This is a guest post by Sarah Tharp

Pinterest is a social networking site with a twist. After launching a beta version in March of 2010, it is now the third largest social networking site and continues to grow. Users create their own collections to which they can post photos related to different themes. Other users can re-pin photos they like, making it easy to share and create a unique pinboard.

Interest in this hot new social networking site is growing rapidly. Pinterest is visually appealing and easy to use, making it a rich resource for Internet marketing.

Every website can benefit from signing up and participating in the community at Pinterest.

1. Connect With Customers

Customers are the basis of any business. Pinterest can be used to connect with those customers and engage in interactions with them. Making a website or business personable drives up sales and encourages repeat customers. Create a board of photos highlighting customers, reply to comments and socialize with them to build trust and respect.

2. Share Products and Content

Pinterest is the perfect marketing tool for websites that contain lots of graphics. Although directly selling products or services is not allowed, website owners can share information about their site and any products they may offer. Pinterest is essentially virtual window-shopping for customers. Other users can choose to re-pin and highlight photos they like, circulating and exposing your content to an unlimited number of prospective visitors.

3. Promote Visibility of Brand

Promoting a brand and getting your name out there is easy using Pinterest. Making your website’s name more recognizable and familiar will drive traffic to your site. Website owners can build a brand and personality that is shaped by the things they post. Pinterest allows for more in-depth branding than other sites because of its aesthetic-centered approach.

4. Content Inspiration

Websites that seek to draw in customers need fresh and new content on a consistent basis. Whether the website is a blog or a site promoting products, new ideas can be found by browsing through Pinterest. Looking through what potential visitors are talking about can provide valuable insight into their interests and needs. This allows you to shape content to fit what more and more people are looking for.

5. Off-Site Promotion

Just as other social networking sites have buttons that can be added to websites, Pinterest has a pin-it button. Customers can click this button and add the content to their pinboard. In addition, users of Pinterest can add a button to their browser’s toolbar that allows them to pin a photo to their account without actually being signed into their account. The photo is then tagged with the link back to your website. This is also a great way to build backlinks to your site. Each time a photo is re-pinned it creates another link to your site.

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