For a small business owner, there’s no marketing like word-of-mouth marketing. When your customers are talking about your business with their friends, and bringing new customers to you, that is the most effective form of advertising—and the cheapest! And social media have the potential to function like word-of-mouth advertising on steroids.

But each network is different, whether you’re using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or any other. They each have a different style and a different audience. A business that has great success in one social network might struggle in another with the same strategy—or might find that no strategy seems to work on that particular network! It’s about being in the right place, and using the right strategy when you’ve found that place.
Perhaps the hottest social networking site right now is Pinterest. Most business people already know about Facebook and Twitter, whether they’re using them or not, but Pinterest is rapidly growing and catching up. The site allows users—the vast majority are women in the 25-34 age range—to share pictures and videos.
While the site is still small compared to the billion people on Facebook, the number of users is growing rapidly. And Pinterest users are tied with Facebook users for the average amount of time spent on the site—a whopping 405 minutes per month.
So if you think Pinterest might be a good outlet for your business, you’re probably looking for tips on how to use the network most effectively. There are some great pieces of advice out there, such as Susan Gunelius’s tips from KeySplash Creative.
Here are a few basic principles to follow:

  • Tell Your Brand’s Story. As with any social network, your use of Pinterest should help customers get to know who your business is and what you stand for. They should come to better understand your culture, your personality.
  • Connect With Your Audience. First, know who your market is on Pinterest. As of right now it is still largely women. Follow others on the site, participate in conversations with users, and really engage with other people. You have to be active on the site, not just “there.”
  • Have a Strategy. You have to be active, but that doesn’t mean you can just go on the site and start posting anything and everything. Be strategic about your approach. Make sure that all the content you are posting is providing value to other people; value quality over quantity.