In early 2012, Pinterest took center stage of the hearts and minds of marketers, particularly retailers and media companies. As the user base of this new visual bookmarking platform exploded, many marketers expanded their social media footprints to include Pinterest.

Marketers have been limited to the same features, tools and guidelines as regular users, but that changed last week when Pinterest launched business pages.

The announcement signals a shift in how Pinterest engages with brands and opens up the potential for some exciting developments in how brands can leverage the platform. It also paves the way toward Pinterest introducing paid experiences to allow marketers to grow their follower counts, increase the prominence of their content (similar to the path of both Facebook and Twitter) and gain access to deeper analytics.

Pinterest has officially opened its doors for brands, and here’s what they’re doing:

Business Pages

Brands and consumers previously utilized the same standard profiles, but marketers can now create business pages from scratch or transition their standard profiles to brand pages.

Business pages allow brands to specify a business name (instead of having to use a first name and last name). From there, brands can verify their accounts (helps people identify and find the brand page), add Pinterest buttons and widgets to their other online properties and opt-in to receive access to future product updates. The changes aren’t significant, but they do show that Pinterest has plans for marketers in the future.

Best Practices

This is the first time Pinterest has opened up officially for brands, so it has created a library of case studies, a set of best practices and documentation on how brands can use the Pinterest brand in their own materials. For example, brands can use the full logo when referring to Pinterest the company or when promoting a campaign being run on Pinterest.

Badge logo

The badge logo, on the other hand, can be used with other social media icons or before a brand’s username or Pinterest URL.

New Guidelines

The final update has been to Pinterest’s terms of service for commercial purposes, which are now separate from personal profile terms. Some highlights include:

–          Pinterest is licensed to use uploaded content, primarily for its own website

–          Brand content cannot infringe on the rights of third parties

–          Pinterest may collect and use information from a brand as described in its Privacy Policy

Moving Forward

Pinterest’s actions are baby steps and, in the short-term, not all that significant. However, they set the stage for how the platform will evolve to better cater to brands as well as generate revenue. This is only the beginning.

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