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It functions uniquely, yet works like a combination of Flickr and Delicious and at the same time, and seems more popular and relevant than Google+. While Pinterest is still the new Internet marketing kid on the social media block, it serves a niche that promises its staying power. If you apply time and interest in learning the ins and outs, it can act as a powerful business tool applied to anything from sales to customer relations. However there are 7 newbie slip-ups to avoid in order to get the best results.

What is Pinterest for?

1. Don’t jump in blind- Do a little research first, find out what Pinterest is capable of, what its strengths and weaknesses are and how its users exploit it. Now, pair it to your Internet marketing plan and see where it can be most effective. ┬áRefer to our previous post, What is Pinterest and Why Should I Use it as an Internet Marketing Tool?

2. Pinterest is a community not a straight forward marketplace, so don’t focus solely on “the sell”. Pinterest is an ‘invitation only’ community, and even now to log on you have to be linked to a Facebook or Twitter account. Its purpose is to share ideas and objects among friends and parties with similar interests. Don’t exploit the community, but rather, be a participating member. By returning value, you will get more than anticipated.

Treat it like a Personalized Community

3. Don’t be afraid to be friendly- This lesson is a natural extension of #2. Find ways to interact by conversing with customers and users who have expressed interest in your boards, pictures and products, or maybe allow users to add to new boards (if you allow this be sure to monitor it closely). Use it to get to know your customers and potential customers and branch out and interact with users who have boards dedicated to categories that are similar to your business.

4. Don’t just fix it and forget it- Many people use Pinterest daily, so keep your boards active so people continuously have new ideas from you. Try to be responsive- like Twitter, it is often a dialogue, except in pictures. You can use it to more personal ends, posting interesting ideas for expansion or ideas for a new product, it shows users what your ideas and business culture is like.

Explore how it works for your Business

5. Don’t expect it to do more than it is meant to do- It isn’t a store and does not replace the core of your social media outreach. Remember that it can be an effective tool, but it is one piece in the arsenal of your social media campaign. Also remember that it should be a fun, non-intensive project.

6. Don’t forget to track- Find out what works and what your community wants. Look at the metrics, what people like, how they buy and re-pin, and reshape your Pinterest activity to best support your business based on this information.

7. Don’t use Pinterest alone- Your Internet marketing strategy should be to connect your other social media sites and your main website. Re-direct interested parties to learn more about you and your business. Everyone prefers to interact online in different ways, so give people options. Don’t forget to connect to like businesses and piggy-back off their traffic; you have a unique niche to fill, exploit it by getting out there in as many ways as possible.

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Pinterest for Internet Marketing: 7 Things Not To Do was last modified: April 20th, 2012 by Sue Cooper