Social media’s newest poster boy is Pinterest, and there’s a reason why – 11 million hits in a week in December 2011. The growth is sporadic and explosive for a social platform that’s still for invite-only. Pinterest is the ideal medium for companies who’d like to entice customers with a more visual-appealing approach. Why? We live in a world of instant where people share photos on their social accounts using mobile devices.

The bracket of ages 25 to 44 is well-accustomed to a new form a communication through social platforms which includes sharing images and photos. Mobile photo-sharing is communication per se. Brands are using this trend and turning it into a constant activity among users. Unique visitors have increased by 429% in Q4 of 2001, and landed on Hitwise’s top 10 social networks.

With this in mind, a social platform like Pinterest has gained popularity because it’s very visual and easy. For B2C companies, it’s a must to utilize Pinterest to enhance their strategies and improve product development. After all, every “interest” in Pinterest showcases a product or two. Pinterest will tread the same path as Facebook and Twitter, companies and marketers will harness its potential to convert users into customers. So as a marketer, you would ask: How do I use Pinterest for B2C strategies?

Here are 5 simple ways to turn users into customers on Pinterest:

1.) Add Text to Images

A picture paints a thousand words, and it’s a fact on the social web. Everytime a user shares a photo – likes, retweets, and comments follow. On Pinterest, a product can be easily noticed when the photo shows quality and creativity. I’ve always thought that creativity follows context, and it won’t hurt to throw some descriptions on a particular image. With photos, you don’t have to ask people for feedbacks because it’ll come naturally.

Furthermore, you can always put your website’s URL on every description for people to know more of your products or services. For e-commerce websites, Pinterest is a great extension of your online presence. Gap has a Pinterest account where clicking an image will lead users to their product page for more details on purchasing.

2.) Integrate Your Pinterest Account with Social Networks

This is a no-brainer. One of the reasons why Pinterest grew fast is that logging in was a breeze. When people go online the first thing that they’ll do is either check their email or log in on Facebook, Pinterest was clever enough to have an app on Facebook so users can access their accounts in an instant. People want it fast so why ask a user for his login details  if he can log in using Facebook?

Another thing that creates instant brand awareness for a product on Pinterest is that a user’s Facebook contacts will see what a person is liking and pinning on Pinterest via friendfeed. The result? A Pinterest user could lure his Facebook contacts in checking out a brand’s Pinterest board and might sign up as well.

3.) Embrace a Person’s Lifestyle. Capture a Niche.

One of the most notable brands on Pinterest is Greek yogurt brand Chobani. Cho- what? Yes, it’s a pretty obscure brand but why is it a hit among Pinterest users? Chobani’s boards have added a human touch which embraces a person’s lifestyle while encouraging them to share it on their boards. The embrace-a-user's-lifestyle-approach works great for Chobani because if you showcase people’s lifestyles it complements what you’re selling as well.

Chobani’s Pinterest boards are also well-organized, they even have a board named “CHOmobile” which asks users to share photos and ideas using mobile devices. Another effective B2C-inspired board would be “We Would Like to Eat With You” the title says its all – customer collaboration brings more online PR and brand awareness. But the most interesting board would be “Chobaniac Creations” it encourages users to share their recipes and yogurt ideas. Chobani is the Gary Vaynerchuck of the yogurt world.

4.) Answer The “HOW” of Things

Pinterest brings elegant organization to a plethora of interests. Each person has a place on Pinterest just check out the categories that ranges from Geek to Gardening. So if you’re a local business you might as well use Pinterest to answer people’s queries or share tips about your industry, product, or service. For instance, if you own a bakeshop downtown, why not share some of your simple recipes and tips on how cook delicious pastries.

This is a tricky strategy because if your business is located in Brooklyn and most cupcake lovers are from Laguna Beach then it’s going to be a challenge to entice potential customers to visit your physical store, but wait, don’t underestimate the reach of the social web. If your recipe is good enough, users will repin it and even share it on Facebook or Twitter! Online PR is always good because it has the opportunity transcend physical regions.

5.) Inject Humor to Pinboards

I’m not saying that you repin every meme poster on your boards. A dash of humor is one of the most vital aspects of social media pages. Just look at the Skittles’ Facebook page, it’s one of the most successful brand pages on Facebook because it has witty content. People appreciate it when you’re not too serious about your brand because “too serious” means you’re compelling them to purchase your product because you talk like a salesman. The salesman approach won’t work in social platforms, using a more personal approach like humanizing your brand and engaging in conversations will bring customers in. Keep in mind that your LinkedIn persona won’t work on Pinterest, and remember that a lolcat puts a smile on everyone!