By Kristin Provencher, Propel Marketing

Did you know 47 percent of online shoppers in the United States have made their purchases based off of Pinterest recommendations?

With over 25 million users, marketers can no longer dismiss Pinterest. In this two-part series we explain how to get your business started on Pinterest, how to gain and engage followers, and whatís new with the network.

Pinterest is a great resource to drive traffic back to your website. There are more than 50 million articles shared on Pinterest every day, and the network drives more traffic to sites than Twitter, Reddit and Google combined!

Unlike other social networks, your Pins will work for you long after they have been posted. Pinned content can be searched for and repinned, giving them much more staying power.

Letís get started by creating your presence on Pinterest!

Set up your Pinterest page

Start off by branding your page with your logo and a clear, interesting description so people will immediately recognize it as you and follow!
Instead of just entering your website URL, make sure to verify your page so Pinners know itís you. This will also give you access to Pinterest Analytics which is important to help you gain insight on your pins so you know whatís working and whatís not.
Once your profile is set, create and organize boards, keeping in mind that people can choose to follow any of the boards they want, so each board does not need to appeal to all people.
Choose a great cover image and creative names and descriptions that will entice people to follow your boards. Be sure to use key terms to help them come up in a search. Not sure about a board? Make it a secret board and launch it to the public when you are ready!

How to pin for your business

Your page is created, your profile is well-written, and your first boards are established. Now itís time to get pinning! Here are some tips to help you get started:

Use high-quality, visually appealing images whenever possible! Pinterest is a visual network.
Optimize your pins by making them inspiring and searchable! Check out Pinterestís own examples of what makes a good pin description:

Recipes: Describe the main ingredients of the dish and how to cook it
Fashion: Include what kind of clothing, the designer or season to wear it
Travel: Tell people the location and the kinds of things you can do there
DIY: Describe what it is, how you make it and what materials people need
Photography: Name the photographer, year, subject or publication
Design: Mention the designer, medium, publication, etc.

Use calls to action within a pin or on the image itself when it makes sense to help drive traffic back to your website, as long as it is relevant to the image. Do not spam, you will lose followers and their trust
Pin other content, not just your own! Pin from other websites, blogs, and repin otherís content to enrich your boards
Use Rich Pins to help your content appear higher in search results. Have your brand and other important information remain on the pin as it gets repinned
See whatís popular under the ďPopularĒ Interest category to get an idea of what is pin-worthy. Pinterest also has a handy guide which shows you what types of images work best
Pin each day to give your followers fresh content, but try not to over-pin! Crowding newsfeeds may result in your audience choosing to unfollow your boards

With these tips in mind, you can feel confident in getting your business started on Pinterest.

Propel Marketing is an online marketing company providing digital solutions to local small- and medium-sized businesses: www.propelmarketing.com.