social media marketing pinterest pinboardReady to ramp up your efforts on Pinterest? Here are the no-fail guidelines to become a real “pinner.”

Rule 1: Keep your boards in order. A common mistake is to dump all your content onto one board. Instead, use different boards to break down content in a way that makes sense. This is a way to broaden your reach by reaching out to multiple segments of your audience. Doing this also shows your followers that you respect their time enough to have your content organized.

Rule 2: Image quality matters. For Pinterest, which is all about images, this seems like something that shouldn’t have to be said. Yet many images uploaded are actually blurry or too small. Or, just as bad, have an obvious watermark.

Of course, this guideline should be about much more than just avoiding the bad. Not every image has to be something that qualifies to hang in a museum, but the more effort you put into making your images as professional as possible pays real dividends.

Rule 3: Give 30 minutes back to the community. You already know that social media success is not built on self promotion and spam. It comes from being a real participant in the community. The problem is, when time is limited, it is natural to fall back on just pushing out content that is only promotional.

Try this instead. Set aside 30 minutes a week for doing nothing but being a good participant and citizen of Pinterest. Look for content to re-pin. Add links that have nothing to do with promoting yourself or your business. Have fun and participate. Some who practice this 30 minute rule find that they often continue well past the allotted time because it is so enjoyable.

Rule 4: Go ahead, be a tattletale. This is an extension of Rule 3. Being a good participant means reporting spam, offensive images, and broken links. Of course, this is not really about being a tattletale but keeping the community free of low-quality time-wasters.

Rule 5: Take care with your links. Have you ever clicked on a link to get to specific content only to be taken to a homepage or some general page and then have to hunt for what you were promised in the first place? Of course you have, because it’s happened to us all.

Don’t frustrate others this way. Make sure that your Pinterest links take the viewer directly to the exact right content. Another important point is to check links for images that you are re-pinning. When you re-pin, you are implicitly delivering a recommendation, so make sure the link works and is not spam.

Rule 6: Put a Pinterest button on your website. Forgot this one, didn’t you? Most savvy websites and blogs have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and RSS feed buttons. But Pinterest often gets forgotten. This is not a game-changer, but it is so easy, why not get it done?

Rule 7: Hang out with the right crowd. Who is successful on Pinterest? Who would be natural allies in getting you more traffic? Follow them and pay attention. For one, you can observe what they are doing and pattern your own activities after their example.

There is another dividend as well. Just like with Twitter, those that you follow will often return the favor. Be sure to find out who is re-pinning your content and make a special point of following them.

Rule 8: Use your other social media to promote Pinterest. This is very easy, but is also an opportunity that often falls through the cracks. You don’t want to blast your Facebook fans or Twitter followers with too many references, but you should be mentioning and linking to your Pinterest account.

Rule 9: Go ahead and promote. If you take the time to implement rules 1 through 8, you can feel confident in linking to things that sell your products or services. It is important to keep the imaging fun and entertaining. As long as your promotional images are part of an overall mix of quality participation, you should feel confident that you will be successful.

You can generate a lot of traffic from Pinterest in a short amount of time. You can make your path even quicker if you let these 9 rules guide you to success.

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