pinterest sceneIt’s easy to get sucked in to Pinterest and lose all track of time jumping from picture to picture. But for savvy marketers, Pinterest can be much more than images of DIY craft projects and tasty looking recipes.

As with any social network, Pinterest provides many opportunities to promote your company and drive traffic to your website to, ultimately, net new leads and sales. Here are a few tips for adding Pinterest to your social media marketing mix.

Create a video gallery

Pinners aren’t only limited to pinning images; they can pin videos, too! Create a pinboard of some of the interesting videos your business produces interspersed with relevant images.

Do executives in your business do any speaking at industry conferences or events? Create a pinboard that features videos of your speakers. Pinterest’s homepage has a separate tab for videos, so you will get even more exposure by being featured in that category. Just don’t forget to include a call-to-action within the video itself. Tell your viewers what you want them to do next to further engage with your company.

Use Hashtags

Just like Twitter and Google+, Pinterest supports the usage of hashtags. Users can use hashtags to tag their pins and make their content more search-friendly. Promoting a new campaign of some sort? Create a pinboard around it, and tag it with the hashtag you’re also using on Twitter and Google+ to leverage an integrated, cross-channel campaign.

Feature off-line events

Create a pinboard that features the best photos and video footage of your company picnic or annual event to help you generate buzz and promote the next one.

Showcase your company’s personality

Pinterest has a heavy lifestyle focus, so what better opportunity is there to give people a peek into the personality of your brand? Create a pinboard that showcases your employees and life around the office. Show them working together, show them making your products/services, and show some of the fun activities your business participates in, such as company outings, parties, award ceremonies, volunteer days, etc.

Letting people see behind the scenes will make your brand relatable, interesting, and humanized. The Today Show, for example, uses one of its pinboards called “Anchor Antics” to reveal the personalities of its stars.

Add links in the descriptions of your pins

Whenever possible, include links back to your website and landing pages in your pins to drive traffic back to your website. Keep track of referral traffic and leads generated from Pinterest. Such insights will inform you about how useful this platform is in comparison to your other social media marketing efforts.

To drive visitors from Pinterest to your website, add a link back to the page on your website where that image lives for every pin. If you are uploading a photo instead of pinning something live on your website, use a link that makes sense and include that in the pin description. The combined impact from each pin’s clicks and re-pins will give you a big advantage.

Gather Insight into your buyer personas

Use Pinterest as a tool for understanding the interests and needs of your ideal customers. View pinboards of your customers to aid in your understanding of who your customers are and what they’re interested in.

If you have an integrated marketing software that tracks which people got to your website through Pinterest and follows them through the buying cycle, you can spot trends in their behavior and find ways to nurture such leads more successfully. For instance, Hubspot connects referrals to lead data and can tell you what offer pinners converted on. From here, you can email your brand new leads and push them down the sales funnel with a custom message.

Measure impact

At the end of the day, what’s going to matter most is how much traffic, leads and customers you generate via a given source. As you start pinning images and videos to Pinterest, and adding more images over time, it’s important to keep an eye on how your traffic is changing. Is there a specific image type or topic that sends more traffic than others? Use your analytics tools to understand what images work and what do not.