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As an online business owner, you've likely heard a lot about how Pinterest can drive online sales. But maybe the thought of using yet another social network seems daunting and time consuming.

So we've decided to show you just how easy it is to make sure your business is getting the maximum benefit from Pinterest.

Lets start by looking at the most important thing you need to know to get started.

You Don't Need to Be Active on Pinterest

Surprised? While we will look at the benefits of actually having an active presence on Pinterest, the truth is, you don't need to be an obsessive pinner to actually get Pinterest traffic that will convert into sales.

What you absolutely do need to start reaping rewards from Pinterest are the following:

1. Pinnable Images on Every Page

The way you get traffic from Pinterest is by getting your images pinned by other Pinterest users. And in order to get that traffic, you need to have images that people will want to pin.

For example, let's say that you sell fine art like Rich Helmer Photography shown above. Obviously you will have images of your art on your product pages. But don't just stop there. Include photos of your art hanging on the wall of a well-decorated bedroom. Also add a photo of your art hanging in an office.

This will help your ideal customer visualize how your art will look in their home or office. If they like it, they'll pin it to their home decoration or office inspiration wall on Pinterest. Then their followers will have the opportunity to view that image and the choice to add it to their Pinterest collection.

This should hopefully lead to some traffic back to your product page.

Best of all - you don't have to have an active Pinterest account to make this possible. Everything is taken care of you by your website visitors and customers who have their own accounts.

2. Pin It Button

While avid Pinterest users will pin great images at will, casual Pinterest users might need a little nudge in the right direction.

This is where the Pin It button comes in. If you have enabled the Pin It button on your product pages, then people will be reminded they have a Pinterest account and will find it convenient to pin your image to their account like Girl Meets Dress does in the example below:

You can read more about how to add the Pin It button to your Shopify store here.

3. Rich Pins Capability

By taking the few extra steps of adding additional code to your website and verifying it through Pinterest's business resources, you can have enhanced rich pins for your products.

From the visitor's viewpoint, adding a rich pin of your product to their board is no different than adding a regular one.

From Pinterest users who are growing pins by their network, rich pins have the added bonus of including your business logo within search results and an easier to click on link back to your website. You can see what we mean in the image above from the Cookbook Village. To add rich pins to your Shopify store, follow the directions here

The Benefits of Being on Pinterest

If you can get traffic that is likely to convert into sales back to your website without having to be active on Pinterest, why would you want to be?

The reason is because a lot of shoppers use Pinterest. This means that if you are on Pinterest with them, it gives you a chance to engage with your target customers and drive traffic back to your website.

1. Setting Up Your Business Account

Fortunately, setting up your Pinterest account is easy. You will want to go to the Pinterest Business Section and click the join as a business button. You will then fill out the applicable details about your business.

If you have a Pinterest account already for your business, but it was set up as a personal account, you can convert it to a business account.

Once you've setup your account, you'll want to add some boards to it. This is simply the way you will organize all of the photos you pin.

For example, if your business caters to pet lovers like Lap of Luxury Interiors pictured above, you could have boards like New Products, Cute Pets, Inspiring Animals, Keeping Your Pets Healthy, Cooking for Your Pet, and so on.

These would be the categories for all of the photos you pin. You can always create new boards down the road and move photos between boards.

2. Sharing Photos

When you're ready to start adding photos to your Pinterest account, you'll want to add the Pin It button to your browser using the extensions or the Pin It bookmarklet.

This way, wherever you are on the web, you'll be able to share photos that your target customers would find interesting to your Pinterest account quickly and easily.

What photos should you share on your Pinterest account? You should include a mix of your own product photos as well as random, non-sales photos across the web.

If you have a blog, you can share images from your posts as well. Whenever you see an image on the Internet while surfing the web, just ask yourself, "Would my target customer like to see this?" If the answer is yes, pin it!

The goal with your boards is to show that it's not all about your business. You want visitors to know that they should follow you to learn more about the things that interest them. Sure, you can splice in your own products, but you want to make it more about other things and less about your own stuff. This will help you attract dedicated followers.

4. Engage with Your Fans

The other thing you can do with an account that helps drive brand engagement and loyalty is interact with those who are pinning images from your website.

When logged in to your Pinterest account, just go to http://pinterest.com/source/domain.com/ and replace domain.com with your website's domain. Then you'll see all of the images people have pinned from it, like these from Pop Chart Lab.

A simple thanks to those people is all you need to do to show that you are involved with your community.

How do you use Pinterest to drive traffic to your business and gain fans?