Last week I introduced how Instagram has taken over the photo sharing market on mobile phones. Where Instagram is a mobile photo sharing application Pinterest is the leading desktop photo sharing application.

People react emotionally to pictures and think analytically when reading text. The beauty of Pinterest is it appeals to the visual nature in all of us and runs with it. Would I want to hear a description of how cute your puppy is? Please don’t. Would I want to see a picture of your puppy? Sure!

Pinterest 101 Pinterest users create pinboards to post photos, video, and other content. Users pin photos to their own and other boards.

Here is a screenshot of one of Spectrum’s own boards: SEO Tips and Tricks!

SEO Tips and Tricks

Users can pin, repin and like content on Pinterest. You can see the article 12 Steps You Can Take to Make Your Business More Green! has been repined onto a Board named Environment.

Why join Pinterest?

Pinterest is a magnet for referral traffic. Referral traffic is the visitors sent to your website that’s not from a search engine or direct traffic. Examples of referral sites are Facebook, Yelp and YellowPages.

Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter combined! Integrating Pinterest into your business's branding will start the dialogue with prospects. Over time these relationships will generate business.

How to be successful

There are many aspects to successful Pinterest accounts. Don’t view Pinterest as an online catalogue. Pinterest is an opportunity to showcase your company’s best products while creating a conversation with future leads.

Home remodelers have a great opportunity to exhibit their magic. One creative angle to take is ‘Before and After.’ In Extreme Makeover: Home Edition style, take pictures of a disastrous kitchen for the Before and snap a shot of the remodeled kitchen as the After.

On your Pinterest account create a board named Kitchen Remodeling. Select Home Decor as the category and all your pins will visible to everyone viewing Home Decor.

Word of warning: Pinterest is not a place to shamelessly promote your own business. You have to play nice with the other kids in the sandbox. Be part of the Pinterest community. Share what interests you and add post pins that add value to the user experience.

If your company is provides services rather than products, then you need to be creative in your Pinterest account.

Pinterest in Action

One creative Pinterest idea comes from the plumbing company Mr. Rooter. Their Pinterest account has a board called Where in the World is Mr. Rooter. They place their toy figurine mascot on the beach, next to the Eiffel Tower and in a daycare. People follow this board to see where the mascot appears next. The next time one of their Pinterest followers has plumbing issues Mr. Rooter is getting the business.

I bet YOUR industry is much more marketable than plumbing services. Get creative to gain followers.

For instance, moving companies can have moving box castle competitions. Instead of sand castles have kids from the community build castles out of moving boxes. Take pictures of all the castles and have people on Pinterest vote for their favorite.

To stand out the photos you pin need to look attractive and have a creative angle to stand out. With the right strategy you can utilize Pinterest to increase you online engagement regardless of your industry.

Be an Early Adopter

Engaging your customers where they hang out is the key. You aren’t forcing your company onto customers with disruptive advertising like TV or radio commercials.

The beauty of Pinterest is customers seek you out. Users interested in your product or service willingly click your photos. This is your opportunity to create a dialogue and increase referral traffic.

Having a proactive strategy to use Pinterest and Instagram makes you an early adopter and industry leader. Increase your online leads with Pinterest while staying one step ahead of your competition.