So I have to confess I hadn't been paying much attention to the power of Pinterest until recently. But I have a coaching client that I am working with that can really benefit from maximizing the use of the platform so I did my homework. While Pinterest may seem like a natural marketing site for physical products, any brand can be successful provided you keep a few things in mind.

Pinterest now boasts 150 million users. 2 million of them save shopping pins every day, and 87% say they have purchased something because of Pinterest. Pinterest, more than any other social network, indicates future purchase intent and integrates brand relationships into life planning and major milestones. It offers a wealth of opportunities for brands to engage meaningfully with consumers and is a great way to quickly boost traffic to your website.

Here are 3 simple ways to use Pinterest to increase traffic:

Keep it Visual

Pinterest is a visual medium with a sophisticated visual search engine. While keyword marketing is essential, every pin should be as visually compelling as possible. This doesn't mean sticking to product photography, though: Pinners love infographics, step-by-step tutorials ("instructographics"), and before-and-afters. Convey your brand philosophy and messages in high-quality images and use text sparingly.

Use What Works

In the 7 years that Pinterest has been around, some best practices for the platform have become clear. The optimal image size for Pinterest is 736x1102. Lighter images are preferred 20:1 over dark ones and images without faces are repinned 23% more. Pay attention to trending images and categories, and learn by example.

Apply Social Best Practices

With Pinterest as with any other social site, optimize your keywords for their search engine, use good Pinterest analytics tools, test for optimal posting times and other engagement metrics, and make your content easily shareable. Pinterest should enhance and complement your existing social tools and strategy, not compete with them.

With attention to the unique aspects of the platform, brands can successfully use Pinterest to drive website traffic, customer engagement, and sales, and reach targeted demographics in an especially compelling way.