By @LaurenBegley, PepperDigital

OK, I admit it. I’m a pinaholic. I spend a good amount of time on Pinterest for both work and for pleasure and I’m certainly not alone. The number of Pinterest users to visit the site daily has gone up more than 145 percent since January, according to Tech Crunch.

From Whole Foods to the Today Show, there are a number of brands that are using the platform in some creative ways. Whether you are just getting started or looking for ways to improve your existing presence, we want to offer five simple actions you can take today to enhance your pinboards:

Join the Conversation: It is important to regularly post new content to your boards and perhaps even more important to get out and engage with others on their boards. Using the search tool, identify relevant content that you can comment on, like or repin. You can also scan through the most popular content on the Pinterest homepage and share your thoughts on relevant content that is gaining the most traction across the platform.

Improve Your Descriptions: Pinterest is all about search. To ensure that your content is easy to find, make sure that you name your boards with titles that people are likely to search (e.g. “Recipes,” “Jewelry,” “Cocktails,” etc.). With each individual pin, be sure to customize the description and include relevant hashtags when it makes sense.

Collaborate with Influencers: Pinterest allows users to open their boards up for collaborative pinning. This is a great way to engage with others interested in the same topic and build relationships with key influencers who can help you tell your story. To start, identify a handful of influential users who are active on Pinterest and invite them add content to a specific board. As they pin and repin content, be sure to engage with them directly through the comments section.

Tell a Story: Pinterest is a visual medium that lends itself well to storytelling. Consider creating a board that can illustrate an experience or aspect of your audience’s lifestyle. For example, Southwest Airlines created a specific board dedicated to images and stories “From the Window Seat.” There, passengers can share snapshots from 30,000 feet above the ground while subtly reinforcing Southwest’s messaging about providing an enjoyable flying experience. Similarly, we created a board for our client T.G.I. Friday’s that deconstructs its Ultimate Margarita, pinning each ingredient separately.

Track Your Reach: Pinterest makes it easy for you to track content from your website or blog. You can enter http://pinterest.com/source/YOURWEBSITE.com/ and see which images or videos are available on the site. Armed with this information, you can identify brand ambassadors who have expressed interest in your content.

Happy pinning!

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By Brooke Winebrenner, PepperDigital

Love is certainly in the air this week with Valentine’s Day upon us! From flowers to chocolates galore, I can’t help but reflect on one of the greatest “love of our lives”– Social Media. Not to mention, it’s currently Social Media Week. That’s why I’m taking some time out today to send a few of the “red hot” social media platforms out there a special Valentine and highlighting the love connection.

1. Love at First Sight: Pinterest

If you’re not an addict by now then you will be soon the day you land yourself a Pinterest invite. The craze has quickly taken over in the U.S., crossing the 10 million mark faster than any other standalone site in history according to a recent Tech Crunch article. The user-friendly platform and beautiful imagery displayed has everyone from teens to moms looking for the next best pin. Top brands such as Whole Foods, Travel Channel, Pillsbury and Martha Stewart, etc. are also making a splash on pin boards in an effort to engage consumers. We’re only in the Honeymoon stage at this point, and looking forward to learning just how good it can get!

2. Poke! Be Mine: Facebook

Often times many of us may find we have a love-hate relationship when it comes to Facebook given its ever-changing platform. With the new Timeline rollout, its redefined user profiles and reimagined what a social networking can be.  Soon to follow, we can expect to see the same happen for many brand fan pages with customizable features and a new audience experience. Like any relationship, people can often change and grow together over time. As we’ve seen from Facebook over recent years, so do our social media platforms and its users.

3. Only You: Twitter

Do you plan to tweet at your Valentine today? Why not? Nothing says love like sending a heartfelt message for millions of users to see! With the recent rollout of the new Twitter, we’ve enjoyed a revamped platform that makes it easy to stay connected and learn the latest from breaking news and industry trends to the latest happenings from your friends, family and favorite brands. We also learned from Mikinzie Stuart recently what “new Twitter” means for brands in a previous post featured here.

4. Crazy 4 You: Foursquare:

I have to admit, I’ve really grown to love Foursquare. How befitting for this day, I know.  I was a skeptic in the past and was weary of sharing my every move with a close network of friends; however, I, like many others, quickly realized I enjoy the challenge of being able to find specials and rewards at various locations. Not to mention, it’s easy to get excited when a venue tip pops up from a friend, which enables me to quickly make-up my mind before I even take a look at the menu. It’s not only an amazing tool for consumers, but it’s certainly a driving revenue force for brands. Where will you check-in with your Valentine this evening? Perhaps instead of Valentine I should ask: will you be my Mayor?

Which social media platform would you like to send a Valentine? Feel free to share your favorites below and let us know what excites you!

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