniest…(you get the idea) image with a caption that is relevant to your business and give something of value to the winner. Something like a free trial, 20% coupon, etc would work really well.

3. Use a contact capture form

Take it a step further and have a drawing. Snip an image of a contact capture form and post the image to one of your boards with a caption that instructs people to click through, fill out the form and be registered to win a prize (again, a coupon or free trial). Have the image linked to the actual form on your website or a landing page.

This has an additional benefit because you will be getting new leads and will be able to start these new contacts onto your email marketing campaigns as well.

4. Find and follow your target market

If you are a boutique, follow individuals that have fashion boards and pin a lot of clothing. A restaurant– look for pinners who are regularly re-pinning yummy looking food (no shortage of this in Pinterest). It’s simple, find people who want what you have and follow all of their boards. They may follow you back which will increase the size and reach of your audience.

5. Promote Pinterest-only special offers

Give your Pinterest followers a special that is unique to them. Post something like this: “Repin this and get a 20% coupon” . Make sure that you specify that this offer is only good for your Pinterest followers. Allow the pinners to get a code from the pin when they click through or to bring it into your store and show it on their phone so that anyone who views the pin can get the deal. By asking them to “re-pin” you are getting your special offer out to their audiences as well and capturing more attention.

6. Add a Pin-it button to your website

By adding a “pin it” button to your site, you are allowing visitors to “pin” images of your products and services that will be linked back to your site. This is great because it will be marketed to new contacts, who may have not gone to your site other wise.