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updated 5/4/2013 12:46:50 PM ET 2013-05-04T16:46:50

In her book Ultimate Guide to Pinterest for Businessmarketing and branding expert Karen Leland provides a Pinterest roadmap that will help you drive website traffic, boost your brand and build business. In this edited excerpt, the author describes eight types of boards you can set up in order to strengthen your brand and drive traffic.

Before you begin to create new boards on Pinterest, it's smart to consider what types of boards would serve you best given your overall Pinterest marketing goals. We'll explore eight ideas to consider when building your business boards.

1. Topics that interest to your target audience
Think about boards that would speak to the obvious themes, subjects, areas of interest, and issues that are important to your clients and potential clients. Many of your boards will fit into this category since topics of interest are what you want to focus on to draw visitors to your boards. This can also include ideas that aren't spot-on with your business but are related in some way. For example, if you sell high-end stainless steel cookware, it's a safe bet your visitors are foodies, chefs or cooks. While a board on party planning might not be directly related to your products, it is tangentially related and would be of interest to your audience.

2. Educational value
Boards based on "how to" information do very well on Pinterest. If you have access to content (video or print) that can educate, inform, teach or transfer knowledge to your audience, create some boards around it. The nice thing is, as long as the information relates to your business, it doesn't even have to be your original content, as long as you properly credit it.

3. Feedback for your business
Thinking about launching a new service or product? Looking for opinions about how a particular aspect of your business is being received? Want to know what your customers like or don't like about your offers or delivery? Try a virtual focus group by creating a Pinterest board that allows you to test what your target market thinks.

Related: Online Marketing 101: Are You Prone to Shiny Object Syndrome?

4. Upcoming events
If your business is hosting a training, meeting or upcoming event, create a board that introduces it to your audience. Some ways to promote the event without being overly spammy include pinning information about:

  • The speakers
  • Workshops and other educational breakouts
  • Sponsors
  • Location and surrounding area
  • Special events within the event

5. New products or services
In the same way that you can create buzz for events, you can rev up your audience's anticipation of a new product or service launch by dedicating a board to it. Pin information about the features and benefits, suggested audiences and uses, and special deals, testimonials, etc. After the release, you can post customers' comments, media reviews and photos of clients using the product or service.

6. Showcase your company culture and employees
Generate greater customer engagement by giving your clients an inside peek at your business through a board or boards that offers a feel for your company's style, ideas, projects and commitments. You can also feature photos of your office and employees or even your customers -- all with their permission, of course.

Related: Why Employees Need a Say in Your Business Planning

7. Provide social proof
According to Wikipedia, social proof is "a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation." In other words, if it worked for the Joneses, it should work for me. There are several flavors of boards you can create that will help create social proof.

  • Feature your customers using your brand. Create a board that shows how current customers are using, interacting with and integrating your product or service into their businesses. One way to do this is to ask people to send you photos of them engaging with your brand.
  • Profile your customers. A board that showcases who your customers are, what they do and links back to their websites establishes you as credible. If they're willing to provide a testimonial you can include in the pin description, even better. Two cautions: You need to get permission from them to pin their pictures, and you'll be letting your competitors in on who you're working with. If both of these are OK, pin away.

8. Discussion groups
Like an online forum, a Pinterest discussion group board features a designated topic for discussion and invites other pinners to weigh in with responses in the description box.

Related: The Secrets of 7 Successful Brands

Copyright © 2013 Entrepreneur.com, Inc.

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