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As Pinterest celebrates its second birthday this month, and with an estimated $2.5bn valuation, it is hard to believe that the social networking site still remains off the radar for a number of UK businesses. As a recent article in the IOD’s Director Magazine suggests, to date corporates have ignored the hype and instead stuck to the likes of LinkedIn, and perhaps at a push Twitter – but by ignoring Pinterest, are you playing it safe, picking your battles or just missing out?

With an estimated 8 million UK users logging onto the site, and this volume growing steadily, there is a decent chance that some of your target decision-makers are in that user base. But, before we encourage you to hurl yourself headlong into a new marketing strategy, the true value of engaging a new social platform can only be assessed after honest, objective assessment, followed by experimentation and then tracking and recording its success or failure.

But most businesses fall at the experimentation hurdle. If you’re going to base your future marketing strategy on this test period, make sure you’re testing its potential correctly.

Most businesses are quick to assume that their line of work isn’t picture-orientated and therefore not suitable for a site dedicated to pinning photos. But take a step back. When was the last time you posted a blog, updated your website with new content, or created an e-Book? Each blog post probably had an accompanying, compelling photograph or image which explained the topic. Likewise your new web pages. And if nothing else, your new e-Book’s front cover is an image in itself.

The principle therefore becomes that new content inherently equals imagery, which in turn means fuel for Pinterest.

So you join the revolution, create your business pin board and have content to feed it – now what? Well there is no point in dedicating resource to a channel that isn’t driving any business or delivering leads, so make sure you use Pinterest properly. Marketing managers would be naive to adopt a ‘tick box’ approach to Pinterest – an attitude of “we have an account and we update it regularly” simply isn’t enough.

So begin to engage with your target audience. Like all social media platforms, Pinterest needs regular attention and especially interaction in order to build your profile, so make sure you are promoting the existence of your pin board through other channels – including offline – and engaging with other boards by re-pinning images of interest and relevance from other brands and individuals. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are not places for a stream of self-promotion and sales talk, so don’t let Pinterest be either.

Lastly, make sure you’re measuring it. Referral traffic from Pinterest; growth of community; degree of re-pins; even Pinterest’s own recently-launched Web Analytics dashboard – all are important metrics and sources of data, provided your mindset is to identify impact, not just measure activity.

Pinterest – just like any other marketing medium – isn’t necessarily right for every business out there, but only by following the right processes during the testing phase and assessing their impact thoroughly can you make an informed decision. And if that decision is to pursue it further, you will then have the benchmark analysis with which to improve your activity and make sure you get the very best from it.

Choosing which social media platforms will be the most effective for promoting your business is just one of the many questions you should be asking yourself when developing an Inbound Marketing strategy.

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