It would seem that scammers have been quick to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon, using fake Pinterest and Twitter accounts, harnessed to affiliate links, to generate revenue.

Pinterest will need to take action to prevent this becoming more widespread but the process for the scammers is little different to that which a genuine business can use to get the most out of Pinterest.

Firstly, you need people following you on Pinterest, and you need to be following others, plus taking an interest in what they are pinning. Tying this into other social media accounts too can help to widen your audience so link Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and so on to and from your Pinterest account.

Secondly, you need to post eye catching photos and images that are linked directly to a product or landing page, not to the home page of your website.

Thirdly, you need well-written copy on that product or landing page that entices people to buy and also to repin.

Pinterest as a marketing tool will not suit all businesses, just as other social networks cannot be all things to all men. However, if you are in the retail industry, Pinterest should be high on your list of properties to populate with product photos, as well as to engage with your potential customers. Hotels, restaurants, travel agents and accommodation providers are also discovering the value of Pinterest in reaching a wide audience, although it is still difficult to localise to reach the audience required.

If the scammers can make money on Pinterest, you should be able to as well by encouraging repins of your boards’ items. Why not run a monthly competition and offer a prize to one random repinner? Or create a special discount landing page for Pinterest users? Incentivise pinning in imaginative ways for great products and you should be able to use Pinterest as a cost-effective internet marketing tool.

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About the author:

A practising internet marketing consultant since 1996, Lindsey Annison helps companies improve their website marketing, online PR and information architecture. Lindsey is also a qualified adult education lecturer and author. As co-founder of the Access to Broadband Campaign, she has been instrumental in the provision of high-speed internet access to rural areas in the UK. Lindsey is also a past winner of Silicon.com's Outstanding Contribution to UK Technology